Remember that time Bart crashed into Meg or The White Stripes – Elephant

With Record Store Day 2015 fast approaching I thought I’d go back to one of my favourite RSD releases, The White Stripes – Elephant.

elephant1

While the White Stripes put out a lot of great material during their career, nothing opened up quite the way Elephant did with “Seven Nation Army.” It thundered to the point of making you rock whether you wanted to or not. It was a hair swinging, face slappin’ opening statement. Things only got cooler when you saw them chasing The Simpsons around to the driving fury that was “Hardest Button to Button”, and yet like Led Zeppelin before them, they could slow it down on a dime with a slow blues or acoustic number that had you grab for your headphones to hear the nuances and emotional depth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs5vHRn1zDU

This limited edition version was released for RSD 2013, as a tenth anniversary celebration and to draw attention to the fact that Jack White was the ambassador for Record Store Day that year.

Album one was a black and red split piece of vinyl while record two was white.

elephant2

elephant3

Another little weird thing was that sides were given letter designations except for the front of the white vinyl which was marked “Side 3”, rather than “C”.

The album was re-mastered directly from the original analog tapes making the vinyl a true representation of what White wanted people to hear.

Discogs now has this album listed for $75.28 while e-bay stores are asking in the $50.00 range.

Of course the only thing that really matters is, that this album is awesome and that it is gives you the urge to keep turning the volume up. If you can find a vinyl copy – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

 

D’oh – I waited too long! Or Simpsons House almost gone – Kwik-E-Mart almost here!

I had an awesome birthday last year. Small gathering of family, good conversation, and people who know me well enough to pick the most awesome of gifts… it was a great day!

My wife and kids got me this:

lego simpsons house

How cool is that eh!

It took almost ten hours to build which I did over several sittings and it now has a place where it is prominently displayed so that the world can see just how much of a geek I truly am. For any of you thinking about it, the original price tag is a hefty one, and the re-sale value is through the roof.

First thing to know is that the Lego store still has them priced at $229.99 Canadian. Unfortunately they also have marked it as ‘Hard To Find’ which means that it will soon slip into the Sold Out category.

Resellers on e-bay are already listing new & unopened sets at over $300.00 American. It is crazy, but once the set sells out some people will be willing to pay that price or more. Depending on how you see this (toy vs. collectible) it really isn’t surprising. The show has hit 25 years while still remaining popular, and the Lego set has 2523 pieces and is detailed from the garage right down to the ‘property of Ned Flanders’ barbecue. The original set was sold with six minifigures, while 16 others were sold separately in individual packages. Some kids at my sons birthday parties were getting up close and personal with the minifigures, even reading the little things that characters had in their hands.

LEGO-Simpsons-House-back-inside

In Fact, even the minifigures are going at crazy prices for the complete set of 16. The lowest price I spoted on kijiji was $90.00 while most people were asking well over a hundred. If you like them, but don’t want to pay those prices, a new set of Simpsons minifigs will be going on sale May 1.

Of course that is also the day that Lego releases the Kwik -E- Mart.

kwikemart

Direct from the Lego store it is also priced at $229.99, has 2179 pieces and includes minifigures of Homer, Marge, Bart, Apu, Chief Wiggum and Snake. It looks very cool.

Now, how many days until July?

She danced like a ‘peanut’ – The Lowest of The Low – Musical Memories

She danced as if she was the missing peanut from the Christmas special. I’m imagining that “Linus & Lucy” is playing each time I see this dance.

Bouncing in spot with her hands in a cute chipmunk like groove that only works for her and it is a sheer joy to see. It’s a totally platonic friendship that means the world to me… her pure enjoyment of life mixed with a look that says “screw with me and you die” has me in awe. She is one of a very small group who can drag this sad “Charlie Brown” out and get him to laugh in a most animated way.

Except this isn’t a cartoon and only 15 people are in attendance as The Lowest of the Low play their songs as if to thousands. The lack of people only serves to give the lucky few more room to move… and they all do. The band seems delighted that everyone is having a great time, and so they are having a blast. At the end of the night I walk over to the ‘merch booth’ where the only thing being sold is the band’s debut Shakespeare… My Butt and slap my fifteen dollars on the table. The patrons are hanging out with ‘the Low’ and there are smiles all around.

low

http://www.maplemusic.com/product.asp?dept%5Fid=278&pf%5Fid=275%2D50&lang=EN

Seventeen songs play out the stereo. Seventeen songs play from my Walkman. Seventeen songs become part of the soundtrack of what turns into a pretty good summer. And as the fall semester begins I’m seeing the same band, at the same venue, playing the same songs, with the same power, but this time the Trasheteria is at capacity. She still stands out to me. In a sea of people who do the Simpson’s music festival dance (“Homerpalooza”), she is still a peanut.

Only difference is, this time we know all the words, and a group of us, a circle of friends, dance and sing together as “Rosy and Grey” and “Bleed A Little While Tonight” now take on meanings.

As winter begins, there are more shows, more splendid times with friends. One night you’re catching the Rheostatics another it’s Weeping Tile, and then you drive to Toronto to catch Sugar. After all, it’s the early 90’s, and there is always some cool band around to see. Still, even with all these shows and all these bands, The Lowest of the Low gets circled on the calendar in red marker.

Which makes it all the weirder as that less than a year from that first show I saw, I’m standing at the Ontario Place forum with thousands of people watching the Lowest of the Low play. However, this time it is different. The Edgefest crowd is having a good time, but she has stopped dancing, and our group of friends have begun to stare in quiet disbelief. Ron Hawkins, the Lowest of the Low’s main songwriter, singer and rhythm guitarist has begun to smash his guitar in angry spectacle. Sure, I’ve seen musicians smash instruments as part of the ‘rich rebel’ – ‘wow, did you see that’ theatrical display. Classic rock is full of that crap, but this was different… it was real… and it must have been expensive. This wasn’t some wealthy ‘rock star’ smashing his guitar. This was Ron Hawkins, who I’m guessing was just finally able to pay bills with their new found regional success.

When I asked the bands lead guitarist Stephen Stanley about it just a few days later at the Hillside Music Festival in Guelph, he kinda smirked, looked serious and hinted that I should “ask Ron”. Except his tone was saying that the last thing I should do was “ask Ron.”

What I did get is that a new album was imminent. The guys were excited as it was being produced by Don Smith who had worked with 54-40, Cracker and The Rolling Stones. In fact, it looked like everything was in place for this band to be HUGE! Of course, the idea of this is awesome; the band consisted of four great guys who had been working their asses off to get to this point.

The thing is, it was different that night at Hillside. There was no friend dancing to my imaginary “Linus & Lucy”, and the audience was more jocular than enthusiastic. The band seemed almost hesitant with material that they had played hundreds of times. It looked like colour had been bled from them and nothing remained but black and white stills with great music in the background.

Another fall semester began and ‘the Low’ had a show scheduled at the university. The new album Hallucigenia was supposed to be in the stores soon, and tickets for the concert were selling fast. My whole circle of friends would be there, either working or singing along. It was going to be a big party, and maybe… just maybe, our enthusiasm would reach the band and the colour would come back.

http://www.amazon.ca/Hallucigenia-Lowest-Low/dp/B00005B7XF/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1424024680&sr=1-2&keywords=lowest+of+the+low

 

It never happened.

The show was cancelled, the band had broken up, and I was left kinda shuffling my feet along the ground. It felt like a good friend had moved to another continent without so much as a “see ya later.” Other bands, other friends, had moved in and taken memorable places, but well, it just wasn’t the same.

The band would reunite a couple times over the years, but tickets would sell so quick, the show would be sold out the very moment I heard about it.

A couple years back I was in my favorite record store and spotted Shakespeare… My Butt on display in vinyl. The plastic hit the table and I forget how much I paid, but it did take me exactly where I wanted to be. As it spun on the turntable I lay upon my couch eyes closed and I could see, in perfect colour, a girl dancing like a ‘peanut’, a group of friends having a great time, and a band playing to a few people as if it was to thousands.

Thank You Lowest Of The Low