A Coda to #689: Fuck iTunes
GETTING MORE TALE #689: “F*** iTunes”
Inside Out is an iTunes only live release, which is kinda cool in a way to make guys like Ladano scoff at the no physical product tag!
He’s right and I scoffed right away.
In jest, I made this video below. I like to call it “Fuck iTunes”. Everything is meant in good fun. Enjoy the video.
A sequel to Getting More Tale #509: Rant Random
GETTING MORE TALE#665: Rant Random II: A Canadian Complaint
Saturday, March 3 2018 was a gorgeous afternoon. Because I had been on the radio from 12:30 to 2:30 am, I didn’t get out that morning. I usually like to run my errands before noon on the weekends if possible, when things are less busy. I needed my beauty sleep that day. That’s how I keep my youthful looks after all.
With the windows down, I hit “play” on Rush’s Clockwork Angels and headed out. The sound of “The Wreckers” filled my speakers. Stop #1 was McDonalds. The parking lot was pretty full so I knew they’d be busy, but what I saw upon entry really pissed me off.
You know those kiosk terminals you can order from now? My McDonalds has four. And all four were being taken up by a single family. A mom, a dad, and two young children were all ordering separately…and slowly.
“Mommy! Mommy! What do I push now?” said the young girl, as her mom was ordering for herself. “Here sweety,” she said as she paused her own order to help the child. On the other side, dad was doing the same for the son, who couldn’t figure out how to order. Then, they all passed around a debit card so they could each pay. I stood there at the front of a loose “line”, watching this unfold in agonisingly slow detail.
As soon as the little girl finished on her terminal, I jumped on, to emphasise my pissed-off-ness.
Parents: It’s really nice that you used a Saturday at lunch hour rush to teach your children (separately) how to order from a McDonalds terminal, but don’t you think there are better lessons to learn? Such as how to take turns and share something?
Back to the car with the food, and back to Clockwork Angels with windows down. Next up: first single, “Headlong Flight”. I drove over to Tim Horton’s to get Jennifer a coffee. Yes, they serve coffee at McDonalds (and some would say better coffee) but I had to make a special stop because Mrs. LeBrain does not drink anything but Horton’s. And it was a nice day, and a great album to hear with the windows down.
My second complaint of the day, and a frequent one: if you’re in the drive-through at Tim Horton’s, and it’s busy, don’t leave an entire car length between you and the car in front of you. There’s nothing more frustrating than being next in line, but not being able to get close enough to the speaker to order. If the guy in front had just moved ahead a few feet (he had plenty of room) this wouldn’t be an issue.
So I rolled down the windows a little further and let the parking lot hear some “Wish You Well” from Clockwork Angels. That’s Geddy Lee and he’s a national treasure, people.
Coffee in hand, I headed back home with Geddy, Neil and Alex. Not a bad album to go out on, by the way. If you have to retire it’s nice to be able to go out on a high note like Rush did. It felt like a very Canadian afternoon — out celebrating a warm day in March; always a joy when it happens. It’s great to be Canadian, where the biggest complaint you have is about the line at Tim Horton’s. Keeping our minor peeves in perspective, let’s be glad to be Canadian.
RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#355: “The man’s hot piss warmed my freezing cold hands”
Once upon a time, in a Record Store not far away, there was a manager named Joe. Some people call him “Big Nose”. Some people just call him Joe. Two things about Joe you must understand: 1) Joe doesn’t give a crap about what anybody thinks, and 2) Joe doesn’t really know boundaries. Joe is the one who told me he had a crush on my mom. Joe is the one who introduced me to the Open Door Piss. I like Joe, don’t get me wrong. He was pretty much the only one at the Record Store that I could confide in towards the end. He is trustworthy, 100%. A solid individual. He was the best support I could have had. But I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that Joe is different from just about everybody you know.
The Tale goes like this:
Joe and Uncle Meat were driving from Waterloo to Windsor, to go and visit Tom who was attending teacher’s college there. It was December, and a cold one it was. By this time, Tom sold his own branch of the Record Store, so he could continue his education and become a teacher. Joe and Meat were travelling in Joe’s old beat up piece of shit. It was the quintessential “old man car”. It was huge, ancient, and nothing worked. I’m amazed it made to Windsor and back, honestly. One of the features that no longer functioned was the heat, which is a pretty darned important thing during a Canadian December.
Sometime during the three hour tour, Joe had to piss. Pulling off highway 401 to pee isn’t Joe’s style. Instead, he re-invented the piss jug, but with a large Tim Horton’s coffee cup. After relieving himself in said cup, he passed it to Meat!
Meat, all this time, was freezing his ass off in the passenger side. His hands and fingers in particular were as frigid as icicles. Although being passed a cup of piss in most situations isn’t a position you want to be in, this time it wasn’t so bad. The cup “felt like a hot double double in my hands,” says Meat. Still warm with Joe’s body heat, the piss-cup helped Meat regain some of the sensation in his digits. “What’s the greatest gift you can give? The warmth from inside of you. The man’s hot piss warmed my freezing cold hands,” according to Uncle Meat.
After warming his fingers, Meat rolled down the window. He carefully prepared the cup for ejection. He managed to throw it while only getting a surprisingly “minimal amount of piss” on his arm.
Neither Uncle Meat nor I condone littering, but sometimes life hands you a warm cup of piss, and you have no choice in the matter!
She’s back with another guest shot! Enjoy this two-fer Tale.
RECORD STORE TALES Mk II: Getting More Tale
Here’s one thing I never understood, either in the Record Store days or today: People who are obsessed with Tim Hortons coffee. I’m married to one and I still don’t get it.
I worked with people who never showed up at a shift without their double double in hand. I worked with others who had to do a daily Tim’s run. I served customers who left their empty cups on our shelves, or at the front counter. That was always a favourite of mine, and it’s not unique. I’ve shopped at many stores, finding the brown empty cups sitting there on shelves. Somebody else’s problem, right?
I fail to understand the obsession. Jen has to have one (large decaf with three cream and one sweetener) every single day. There was an old urban myth (an untrue one) that Tim’s put nicotine in their coffee to keep you hooked. The only reason that myth has such long life is that Horton’s Addiction (HA) is so prevalent in Canadian society.
Now that Burger King, an American company, has bought out Tim’s, I fear for our friends south of the border.
I see a future littered with brown cups. I envision our American friends unwittingly becoming addicted to Hortons’ secret brew. I picture, somewhere in the US, a record store manager not unlike my younger self, pulling empty brown cups from their shelves as I once did.
Just say no to Tim’s. Make your own coffee at home. Hell, just drink water! Don’t fall into the trap of Horton’s Addiction, an affliction for which there is no known cure.
50 years ago, one of the greatest defensemen in NHL history decided to expand his horizons, and open a coffee & doughnut [his spelling] empire. That man’s name was Tim Horton, and he made a damn good cup of coffee.
One thing that is very special about “Timmie’s” (as we call it) is its consistency. Your coffee in Kitchener Ontario will come out exactly the same as your coffee in Kitchener BC.
Every coffee drinker has their ideal cup of coffee, and sometimes it takes years to find that combination of cream and sugar that is right for you. When you do find it, Tim Hortons has dispensing equipment designed to maintain that perfect coffee for you, no matter what size you order it or where you order it from. (The only exception to this rule is Splenda sweetener which is dispensed by hand from packets.) Rival chains such as Starbucks make the customer add their cream and sugar themselves, creating human inconsistencies.
I love the texture of the cream; the feeling inside takes me to a special place. It also doesn’t hurt that they use 18% cream, a treat in itself.
Contrary to the way LeBrain makes it appear, I really do like all kinds of coffee. My Keurig machine is well used in the LeBrain household, but Tim Hortons is the champion, and whenever possible that brown cup will be in my happy hands.
Even LeBrain himself knows that if he ever does something to get him in shit, a five minute trip to the drive-through can fix the situation!
The two greatest things on this planet are hockey and coffee. There was a man who brought those two worlds together, and his name was Tim Horton.
RECORD STORE TALES Part 184: Alan Cross
In 2003, we did a promotion with the Canadian DJ and writer, Alan Cross. We were selling his book, although I couldn’t tell you which one anymore, and he came in to do a meet & greet / book signing deal.
I had no idea who Alan Cross was.
All I know is that I had to run down to Hortons and pick up a large container of coffee and some donuts. And not to be alarmed, because he had a large dog that he was going to be bringing with him. No problem, I liked dogs, and Al King from Encore Records had a large dog that he often brought with him.
Anyway, long story short:
1. The dog was cool, sat there quietly and bothered nobody. I would have assumed the dog was dead if I didn’t know better!
2. Alan was cool to everybody. We had a small turnout, but the people that did come out were obviously huge fans of this guy that I had never heard of. I wasn’t into the radio at the time, but even my most recent ex, Radio Station Girl, had never heard of him either. Her reason for not knowing him was that she knew nothing about music. My excuse was that Cross specialized in alternative music, a genre I tended to loathe for sidelining my beloved heavy metal in the 1990’s.
But regardless, Alan was cool and spent a lot of time with every single person. He had extended conversations and stayed longer than he was booked to stay. So credit where credit’s due: I’ve heard tales of people showing up to do signings and acting like total dicks. Alan was not one of those people. Every single person who spoke to me said how cool he was. Which was nice, since I had no idea who he was! At least I knew he was a nice guy!
Part 2 of the Aaron Challenge: He has challenged me to get out of my comfort zone. Together, we will be reviewing some of the albums he bought in Toronto during Record Store Excursion 2012. I’ve never heard any of these albums before, in fact I know almost nothing about most of these bands. This time, I’m going into it at least knowing the Dave Bidini was in the Rheostatics!
Aaron paid $7.99 for each of these discs, at Sonic Boom Music.
Check out his thoughts on the exact same album right here!
For a cool interview with Bidini himself, check out my buddy Patrick Finch’s article right here!
BIDINIBAND – The Land is Wild
Last time, I took a look at In the Rock Hall, without knowing a thing about Dave Bidini. Now, I’m a little more prepared. And it just so happens that The Land is Wild is a very different kind of album, much catchier and more immediate.
Album opener, “Desert Island Poem”, is a beautiful acoustic guitar/piano tune with clever lyrics: “Rheostatics eat their drummer,” and “Martin ran out of the van,” and then references to the incredible Drumheller Alberta, one of my favourite places in the world. But lyrics aside, melodically and instrumentally this is just a great song.
Some more beautiful acoustics open track #2, “Memorial Day”. It features one of my favourite instruments, under utilized in rock music: the clarinet. It’s a slow mournful number juxtaposed with that playful clarinet. This being Dave Bidini though, of course it takes a twist. At 3 minutes it becomes more electric and distorted, but without losing direction.
“We Like To Rock” is a gleeful number with some catchy electric guitar licks. It’s a melodic winner, I like this song a lot. “This is how we like to live! This is why we’ll never stop! This is how we like to live, it’s how we like to rock!” And how do they like to rock? Not in any generic way, that is for sure. This song is unique as any Bidini I have heard thus far, yet it’s a bit more straightforward and to the point.
The next song, “Take A Wild Ride” isn’t even a minute long and it strikes me as something jokey. But fear not, for “Terrorize Me Now” is next, with an unforgettable chorus and a reference to both Malcolm and Roddy McDowell! It’s just as playful as all the previous songs, with some intricate guitar parts and lush backing vocals. I would have liked to have found the lyrics to this song online; no such luck though.
A longer song is up next, the title track, over six minutes, and little more along the lines of what I grew to expect from the last Bidini album I heard, In the Rock Hall. It’s a bit more challenging, with some atonal guitar feedback, atypical drum beats, and different sections. Good stuff.
“Last Good Cigarette” is a song I can’t relate to, lyrically, never having smoked one in my life. Musically though, this is another nice acoustic number, with plenty of intricate guitar parts hanging around in the mix to grab my attention. It’s over too soon though, and then we’re into the next one, “Song Ain’t Any Good”. This is a funny self-deprecating number:
This song ain’t any good,
It’s not quiet, it’s not loud,
Its lyrics are warm and tepid,
Of them I’m not very proud.
This song ain’t any good,
You prob’ly heard these chords before,
Its melody is dry and chalky,
The words are lonely cold and boring.
He’s wrong though. This song is great!
Then comes the 8 minute epic, “How Zeke Roberts Died”. I had to look up who Zeke Roberts was (an old NFL player apparently, but I can’t figure out the lyrical connection). This is a cool folk rock tune with several people taking lead vocals. I love songs with multiple lead vocalists and this is a great one. Awesome tune.
After such an epic, the playful “Pornography” came as a surprise. It begins with a programmed drum beat and another humourous lyric. For better or for worse, you’ll be walking around the house singing “Pornography, pornography…” after playing the album. Be forewarned! Ironically the song seems to be more about George W Bush than pornography!
“The Continuing Story Of Canadiana And Canadiandy” has more of that tasty guitar pickin’ that I love. And of course, it also has more of those humourous lyrical acrobatics. Another gleeful winner. The guitar work is insane.
And then, the end: “The Ballad of 1969” is an 8 minute epic, so the Bidiniband is not leaving you without filling your head with rock. Delicate drums and electric guitars introduce the piece. Eventually this morphs into surf rock “ooh ooh oohs” and riffing, but like many Bidini tracks it has multiple sections. These songs have to be a bitch to play live!
But wait! A hidden track about Tim Horton’s emerges? And then…”Chad Kroeger, Chad Kroeger, you’re killing us now.” Amen brother! (This track is apparently called “The List”.)
This album is a hell of a lot more immediate than In the Rock Hall, but yet maintains the challenging arrangements and clever, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Strongly recommended.
MIKE AND AARON GO TO TORONTO
5. Hopefully the most obvious one. Farts! At least when the guy code named “Steven Tyler” or I were working. We ate a lot of fast food.
4. Fast Food. We were constantly eating Subway, Lick’s, McDonalds, or Burger King depending on location. Subway was and always shall be my weapon of choice, but it was BK’s Kong sized triple stacker that made the store smell like beef for days. Strangely, my addiction to fast food only got worse after seeing Super Size Me.
3. B.O. If wasn’t the customers, every once in a while, we’d get stuck with a stinky employee.
2. Rancid Coffee. One employee who shall go unnamed was prone to drink two or three of the damn things a day, and then throwing her coffee (unfinished) into the garbage (bag). And then not take out the garbage. Also, any customer carrying a Tim Horton’s cup always left their empties on the counter, or even classier, on the CD shelves.
1. Air Freshener. Thank you, Glade.