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    My Life: Autobiographical Vol.4

    If you need to, read My Life: Autobiographical Vol.1,  Vol.2 , & Vol.3. Also our YouTube channel has a playlist of all the songs in the series so far, plus the ones included in this post, that I will just keep adding to as I go. Skip to video 14 if you’ve already listened to the previous tunes from the series.

    Danger Is My Middle Name

    So in 1984 Run DMC was the most dangerous thing I’d ever heard, but then this happened, and  I’ve been a lover of Heavy Metal ever since. I saw Axl a few years back with his new version of GNR, and then we saw Velvet Revolver to see most of the other band members. I wish I had a time machine to see them in their original glory. Velvet Revolver was the better of the two shows. Anyway, Appetite For Destruction is still in my Top 40 albums of all time.

    Two For Ms. Shannon’s Class

    In 1988 the first of my generation’s boy bands emerged. I don’t remember what my feelings about the NKOTB were then. I’m guessing that as an 11 year old I thought they were pretty cool. They did have pretty sweet dance moves, but I really have no idea. I know I was in grade 6, and I know all the girls in my class LOVED them.

    I almost Rick Rolled you. This one goes out to my sixth grade class and our french teacher, Miss Ferguson. She danced like him, dressed like him. This was the only music we were allowed to play in french class. She was probably the most stylishly dressed teacher I ever had. I remember a few altercations with the teacher losing her cool but never at me.

    Driving Tunes

    I already mentioned that there where only a few songs me and my best friend could agree on. This is one of them. Don’t judge me for liking Young MC when I was twelve. Judge me for still knowing most the words today.
    I really don’t know how my buddy’s Dad dealt with listening to these cassettes over and over. We loved them but you’d
    have to be a special kind of patient man to put up with these songs every time he had to drive us around.

    Lost It Somehow

    There are a couple reasons why I might have picked this song a few years back. I remember having a vague crush on the lead singer. Not as big a crush as I had on Alyssa Milano but it might have been my first musician crush. It also could have been that Pretty Woman was a huge movie in 1990 and my Mom & sister loved it. Either way it was on the playlist so here it is.

    Next time on My Life…So MUCH Danger, my first Much Video Dance and some funny stuff.

    Question: Alice In Chains, Grunge or Metal?

    Our first bit of news is that I’ve created a YouTube channel.  That means you don’t have to fiddle around with playing different videos, they play in the order I’ve chosen. You can just push play once and just keep listening to music while you do other things like ‘Like’ our Facebook page or play Angry Birds, whatever it is that you do.

    So our first Facebook question of the week was based off of an episode of Metal Evolution. In episode 7 they discuss the place of Grunge in Heavy Metal‘s history. I’ve always had my opinions on certain bands rolls in the genre. The Melvins, Mother Love Bone, Screaming Trees, and of course Nirvana, all sounded different to me but a few bands really stood out. I’ve always wondered if Alice In Chains (and Soundgarden for that matter) are Grunge or Metal? Well the Facebook has spoken and by a landslide vote Grunge takes it with 18 votes to Metal’s 8.

    So Why Are Alice In Chains Grunge?
    AIC, as I will now refer to them, were from Seattle. +1 for the Grunge voters. I’m not sure if  it was the climate, the public school system or just coincidence that so many new bands, all came from the same city, but it happened. How does a genre of music get attached to just one particular city?

    Yep! That’s Grunge!

    Another +1 for the Grunge voters and a common thread with most these bands is that they all play rock music. Angsty rock music at that. Something you have to keep in mind is that 1991 was saturated with ballads and dance music until September, and we’d grown bored of Hair Metal. These bands gave us a whole new list of things to be pissed off about. Mostly how bored we were in suburbia and how dark your mind can get when you’re apathetic about everything.

    So Why Are They Metal?
    By now you should almost be up to the AIC song on the playlist above. If that song had come out 2 years on either side of 1991 are you going to tell me it wouldn’t be classed as metal? Jerry Cantrell, the hair, the power-stance, the guitar solo that lasts over 20% of the song, all Metal.

    If this logo were any more Metal it would be a pile of sticks!

    The second reason I’m more inclined to put them in with the Metal bands is their first single. We Die Young went to number 5 on the metal charts off of AIC‘s first EP. Also their first major touring break came from opening on the Clash Of The Titans tour in 1991, opening for SlayerMegadeth and Anthrax. It doesn’t get more Metal than that.

    Now to pull the National Geographic documentary kind of ending. If I was asked this question I would be more inclined to stick to the Metal side of the fence. However, I stopped using the term Grunge shortly after it’s birth for two reasons. The first being that I didn’t understand how so many bands that sounded so different could all be labelled under one genre. The other reason being that it didn’t incorporate the other bands I liked at the time like Stone Temple Pilots and Nine Inch Nails. I just called everything Alternative.

    Does anybody else remember those days? Being asked, “What are you?” Which I always replied, “Alternative.”

    Now, if asked I’d just reply with a Nirvana lyric, “Teenage angst has paid off well, now I’m bored and old.”

    My Life: Autobiographical Vol.3

    Two weeks until my birthday. Which means I’m behind on my posting to finish all 40 songs in this playlist. I will pick up the pace. I promise. If you need to, read My Life: Autobiographical Vol.1  & Vol.2 to get caught up. Remember that this is a blog series I did based on Rob Gordon in High Fidelity sorting his records Autobiographically. I think we’re picking up the story of my life somewhere between 1987 and 1989.

    Family Fun Times

    It’s funny how times change. As a kid my Grandparents had a great party house. Swimming pool with a slide, a screened in room for playing cards, lawn-darts (yeah lawn darts!). In the evening the whole family, aunts, uncles, cousins, we’re talking about a dozen people, would gather around the player piano and have a sing-a-long. This is where I learned about The Great American Songbook. Later in life I got into Sinatra, Martin and Cole, but only because I already knew the songs from these times with family. Here is where the funny comes in. Last Family Day I spent in Bradford with my, well, family and we all gathered around the TV, singing along to Glee Karaoke. The times our family spend together haven’t changed that much, just the way enjoy music together.

    Enter The Danger

    In 1987 I heard something for the first time. Rap, Hip-Hop, whatever you want to call it, had taken the pop charts by storm and it was the most dangerous thing I’d ever heard. Beastie Boys, Run DMC & Public Enemy. This was something new for my generation and it kicked ass. Whether you like or not, the evolution the genre will make a great documentary series one day. VH1 can call me for the rights!

    Other Peoples Kids

    This song made the list for one reason only. The kid next door. He was a year older than me and dressed just like Billy Idol. Being religious, my parents didn’t appreciate Billy Idol, or Madonna for that matter, wearing crosses when they obviously weren’t singing anything about their faith and in fact were singing about quite the opposite of the morals they should be conveying most of the time. My neighbour dressed just like Idol. Vest, bracelets, ear pierced even! I wasn’t allowed to hangout with him too often. I think it was because I lied to my parents a lot and they blamed him.

    Corky Knows Best
    Given that this playlist I made was for Name That Tune three years ago, I really can’t remember why this song was played at this particular time. The only thing I can think of is the TV show Life Goes On used it for their intro music. It was on Sunday nights, right after church, or America’s Funniest Home Videos (the Bob Saget years). I don’t even remember being a huge fan of the show but it’s the only reason I can think of for playing this song. I didn’t get into The White Album until much later in life and it wasn’t news worthy.

    Read the next My Life: more DANGER, more DRIVING and more ROXETTE?

    My Life: Autobiographical Vol.1

    Looking for a playlist the other day, mixed with watching High Fidelity, again, I found a round of Name That Tune I had done for my birthday a few years back. An autobiographical playlist is way easier than reorganizing my records that way, not to mention it’s way easier to share a song at a time. The goal here is to get through all 40 songs before my birthday, March 7th. I did do some narrative between songs when I did this round of Name That Tune two years ago and I’ll try to recreate those points as best I can. I’m going to dedicate this first post in the series to my folks. Thanks for having such great taste in music!

    Three of the greatest things in the world happened in 1977. First, Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours came out. I remember being around 20 years old and reading somewhere that it was one of the best albums of all time. I picked it up on a whim, mostly because it was in the 2 for 20 bin at HMV, or something like that anyway. As soon as I put it on I realized I knew almost every track. I had recently moved to Guelph so I had to give my parents a call to see if they played it a lot. Apparently I could hum/sing the words to the whole album, before I could actually talk properly. In 1977/78 it was the go to album whenever there was a gathering. I still love this album now, having traded in my CD for vinyl. It’s one of the three albums I listen to, by myself at 3am, on my actual birthday. I have a special, discontinued, bottle of scotch that I only drink at this time. It’s been my ritual for the last 8 years or so. I’m almost out of scotch. I’d be willing to try this one. Hint hint, nudge nudge, wink wink.
    Of course the second best thing that happened to 1977 was STAR WARS. Nobody really knew what it was and nothing had ever been done like it before. I’m lucky enough to have seen the film in it’s original glory, when it was re-released with Empire as a double header, before the explosions had giant rings, Jabba was C.G.I., and before DarthVader/Anakin Skywalker was a whiny little twerp!

    The last thing that happened in 1977 that was awesome? I was born!

    My First Concert

    In 1982, at the tender age of five, my parents decided that it was time to take me to my first concert. Actually, I’m pretty sure they didn’t have a choice. My Mom’s cousin, my second cousin I think, is Skip Prokop of Lighthouse. Meaning that all of my Aunt’s & Uncle’s, also known as babysitters, would also be attending their triumphant return to the stage. I know the show was at the old Ontario Place Forum, I know the stage spun around the whole show, and I know that the bass made me have to pee a lot. Uncle Skip is still touring with Lighthouse and making new music with his new band Mercy Train.

    In 2011 my Uncle Skip Accepts his SOCAN award for 100,000 radio plays 

    For My Folks
    The Autobiographical playlist also included a song each for my folks. For Dad, I picked Supertramp. They were one of his favourite bands when I was a kid. For Mom, it was a little more difficult. I don’t remember her being ‘attached’ to any one artist or band. We lived in a town of 400 people (Kirkfield, ON) and had limited access to radio and TV. I do remember this next song being played often. I’m not sure if it was just constantly on the radio or if there was a copy kicking around the house. I just remember it then, and still know all the words now.

    Next Time, On If My Life Was A Musical…
    My first concert disappointment, My first records and memories of the Grandparents player piano.

    Read it here!


    I was talking with a friend last night about music. I know, that’s so unlike me. He was saying that he was amazed that he’s not sick of Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People yet, even though he hears it once or twice a day where he works. It’s an okay song. The lyrics are actually really dark for how catchy and and uplifting the beat is. I have a few of these songs and I figured I’d share them here.

    My Poor Housemates

    Two songs that were my first song of the day for a long time were 99 Problems by Jay-Z and The Imperial March from Star Wars. I would wake-up, everyday, double click, jack up the speakers and start walking downstairs for my morning coffee, letting my housemates know I was alive. I did this for a while, like way too long. These songs were like my entrance music to my day. These songs prepared me for being awesome at life.

    I Have No Idea
    I’m pretty sure that Fight Club did just as much for The Pixies as Kurt Cobain. I might be wrong, but I know that my on-again, off-again relationship with The Pixies went to a whole new level when I heard this song during the closing credits. I was finally ready to make that commitment to them and tell the world that I LOVE THE PIXIES!

    I Gotta Launder, My Karma

    I just love this song. It really hits all the music bases, stealing from electronica, funk, rap & brit-pop. There really is something here for everyone.

    Final Countdown
    If you had to listen to 3 songs everyday, for the rest of your life, what would they be?  Maybe I’ll start a series on some our favourite songs. Maybe I’ll make a playlist out of them 😉

    How To Make A Mix Tape/Playlist Part Four

    If you need to get caught up on our unbelievable series of awesomeness, Part One, Part Two and Part Three are all kickin’ it around the internets. In Part Three I explained that Rules are more like tips, but the songs being played from here on in may NOT have anything to do with the Rule attached to them. As already discussed the track list on The Best Mix Tape Ever! so far is…

    1. D’yer Maker – Led Zeppelin
    2. Love Rollercoaster – Red Hot Chili Peppers
    3. Eruption/You Really Got Me – Van Halen (Kinks Cover)
    4. Open Road Song – Eve 6
    5. I Will Survive – Cake (Gloria Gaynor Cover)
    6. Same In The End – Sublime
    *NEW* 7. Sure Shot – Beastie Boys (We have to speed things up a bit, I think there is only a few posts left in series)

    Rule #7: Don’t exhaust your listener
    Ever notice that TV commercials are louder than the show your watching? Even the ads at the beginning of the Youtube videos I post are quite often louder than the song. Everything wants to be the loudest thing you hear, to grab your attention. Sadly, this train of thought was adapted by record companies sometime around 1999, killing the dynamic properties of albums everywhere.
    Older Recordings look like this. In fact whole albums did.

    Newer releases look like this because of digital sound compression and amplification.
    Californication, by Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Remember the eerie whisper of Nirvana‘s “Something In The Way“? That album, if released now, wouldn’t be nearly as good. But you wouldn’t actually be able to pin point why.
    Best Mix Tape Ever Track 8: Where It’s At – Beck

    Ear Fatigue exists. It could lead you to turning off a certain radio station or album, or tuning out family members at Christmas dinner. Either way it exists. If you mix up your songs in the right way, you’ll be fine, but pay less attention to tempo, instruments used, etc. and really focus on how LOUD the song is.
    Best Mix Tape Ever Track 9: Sexy Thing – Hot Chocolate

    Personal Tip! When copying your CDs to your hard drive, anything before 2000 anyway, NEVER click the option to normalize the volume. When you do this you are changing the dynamic compression of the album, which will automatically make the albums sound waves look more like Californication, and less like Beethoven. This could change the way you’ve enjoyed an album for years, so be warned.

    Only one Rule this post, but I gave you a few songs. Now that you’re all super educated about science and stuff, the next post will concentrate on playing and toying with your listener.

    To Be Continued…..

    How To Make A Mix Tape/Playlist Part Three

    This is the blog post you’ve all been waiting for. If you haven’t read the first two posts in the series, catch up here and there. I’ve also revealed the first 4 tracks from the now 8 year old, Best Mix Tape Ever!

    1. D’yer Maker – Led Zeppelin
    2. Love Rollercoaster – Red Hot Chili Peppers
    3: Eruption/You Really Got Me – Van Halen
    4: Open Road Song – Eve 6

    I have fessed up to some mistakes along the way and got a little off track in Part Two.  Rules are more like tips, but the songs being played from here on in may NOT have anything to do with the Rule attached to them. As stated previously, I am making a NEW playlist as I go. Feel free to make yours as we go, or you can agree or disagree with me in the comments section of every post.

    Rule #5: Mix it up a LOT
    Best Mix Tape Ever Track 5: I Will Survive – Cake (Gloria Gaynor cover)

    This mix started off with some classic rock icons, but overall you can tell I was in high school in the ’90s. And the decade’s dominance isn’t going to stop for another 4 songs. Do these songs “fit” well? Yep! Would I go this route now? Nope! It’s a pretty diverse mix for a pile of 21-27 year olds in 2003, but doesn’t cut it now. MIX. IT. UP. A good mix needs different genres, decades, styles etc. This mix is a full of male vocalists from the ’90s. Big FAIL, me. Big FAIL. Now how do you facilitate all of your listeners and get that musical diversity as well?

    Rule #6: Know where you’re going
    Best Mix Tape Ever Track 6: Same In The End – Sublime

    Planning out the songs for your mix can be a tricky. I find it better to not get attached to any one song but maybe start with 10 songs you want to play in a 90 minute time frame. Remember! The longer a mix is, the harder it will be create. Most classic albums are less than 45 minutes long because of the constraints of vinyl. How good would some of these newer CDs be if they didn’t try to fill the whole disc, but instead tried to make 40 minutes of seamless music? I think it would make a huge difference. Slayer does this really well. Their first 5 releases barely breach 35 minutes each. They know that even their fans don’t want a 60 minute Slayer record.

    For our next post in this series you’ll need a lesson in ear fatigue and how you’ll learn that you need to be the master of puppets.

    To be continued…How To Make A Mix Tape/Playlist Part Four


    How To Make A Mix Tape/Playlist Part Two

    So we concluded our first post in this series, How To Make A Mix Tape/Playlist Part One, with a question. Who’s it for? Who is your intended audience?

    I also revealed the first two songs on the tape, so here is the current track listing:
    1. D’yer Maker – Led Zeppelin
    2. Love Rollercoaster – Red Hot Chili Peppers

    The RHCP song leads me right into….
    Rule #3: Cover songs are important.
    I know that I’m totally breaking Rob Gordon’s rules. I’m okay with that. His “Rule #3” is to “Cool it off a notch”. I didn’t do that on this mix.
    Best Mix Tape Ever Track 3: Eruption/You Really Got Me – Van Halen

    Cover songs are super important and this one takes me right where I want to be. I really felt I could still go higher after Track 2. WAY higher! Eruption? C’mon! But there is also something else to consider. Did I have my whole audience on board with the mix so far? With this track I pick up rockers, Kinks (and other British Invasion) fans and people from Sault Ste. Marie. I did go a little Cover heavy on Side 1 of this tape, but they are a great way to introduce people to new bands without making them feel stupid for not knowing the words. Now we’ll get back on track with Rob Gordon….

    Rule #4: Cool it down a notch
    I totally broke this rule. I probably won’t put this song on a mix now. Come to think of it, this band would have trouble making the cut. There are two reasons for this song existing on this mix. One, it was intended for parties and road trips. And two, my friends all liked Eve 6 in 2001
    The Best Mix Tape Ever Track 4: Open Road Song – Eve 6

    A funny thing just happened…Listening to the song to try and find a good sounding one for this post, I still would take this song, just not in this spot. I’m rockin’ out and missing the friends I used to listen to this record with constantly. Music can be funny that way. Attaching a certain time and place with special people and events….

    So, back to the Rule #4. What would I pick now? I’d go a little more modern. Less epic, less tempo. Maybe a little deeper lyric wise. It’s important to bring people back and re-ground them. Something that everyone knows the words to would be great. I think Pink Floyd’s, Wish You Were Here, is a great song, but too deep. I want to scratch the emotional surface for my audience, with out making them cry. Sweet Child O’Mine would work, but I’ve already classic rocked this mix to death. I’d probably go with this one…
    *NEW* The Best Mix Tape Ever Track 4: Like A Stone – Audioslave

    I picked this song mostly because I didn’t want create a splinter in the mix tape continuum, this song still works with the next song.

    Be ready this week, we’re going to take our audience dancing!

    To be continued….How To Make A Mix Tape/Playlist Part Three

    Lunch Up Guelph, Playlist

    Here is the list of background music from Lunch Up Guelph. If you don’t know what that is, get a Twitter account! I know I broke some rules along the way, but I did only have a few hours this week to dedicate to this playlist. I’ll highlight a few of my favourites along the way.

    Lunch Up Playlist
    1. Need You Tonight – INXS
    2. Sussudio – Phil Collins
    3. Heart Of Glass – Blondie
    4. Call Me Al – Paul Simon Had to be added to due to previous discussion on Twitter. VW bus what?
    5. Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presly See what I did there? Paul Simon’s album is Graceland. Get it?
    6. Little Deuce Coupe – The Beach Boys
    7. Uptown Girl – Billy Joel If the music had been louder we intended to do a sing-a-long flash mob/Glee style
    8. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
    9. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Rolling Stones
    10. She’s Electric – Oasis I know Candice hates me for this one!
    11. Love Spreads – The Stone Roses
    12. Orange Crush – Editors (R.E.M. Cover) I played the studio version of the cover but had to post this one. If you’ve never seen Editors live, you are missing out!

    13. Just Like Honey – The Jesus & Mary Chain
    14. Wave Of Mutilation – The Pixies
    15. Pride & Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
    16. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
    17. Earth Angel – The Penguins Yep! These two back to back = Back To The Future reference.
    18. Superstitious – Stevie Wonder
    19. ABC – The Jackson 5
    20. Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers Stevie Wonder cover
    21. Empire State Of Mind – Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys
    22. It’s Like That – Run DMC
    23. Council Estate – Tricky
    24. Angel – Massive Attack Yeah, Rob Gordon would totally play this too!

    25. All These Things Things That I’ve Done – The Killers
    26. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    27. Connection – Elastica
    28. The Passenger – Iggy Pop
    29. Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie
    30. Have A Cigar – Foo Fighters Pink Floyd cover

    31. Limelight – Rush Played this because Rush rule and they came out and played YYZ with Taylor Hawkins on drums last time I saw the Foo Fighters live!
    32. Like a Hurricane – Neil Young This is where I started slowing things down, to take us all home, so to speak.
    33. Hungry Heart – Bruce Springsteen
    34. Straight To Hell – The Clash Yep! MIA stole the intro for Paper Planes

    There you go everyone! Thanks to Candice and TRC for organizing the Lunch Up, and to The Bookshelf/E-Bar for having us.