Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Band

Playing in the grade seven band definitely gave me a sense of belonging and made me feel like I fit in somehow, despite being clearly different than most of the kids in my band class, which in general were mostly nerds, geeks and scholars. Apparently the "beautiful people" were too cool or high on themselves to be caught dead in the school band with the exception of a few.

I grew up wanting to be a Rockstar so naturally joining the band seemed like my first step to stardom.  This wasn't really the type of band I had in mind but I needed to start somewhere, and in my mind's eye it seemed like a wise, practical decision. Plus I would learn musical history as well as theory, which I was certain would be useful down the road. I learned all the notes, I learned to read music and in turn learned to write music. Sadly all this knowledge would go to waste in the future as I was always drumming or singing and felt the knowledge wasn't required to do said things. 

Over the years I lost that knowledge but never once did it hinder or hurt my musical endeavors. I truly believe that when music is in your blood you will produce positive results wether you have the practical book smarts of it or you don't. True creative genius can't be held back by rules and theories. This always made me think of AC/DC's guitarist Angus Young. I remember hearing somewhere he only knew how to play 3 notes or chords on his guitar, yet he was in one of the biggest, successful rock bands of the seventies and eighties. That story always filled me with pride, hope, and the perseverance to pursue my childhood dream.

Now here I was in my first real band with real instruments, even though the band was more of a 20-30 piece as opposed to a 3-5 piece band. I also made some great friends in that class and in a sense started to develop my persona as a "hero for the nerds" Why did I feel this persona necessary? To be quite frank I was a nerd to, I was into all the same stuff these guys were, drawing, comics, video games, computers, movies, wrestling, etc. I guess the only difference was metal, which in turn gave me a different outer exterior in comparison to my friends as well as a tough guy rebel edge. There was no question who the "John bender" of this "breakfast club" was.

I am and have always been what I consider a "cool nerd" Some of the wannabe bullies at school learned quick not to mess with these "nerdy" kids, because when they did yours truly would unexpectedly show up to save my friends and in turn save the a superhero for the geeks and nerds. The bullies would be shocked that someone like myself was defending a nerd, but it was pretty clear and explanatory.... You don't fuck with my band!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

King Of The Snow Bank

So far in the journey of unravelling my past I have had more memories from grade school then I have middle school, which I find strange as they are older memories. I've been trying to delve into my brain to find stories from middle school but it's almost as if I've hit a writers block. 

Middle school to me is a blur of things, not so many of which are music related, which is the kind of stuff I've been digging in my mind for the contents of this blog. All that comes to mind from these 3 years are meeting and making new friends that I didn't know in my old grade school, school trips, wrestling, videogames on the commodore 64, fighting, going to Mackay plaza, getting into mischief such as vandalism and arson, having insult wars, picking on kids, playing handball, watching porn at friends houses on lunch, going to co ed  parties, and chasing down girls.

We were actually quite terrible when it came to the last one on the list. Perhaps it was the discovery of pornography that controlled us like wild animals. On lunch we would generally target girls that were developed, we'd chase them down, restrain them on the ground, and them take turns feeling them up. Looking back on this makes me feel terrible, mainly because this would be considered a form of rape by today's standards. Strangely enough none of the girls ever reported these events to the school faculty. I often wonder if they enjoyed the attention and were experiencing the same sexual angst as we were.

Another favorite pass time of ours on lunches was playing "King of the snow bank" or what i used to call "Battle Royal" being the die hard wrestling fan that I was. This was my favorite game to play but sadly I could only enjoy it in the winter months. There was a giant snow bank at the back of the school due to the snow plowing of the school parking lot.

The rules of the game were simple, try and stay on the snow bank while every other kid is trying to push you off, the last person standing atop the snowbank is the winner or the "king" Being one who enjoyed victory, I was ruthless during this game and notorious for blindsiding kids from behind which would send them flying to the cold concrete below. My greatest strategy was to target older and stronger kids in the early stages of the game to eliminate threats, needless to say I found myself on quite a few occasions as "King of the snowbank"

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Current Events

I apologize for my lack of posts and late updates the past few days. Due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to write anything. Sometimes life gets a bit hectic and I just don't have the time to write. I guess this post will be current events to bring everyone up to speed. 

For starters I dropped my cell phone in the toilet at work the other day. I put it in a bowl of rice for 5 hours or so and it was working again. I plugged it in to charge as my battery was low, but it was not responding to the charge. I assumed the input for the charger still contained moisture so I put the phone back in the bowl of rice overnight. When I got up this morning the phone wouldn't even load up when I turned it on. I fear I am going to lose all my contacts.

I was also working on a new song this week which in turn led to me working on another new song unexpectedly. The first track was going very smooth until I hit a road block. I spent two hours on said roadblock and got absolutely nowhere. The future outcome of this song is now questionable. The second song unveiled itself quite naturally and easily in the span of a few short hours. It needs a good mixing but otherwise it's pretty much complete minus lyrics and vocals. I'd like to thank my best friend Jerry for giving me some input and help on the track as he was present the entire time I worked on it and his help was greatly appreciated.

I got my son Gabriel after work yesterday(Sunday) as I'm off Monday/Tuesday, so naturally I spent all my quality time with him and opted not to write a blog on Sunday night for Monday's post as I was very beat after a long seven day work week. My boy had a fall and I feared he had fractured something but it ended up him being ok. On Monday I took Gabe down to the city for the day, mainly to hit up the silver snail for some new evil dead action figures. Amazingly we bumped into one of my childhood friends John McCuish at the corner of queen and spadina. John informed me that his band the epileptic brain surgeons may be playing another reunion show in September. 

I also learned that one of my favorite movies nightbreed (see blog post "Occupy Midian") is coming back to the big screen after its debut back in 1990, this time with an extra hour of footage that ended up on the cutting room floor. I am super excited about this and it's only a month away! For more info be sure to visit:

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Grad Gift

For today's post I've decided to jump back in time to grade 5 for yet another suppressed memory that has been unlocked from my mind. It was the end of the year and I was "graduating" grade school so naturally my parents asked me what I wanted as a graduation gift. I had been introduced to punk rock that year and one aspect of it that truly intrigued me was piercing. I decided to tell my folks that for my graduation gift I wanted my ear pierced. The left lobe of course as the saying at the time was "left ear buccaneer, right ear queer" Just like when I wanted to grow my hair long, just like when I wanted to dye my hair, my parents flat out refused my request with absolutely no room for debate.

Refusing to accept this, the next day I was in the boys washroom at school with one of my mother's dull, stud earrings trying to cram it through my lobe. I think I got about half way through but just couldn't bring myself to puncture the skin. After about 10 minutes of reluctantly trying I gave up and returned back to class. When I started grade six I was shocked and appalled by my parents decision, because quite a few boys had their ears pierced. By grade seven I'd estimate about half the boys in school had a pierced ear, and by the time I got to grade eight it seemed like every boy in the school had a pierced ear....except me.

When grade eight graduation rolled around my parents excitedly announced that for graduation they were going to bring me to get my ear pierced. Their smiles quickly turned to frowns of disbelief when I responded "No I don't want an earring anymore" Their faces were shocked and puzzled to say the least. They just couldn't grasp or understand why I no longer wanted something I was so gung ho about getting a few years prior. To satisfy their curiosity I explained it as simply as I could.

"When I wanted it nobody had one and I wanted to be different and unique. Now that everybody has one I don't want to follow the trendy crowd and be like everyone else. Not having an earring now makes me different and unique from all the other boys" I stood by my beliefs and was granted a choice of what I wanted for graduating. Once again I requested to grow my hair long and surprisingly they agreed with no argument. To this day I have still never pierced my ear and I highly doubt I ever will...

Thursday, 21 June 2012


I didn't know this kid but from the first time I saw him something about him rubbed me the wrong way. He was short in stature, baby faced, and always dressed to the nines in the freshest break dance gear. From what I remember he always seemed to have a lot of girls around him and he hung out with the "popular crowd" Despite being vertically challenged he definitely made up for it by having very large amounts of confidence radiating from him. I was convinced he had "small man syndrome" and was trying to make up for it by being so cocky.

I already didn't like this kid for those reasons but then more of them were laid upon me. Back at the breakdancing event he was actually the kid who pulled off the head spin. I guess he had a right to be cocky but inside i believe I was jealous that he could break dance better than me. Another reason to dislike him. When I went to the drum tryouts that fateful day he was the first kid in line and he even had his own drum sticks, which he was using to create beats off of the wall and lockers. Another reason to dislike him. The first day of grade 7 there he was again, in my the drummer of the to steal my thunder again...another reason to dislike him.

Now here I was at a crossroads, continue being a hater and not learn to play the drums, or swallow my pride and learn how to play the drums. I decided to be a bigger man and choose option B. The next day I went and sat at a table in class where him and some other kids were sitting. They were checking out a book on horror movie special fx so naturally I jumped right into the conversation. This kid was also a fan of gore flicks so the convo just naturally unfolded, and low and behold this kid was actually pretty cool. We hit it off quite well then I unveiled my master plan by telling him what the teacher said about needing a back up drummer. He eagerly agreed without hesitation and the seed was planted. I thanked him graciously and even added his name to my gratitudes, it was the first time i had ever spoken it...."Ryan"

Ryan circa 88/89

Before I knew we were on the kit and he taught me to play a simple beat. Kick snair kick snair and the 1,2,3,4 on the hi hat. I got the hang of it pretty quickly and quicker then you could say "james brown" I was playing the beat from "funky drummer" I was amazed how rapidly I learned the basics of drumming and commenced on learning the songs we were playing in class. I can't remember them all but one of them was definitely "Let's go band" I also couldn't thank my new found friend Ryan enough for teaching me how to play, which would be another fundamental factor in shaping my life for the years to come.

The teacher decided for my test I was to play all 3 songs with the entire class! I was nervous as hell but managed to pull it off with only one minor slip up. The teach was impressed with me and she was grinning ear to ear. The spot as back up drummer was mine even though I'd still be playing the alto sax on a daily basis. Whenever we had free time in class however I was always on the kit with Ryan furthering my skills. We went on to be friends for quite a few years and he even ended up the drummer in my first highschool band, but that's another story for another blog somewhere down the road...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Little Drummer Boy

Near the end of grade 6 I was sitting in class one day bored out of my mind when an announcement came over the p.a. system that caught my attention and peaked my interest. The school was starting to hold tryouts for grade 7 band class and this was my chance to finally learn to play an instrument, but not just any old instrument....the tryout on this particular day was for the drums!

I had gotten a muppet show drum kit for my fifth or sixth birthday and I think i managed to salvage it until I was seven or eight. I used to listen to my favorite records and eight tracks while I played along as best I could. The drum set was cheaply fabricated as it was made for children so needless to say the heads and cymbals didn't hold up very well over time. Other than those sessions I had never played drums again nor had any formal lessons or training but that wasn't going to stop me....or was it?

Just like the breakdancing exhibition earlier in the year, you had to go after school for the tryouts. Once again I was crushed when the bell rang and I ran to the music room to see 20-30 kids already lined up for the drum auditions. I figured all these kids already played drums or at least properly knew how to, and I had absolutely no clue what I was even doing. Defeated once again by my own insecurities, I dashed outside just to catch the bus in time and avoid a long, depressing walk home. 

When grade 7 finally did roll around I ended up reluctantly selecting the trombone as my weapon of choice, which ended up being a terrible decision as it was difficult to play and was somewhat heavy to carry. Displeased with the situation I approached the teacher and expressed my feelings. When she asked what instrument i wanted to play i told her "the drums", she frowned and told me we already had a drummer which I obviously knew as the band class had been "jamming" for weeks. 

We talked for a bit and pondered some alternatives and she convinced me to go with the alto sax. The teacher also was kind enough to take into consideration that it wouldn't hurt to have a backup drummer in case the regular guy missed school due to illness. The only thing I had to do was ask him to teach me how to play and report back to her in a week to perform some type of musical test. This was easier said than done as I didn't know the drummer and secretly loathed him...

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Occupy Midian

My blog post for today is a current event that I'd like to bring to everyones attention, mainly fans of horror movies. As you may know my alias "Kabal" was inspired from the book Cabal and the film Nightbreed. I'd like to share some information with you in regards to the film.

(from Wikipedia)
Nightbreed is a 1990 American fantasy horror film written and directed by Clive Barker, based on his 1988 novella Cabal. The film features Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby and David Cronenberg. The story centers in a community of mutant outcasts that hides from humanity, known as the "Nightbreed".
Nightbreed was a commercial and critical failure. In several interviews, Barker protested that the film company tried to sell it as a standard slasher film, and that the powers-that-be had no real working knowledge of Nightbreed's story. Since its initial theatrical release, Nightbreed has achieved cult status.
Barker has expressed disappointment with the final cut and longs for the recovery of the reels so it might be re-edited. Behind the scenes footage of some of the lost scenes has been uncovered and can be seen at Barker's Revelations website

Extended cut
In 2009, Mark Miller, co-head of Barker's production company, Seraphim Films, helped track down the missing footage that was cut out of the director's cut of Nightbreed. Miller discovered, after talking to a production executive at the studio, that the footage was never actually lost but readily accessible. When asked, a studio executive said that there was not a big enough audience to warrant the studio spending money on a new, extended cut of the film. A VHS copy of Barker's 145 minute version of the film's mid-1989 workprint was recently discovered. It does not feature any of the re-shoots of Decker's murders. An extended 159-minute cut version, from another VHS found in July 2009, was premiered on March 27, 2010 as part of the HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis. This new version adds almost a whole hour that was cut from the theatrical release, including a musical score and more animation. In an interview, Barker said that he hopes to bring back Danny Elfman "and give us just a little bit of extra music for it."
In early 2012, Russell Cherrington, a senior lecturer in film and video production at the University of Derby, created a composite cut of the film using the footage found on both VHS tapes as well as the Warner Bros DVD. This version is the most complete version of Barker's film available and has been dubbed The Cabal Cut. The cut runs 155 minutes long and was shown at this year's "Mad Monster Party" in North Carolina with actors Craig Sheffer and Anne Bobby attending.

Occupy Midian
The "Mad Monster Party" projection of the Cabal Cut led to a renewal of interest among fans, especially on the Internet. A new petition was created and social networks were used to raise awareness for the extended cut and to encourage producers to release it. This would be colloquially known as "Occupy Midian", a term coined by actress Anne Bobby.

I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed:
"For a restored, extended cut of Clive Barker's "Nightbreed""
 I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes just a few seconds of your time, thanks.
- Kabal

For more info check out the following links:

Friday, 15 June 2012


Back to the Rock n Wrestling connection. Things were booming yet sadly all the independent territories were being absorbed by Vince McMahon who was "liquidating" them all into his company the WWF. Cindi Lauper was still on the scene in Wendi Richter's corner. The former champ Moolah brought in a new protege Lelani Kai, who won the title from Wendi at "The war to settle the score" Richter regained her title at the inaugural Wrestlemania, which in itself was the greatest wrestling event ever held at that point in time

It was the Super Bowl of wrestling. Sadly back in those days there was no pay per view nor any restaurants with closed circuit tv airing it except perhaps stripjoints. Unless you had tickets or a satellite dish you were shit out of luck. I was left to wait patiently for Coliseum Home Video to release it on VHS. If I remember correctly my dad ended up getting us a copy from a guy at his work. Wrestlemania destroyed my senses it was that good, or at least it seemed. Looking back now a lot of the matches were forgettable to say the least. Quite a few celebrities were involved including Muhammed Ali, Liberace, and even my first role model Mr.T was apart of the magic.

Wrestlemania was a huge success and wrestling was the newest, hottest commodity in sports. Hulk Hogan appeared on the cover of sports illustrated and was billed as the 3rd highest paid athlete in all of professional sports.  NBC saw the explosion and jumped on board. They started randomly airing "Saturday Nights Main Event" in place of Saturday night live, which consisted of pay per view quality bouts as opposed to all the squash matches you'd see on weekend afternoon programming. 

There was also a cartoon show launched called "Hulk Hogans Rock n' Wrestling" that aired Saturday mornings in the toon rotation. It wasn't the greatest cartoon by any means but it had little skits between commercials and what not that were filmed in live action with the wrestlers themselves in the flesh. That was pretty cool in my books. I can remember just videotaping those clips of the show specifically as it was really the first time I was seeing wrestlers outside of wrestling. 

Late that year on SNME, the 3rd episode ever to be precise, there was the premiere of something that would take rock n wrestling to the next level...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Second Base & Satan

In grade 6 I started going to parties that actually had girls at them, and the most popular game was spin the bottle. I ended up in a few closets in my time and the thing to do was French kiss and perhaps cop a few feels. Once in awhile I'd end up in there with a girl I wasn't interested in, so I'd just opt to talk to them for the two minute duration as per the rules of the game.

Sometime during the late winter/early spring I met a new girl named Tammy who I quickly became involved with. I don't remember exactly how we met but I believe she came up to me on lunch one day and started taking to me, and the rest was history. We used to talk on the phone every night and the coolest part was she loved wrestling and was just as excited for the upcoming debut of Wrestlemania as I was. 

On lunch I decided not to join the guys anymore on our daily excursions to Mackay Plaza, instead it was off to Tammy's house which was right across the street from the school. I think I may have been the only kid I knew of in sixth grade who was making it to second base every day on lunch. The fact that my girlfriend was a year older than me and in the seventh grade definitely helped the cause as well as my reputation. Every time I went to a party now I didn't need to partake in playing spin the bottle, as I was already off somewhere in a dark corner with my girl. 

A new kid came to our school mid way through the year and wouldn't you know it he picked my girl to harass. Rumor had it he was supposed to be in Grade 9 but he had been held back a few times. Rumor also had it that he was a tough son of a bitch as well as crazy....AND a Satan worshipper! I heard he had brought beer to school and drank it on lunch then proceeded to break the bottle and start cutting his arm with broken glass claiming he felt no pain because he sold his soul to the devil.  I don't know wtf I was thinking but I called him up and told him "stay the fuck away from my girl or you're dead!" then I hung up the phone before he had a chance to respond. The next day at school he came right for me but it was at the end of recess and I was saved by the bell. Somehow I managed to avoid this kid for the rest of the year even though word was out that he wanted my head. 

Tammy eventually dumped my ass sometime during the summer after I finished grade 6 but that kid had it out for me for years to come. When I started grade 7 he was in grade 9 at North Peel and the pressure was off for the time being, except I kept running into him at places, most of which were public ones which served great for my well being. He ended up crashing through a plate glass window in the mall being chased by security guards which in turn sliced his arm open so badly it was virtually rendered useless for the rest of his life. Needless to say I wasn't sweating him anymore...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Rock n' Wrestling

Grade 6 was the year I went from normal wrestling fan to hardcore die hard wrestling fan. Hulk Hogan was the heavyweight champion of the world and had been for over a year since defeating The Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden a mere 12 months ago. I like most kids my age was a "Hulkamaniac" and I was convinced Hogan was invincible. The Hulk had faced opponent after opponent for a year straight now and nobody could defeat him! 

I had already found my own strange connection between rock and wrestling the first time I saw The Road Warriors wrestle, and they entered the ring to Sabbath's "Iron Man" but there was now a whole new movement starting to unfold that would prove to be the biggest boom for wrestling... It was known as "the rock n' wrestling connection"

It all started when wrestler/manager  Captain Lou Albano was on a flight and he met Cindi Lauper, an up and coming female singer. The two hit it off on the flight and Lauper asked Lou to be in her video for "Girls just wanna have fun" portraying the role of her father. Lauper soon appeared on Rowdy Roddy Piper's talk show segment "Piper's Pit" where Lou (who was a heel or bad guy) insulted Lauper, resulting in her issuing a challenge. Each of them would select a female wrestler of their choice to represent them. 

MTV broadcasted "The brawl to end it all" which saw Cindi's pick, Wendi Richter going up against Lou's pick, The Fabulous Moolah who had a boastful 28 year run as the wwf women's champion. Lauper hit Moolah with "the loaded purse of doom" and we had a new women's champion! Lauper continued her collaboration with the wwf and Lou appeared in more of her music videos along with other wrestlers such as Roddy Piper and The Iron Sheik just to name a couple. Rick Derringer composed a song for Hulk Hogan entitled "Real American" and the next thing you knew all the wrestlers, mainly the heels, followed suit and made their own songs which spawned "The Wrestling Album" 

Meanwhile over in the awa, The warriors were still bashing skulls to Black Sabbath, and the company itself was releasing a lot of promotional videos that were accompanied by rock music. Some of the awa wrestlers even made their own songs and videos, including The Midnight Rockers and my boys The Road Warriors. I was really liking the way things were shaping up in life, two of my most favorites things were on top of the world and it seemed like it couldn't get any better....until a girl from grade 7 started talking to me one spring day...

Saturday, 9 June 2012


That was his name. As I mentioned before he was quite small in stature and size. Sanjai was brown or what we would call a "paki" back in those days, but he dressed like every other kid. We shared the same musical tastes and that in itself was enough to solidify our new friendship. I asked him one day why he didn't have a "bun" or "mini turban" (No whammies no whammies STOP!!! 1000 Apollogies for every kid I ever did that too!) like some of the other brown kids at school and he told me it was because those kids were Sikhs and he was Hindu. His family wasn't even from Pakistan, if I remember correctly his family roots led back to the United Kingdom.  I always found it comical and ironic? that he had a strong distaste for other Indian people.

They say good things come in small packages and that phrase is quite true in Sanjai's case. "Sanj" or "SanjMan" as I liked to call him, was by far the most funniest, most entertaining, most artistic, most creative AND most skeptical person I have ever met in my life. I don't think I've had more laughs with anyone in my life than I did with him. On lunchtime we would walk around and Sanj would "burn" (insult) kids with his quick wit, wicked words and wisdom. If anyone tried to step to him I was always there at his side to ensure no harm would come of him. We definitely had A LOT of laughs at the expense of others, some of them even fill me with feelings of guilt when they enter my mind.

I always considered myself a reasonably good artist but when I saw the stuff Sanjai was drawing it blew my mind. He was a huge comic book fan and collector and let me tell you this kid could draw any character in any pose and the proportions would be perfect! Not to mention the drawings themselves looked like they were straight out of a professional comic book. Not only that but he would sketch them up in mere seconds to minutes! His eye for detail was incredible and he could draw any person or anyhing he laid eyes upon with ease. Again for our own amusement, Sanjai would draw pictures and make comic strips of people or situations we were involved with or in while we were out burning people.

Sanj was also very creative and he made custom dioramas out of various action figure parts and other crafts. He would mix and match G.I.Joe body parts and then re paint them to create his own custom action figures of his favorite comic book superheroes. To make them even cooler he would create backgrounds for them and have elaborate action sequences frozen in time with amazing detail. Sanjai was very inspirational to me all throughout middle school and highschool. Just like Patrick back in grade school I had once again been blessed with some form of muse to make me want to up my skills. I also believe Sanjai to be the reason why I've been collecting action figures for the last 16 years, as well as the inspiration for some of the creative things I've done throughout my life. This could honestly be a 5 part blog easily, but I'm going to try and wrap things up here. 

Sadly after rekindling our friendship years later via the world wide web, Sanj eventually secluded himself from the majority of the people around him. Like myself he too has always had "the darkness" inside of him. Not a day passes without him entering my thoughts at some point. Sanj if you ever read this by some freak chance I just want you to know that I love you my brother and I will always be here for you if and hopefully when you need me...

On another note I strongly urge fans of reading and/or wrestling, to check out one of my former UWA co-workers and friend Sonjay Dutt's new blog "Play on Playa"

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Last In Line

There was another important part of my life that transpired in grade six. Aside from meeting my hetero life mate Jerry, I also made another friend that year, a good friend that would stand the test of time. And it was the power of music that brought us together. Early in the school year I saw a video for a song off of the new Dio album, it was called "The last in line" and it was visually stunning for the time.

A young male bike courier is delivering a package in an appartment building, the music is calm and serene as he enters the elevator and choses his designated floor. Suddenly the song kicks into heavy mode and the elevator plummets to the ground. The boy quickly finds himself being assembled with other people by some cyborg type demons or mutants.  Folk are being tortured and electrocuted through video games all around him and most of the inhabitants are disfigured and demented. The delivery boy is freaked out and makes a daring escape with the aid of Dio and a weapon resembling a light saber. I loved this song and video and thankfully once again the VCR was on record.

The next day at school I was in gym class and we were out on the field doing some sport or activity I can't quite remember. Even though by this point in my life my father had put me in soccer, judo and baseball, I was never one for organized sports... or any sport for that matter... except wrestling and martial arts. Anyhow we were lined up for whatever drill and dreading the thought of participating I went to the back of the line. Then a thought occurred to me....I'm the last in line! I started crooning the tune as I had already memorized the lyrics from watching the video repeatedly the day prior. 

The boy in front of me was a hindu kid who was a foot shorter than me and easily one of the smallest boys in grade 6. He was the second last in line. The kid looked back at me with breakneck speed and excitedly asked "Are you singing Dio? Did you see that video yesterday?" The next thing I knew we were engrossed in conversation about the video and metal in general. This kid didn't look like a metal head at all but he knew his shit, plus he was loving the fact that I was actually the last in line and was singing the theme song for it. I gave him some nickname that I unfortunately can't remember after our chat of metal and gym class being lame and we went our separate ways. 

The next day in the hall we saw each other but it was like neither of us were quite sure if we knew each other. I blurted out "Hey! Aren't you (forgotten nickname)?" to which he responded "Yeah! Aren't you the last in line?" We grinned at each other and had a chuckle. The only class we shared was gym so now once a day we had our allotted time slot to shoot the shit. I eventually learned that his name was______

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Legend Of Greasy Gus

Although this isn't music related by any means, one of my favorite aspects of grade 6 was my new found freedom at lunchtime. We were now actually old enough and responsible? enough to leave the school grounds on lunch hour. I had heard epic tales of a haven of sorts that kids hung out at when I first started Williams parkway and I quickly found some friends in my class who grew up in the area to show me the way.

They brought me up a street between Williams parkway and north park drive that was a mere 5-10 minute walk and the street was appropriately named after the plaza we were headed towards on our journey....Mackay. If you grew up in Brampton then you know Mackay Plaza needs no introduction, but I do have readers in the u.s. and Europe, so for their sake an explanation is in order.

 Mackay Plaza is a strip mall that consisted of  a grocery store, a bank, a pharmacy, a convenience store, a pizza parlor, a video store, and a barbershop. At least that's how I remember it from back then. There is also a beer store in the parking lot separate from the plaza and a recreational centre located on the same property, where I swam a lot as a youth throughout middle school.  The convenience store was called "Jugg City" and it catered to all of your junk food needs and I believe there were some arcade machines in there at some point. The pizza parlor was called "Mackay Pizza" but most Bramptonians called it "Greasy Gus" in reference to the owner Gus and the renown amounts of grease his product contains.

Mackay has an outstanding reputation for great food to this day and they have never really raised their prices over the years. They also have the meanest "Pati Mahn" this side of the western hemisphere. I take mine with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, hot peppers, & mayo!  My fondest memories from there are the great food and playing video games like pole position, track & field, karate champ and kung fu master.

There was always some form of hijinks going on as well, be it stealing candy out of Jugg City or a fight between 2 school mates. To this day i still make a point of stopping by Mackay for a bite when I'm in the B-Town area and if I'm visiting a friend who lives there i will order delivery. It became a ritual to venture there every day on lunch and it never seemed to get boring....until I found my first middle school girlfriend...

Monday, 4 June 2012

Ace of Spades

One thing that has been very enjoyable for myself throughout the course of our story so far, is the fact that while writing these memories new ones tend to unveil themselves in the process. This happened once again over the course of my last two part entry and I remembered yet another video that was played that day on whatever show I was watching, "mid-week metal mania" may have been morphed into the "power hour" which aired on much music by this time.

It was called the Pepsi power hour at one point but I can't remember if it was in the beginning or not, regardless I'm to lazy to investigate the matter at the moment. The show opened with some killer tune I had never heard of which I learned a year or two later to be "Angel of Death" by one of my all time faves SLAYER!!! The video I saw this day was similar to the other 3 videos I saw that day. All 4 bands were the fastest, heaviest, gnarliest shit I had ever heard & all 4 bands consisted of only three members.

The band was Motörhead and the song was called "The Ace of Spades" I don't know where to begin with my description as it was mind blowing to take in...machine gun guitar, deep distorted bellowing bass, crazy fast up beat hard hitting drums, and the raunchiest voice I had ever heard in my musical bliss.  I have loved this song since that first day I heard it and if never grows old on me.

Motörhead were definitely ahead of the times in their approach to music even though their collective influences were basic rock and roll. I've had the pleasure now of seeing Motörhead 4 or 5 times throughout the course of my life thus far, and it's great to see Lemmy is still alive and kicking it all these years later.  Motörhead would be the opening act along with Overkill at the first REAL concert I attended in my life where I wasn't chaperoned by my parents or my sister to see a band I wasn't highly interested in like Kim Mitchell or Gary "U.S." Bonds.

I was barely a few months past 16 when I attended said concert and it was one of the best nights of my life and I still remember it like it was yesterday. It would be its own blog posting in itself and then some to be quite frank. Motörhead were amazing that night and it was the loudest I had ever heard music in my life, until the headliners came on....another 3 piece band.....SLAYER!!!! \m/

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The OTHER 2 Videos

(continued from previous days post)

The first video was called "Blood Lust" from a band called "Venom" and it was recorded at a live performance, or was produced to appear as such. These guys had serious licks, serious locks and a serious look. The stage was very dark with a dreary light show providing glimpses of this evil trio. Their drummer had one of the biggest drum sets i had ever seen and he ripped them up faster than I had ever heard any drummer do. The vocals were by far the heaviest and raunchiest sounding evil words that had ever been unleashed upon my ear drums. The guitars and bass were fast and furious and loud! 

Everything about these guys was heavy as hell and as much as I was digging it I was also getting freaked out as Venom had a GIANT pentagram behind the drummer with a satanic goat head illustrated within the 5 points. As far as I was concerned these guys were legitimately Satan worshippers and I had never seen or heard anything like this. I was frightened yet very intrigued to say the least and with mixed emotions put aside, I fell in love with it!

The 2nd video that was in the rotation with Venom & Exciter was called "Circle of the tyrants" by another band I had never heard of called "Celtic Frost". Their singer/slash guitarist was decked out in leather and studs like I had never seen, he almost looked more medieval. He was thin and frail looking but had one of the deepest, scariest voices I had ever heard. The bassist resembled a Vampire and he wore black pants, a frilly white shirt, and his face had makeup on it that made him look undead. The drummer was the only one who looked like your typical metal head.

Their stage show also consisted of dark, creepy lighting and lots of thick smoke. The guitar sound was like none I had ever heard, it was almost buzz saw sounding. The music structure was very appealing too, ranging from fast, mid tempo, very fast & a sick slow breakdown part that I couldn't get enough of. I even used to recreate that beat on my drum machine and mix in scratches with my "Ok blue jays" 45. At one point in the song this voice backed up the singer and it sounded like the big red guy below... in the flesh....and it scared the shit out of me! 

This video was also from a live concert and I was seeing madness in the crowd, people slamming into each other, people diving off the stage into the crowd, people with upside down crosses on their foreheads.....this shit was insane! I didn't even know if I should be watching it let alone recording it. I was 100% positive in my mind that every single person in the audience were Satan worshippers as this was definitely some underground cult shit going on. The thought of being there scared the hell out of me as I would certainly not leave alive, or if I did the devil would have my soul and I'd be going to hell.

I liked the song as much as it scared me and I was very happy I had my tape recording that day. I was sure God was pissed at me and there was no way I was going to heaven....but I didn't care because my favorite singer Bon Scott had taught me years ago that "Hell ain't a bad place to be"...

Friday, 1 June 2012

Long live the loud!

All in all grade 6 was a pretty interesting first year at my new school Williams parkway. I had a very unorthodox teacher, I had made some great new friends, and I even managed to avoid getting "initiated" a hazing ritual that grade 8 kids would bestow upon the new grade sixes. Luckily for me a lot of the grade 8 bullies were guys I grew up with on my street so they took it easy on me. My buddy John McCuish gave me a figure four leg lock while my friends were getting tortured by his friends. We had to make it look like no favoritism was taking place and I sold the pain with an Oscar worthy performance.

I had earned their respect at the bus stop one morning when a grade 8 kid was insulting me. Something clicked inside and I threw a HUGE right hook to his temple, which shocked and stumbled him back. He regained his composure and jabbed me right in the nose causing bleeding and a slight fracture. Then he started sucking up to me so I wouldn't squeal on him and I was even invited to sit in the backseat of the bus with the grade 8 kids. I kept my mouth quiet when we got to school and respect was earned for not being a "rat".

All kinds of great music came out as well including new records from AC/DC, David Lee Roth (who had gone solo from Van Halen), Dio, Helix, Kiss, Mötley Crüe, and Ratt to name a few. And as expected most of these albums hit songs came with flashy new music videos that I was well prepared to record on the new family VCR. While filming videos one day I discovered a new band from Ottawa named Exciter and the song was called "Violence & Force" they were very fast and very heavy and decked to the nines in denim, leather, studs and spikes. They also had some loooooooong hair!

Exciter would be my first introduction to "speed metal" which would lead me into "thrash metal" a mere 2 years later. There were also two videos played in the rotation with Exciter from two bands that shocked, intrigued, and frightened me all in one. I didn't even know if I should be watching them as I felt like God was going to strike me down...