It’s time for another B-Side Bio! Our newest feature is a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about some of our favourite musicians. This man started from the bottom, literally living in sheds with rats before finding success with his first big single. He became known as the artist who could write “songs about pizza, MTV, and working at McDonald's, turning mundane thoughts into songs.” He also asked the question, “I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?” And with that, I introduce, Beck.Read More
Our newest feature B-Side Bios is getting a spooky makeover this week. This week’s Boo-Side Bio is a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about the artist behind one of the most iconic Halloween anthems, the Monster Mash.
Robert George Pickett was born February 11, 1938, though became known as Bobby "Boris" Pickett the singer, songwriter, actor, and comedian known for co-writing and performing the 1962 hit song the Monster Mash.
Growing up with his dad working as a theatre manager, young Bobby would fuel his imagination with all of the horror movie screenings a kid could ever hope to watch. As an aspiring actor, Bobby would incorporate impressions of these horror films into his nightclub act and as an aspiring musician with a sense of humour, he’d often bring satire and parody to his songs.
The Monster Mash was a spoof on the dance crazes popular at the time, the Twist and the Mashed Potato, which inspired the title of the song. In fact, the song was equally as popular as songs like “The Twist” and even knocked the Four Seasons’ song “Sherry” off its five-week run at the top of the charts.
The whole idea of the song began with a Boris Karloff impression that Pickett performed often on stage. In fact, all of the impressions and sound effects were accomplished by “Boris” Picket and his co-writer, Leonard Capizzi. The sound of a coffin creaking open? They got that sound by pulling a rusty nail from a wooden plank. A bubbling cauldron? Simply the sound of blowing bubbles in water through a straw.
A ton of covers were made of the Monster Mash, but The Beach Boys had to be the biggest fans of the song, making it a feature of their live performances for years.
To follow the success of his “Monster Mash,” Pickett recorded “Monsters’ Holiday,” which was supposed to be the Monster Mash, but for Christmas. That song had a little success, so next came “Monster Rap,” which includes the line “now rap for daddy”, so I’ll leave that to your own judgments. The best song associated with “Monster Mash” was the eventual version of “Transylvania Twist” which was released in 2005.
Bobby went on to appear in a handful of films, including the beach party movie It's a Bikini World, a biker flick Chrome and Hot Leather, a horror movie called Deathmaster, and a sci-fi film titled Lobster Man From Mars. He also wrote a bunch of musicals like Frankenstein Unbound and narrated the 2004 kid’s movie Spookley the Square Pumpkin.
Pickett never stopped performing. His last performance on record was in November 2006, just five months before he died of leukemia. With songs like the Monster Mash, he’ll certainly not be forgotten. It has to be one of the most notable Halloween songs of all time, selling over four million copies worldwide.
Did ya learn something?
And there we have it, another B-Side, or should I say, Boooooo-Side Bio. As always, for a fun Pull the Plug added bonus check out our PTP Spotify Playlist. This week, well, you can guess which song we’re adding.
Our newest feature B-Side Bios is a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about some of our favourite musicians. Today’s feature is a beloved Canadian singer-songwriter who has a knack for beautiful lyrics and also has legs for days. Emily Haines stole our hearts with her project Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, as a member of the supergroup Broken Social Scene and as the frontwoman of Metric. She’s still going strong with the release of Metric’s seventh studio album “Art of Doubt” released in September. Check it out now if you’ve not given it a listen!
Emily Savitri Haines, her middle name from a poem of the same name by Sri Aurobindo, was born January 25, 1974, in New Delhi, India to American-born parents. Her father was a poet and lived in the US, Europe, and India before settling in Canada. Emily and her siblings were raised in Peterborough, Ontario in a very creative household. Her sister went on to be a journalist with CTV and her brother still resides in Peterborough and is the owner of the vintage shop Bluestreak Records. In her teens, Emily was encouraged to go to the Etobicoke School of the Arts where she studied drama. It was there that she met Amy Millan and Kevin Drew, and would later collaborate with them in Broken Social Scene.
In 1998, Emily Haines joined with James Shaw to form the duo "Mainstream" but were later joined by Joshua Winstead and Joules Scott-Key and Metric was born. The name Metric came from a song James was working on that involved a sound he'd programmed into his keyboard called 'Metric'. Emily has said, “Some people think it has something to do with the fact that we're from Canada -- which uses the metric system, but that was coincidental...if we'd wanted to use a name that evoked Canada, we would've called ourselves the Toques or something".
Her solo work as Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton is typically more subdued and piano-based than her Metric tracks. In addition to piano, she also plays keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, tambourine, harmonica and has some powerful vocals. Her vocal range is actually deemed “soprano”, a type of classical female singing voice that has the highest vocal range of all vocal types.
Regardless of the project, Emily always evokes raw emotions, her own poetry in her songwriting and messages of female empowerment. She’s been pretty influential, including being the inspiration behind the Envy Adams character in the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World series, later being included on the soundtrack and on stage, making an appearance as the drummer in the performance of the song “Black Sheep” in the movie.
To perfectly sum up the honesty and awesomeness that is Emily Haines, I bring you a little snippet from her interview with Exclaim.ca, where they asked her “What is your vital daily ritual?” and she responded simply, “Orgasm.” I think we can all learn a little something from that.
Did ya learn something?
As always, for a fun Pull the Plug added bonus, check out this week’s acoustic cover of Metric's "Eclipse (All Yours)" written for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack.
I’m back with another B-Side Bios! This feature is a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about some of our favourite musicians and today, we’re taking it back to the 60’s. Taking it back to the time of The Mamas & The Papas and the angelic vocals of Mama Cass. This woman made such a big impact in such a short time and today, you get to learn a little more about the woman behind the voice in tracks like Monday, Monday and Creeque Alley.Read More
Alright kids, it’s time for another B-Side Bios! We’re back with our newest feature, giving you a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about some of our favourite musicians. This man taught us to “Smile Like You Mean It” and reminisce on the good ol’ days of “When You Were Young”, and and well, basically get white girl wasted and scream along to the lyrics of “Mr. Brightside” at the bar. Yes, that’s right, these hits shine light on today’s B-Side Bios feature, The Killers’ lead singer Brandon Flowers.Read More
Ready for another B-Side Bios? Our newest feature is a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about some of our favourite musicians. This musician has been on rotation a lot in my life, ever since the Blue Album. Rivers Cuomo seemed to capture the attention of nerds everywhere with his fun, silly, poppy style and today he’s the focus of our B-Side Bios.
Cuomo was born June 13, 1970, between the East and Hudson rivers in Manhattan, inspiring his parents to call him ‘Rivers’. He would adopt the nickname ‘Weezer’ as a toddler, an homage to the Little Rascals character who his father said was “the cool one.”
He was also born with his left leg nearly two inches shorter than his right. This lead him to have an extensive surgery to lengthen his left leg, which involved doctors breaking and resetting his leg, followed by months of wearing a brace and lots and lots of physio. This surgery came a year after the successful debut release of Weezer’s Blue Album, which sold over a million copies. During his recovery time, he was taking lots of painkillers and also happened to be studying classical composition at Harvard University! Between classes, he’d essentially take pills, lay in bed, and listen to opera. Because of this, Weezer’s second album was nearly a rock opera, Songs from the Black Hole, but he abandoned the project and fans ended up with the cult favourite Pinkerton instead. In fact, Pinkerton’s single 'The Good Life', has the X-ray image of Rivers’ left leg as its cover image.
He dropped out of Harvard two semesters before graduation, but would return in 1997 and 2004, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2008.
On the album Pinkerton, Rivers sang about his sexual frustrations while attending Harvard and in 2004 took a vow of sexual abstinence until his marriage in 2006. He has also committed his life to being a vegetarian, raised as a vegetarian by his parents, and also practices meditation, while also teaching children’s meditation classes. It seems this guy can do anything he sets his mind to!
Weezer has released some of my favourite songs and you have to wonder where some of those songs come from. One example, Cuomo says "Hash Pipe" was written after an experiment in which he took a Ritalin, drank three shots of tequila, and went out to his backyard to sit on a chair, close his eyes, and imagine a song. That’s a hell of a way to get inspired isn’t it? Another track, "Where's My Sex?" on the Hurley album is a song about socks, but Rivers replaced the word "socks" with "sex."
So many things this man has done just leaves you shaking your head, but falling in love with his work nonetheless. With 4 solo albums and 12 Weezer albums to date, I for one, can’t wait to see what he comes out with next. Let’s all, for the moment, just appreciate how amazing their cover of Toto’s song Africa is.
Did ya learn something?
As always, for a fun Pull the Plug added bonus, check out this week’s acoustic cover of Weezer’s Say It Ain’t So.
I’m back with our new feature B-Side Bios, a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about some of our favourite musicians. It’s about time we brought a female into the mix and who better to lead off with then the uber-talented frontwoman of Florence and the Machine, Florence Welch. This vocal powerhouse knows how to tear up a stage, and her ankle [like that time we witnessed her falling off the stage at Coachella].Read More
This is our new feature B-Side Bios, a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about musicians. Last week’s inaugural episode went real well. Like, the boys didn’t boo me well, so here goes part two of our now-recurring feature, B-Side Bios. I’m going from one of the most beloved musicians of all time Freddie Mercury, to one of the most despised in an effort to humanize Nickelback's Chad Kroeger.
Chad was born in Alberta, Canada, November 15, 1974 as Chad Robert Turton. With his dad leaving the picture at an early age, he quickly adopted his mother’s maiden name of Kroeger.
Learning to play guitar at age 13, he fancies himself a pretty talented guitarist, claiming, “I'll sit down and have a go with any shredder. I learned by jamming along with Metallica, Megadeth and Testament, and you cannot play along with those bands without a good right hand."
While learning to shred, he also kept himself busy by being a little asshole. At 14 years old, he landed himself in juvie for repeatedly breaking into his junior high school to steal money, and continued adding to his rap sheet with truancy, trespassing and the theft of a small truck. Later in life, he added a DUI and heroin possession to the running list of arrests.
In 2008, he also chatted with Playboy Magazine about the stupidest thing he ever did for a case of beer, saying "I put my own dick in my mouth. I was 14 and much more flexible at the time. It was soft and required a lot of pulling. I really wanted that case of beer." So that’s fun.
Nickelback would record it’s first demo in 1996 for only $4000, funded by Kroeger’s step-dad. The band spent half the money to record the EP, and spent the other half on magic mushrooms. Later that year, they then went on to record their first full-length album and have now released a total of 9 albums, selling more than 50 million copies worldwide.
Despite now being 43, Chad once said, "I will die on my 40th birthday. I dreamed it - I'll be onstage and have a heart attack, and the crowd will think it's part of the show. It's been foretold."
So, there we have it folks, Chad Kroeger is a weird dude, who also happens to be wrong about a lot of things. He’s lived an odd live, coming from a small Canadian farming community, making it big, marrying another talentless Canadian, Avril Lavigne… see how I didn’t bring that up earlier? It’s basically one of the only things most people know about him. But Chad has somehow managed success and I look forward to his next death prediction, or the next time he regails us with stories of sucking his own dick.
Did ya learn something?
Once again, as a fun Pull the Plug added bonus, we’re going to be sharing an acoustic track honouring each featured artist in a PTP Spotify playlist. Today’s song is an acoustic cover of How You Remind Me and it’s actually pretty good.
This is our new feature B-Side Bios, a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about some of our favourite musicians. I’m kicking things off with one of my personal favourite musicians of all time - Queen’s Freddie Mercury. His story is being featured in the upcoming biopic Bohemian Rhapsody as portrayed by actor Rami Malek. The movie looks fantastic in my books and I can’t wait to see it this November.
On to Freddie. First off, he was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946, in Zanzibar, Tanzania, though legally changed his name to Freddie Mercury around 1970 when Queen was formed. He went to boarding school studying piano in India and went on to London's Ealing College of Art. He met future bandmates drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May there and would also put his art and graphic design degree to use designing the band’s logo, the Queen Crest. The crest is made up of the zodiac signs of band members, two Leo lions for John Deacon and Roger Taylor, a Cancer crab for Brian May and two fairies to represent Freddie's Virgo sign. The "Q" and the crown represent the band name and a phoenix protects the whole design.
He has one of the most iconic voices of all time. He had a recorded range of three (almost four) octaves. Just for some perspective, Mariah Carey claims five. When he spoke he was more of a baritone, but the majority of his singing fell in the tenor range.
He had a long-term girlfriend in the early 1970s named Mary Austin. Even after they broke up, they remained incredibly close. He wrote "Love of My Life" about her and was the godfather of her first son. When he died, he left her most of his money, his house, and his recording royalties to her.
Another love of his life - his cats. He loved cats and had as many as 10 at one point. He even put out a solo album dedicated to his cats called Mr. Bad Guy, including a song about his favorite cat, Delilah.
Offstage, Mercury was open about his bisexuality, but he kept his relationships private. That being said, he also lived a lavish lifestyle. He loved champagne and liked to collect art, once spending more than $400,000 on a set of hand-painted china. Always one for a party, he threw himself elaborate celebrations; for one particular birthday he flew a group of friends to the island of Ibiza where they partied with fireworks and flamenco dancing.
On November 24, 1991, at the age of 45, Freddie Mercury died from AIDS-related bronchial pneumonia at his London mansion. To honor his memory, the Freddie Mercury Tribute: Concert for AIDS Awareness was held on Easter Monday, April 1992 at Wembley Stadium for 72,000 people. The concert was also broadcast on TV and radio to 76 countries around the world with an audience of up to 1 billion. The performers included Metallica, Def Leppard, Elton John, Guns N Roses, Liza Minnelli, David Bowie, Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, Annie Lennox and more. To this day this event remains the largest concert held in tribute to a deceased musician.
Did ya learn something?
Short and bitter-sweet, but that’s the first B-Side Bio! Surprisingly, as a huge Queen fan, I even learned a little bit doing this research, so I hope you learned a little something too.
So pumped to share the first B-Side Bio and for a fun Pull the Plug added bonus, we’re sharing an acoustic track honouring each featured artist in a PTP Spotify playlist. The first to be added is an acoustic cover of Queen’s I Want To Break Free.