Sven Gali

Positivity and Inspiration: Dan Fila on the LeBrain Train

This was a fully loaded episode folks!  Thanks to my co-host John Snow and thanks to special guest Dan Fila…and surprise guest Shawn Minden!

Here are some of the facts/stories/news/scoops ahead:

  • Hooking up with Sven Gali
  • The lowdown on a brand new Sven album
  • New songs coming with the assistance of Mr. Andy Curran [SCOOP!]
  • Maybe even a leaked song title
  • Playing some Maiden and Priest…soon!
  • Dan’s craft, educating, and being a positive influence
  • Dan’s influences and seeing them live
  • Practice practice practice
  • Varga
  • Working with David Bendeth
  • Hypodust
  • An endorsement with Pearl Drums
  • Anvil
  • and of course Neil Peart

Dan, thanks so much for sharing your time and stories.  Hope to talk again soon!


NEXT WEEK:  Max the Axe!

Dan Fila of Sven Gali & Varga rocks the LeBrain Train tonight

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and John

Episode 86 – Dan Fila

In the early 90s, there were a number of great bands from southern Ontario that rattled my speakers pretty hard.  Two of those bands were Sven Gali and Varga, who had their videos on rotation both on MuchMusic and my VHS collection as well.  Today, one man occupies the drum stool for both bands, and that man is Dan!  Please join my co-host John Snow and I tonight as we welcome Dan Fila to the show.

We’ll be quizzing him on both bands as well his other industrial rock project called Hypodust.  We’ll be talking drums.  We’ll be taking questions.  This is no “Prototype”, this is as real as “Now”!  Join us live tonight!

Friday November 5, 7:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook: MikeLeBrain and YouTube: Mike LeBrain.

Redrum! A wickedly scary Top 5 Horror Movie show on the LeBrain Train

Big props to the panel tonight:  Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller, Rob “Chucky” Daniels and Erik “Velvet Voice” Woods!  Any time we cover movies, I am the luckiest host in the world to be able to lean on Rob and Erik.  I truly believe these two guys are some of the top experts on movie soundtracks in the world.  By extension, they also know movies like the backs of their hands.  This was a truly great show because we had three amazing guests on the panel.  Me, all I could do was tell amusing anecdotes!  (Watch the show and find out what my buddy Bob and I “learned” about women’s clothing from the movie Christine.

This is a show you’ll want to watch from start to finish.  The discussion far exceeded just a simple “top 5” list, with plenty of interesting runners-up scattered through the broadcast.  Go get a beverage and get ready to be inspired to watch a whole bunch of horror movies this weekend!


REMINDER:

November 5 7:00 PM E.S.T.: We are joined by the awesome Dan Fila, drummer of Sven Gali and Varga! Co-hosted by John “2loud2old” Snow. Get ready to be pummelled by a double bass master!

Next week I’ll be on Tim’s Vinyl Confessions for a special episode, and 107.5 Dave Rocks, with Jessie David for The Essential Alice Cooper on October 31!

The Horror! Top Five Scary Flicks on the LeBrain Train

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and the Meat Man

Episode 85 – Cinco De List-O: Top 5 Horror Films

Topic courtesy of the Meat Man! It’s Halloween so perfect timing for another movie list: horror movies! And any time we’re talking movies, we better have Rob Daniels and Erik Woods on board!

It’s a really simple subject so we don’t need a lot of explanation here. To read up on my history with horror films, check out Record Store Tales #496: The Horror. It may spoil a couple of my picks so be forewarned!

Friday October 29, 7:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook: MikeLeBrain and YouTube: Mike LeBrain.


Upcoming shows:

I am very pleased to announce next week’s show:

November 5 7:00 PM E.S.T.: We are joined by the awesome Dan Fila, drummer of Sven Gali and Varga! Freeze, don’t move, this show is gonna be Under the Influence! Co-hosted by John “2loud2old” Snow.

I also have an appearance on Tim’s Vinyl Confessions coming up, and will be be on 107.5 Dave Rocks, with Jessie David and my pick for The Essential Alice Cooper, on October 31!

Best of 2020 Part 5: Nigel Tufnel Top Ten Albums and More of 2020

2020 may have sucked, but the music didn’t.  This year I bought and reviewed more new releases than ever before, which I narrowed down to the Nigel Tufnel Top Ten studio albums of 2020 listed below.

I would like to dedicate this list to my good pal Uncle Meat who originated the concept of a “Nigen Tufnel Top Ten” earlier this year.  It has become our thing.

BEST ALBUMS OF 2020

11. Now or Never – III

10. Mr. Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo

9. Sven Gali – 3 (EP)

8. Kim Mitchel – The Big Fantasize

7. Corey Taylor – CMFT

6. Stryper – Even the Devil Believes

5. Harem Scarem – Change the World

4. Dennis DeYoung – 26 East Vol 1

3. AC/DC – Power Up

2. Deep Purple – Whoosh!

1. Storm Force – Age of Fear

 

Storm Force’s debut album goes straight to #1 on their very first appearance!  No surprise here.  I’ve been raving about this disc since February and I owe it to Superdekes for putting these guys on my radar in the first place.  This is a well-deserved #1.  Age of Fear is an uplifting album with depth.  It’s a thoughtful, heart-pounding blast of classic hard rock.

Deep Purple’s Whoosh! and AC/DC’s PWRUP prove two things:  old dogs that both learn and don’t learn new tricks can all be champions.  (I call this theory “Schrödinger’s Dog”.) Deep Purple’s growth continues while AC/DC managed to tap into the vein of success that always worked for them.  Both records deserve their spots in the Top 3.

It was a thrill for me to learn that Dennis DeYoung both read and enjoyed my review of his newest album 26 East Vol 1.  It’s a terrific, Styx-like conceptual work that will please the old fans.  As will the new albums by Harem Scarem and Stryper, who didn’t stray far from their successful classic hard rock formulas.  Kim Mitchell and Sven Gali on the other hand dared to be different.  Kim went laid back and acoustic, while Sven Gali went with their heaviest uninhibited inclinations.  As for Mr. Bungle, it has been 21 years since their last album California.  All four Bungle studio albums are completely different from one another — four different genres.  For The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, they teamed up with Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo to re-record their first thrash metal demo tape.  And it could be their best album since the self-titled debut in 1991.  Not bad for a bunch of songs they wrote in highschool.

Corey “Mother Fuckin'” Taylor makes his debut on any list of mine with his solo album CMFT.  It’s a surprising collection of commercial hard rockin’ tunes.  Also appearing for the first time is Now Or Never (NoN) with their third album called III, featuring singer Steph Honde.  It’s an excellent, dramatic metal album with light and shade.


BONUS LISTS

Most disappointing:  Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man

Song of the year:  LeBrain Train by T-Bone Erickson

Single of the Year:  Mammoth WVH – “Distance”

Ultimately whether or not you liked the new Ozzy, its success or failure falls at the feet of producer/guitarist Andrew Watt.  He is already working on the next Ozzy album, so….

Huge thanks to T-Bone Erickson for the “LeBrain Train” theme song, which amazingly and unexpectedly became the song of the year in 2020!  Weird how that happened.  No bias here I assure you.

Finally, Wolfgang Van Halen finally released his first solo music under the name Mammoth WVH.  The non-album single “Distance” is dedicated to his late father Eddie.  Though musically it’s a modern power ballad, the lyrics and especially the music video evoke serious emotion.  Well done Wolfgang.  Can’t wait to check out his album in 2021.


TOP FIVE LIVE OR COMPILATION ALBUMS IN 2020

5. Metallica – S&M2

4. Thin Lizzy – Rock Legends

3. Sloan – B Sides Win Vol. 1 1992-1997

2. Def Leppard – The Early Years 78-81

1. Iron Maiden – Nights of the Dead – Legacy of the Beast

There were a lot of cool rock releases in 2020, so we need more lists!  Of course the brilliant new live Maiden deserved some loving attention.  Meanwhile, Sloan, Def Leppard and Thin Lizzy have continued to put out quality collections of rarities & unreleased material, well worth the time and money you’ll spend on them.  The Sloan collection is a vinyl exclusive and the first in a series of LPs re-releasing some of their B-sides and non-album and bonus tracks.  Finally, Metallica delivered the goods even without Michael Kamen on S&M2, a very different live set than the first S&M.  That’s the way to do it!


BEST LOCKDOWN SINGLE

5. Queen + Adam Lambert – “You Are the Champions”

4. Scorpions – “Sign of Hope”

3. Marillion – “Made Again 2020”

2. Marillion – “Easter 2020”

1. Alice Cooper – “Don’t Give Up”


 

A LOOK AHEAD AT 2021

It’s naive to assume that major touring and concerts will return in 2021.  This appears highly optimistic at present, with Covid still ravaging the landscape and vaccinations only just beginning.  Instead of looking ahead at things like the resuming Kiss tour, or the Motley Crue reunion, we should continue to put our faith in new music.

Accept have a new album due January 15 intriguingly titled Too Mean to Die.  It is their first without bassist Peter Baltes.  Steven Wilson has a new record out at the end of that month.  In February we get new Foo Fighters, The Pretty Reckless, Willie Nelson and Alice Cooper.  Greta Van Fleet, Weezer, Rob Zombie, Ringo Starr, and Thunder will be back soon too.  Many other bands are writing and recording without an announced due date.  Ghost, Marillion, Scorpions, Megadeth and even Ratt are hard at work to make next year suck a little less.  Support the bands by buying the music.

 

 

 

 

 

Gallery: Sven Gali swag, ReAction figures, and Rock and Roll Children from Live Stream unboxing

Thanks for watching last night’s stream if you did, and no worries if you didn’t.  I did some unboxings but due to the limitations of resolution, couldn’t show off my new arrivals very clearly.  Here are some photos for you to enjoy!

First off:  if you remember, back in July somebody stole my copy of Michael D. LeFevre‘s book Rock and Roll Children right out of the mail.  Michael (better known to you as 80s Metal Man) sent me a new copy right out of his own pocket.  He didn’t have to do that.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I’m happy to finally have a copy.

Next:  Sven Gali!  I won a Facebook contest and the band sent me some swag!  The guitar pick neck chain (with the late Dee Cernile’s name on the back) is my favourite.  They also sent a glossy photo (top) signed by all five members:  Andy Frank, Shawn Minden, Dave Wanless, Dan Fila and Sean Williamson.  Finally we have a new copy of their excellent new EP 3.  I played it again this week and I like it more now than I did then.  I have given my extra copy to loyal reader and friend Len Labelle.

Finally:  From a shitty Amazon seller comes Super 7’s ReAction figure for a battle-damaged T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  What’s up with the shitty seller?  They stuffed this figure in a box that was too small for the card, damaging it and making the figure fall out loose.  I was going to open him, but then I noticed he was a limited edition exclusive.  Would have been nice to have the option to keep him sealed if I felt like it.  Well, he’s open now, and ready to do battle with Autobots, Decepticons, Aliens, and ghouls.  This is a universal action figure line compatible with the 1977 Kenner Star Wars figures.  Ever wanted Ben Kenobi to take on Snake Pliskin?  You could do it now!

If you missed the show, you can stream it below.

REVIEW: Sven Gali – 3 (2020)

SVEN GALI – 3 (2020 EP)

Sven Gali have not had an easy ride.  Their debut Sven Gali was just a year too late to make them into the rock heroes they seemed destined to be.  Had it come out in 1991, they would have had a massive hit on their hands.  The second album Inwire (1995) was a reaction to the 90s alterna-metal scene.  The band reunited in 2007, but tragedy struck when cancer killed founding guitarist Dee Cernile in 2012.

Against the odds, Sven Gali persevered and in 2018 added some heavy firepower to the lineup:  Dan Fila and Sean Williamson of Varga.  One by one, they began releasing new tracks.  Now in 2020 we have the first new Sven Gali release in 25 years:  an EP called 3.

Somewhat surprisingly, Sven Gali did not revert back to the hard rock anthemic sound that was the cornerstone of their debut album.  Instead they picked up where they left off on Inwire, with four new songs produced by David Bendeth who also produced their debut.  Incredibly it sounds like they haven’t missed a step.  Even more incredibly, it’s some of their best stuff!  Singer Dave Wanless has lost nothing.  The band is still rounded out by original members:  guitarist Andy Frank and bassist Shawn Minden.

The four songs all share melodic vocal hooks, heavy guitars and aggressive grooves.  With the addition of Fila and Williamson, the band have rebuilt themselves into a beast heavier than before.  Picking a favourite isn’t possible because this EP is not immediate.  Like many favourites that stand the test of time, 3 will take some listens to fully absorb and love.  Fortunately we have a whole summer ahead of us to do that.  The EP has the depth and potential to become a bit of a classic.  Even if Inwire wasn’t your thing, this EP is better.  The songs are more focused, heavier, with more hooks.  The vocal melodies sometimes veer into an old anthemic metal style, like on “Hurt”.  By taking their time, Sven Gali were able to make sure they had four excellent tracks for this release.

Good on Sven Gali for sticking it out, and not resting on their laurels.  Any band can get replacement members and reunite.  Fewer still put out new music, much less on a physical media.  Sven Gali have put together a slammin’ new lineup and a triumphant EP.  You just can’t write this band off.

4/5 stars

#826: Promo Postcards (From the Edge of Rock)

The trick is hanging onto the good stuff and throwing out the junk!  I’ve accumulated a lot of junk and not always made the wisest decisions when I throw things out.  Keeping things that don’t take up a lot of space is easiest, and postcards take up very little space.

These postcards came from a variety of sources and only one could be from the Record Store!  I’ve said it many times:  a used CD store gets nothing promotional.  Record companies assumed we would just turn around and sell it.  Which we made a point of never doing anyway.  But we rarely got anything from bands that I liked when we did get promo material.  It was the 90s after all.

I have two of these Test For Echo postcards from Rush.  You can tell I didn’t get them from my store since they’re from Future Shop for a MuchMusic contest.  I don’t know how I ended up with two.

I also have two of these Slik Toxik postcards.  My best guess is that these were packed inside my subscription of M.E.A.T Magazine.  There were perks to subscribing and I didn’t let my subscription lapse.  Slik Toxik were one of M.E.A.T’s pride and joys.  They were behind the band from a very early stage.

Another pair of postcards!  Deadline sent these to me for my birthdays in 1994 and 1995!  Little did they know that I’d still be promoting their band, 25 years later and long after they disappeared.

Then and now, I think this is a really cool touch.  It’s not like today, seeing somebody’s birthday on Facebook and wishing them a happy one.  Somebody had to keep a file with the fan club birthdays and mail these out at their expense.  Glad I hung onto these treasures; I even have my membership card!

 

Finally, the last few postcards here are from a mixture of sources.  I was a Sven Gali fan club member, and for Christmas they sent out of a fully signed postcard.  My membership must have expired shortly after.  The W.A.S.P. card is from their dreadful K.F.D. album, not a disc that I particularly treasure.   This is the only one that could have come from the Record Store, though it’s an unusual item for us.  And the Star Trek shuttlepod is there because I had room on the scanner bed.  No story; no idea where it came from.

REVIEW: Sven Gali – In My Garden (1992 Promo cassette)

SVEN GALI – In My Garden (1992 BMG promo cassette)

One of the great perks to a M.E.A.T Magazine subscription was getting free promo tapes in the mail.  One of the bands that M.E.A.T had been hyping was Sven Gali, who had a major label debut on deck with BMG for release.  We were all curious what Sven Gali sounded like…and then this promo tape arrived, previewing three of the tracks!

The lead singer can make or break a band, and Sven Gali had Dave Wanless.  Mr. Wanless had the power reminiscent of another successful Canadian, a certain Sebastian Something who was out there ruling the concert stages.  Wanless also had the right look, and of course a pretty good band!  From the ranks of Billy Idol came veteran drummer Gregg Gerson, joining with Dee Cernile (guitars, R.I.P.), Andy Frank (guitars), and “T.T.” (bass).  They could rock.  They had soloists arguably more interesting than the guys in Skid Row.  And, as evident in this tape, they could write hooks.

“Freakz” wasn’t the lead single, but it could have been.  Rebellious rock attitude, tires smoking down a dark alley, guns blazing…and just a pinch of funk.  “When you gonna learn, baybay!” screams Dave Wanless, and just know he’s got at least one fist raised when he’s singing it.

Up second is a track that did become a single, the dark ballad “In My Garden” (an edit version).  This world-class ballad has all the right ingredients including chorus hooks, a place to shout along, and perfect guitars.  In the early 1990s, if grunge had not derailed the rock n’ roll train, bands like Sven Gali (more aggressive than the 80s groups but not abandoning solos and choruses, and with an ear for musicianship) would have been the next wave.

The last track on the tape is the borderline thrash of “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”, ironic in hindsight since Sven Gali only managed two albums before being submerged by the flotsam of the mid 90s rock scene.  Skid Row comparisons are easy to make (in a positive way), but there’s one major difference between Skid Row and Sven Gali.  That is Sven Gali still have their original singer where Skid Row do not.  (They have a new track out called “You Won’t Break Me” to be followed by a CD in 2020.)  They might not have exceeded the fame of Skid Row, but they might just end up having more material with their original singer….

This cassette whet the appetite for the eventual album, which maybe suffered from too much material, but on tape these songs sound ace!

4/5 stars

Check out the credits.  Photos by famed photographer Floria Sigismondi, who took just about every memorable photo of every 90s band you can think of.  Today she’s a movie director!  She’s the reason this tape looks so cool.

GALLERY: A Sven Gali Christmas

Being a pack rat has its advantages.  It means I have loads of fun little pieces of memorabilia to share.  Enjoy these scans of some seasonal Sven Gali mailings!  First is the 1992 Christmas postcard they sent out, signed by all five members.  Including drummer Gregg Gerson (Billy Idol) who left the band not long afterwards.  A cool set of autographs to have, and they’re real.  And let’s not forget it also has the lyrics to a naughty Sven Gali version of “The 12 Days of Christmas”!

The second item is from 1993, and it’s their fan newsletter.  Kinda neat.  The Sven Gali logo on this is not one I’ve seen before.  It was never used on an album.  Cool little keepsakes!