Author Archives: keepsmealive
Herein lies a tale.
I’ve told you about my other women, by which I mean my guitars (it’s what my lovely wife calls them). I love them all equally, and play whenever I can.
Now, you know I love my Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster. She’s a beaut. Plays like butter, and she twangs and sustains like all get out. That was me happy.
Still, for years, in the back of my mind I’ve also eyed the Classic Vibe 50 Stratocaster (2-colour burst with maple neck).
However, because I’m silly, I never pulled the trigger. I stalked it and watched as the price would jump to double as stock would deplete and secondary sellers looked to capitalize.
Turns out, the Classic Vibe series, as I knew it, was ending after years of awesome. My 50s Strat was out of stock and unlikely to return. They had other series, but it wasn’t the same.
Digging around, I found one left in Ontario, through Long & McQuade. I ordered it. It arrived very quickly, but it was the incorrect guitar! They’d sent a Classic Vibe 60s Strat in 3-colour burst with rosewood neck. It’d had the sales tag of my guitar, but attached to the wrong guitar!
The dude at L&M found one left in Charlottetown, PEI and ordered it in. Staff there said it had a slight blemish in the finish but we could have a look when it got in, decide then. It took two weeks to arrive.
This time it was the right guitar, and I watched as it was removed from a Gretsch box (used for shipping only!), and it’s glorious. It called to me the minute I laid eyes on it. I played it in-store, on the exact same amp as I have at home, and it’s so sweet. It’s exactly what you want from a Strat and, not unlike the Tele, plays like the $2000 Fender Strat for a fraction of the price. And, like the Tele, it’s true to 50s spec.* This series is so damn perfect.
The blemish in the finish is a truly wee little nick on the underside of the body. Obviously someone bonked it while trying it out in the store. Totally liveable, not even visible, not a dealbreaker. Otherwise, there’s not a mark on her. The guy at L&M even broke out the guitar polish and showed her some love before I played it.
I’ve named her Charlotte.
- Alder body with gloss polyester finish
- 1-Piece Maple, Modern C Shape neck, 9.5 in radius maple fingerboard and 21 medium jumbo frets
- 3 Custom Vintage Style Single-Coil Strat Pickups with Staggered, AlNiCo 3 Magnet Pole Pieces and Aged White Covers
- Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo. Nut Width: 1.650 inches(42 mm)
- Master volume with 2 tone controls with 5 position pickup selector switch
“MUSIC HEALS US. It can provide solace in difficult times, and help us celebrate moments of joy. The transformative power of music is at the heart of this compilation of intimate recollections by Canadians from every province and territory. In these remarkable stories, Canadians from all walks of life – including world-renowned celebrities from Sarah McLachlan and Chris Hadfield to Madeleine Thien and Theo Fleury – share how music changed their lives. The Awesome Music Project Canada: Songs of Hope and Happiness is a beautifully illustrated tribute to the music that comforts us, moves us, and lifts our spirits. Rounding out the book are descriptions of the neurological research confirming that music is good for us. It improves our mental, emotional, and physical health, wards off depression, and even delays dementia. Put simply: music makes us feel good. Written for the music lover in all of us, proceeds from The Awesome Music Project Canada will go to music and mental health research, starting with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and one of the world’s leading research centres.”
My lovely wife got me this gorgeous hardcover coffee table-sized book as an anniversary gift. She’s a therapist, so it was natural for her to support the Center for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH). But she knew, even more so, that the stories in this book would please me. In fact, would probably only confirm what I, and all of us, already know. As our KMA tagline read ages ago, Music Is The Lifeblood.
I’ve really enjoyed just picking the book up and flipping randomly to a page, reading a different short piece whenever I have a minute or two. Even early days of owning it, I’ve loved the Bob Egan story, and I learned that Theo Fleury made a music album. I’m sure this book will teach me so much more. Brilliant concept and execution.
Here are pics of the contents pages (I’ve got a lot of reading to do!):
Yes! James and Aaron met up in Taranna this past weekend!
James and his lovely wife Mika came for a visit to the Big Smoke! We hadn’t met Mika before this, which is absolute bad form on our part, but then again, they started dating after we left SK so… Anyway, she rawks (Hi Mika!). Their visit was for several reasons, which will surely be told in an upcoming post about a concert, right James? Naturally, my lovely wife and I took the weekend and met up with them for an afternoon of their trip! So awesome.
We walked around in the chaos of downtown, dodged several colourful and unwell characters, and checked Chinatown for tea and gummie candies. I bought a bottle of super-weird green tea that I hate-drank because I wasn’t wasting $2.50 by throwing it out. I don’t know what it was, but that shit wasn’t right. All who tried it mocked it, and mocked me for finishing it. Anyway, random non-English-labelled questionable Chinatown beverages (and narrowly-avoided gastrointestinal distress) aside, we also checked out a pop-up store full of old-school wrestling figures and unopened packs of old 80s trading cards. Total trip down memory lane. Then we had yummy delicious Thai food at Bangkok Garden, and then checked out the Ripley’s Aquarium.
All in all, an excellent visit that flew past waaaay too quickly, probably owing to the anticipation beforehand and because hanging with these two brilliant folks makes hours seem like minutes. We can only hope it isn’t nearly quite so long before we meet up with them again. Maybe this time my lovely wife and I will descend on SK! Haven’t been back there since 2005 (also bad form), so who knows.
Rock on, James and Mika! Thanks for visiting us in sunny ON! All is well in the Universe when the KMA Brothers reunite!
Hey folks, I’m still out here, and I’m still listening. This post is to give a massive shout-out to Rhino for their incredible work in compiling this 5CD set of Pogues material. Here’s the pull:
Over 100 tracks across 5 CDs spanning three decades of The Pogues. Includes demos, rehearsal recordings, BBC sessions, live tracks, outtakes and other rarities. Also includes recordings with Kirsty MacColl, Steve Earle and Joe Strummer.
I know. I KNOW! It’s a ton of Pogues goodness. Brilliant to hear all of this stuff.
Here’s the back jacket, as I do not have the time to type all of this out. Click on the shite photie to make it bigger (and therefore legible):
For the Labour Day weekend, Dad and I hit up Taranna yesterday. We took the streetcar to the CNE, where it was so busy and packed and loud that it actually wasn’t all that fun. I didn’t buy anything, and you couldn’t get near much of anything, so I just ate my $20 philly cheesesteak (and a Coke) and spent the afternoon pushing my way through the crowds.
We hung out in Chinatown, and I got some more new kinds of green tea to try. Dad also gave me some green tea egg rolls, cookies, and Pocky Sticks that he’d found. There was a theme. Anyway, after all, we didn’t get back to our town until almost midnight, so it was a long day with a lot of driving and a lot of crowds, but it was full and interesting and (ultimately) fun!
I did get to do BMV and Sonic Boom, though only quickly. It felt like skim-scanning rather than digging in, but getting to be there at all was still better than not. Sonic Boom was completely sold out of the new Tool album. I wanted to get it so badly and.. no. It’s sold out here in my town too, and I didn’t see it on Amazon, either. Ah well. Another time.
So you’re probably curious about what a cursory dig in those shoppes might turn up for me, so here ya go:
Eva Cassidy – Somewhere. I love Eva’s albums, and I buy up what I don’t have, sight-unseen.
Robert Johnson – Devil On My Trail: The Complete Songbook. I didn’t need this, but, you know…
Subtle – For Hero, For Fool. I remembered this being a crazy record, wanted to try it again.
Tragically Hip – Evolution Advances. A neat promo disc containing the single for Vaccination Scar, and snippets of Summer’s Killing Us, Heaven’s A Better Place Today, Gus: The Polar bear From New York, and Mean Streak. Never seen this before, likely never see it again, so it had to come home.
radiohead – Com Lag. I’ve never owned this Japanese-only EP. Now I do!
Wallflowers – Rebel, Sweetheart. I like these guys, never heard this one so I’m excited.
Dictators – Go Girl Crazy. I blame Geoff. This had to come home!
U2 – The Best Of 1980-1990, and The Best Of 1990-2000. These 2cd sets have what you wanna hear, and second discs full of b-sides. I don’t wanna own all the albums, but this was a good way to get all the singles in a fell swoop.
Rezillos – Can’t Stand The Rezillos: The (Almost) Complete Rezillos. I blame ROLLINS. He played these Scottish punkers on his show, and I wanted to hear more.
Viletones – A Taste Of Honey. Because awesome.
Undertones – Teenage Kicks: The Very Best Of. I was curious if anything more than the one song I know is any good…
Jimmy Lee Williams – Hoot Your Belly. I am a simple man. I see Fat Possum blues records, I buy them. They’re always awesome.
Dinner Is Ruined – Love Songs From The Lubitorium. A great left field Canuck supergroup fun times.
Isis – Temporal. I grab up Isis releases whenever I see ones I need, and this 2cd/1dvd made my day!
Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg. I already own this on CD and LP, but this one was signed so I rescued it.
Steve Winwood – Chronicles. I was in the mood for some of this, and this hits set covered a lot of what I had in my head. Excellent.
Counting Crows – Hard Candy. Haven’t heard this one before, so I’ll be curious to try it out…
And that was a super-full day, covering a huge swath of the city. I felt like I’d done my 10,000 steps for the week all in one day!
In honour of the new Tool album (dropped today – I will be buying my copy in Taranna tomorrow), here are two pics from the interwubs that pleased me:
You may recall, back in April our son was gifted a cool wee stereo for his 10th birthday. Well, recently, it was our daughter’s 8th birthday and she got the exact same stereo!
Early this morning, when we were the only two awake yet, she sat on my lap in front of the the ol’ Mac, picking out songs she wanted on her first disc of MP3s. I was proud of her choices in Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and CCR. She went into unfamiliar turf for me, though, choosing Maroon 5, Pink, and a song called Old Town Road. I hadn’t heard it before, but since it’s been playing on repeat in her room all afternoon, I can definitely say I’ve heard it now.
I’m chuffed that both our kids like music (I’ve made it my on-going mission since before they were born… yes, I played music at my lovely wife’s belly bump), and I’m all for supporting whatever they want to listen to, so long as it’s not too violent or language-filled, at this point. They’re still in that cute stage where someone in a movie will say ‘hell’ or ‘damn’ and they’ll look at us to see if it was OK haha. We just tell them that other people use bad words, and you’re gonna hear them, from time to time. It’s just a better choice to not use them yourself. And they nod sagely and think about the times Daddy hits his head on something and how bad words might turn the air blue for a few seconds… Anyway.
So, now both kids have the machinery to blast their own tunes and they’re thrilled. It’s a rite of passage, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re both into being excited about music. They both have it in them and, as ol’ John Lee said, it’s got to come out. These stereos will really help open up the world for them. And, since their bedrooms share a common wall between them, we’re thankful both kids also have decent headphones.
Now I just gotta get Old Town Road out of my head. Time to crank some Stooges…
Driving our son home from the soccer (football/fitba’*) complex the other night, the radio was on in the car.
On comes Rush’s ‘Freewill.’ Of course, I’m drumming along on the steering wheel (because it is a physical impossibility to not drum on the steering wheel like you’re Neil Peart while listening to Rush) and from the seat beside me I hear, sotto voce, “You can choose a ready guide / In some celestial voice / If you choose not to decide / You still have made a choice / You can choose from phantom fears / And kindness that can kill / I will choose a path that’s clear / I will choose free will…”
Yes! Not only was my boy singing along, he knew all the words! I sang along too and he liked that – Father/Son moments!
It warmed my heart. Proud of my boy!
From Urban Dictionary:
1. (m) the beautiful game
2. (f) the stupid game involving 22 grown men (and 3 officials of dubious parentage and eyesight) kicking around a lump of leather around a field, often sparking irrational behaviour, bad language and blind devotion to a team or player, to the detriment of normal marital relations.
(see Fitba’ Widow)
Thought I’d share what I’ve picked up lately, so you know what’s been in my ears. Given the time available, this sort of post makes some sense these days. Give ‘er…
AC/DC – Powerage
I own most (if not all) the AC/DC studio albums. In oversiiiiiight, I didn’t have this one, so this fixes that.
Bon Scott with Fraternity – Livestock
Still haven’t played this one. Mike says it’s not so great, but it’s been a while since he heard it so maybe his opinion would be different now. I’m curious to try it out!
Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma, and Cho-Liang Lin – Haydn: Three Favourite Concertos
Bought for the Marsalis, I’ll stay for the Haydn. Yes.
Wynton Marsalis – In Gabriel’s Garden
Wynton does Bach, Purcell, Torelli, Mouret, Clarke, Dandrieu, Charpentier and Stanley, with the English Chamber Orchestra and Anthony Newman. Yes please!
Diana Krall – Live In Paris
A cool tracklist, and this copy looks like she autographed it. Neat-o!
Fleetwood Mac – 50 Years: Don’t Stop
Bought this out of curiosity. Didn’t really need it as I already have the Greatest Hits. Also, this is the 1CD version, and it turns out there is a 3CD version which would be a whole lot better. Anyway.
Various – Punk City Rockers (4CD)
Cool-looking comp with a pile of old-school punkers. Bands include UK Subs, Angelic Upstarts, Anti Nowhere League, Vibrators, Exploited, Gonads, 999, Cockney Rejects, Lurkers, Defects, Infa Riot, Stiff Little Fingers, The Business, Adicts, Ruts, Chelsea, Adverts, Slaughter & The Dogs, among many others. Cool!
Ryan Adams – 1989
I buy any of his stuff whenever I see it cheap. Bought this one despite his cover of Bad Blood. I think I’ve just heard it too many times on the piped-in music at work. Blah. There’s surely other, better songs here.
Counting Crows – This Desert Life
I spend most of my time with their first two records, so I never heard this one. Now I can!
Tin Machine – Tin Machine & Tin Machine – Tin Machine II
Always wanted these David Bowie project albums. Can’t wait to dig in!
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – Murder Of The Universe
Bought on spec. I mean, with a band name and an album title combo like that, this is has to be the most epic stuff possible, right?
Otep – Sevas Tra
I love their song Blood Pigs. Love love love. Now I have the whole album!
Pantera – Far Beyond Driven
Love me some Pantera, and for some inexplicable reason, I never owned this album. Now I do, and I’m gonna crank it!
Hey y’all, it’s Sunday and this is a long one (that’s what she said), so settle in with a coffee and put your feet up…
Last post, I covered our July trip to Taranna, and all my scores. Fun! But with this extended time away from the blog, I haven’t even finished our May trip to Taranna. Not to mention my scores in June. This post corrects that.
So. There were a couple left from that abandoned series way back in May:
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cardinology If I don’t already have one when I find them, I buy his releases (at reasonable prices) on the spot. I have yet to be truly disappointed.
Black Mountain – IV The only one of theirs I still needed (I think). Love their stuff.
And now here is the stuff I found during our June excursion…
Live – Secret Samadhi For some inexplicable reason I did not have a copy of this on hand, so this corrects that omission.
Branford Marsalis – Romances For Saxophone Honestly, this one is in the 3-For bin during several visits. I rescued it, because Marsalis.
OMPS Natural Born Killers Love the film, been ages since I heard the soundtrack. Time for a re-listen. I remember NIN, and Leonard…
Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head I have the other (second) album she did with Pete Yorn too. I think I owned this ages ago, as the single is very familiar to me…
Paradise Lost – Medusa, and The Plague Within HMO recommended. Totally awesome.
Solstafir – Svartir Sandar 2cd, I Blodi Og Anda, and Otta Also HMO recommended, I totally cleaned up and, in this fell swoop, nearly completed my collection of this excellent Icelandic band’s output. I already had the deluxe Otta in the box with swag, so this rescue copy is for play.
Silver Jews – American Water I always buy Silver Jews albums when they contain Malkmus. This one does.
Pixies – Indie Cindy Bought because Pixies, because I hadn’t yet heard it, and because the title (her namesake) makes my lovely wife happy.
Danny Michel – Matadora All Danny Michel is excellent Danny Michel. Another one for the collection!
Metallica – S&M I realized I didn’t have this 2cd Metallica/SFO set on CD (I have the LPs), so I snapped up a reasonably priced copy. “Of Wolfgang And Man,” indeed!
Opeth – My Arms, Your Hearse My first time seeing a copy of this one in the wild. There’s only one or two left, now, for me to have to the whole Opeth studio collection!
I like everything Rick White has done, so when I see a release I don’t yet have, it’s an instant yes please!
I also got a bunch of stuff for $2.99 at Sonic Boom, bargain-hunter that I am:
Big Rude Jake – Live Faust, Die Jung I realized there are gaps in my BRJ collection, which is inexcusable. This was one I needed.
Frank Black and the Catholics – Frank Black and the Catholics I do love me some Black Francis, and I was fairly certain I hadn’t heard this one. I’ve loved everything I’ve heard of the Catholics output.
Violent Femmes – Rock!!!!! I know next-to nothing about this one, but I do love the VF so why not!
Smashing Pumpkins – Momuments To An Elegy I grabbed this simply because I hadn’t even known it existed. What would SP sound like in 2014? Let’s find out!
Lyle Lovett – I Love Everybody, and Live In Texas There’s something about this loveable weirdo I have always enjoyed, so cheap albums of his made me happy. I especially liked the track listing on that live record…
Jesse Dangerously – How To Express Your Dissenting Political Viewpoint Through Origami I was thrilled to find this one, and for so cheap. James said this was the score of the trip and he’s right.
All in all, an excellent Taranna run!
And tucked way down here at the bottom, here’s what else I’d found in May, and covered in these pages, as you may recall. [Rescue Missions] are the ones I bought and already had because it’s what I do apparently…:
Rheostatics – Greatest Hits [Rescue Mission]
Atoms For Peace – Amok (deluxe) [Rescue Mission]
Eva Cassidy – American Tune
Various – Ballin’ The Jack: The Birth Of The Nu-Blues
Kelly Hogan – Because It Feel Good
Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain
Ani DiFranco – Allergic To Water
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – ‘Freedom Tower’ No Wave Dance
Tinariwen – Imidiwan: Comapnions cd/dvd
Pixies – Head Carrier
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs – Medicine County
Paley & Francis – Paley & Francis
Hardship Post – Somebody Spoke
J. Mascis – Live At CBGBs: The First Acoustic Show
Sadies – Precious Moments
Mark Lanegan – Bubblegum
Mark Lanegan – Whiskey For The Holy Ghost
Sadies – Tremendous Efforts
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F#A#
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
And if you’ve read this far, your coffee is surely gone and you are a true trooper. Thanks for Reading!
First up, HAPPY CANADA DAY! Give ‘er!
So, it’s about time I put something here. Dad and I went to Taranna yesterday. It was a perfect day in the city, gorgeous weather, easy traffic, and a big party in the market as it’s a holiday weekend.
I’ll just post up my scores (no reviews), for y’all to see what caught my eye…
First up, the 3-for-$10 bins are now 4-for-$10 bins. Awesome! I asked the dude, and he said he’s pretty sure it’s a permanent change. They just have so much stuff to clear through. He did say they may make some 4-for-$10 and some 3-for-$10, depending on what they are. Will see going forward.
Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith – Nothin’ But The Blues Y’all Looks like Taranna-based fun, half studio, half live tracks.
Clutch – Pure Rock Fury I don’t own any Clutch, but they’ve come recommended, so why not.
Joe Strummer – Earthquake Weather This was an immediate grab. A rescue mission for Joe!
Hootie & The Blowfish – Musical Chairs Our son heard Hootie on the radio and loved it, so this was one I didn’t have and it rounded out the 4-for-$10.
Tim Armstrong – A Poet’s Life I think I owned this at one point, but not until I found it again yesterday. CD/DVD.
Jakob Dylan – Seeing Things I asked James if Wallflowers are making a comeback like Hootie is, and he didn’t think so. But I’ve been hearing them everywhere, so when I saw a Jakob solo album, I was curious.
Guided By Voices – Vampire On Titus/Propeller In all the years I’ve checked the GBV sections, I’ve never seen this double album single CD. I own both albums individually, but when I saw this I grabbed it because GBV. Then I went to Sonic Boom and saw another copy. What are the chances, in all these years…
Tuns – When You’re Ready b/w Kiss Yourself Goodbye Awesome 7″ from awesome band. Woo!
Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs and Opel I owned Barrett already, so I was happy to round out the collection.
Descendents – Milo Goes To College Classic. Had to get a copy as I was inexplicably without it.
Godspeed You! Black Emporer – Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress and Luciferian Towers Slowly completing (if not completed) my GY!BE collection. Glory.
Baroness – Gold & Grey New Baroness makes me happy and this is probably the score of the day!
All told, a perfect run to the city, and so many great tunes, to boot. Thanks for Reading, folks!
Yesterday we buried my lovely wife’s dad, my father-in-law. It was a lovely service for a good man, with family and friends gathering in numbers.
His name was William Wesley, but everyone called him Mike. Through it all, he did love his family, and he did dote on his grandkids. He went through a decade and more of varying/related health issues, finally passing a week ago. We were with him at the end.
As you no doubt know, difficult times cause reflection, and reminiscence. You take stock of your own life, and wake up to the things you may have been neglecting. You realize, as you look at ashes in a box, that a lot of the things bothering you matter little, in the end. Things clear up in a damn hurry in such sobering times.
I posted a short while ago about things we cherish, so what of the record collection, etc. Life is for the living, so enjoy it. For me it’s people. Tell them you love them today. Family, friends, this community. Thank you, everyone, for your messages of support and understanding. Thank you for years of Reading, and conversation, and being awesome.
I’ve been neglecting these pages in all the busy, but knowing you folks are out there helps a lot. Thank you.
RIP Mike. Thank you for everything, and especially your beautiful daughter, my lovely wife.
Sonic Boom #8
Just out of curiosity, how are you folks liking this picture/caption gig? Lemme know…
Sonic Boom #2
Trying new formats to see what’s sustainable. Larger, centered picture with caption text. Lemme know what you think…
I love Pixies, full-stop. They have a wonky rocking glorious sound all their own, they rarely miss, and it’s always worth hearing. Get Head Carrier in yer ears!
Hey folks! So, I’ve been slowly recounting my awesome Taranna finds from our trip there last month. I still have the rest of my BMV scores to tell you about, and ALL of the Sonic Boom finds too! So much to do.
Well, as a sign of how far behind I actually am, we were in Taranna again yesterday. And I have more music scores! So… um, I’ll tell you about all of them. Eventually. I am at the point where I’m gonna just have to post the album art and a one-liner and call it a day. Good grief.
Anyway, the city was awesome yesterday. Perfect weather, about 15C with a breeze off the lake. People had coats on, but us northerners were in t-shirts. Traffic was a bit rough on the way down, backed up at the 400 and the 427, but that happens often, and we made great time getting out of the city so that’s a win. The stores were way less busy as it wasn’t Record Store Day anymore.
Speaking of stores, Kops Records on Bloor was gone. No sign in the window that they’d moved, so I dunno. Maybe it’s all in the Queen St. location now? And She Said Boom! on College was gone too, but my panic was short-lived as they’d only moved a few doors further west down the street. Whew!
Also: I had a list of four albums I knew I definitely wanted to find, and I found two! Cool beans. I did not find any Grail List items. Speaking of which, have a look at the Grail List link (above) and if there are any updates for your lists, let me know!
Alright, stay tuned. I have awesome musics to hear/tell you about. And all the previous stuff too. Let’s see if I can find a way to get this done before we go again next month…
I still thank Mr. 1537 for pointing me towards this incredible unit.
If, like me, you dig their groovin’ desert blues, then this album will please you as greatly as any of their other work pleases you. Brilliant stuff!
My copy came with a DVD containing a 30 minute documentary about the band.
It’s cleaner-sounding, but he’s still shouting and they’re still rocking. They’re still in control, and the blues is still #1!
This is her 18th album, and I’ve been on the Ani bus for a lot of awesome listening years. She’s always on point, and she’s always brilliant. This one’s another fine example that sounds great.
This lady can sing. Without a doubt, she does it with control, power, and soul. Here she interprets songs others wrote for her (including M. Ward, Vic Chesnutt, Stephen Merritt, John Wesley Harding, Robyn Hitchcock, and Andrew Bird, to name a few), and is joined by Booker T. Jones and others to make it all sound stellar. Glorious.
So I bought this Neil Young book.
Nothing amiss there, oughta be a good read.
Then, when I got it home, I looked inside at the first page and saw this:
Yup, that’s in pen.
Alright. I have questions.
- Is this thing signed by Neil Young?
- Is he known to simply autograph with his initials?
- Further down the rabbit hole, could this have been signed to Rik Emmett? Am I thinking too hard about this?
Of course, surely there are other people named Rik, but there you go.
So what do you think?
Grammatically painful title aside, this is one hot CD. I knew of Kelly Hogan through Carolyn Mark. And Neko Case. Turns out she’s collaborated with a ton of others too, like Mavis Staples, Decembrists, Mekons, Tortoise, Jakob Dylan… the list is long and awesome.
You’ll know why she’d be a popular guest when you hear her creative, fun, beautiful record. What a voice! Hot damn. This is straight-up kick-ass gotta-hear it stuff.
I f*ckin’ love comps like this. The write-up on the back cover says it all:
Balling The Jack: 1) Gambler speak for risking everything on one throw of the dice. 2) A railroads man’s term for going full speed on a train. 3) Afro American argot for a dance characterized by sexually explicit pelvic movements. 4) Black slang for generally having a goooood time.
The Nu Blues: The Old Skool Blues feel, given a techno turbo-charge and pepped with hip-hop thrills, punk power, indie angst, art-rock experimentalism and an extra helping of 21st century soul to go. The Devil’s Music Deconstructed. You know it ain’t a sin…
Reid Paley – Lucky’ Tune
Asie Payton/Go Gittas Camp – Oooh Baby
Tom Waits – Big In Japan
Jimpson & Group – Road Song
Chris Thomas King – Mississippi Kkkrossroads
North Mississippi Allstars – Someday Baby
Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band – Electricity
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Stagger Lee
Olu Dara – Strange Things Happen Everyday
Pig In A Can – Slow Down Train
Gary Lucas w. Mary Margaret O’Hara – Poison Tree
Soft Boys – Give It To The Soft Boys
Billy Childish & His Famous Headcoats – The Wond’rous Day
Petit Vodo – Border Line
Moby – Findy My Baby
Penny Lang – Lost And Found
R.L. Burnside – Let My Baby Ride
Cowboy Junkies – Postcard Blues
Johnny Dowd – A Picture From Life’s Other Side
Bob Log III – Stirring Round A Stick
Diamanda Galas – See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
The only disc I found in the 3-for-$10 bin that needed to come home.
This bluesy beautiful set contains covers of Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Paul Simon, Duke Ellington, Lennon-McCartney and Cyndi Lauper (among others). The sound is clear and roomy, and the band is on point. This one’s just more proof of her brilliance. She died far too young (at 33, in 1996). May she RIP.
TARANNA: As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Dad and I made were in Taranna recently. I bought musics, and will tell you about all of it. I plan to keep the posts super short, and to try to hone my Briefly Telling You Something Informatively skills.
(ARGUABLY UNNECESSARY) RESCUE MISSIONS: I keep a .txt list of all my music (artists and titles) on my phone. Apparently it needs an overhaul because on this last trip I bought a few items I already own. They were:
Rheostatics – Greatest Hits. I will forever love the Rheos, and not only because they called their first album their Greatest Hits. Turns out I already had this CD. And the LP.
Atoms For Peace – Amok (Deluxe Edition). I already own the CD. And the LP. But this was a shiny lovely deluxe fold-out CD edition for cheap, which I did not have. Unnecessary? Yes but also no.
Rollins Band – Nice (Advance CD). This is just the album (which I already own), with some promotional content added to the CD (which I also already own). This was a rescue mission (and my third copy). Because ROLLINS.
Mounties – Thrash Rock Legacy. I already own this CD, but it’s Hawksley (et al.) and it was in the clearance for $2.99 so I could not leave it to languish. I will find it a good home.
OK. First CD from BMV posts tomorrow.
Recently our son turned ten years old. Not sure where the time went, but our beautiful bundle of joy has grown to be a thoughtful, intelligent, strong young man.
He got a ton of gifts, of course (LEGO is still his favourite, now in the Technic form) but he got a couple of other gifts for which I think he’ll always remember this year’s birthday:
Up until now, he’s been listening to classic rock on his clock alarm radio. A rite of passage (I did the same). This year, my parents got him his first stereo. It’s a little CD/MP3 bookshelf unit with its own remote. I’ve been hooking him up with tunes (at his request – so far it’s been Gowan, Led Zeppelin, and Iron Maiden). I don’t know about you, but I’ve always remembered my first stereo, that light switch turning on and opening up the whole world to music and possibility. I can already see it’ll be the same for him.
And this year, I got him his first acoustic guitar. A real one, as he called it. An Art & Lutherie, just like mine. Actually, his is more capable as it has a pickup in it, but he liked the connection. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always remembered my first guitar, a Yamaha acoustic that endured my first plunking twangs. I was 18 or so when I got my first guitar, and I can’t help but think that if I’d gotten one at 10 years old, I’d have been so much further ahead. He hasn’t said anything about lessons yet, but we let him know it’s an option. I can show him basic chords to get him started.
There’s a different look in his eyes. I see that he sees the world opening up. Now he can listen to music (and control it), and he can begin to make his own.
Parenting comes with a lot of cool moments, too many to count. But some bigger ones you have to wait for, and I’ve been waiting a long time for these. I can confirm that when you get there, it’s so worth the wait.
It’s easy to trundle along thinking life will always be like it is now.
My lovely wife’s father has been ill for over a decade. He lived at home as long as he could. But eventually he wound up in the hospital and now, for the past couple of months, in a nursing home. It’s the best situation, with care on hand.
We visited him for Easter, and he’s in a room with an occupancy of four. He has a closet for a few clothes, a bulletin board above his bed, and a wee rolling shelf box beside the bed. Simple living.
Naturally, after visiting, my thoughts eventually roll to our own future. What if we end up in a similar situation? You want to live in your own home for as long as you can, of course, but as he discovered, health conditions can easily dictate otherwise despite your wishes.
And, being a collector, my brain takes the next logical step and asks: what about the records? Sure, they’d be at home. But, as an example, he’s unlikely to ever return home. And there’s no space in a place like that for anything like a turntable and even a few records. And, even if there was, the other three roommates might not like the tunes, so it’d be all headphones… I suppose an iPod would do, as a vehicle for getting the music to your ears.
And after we pass, what then? I don’t suppose I care what happens to any of it after I’m gone – I can’t play them anymore, after all – but the thought nags and, after our visit, I look at the collection in a different way. All my readings of Zen, Tao, and Walden flood back. I think minimalist. I calculate my current age and start guessing when I’ll be unable to maintain a private residence. It may never happen. Could be in 30 years. And so on. Isn’t my brain FUN?
The other side of this whole thing is to just not think about it, for now, and just enjoy the hell out of the music while I can. But that thought of the future will always be in there, and seeing his set-up which, admittedly, is comfortable and clean and enough, preemptively undoes all of my collecting efforts and life-hours. Eyes open.
Got my first free day with good weather (after winter), so Dad and I headed for Taranna.
It was Record Store Day. BMV wasn’t any busier than usual. Sonic Boom, however, was jammed with people so you could barely turn around. Great for sales, of course! But also hard to actually shop. They had live music on a stage at the back. I heard two acts (* photo credits to Sonic Boom’s Instagram):
I didn’t get any RSD 2019 scores. I could have bought the Mastodon Stairway To Heaven EP, but it was $27 for two songs and that’s too rich for me. I did get a ton of other scores in both shoppes, and I will report back here on all of them. Which leads me to…
As noted recently, I’ve got minimal time to blog/Read. Gah! I still want to tell you about stuff I hear, so I’m going to have to go shorter, though it must still tell you something about my thoughts about the thing, not just ‘hey this is what I heard/saw/etc.’
I’ll bet I could do it in one or two concise sentences.
Here’s one I’ve had in Dennis (my post hopper) for some time now. I’ve updated it to current and here it is:
I love hockey. I really do.
I grew up playing it, and wasn’t too bad as a center/left wing. But I got out at 14 years old, when everyone else had grown and I hadn’t, as with body contact allowed I was getting crushed. Turns out I don’t have or enjoy the mean tough hockey thing. I prefer the finesse have-fun hockey thing. Anyway.
As a kid, it made sense I should’ve been a Leafs fan. My Dad is a lifelong Leafs fan. Heck, they were the city closest to us, and they were the team we watched most on Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada. Yet I was an Oilers fan. Gretzky and Messier are still my top two hockey gods. Hard to fault a kid for cheering for those 80s Oilers. I even got to go to an Oilers/Leafs game at the old Gardens, ages ago, to see my heroes… And the Leafs… well, they’ve had a long, difficult slog since… the 60s.
Then I lived 20 years without a TV, so I didn’t see a whole lot of hockey. What I did see, I struggled to watch. I hated the zone trap, it actually made the game boring. And all the lazy hooking from behind on the backcheck (which is now a penalty, thank goodness) made the game unwatchable. I even hated when Fox tried to put that stupid streak behind the puck so everyone could follow along. Dumb. Honestly, who can’t follow the puck?
And now, over the years of having internet I began to follow the NHL again, just highlights and stuff. I’m not a Oilers fan, per se, anymore. I’ve tended to just hope that the team that deserves to win actually wins. And this season, I found a channel on Youtube that condenses every 60 minute game into an 8-10 minute highlight reel. I watched many of them here and there, while I was cooking supper, or while the kids were in kung fu, or whenever my attention wasn’t immediately required elsewhere. Over time I got re-acquainted with what has always been in my blood, and we even go to our local OHL games now and again, and I love those. I just grew to love watching hockey again.
And I found myself rooting for the Leafs.
I can’t quite articulate why. There are so many good teams in the league, now. Honestly, the speed and the skill these days is off the charts from what this old dog is used to seeing. And still, for all the great players the Leafs have, somehow they often manage to be a hot mess. But when they get it right, goddamn it, it’s superb.
So I’m learning what beginning to identify as a Leaf fan means. It’s an annual tough row to hoe, it’s a lot of bitter disappointments and crushed hopes… and yet somehow hope always springs eternal. I mean, even the Cubs won a World Series eventually.
And last night, at my folks’ place, I watched Game 7 of the Bruins/Leafs first round series, held in Boston. I found myself actually nervous for the buds. And they lost, in big fashion, 5-1. Despite out-playing, out-shooting (by a wide margin) and out-hitting the Bruins. Really it was 3-1, but they stupidly pulled Andersen with about 3:00 left, allowing those last two coffin-nail goals. And so their season ends.
Honestly, now with Toronto, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Calgary (and maybe Washington, tonight) out of the playoffs [all major teams!], I don’t really care much who wins anymore. I’m happy Nashville’s out, though. I have watched (off and on) all season, and I’ll still watch to the end and see who wins the Cup, but with the Leafs out it just doesn’t feel exciting in the same way. That’s a huge new first for me.
And I hope for next season already. I hope they trade Kadri* and Nylander**, promote Ennis and Moore, and put super-speedy Kapanen back where he belongs. I hope they get another defenseman. I hope they work out the top guns lines and stick with what works. Hell, I cross my fingers Marleau sticks around forever. I hope they give Marner whatever he wants – they need him and that kid’s amazing. I hope they treat Tavares and Matthews like kings. If I was a kid now, they’d be my heroes. I hope they find Andersen a solid back-up (is Sparks it? Who knows). So much to handle in the off-season.
And here I sit, newly-minted and full of opinions, probably talking outta my ass. Haha shut up, noob! Yeesh.
Apparently, I’m now a Leafs fan. I wouldn’t ever have guessed it, and yet here it is. I know what it means. And I’m OK with that.
In a beautiful bit of life’s full circle, our son is an Oilers fan. He loves McDavid, and Draisaitl, and all the rest. Good on him. I support him in that, too!
* He’s let them down when they need him too often. Time to go, bud, thanks for everything good.
** I said at the time of all that trade holdout crap that they didn’t need him (not that he’s not a good player, just that They Did Not Need Another Expensive Forward), and I was proven right. Waaaay too many millions, and for waaaaay too little output (called it). Meh.
What? Tea? Am I ripping off Sarca (Juan Valdez Follows her, you should too!) and her coffee posts?
Nope. I mentioned a while back about managing to shed about 25 pounds. I don’t say I ‘lost’ weight because that sounds like something that could be found again and I have no interest in finding it again. Anyway.
I’m fairly certain a significant part of this accomplishment was the ingestion of healthy quantities of green tea. I know lots of folks think it tastes like grass, and who’d wanna drink the lawn? But me, I love it. Just plain, straight up, nothing in it. No lemon, no ginger, no extra anything. Keep it coming.
So I started a survey of green teas, out of my own interest, and thought I’d share the results (thus far, hence the Pt.1 in the title) in case any of y’all were interested.
I used a scale from 0 (hairy grossness) to 10 (rainbow unicorn panacea). Here’s what I’ve got so far:
1 – Lipton Green Tea – basic, cheap, not terrible. RATING: 5
2 – Tim Hortons Green Tea – lemon furniture cleaning spray nose, OK flavour. Would probably make a fairly good iced tea. RATING: 6-1 for the nose = 5
3 – Twinnings Green Tea – smooth, simple, solid go-to. RATING: 7
4 – Tian Hu Shan Dragon Well Green Tea – Chinatown Taranna find. Basic, not offensive. RATING: 5
5 – Lipton Magnificent Matcha Green Tea – expensive, in comparison, but so far above and beyond the others it’s not even fair. RATING: 10
And that’s the first 5. When I get through a few more, I’ll report back. Enjoy a cuppa!
I’ve posted crap like this a lot over these (now) 13 years, but this is a new general state.
All apologies, dear KMA Readers. Post counts are down. Worse, I haven’t read your posts, or commented. Where did Aaron go?
I’ve just lost the mojo. And the further it goes along, the harder it is to get back. I thought I could get caught up and then stay on top daily, but then it slid too long. Apologies all around.
I do still listen to music. In this current state, I’ve now heard more than I’ve posted (natch).
I need a sustainable plan. I probably need to let go of the idea of staying on top. I probably need to stop worrying about it. Not gonna lie, the reflex is dying hard, but it is what it is.
So, a few days ago, I barfed in a post about some of the pros and cons of going to concerts. And then we went to a concert (SADIES FTW!). So I thought I’d go back through my post and see how this show matched up. Thoughts are in italics in the (bolded) original text (because I am lazy)…:
You know, in a way, concerts are rather silly. This one wasn’t! It was awesome.
You spend extra money Truly not a problem, for seeing this band.
and set aside an entire evening to go out of your house not gonna lie, we needed to get out so bad.
and be amongst the masses who’ll mostly likely talk through the whole damn thing, check their cellphones non-stop, chew with their mouths open and probably get drunk and sloppy OK so this happened, in fact one drunk guy kept coming close to elbowing my lovely wife in the head several times and looked at us like we were the jerks when we calmly asked him to move, meanwhile he and his buddies stood right over us and had a shouted conversation throughout several songs but then stopped talking when the band stopped playing ASSHOLES… though eventually they got the hint and moved off, so um, yay?,
just to hear a band reproduce songs that you could reproduce yourself from their album anytime you choose – in your house, in your car, from your phone or iPod. I’ve seen several bands who did this, and I came away wondering why I didn’t just play the CD… Except, as J. correctly pointed out, the Sadies are on another level performing live. Their CDs are great, and their live show is just that much greater, so this was definitely not a re-tread experience.
Very often (for me) concerts are too loud to the point where the sound isn’t even pleasurable to listen to, breaking up and distorted. Admittedly, for certain types of concerts like punk or metal shows, that makes sense and can be fun (with earplugs), but more often, I find it would be better if it was slightly, reasonably quieter. At least, not crush-your-chest and head loud. Loud for the sake of being loud. This show was at a reasonable volume that suited the room and the music, so it was fine (even without earplugs).
Also, for me, most decent shows require at least two hours of travel to a larger city, so it’s not just the expense of the ticket itself, it is the expense of time, gas money, food money and, depending on where and at what time the show is, possibly hotel money as well. It is a planned event beyond just stopping by to check it out. Not to mention we’d need to arrange childcare, and make sure that it isn’t a work night. This one was right here in our town, ten minutes from our home!
So you commit to going somewhere, usually at expense, and being jostled by other people, to hear songs you’ve already heard at a volume that hurts. The mild introvert in me finds all of this very tiring. The mild introvert in me was fine with most of the evening, except for the drunken louts. They really could have tried harder. They’re also harder to take when you’re not drinking yourself. It’s been four years since I had a drink, and I suppose after a couple it might’ve been easier going, but through sober eyes they were just sad and annoying.
On the other side of the coin, concerts are special because very often bands don’t merely reproduce the songs as you hear them on the album. The best bands make the song recognizable, yet they will add solos, or change the words, or make the song shorter or longer, or even blend songs together that you hadn’t previously considered putting together. They will also play cover tunes, and talk to the crowd and tell jokes and stories, making it a worthwhile experience because it’s stuff you wouldn’t otherwise get. This was absolutely the case at this Sadies show.
If you enjoy merchandise, you can get T-shirts, hats, pins, CDs and whatever else. There was a stuff table. CDs were $15, LPs were $20. Pretty sure the t-shirts were $30 or $35. I didn’t buy anything but the prices seemed reasonable. There didn’t seem to be more than a few albums on display, so I don’t know if there were more in a box, available on request, or if that was all they brought with them.
If you enjoy meeting the people who make the music, sometimes you can get lucky and hang around after the show and meet them, although myself I’m more often tend to not do that than the times that I do. We did not stick around after the show ended, as it was nearing midnight and we had to get back and let our babysitter off the hook. There’s a very good chance, though, that if we’d hung around we might’ve met one or all of the band. They didn’t seem too inclined to be rushing out of the building.
Plus it is simply a night out and doing something, just different than the usual routine and sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered. OMG this, for sure. We don’t often go out, just the two of us, and usually that’s fine. But it sure was nice, on this occasion!
Looks like, in this case, the Sadies win the Pros column easily, and easily disarm the Cons side as well. This was a show well worth it in (just about) every way. Thank you, Sadies. Come back again soon! And go to Glasgow – J. demands it! 🙂
On 1998-11-04, my lovely wife and I had our first date. So, hopeless romantic geeks that we are, every year we acknowledge that date in some small way. Of course, last November (2018-11-04) was 20 years since our first date. Accordingly, we said ‘hey, we oughta do something, like actually go out on a date and enjoy.’ Great idea!
Fast forward to this past Thursday night, our first real opportunity to get out just the two of us. Now, as the parents of two small children, a delay of 5 months is normal, right?
Anyway. This all came about because, one day, I noticed the concert poster bill (below) and I said to my lovely wife, ‘Hey look, the SADIES!’ and she said ‘We’re going!’ and so we got tickets that day. The gig became our plan to get out for the night!
So, first we went out for dinner, and then hit up the Heartwood Hall for the sold out Sadies concert. Life is grand!
Sharp-eyed KMA Readers will recall that the Heartwood is the same venue in which we saw Danny Michel perform last year. It’s an event space above the store (of the same name) on our main street. The acoustics are great and, even when full, it mustn’t hold that many people, maybe 200? I dunno, not many. This time around, a good amount of floor space in front of the stage was left empty for dancing.
At some point in the evening, I texted myself key words so I could write this review of the gig when I got home. That I am finishing this a couple of days later makes me even more glad I sent this. I kind of like it as it is, so here’s the text, verbatim:
Sadies raucous rocking swinging country punk jamming shifting time signatures tones moods tempos glorious sway fearless abandon infectious energy bare kuckles roadhouse barroom brawl gorgeous twang musical prowess varied Canadiana masterpiece with dancers and so goddamn tight yet relaxed about it all hot damn this fucking rules
There’s an easy swagger to what the Sadies do, but it belies the absolute control and energy that these four players possess. They are locked tight in the pocket at all times, yet there’s still that feeling of room to move, create, push the music forward. It’s easy to focus on the guitar pyrotechnics and the vocal differences between the Good brothers (Dallas and Travis), but to watch Mike Belitsky on the drums was, for me, a dream, and Sean Dean on the upright bass was unassuming but playing with style, panache, and holding the whole damn thing together like a boss. It’s a battery team par excellence.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better gig this year. These guys are amazing.
I noticed Dallas had two Telecasters, a red one which seemed to be his main instrument, and a blonde Tele with his name right on the fretboard under the strings, which he only played for a couple of songs. Travis had what looked like a Gibson 335 or maybe a Gretsch, I didn’t get close enough to see for sure.
You could tell the band was having a blast and, several times, Dallas made sure to mention that they really loved the room at the Heartwood (they’ve played here before), and they surely didn’t take for granted how welcomed they felt and how much they were enjoying the whole thing. He also took a wild stab at what people from this town call themselves, and he got it right first guess: Owen Sounders. He loved that, and stayed with it until blurting, “that’s, like, the best band name ever!” He’s not wrong.
Most Sadies songs are short, tight manifestos of awesome (and as my text to myself shows, they’re varied and amazing). As such, they blasted through a ton of brilliant songs, over the course of the evening. No one has posted the setlist on setlist.fm as of this writing, so the actual list will have to wait until some kind soul tells us for sure (I’ll post it if it ever does appear). I’m gonna guess we heard over 30 songs though, because the show was well over two hours long, and their intermission was short. I know!
As they neared the end, Dallas said they were gonna play four more songs and then wrap it up. They blasted through those four songs (including It’s Nothing To Me, which I was waiting to hear ‘cos I love it), set down their instruments and made to leave. Not long after, it was decided they’d play two more songs and then end the gig. After those two songs were done, same deal and a decision to play one more song, which they did, and then that was, finally, the end of the gig. You could just tell they were loving every minute, soaking up the fun and the love and they, like us, didn’t want it to be over.
Folks, if the Sadies play anywhere near your town, at any time, GO. Don’t even hesitate. They are so good, it’s a guaranteed great set. Just GO.
Happy date-iversary, indeed!
NB: Sorry, J., we didn’t get a chance to talk to the band after the show, as we had to go relieve our babysitter of duties (it was nearing midnight), so I didn’t get a chance to tell them about your hope for the band to come and perform in Glasgow. Who knows, maybe they’ll read this post and book a flight!
I snapped a couple of quick pics during the gig, with my phone, but I’m not gonna lie, I was having too much fun soaking in the music and the performance, so I didn’t take many. All apologies for the quality, it was an older iPhone in a darkened room:
Read details about this record, often considered among the best albums of all time, RIGHT HERE.
For this brief barf, I’m just gonna say I absolutely love this whole thing. It does have Son Of A Preacher Man on it, a song that was covered so many times after this, but every damn song here is so sweet and sexy and soulful and sophisticated. It just has an easy class that draws you in and holds you close.
This deluxe Rhino edition I have here contains the original 11 tracks, followed by 14 bonus tracks! Just amazing.
I need this on vinyl. Oh man.
My lovely wife got me this book as a gift, knowing I love the Kids In The Hall. It’s a great read.
A lot of the information in here is stuff that I already knew, but there was more than enough about their past and their relationships (and the depths of it all) that I did not know, and for this I am exceedingly grateful to have read it. It’s like getting to peek behind the curtains at the humans who make magic.
Also, this is indeed a music post because of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. And because Craig Northey. And because Kids In The Hall are rock stars in their profession and I hope they remain forever popular.
I’m falling in love with The HU.
Mongolian metal for cranking in the good headphones. Get ready to charge over a hill into battle! HELL YEAH!
So I have been thinking about concerts. I haven’t hit any final answers, but it’s just where my brain is.
In a few days, we will be going to see the Sadies at the Heartwood and it’s going to be a fantastic time. However, in thinking about the experience of seeing a show, I’ve come up with a few pros and cons.
You know, in a way, concerts are rather silly. You spend extra money and set aside an entire evening to go out of your house and be amongst the masses who’ll mostly likely talk through the whole damn thing, check their cellphones non-stop, chew with their mouths open and probably get drunk and sloppy, just to hear a band reproduce songs that you could reproduce yourself from their album anytime you choose – in your house, in your car, from your phone or iPod. I’ve seen several bands who did this, and I came away wondering why I didn’t just play the CD…
Very often (for me) concerts are too loud to the point where the sound isn’t even pleasurable to listen to, breaking up and distorted. Admittedly, for certain types of concerts like punk or metal shows, that makes sense and can be fun (with earplugs), but more often, I find it would be better if it was slightly, reasonably quieter. At least, not crush-your-chest and head loud. Loud for the sake of being loud.
Also, for me, most decent shows require at least two hours of travel to a larger city, so it’s not just the expense of the ticket itself, it is the expense of time, gas money, food money and, depending on where and at what time the show is, possibly hotel money as well. It is a planned event beyond just stopping by to check it out. Not to mention we’d need to arrange childcare, and make sure that it isn’t a work night.
So you commit to going somewhere, usually at expense, and being jostled by other people, to hear songs you’ve already heard at a volume that hurts. The mild introvert in me finds all of this very tiring.
On the other side of the coin, concerts are special because very often bands don’t merely reproduce the songs as you hear them on the album. The best bands make the song recognizable, yet they will add solos, or change the words, or make the song shorter or longer, or even blend songs together that you hadn’t previously considered putting together. They will also play cover tunes, and talk to the crowd and tell jokes and stories, making it a worthwhile experience because it’s stuff you wouldn’t otherwise get.
If you enjoy merchandise, you can get T-shirts, hats, pins, CDs and whatever else. If you enjoy meeting the people who make the music, sometimes you can get lucky and hang around after the show and meet them, although myself I’m more often tend to not do that than the times that I do.
Plus it is simply a night out and doing something, just different than the usual routine and sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered.
So, there, I don’t seem to have come to any sort of resolution on these thoughts. I’ve been to shows that I loved, and ones that I was ready to leave before they were over. The good and the bad, we’ve all been there. This is just a brain barf and I’m putting it out there. I’m assuming most of you will say that concerts are a positive and that the negative parts of the concert are outweighed by the better parts of the concert… Feel free to correct, add, argue, whatever in the comments. This was just what was on my mind today.
DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE OF NOWHERE AND EVERYWHERE
BY: RUGGER RUGGEDSON
For the longest time I thought perhaps the G-ds hate me. You see…
I’ve been sent to find Inukshuk.
Unsure what short straw I drew, or what bad karma I am working off to have been given this assignment, for the record I began executing my command against my better judgment. Now, even after I gave up on the paper’s agenda and this became solely a personal mission, I’ve carried on. Despite the fact that I’d likely have better luck finding Bigfoot.
MEMO TO ANYONE WHO FINDS MY BODY BEFORE I CAN ACCOMPLISH THIS MISSION:
Having long ago sold my laptop and phone for food and survival gear money, I’m writing these notes with a golf pencil in a crappy journal book I got at a dollar store. If my body is found, I will be clutching this journal and its pages should be enshrined in whatever journalism hall of fame you choose.
Yes, the notoriously absent and/or in hiding Canadian rockers have led me on a merry chase. After their unsuccessful attempt to cross the US/Canadian border, and after releasing two albums to small acclaim to only a very few, Inukshuk have long gone to ground. Again. And they’ve apparently created another album. Again. So this publication needs a story, and I’m the schmuck who got delegated. Was it Karen from HR who wanted me out of the office? Probably.
In the beginning, it was fairly easy going. Sightings and rumours were to be had, and company-paid supplies were full. But time has passed and I am wearying of the game. The per diem from the offices ended long ago, I am out here on my own fumes. Hotel rooms have given way to a tatty sleeping bag on park benches. I have passed through depression, anxiety, disorientation, and even a brief period where I believed my own name to be Gord, a flute-playing sixth member of the band. None of it helpful.
6 months I’ve been on the trail, following leads, lies, rumours and recent sightings. I’ve ridden every mechanical contrivance Canada can offer, paid fare or hitchhiking my way to the next surefire fabrication, descending from initial (naive) hope through to utter despair, rising again through ambivalence to my current state of calm. I’ve been from Dildo, Newfoundland to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta. From Climax, Saskatchewan to Swastika, Ontario. From Sober Island, Nova Scotia to Mayo, Quebec. From Stoner, British Columbia to Cardigan, Prince Edward Island, and from Crotch Lake, Ontario to Vulcan, Alberta. Band sightings are many, but I grew to despair of ever actually meeting up with one or (imagine the luck) all of the members of Inukshuk.
I am currently in Ball’s Falls, Ontario after having been outright lied to by a pair of enthusiastic underdressed teenagers in Punkydoodles Corners. Initially, there was no sign of Inukshuk here either, though they swore on their iPhones’ battery life that it was true. Exhausted and shambling, I had just reached a point of quitting on life in general when I happened to catch my own reflection in a Tim Horton’s window. My wild beard and hair, to match my wild eyes, are only outdone by my last outfit of clothing smelling little better than the sulpher mines near Temagami, Ontario.
My eyes gradually focussed past my reflection to the people at the window seat, staring back at me (and what a vision I present!). And there they were. After Spread Eagle Bay, Newfoundland, Eyebrow, Saskatchewan, and Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Quebec, I’ve found them.
At first, none of us moves. I don’t wave, but they know they’ve been recognized. So I produce a tattered journalist lanyard I’d thought long-lost, and they look resigned and nod. I head in to meet the Gords. Based on my appearance and probable odour, though, they meet me at the door and we head down the street for a walk.
I am in the presence of the Gords and Gordons. Drummer Gord Tremblay. Bassist Gordon Murphy. Singer and guitarist Gord Brown. Singer and Guitarist Gordon Gagnon. Singer Gord Smith. All of them looking at me. They know what comes next.
So they start talking, without my even asking a question. I’m not even able to write any of this down, it all happens so quickly. I am going from memory, from this point, but I swear it’s as verbatim as possible despite my addled faculties.
Gordon Murphy starts, as though we were picking up on a conversation we’d had interrupted by a maitre d’. “So there we were in Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Gord (Smith) got the idea that maybe we oughta record a new album. We all laughed, of course, because we had no money and no ideas.” They all mumble agreement. “But Gord persisted. And when he persists, well, the rest of us don’t truly care and just go along, usually.” They all mumble agreement again.
Gord Brown took over. “So we set about finding a way to get to Cocagne, New Brunswick because we knew a guy there named Gordie Desjardins, and he could help us record. He has a wee studio and all the gear we’d need… Of course, when we got to Cocagne, Gordie was gone off with some new woman and no one knew where.” They all sigh. “But,” Gord brightened, “As long as we’ve known him, Gordie never locked his doors, so we let ourselves into his place and used his recording equipment and instruments.” They all nod.
Left unsupervised with decent recording equipment and instruments, it seems, turned Inukshuk into a songwriting juggernaught. “We wrote 157 songs in a week,” claims Gordon Gagnon. “Of course, only about six of them were any good, and of those I like two.” But they knew they had to flesh out the album, and, by democratic election, settled on twelve new songs. The other 145 songs are lost to the mists of time, though. “We don’t remember them anymore,” laments Gordon Gagnon.
At last I have the ability to speak. “Do you have a copy of the album with you? I’d love to hear it.” They all glance sidelong at each other, unsure of whether they can trust this dishevelled hobo who may or may not be beginning to lose teeth due to lack of care, especially with something so personal to them. It’s Gordon Murphy who shrugs and says “sure, why not, eh?” and produces a Maxell casette (complete with cover art) from his jacket pocket.
We retire to their campsite, in a ditch beside the highway. Gord Smith lights a fire. Gordon Gagnon smokes a cigarette. Gordon Murphy digs out a battered 80s boom box from an army surplus backpack and loads it with 6 D-cell batteries. Pressing play, he transports me to Cocagne, and as the first heavy rock guitar notes wash over me, I realize I have actually achieved culmination. Not only did I find Inukshuk, I am probably the only person outside of the Gords and Gordons to have heard Inukshuk’s new album.
The songs seem to blur past me, as they were all only about two minutes long each. Side A starts of with the heavy pulse of ‘King Tut Was My Bitch’, and the glam metal of ‘Insuring The Chrysler,’ before slowing down for the slow dance of ‘Dumpster Dive.’ The side is rounded out by the poppy ‘Happy Hookers,’ the complicated ‘Glue On The Fretboard,’ and the almost post-punk ‘Mayday Mayday Mayday (I’m Goin’ Down).’ Side B opens with another metal cruncher in ‘I Have To Go To The Bathroom,’ only to seque into three straight slower power rockers, with ‘Toothbrush Holder,’ ‘Lobster Boy,’ and ‘Maple Syrup Neti Pot.’ Inukshuk brings the goods for the last two side B closers too, going death metal on ‘Skeletal Sunday’ and black metal on ‘Shoplifter Satan.’
Home Sweet Home, indeed.
I ask if they plan to release this obvious masterpiece. “Nah,” says Gordon Murphy, as he puts away the boom box and the cassette. “We voted and it was decided that this one is just for us.” I press my case, arguing that the world needs more Inukshuk, and (withholding my opinion that it sounded like it was recorded with a potato, despite having been done, reportedly, in a studio) this album could really change the fortunes of the band, bring them notoriety and fame. Money, even. Gord Tremblay scoffed. “We’d only spend it.”
With the album played, and the boys of the band apparently done talking, it grew obvious that it was time for me to move along. I’d somehow overstayed my time with them, but they were too polite to say so. Gordon Tremblay even gave me the cover art from the cassette (reproduced above). “Will I see you guys again?” I ask, rising to trek on down the highway. “Never know, dude,” said Gord Smith. “We’re always out here somewhere.” I nod. “Well, if you change your mind, will you contact me in Toronto so I can help you get a record deal and get heard?” They all nod but I know they never will.
From down the road, I look back at Inukshuk around their campfire, not saying anything, not even watching as I go, already moved on in their lives to whatever happens next, wherever that may happen. And I know more clearly than I’ve ever known anything that they should never come to Toronto, never get a record deal, never become famous. It would ruin the magic of Inukshuk, which is something the band themselves intuitively know without having to say it.
I never went back to Toronto. Karen from HR can bite me. I’ve stayed out on the road, travelling from place to place across this huge, beautiful country of ours. I work odd jobs and meet people as diverse as any found anywhere. During my trials, I transcended the suffering of the search, and found peace in the movement, in the lack of routine, in the freedom of going with the wind. But mostly, I’ve stayed out here in case I ever run into Inukshuk again. Someday, somwhere, I hope I do.
SUBMITTED BY MAIL FROM FORGET, SASKATCHEWAN.
RUGGER RUGGEDSON NO LONGER WORKS FOR THIS PUBLICATION.