Tag Archives: rock star style

Two Songs, One Name

good vibrations

You know what’s funny? When two very different songs share the same name. Especially when it leads to confusing/embarrasing conversations like this one:

Spencer’s (much cooler) friend: “‘Good Vibrations’ is such a great tune…”
Spencer: “Oh ya, I love Marky Mark!”
Spencer’s friend: “Um…I was talking about the Beach Boys song…”
Awkward silence as both parties realize the extent of Spencer’s lameness.

Don’t get me wrong, the Beach Boys’ version is also awesome, but how can you not love the Funky Bunch’s ridiculous ’90s dance moves? And Marky Mark’s shirtless posing. Not to mention that gold glitter hat…

Here are the two songs, side by side:

Oh man! I’m just gonna say it: they are both great. That’s the beauty of two songs with one name — unlike your typical classic vs. cover scenario, you don’t really have to measure how they stack up to one another, or choose between them. You can instead just enjoy each song for what it is. And although these two couldn’t be more different in some ways, when it comes down to it they are both songs about the thrill of hitting that sweet spot, where everything is just waves and waves and waves of good times.

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Spotlight on Style: Converse All Stars

converse all stars

When I was 9 or 10 I got the idea in my head that I wanted a pair of plaid Converse high tops. Believe it or not, they weren’t such an easy thing to find back then. I mean, nowadays you can get all sorts of crazy prints, colors and styles, but at the time it was the mid-’80s, and I wanted a pretty specific color scheme — dark blue and turquoise plaid. I was a very particular 5th grader. I searched for ages but couldn’t find what I was looking for, and finally settled for a classic pair of bubblegum pink ones (whether you are a guy or a girl, 10 years old or 50, you cannot go wrong with pink Converse).

So began my love affair with Converse All Stars. Since then, not a year has gone by that I haven’t worn them. I’ve had numerous pairs — navy, kelly green, black (of course), silver zebra print, turquoise velvet, and most recently white leather. My favourite pair ever were black and white checkered canvas. I bought them in grade 10 and I still have them to this day. They are pretty beat-up by now, as you can see:

all stars

I went to visit my friend Ryan in L.A. the summer after my first year of university, and in the midst of a particularly late night drinking session I inexplicably decided it would be a good idea to color them in black with a magic marker. I regretted this move the next morning, but luckily the black wore off some and you can still see the checkered pattern underneath. I have been wearing them for 20 years and they are still one of the best pairs of shoes I’ve ever had.

 

Not surprisingly, I love it when dudes wear Converse. It’s just such a great look. Gets me every time.

kurt cobain

To this day I have still never stumbled upon a pair that are dark blue and turquoise plaid, but I’ve always got my eyes open. I am confident they will find their way into my life someday.


Merry Christmas. Feed the World.

Do They Know It's Christmas

It’s December 24th. Christmas Eve. Let Them Eat Vinyl headquarters is a lively place tonight. We may or may not be getting drunk. And by that I mean we are. You know what else we are doing? Dancing around our living room, listening to our favourite Christmas song.

There are many great Christmas songs out there, but this one holds a special place in our hearts. The Finn was in high school when it was released, and tells me that everyone loved it — the punks, the headbangers, the new wavers, the rockers. It was a universal song, and those don’t come along too often. I was seven years old and actually living in Africa at the time, and although I was one of the lucky ones who never had to worry about food on my table, it’s important to remember that this is still an all-too-common problem in the world, almost 30 years after this song came out. So let’s continue Bob Geldof’s good works, and try to help out those less fortunate than ourselves, whenever and however we can.

This Christmas, we wish the best to you and your family. We love you, and we hope that you keep visiting our site, because it is our goal to entertain you and hopefully make you think about why you love music. Music is one of the greatest things in the world, and we are all lucky to have it.

So please enjoy our favorite Christmas song, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’:

p.s. How amazing is this song?? Paul Weller! Boy George! Simon Le Bon! Bono! Phil Collins on drums! And I am kind of crushing on a young Sting. Also, how beautiful is Jody Watley? Everyone looks so ’80s and awesome. We love it. Peace, love and joy to you all.


Prepare To Prog

genesis

All right, got my ticket to the concert, check the calendar… 3 weeks to go, what’s next? Train man — train hard like Rocky would.

A typical training regime begins with listening to the artist’s latest CD, over and over again. Sometimes it’s easy. The songs come to you and you feel them immediately. Your body and brain react unconsciously, like Neo dodging bullets. You understand, accept and feel the music completely. This is rare. Training is usually difficult because you have your favorites from the artist and when the new stuff is not measuring up, it becomes work — like running in Siberia with a log on your back (Rocky 3).

I have been training very hard over the last few weeks, and at times have felt totally overwhelmed. I feel like I have given myself only 3 weeks to train for a marathon. Sometimes I question myself — do possess the endurance and mental fortitude necessary to rise to the occasion? Self-defeating thoughts have been entering my mind: I should have started training for this years ago (or maybe when I was 14)… it’s too big, too complex…I’ve never been challenged like this before, and I need more experience. But something brings me back each day to listen again and again, and search the interweb for different interpretations of the music. It is exhausting and excruciating, but then I feel my music muscle memory kick in and I’m starting to get the music version of a runner’s high. I just want to keep listening. I think can…I think I can — I just might be able to — get my mind and body in tune for The Musical Box‘s performance of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway this Saturday at the Danforth Music Hall.

This record is the New York Marathon of progressive rock concept albums. Genesis released the epic double album in 1974, and it is the sprawling storey of Rael, a streetwise kid from Brooklyn and his quest to make a name for himself. Transpose the “a” and “e” and it’s Real — or is it a play on Peter Gabriel? — and that’s just the beginning… I found pages and pages online written by people attempting to deconstruct the plot and explain the symbolism. I feel like I need an English teacher to help me understand this. And this has been the great fun of my current training exercise — remembering the things I love about concept albums. It’s pure escapism, suspension of disbelief, entering Rael’s world and following him along the gritty streets of 1970’s New York and through fantastical magical caves and endless staircases.

Spending time with this album has reignited my interest in revisiting some of my old favorite concept albums and taking a chance on some new ones. Maybe its time for me to give some of the contemporaries a shot – Coheed and Cambria come to mind. I took a break today from training and listened to Arcarde Fire’s concept album The Suburbs. I thought to myself “damn, Rush said all of this in one one song, ‘Subdivsions,’ and also released 3 concepts albums – one about necromancers, one about a dystopian society and one about Greek gods fighting for man’s conscience — and they still didn’t win a Grammy”. Maybe Arcade Fire’s Grammy for The Suburbs was more of a recognition of the brilliance of the concept album. A calling card to other artists to take an idea, add adventurous music, dare to be grandiose, and something special might happen. So special it is still being recreated 37 years after its’ release.

For more on the history of The Musical Box & their collaboration with Genesis, click here.


I Don’t Mind If You Don’t Mind, Cause I Don’t Shine If You Don’t Shine

sam's town

No, you certainly don’t shine, Brandon Flowers. And yes I do mind.

Look, people, there aren’t many things in the world that I get ridiculously, out-of-my-mind excited about*, but I read an article in Rolling Stone about 3 and a half years ago in which Brandon Flowers described a disco ball suit that he was prototyping and testing out for The Killers’ upcoming tour.

*This is a total lie. There are many things that I get ridiculously, out-of-my-mind excited about.

Well. If you’ve been reading this site for long enough (or likely if you’ve even just met me once) then you know how much I love shiny, glittery things (especially clothing). Imagine a disco ball suit. Like, seriously, close your eyes for a moment and just really take the time to consider the gloriousness of it. A suit made to resemble a disco ball!? How would this work? Would it be heavy? Who would even think of it in the first place? I became obsessed. Ask The Finn, I wouldn’t shut up about it. To this day, when he mentions The Killers and I get a faraway look in my eye, he’s like “You’re thinking about the disco ball suit, aren’t you?”

So, what of said suit? It never materialized. The Finn and I went to see the band on our first wedding anniversary, when they were touring in support of Day & Age (an excellent record) and I was pretty sure by then that the suit wouldn’t make an appearance. I hadn’t heard it mentioned again since that original interview.

I was briefly consoled this past summer by Bono’s laser jacket, but I’m still waiting for the disco ball suit. You gotta dream big, you know? I know it’ll find its way into my life someday. For now, that’s enough.


Peaceful, Easy Feeling…

The Finn

Go west, young man

Hola amigos, and Happy Monday! We hope you all had a great weekend & hope you enjoyed Part 1 of our California playlist, ‘California Über Alles’. If you missed it, you can listen to it here. And now we move on to Part 2! Honestly y’all, there are so many songs that have been written about California, it’s kind of crazy. I guess it still holds a certain mystique as the land of opportunity, probably a carryover from the old days of frontierism and the fervour of the California gold rush. You have to admit it’d be kind of cool to be out there prospecting for gold, and I can only imagine that when people got there and saw how beautiful it was they’d be hard pressed to want to leave.

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Girl Crush: Nicki Minaj

It seems fitting on this day, a Friday, to profile an album called Pink Friday. This record is not new — it was released almost a year ago — but it’s one that I’ve been listening to a lot lately for a couple of reasons: 1) the songs are really good, and 2) I am slightly obsessed with Nicki Minaj.

It’s not often that I buy an album without knowing any of the tracks, but that was the case here. I can’t remember why I picked it up — I knew very little about Minaj, other than the fact that she has a RIDICULOUS ass.

Like, seriously, look at this thing:

You’re kidding right? It’s padded, right?


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If You Wanna Make the World a Better Place…

man in the mirror

In 1992, Michael Jackson embarked on his Dangerous world tour, which ended up being his second-to-last tour ever and attracted 3.5 million fans over the course of its two years. At the time, I wasn’t a huge MJ fan. I had loved him as a kid, but by the time I was seventeen I considered myself “too cool” to be into his music. Somehow, though, my best friend’s parents got free tickets to the show in Singapore (where we were living at the time) and she invited me to go with her. Our seats were CRAZY good — like, unbelievable. Second row, centre. Yeah, I know. Apparently MJ had a special deal in place that the first 10 rows or something like that were reserved for fans under the age of 18. Anyway, the show was AMAZING — the best I’ve ever seen. It completely blew me away. I had forgotten how many great songs were in his repertoire, but it was more than that. It was a completely flawless performance, and I say that with honestly no exaggeration. It was note-perfect down to the very last detail — Jackson’s singing, his dancing, the choreography, the lighting…everything. You could tell that he must have put an unbelievable amount of time into rehearsing, but it all came off looking smooth, effortless…perfect without being rote or robotic.

I came away from the show shaking my head in awe at the sheer amount of talent that the guy possessed, and I never forgot his performance. I feel lucky to have seen an artist of such stature at the peak of his career. As we now know, the years following that tour were not kind to Michael Jackson. Allegations of child molestation led to a highly-publicized trial that took on the feel of a circus freak show. MJ’s final years were marked by increasingly erratic behavior and a dependence on prescription drugs, surrounded by a coterie of sycophants and enablers. His death in 2009, at age 51, provoked an outpouring of grief in the media as people remembered the “good” side of him — innovative creative genius, magnificent performer, humanitarian.

Jackson’s lasting legacy is a top-notch body of work. But when you think about everything he accomplished its hard not to view it all within the context of the high price he paid for success. Any semblance of a normal childhood was sacrificed in the pursuit of perfection. Driven by an overbearing stage father, his grueling life as a child star paved the road for personal unhappiness in his adult life. On the other hand, watching him perform up-close, the absolute joy he felt being onstage doing something he loved was obvious…so there’s that.

I’m not really saying anything here that hasn’t been said before, but I’ve been thinking about MJ recently because I’ve been listening to this song a lot. I love this song. I think it’s his best — at least, it’s my favorite. I’ve been thinking a lot about change, too. So often in life, change is thrust upon us. After all, the only thing that ever stays the same is the fact nothing ever stays the same, right? Oh, the irony. But sometimes the type of change that is necessary has to come from within, and that’s the most difficult. Have you ever looked at your life and realized that something needs to be different, but you’re not sure exactly what, and you don’t know how to make it happen? What do you do?

I wish I had the answers. I think MJ was on the right track here though. I guess, in the end, if you want to make a change there is only one place to look: in the mirror. If you like what you see, you’re lucky. If not…well, at least you know where to start.


Please Don’t Put Your Life In the Hands Of a Rock ‘n Roll Band

BOOK REVIEW FOR: Oasis: The Truth: My Life As Oasis’s Drummer

Author: Tony McCarroll

tony mccarroll

What’s the Story, Morning Glory: from the mean streets of Manchester to the heights of Supersonic success

Who Are You: original drummer setting the record straight

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About: sibling rivalry, the agony & the ecstasy, the real Noel

Do Ya Think I’m Sexy: LG, I think I love you

Paperback Writer: a genuinely funny author with a knack for spinning a tale

Add It Up: a Spartan of a book

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Blue Peter & Chalk Circle: New Romantics and The Oshawa Tree

Saturday, October 1st — Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto

Tonight in the city there are no neighborhoods, only letters — A, B and C. Nuit Blanche has begun and the streets are coming alive with people ready to interact with art and each other. You have to decide which letter will begin your experience. For me, it’s B for Blue Peter and C for Chalk Circle. These names sound like Pop Art and minimalist paintings — I am obviously getting into the feel of Nuit Blanche.

I arrive at the Phoenix Concert Theatre halfway through Blue Peter’s set. On stage Paul Humphrey is sharply dressed. He looks like he could be on the set of Twin Peaks. His delivery is a collage of David Byrne, Ian Curtis and Bryan Ferry — so much coming at you at once, he is a compelling front man. I get to hear my favorites, ‘Radio Silence’ and ‘Don’t Walk Past’. These songs seamlessly fuse the condensed drone and angles of post punk with the smooth crooning of the New Romantic period. “Don’t walk on past”– you just wanted to whisper it to that girl in the hall, but it seemed so hard. A great, earnest, self-conscious love song. Check the video – it won Best Video of 1983 from the Canadian Film and Television Association.

Chalk Circle takes the stage and I overhear a group of people discussing how pleasantly surprised they are by the turnout. I am too. Chalk Circle recorded one EP and 2 albums during the 80’s. Their biggest selling record, The Mending Wall, was recorded at Quest Studios in Oshawa, Ontario and dubbed ‘The Oshawa Tree’. Is Chalk Circle Canada’s U2? Maybe, but only if you insist on viewing all things as derivative of others. If creating earnest, thoughtful and politically conscious rock & roll makes them Canada’s U2 then sure, it’s a fair comparison. But it always pissed me off when people would say that about Chalk Circle. It is so rare when an artist is able to create a new color in the spectrum — when it happens it is monumental and everyone is affected. I would argue (and I wouldn’t be alone) that The Edge created a new color with his guitar sound with U2. And yeah, Chalk Circle were inspired by that, along with millions of other people — but to dismiss their music as “U2-lite” does them a disservice. These are some great songs. Whew…looks like this show is stirring up lots of thoughts and emotions for me. OK, I’m done for now. But I will never stop taking the piss out of music snobs — no room for them.

I’m feeling fired up. Chris Tait is sneering away and Brad Hopkins’ bass is punching, pushing, and pulling me around. It’s nice to hear the bass way up front. As I’m getting my groove on I’m beginning to feel the political weight of the 80’s. It starts with ‘This Mourning’ with Tait spitting out the lyrics: “It’s 11 o’clock and they talk of him / About the eve of destruction / And a new ray gun / For my defense / A mended fence”. I’m taken down memory lane right back to “Ray-Gun Reagan”, Star Wars weapons in space, and the arms race. Later, they play the pretty guitar song ‘N.I.M.B.Y.’ — a term that was new to me in high school. Now that I am a land owner ‘N.I.M.B.Y.’ tests me, revealing things I didn’t know about myself and my ideologies. Wow, I am tripping now — loud music and politics filling my head. Then comes the hammer fall of ‘Sons and Daughters’ a seething indictment of Free trade: “They see gold in your trees and gold in your people / They’ll be panning for it in your water”. I begin to remember the uncertainty and anxiety during the 80’s about how Free Trade would change Canada. It felt like our sovereignty and economic future was up for grabs and the Americans were getting too good of a deal.

I leave the concert with a warm feeling and a head full of politics, and I like it. Election signs are all over the place, on people’s lawns and on store fronts. Election week is upon us, and this is the perfect time to think about what kind of politics we want for Ontario.


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