zz top

Sunday Chuckle: The Long Road

It has been a long hard road for Jen and I this whole year.  It’s Sunday though, and that means a Sunday Chuckle, not a Sunday Mope!  A few days ago, Jen finished cleaning out her mom’s house.  We found some incredible stuff there.  One of the books (from her dad’s collection) is over 200 years old.  A few others were dated from the 1800s.  Lots of cool stuff, but….

Also some not-so-cool stuffs.

Some context:

In the penultimate episode of Record Store Tales (Part 319: The Musical Crimes of LeBrain), my wife made fun of me for owning one song by Nickelback.  The controversial Canadian quartet appeared on the ZZ Top tribute album A Tribute From Friends, performing (of all songs) “Legs”.  Quite badly!  She mocked me by writing, “Three words: MIKE OWNS NICKELBACK!”  [Bold and underlining are hers.]

This is what I found in her old bedroom.  You can tell it’s hers by the rainbow wallpaper.

There you have it.  I had a song, but you had the poster, baby.  You had the poster.

Still love you most though!

 

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#631: The Locker Door

GETTING MORE TALE #631: The Locker Door

Before the first day of highschool even began, I had selected the posters I was going to hang up inside.  For my first locker ever, at the beginning of grade nine, I chose Gene Simmons.  It was a weird picture of him from the Asylum era, no makeup, and his tongue pinned to the neck of his bass by the strings.  I was truly disappointed that girls found the picture repulsive and didn’t want to talk to me.  I’m still proud that I was flying the Kiss flag right from day one.  For some reason, I also had a picture of Mr. Mini Wheats, from a box of the same-named cereal.

Meanwhile, my best buddy Bob had something cooler.  It was a poster of Bruce Dickinson, circa 1986, standing next to the giant stage Eddie from Somewhere in Time.  Everybody seemed to agree that the new Blade Runner Eddie was the coolest one yet, and that poster was the envy of the hallway.  When he was done with it, Bob passed the locker poster down to me.  I was thrilled — so much that I used it again the next year.

Bob moved on to Samantha Fox.  She took over from where Eddie and Bruce once were.  “Hey, that one’s topless,” remarked the English teacher Mr. Payette as he strolled past.  She was covering her modesty with her arms, but she was indeed missing her top.

In grade 10, Bob and I did something sneaky.  On the first day of school, he advised me to bring an extra lock, and see if I could snag an extra, unoccupied locker.  I did — right next to my own, in fact.  So that year, Bob and I had this spare locker that we shared right next to mine.  He had this little Nerf basketball set.  You could hang a net from the locker door.  We also had gotten into remote control cars.  We stashed them in the spare locker and played with them during the lunch hour.  We got caught by the stern science teacher, Mr. Branday.  “Take this to the gym!” he shouted at us.

Branday was a weird guy.  Every year, he began his science class with the same line.  “Science is a tool of the mind.  With it, one can open more doors than with the bare hands alone!”

Bob and I had such a good time, that year of the two lockers.  A fresh succession of posters went up, although I hung onto Bruce and Eddie until it was literally falling apart.  One I liked a lot was a cardboard cut out of ZZ Top’s Eliminator car, from a Monogram model kit I built.  I always wanted to rig up a Walkman with a speaker in the door of that locker, but we figured if the racing cars got us in shit, music would even more.

Locker posters usually came from magazines such as Hit Parader, but it had to be a vertical poster.  A horizontal one would only be good for home.  A kid down the hall, Michael Wright, had a picture of a computer in his locker one year.  I tended to stick to rock stars.  Def Leppard went in there, and so did a rare picture of Vinnie Vincent in his Kiss makeup.

Some of the posters that survived

I tried to take care of my posters so I could use them again.  They seemed like a big part of my identity.  I brought my posters to school on the first day every year, so my locker would never be bare.  Nobody but Bob seemed to get that.  I always enjoyed carefully packing them up on the last day of school before summer holidays.  Except for the last year of highschool, when I knew it was the very last time.  There would be no more lockers.  The very last locker posters were coming down, for good.  I hated the feeling, the finality of it.  Knowing life was about to change and almost all my old friends would be gone doing their own things.  It was a…lonely feeling.  The lockers were always a communal place.  You’d chat with friends before or between classes.  Life really felt different afterwards.

Somewhere in this house in an old video tape, of my grade 13 year circa 1990.  Bob and I rented a camera one weekend, went into the unlocked school and did a tour.  On that video is a detailed look at my locker posters of 1990-1991.  One day I’m going to have to get a USB VCR and take a look.

#411: Stop Playing ‘Beth’ – The Post-Sausagefest Countdown

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RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#411: Stop Playing ‘Beth’ – The Post-Sausagefest Countdown

Perhaps the only bigger production than going to Sausagefest is coming home from Sausagefest.  At least when you’re travelling with Uncle Meat.

As we have previous years, Uncle Meat rode up with me.  This time he slept in my car too.  This pretty much left me responsible for him.  I roused bright and early from a restful slumber on Saturday morning to evacuate my bladder.  Imagine my surprise when I found, at 6:30 in the morning, Uncle Meat, Bucky and Matt still up from the night before.  They were just starting to fall asleep when I took my morning shit.  I then went back to sleep in my tent for a few more hours.

Our Saturday morning tradition is to hit up the Flying Spatula in Flesherton for our breakfast fill-up.  Sebastien, driving his 4×4, stopped by my tent and asked if I was riding up with him.  Ready for some bacon and eggs, I hopped on board with Seb, while Meat snoozed away in my car’s passenger side seat.

My first controversy of the weekend was not waking Meat up for breakfast.  Being that he had only gone to bed a couple hours before, I thought I was doing him a favour.  Apparently not.  “Breakfast before sleep!” he said.  Apparently that’s the Meat priorities.

Saturday went off without a hitch, breakfast arrangements aside.  I will post the full 78 song countdown (plus a couple odds n’ ends) in the days ahead.  Saturday night was loaded with long bombers, such as “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (13 minutes), the live “Child in Time” from Made In Japan (12 minutes), and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (25 minutes).  The excellent countdown (dubbed “the greatest songs of all time”) ended after midnight.

Sunday morning, I found I had the most difficult job of all.  It took me an hour and a half (close to two hours) to wake Uncle Meat from his slumber.  As the others were packing up their tents and heading off into the sunrise, I found I had a passenger unwilling or unable to rouse himself.  “If you let him sleep in your car again next year, then there will be nobody to blame but you,” said Troy.

I cranked “I Stole Your Love” at max volume.  No reaction.  Tom threw a 12-pack of socks at his head (photo above).  No reaction.  I played Kiss’ “Beth”, followed by the 1988 Eric Carr re-recording.  Still  nothing.  Only when I put the car in drive and started moving it around did Meat finally decide to wake himself.  I took him on a drousy “drive of shame” to visit all the people who had no trouble waking up.  “I have a boner” he announced.  Yes, it’s true — Uncle Meat woke up with wood.

After telling us all about his boner, he kept shouting “Stop playing ‘Beth’!” even though the song was no longer playing. This continued when we pulled into our first stop, Top of the Rock, for him to get his first coffee. “Stop playing ‘Beth’!” he shouted in a barely-there voice, any time somebody was in his vicinity.

“Stop playing ‘Beth’!” he shouted, when his roomate Zack also pulled into Top of the Rock. Zack informed us, “That’s just him. He’ll just keep repeating it unless he gets something new in his head.” Zack paused and said, “Watch. Rododendron!”

“Rhododendron!” shouted Meat, parroting his roomate. “Rhododendron! Stop playing ‘Beth’!”

And that was it pretty much the rest of the ride home. A selection of brief statements, repeated ad nauseum: “Rhododendron!” “Stop playing ‘Beth’!” “Coffee!” Repeat.

The weekend more than made up for the ride home. Sebastien and I shot lots of footage, including underwater stuff with his GoPro. For the first time ever, we will be combining footage and doing the annual videos together. Be patient, this will be worth it.

Three albums I must own, after this year’s Sausagefest:

  • Trouble – Trouble (1990)
  • Rheostatics – Whale Music (1992)
  • Grand Funk Railroad – Live: The 1971 Tour (2002)

Stop playing “Beth”? Never, man! Stay tuned….

#367: Greatest Hits 2

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RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#367: Greatest Hits 2
A sequel to #364: Greatest Hits

The last time we talked about greatest hits albums, I listed seven reasons that die-hard fans usually shun them.  Readers came up with some of their own, and also arguments to defend greatest hits albums.  I usually advise fans to buy key studio albums rather than compilations, depending on the person.  Yet I still own a few hundred greatest hits albums. There have to be good reasons.

And what about you?  How many do you own?  What are your favourites?  Why did you buy them?  I asked myself those three questions too.  #1. I don’t know.  #2. There are many, but Double Platinum and Killers by Kiss are up there.  #3.  Let’s talk about that in depth…I broke it down into seven points:

KENNY_00011. There are some artists that I barely know. Neil Diamond or Kenny Rogers, for example.  There might be a handful of songs I like, but not enough that I have heard to take the plunge and buy an actual album. Or, I know it’s an artist that I don’t want many albums from.  I have a feeling that I only want one or two CDs, so one of them is usually a greatest hits.  I collect a lot of music, but I can’t collect everybody. Sometimes I’ve done the research to know that I need one or two CDs and nothing more.

2. Exclusive tracks are often dangled as bait. But sometimes greatest hits albums are stuffed with exclusive radio edits and remixes that aren’t obviously credited. Kiss’ Double Platinum is one such album. Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits had a number of special edits of songs. Collectors like myself often look for such versions. They make for an enjoyable way to hear a familiar song with a slightly different slant.

SAM_17443. Artwork. Younger folks might not understand why this matters, but I come from the age of physical product. With some bands, you don’t want just the music. You want all the album covers too; they are sometimes as important as any other aspect of the music. Iron Maiden is the first, obvious example. I own several Iron Maiden greatest hits discs simply because I wanted to own all the Eddies. There is a certain satisfaction in viewing them all lined up in order.

4. Historical importance. Some greatest hits albums are just historically important. Best of Van Halen Volume I for example – even if I didn’t buy it for the two new songs, I would have wanted it for the significant role it played in breaking up Van Hagar! You might want to own Their Greatest Hits by the Eagles for the fact it’s the top selling hits album of all time.

5. Sometimes, I actually do listen to greatest hits! Sure, not often by comparison. But if I’m in the car with the Mrs., she might prefer a Deep Purple greatest hits set to a 5 disc version of Made in Japan. I own ‘em, so if they’re good I may as well play ‘em. Also, If I’m going somewhere and I only have an hour or so to listen to music, a greatest hits album often scratches whatever itch I have.

6. Gateway music. My entrance into the world of Thin Lizzy was one CD (Dedication: The Very Best of).

DEDICATIONThat point is the most important one.  Using a greatest hits album to delve further in the discography is such an excellent experience.  My first two Deep Purple’s were greatest hits.  Now my Purple collection is of a prodigious size.  I don’t even know how many I have.  100 maybe?  More?  And it keeps growing!

My first Floyd? Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.  My first Rush?  Chronicles.  First ZZ Top? Greatest Hits.  See where I’m going with this?  These are bands that, today, I am still collecting.  I still buy whatever’s coming out.  Which brings me to my last point.

7. Personal history.  I’ve developed a relationship with some of those greatest hits albums over the years, even if they have been superseded by better ones.  Something about the familiarity, I suppose.  But even though all my first greatest hits albums were on cassette, I still went and bought CD copies of them all.  In some cases, vinyl too!

What are your favourites?  Does it bother you to own multiple copies of the same songs?  If your favourite band came out with a greatest hits album tomorrow, would you consider buying it?  Let me know!

 

#356: Cassingles

Aaron at the KMA and I have coordinated posts today about cassette singles!  If you can’t get enough, click here for his!  Geoff at the 1001 has also thrown his hat into the ring, and you can see his cassettes here!

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale #356: Cassingles

Cassingle (noun): “cassette single”, a musical single release, usually consisting of two songs, on the cassette format.

A couple years ago, my parents found in their basement something I had lost and presumed would never see again: an old shoebox full of my old cassette singles!  This was especially valuable to me, because a couple of those cassettes have exclusive tracks on them that have never been released on any other format.  Helix’s “Good to the Last Drop” is one such single.  Van Halen’s “Right Now” is another.

The shoebox also contained my prized cassette copy of the Sonic Temple Collection by The Cult.  Buy cassette one (“Fire Woman”) and you can send away for the box.  Buy cassette two (“Edie”) and you get three Cult cards.  Buy cassette three (“Sweet Soul Sister”), and you can send away for a Sonic Temple pin.  (Which I still have, just not handy for a picture.)

There are some tapes that I know I’m missing.  They include three by Warrant:  “Cherry Pie”, “I Saw Red”, and the horrid “We Will Rock You”, which I probably sold at garage sales when I temporarily disowned Warrant in the 1990’s!  I could also swear that I owned Extreme’s “More Than Words”, but I don’t know what happened to that one.  I’m not worried about it since the B-side remix track is being reissued on the deluxe edition of the Pornograffitti album.  Maybe I gave it to Crazy Thunder Bay Girl!

Check out what remains of my cassingle collection below.

GALLERY: Christmas Phase Two (Christmas Day)

Disclaimer (1537!): meat and music content ahead!

It has been an incredibly busy week here at Chez LeBrain. They tell me it’s Saturday. I’ve lost all track of time. The first week of my holidays are gone! I have a feeling that the next week will be filled with lots of music….

After our annual family Christmas Eve dinner/gathering, we re-convened for Christmas Day. My Grandma’s 90th Christmas was also her first since breaking her leg in the summertime. She did awesome! Another amazing Christmas, all finished. Hard to believe.

On to the good stuff!

First up: the fun stuff. Some Kiss dolls. Is it Ace and Peter? Or is it Tommy and Eric? Who knows! A Kiss keychain to boot. Got some Transformers too. Should I open up the rare Treadshot figure? Or no? I can’t decide! Jen also bought me a Transformers pen with a light in it that acts like a Bat signal…but it’s a Bee signal!

Some assorted goodies…

That Fart game looks interesting.

Finally got the game Risk: Legacy.  Interesting twist on this one.  It must always be played by the same group of players.  Changes you make to the game are permanent.  What you do in game 1 may come back to haunt you in game 6.  Cards and the board itself are modified permanently as you go.  Most elements of the game are completely secret until you reach the point where you can break seals on additional instructions.  Cool eh?

Lastly, the music!  Here we go.

The first five Zep remasters!  Holy Zep overload!  These are all doubles.  Queen Live at the Rainbow ’74 — also a double.  Dio live in ’93, another double.  Several CD/DVD sets:  Bon Jovi New Jersey deluxe (yes!!)  with 2 CDs and a DVD.  Journey’s Escape Tour CD + DVD set.  (Listening that one right now, actually.)  Whitesnake Live in ’94 is another CD + DVD set.  Then some new music: Foo Fighters and AC/DC’s Rock Or Bust!  I really like the packaging on the AC/DC disc.  Can’t wait to hear it.

Last but certainly not least:  ZZ Top’s The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990.  10 CDs, baby!  As if all that Zeppelin wasn’t enough, now this!  Thank you, Mrs. LeBrain’s Mom, for this one!  I only had one of these albums before, which is Eliminator.  Some of these discs are available separately with bonus tracks, but that’s OK: this box set is the only place you can get several of these Top albums in their original mix.  Remember in the 80’s when they remixed and re-released the Top back catalogue?  Those 80’s mixes have persisted on CD for a long time.   This box set represents the first time you could listen to albums like Rio Grande Mud in their original form on CD.  I like that very much.

GUEST SHOT! Part 319: The Musical Crimes of LeBrain (by Mrs. LeBrain)

I really had this coming.  In Part 314 (The Musical Crimes of Mrs. LeBrain) I exposed the somewhat embarrassing contents of Jen’s CD wallet.  I knew retribution would come.  Enjoy this penultimate episode of Record Store Tales, and its final guest shot, courtesy of Mrs. LeBrain.  (Warning:  LOTS of pictures!)

By MRS. LeBRAIN

RECORD STORE TALES Part 319: The Musical Crimes of LeBrain

#10 HIM – And Love Said No.  That deep dark gothic prince Ville Valo makes lonely girls swoon, but he is also hanging out on LeBrain’s shelf.

#9 Soundtrack – SMALL SOLDIERS.  I don’t know how this made it into the LeBrain home.  I understand his need for everything Geddy Lee has ever created, but “Mixed by DJ Z-Trip“??  Is that really worth it?  (Not to mention that you have to rock out to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to get there.)

#8 ROD STEWART – “If We Fall In Love Tonight” CD single.  Going through my adventure here, I came across this single, designed to get the listener to first base.  YOU’RE MARRIED. THAT SHIT DOESN’T NEED TO STAY.

#7 Soundtrack – THE KARATE KID, Part III.  “Wax on, wax off.”  The case and book for this CD do not meet the demanding criteria that LeBrain enforces on his collection, but neither does the track list.  (I don’t know who most of these people are, but I have heard of the Pointer Sisters.)

#6 WOODSTOCK 99 – Various.  Look at the first six tracks from crap bands, and try not to laugh (a challenging task).  The second CD is just as bad.

#5 Soundtrack – SON IN LAW.  The Pauly Shore franchise was known for making really bad movies.  The soundtracks are not much better and this shouldn’t be taking up valuable shelf space.

#4 ELMOPALOOZA – Various.  If LeBrain were a daddy, this CD might make sense (Steven Tyler has a song about trash).  But LeBrain is childless, and Tickle-Me-Elmo is pretty pointless here!

#3 ZZ TOP: A Tribute From Friends – Various.  Three words:

MIKE OWNS NICKELBACK!

#2 AVRIL LAVIGNE – The Lavigne Collection (see below).  In Part 314, LeBrain threw me under the bus for wanting to marry Joey Mac from New Kids on the Block, 25 years ago.  Payback time!  Just because he wanted to be her “Sk8tr Boi” doesn’t mean he needed to buy her entire repertoire.

And #1! HIT ZONE 4 – Various.  LeBrain’s messiest musical moments have been in his “Various” section, but this one takes the cake.  My husband owns tracks by NSync, the Backstreet Boys and Boyz II Men?  And to top it off this boy band festival, here’s Hanson!  Regardless, I think the most disturbing thing about this CD is cover.  Look at the scratches and scrapes on the case.  This tells me the CD has been well enjoyed.

CONCLUSION:  

LeBrain, with all the mess on YOUR shelves, you really can’t make fun of me.  But no matter what crap you listen to, you’re still mine.

– Mrs. LeBrain

NEXT TIME ON RECORD STORE TALES…

End of the Line!

 

Part 249: The Shirts

RECORD STORE TALES Part 249:  The Shirts

“Mikey,” said Trevor one afternoon, “I’m talking to you as a friend.  I know you don’t want to stay single forever.  I’m only try to help you out, but…that style you’re rocking just isn’t working man.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.  I thought I was actually dressed pretty cool.

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shorts n’ docs

“Well,” Trevor continued, “You’re wearing Doc Marten boots with shorts and a Deep Purple T-shirt.  It’s like you’re wearing three looks at once.  What you need to do is focus on one look and go with it.”

I was shell-shocked.  My Doc Marten boots were the bomb!  Deep Purple rules!

“But the boots and shorts are kind of grunge, right?  And that’s cool.”  My counterargument was sound.

“Yeah but the Deep Purple shirt isn’t grunge.  You see?  Trust me Mikey.  I’m just trying to look out for you.  I’ll take you shopping, and after that, you re going to get tons of action!”

Tons of action!  Right on.  I’m in, T-Rev, say no more man!

True to his word, that Saturday, T-Rev picked me up and took me to the mall.  And shop we did.  Apparently Hawaiian was in.  I picked up a Hawiian shirt and this cool burgundy velvety shirt.  I also picked up a couple T-shirts to wear underneath, and a beaded necklace which also was apparently in at the time.  That night, Trevor’s lovely then-girlfriend now-wife Michelle threw him a birthday party and I was able to give the burgundy shirt a test-run in a social environment.  While I did not see any “action”, the feedback was positive.  I have to say that I rocked the look really well and received numerous compliments.

Unfortunately, this kicked off a shirt addiction.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I had a flirtation with shirt addiction that lasted a couple years.  Next I bought an expensive black shirt with cool ridges at a place called Caesar’s Closet in Cambridge.  Then another burgundy shirt, even more velvety.  Then a black one with sparkles in it.  (That was my favourite, it later got recycled into my Paul Stanley Halloween costume.)  Two with flames.  One with guitars.  One with dice.  One that was shiny like a foil-wrapped baked potato, and many many more.  My bosses may have thought I’d lost my mind, as I showed up at the record store in more and more outlandish shirts.  I ended up with at least two dozen in my collection.

When I wore the silver baked potato shirt to work one day, one of my bosses was nearly blinded by it.  “Mike!  That’s a shirt for clubbing!”  Well, probably, but working in a record store gave me a certain amount of leeway that other jobs didn’t have.  I guess I wanted to have fun while I was young!

My “shirts phase” lasted a couple years before it finally faded away.  The obsession was excessive though.  One cottage weekend I packed 7 shirts for a 2 day stay.  By the end of it, I had even written a movie outline for a horror comedy film titled “The Shirt”.  The premise:

A cursed Hawaiian shirt finds its way into a clueless vacationer’s luggage.  The shirt kills those who wear it by strangulation; it can also possess the minds of those it has an affinity for.  Putting on the shirt could get you killed, or possessed — or both!  The evil shirt’s only weakness is bleach.

I’m hoping to get James Franco interested in playing the main character, the guy who makes it to the end of the movie.

Surprisingly few photos remain of my expansive shirt collection.  Perhaps that is a good thing.

More SHIRTS at mikeladano.com:
Record Store Tales Part 86: Captain Gold Shirt

Gallery: Another piece of meat

Fantastic anniversary weekend…

WTF Search Terms: Bodily functions edition

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WTF Search Terms V:  Bodily functions edition

All of these are search terms that people typed into Google, and wound up on my site.  Today the theme is “bodily functions”.  If you missed the last one, be sure to click here!

  1. “peeing” rowboat
  2. shiting on top of a shit
  3. shit into hand while in shower
  4. poo
  5. guy pissing in doorway
  6. boy holding poop in
  7. poo pictures
  8. poo in the door way
  9. poop in the shower post
  10. when to wash your hands pinterest

“When to wash your hands”?  Definitely after all of that!

I couldn’t figure out a music video to put with this, so let’s go with “TV Dinners” by ZZ Top, since that often will cause you to need to perform search term #4.