Snowman rules when he posts all his findings in one month. So this morning when I saw John’s post I thought, “Well maybe todays the day I nick John’s idea and run with it, for this month anyway!”
In case you missed Part 2…click below
Once June/91 rolled around the big releases for me that month were Skid Row with “Slave To The Grind” and Van Halen with “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”.
One day (shortly after VH came out) I was riding around on my mountain bike when I noticed a Black Mustang following me around. It was creepy actually. Did someone take out a hit on me? What’s going on here as I kept riding and since I had my Walkman jacked (remember those?) I pedalled faster.
I figured I would take a quick route home by cutting through the parking lot of a local Safeways and sure enough there was that Black Mustang parked sideways like it was waiting for me…
As I got closer to the Mustang I yanked the headphones off of my head. Isn’t it funny I can still recall the tape I was listening to was Kik Tracee a cassette I got as a freebie from my subscription to MEAT Magazine.
Anyways as I inched closer I seen a familiar face in the passenger seat of the car with the window rolled down..
It was Darr and behind the wheel was Tbone and there they were heckling like a couple of hyena’s as they knew they had me spooked and right on cue I remember the tune Tbone was cranking which was “Judgement Day” by Van Halen.
Fuckers got me good!
Tbone fresh from graduating University and securing a job in the mechanical engineering field bought himself a 1991 Ford Mustang. (man that car could fly)
Good one fella’s..
Summer of 91 was a fun summer. Some great music was coming out and considering I was working full time I could easily pick up new releases like Metallica when “The Black Album” dropped.
But by fall something interesting in music was changing and I heard a different style of music that was starting to come into the masses.
Having said that I remember purchasing The Cults “Ceremony”, Tesla’s “Psychotic Supper”, Aerosmith “Pandoras Box”, Motley Crue’s “Decade of Decadence”, both “Use Your Illusions” by Guns, and in the what the %$#* was I thinking dept. I bought Poison’s “Swallow This Live”.
One night in the fall of 91 I was hanging out with Oink’s and he had two tapes in his car. One was Ozzy’s latest “No More Tears” and the other one was a band I had maybe only read about but that band was Soundgarden with “Badmotorfinger”.
I can still hear Oink’s cranking “Jesus Christ Pose” and that song was my entry point into Soundgarden. The vocals of the late great Chris Cornell and the drums of Matt Cameron totally caught my ear.
Holy shit I thought what a heavy tune yet catchy at the same time…
My girlfriend at the time Donna began exploring other musical avenues and through her the name of Garth Brooks I had never heard, but now in her car I was listening to “The Thunder Rolls” and “Mr Blue.”
Also in that same car was the first time I had ever heard Nirvana with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.
When Van Halen announced their Canadian Tour (Winnipeg was added) I was stoked so I reached out to Guy and Daryl for tickets. They had connections with the promoter who brought acts to Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Winnipeg. So I asked the boys if they could get me two tickets for Winnipeg. They said no problem just go to the Arena Box office the day of the show and give my name. As we got closer and closer to Winnipeg I was thinking “I hope the tickets the tickets are there?”
Not only were they there but when I picked up the tickets at the box office and we entered the arena I was told by an Usher to head to the floor.
Umm, ok and next thing you know we are in the 11th row on the floor with the stage straight on. Guy and Daryl came through. The cost of the ticket for that show at the arena on Nov 7th 1991 was $33.00!
Speaking of the musical climate changing look no further than VH’s opener that night.
Alice In Chains who brought their brand of sludgy rock that night and other than seeing “Man In The Box” video on Much Music the rest of the set was new to me. The band musically was tight. Lead singer Layne Staley stood basically in-front of the mic and I recall at one point telling the front row “to get closer as he doesn’t bite!”
They were good that night but it was a changing of the guard. There you have the Seattle Sound as the opener and here comes Cali VH party rock with “Poundcake” opening the show as well as lead singer Sammy Hagar high giving the front row while hanging a pair of panties off the mic stand.
Posted below is the actual audio from AIC’s opening set that night in Winnipeg courtesy of Youtube..
VH were awesome as songs like “A.F.U”, “Runaround”, and a bunch of other tracks stood out and of course EVH was on his game…
Being down that close was LOUD! I remember during Bassist Micheal Anthony’s “Sunday Afternoon In The Park” bass solo my pant legs were vibrating!
Looking back now 30 years later that night, there was a definite vibe going down.
Changing of the guard for some as Van Halen in the 90s had no problem selling arena tickets but ask Motley Crue and Poison on selling arena tickets!
As we were heading into 1992 times were changing..
Thanks for reading folk’s. Perhaps next year in 2022 I will flashback to 1992.
In case you missed Part 1..click below ..
Once we got back to our hotel we were standing around waiting for the elevator in which it seemed to take forever.
We decided to take the 4 flights of stairs to our rooms. When we got up to the fourth floor I went to open the door and it seemed to be locked. What’s going on here?
Just then I seen a dude from our bus coming running out of his room with a fire extinguisher in hand and was unloading foam everywhere along the hotel corridor.
Oh man this is not going to end well….
Someone else noticed us so they let us in as they had the door jammed with a chair so thats why we could not get in.
This is really not going to end well…
The reason the elevator didn’t show up was due to someone who placed a garbage can in the elevator door preventing it from closing.
Did I mention this is not really going to end well?
It was a full out party and I’m sure you know where this was headed right?
We got the boot from the Holiday Inn very early that following morning as supposedly the cops were called.
This isn’t good as this was the day of the Guns show at Alpine Valley. We spent the whole day driving around looking for a hotel (none wanted us, maybe we were black listed) as Guy and Daryl tried to get us something to rest our heads in.
Guy and Daryl were classic guys and funny as shit. They slammed back beers at a massive clip yet when the bus would stop at other hotels they would drink mouthwash, fixing up their hair and Daryl would be seen carrying a briefcase before going into the next hotel to secure us a room.
In other words trying to look pro even though they were drunk basically the whole trip…
I still recall with a hearty laugh when Oink’s told his girlfriend Kathy at the time “Oh well guess were not going to any mall’s now” Oink’s got the death glare!
Bad time for a joke Oink’s..
We drove around for hours in that Greyhound looking for a place to stay or in other words..
“Looking for a place to happen. Making stops along the way..”
Finally around supper time Guy and Daryl came through. A hotel out by the airport took us 40 hungover Canucks and it was basically drop off your bag and back on the Greyhound for the hour drive out to Alpine Valley.
By this time it started to rain. We got to Alpine Valley and as soon we were entering the gates you could already hear Skid Row opening with the title track from there soon to be released album “Slave To The Grind”.
Myself, Oink’s, Kathy, Donna sprinted in and up a hill as the stage was at the bottom of a ski hill (or that seemed like it to me).
Alpine Valley is one road in one road out and as you may or may not know that is where Stevie Ray Vaughn lost his life in the summer of 1990 when the chopper he was on hit a ski hill…
Looking back it’s weird to think that both Skid Row and Guns were starting their tour together without they’re current albums being out.
“Slave To The Grind” came out a few weeks later in early June while Guns released the double CD “Use Your Illusion” set that September.
It was pissing down rain…speaking of pissing rain, Oink’s I can recall with laughter when I caught him taking a piss on a front bumper of a tour bus in the parking lot which was funny as hell…
I have reviewed this show in the past but I can say that at that time at that moment Guns were the biggest band in the world. 40,000 people that night (Guns sold out the first night as well at 40,000) would agree with me as it was Axl, Slash, Izzy, Dizzy,Duff and Matt who were phenomenal that night even though out of the 18 songs played there were 6 songs out of that 18 song set list the masses had no idea what they were..
Didn’t matter though…
The Bus ride home seemed to take forever as once we got to the Canadian Border our local border guards made everyone get off the bus and made the Bus operator pull out all the bags underneath for inspection!
For fuck sakes its 4:30 am I want to get home and go to bed..
Nothing came out of it as the border guards found zilch and from the border it was a 45 minute bus ride home as when we rolled into Thunder Bay. Better yet Guy and Daryl had to be at work at 6am! They had a half hour to spare!
It was a great show minus the rain yet a ton of fun that I can recall now with fondness…
Part 3 of 3 will be posted tomorrow.
I’m not big on singling out any specific year in music but now that it has been 30 years since 1991 for some bizarre reason I’m feeling compelled to write about that year as that was where a huge shift in all points musically as well some personal stuff for me was happening.
Hope you all like it..
As 1990 ended, I was digging the recent releases of AC/DC (The Razors Edge) and Cinderella (Heartbreak Station). AC/DC was huge business rolling well into 91 with a mega selling tour and a mega selling album and lets face it with CD’s raging in sales so was AC/DC’s back catalog.
Cinderella not so lucky. Sure “Heartbreak Station” went platinum in both Canada and the U.S but tickets for their tour were not selling.
David Lee Roth released “A Little Ain’t Enough” album and it climbed the charts quick and slid down the charts quicker than a stripper working upside down on a pole. A sign of the times to come for Dave.
By the end of January 91 it was the first of three shows that I caught that year outside of Tbay beginning with Poison that we went out to Winnipeg to see on a party bus that was indeed rocking…
The rocking bus included Tbone and his bro Rugg and my pal Oink’s. Shenanigans ran supreme once our feet got off the 40 seated Greyhound bus in Winnipeg after a 9 hour booze fest that began with morning beers at 8am!
Actually, looking back the party bus was more rocking than Poison who were umm I’m trying to be nice here. Uneventful. 75 minute headlining set eaten up by 15 minute’s in a guitar and drum solo’s (gah!).
Bassist Bobby Dall like he was in the “Every Rose” video was trashed and it was amazing that Poison was playing more songs from 88’s “Open Up and Say Ah” record than they’re current multi platinum release “Flesh & Blood.”
Warrant was the announced opener but by the time the show got to Winnipeg, Warrant was booted and Don Dokken with an ass kicking album (Up From The Ashes) and an even better band (John Norum, Peter Baltes, Billy White and Mikkey Dee) steamrolled Poison that night on stage. Opening with “The Hunter” Don and his crew blew off the headliner…
Shortly after returning home at the end of January from the Poison debacle I received a phone call from the two fella’s (Guy and Daryl) who ran the party bus to the Winnipeg Poison show telling me that they had a line on getting 40 tickets for the opening dates of Guns N Roses “Use Your Illusion Tour”at Alpine Valley just outside of Milwaukee for the start of the Gunners tour! Was I in?
Even though the show was 4 months away …
Frigg yeah I’m in..
Tbone was graduating that year from fourth year Mechanical Engineering from Lakehead University and all his exams and graduations were around that week in May so he had to bow out. My pal Oink’s was in as was Oink’s pal Andre and a couple of our lady friends Kathy and Donna.
Did I mention Oink’s has a friend named Paul McCartney who also came along..
When May rolled around and we boarded that party bus at 11pm to make the 12 hour bus drive to Milwaukee it was all bets off as after we crossed the border into the U.S, it was to someones garage in Two Harbours Minnesota as a fella was selling kegs of beer out of his garage so we all loaded up with keg’s and back on the bus and drank. It must have been funny if anyone was up at that time of the night in Two Harbours to see a Greyhound Bus wind and weave its way around to some dude selling beer out of his garage.
By 7am I felt like garbage but I wasn’t the only one! It didn’t help matters that some yahoo jammed a beer can down the toilet and it got clogged meaning the toilet was fucked..
Funny thing is somewhere in Wisconsin we were stuck along a highway in a construction zone and since the bus was about half full of dudes there we were standing along the side of the highway taking a leak. There we were. A row of dude’s pissing to the delight of the vehicles behind our bus honking at us on that hot humid morning.
Speaking of humid, the buses air conditioner kicked out as well so some one popped open the fire escape hatch on the roof which was welcome relief until the bus driver said he would pull over and refuse to drive as it’s against the law to operate the bus with the hatch open.
Dang! That bus was humid man…and tough to deal with with a hangover!
Eventually we made our way to Milwaukee and to our hotel which was a welcome relief and time for a nap and than a walk around town.
Amazing how many “Old Milwaukee” beer signs there were in this town.
That first evening we were in Milwaukee we hit Brewer Stadium to watch some MLB. The Brewers were playing the Cleveland Indians in which the Brewers won 1-0 as the game from start to finish wrapped up in under 2 hours!!
Brewer Stadium was a cool place to catch a ball game as it was all wood. Wooden bleachers everywhere and any seat was a great seat. I wish I took some pictures…
As we were walking back to our hotel, we noticed a city placed sign saying “You Should Never Walk This Or Any Path Alone At Night after 8pm”
As it turned out a few months later (in July 91) Jeffery Dahmer was arrested in Milwaukee as he was responsible for the disappearance of many people and I’m sure you all the know the story about that…
Come Back for Part 2 as the real shit show begins once back at the hotel..
Another tough loss in the year 2020 to deal with. Eddie was a game-changer in a lot of our worlds as fans of guitars and fans of his band Van Halen.
I never played guitar but I sure as hell did a lot of air banding to all those iconic EVH riffs from the very first time I sauntered home in the snow after a trip from the record store back in January 81. I had firmly gripped under my arm a copy of “Women and Children First” and dropped the needle on my crappy stereo.
My stereo never sounded so good as EVH’s playing just knocked me into next week with that style of his.
I never heard that tone the ‘brown sound’ as they called it. What can I possibly add other than to say…
Thanks for the music, Eddie! You will be missed!
Yup, the pic posted below will be what I’m getting into this evening…
What better way to self isolate next Saturday night at home (Oct 3rd, 2020) but still being able to hang out with four Canadian fella’s…
Those four fella’s are the one and only “Coney Hatch”!
If you are a reader at this site you already know that the Hatch carved out a niche in my listening habits at a very young age back in 1982. Fast forward 38 years as Andy Curran, Carl Dixon, Dave ‘Thumper’ Ketchum, and Sean Kelly are still bringing it live.
Trust me on that last sentence as I caught Coney when they finally made their appearance here in Thunder Bay last year(first time back here since 1985) and they were beyond awesome!
So what the boys are doing is a full out Livestream concert on Nugs TV for $9.99!
What a deal! It’s easy to order and what a great way to support live music as we know there hasn’t been much live music at all. Click the link below!
Better yet a double live Coney Hatch album is going to be recorded at this show and released which takes place at the famous El Mocambo in Toronto.
Anyone out there ever heard of that place called the El Mo?
You can preorder the live album, and if you are wondering I did indeed pull the trigger and pay for it as I have been bugging Sean Kelly for about 3 years now asking him when is the Coney live album dropping?
Well, it’s dropping right to my doorstep at some point! Can’t wait! Click below to order up some vinyl!
If anything this supports live music and musicians so if you are looking for something to watch, click Coney, and hang around by the “Monkey Bars.”
In other words “Catch The Hatch”
You will not be disappointed!
Have you checked out the great film about Crocks titled Five Bucks At The Door yet?
If not you have until September 20th to do so as it’s FREE! What are you waiting for? Click the link below…
I thought it would be cool to do a list of my all-time favorite shows that Frank Loffredo has brought to Crocks over the last 33 years! I have to add that Frank always tried to keep the ticket price low as well if they were weeknight shows they would be over by 11:30 pm at the latest for us working folk who have 5am wakeup call’s.
Here we go…
10-Monster Truck- July 2019 is when the Truck brought their Hammond fused hard rock to Crocks. Great show and considering it was on a long weekend people still showed up!
9- Age of Electric-April 2017 is when the Kern Brothers along with the Dahle brothers showed up and played the hits and put on an energetic show as Thunder Bay was asleep as many missed a great set. Plus the fact that they didn’t charge for a meet and greet says something about them. ie not greedy!
8- David Gogo- We were waiting for this show as me and Tbone had been spinning the self-titled Gogo CD for a few months already so it came to no one’s surprise that when Gogo showed up in August 1994 he blew our socks off as the Gogo power trio delivered a stunning set of hard blues-rock. David inner channeled SRV during his two sets! Met him as well as he was one cool fella, super chill and David could sure play a mean pinball as me and Tbone grilled him with questions while he sizzled that pinball machine in Crocks.
7-The Headstones-Hugh Dillion and his posse of rock fellows were riding the platinum wave of there recent release Teeth And Tissue back in 1995 with the single Unsound getting traction at MuchMusic as well. It was one packed out show as Hugh owned that stage as he sang, smoked, and cussed his way through the two albums they had out at the time. Good times back in good old 95!
6-John5/Jared James Nichols- What do you get your best friend of 45 years for his Birthday? A ticket to a rock show that’s what you get. So a few weeks shortly after Tbone’s birthday in March 2019, John5 and JJN’s rolled into Tbay and blew our minds. JJN’s played like his life depended on it as this power trio blew away the crowd that night. (met the band afterward and were super cool) In all my years of live shows, I have never seen a guitar only (no vocal) display of craziness than what John5 did that night on the stage at Crocks. John5 was awesome. Showed up with a full stage set of props and gear and if I played guitar I would have gone home and tossed my 6 string in the trash! John5 is that GREAT!
5- One of those bucket list bands I always wanted to see was Teenage Head which Frank brought to town in June 2019. Considering I got my first album by these guys in 1982 it was so good to see them live as I only had been waiting 37 years!. They came on stage at 12 midnight sharp on a Friday night and played there Power Punk Pop Rock over 90 minutes. Legends!
4-I Mother Earth/Finger 11- I Mother Earth and Finger 11 were doing a cross Canadian Tour back in 2018. The show started at 7 pm as both acts sat on stage and played acoustic covers for about an hour. Finger 11 came on and played a full set electrically and right after I Mother Earth played a full electrical set. For the encore, both bands jammed covers but with the guitars and amps cranked! Tickets were 50 bucks for this show but it was a 5-hour marathon of Rock. What a night and the venue was packed out!
3- I’ve been lucky to have caught the last 3 tours(2016,2018 and 2019) that Sloan has brought to Crocks. All three have been killer shows but I would have to say the October 2019 show of Sloan was my favorite. Sloan was playing the 20th Anniversary of the fantastic Navy Blues albums front to back and Sloan did not disappoint! The first set was Navy Blues and the second set was the ‘Hits’ played! Plus with Sloan concerts, the guys always make themselves available after the show. Chris Murphy (vocals, bass) came out and we chatted plus as an added bonus Tbone for my Birthday bought me at the show the Navy Blues vinyl box set at the show!
2- Ok so this show wasn’t at Crocks but Frank promoted it so it counts as Frank brought the mighty Kings X to Thunder Bay in 2006! Unbelievable that Mr. Loffredo could bring a caliber act like Kings X to this city and only 75 people showed up! This town sucks at times and this was a sucking moment BIG TIME. None the less Dug/Ty and Jerry took that stage and owned it. So good to get my ears blown out by Dug on the tune Dogman! Met the band after and what a great bunch of guys!
1-Back in the winter of 87 I was going out with a girl who went to the local college here in town. She told me about this band that was coming to Crocks from Kingston Ontario called The Tragically Hip and asked if I wanted to go. Sure I said but then Mother Nature on the day of the show dropped a ton of snow and we were in Blizzard conditions. My lady friend didn’t want to go so I rang up Tbone who said he was into checking it out. Off we went to see The Hip’s first appearance in Tbay in front of a crowd of about 20 people that night. Frank has said that the 3 night stand that weekend in February by The Hip drew about 80 people combined over those nights. Less than two years later Gord and crew had a major record deal and we’re pretty much set for superstardom in Canada. Things came full circle for Tbone when he caught the final tour in 2016.
My one memory of the show that we still talk about today is when The Hip played “I’m A Werewolf” singer Gordie Downie was jumping on guitarist Paul Langlois back during the tune.
Good times. Thanks for the shows over the years Frank.
When watching the Music Documentary “Five Bucks At The Door” which is the 90-minute film focusing on the music scene in Thunder Bay, you get a real sense of one man’s passion as well as the community that supported Frank Loffredo whom this film is based around.
Kirsten Kosloski has done a brilliant job piecing what could have not been an easy task of condensing a music scene in Thunder Bay of many bands or artists who have come through the doors of Crock’s to play for either 15 people or 300 people over the last 30 years.
Think about it for a second. 30 years at any kind of job is a long time. When you listen to Frank tell the tale of Crocks and at how times were financially hard (Frank’s family gives some candid comments) you get a sense that for Frank, promoting shows in Thunder Bay was not a job but a passion.
If you live here in Tbay you will know what I mean (myself I have lived here all of my 52 years) as when it came to going to see your favorite bands depending on the level they were at you would have to travel west to Winnipeg( a nine-hour drive) or east to Toronto( a fifteen-hour drive) or south into the U.S to Duluth(a three-hour drive) or onto Minneapolis(a six-hour drive).
In other words, you had to go to places. The bands that were not on that level would always make a stop in Thunder Bay.
Frank not only paid these acts but he also fed them( the term ‘starving musician’ does not apply here as Frank’s mom provided meals) and housed groups in a ‘Band House” during there stay in town.
Lots of artists who passed through town over the years are interviewed like Art Bergman, Bob Wiseman, local folk’s as well and two of my favorites that spoke are Dave Bidini and Jeff Heisholt. Heisholt especially as growing up in Thunder Bay, Jeff played on Crock’s stage many times and eventually relocated to Toronto and is the keyboardist in The Trews.
Some bands that played Crocks went huge. The Tragically Hip is one of those acts that I was fortunate to catch at Crocks back in 1987 (to a crowd of 20 people) and within a few years were headlining arenas in Canada.
The film itself speeds along with a lot of great back and white pictures from the past and some great editing along the way.
I could go on about some great stories about artists and bands that have graced that stage here in Thunder Bay but I don’t want to ruin the fun. You all need to click the link below and set aside 90 minutes and check this documentary out! You have until September 20th as it’s free online. (with many other docs to watch)
You have to thank Frank and what he’s done for the music scene here in town as if it wasn’t for him many of us would have missed out on a ton of acts. Cheers also once again to Kirsten who did a marvelous job with this film
I’ve never been one to score reviews but Five Bucks At The Door would get an 11 out of 10!
Thanks to Greg Fraser, Patrick Gagliardi, and surprise guest Brian Hamilton of Storm Force for joining Deke and I Friday night! It was a free-form chat tackling subjects such as: The album Age of Fear Memorable impact gigs Canadian Rock New music Secrets to singing Thunder Bay Touring and touring and touring Brighton Rock and […]Storm Force! Greg, Pat and Brian join Deke and LeBrain in the Age of Fear! — mikeladano.com
It was nice to hear from Linden Hudson a few days ago. Linden, as you know, did a lot of work on creating the songs that shaped ZZ Top’s Eliminator record from 1983, and Linden’s work on it went uncredited.
“Here’s another sliver of sound media from my ZZ Top “shoebox”. It’s been merged with some video shots of photos, there’s explanatory text. Never heard until recent years. A rehearsal tape.”
Thanks, Linden for dropping by the site! It was great to hear from you as well!