Visions in Sound

Blade Runner radio, tonight!

edit: I cannot attend this show due to illness.

 

LIVE at 12:00 AM (ET) Saturday morning!  It’s Robert Daniels and Jason Drury on VISIONS IN SOUND with music from BLADE RUNNER!  Tune in on your dial to 98.5 or internet to CKWR.  You folks in the UK can tune in as you enjoy some morning java!

As to my own involvement, I’ve come down with a mystery cold-like illness.  Whether I can make it to the station or not remains a question mark at this point in time.  I’d certainly like to.  Even if I’m “well enough” to go, I can’t risk passing this on to anyone else.  But you should still listen, if I’m there or not!  Rob and Jason always do an entertaining show with great music.

I’d love to share my own stories of this movie.  Seeing the comic book in a convenience store.  Thinking the title was cool if ambiguous.  But wishing Harrison Ford would get back to playing Han Solo or Indiana Jones already!  (As kids, we really did think it was that simple.)  I didn’t see the movie for many years later, when it was showing on one of the new pay TV channels.  Family friends the Lazbys were over, and it didn’t make sense to anybody!  The thing I remember the most about that viewing was the guy selling eyeballs.  I think that’s the moment all of us pretty much gave up trying to enjoy it.

But times and perspectives change.

Blade Runner’s visual impact came later.  The first and most obvious example was Iron Maiden’s Somewhere In Time album.  The front and back cover art are smorgasbords of Blade Runner visuals.  Numerous films have attempted to rip off Ridley Scott’s remarkable cityscapes, notably George Lucas in Attack of the Clones.

Listen in THIS Saturday 12:00-2:00am (ET).

Sunday Chuckle: Radio Mission Accomplished Face

RECAP:  Visions In Sound – The Black Hole on 98.5 CKWR

To those of you who tuned in:  thank you!  Sorry to Holen MaGroin for not reading your email on the air.  I couldn’t quite figure out how to work “I wish I could ask about The Black Hole, but I’ve never seen it, Disney sucks ass, Fuck ’em,” into the discussion.

Thanks Rob Daniels for having me, and to Jason Drury for awesome insight and comedy relief. (Ernest Borg-ninny.)

I was doing research all week, including watching lectures from Neil DeGrasse Tyson and other scientists about black holes.  Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a harsh critic of the film, incidentally.  I was glad to have worked this into the discussion.  Due to the sheer amount of research I did, I was overprepared and hyped to go.

I always take a nap before the show, which used to air at 12:30 am.  Well, I hadn’t been on Visions In Sound for a while.  I woke up at 11:50 to have my coffee and a bite to eat.  Then my phone rang.  It was Rob and they were about to go live!  Turns out the show was back to the 12:00 am slot.  Whoops!  I hopped in the car and drove down to CKWR which happens to be only 10 minutes away anyway.  I made it in just in time for my introduction, and that’s including having to stop for a R.I.D.E. check on my way!  Thank you to the local boys in blue, always doing a fantastic job keeping us safe on the road.

Among the myriad subjects discussed, one of the most interesting to me included Rob’s topic, the blaster beam.  I’d never even heard of it before, but I have absolutely heard it before.  It’s an integral part of the soundtrack to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which I am intimately familiar with.  I thought that what I was hearing was a guitar.  Turns out it’s a bizarre 15-foot long beam of stainless steel with strings and pickups.  You can hear it readily in The Black Hole (music by John Barry), and now I know what it really is.

We also talked a bit about the toyline (available by mailing in UPC codes found on cereal boxes).  We couldn’t ignore the elephant in the room, which is the bizarre ending to a so-called “children’s film”.  In this visually stunning abstract sequence, the villain Dr. Reinhart (Maximilian Schell) embraces and merges with his robot minion called Maximilian (no relation).  Reinhart finds himself trapped in Maximilian’s shell (pun intended) ruling over a hellish landscape.  Wild-eyed and helpless, Reinhart is punished for the evil he inflicted.  Meanwhile our surviving heroes, including robot V.I.N.CENT. (Roddy McDowell) experience a wild ride including visions of a heavenly cathedral and a floating angel.  They then emerge in a brand new universe, to triumphant swells of Barry’s score.  This raises numerous questions about the film’s message on heaven, hell, morality, mortality, the soul, artificial intelligence, and more.

Thanks again to Rob for having me.  I am currently planning to be there for his 1000th episode a few weeks from now, and his Rise of Skywalker special the following week.

This episode can now be streamed at Visions in Sound, just click the link right here.

 

 

The Black Hole radio, tonight!

I will be LIVE at 12:30 AM (ET) Saturday morning with Robert Daniels and Jason Drury on VISIONS IN SOUND. Tune in on your dial to 98.5 or internet to CKWR!  You folks in the UK can tune in as you enjoy some morning java!  Join Us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET).

What a bizarre Disney film The Black Hole was.  Marketed to kids with funny looking robots from the House of Mouse, instead of a swashbuckling adventure, kids got a strange treatise on life, death, morality, mortality, God, the soul, isolation, artificial intelligence, good, evil, heaven, hell, and eternity.  It attempted to be Star Wars, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Rob, Jason and I will be playing the soundtrack by John Barry, and dissecting this interesting and puzzling film piece by piece.

For my DVD review of the The Black Hole, just click here.

 

 

#691: A Face for Radio

GETTING MORE TALE #691:  A Face for Radio

I was at work, listening to a recording of Visions in Sound, Rob Daniels’ radio show about movie soundtracks and more.  It was the June 23 episode (show #924):  The Mockumentary, on which I guested.

One of the folks at work, who I call “Happy”, is a super guy but he doesn’t throw around compliments very readily.  He’d rather tease most of the time.  He happened to walk into my office while I was listening to the show.  He listened with me for a few minutes, and then began his speech.

“You know, you might be offended by what I have to say, but listen,” he began.  “You and I could be sitting in a bar and I would have no interest in anything you are talking about.  You like music, I like sports.  We have literally nothing in common to talk about.

“But you need to do a book, or a show, or something.  I have listened for two minutes, and I am already interested in what you’re talking about.  I don’t care about this stuff.  But you made me want to care.

“It was the same when you were on that other station, Dave FM.  We were listening here at work when you were on.  I don’t care about any of that music, but you make it interesting.

“It’s like when I am watching soccer with my wife.  There can be an amazing British commentator talking about it, and I am so into what he is saying.  My wife, she does not care.  Not at all.  But you, you can talk in such a way that you make it interesting for people who do care, and people who are not interested at all.

“You have a gift, and you need to be on a show, or do a book.  And if you’re offended by this I don’t care!”

Offended?  Not at all!

Gimme a show.  Any show.  I’ll be there.

 

Mockumentary radio, tonight!

Turn it up to 11!  I will be LIVE at 12:30 AM (ET) Saturday morning with Robert Daniels on VISIONS IN SOUND. Tune in on your dial to 98.5 or internet to CKWR!  You folks in the UK can tune in as you enjoy some morning java!  Join Us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET).  Check out what Rob has planned this time:

This Week On Visions In Sound – The Mockumentary

This week we look at some mock documentary soundtracks. Featured music is from The Rutles, A Mighty Wind, FUBAR, Series 7 (Girls Against Boys) and This Is Spinal Tap. Join us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET) Friday 9:30-11:30 (PT) on FM 98.5 CKWR. www.ckwr.com

We will also be live on Facebook to chat and talk about the music and films off air.
Be sure to listen in!  Don’t be like Tron, not show up, and funkin’ blow.

The Big Lebowski radio, tonight!

I will be LIVE at 12:30 AM (ET) Saturday morning with Robert Daniels on VISIONS IN SOUND. Tune in on your dial to 98.5 or internet to CKWR!  You folks in the UK can tune in as you enjoy some morning java!  Join Us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET).

This Week On Visions In Sound – The 20th Anniversary Of The Big Lebowski – Drop in to see what condition your condition is in this week as this week we celebrate the 20th of the Coen Brothers cult classic The Big Lebowski. We will also be live on Facebook!

I’m a bit of a fan of both the movie and its excellent soundtrack.  My movie review can be found here.  Check out my cool Lebowski ID and swag!

 

 

GUEST REVIEW: Rock and Rule (1983) by Robert Daniels

Please welcome guest writer Robert Daniels, from radio’s Visions In Sound 

ROCK AND RULE (1983 Nelvana)

“Oh what will the signal be for your eyes to see me…”

Back in about 1984 or 85 I remember watching TV one afternoon and stumbling on an animated movie. Interested, I stopped to watch. It had weird, trippy images and some scantily clad cartoon woman singing and a strange creature growling. My 14 year old mind was intrigued and then was completely blown when one of the animated characters said “Shit!” Cartoon characters were not supposed to swear!! Clearly this was a mistake. No, it was not a mistake, it was Rock and Rule. Although at the time I didn’t know the title and didn’t see the movie on TV again for a while.
Rock and Rule was set in a post apocalyptic future where the street animals evolved into a human like society. MOK is an aging rock star trying to find a specific voice in the guise of a worldwide talent search. MOK hopes to unleash a powerful demon from another dimension, his dwindling popularity driving him to destroy the world in vengeance and immortalize himself in the process. After returning to Ohmtown he finds the voice he’s looking for in Angel, a singer in a local band along with friends Omar, Dizzy and Stretch. MOK invites her to join him and when she refuses he kidnaps Angel and forces her to sing to raise the demon.

This was the era of the edgy “adult” cartoon, Heavy Metal, American Pop, Wizards, Starchaser: The Legend Of Orin and others. I do remember getting into an argument with my Mom back in 1981 about not being able to see Heavy Metal. “It’s a Cartoon…it HAS to be for kids!!!”.

It would be several years later when I was in high school that I described the ending scene to someone and they said “Oh yeah, that’s Rock and Rule…” Bingo, I had a title and looked high and low for a copy on VHS. Nothing. I was obsessed to find Rock and Rule. Of course, in the late 80s early 90s there was no internet so the only thing I could do was continue to bug the people at Steve’s TV to try and find a copy. Again, nothing. Then one day out of the blue I got a call from Steve’s. They said they found a copy and would order it for me. “Great” I said, “How much.” “$129.99”. My heart sank, that was far too expensive for my blood. So the film continued to sit in the back of my mind for years.

“My Name Is MOK, thanks a lot”

Then one day in (about) 2003, I heard of a showing at the former Hyland theatre. A local Anime expert and film buff rented the then-empty theatre to show the a cut of the film.

Also Don Francks, the voice of MOK, was going to be there. I jumped at the opportunity.

The film was nothing like I thought it was going to be. First, it was produced by Nelvana Studios that I only knew for Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Droids and Ewoks, etc. All kids’ cartoons. It was also one of the first films I ever saw that listed “Songs by…” first above the main cast. This list included Cheap Trick, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, with a special performance by Earth, Wind and Fire. After the movie there was a Q & A with Don Francks, who I later found out provided the voices for such characters as Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget, Lackki from Captain Power and the un-credited voice of Boba Fett from the Star Wars: Holiday Special. I asked him if he based his performance of MOK on David Bowie. He said that he didn’t have any particular person in mind when he voiced MOK. I later found out that MOK’s full name was MOK SWAGGER a spin on Mick Jagger. However, the talent representation of The Rolling Stones’ lead singer objected and forced the producers to drop the character’s surname. It’s also interesting to note that David Bowie, Tim Curry, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger and Sting were all considered for MOK but the budget of the film couldn’t afford them.

“I dunno about this, nobody seems to be buying these ‘I survived the MOK concert’ T-shirts.”

This year (2018) is the 35th anniversary of this masterpiece of Canadian animation. Rock and Rule is the first English speaking Canadian animated feature film entirely produced in Canada itself. Unfortunately the film sat in near obscurity for years after being shelved by distributor MGM and never got released in North America. The film did develop a cult following after being shown on CBC (who held the Canadian TV Rights), HBO and Showtime. Bootleg copies would show up at comic book conventions oddly enough with Ralph Bakshi being credited as director.

“She can sing, or she can scream!!!”

Much like Heavy Metal from 1981 music was a huge part of the film and also much like Heavy Metal the music got tied up in rights issues.

Back in about 2005 just before the release of the Rock and Rule DVD, I was actually in contact with someone from Nelvana Studios who told me that director Clive A. Smith, whose wife Patricia Cullen had also written the score, had the tape masters for the soundtrack in his garage and that he might be willing to let me have them for mastering. Unfortunately nothing came of this as I lost contact but it was the closest I came to producing a soundtrack release. In 2010 the film was released on Blu-ray and unfortunately has become quite expensive on the used market.
It was previously believed that no official soundtrack album had ever been issued for Rock and Rule. In fact, Deborah Harry mentions on a “Making Of…” documentary that she hopes the music gets a soundtrack release.  However, as it turns out, a handful of film critics received a cassette tape featuring nine songs (“Hot Dogs and Sushi” and “Send Love Through” were omitted). All songs are extended from how they appear in the film and in familiar copies. “Born to Raise Hell,” “I’m the Man,” “Dance Dance Dance,” and “Ohm Sweet Ohm” have been officially issued on CD, along with an alternate version of “Pain and Suffering,” and “Maybe For Sure” (an alternate version of “Angel’s Song”).

Though a deliberate Google search will turn up a couple of versions of the soundtrack, this is the most common track list:

[2:46] 01. Born To Raise Hell (Cheap Trick – Album Version)
[5:14] 02 Angel’s Song (Deborah Harry)
[4:22] 03 My Name Is Mok (Lou Reed)
[2:11] 04. I’m The Man (Cheap Trick – Album Version)
[3:12] 05. Earth Wind And Fire – Dance Dance Dance
[2:49] 06. Ohm Sweet Ohm (Cheap Trick – Album Version)
[3:15] 07. Triumph (Lou Reed)
[1:28] 08. Hot Dogs & Sushi (Melleny Brown)
[3:28] 09. Invocation Song (Deborah Harry)
[3:41] 10. Pain & Suffering (Iggy Pop)
[5:56] 11. Send Love Through (Deborah Harry and Robin Zander)
[4:30] 12. Maybe For Sure (Deborah Harry)
[5:22] 13. Angel’s Song (Cassette Mix)
[3:29] 14. Invocation Song (Mono Cassette Mix)
[4:35] 15. My Name is Mok (Cassette Mix)
[3:42] 16. Pain And Suffering (Iggy Pop)
[0:52] 17. Triumph (Movie Mix)
[2:35] 18. Angel’s Song (Movie Mix)
[1:38] 19. Invocation Song (Movie Mix)
[1:49] 20. Pain & Suffering (Movie Mix)
[2:06] 21. My Name is Mok (Movie Mix)
[3:36] 22. Triumph (Mono Cassette Mix)

Rock and Rule falls into the category of “…what could have been”. Had MGM had more faith in the project and released it in North America it may have been a hit rather than the cult classic it would eventually become. If you haven’t seen it or are interested in a look at a piece of Canadian animation history check it out, you will not be disappointed.

A solid 4/5 stars.  Dark, and yet at the same time fun.

 

 

Robert Daniels

 

 

Deep Space Nine radio, tonight!

 

Do you like soundtracks?  Do you like Star Trek?  Well then!  I will be LIVE tonight at 12:30 AM (ET) Saturday morning with Robert Daniels on VISIONS IN SOUND. Tune in on your dial to 98.5 or internet to CKWR!  You folks in the UK can tune in as you enjoy some morning java!  Join Us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET).

This Week On Visions In Sound – “The 25th Anniversary Of Star Trek – Deep Space Nine” – This week we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the third Star Trek series, Deep Space Nine. Also joining me this week is Treks-pert Bob Puersten and special guest Michael Ladano as we discuss this highly popular series. Featured music will be from series composers Dennis McCarthy, Jay Chattaway, John Debney, David Bell and Paul Baillargeon.

 

#647: Cancer Chronicles 9 & Star Trek Radio tonight!

Today Jennifer saw Dr. Sugimoto for the first time since her cancer surgery.  He walked in, and said, “I don’t want to beat around the bush.  All of your test results came back negative.”  Just to make sure, Jen asked, “That’s good right?”

“Yes, that’s very good,” said Dr. Sugimoto.

They found no more traces of cancer in Jen.  The tumour was relatively small.  At this point, she has a very small chance of recurrence:  a mere 5%.  No chemotherapy, no radiation necessary.

We are both tremendously relieved although I don’t think it has really sunk in yet.  I ordered some sushi to celebrate.


Because we got this good news today, I can announce that I will be going live on the radio tonight to talk about music!

LeBrain will be LIVE at 12:30 AM (ET) Saturday morning with Robert Daniels on VISIONS IN SOUND. Tune in on your dial to 98.5 or internet to CKWR!  You folks in the UK can tune in as you enjoy some morning java!  Join Us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET).

This week’s show:  Star Trek: Discovery.  Per Rob:   “As we head in to the first major show of 2018. This week we look at the music to the latest Star Trek TV show, Discovery. Featured will be music from the TV series by Jeff Russo (of the rock band Tonic) and I’ll have special guests that will bring their opinions on the new show as well.” 

I’m a special guest!

It’s exciting to get behind the microphone again.  Due to the stress of Jen’s cancer, I wasn’t able to make it to Visions in Sound for Rob’s Star Wars specials in December.  And here’s a crazy coincidence.  Rob’s wife Dorothea battled and defeated cancer too…and her doctor was also Dr. Sugimoto.  Small world, and great support to have!

Hope you tune in tonight.  I know I’m in a great mood for celebrating music, and life!

 

#567.5: Thanks Rob! (Visions in Sound)

Regular readers know that for the past five weeks (except one!) I’ve been appearing with Rob Daniels on his radio show Visions in Sound at 98.5 CKWR, talking about movie soundtracks.  Also appearing were Erik Woods and Jason Drury live from the UK.  May was Star Wars month, and we did four shows dedicated to the 40th anniversary of that franchise:


May 6: Star Wars for a New Generation (Rogue One, Rebels)

May 13: Alternate Forces (Star Wars video game soundtracks – I missed this one due to prior commitment)

May 20:  The Prequels (Music from Episodes I, II, and III)

May 27:  Where it All Began (Music from the original trilogy)

And there was also the June 3 show, the celebration of The 30th Anniversary of Spaceballs, a classic Mel Brooks parody of Star Wars (and other classic sci-fi).


All these shows and more can be accessed on the Visions in Sound archives.

So thanks Rob for asking me to be on the show, and to new friends Erik and Jason.

Not to toot our own horns too much, but these were great shows.  It’s hard to listen live at 12:30 in the morning, but if you take the time to listen to one of these shows in the archives, I know I’d appreciate it.  Great music was played, much geeking-out was had, but you’ll also hear a ton of knowledge that you probably never knew before, from four guys who live and breathe this stuff.

Hoping to do this again soon!

Mike “LeBrain”