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LeBrain’s Top List of 2019 n’ More

GETTING MORE TALE #805(.5):  LeBrain’s Top List of 2019 n’ More

Preamble:  The Year in Review (and Reviewing)

2019 was the seventh year of life for this site, and we do thank you for that!  Getting tired with the same old way of doing things, I became bored.   The solution was throwing some new content into the mix and seeing what happened!

The first thing I planned was an informal new series called Just Listening.  Though people confused these writings with reviews, it’s essentially just my thoughts as I listened to an album.  Sometimes I would revisit an old record I already reviewed and see if I felt any different.  There were 10 instalments of Just Listening in 2019.  I intend to continue doing this, as sometimes I just have a few ideas to jot down after playing an album.  Reviews will remain as in-depth and intense as you’ve come to expect.  I love writing reviews, and there are a few lined up for early January that I hope you’ll enjoy too.  At the same time, it’s increasingly important for me to just listen to music.  My collection has dusty corners that miss my attention.

Second, in 2019 I bought a bunch of new tech.  Why not, right?  It’s kind of funny.  I grew up in the 70s and 80s; back when you debated for months or years over in which home video system to invest .  Tech is far more disposable today.  The worst thing that can happen is a relatively painless, postage-paid Amazon return.

So a waterproof camera was added to my arsenal.  This enabled me to make a bunch of cool videos this past summer, including what I think is the best Sausagefest video yet.  One of the immense joys of that summer gathering is the fresh, cool water of the Beaver river.  For the first time this was captured for you up close and personal.

It’s easy to sit here tootin’ my own horn but I feel the 2019 video gets you closer to the feeling of actually attending a Sausagefest yourself.  You can imagine sitting in the river with us, drinking or smoking whatever you fancy.

A new dashcam enabled me to start another video “series” called Dashcam Idiots.  I honestly thought, living in Kitchener Ontario, that I’d have a lot more content to post by now.  (I did get a cool late-night video of a deer on a country road that I thankfully didn’t hit.)  I suppose it’s a good thing that I don’t have a multitude of dashcam videos to upload.


The biggest and most important new series was a long time wish of mine:  my VHS Archives.

The new tech this time was a cheap USB video capture device.  This enabled me, after many years of promises, to share my personal Pepsi Power Hour videos with you from the late 80s and early 90s.  It has been a culmination of a decades-long dream:  taking this rather large VHS library and getting the rarest and most valuable content online.  As of writing this, I’m 82 instalments deep.

And because this is supposed to be a list of lists, here are what I consider to be the Top Five Best/Most Significant of the 2019 VHS Archives.  You’d be remiss not to play these.

1. Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P.) interviewed by Erica Ehm – 1989
The best interview with Blackie that I’ve ever seen.

2. Bruce Dickinson and Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) interviewed by Erica Ehm – 1988

3. Bruce Kuclick and Gene Simmons (Kiss) interviewed by MuchMusic – 1992
Reposted by Bruce!

4. Rik Emmett of Triumph co-hosting the Pepsi Power Hour with Erica Ehm including two musical performances – 1988

5. MuchMusic Hear N’ Aid special featuring Ronnie James Dio (1986)

And of course the VHS Archives allowed me to finally present my own music video for Poison’s “Nothing But A Good Time” that we made in highschool in 1989!  A long time I have waited and in 2019 I scratched it off the list.

There’s lots left on these tapes so the VHS Archives will continue into 2020!  I’ve left some “big guns” in reserve for future posts.  As long as none of these tapes break!  One or two of them are in very, very rough shape now.  Others are still pristine.

Want a taste of what’s still to come?  Here’s a preview.

Which of these interviews would you like to see first?  Vote below!

 


2019 LISTS

 

The Movies I Saw Don’t expect a comprehensive list!

1. The Avengers: Endgame

2. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

3. El Camino

4. Captain Marvel

5. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Nothing but sequels and spinoffs!

 

Top TV Shows of 2019:  I don’t watch a lot of shows.

1. Stranger Things 3

2. Star Trek: Discovery season 2

3. American Dad! season 16

4. Rick and Morty season 4 (part one)

5. The Mandalorian season 1

I’ve been talking The Mandalorian on social media quite a bit, and I’ve been quite critical of the show.  It’s #5 by default.

 


Top Five Albums of 2019 (and more)

1. Tom Keifer Band – Rise

2. Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood

3. Marillion – With Friends From the Orchestra

4. Tool – Fear Inoculum

5. Jim Crean – The London Fog

The new Tom Keifer Band is really remarkable.  With soul, roots n’ blues yet also a foot in classic Cinderella rock.  The heart of the Keifer Band made it an easy #1.  Whitesnake put out a strong effort; probably their best since Slip of the Tongue or even 1987.  Marillion may have re-recorded old songs with an orchestra, but in doing so it’s possible that they have recorded the definitive versions.  Tool is Tool is Tool is Tool.  And Jim Crean deserves a shout-out for his guest-laden original album The London Fog, better than a lot of well known releases in 2019.

 

 

Best Japanese import of 2019:

Hollywood Vampires – Rise
A three CD set with a bonus double live album!
Unprecedented value in terms of extras.

 

Best Boxed Set of 2019:

Def Leppard – Volume Two
Some guy gave them some cool live tracks to release.

 

 

Best Improvised:

Kathryn Ladano – Masked
Don’t just take it from me.

 

 

 

Most Baffling Album of 2019:

The Darkness – Easter is Cancelled
I have not been able to wrap my head around this album. I’ve steadfastly stood by this band through five albums, often in quick succession, but this time they’ve thrown a curve. Perhaps it’ll grow on me in 2020.

 

Worst thing to happen in music in 2019:

Motley Crue – The Dirt

 

 

…And I haven’t even seen The Dirt.  I just feel that strongly about it.

I hate the look of the guys playing The Crue, I hate the idea of a biopic, and I hope to make it through another year without seeing it.  I’m happy with my copy of the book — the only Dirt you really need.

 


…A Look Ahead at 2020

Motley Crue will be a towering part of the 2020 tour scene, as they look ahead to their big “Stadium Tour” with Def Leppard, Poison, and Joan Jett.  Meanwhile the Robinson brothers Chris and Rich have formed a new version of The Black Crowes, who will be playing all of Shake Your Money Maker live.  Far more interestingly, Mr. Bungle (now featuring Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo) will be reuniting and playing only three shows, featuring their cassette demo The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny played in full for the first time.  Even the original BulletBoys have reunited.

The big news, so they say, is still to be announcd.  Keep your ears to the ground for a full-on 2020 AC/DC tour with Brian Johnson, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd back in the fold.  Reliable sources have stated that the band are finishing up old Malcolm Young song ideas for album release.

Stay safe this New Year’s Eve and we’ll chat in 2020!

 

Iron Tom’s New Sh!t That Ain’t Bad 2019

Whether you know it or not, the only list you should care about every year is Iron Tom Sharpe‘s.  If you only listen to 20 albums this year…make them these 20.


  • Brant Bjork – Jacoozzi
  • Steve Earle – Guy
  • Opeth- In Cauda Venenum
  • Death Angel – Humanicide
  • John Garcia – John Garcia & The Band Of Gold
  • Elder – Gold and Silver Sessions
  • Queensryche – The Verdict
  • Black Mountain – Destroyer
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Colorado
  • Redscale – Feed Them To The Lions
  • Frozen Planet….1969 – Meltdown On The Horizon
  • Green Lung – Woodland Rites
  • Tool – Fear Inoculum
  • King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rats’ Nest
  • Ian Blurton – Signals Through the Flame
  • Valley Of The Sun – Old Gods
  • Jimi Hendrix – Songs For Groovy Children
  • Villagers of Ioannina City – Age of Aquarius (Thanks Johnny Cheddar)
  • Church Of The Cosmic Skull – Everybody’s Going To Die
  • I concur with Meat…The Talking Heads are still the shit!
  • Add Dream Theater (Distance Over Time)…just listening to it now again.  It needs to be included.

Not a great year overall…nothing truly blew me away…these are merely ones that people should check out. – Iron Tom

 

Uncle Meat’s “Aftab Patla” Top Ten Lists of 2019

Uncle Meat is out of the starting gate with the first list of Top Tens in 2019! Meat submitted three complete lists — Movies, TV shows, and music. We’ll save music for last. Please wish Meat a hearty “Aftab Patla!” and dig into his lists below.

MOVIES

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
2. Uncut Gems
3. Doctor Sleep
4. Fighting With my Family
5. It Chapter 2
6. The Avengers: Endgame
7. Joker
8. Long Shot
9. Captain Marvel
10. The Irishman


TV SHOWS

1. Succession
2. Mindhunter
3. Barry
4. Euphoria
5. Chernobyl
6. Hot Ones
7. True Detective
8. Stranger Things
9. Rick and Morty
10. Truth Be Told


And finally the main event.

ALBUMS

1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
2. Dream Theater – Distance Over Time
3. The Dip – The Dip Delivers
4. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rats Nest
5. Death Angel – Humanicide
6. Lennon Claypool Delerium – South of Reality
7. Flaming Lips – Live at Red Rocks
8. Opeth – In Cauda Venenum
9. Joe Jackson – Fool
10. Everyone needs to go and listen to everything The Talking Heads have ever done. Everyone.

“I had to improvise on my number ten album,” says Meat!  We hope you enjoyed his lists.  

 

 

#S18-4: “Who Gives a F*** About Transformers!” — Sausagefest 2018 was More Than Met the Eye

On Friday I was itching to go.  I made a post here, critiquing my passenger Uncle Meat for wanting to stop at both Walmart and Value Village before hitting the Sausage Road.  He’s a grown man and could be a little better prepared…but I too am a grown man who can admit when he is wrong.  And I was wrong.  The Walmart and Value Village stops were actually two of my favourite things that happened.

WALMART

“I wanna stop at the Walmart up by St. Jacobs,” said Meat.  Cool.  I try to make a point of checking the toy section at every Walmart, because it’s the out-of-the-way ones where you can find the rare stuff.  I made a beeline and lo!  One, two, three, four, FIVE brand new Transformers figures.  I grabbed all five and hit the checkout, so excited about my excellent find.  These are toys that collectors are having a hard time finding anywhere.  This led directly to…

VALUE VILLAGE

“I want something ridiculous,” said Uncle Meat as we hit the T-shirts.  Immediately, I spotted an Optimus Prime shirt waiting right there for me, the first shirt we saw.  My size!  I then found rather quickly a bright orange George Jones “The Living Legend” shirt.  It had to come with us to Sausagefest.  Finally, after going through just about every shirt in the store, Meat found it like destiny:

These two stops really set the tone for the whole weekend.  They were:

1. Everything coming together perfectly, and
2. Dr. Dave Haslam’s hate-on for Optimus Prime.

I love when a plan comes together.

One plan that did not come together was my tent, which broke immediately just out of the box.  Fortunately you can always count on certain Sausagefesters to always bring gorilla and/or duct tape.  The tent weathered both nights.

DAY ONE

The Countdown began promptly at Whenever O’clock and rapidly ticked down 50 + 2 tracks in one night, plus numerous bits and sketches.  50 +2?

We lost one of our own this year and Rush’s “Dreamline” was played in his honour.  Many were decked in neon orange in honour of his old orange boiler suit.  Troy was a truly good soul, a human being with a solid heart of gold.  He always made me feel welcome from my first Sausagefest on, and many years before that too as we had friends in common.  “Learning that we’re only immortal for a limited time” was a poignant lyric, but what really made it special was a tribute that Jeff Woods himself recorded for it.  The Legend of Classic Rock participated in a sketch/tribute that made eyes wet and some bellies laugh.  The tone was flawless and it is truly good to know what integrity looks like up close and personal.

“Dreamline” was not part of the official countdown, nor was a bit that I snuck into my own intro as a part of The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreaming”.  I sandwiched my personal introduction into Jeff Russo’s “Main Title” from Star Trek: Discovery, a show I’ve been hyping all year long.  Russo (of the rock band Tonic) composed a dramatic, striking piece working in elements from the original show.  I’m glad to have a chance to showcase it in its entirety, albeit with a long interlude of my shit in the middle.

Don’t forget the two minutes of “improvised scatting”, precisely because Troy would have hated that kind of shit!  And it was so funny that I couldn’t breathe for two minutes straight.  The Countdown (all a blur to me now) ran from #100 to 91 (10 songs total) with no comedy bits, because Troy always said “Less talk, more rock!”  They cut the crap and just played the tunes.

I can tell you that we heard Styx that night (“Mr. Roboto” and “Light Up”), some Five Alarm Funk, Beastie Boys, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Willie Nelson, and…a blur of songs and comedy.  There were a few rap tracks this year, certainly a record number.  Afroman and Cypress Hill made their debuts.  A list is forthcoming.

DAY TWO

50 more tracks to count down.

Uncle Meat was up early (for him) at 9:30, and in great spirits despite a bad back the night before.  We made our way to Flesherton where Uncle Meat destroyed the men’s toilet at the Flying Spatula.  Emerging from the washroom he announced to the world, “Don’t use the one on the left!”  He annihilated the toilet again on our way out, and that of an outhouse on the way back to the farm.  I felt bad for the next guy in line waiting to use the outhouse, but Meat made it out of there really quick.

But I digress.  The Flying Spatula was a great ol’ time even though the Lamb Lord got mad at me for taking a picture of his food.

 

Back on the farm, we played a cool game I call “Knife Chucking”.  It’s kind of like axe throwing, but more special because those daggers were hand-forged by our very own Chuck.  And it was way fun!  A knife actually got lost in the dirt, and then plowed over by mistake by tractor.  But we found it as a team with a metal detector (for real!) and a rake!

I goaded Dr. Dave to rant some more about the Transformers. Man, he really hates the Transformers.  Do not watch this video if you are easily butthurt!

The second night commenced with lamb, perfectly marinated and cooked to medium by our chef the Lamb Lord.  It was gone so fast that Uncle Meat didn’t even get a slice.

The rock resumed.  The Blues Brothers was #1…Clutch #2…and Twisted Sister at #3 with “Burn in Hell”.  More Five Alarm Funk, Queen, Tool…just a blur of songs.  But probably most impressive to some of us:  “Grendel” by Marillion, in its entirety.  A 17-minute track within the top 20, and yet momentum was strong.

I have a literal Meat-ton of a video to sift through, but with perfect weather and setting, Sausagefest 2018 was once again utopia on Earth.

And a big, big, big thank you to Jeff Woods, the real Legend of Rock and Roll, for helping us out this year.  Meat sent you a personal gift as well.  I know you’re about 40 kilometers downriver from us in the valley.  Uncle Meat kept having to shit that day sir.  Meat took a shit in the river, and his shit signal should be with you by now.  Mr. Woods, you are a huge inspiration and truly a man among men.

And woman!  One woman.  Sausagefest has its first woman and she is one of the guys!  A massive first that may have been overdue!

My sun baked skin is aching for the comfort of a shower.  Enjoy the photos.  Lots more to come.

 

 

 

#430: Album Art – Where can it go?

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RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#430: Album Art – Where can it go?

How important is album artwork today?  Still important, I’d argue, though not as much as it was in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  You can tell that artwork is still important, because every major artist produces “cover art” any time they release a single, even if there is no physical product for it to be applied to.  Artists will commission art or pose for expensive new pictures to accompany the new music.

Columbia Records kicked off the era of album artwork in 1938, a full decade before the birth of the LP.  Columbia’s art director Alex Steinweiss is generally credited with the introduction of packaging art.  Before him, 78’s used to come in plain sleeves with very little printing on them.  Some sleeves would have large holes in the middle, through which you could read the label on the record.  After the dawn of the LP, the rest of the record manufacturers in the world had caught up and were using artwork on their LPs in the 1950’s.  The standard size was 12 – 3/8”.

When you think of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band today, you inevitably picture that incredible album artwork as well as the songs.  That cover, with its 57 different distinct figures pictured, became a high water mark.  They also included cardboard cutouts inside, a gimmick that Kiss were eager to copy and make their own.  Sgt. Pepper’s artwork cost 60 times more to create than the average album cover in 1967!  It took a band with the success of the Beatles to push the limits in this way.

The Rolling Stones included postcards in their Exile on Main Street (another unforgettable album cover), but they also brought album artwork into three dimensions.  Sticky Fingers featured a working metal zipper, with which you could open the jeans on the front cover, to reveal briefs inside.  It was a level of interactivity previously unseen.  The zipper tended to cause damage to the records and packaging in shipment, but pioneering is a process of trial and error!

Early 90's CD reissue of Sticky Fingers with zipper

Early 90’s CD reissue of Sticky Fingers with zipper

Perhaps Led Zeppelin took LP artwork to its end point, with 1979’s In Through the Out Door.  The record was concealed in a sealed, stamped paper bag that looked like a cheap bootleg, but inside would be one of six different album covers.  You would not know which you got until you tore it open.  The Grammy award winning packaging also included an inner sleeve that one could paint on, just by adding water!  If you wet a paintbrush (or anything, for that matter), you could dissolve paint embedded in it and colour it yourself.  Finding an original unpainted inner sleeve is the goal of a true collector.

Historically speaking, album artwork like this had several purposes.  The first and most obvious would be to identify the product inside (something Led Zeppelin messed with by not including their name on Led Zeppelin IV).  The second purpose was to attract the eye, in the crowded shelves of the record store.  It was noted by many that a brown cover just melted into the background.  Something striking would jump out, and be hard to miss in the racks.  Another job of the cover art was to tie together all the related marketing for the LP.  The artwork could appear in magazine ads, posters, and later on, in music videos.

The purpose of cover art that Kiss embraced was to give value for the money.  Not only did you get killer artwork with loud rock and roll inside, but you also got a cardboard Love Gun, or even masks you could cut out and wear.  Fans drooled over these extras.  For a while, any time Kiss put out an album, you knew that the packaging would be special.  For albums such as Destroyer and The Elder, they even used gatefold sleeves – an added, unnecessary expense for single LP packages.

Album artwork suffered in the 80’s and 90’s.  With cassettes and ultimately CDs replacing the 12.375” width of an album cover, the pictures were smaller and less striking.  You could not pack as much information onto a 4.75” CD sleeve.  Iron Maiden’s artist Derek Riggs was known for hiding secret messages and logos in his album covers, including a mischievous “Indiana Jones was here” and “Wot, no Guinness?” inside Powerslave.  These touches are lost on smaller CD covers.

There is no question that the majority of cover art suffered in the 90’s.  Some bands and labels still strove to give the buyer some extra value, but the canvas was now teeny tiny.  Tool are an example of a band who took advantage of the CD age.  Their AEnema CD had lenticular, “moving” cover art, thanks to a special jewel case that enabled 3D images.  You could even swap images by folding the booklet differently, and get a different moving scene.  Kiss copied this, less successfully, for Psycho-Circus in 1998.  Coloured plastic jewel cases were another way to get some attention on the CD racks.  Bands such as Alice in Chains and Collective Soul used coloured jewel cases for their self-titled albums in 1995, but these were fragile and prone to scratching.  The cardboard digipack was another method to enhance CD cover art, but they were not popular with everyone.  Some consumers complained that the covers wouldn’t fit properly into their CD towers, and would scratch up the discs if poorly designed.  And then of course, we had artists such as Garth Brooks who decided to milk the fans by releasing the same album with different cover art, encouraging them to “collect them all!”  His Double Live had no less than seven covers to collect.  That would come to well over $150 total for the collector who had to have each one.

LPs are currently having a second surge of popularity.  Will it last?  No.  Before you cry “heresy!”, remember that in today’s society, convenience is king.  That means portability.  Vinyl LPs are meant to be enjoyed at home.  The future will remain digital, although LPs will probably never die completely.  The advent of digital music has reduced the importance of cover art yet again.  You don’t need a cover, obviously, to enclose something that does not physically exist.  Yet, cover art is still being made.

Some have chosen to take cover art in the digital age to minimalist extremes.  U2’s Songs of Innocence was initially released digitally, with a very plain photo of a white LP sleeve with “U2” stamped on it.  Kanye West embraced minimalism on Yeesus, releasing the CD with no packaging to speak of at all.  A CD housed in a clear jewel case, sealed by a strip of orange tape, and a sticker with some credits – that’s all Yeesus gave us, surprising many by not going completely over the top with it.  It’s still an artistic statement, but is it the kind of art that a fan will embrace and cherish?

I feel that album artwork is currently in a state of flux.  LPs are having their moment again, and with them, lavish packaging that one can handle and enjoy.  On the other hand, simple digital pictures are all kids need today, to be attached to their mp3 files.  I hope that some enterprising, artistic individual, a modern day Alex Steinweiss, will innovate and bring back cover art in a lasting way.  I sure hope, because I do like cover artwork to accompany my music.

YEESUS

Sausagefest XII: The Complete Countdown!

There were some pretty awesome picks this year.  I have to give Scottie props for “Coming Home” by Iron Maiden, from the excellent Final Frontier album.  I found some things a bit surprising, such as the overplayed-on-radio “Black Betty” by Ram Jam, placing so high.

“Thick As A Brick” was the live version, so just over 10 minutes.  Other long bombers included all of “Supper’s Ready” by Genesis, which resulted in a tirade by Phil for just as long, about how much he thinks it sucks!  (And he’s an old-school Marillion fan…surprising.)  And of course there were several Maiden tunes that clock in well over 5 minutes.

For your edification, here is the official Sausagefest XII Countdown:  75 tracks, plus 35 tributes.  One tribute for each person that submitted a list!  110 songs over one weekend!  Awesome.

1 Toronto Tontos Max Webster
2 Long Cool Woman in a Red Dress The Hollies
3 The Grudge Tool
4 Rooster Alice in Chains
5 Supper’s Ready Genesis
6 Papa Was a Rolling Stone The Temptations
7 Mississippi Queen Mountain
8 Black Betty Ram Jam
9 Locomotive Breath Jethro Tull
10 I’m Your Captain Grand Funk Railroad
11 Wasted Years Iron Maiden
12 Low Hanging Fruit Tenacious D
13 Green Eyed Lady Sugarloaf
14 Hey Joe Jimi Hendrix
15 Headlong Flight Rush
16 Roadhouse Blues The Doors
17 Thick as a Brick Jethro Tull
18 Powerslave Iron Maiden
19 Bohemian Rhapsody Queen
20 Trapped Under Ice Metallica
21 Nautical Disaster Tragically Hip
22 No Quarter Led Zeppelin
23 Mr. Blue Sky Electric Light Orchestra
24 The Wizard Black Sabbath
25 Mama Told Me Not To Come Three Dog Night
26 Blackened Metallica
27 Jungle Boogie Kool and the Gang
28 Telegraph Road Dire Straits
29 Sanitarium Metallica
30 Renegade Styx
31 Eulogy of the Damned Orange Goblin
32 Throw Down the Sword Wishbone Ash
33 Electric Worry Clutch
34 The Alabama Song The Doors
35 Rise of the Fenix Tenacious D
36 Livin Thing Electric Light Orchestra
37 The Shape I’m In The Band
38 Mother Danzig
39 The Chain Fleetwood Mac
40 No One Knows Queens of the Stone Age
41 Die Young Black Sabbath
42 Bang Bang Terry Reid
43 Caught Somewhere in Time Iron Maiden
44 Buried Alive Avenged Sevenfold
45 Dream Police Cheap Trick
46 Would Alice in Chains
47 Don’t Fear the Reaper Blue Oyster Cult
48 Zero the Hero Black Sabbath
49 Pool of Booze Volbeat
50 Parabola Tool
51 Why Cant We Be Friends? War
52 Rock and Roll Led Zeppelin
53 While My Guitar Gently Weeps The Beatles
54 Breadfan Budgie
55 Strutter KISS
56 Holy Wars Megadeth
57 Old Man Neil Young
58 Southern Man Neil Young
59 The Pusher Steppenwolf
60 Tempus Fugit Yes
61 Fight Fire With Fire Metallica
62 Kielbasa Tenacious D
63 Green Onions Booker T and the MG’s
64 Weird Beard Fu Manchu
65 Tonight’s the Night Neil Young
66 BYOB System of a Down
67 The Zoo Scorpions
68 As the Years Go By Mashmakhan
69 Toxicity System of a Down
70 Deuce KISS
71 Space Truckin’ Deep Purple
72 South of Heaven Slayer
73 Rocky Mountain Way Joe Walsh
74 Roadie Tenacious D
75 Rock and Roll Motorhead
TRIBUTES
TOM Earache My Eye Cheech and Chong
ERIC Rosanna Toto
BUCKY A Day in the Life WAR
LAMB LORD The Wizard Uriah Heep
LEBRAIN Well You Needn`t Herbie Hancock Quartet
TROY Caught Up in You .38 Special
ERNIE Apocrophon The Sword
SCOTTIE Coming Home Iron Maiden
RYAN Still Counting VolBeat
SEB Demiurge Meshuggah
PHIL Under Black Flags We March Arch Enemy
CHUCK New Fang Them Crooked Vultures
TYLER G. Come on in my Kitchen Robert Johnson
C Time After Time Savage Steel
CHAD She`s a Rainbow The Rolling Stones
DR DAVE Ogre Battle Queen
LOGAN Cowboys From Hell Pantera
GRANT Around the World Red Hot Chili Peppers
WAYNE Inside Looking Out Grand Funk Railroad
CAM Red Hot Mama Funkadelic
AARON High Caliber Consecrator Clutch
JOHN B. I Stay Away Alice in Chains
TAL Dear God XTC
LAMB LAD Kick Out the Jams MC5
ALEX Chicken Strut The Meters
TREVER Volare Dean Martin
FRANK Whiskey in the Jar Metallica
JAGGER Frozen Love Buckingham/Nicks
MARK E. Are You Mine? The Arctic Monkeys
JON K. Stone Deaf Forever Motorhead/Metallica
TYLER W. We Are All on Drugs Weezer
MARK S. People are Strange The Doors
JUSTIN Monsters Blue Oyster Cult
MIKE Monarchy of Roses Red Hot Chili Peppers

The official video

Sausagefest XII: VIDEO REPORT!

Sausagefest is an annual all-dude, all-meat, countdown of rock.  Five of us from the old Record Store attended!  This year, there were 110 songs (75 countdowns plus 35 “tributes”).  #1 was Max Webster — “Toronto Tontos”.  Other artists who made the countdown included Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool, Rush, and Tenacious D among others.   For the history of this event, check out Record Store Tales Part 30.

Thanks to Jeff Woods and Craig Fee for your contributions — above and beyond the call of duty!

And of course, thanks to Tom our host, and Uncle Meat, Seb and Dr. Dave for the music.

Uncle Meat will be providing me with the full track list.  Stay tuned for that post, too!

REVIEW: KISS My A** (1994)

Part 32 of my series of Kiss reviews, leading up to the release of Monster!

VARIOUS – Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved (Official tribute album, 1994)

Kiss My Ass (you just knew they’d use that title eventually) was released in several formats:  LP, CD, and a cool almost unrelated DVD too.  I’ll talk about it all.

In the 90’s if there wasn’t a tribute album for your band, you didn’t matter. But Kiss had one out before Zeppelin and Sabbath. Kiss put it together themselves, which isn’t a bad thing — Black Sabbath and Robert Plant participated in their own tribute albums, too. Kiss My Ass or A** (available with and without profanity) is an enjoyable, diverse listen from start to finish, leaning heavily on stars from the 90’s, but also reaching back in time to a handful of earlier legends.

Up first is a great, very different version of “Deuce” by Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder. Stevie plays some seriously honkin’ harmonica on the track.  It’s completely unlike the original but if you like Lenny Kravitz (which I do), it’s awesome.

The Garth Brooks track is probably the most interesting on the album. Not because it’s Garth — Garth could probably do “Hard Luck Woman” in his sleep, it’s right up his alley and the world knows what a huge Kiss fan he is. It’s his backing band, who appear here uncredited. You may have heard of them. A little band called Kiss.  Kiss even performed the song live with Brooks on late night TV.

Anthrax (with John Bush on vocals), who are also diehard Kiss fans and have done many Kiss covers over the years, simply pummel “She” to a pulp, and once again it’s great. Incidentally, produced by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.

By now you’ve heard three diverse tracks by three completely different bands, so you’ll be excused if you find the ride a little bumpy now.

The Gin Blossoms played it very straight on “Christine Sixteen”, but Toad The Wet Sprocket really shook it up on “Rock And Roll All Nite”. You have to admire their urge to experiment with the most famous of all Kiss tunes, but really, who spiked their water with Valium? I snooze through this one every time.  It sucks.

“Calling Dr. Love” is performed by supergroup Shandi’s Addiction: Tom and Brad from Rage Against The Machine, Billy Gould from Faith No More on funky bass, all topped by the unique vocals of Maynard James Keenan. How much more 90’s can you get? None, none more 90’s. I can’t say this track is a winner but it sure is different. You’re forced to keep listening out of sheer curiosity.  It sounds like a mash of all three bands which is pretty unimaginable.

Dinosaur Jr. turn up one of the best performances on the disc with a dour, lush “Goin’ Blind”. This mournful version is true to the spirit of the muddy original, and J. Mascis just nails it. Heh…Dinosaur Jr! Yeah, it must have been 1994.

At this point, I’m realizing that Kiss My Ass is just as much a tribute to the bands of the mid-90’s as it is to Kiss!

Extreme turned in a slowed down but groovy version of “Strutter”, complete with Nuno’s own sweet harmony vocals. Great track by a great, underrated band.

I could do without The Lemonheads’ version of “Plaster Caster”, but it is very faithful to the original song. Once again, kids today will ask “Who are the Lemonheads?”

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones really had balls to open “Detroit Rock City” the way they did. It opens with a phone call from Gene Simmons explaining that they could not perform “Detroit”, as Ugly Kid Joe and Megadeth were already fighting over who was going to do the song. Gene advises them to pick another song, right before that bone-crushing opening riff kicks in. And this is truly a great version, if you dig the Bosstones’ unique style of vocalizing.  Ironically neither Megadeth nor Ugly Kid Joe made the cut for this album.  Nor did Nine Inch Nails, who recorded “Love Gun” (still unreleased).

The final track on the domestic CD is a beautiful orchestral version of “Black Diamond” by someone called Yoshiki (X Japan). This is a great instrumental, and the ideal way to end an album such as this. The album, diverse all the way through, ends on a very different note from that which it began!

Import and LP versions have a bonus track, “Unholy” by some German industrial band. I haven’t heard it because I never opened my LP, but for those interested, it is the only non-makeup song included on the album.

I mentioned a DVD release.  It’s badass.  It’s basically a third DVD, along the lines of Exposed and X-Treme Close Up.  It’s loaded with vintage clips and has some interviews with Paul, Gene, Bruce, and Eric.  They briefly show Anthrax in the studio cutting their Kiss cover, as well as Gin Blossoms.  There’s even a preview of the cover artwork for the forthcoming Kiss album to be called Head

Lastly, I even have a rare, rare, really really rare promo Kiss My A** On the Radio CD.  I have no idea what this sucker is worth today.  It is the only audio release of some of the best live tunes from the Kiss My Ass DVD, seven of them, along with tons of Gene and Paul talking.

4/5 stars all around.

The track lists can be found within the photo gallery below:

Part 75: 2012 Sausagefest Report part two

Haven’t read part one yet?  Click here.

Since pictures speak a thousand words, I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking this time.

The countdown resumed Saturday afternoon.  “Love Gun” from Alive II was my pick.  We were inundated with Mammoth, more Tool, more Maiden, and awesomely enough, “Watermelon Man” by Herbie Hancock, light years ahead of its time.  We also heard from old stanby’s such as Rush (“Between the Wheels”), and others like Crosby, Stills & Nash, Dire Straits, and Starship (?)(thanks Zach).

The #1 song on the countdown was Kyuss’ “Gardenia”.  Oh what a beauty.  Must get.

Meat’s going to post the whole countdown when he’s back online (see: last installment) which should be soon.   Thank God for warranties.

Speaking of warranties, my car deck had to be replaced.  Sausagefest’s rainstorm killed it, I guess.  It took with it the new Tenacious D disc.  But the unit was covered on warranty so all is well.

It’s always sad when Sausagefest is over, and we always look forward to the next one.  It reminds me of what it was like to be a kid.  At the end of summer holidays, sometimes you waved goodbye to friends and said, “See you next summer,” and you just can’t wait for next summer to come.  That’s what Sausagefest is like.  I’d do it again next week in a heartbeat!

GALLERY: Box Sets

Any requests to see anything up close?  Post a comment below.