Episode 217: Oh Canada! This all Canadian artists show has Pat moving into the producer chair as Smile Train auction winner Benjamin Weber takes over as Host with Mike Siegel as his handpicked Co-Host. From September 10, 2015
With your hosts:
Pat Francis (as Guest Producer)
Pat, Mike, and Benjamin Weber welcome us to the show. Wait a minute... Benjamin Weber? Who is that? He's the man who donated enough money to Smile Train for Pardcast-a-Thon last year to get the opportunity, nay, the privilege to co-host an episode of Rock Solid with the man or woman of his choosing. His choice: the one and only Mike Siegel. Pat is here as producer. Ben wanted to co-host with someone who has a different taste in music than he has. Which co-host is the closest? April Richardson. Ben admits he might be a little nervous around April; Kyle certainly was the first few episodes that they were together. Pat thinks of April like a cool younger sister, while Mike is flattered by April calling him a "fly honey" a few episodes ago. Does Ben have a preferred genre? He likes everything. Ben is also from Canada and he is here with his dad Ross, who is in the background.
Ben is a true fan of Rock Solid and does actually listen. That's why he donated a pretty penny (Canadian pennies, mind you, so you know it was more expensive for him) to be here. Thankfully Ben's got that free Canadian healthcare, so it evens out. What does Ben do for a living? He's a dabbler of sorts: Sometimes he spends his days at the farmer's market, other days he teaches Sunday school to teenagers. He's a man of God, this Benjamin, but the jokes on the show don't bother him one bit. What is Mike? Is he Jewish? Mike sets the record straight and says he was raised with nothing (which probably explains his affinity for the Devil's White Dust, the godless heathen) but people assume he's Jewish because of his last name. But we're not here to talk God, we're here to play the music of Canada! Canadian bands and artists are to be featured today in honor of Ben's homeland.
What's the biggest difference between Canada and L.A.? It's the heat, says Ben. Whether in Fahrenheit or Metric, it's a scorcher out there. Ben has yet to go to the beach though. Mike recommends going to the Venice Beach boardwalk and enjoy the freak show. Okay, let's get to the music. Mike and Ben brought the majority of the songs. Pat has a few too. Murray contributed a song as well, but Mike already brought the artist, so poor Murray's song will shan't be spoken of again. Ben says that Mike and Pat don't have to coddle him: If they think he played dogshit, let him know. I like this guy. Ben starts us off with his first pick. Off the E.P. Make a Little Noise, it's "A Million Dollars" by Joel Plaskett Emergency.
There's a little Springsteen feel to it. Ben doesn't go to a lot of shows (a lack of funds will do that to you), but he catches them when he can. His first show: Weird Al Yankovic. Mike's first pick is actually a twofer. The man is sick and tired of these illegal Canadian immigrants hopping the border, coming to America, and taking all of our jobs with their maple syrup and their hockey pucks. He plays "Blame Canada" by Mary Kay Bergman from the South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Soundtrack. This transitions nicely into Mike's second pick, a woman whose name was checked in the song. It's Anne Murray with "Snowbird" off the album This Way Is My Way. Anne Murray was Pat's grandmother's favorite artist. Ben isn't a big fan of her, but he can't say anything bad about Anne Murray or else he'll get his head in a vice like the guy in Casino.
Ben's brother Brad is the touring drummer for his next pick, Caribou. Off the album Our Love, it's a song called "Can't Do Without You". Ben has a CD signed by the band and will give it a way to a lucky listener. Ben explains that he had to keep outbidding people for Smile Train and he used his brother's Chicago address to do it. If he had to guess, Ben paid around four to five hundred dollars. That means Ben paid for two kids to get their cleft palates fixed. Great job Ben!
Pat's first pick is a band called Chilliwack. He plays the song "My Love (Gone, Gone Gone)" from the album Wanna Be a Star. Ben does not know these guys; they slipped through his musical cracks.
Mike's next pick likes to rock. It's "Roller" by April Wine off the album First Glance.
Ben has a lesson in pronunciation with his next pick. Daniel Lanois is pronounced Lan-wah. Not lan-noise or lan-oh-is. Ben plays "The Maker" from the album Acadie, which is French for Acadia. "Those French. It's like they have a different word for everything!" Mike exclaims.
Next up for Mike is the band that Murray contributed a song of, The Tragically Hip. Mike plays the confusingly-titled "Blow at High Dough" from the album Up to Here. What does that title mean? Maybe it's about working in a bakery.
Speaking of interesting song titles, Ben plays a song from Leonard Cohen, Canada's greatest singer-songwriter and poet according to Ben, called "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On" from the album Death of a Ladies' Man. It was produced by Phil Spector, so it has a sound that is unlike anything Cohen's ever done.
Pat has another of his picks. It's "Rock Me Gently" by Andy Kim off his self-titled album. Pat promotes a still-upcoming episode called Two-Hit Blunders, which is about the single that flopped after the one-hit wonder.
Here's a guy that was all over early MTV. Mike plays "Fantasy" by Aldo Nova off his self-titled album. It's a very poor YouTube recording (oh Mike), so Pat plays another song by Aldo Nova called "Monkey on Your Back". Pat actually runs on the treadmill to this song and it's one of his mental patient songs. I honestly have no doubt about that whatsoever.
Some may cry foul with Ben's next pick because one of the artists is an American, but the majority are Canucks. Off of The Basement Tapes, it's "This Wheel's on Fire" by Bob Dylan and the Band. Ben is so obsessed with The Basement Tapes that he bought the whole collection at a hefty price.
Mike also has a song by The Band from their self-titled album. It's the funky "Up on Cripple Creek".
After briefly discussing The Last Waltz and Neil Diamond's inexplicable appearance therein, Ben plays his next pick. The song is "Lucid in Fjords" by Pick a Piper from their self-titled album. The band is actually Ben's brother's main band.
Mike's next pick is The New Pornographers. Off the album Twin Cinema, the song is called "Use It".
Pat prefers the Old Pornographers like Christy Canyon and Seka. Mike met Seka once, a few years past her sell-by date. That was back when you had to know your porn actors. You couldn't just hop on IMDB and look them up mid-stroke like you can today. Ben plays a song from a band called The Diodes. He plays "Tired of Waking Up Tired" from the album Released.
Pat follows this up with a very obscure band named Sheriff. Off their self-titled album, it's "When I'm with You".
Mike admits that he hates his next pick. This inspires Pat to do a show about songs you hate, but other people love. Mike plays "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies off the album God Shuffled His Feet.
Yeah, not good. At least Ben's picks don't have people humming as the goddamn chorus. Ben plays a song with actually formed words called "I'm an Adult Now" by The Pursuit of Happiness off the album Love Junk. The Pursuit of Happiness is not the most Canadian of band names. Hey guys, that's our lingo. Use your own. Ben recently went to Amoeba Records and got a Velvet Underground t-shirt and Beach Boys album. He loves local music stores.
Mike goes from a song he hates to a song he loves. It's The Guess Who with "These Eyes" from the album Wheatfield Soul.
One of Pat's picks is by the lead singer of The Guess Who, Burton Cummings. It's "Stand Tall" from his self-titled album. Has Ben seen any live music here in L.A.? Well, there was that one guy on the street banging trash cans. Ah, la vida musica.
Ben decides to add some hip hop to the show. Off the album Exit, it's "Follow Me" by k-os.
Mike introduced his next pick at Milwaukee Summerfest when he still worked for VH1. Off the album Stunt, it's Barenaked Ladies with "Call and Answer".
One fifth of the Great White North speaks French, so it makes sense for Benjamin to bring a few French songs. I may not know what they're saying, but I'm sure there's a lone Rock Solid listener in Calais who just got very excited. Ben first plays "100,000 raisons" by the Prog Rock band Harmonium off their self-titled album.
"So this would be the French Yes?"
- Pat, asking about Harmonium.
"Oui, they're called."
- Mike, with the absolutely stupid (but very funny) line of the episode
Ben plays his other French-Canadian artist Robert Charlebois. The song is "California" from the album Robert Charlebois/Louise Forestier. Mike dug it. Pat found it...um...."interesting."
Mike may be a fly honey, but that doesn't mean he won't embrace his inner hipster from time to time. One of those times is now, as he plays "The Suburbs" by Arcade Fire from the album The Suburbs. Springsteen loves Arcade Fire. In fact, he shows up in studio just to count the number of people in the band. There are least 1! 2! 3! 4! people in Arcade Fire.
Fittingly, Ben's next pick Owen Pallett has a connection with Arcade Fire because he composed the strings for The Suburbs. He also did the score for the movie Her and Pat reveals that he was grossed out by Joaquin Phoenix. Ben plays "Song for Five & Six" off the album In Conflict.
Benjamin is living with his girlfriend Ellen, who works at a butterfly conservatory. One time when I was a kid, I went to the zoo. In the butterfly room, a butterfly landed on me and I screamed like a girl. True story. But I digress. Mike plays his next pick Bryan Adams, a.k.a. The Groover from Vancouver (psst he isn't actually from Vancouver). Pat recently saw him with Pardo on the Reckless 30th Anniversary tour and Bryan played all three of his worst, pussiest songs. Pardo was annoyed as only he could be. Mike plays "Cuts Like a Knife" from the album Cuts Like a Knife.
For his next pick, Ben has a real-life couple known as Whitehorse. Off the album Leave No Bridge Unburned, the song is called "Sweet Disaster".
"What happened to Avril Lavigne?" asks Mike. She started out as fake punk, which was a nice lane for her, then she had to change lanes for some reason and become a pop star with EDM and rap. Pat admits that he owns all of her albums with the exception of the album that Mike is going to play. Mike plays the awful "Hello Kitty" from her self-titled album. Avril also married the lead singer of Nickelback, which did her no favors in the musical integrity department. Ben wanted to go the whole show without mentioning Nickelback, but alas, the winds of fate had other plans.
Ben plays a song that every kid who goes to university in Canada knows. It's "Home for the Rest" by Spirit of the West off their album Save This House. They don't call it college in Canada, they call it university. "Those Canadians, it's like they have a different word for everything," says Mike.
Mike's next pick is a song that Pat doesn't really like that much. It's too bad, because this song is great. Off the album As Far as Siam, it's "Lunatic Fringe" by Red Rider.
Ben played Joel Plaskett earlier, and now he's gonna play his former band Thrush Hermit. The song is "Violent Dreams" off the album Clayton Park.
Mike knew that Pat wouldn't let him leave the studio without playing some Loverboy. Off the album Keep It Up, Mike plays "Hot Girls in Love". Pat legitimately loves Loverboy, which explains a lot. Pat was once at the airport with Matt and Jimmy. Not only did Pat see and recognize the drummer from Loverboy, but he called out to him. Jimmy and Matt couldn't believe Pat knew who the guy was. Not even the other members of Loverboy know who the drummer of Loverboy is.
Ben has an odd song for us all to hear; it's some hippy gospel. Off the album Put Your Hand in the Hand, it's Ocean with "Put Your Hand in the Hand". The song was co-written by Anne Murray, so everything comes full circle.
What kind of man picks Triumph over Rush? Jimmy Pardo, that's who. He's the only one. Mike plays "Lay It on the Line" from the album "Just a Game". Mike is amazed that they gave so much time to Triumph at the US Festival in '83.
Ben plays another obscure Canadian artist. His name is Danny Michel. Ben plays "Feather, Fur & Fin" off the album Feather, Fur & Fin. Ben has a few nonchalant plugs for us. You can go to Ben's blog ShakingOff.com and read his own notes about being on the podcast. He is also on Twitter (currently with 1 Tweet and 5 followers, but bound to change with the patented Rock Solid Guide Bump @lairor. Ben also gives a shoutout to two Canadian music websites, Zunior.com and MapleMusic.com. He also plugs his brother's band Pick a Piper's website Pickapiper.bandcamp.com.
For his second-to-last pick, Mike goes with a wholesome singer-songwriter who can just as easily chop a log as he can strum an acoustic guitar. It's Gordon Lightfoot with "If You Could Read My Mind" off the album Sit Down Young Stranger.
According to Benjamin, this is the greatest Canadian song ever. Off the album Blue, it's "River" by Joni Mitchell.
For his last pick, Mike has to choose between Rush and Glass Tiger. Yeah, Mike made the only choice you can make. He plays "Finding My Way" off their self-titled album. This is the only Rush album without Neil Peart, as original drummer John Rutsey left the band after this album due to diabetes. "Then Neil came in with his Trees and his Temples of Syrinx, the weirdo," notes Mike.
Rush has been going around for over 40 years, so this may be the last go round for the boys due to accrued wear and tear. But by golly they're still gonna play their instruments better than anyone. Pat was on a recent episode of Mike's podcast Travel Tales, so check that out. Thanks again to Benjamin Weber for donating to Smile Train and being here. Was it worth all that money he donated to come to L.A. and hang out with these two knuckleheads? "It was a nice cherry on top," he says.
Ben takes us out with a song played for his dad called "Little Darlin'" by The Diamonds off their album The Greatest Hits.