The true champions of the world this week are Spencer Rice and Marco D’Auria! These two magnificent monsters of the squared circle took Mike to wrestling school. Marco had all the signed memorabilia. Spenny had the stories and the memories. From Toronto to Buffalo and beyond, we rapped about golden wrestling memories. One thing is certain: the impression that those characters and storylines had on us impressionable young kids was significant!
We talked a little bit about Kenny Vs. Spenny but mainly focused on wrestling. Spenny’s favourites, such as Bobo Brazil and the (Original) Sheik, received a lot of love, as did mine, Andre the Giant. The 70s, the 80s, the 90s…we tried to touch upon all our golden eras.
Thank you so much Spencer Rice for taking an hour out of your long weekend to geek out with Marco and I. Special thanks to John Clauser and James Kalyn for your video submissions (sorry James I had trouble downloading yours), and thanks to my dad for the notes and videos. And to Marco for kicking total ass!
GRAB A STACK OF ROCK With Mike and the Mad Metal Man presents:
Episode 20: SPENCER “SPENNY” RICE talks Rasslin’ with Mike and Marco D’Auria
Anybody who knows Kenny Vs. Spenny already understands that Spencer Rice is an aficionado of wrestling. He may not be the best wrestler (Kenny won that competition by cheating), but Spenny is the real fan. He knows the names, the places, the stories. I’m proud to present the one and only Spencer Rice, tonight on Grab A Stack of Rock.
Joining me will be another diehard wrestling fan: Marco D’Auria from the Contrarians! We also have a video submission from John Clauser (The Contrarians), and some notes from the 1950s from my dad.
“Let’s talk rasslin’!” said Spenny. And talk we shall. Tonight!
I was brainstorming some stories this week when I suddenly remembered one involving best buddy Bob, one of the Jedi masters who instructed me in the ways of rock.
It was early 1986, and Bob and I were gearing up for Wrestlemania II: Hulk Hogan vs King Kong Bundy in a cage match! We went to the park and wrestled in the snow. We pretended to be Hogan while one of the snowbanks was King Kong Bundy.
Another kid from the neighborhood showed up, Billy Seabrook. Neither of us liked Billy Seabrook. He wrestled a bit with Bob, who bodyslammed him into a snowbank. Suddenly Seabrook dropped his pants and said “Look at this!” There was a piece of poo in his underpants.
Bob started making fun of him for pooing his pants, and that was when Billy claimed it was just a piece of gum that he saved there.
Happy Canada Day! Here is your Can-Con for this holiday: The Legendary Klopeks. According to bassist Mike Lukacs, “We used to always play Shannon [Larratt]’s Canada DayBMEBBQ every year. Always liked that.”
For a review of the Klopeks’ first album Homicidal Suicidal Klopekticidal by Aaron at the KMA,click here!
THE LEGENDARY KLOPEKS – Straight to Hell(2002 Pink Skull)
Once upon a time, in Niagara Falls Ontario, there was a band. This was a band unlike any other. They were fronted by future Guinness’ World Record holder Sweet Pepper Klopek. Sayeth the Huffington Post, “Sweet Pepper Klopek…has set many Guinness World Records [and] managed it again by lifting a 5.4 kilogram, or 12-pound, sledgehammer suspended from two huge fish hooks plunged through his cheeks.” Mixing punk rock, wrestling and humour, their best album is the 24 track Straight to Hell.
Every song ends with the words “fuck you!” and almost all are under three minutes. There are also several tracks only a few seconds in length, and yes, even they end with “fuck you”! Some sample song lyrics:
“Where’s my soup? Fuck you!” (“Where’s My Soup”, 10 seconds)
“Touch my dink in the ditch. Fuck you!” (“Touch My Dink in the Ditch”, 12 seconds)
“Turtlenecks and armpits. Fuck you!” (“Turtlenecks and Armpits”, 20 seconds)
For the record, “Where’s My Soup” has long been this writer’s favourite Klopeks tune. For a while I considered getting a “Where’s My Soup” tattoo. A tattoo shop in St. Catharines Ontario used to offer free tats to anyone getting Klopek ink. And I did consider it, but ultimately decided against. After all, how did I know that in 10 years time, my favourite song wouldn’t be “Terry and the Ass Pirates”? Or “Bush Party Hand Job”? Or “She Fell Off the Couch” which has an actual guitar solo?
The fact of the matter is, every song is fast, brittle, vulgar and incredibly fun. The lyrics are fuck-laden beyond conception. The Big Lebowski himself has never dropped so many F-bombs in just 33 minutes. Nothing is taken seriously. Most songs start with bass noodling via Lemon Kurri, moving on to Sweet Pepper screaming like a man possessed. Regardless, these are actually really good punk songs! There is nothing polite or safe on this CD — that’s why they called it Straight to Hell! No apologies. “When it’s all said and done and I’m dead and gone, life’s a fuckin’ game, and fuck you I won!”
RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale #376: The Rock n’ Rasslin’ Connection
My dad turned me on to wrestling. He grew up with golden age greats — guys like Mad Dog Vachon, Sweet Daddy Siki, Little Beaver and many more. I was raised on re-runs of those old matches (on the rare occasions they were on) and of course Vince McMahon’s WWF.
For me, it all began around 1985. McMahon had been boosting the WWF with cross promotions into music and movies. Hulk Hogan became pop star Cyndi Lauper’s “bodyguard”, and she began making appearances at WWF events, until “Rowdy” Roddy Piper assaulted her, kicking off a feud with Hogan that culminated in Wrestlemania I with Mr. T! It was a fun time to watch wrestling.
The wrestling characters looked like rock stars. Some, like the Demolition and the Ultimate Warrior, didn’t look too different from bands like Kiss. Most of the guys had long hair. It was easy to see the visual connection.
McMahon released The Wrestling Album in late ’85, capitalizing on his music connections. Wrestlers were given the chance to sing campy theme songs, while rock star Rick Derringer contributed a legitimate rock track called “Real American” for Hulk Hogan, for which a music video was made. This was followed by a second album called Piledriver, on which Derringer recorded a heavy metal theme song for the tag team Demolition.
“Real American” by Rick Derringer
Ozzy Osbourne appeared in Wrestlemania II, by the side of the British Bulldogs for the tag team championship. Wrestlemania III, even bigger than the first two, was attended by Alice Cooper in the corner of Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Roberts was facing off against a music-based character, an Elvis impersonator called the Honky Tonk Man. While Roberts lost the match, he and Cooper exacted revenge by dumping a huge python named Damien all over Honk Tonk’s manager, “Colonel” Jimmy Hart (himself a musician – Hart had a Top 5 hit in 1965 with the Gentrys on a song called “Keep on Dancing”).
The next step was a Grammy-style WWF awards show called the Slammy Awards. I caught the 1987 installment, billed as the “37th Annual” even though it was only the second. The wrestlers were given the chance to lipsynch their songs while chaos ensued backstage between “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and “King” Harley Race. It was plenty stupid, obviously completely fake, and a lot of fun. I actually watched it again not too long ago and made it all the way through!
The family went to WWF events about once a year. They were held at the Auditorium, and the seats were shitty, but we did get to see Randy “Macho Man” Savage when he was the champion of the world! It was Boxing Day, Dec 26 1988. All my shitty camera captured of him was a red and black sequinned blur. You can see Miss Elisabeth’s hair and arm holding the ropes for him. Both these stars are dead now. Savage was facing off against Akeem (formerly One Man Gang) in a non-title match. I also have some pictures of “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” Iron Mike Sharpe, and Axe and Smash (the Demolition with manager Mr. Fuji) from the same night. A magical blur, these pictures are! Emphasis on the blur.
I don’t follow wrestling anymore, and I haven’t since the 80’s. If I see an old match from my day, I still stop and watch it. Just like a good song, an old classic wrestling match sure can bring back the memories.
Who was my favourite, you ask? André Roussimoff, better know as André the Giant. Known for his huge size and equally huge heart, the Giant used to wrestle and defeat multiple opponents at the same time. Author of the Princess Bride, William Goldman said, “André was one of the gentlest and most generous people I ever knew.” For those reasons, he always will be my favourite wrestler. Second to André would be his friends in Demolition, Axe and Smash, who you can see in the pictures below battling the Powers of Pain.