tragically hip

#537.3: 2016 Can Suck Balls – Year End Lists, Part 3 – LeBrain

GETTING MORE TALE #537.3: 2016 Can Suck Balls
Year End Lists, Part 3 – LeBrain

Regardless of the music, 2016 will go down in history (for most of us) for just one notorious reason:  The sheer number of stars that we lost, both young and old.  Even after I had completed a list of the most significant pop culture deaths in 2016, I had to add even more names:  Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher.  Princess Leia was one of my first heroes.  I was five years old.  Carrie was an incredible woman, who lived a hard life and came out laughing.

2016

Perspective.

 


But we’ll save the deaths for last.

Ever since the Record Store days, I have always done my albums as a Top Five. We had a newsletter and employees were asked to submit their Top Fives of the year. That being the case, I’ve always stuck with that tradition even when my compatriots have submitted some pretty awesome Top Tens.

You can check out the submitted Top Ten lists here:

After much deliberation, here are my Top Five albums of 2016.

 

5. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

4. Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem

3. Jim Crean – Insatiable

2. The Cult – Hidden City

1. Monster Truck – Sittin’ Heavy

***

And of course, some killer runners-up.  These three releases rocked hard and were just barely squeezed out of the Top Five:

A Rebel Few – As The Crow Flies

Black Sabbath – The End

Evilyn Strange – Evilution


Top TV shows of 2016

Some extras!  The TV shows below are the only ones I bother with.  If you haven’t watched American Dad yet, after all my badgering, I don’t know what else I can say about the funniest show on TV!

tv

Actually I do — American Dad has the best musical jokes.  You will hear plenty of great tunes:  Metallica, The Sword, Stan Bush, Satriani, Rush, Queen, and many more.  And even the songs you don’t like (Owl City, Kelly Clarkson?) are hilarious, because of the context.  That’s what makes a musical joke work.  You can find a complete list of songs used in American Dad by clicking here.

Top four TV shows:

4. Family Guy

3. The Grinder

2. The Walking Dead

1. American Dad

Dropping off the list is the Big Bang Theory which started to suck a couple years ago, a few noteworthy episodes aside (such as any time Wil Wheaton shows up).


Top Movies of 2016
movie

Movies were…just movies.  There was nothing this year with the emotional impact of The Force Awakens.  The films below are not in any particular order.  They are just movies, nothing more and nothing less.  2016 was a somewhat disappointing year for the silver screen.  (I have not yet seen Arrival.)

Star Wars: Rogue One

Captain America: Civil War

Suicide Squad

Star Trek Beyond

Deadpool

 


And sadly, the real dead pool.  These are just some of the musicians, actors, writers and sports heroes we lost in the year of 2016. Many went way too young.  At the 11th hour, I received this sketch of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.  It was drawn by Wardy who you may know as regular reader here.  Thank you Wardy for sending and giving me permission to post this great sketch.  (Wardy is one talented guy with a pencil.)  Rest in peace to all below.

carrie-fisher-1956-2016-sketch-by-wardy

  • Paul MacLeod
  • David Bowie
  • Prince
  • Alan Rickman
  • George Michael
  • Rick Parfitt
  • Ralph “Chick” Schumilas
  • John Glenn
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Florence Henderson
  • Gene Wilder
  • Arnold Palmer
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Dave Broadfoot
  • Glenn Frey
  • Gordie Howe
  • Harper Lee
  • Phife Dawg
  • Sir George Martin
  • Anton Yelchin
  • Garry Shandling
  • Christina Grimmie
  • Alan Thicke
  • Kenny Baker
  • Leon Russell
  • Merle Haggard
  • Paul Kantner
  • Jimmy Bain
  • John McLaughlin
  • Abe Vigoda
  • Chyna
  • Pat Harrington Jr.
  • Keith Emerson
  • Greg Lake
  • David Huddleston
  • Maurice White
  • George Kennedy
  • Rob Ford
  • Ralph Stanley
  • George Gaynes
  • Alan Young
  • Frank Sinatra Jr.
  • Lonnie Mack
  • Nick Menza
  • Prince Be
  • Bernie Worrell
  • Matt Roberts
  • Mr. Fuji
  • Alexis Arquette
  • Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr.
  • Jose Fernandez
  • Jean Shepard
  • Pete Burns
  • Robert Vaughn
  • Bobby Vee
  • Leonard Haze
  • James Wooley
  • Sandy Pearlman
  • John Berry
  • John Thomas
  • Dale “Buffin” Griffin
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Debbie Reynolds

 

Rest in peace, and thank you for making our days a little brighter.

LeBrain

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REVIEW: Trailer Park Boys – The Movie (2006)

Are you a Tragically Hip fan?  Then read on.

TRAILER PARK BOYS – The Movie (2006 Alliance Atlantis)

Directed by Mike Clattenburg

The story goes that Ivan Reitman, who produced Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (aka “The Big Dirty”), wanted to do a movie that would re-introduce the characters and target them to a new audience.  He preferred the flavour of the earlier seasons and steered the movie in that direction.  This is sort of a good and bad thing.

The movie is out of continuity with the TV series, unfortunately.  There are characters and events in the movie that would never be referenced in the series.  Lahey loses the roof of his car in both the movie and the TV series, but in different ways.  You’ll notice Trinity is played by a different actress (Lydia Lawson-Baird), and her character is slightly different in tone as well.

Remember those movie trailers where the Boys are auditioning actors to play themselves? I think it’s best to think of this movie in that context: It’s the Boys playing themselves, in a movie based on themselves.  Even though we’re talking about fictional characters in a mockumentary movie.

The plot:  Ricky and Julian go to jail (again) and are about to be released (again). No fair! cries Ricky, who wants to play in the jail hockey tournament against the prison guards, captained by Donny.  The rivalry between Ricky (a goalie) and Donny (Gerry Dee) result in a few classic exchanges:

Ricky – “Suck it, Donny.”

Donny – “You suck it.  More.”

Ricky – “What kind of comeback was that?  I said ‘suck it’ and you just added ‘more’ to it.”

Donny – “Because it’s more, you suck it more.”

TPB_0002Out of jail, Rick goes home to Sunnyvale trailer park, only to find that things have changed. Lucy’s got a new job.  “An awesome new job,” according to Sarah.  “She workin’ at Horton’s again?” asks Ricky.  Nope, it’s not a coffee shop, it’s a “gentlemen’s club”.  This “gentlemen’s club” is owned by Sonny (Hugh Dillon, of the Headstones), and he’s banging Lucy.

Julian, also out of jail, has an idea to get rich “without getting caught”: Do small crimes.  Steal change!  Ricky, on the other hand, has met a lot of really “smart” guys in jail, and they all say “the big dirty” is the way to go: one big crime, and you’re retired. The two ideas are combined and a plan is set in motion. Will Ricky still be able to play in the hockey tournament?

In addition to new characters like Sonny and Donny, look for cameos by Alex Lifeson (Rush) and Gordon Downie (The Tragically Hip). The soundtrack kicks ass, featuring Helix, April Wine, and lots of The Tragically Hip.  I always think of this movie now when I hear the songs “Bobcaygeon” and “38 Years Old”.  Hell, Julian even goes to see a movie called “The Dark Canuck” in the film.

I really enjoyed Trailer Park Boys: The Movie even if it’s not quite pure Trailer Park Boys. It sort of attempts to recapture what worked in the early seasons (you can tell by casting Trinity as a younger girl) and by and large, it works. Sonny works as a replacement antagonist, a role that Cyrus often filled on the show.  All your favourite regulars such as Philadelphia Collins, Jacob Collins, and Officer George Green are here. Lahey is suitably drunk, and Randy as shirtless as ever.

This actually works pretty well as a way for newcomers to get into the show. It distills what worked best in the earlier years, into a two-hour package that stays funny and doesn’t wear out its welcome. Bonus features include the music video for “I Fought The Law” (featuring Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson!), and lots of alternate takes.

5/5 stars. Two smokes, let’s go.

“I could easily fuck over 10 pieces of chicken”

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

Part 162: “Is it out in Toronto?”

RECORD STORE TALES Part 162:  “Is it out in Toronto?”

I guess this is one of those weird urban myths.  Growing up in Kitchener in the 1980’s, some people used to think we got new releases later than big urban areas like Toronto.  I can distinctly remember childhood friends of mine having this discussion with me.  Just swap out the names of the bands depending on the person.

Me:  “I saw the new Judas Priest video today.  It was awesome.  I can’t wait for the album.”

Friend:  “It’s not out yet?”

Me: “No, I asked at A&A Records and it’s out in about a month.”

Friend:  “Yeah, but that’s here.  I bet it’s already out in Toronto.  Toronto gets everything first.”

I thought maybe that was just an isolated myth, relegated to our group of friends in the Stanley Park part of town.  We didn’t have much in the way of record stores within walking distance.  There was a Zellers (no longer there, now a Walmart), and later on the aforementioned A&A Records and Tapes.  When all we had was Zellers, you could imagine they might not order the new Judas Priest on the day of release.  It wasn’t their thing.

When I was working at the record store many years later, I discovered this urban myth did indeed perpetuate among different groups all over town!  I had heard more than once, “It’s gotta be out in Toronto, right?”

For example, in May 1996, I did have this exact conversation:

Customer:  “Do you have the new Tragically Hip?”

Me:  “No, it comes out on Tuesday though.  Do you want me to reserve you a copy?”

Customer:  “Tuesday?  That’s just here though, right?  Toronto would already have it, right?  I’m going to try in Toronto on Saturday.”

No!  Why would Toronto already have it?  This wasn’t the 1800’s, delivering parcels on horseback!  I don’t get where that idea started, but it did exist, and let this article be a remembrance of an earlier age of CD ignorance!

Part 6: The Record Store, Year 1

Myself on the left, Trev on the right.

We were pretty slow most evenings.  You could study for exams at work most nights. Fridays got busy, but Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights were dead.  That didn’t mean we doing nothing.  Rule #1:  “If there’s time to lean, there’s time to clean.”  We had scheduled to do something every night.  Mondays was cleaning the mirrors which lined the store walls.   Tuesday was putting away new stock, which always came Tuesdays.  Wednesday was checking the security tags on every cassette in the store.  Every fucking cassette.

For the first 2 months or so, it was just me and the owner.  Once September hit, he hired this other guy, Trevor.  I didn’t like him at first, he was the “other guy”.  He was the same age as me, also finishing school at the same time as me.  We shared similar musical interests.  Influences we shared:  Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, The Four Horsemen, Kim Mitchell, Rush, and any bands with amazing drummers.  Over the course of the years, he introduced me to:  Steve Earle, Oasis, Metallica, Megadeth, Max Webster, anb Buddy Rich.  I give him a lot of credit for expanding my horizons during those days.

A lot of memorable releases came out that first year.  Superunknown and Purple were already out, but I was on board for some major ones.  Nirvana Unplugged was the biggest release of the fall 1994 schedule.  There was an Aerosmith hits disc, a Bon Jovi hits disc, and the Eagles reunion album which was absolutely massive.

The new Tragically Hip, Day For Night, came out on a Saturday.  We sold out by Sunday.  The boss drove down to Scarborough to get more on Monday.  Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy came out on vinyl the week before the CD was released.  We got just five in.  He didn’t expect it to sell, but we sold out before my shift even started.  Interestingly, none of the customers planned on playing it.  They either a) didn’t even have something to play it on, or b) were keeping it sealed as a collector’s item.  It definitely was a cool package.

Some poeople have a “swear jar”.  We had an alarm jar.  If you forgot to de-tag a customer’s purchase and thusly set off the alarm, you had to put a dollar in the jar.  We would use the spoils on our annual Christmas dinner.  It created some friendly competition between us.  That first Christmas is when I started working directly with Trevor, and I started to like him due to his excellent musical taste.  But in the alarm jar game, we were always about equal.  Sometimes you just forgot!

One lady may well have stolen something and set off the alarm, and I’ll never know, because, well….  As she was walking out the alarm went off.  I asked her to come back in the store and check to see if she had something from another store that may had set it off.  She was so upset at the alarm, she really wanted to show me she had nothing on her person.  So, she removed her top.  “See I’m not hiding anything in here!”  Covering my eyes, I told her it was quite alright, I believed her, and she could go.  First time I’d been flashed on the job.  Not the last.

She wasn’t even drunk.  They actually used to serve alcohol at this mall.  There was a licensed restaurant right next door to the store.  The regulars would start in the morning and keep going.  You’d see them in there every day, and they’d wander in completely plastered.

We had a few regular psychos at that mall.  There was Johnny Walker, who would just walk around the mall talking to himself, all day.  Literally, all day.  The story goes that he was quite rich.  He didn’t need to work, wasn’t capable of work, and just came to the mall and walked around all day, talking to himself.  Sometimes he would argue with himself and he had been ejected from the mall a couple times.  He came into the store a couple times but never caused any problems on my shifts.  One time, he even bought a cassette.  It was like the madness turned off.  He spoke to me, bought the tape, and walked out.  Madness set back in, and he’s off arguing with himself.  I wonder what happened to Johnny Walker?  He’d been walking the malls since grade school, sometimes changing malls when he got permanently ejected from one.

Then, there was Sue.  Sue had been in an accident years before, and had a walker.  She moved very  very slow.  She had a bit of a crush on the owner.  She stalked him relentlessly and gave him Christmas gifts.  She’d park her walker right there in front of the counter and talk his ear off for hours.  Hours!

One day, a large Japanese woman was shopping.  The owner said, “Go ask that lady if she needs help.  Then he stood back and waited.  I didn’t know it, but he had just given me my first challenge.

“Hi, can I help you find anything today?”

“No thank you though,” she answered, then almost immediately, “Do you have Soundgarden?”

I showed her what Soundgarden we had both new and used.  We also had the latest copy of M.E.A.T Magazine, and Chris Cornell was on the cover.  I’ll never forget that detail.

“Do you like Chris Cornell?” she asks.

“Yes, he’s actually one of my favourite singers.”

“Oh!  Really!  I love Chris Cornell.  He’s sexy.”

It was too late now.  I had opened Pandora’s box.  She opened the magazine to his picture inside.  She went on:  “I like when he wears his sexy black boots.  Chris Cornell wears black Doc Marten boots.  Do you know the boots?  Chris Cornell wears black Doctor Martens boots.  Do you like Doc Marten boots?”

I was on my own.  The boss just stood back.  I couldn’t even figure out a way to improvise my way out.  I was a rookie  I decided that this woman was most likely a lil’ crazy and I played the polite card.

“Yes, I do…”

“Chris Cornell is sexy.  Did you know that Soundgarden had an original bass player who was Asian?”

I did know that.  “Yes, his name was Hiro Yamamoto…”

“Yes Hiro Yamamoto.  He is Asian.  There are not many Asians in rock bands did you know that?”

This went on for a good 20 minutes.  After she left (not without asking my name, fuck!) my boss came to speak to me.

“That’s your first lesson.  Don’t get into conversations with customers.”

And of course we had the drunks.  I remember one jolly drunk came in that first Christmas Eve.  We all wore ties Christmas Eve, that was the tradition.  It was a tradition I kept every year to my last year at the store, even when I was the only one left who still did it.  This drunk came in, a big Grizzly Adams dude just reeking of alcohol.  He was definitely in great spirits though.  First he asked us why the ties?  The quick-witting Trevor answered, “I’m wearing mine because it makes me feel important.”  We laughed.  I then went over to see if he needed help finding anything.

“Hi there!” I began.

“Not yet, but I will be when I get home.  Hahahaha!” he answered.

Ultimately the jolly drunk guy couldn’t remember what to buy, so he bought $100 in gift certificates for his grand kids.  That was a great sale, and the best part was that it turned out to be $100 of pure profit for the store.  The bearded drunk guy probably lost it, because all my years with the store, they were never redeemed!

After Christmas, the owner confided in Trevor and I that he was going to be opening a second location.  This location would be in Waterloo.  It would be easily accessible by one high school, two universities, and one college.  He would be splitting his time between our store and setting up the new one.  Ultimately this meant he’d be in much less and we’d be getting more hours, and also bhe was bringing a new guy in.

I walked in one Tuesday to see this black-bearded behemoth behind the counter.  It was kind of awkward because the owner didn’t introduce us at first.  I looked around for an hour, stealing glances at this big grizzly bear of a man with the thickest blackest beard you can picture.  Finally he introduced me to Thomas, later to become Tom, the legendary founder of Sausagefest.  Ahh, but that comes much later.

TOM

Tom was a wicked cool guy who expanded my musical tastes even further than Trevor had.  Tom and I had many influences in common.  I had met another kindred spirit.  Influences:  Black Sabbath, Dio, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Van Halan (not Van Hagar!) and Johnny Cash.  Music he would introduce me to:  Miles Davis, Willie Nelson, Fu Manchu, and the whole stoner rock scene in general.  His place was plastered with rare Marillion posters.  Tom was serious about music.

Tom was so serious about music that it was actually hilarious.  Kids, this is the difference between liking music and loving music.  Nobody loves music as much as Tom.  Dare I say it, Tom loves music even more than me.

One night in Toronto, we visited the big HMV on Yonge St.  Tom was methodically working his way through every decent section of the store.  Long after Trevor and I had finished shopping, Tom was just finishing browsing rock.  With a handful of discs by Rainbow and Saga, Tom would then announce, “OK…I just have to check country.”

20 minutes would pass.  “Alright…on to jazz.”

20 more minutes.

“I just have to check blues.”

10 more minutes.

“Oohh…I wonder if they have the soundtrack to the Godfather.”

Checkout.  Trev, Tom and I usually checked out of that store $200 lighter.  Each.

Then, repeat.  We walked down the street to Sam’s, and finally to Virgin.  Rock, country, jazz, blues.  Every store.  That was Tom, three stores, one night.

Seriously those early days at the store were the best times I ever had working.  Working hard or hardly working?  No, we worked hard.  If there’s time to lean, there’s time to clean.  We ran that store with the owner making guest appearances, adding to it with our own creative ideas.

I graduated school in the summer of 1995, and hadn’t decided on my next move.  After that I was putting in increasingly more hours at the store.  It gradually built up from a part time job to full time.  When the new store opened, Tom split hours between the two of them so there were plenty of day and night shifts available, usually alone, which were the best times because you could play whatever you wanted!

I remember Tom walked in one night when I was playing Dio.  Back in 1995 you could not play Dio in a mainstream record store.  That would be like the equivalent of playing Michael Bolton in one today.  He was so far removed from what was selling at the time.  But I was rocking out to Holy Diver and Tom appreciated that I had the balls to do it.

Tom went to a lot of concerts.  After we had bonded over the mutual love of metal, I joined him and many of my future Sausagefest friends at a Black Sabbath concert.  It was Motorhead opening on the Sacrifice tour, and Black Sabbath headining, supporting their final studio album (17 years and counting!) Forbidden.  They played at Lulu’s Roadhouse just down the street.  A few weeks later we saw Queensryche in Toronto on the Promised Land tour.

Trev, Tom and I would have many adventures.  Such as that time seeing Kiss in…ahh, but that’s another story.  Before I talk about Tom and Trev again, I need to tell you a really shitty story.

TBC…