Welcome all to the very first edition of Tunes From the Crypt! I’ve contributed a number of pieces over the last year and a bit to Kendall Reviews, and after becoming a regular member for book reviews, it’s now grown into this – a monthly contribution.
So what’ll this column be about and what will it feature?
To be honest – a bit of everything. Music has always been a massive part of my life. My parents used to listen to music and a lot of my family plays various instruments. So this will be a bit about my musical journey and how I got to here! I’ll also discuss various experiences I’ve had, as well as key moments in my life music has played a part of.
The first music I can remember and was introduced to was mostly country. I used to go with my dad on various weekend excursions – hunting, golfing, getting firewood etc. I grew up in a very, very, very small town in British Columbia, Canada. I was born in Nakusp (240 kms east of Kelowna) but lived in Burton, thirty minutes south east, population approximately 100.
It was a logging and farming community which lent itself to being a country music area.
The first music I really remember was Johnny Cash. My dad and I would listen to the same Johnny Cash tape on every weekend trip and our favourite songs to sing along with was Ring of Fire;
and The Ballad of Ira Hayes
As the years went by I discovered more and more of the various tapes my parents had. I loved a big variety of music and it was inevitable that the time would arrive where I would get ‘my own’ music.
That time arrived on one Christmas morning. Now I don’t remember what year it was, but the gift itself was the most amazing gift I’d ever received. For that particular Christmas I was given a CD player and three CD’s.
Those three CD’s were;
The Very Best of Tiffany
Alan Jackson – A Lot About Livin’ and A Little ‘Bout Love (which featured the hit song Chattahoochee)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Into the Great Wide Open
The Tom Petty album is still one of my all-time favourite albums.
It wasn’t long before I became a fan of the ‘rockier’ sound and left most country behind. Our neighbour’s son Bob introduced me to a number of heavier bands and I was also introduced to some amazing bands from an unlikely source – cases of beer.
My uncle Ron lived in Nakusp, which mean pretty much every weekend we’d visit him or he’d come visit us. My dad and uncle would spend hours golfing, throwing horse shoes or playing darts. Of course this also included drinking some beer. Molson Canadian came out with a promotion where in some select cases of beer, they would include a CD Sampler of Canadian Hard Rock Bands. This opened my eyes to a number of bands I’d never heard about before.
One of the first songs on these samplers that really grabbed my attention was ‘When Something Stands for Nothing’ by Headstones.
The second song was from Sven Gali called ‘Tye Dyed Skies’.
Sven Gali became one of my favourite bands at that point. We only had two places in town to really find new music – Home Hardware and The General Store. I remember going into Home Hardware and seeing that Sven Gali had released a second album and begging my parents to let me get it. They had a spinning carousel type rack near the cash register, and I remember spotting the cover art and being super excited. I still have both of the Sven Gali CD’s and revisit them a few times a year. They’ve just regrouped and released a new song, so we’ll see what happens. For now, here’s the two best tracks from their second album.
Sven Gali – What You Give
Sven Gali – Keeps Me Down
During this time, Bob was letting me borrow many of his CD’s. He was very protective as to what he would let me borrow, making sure to not let me take any of the more ‘extreme’ stuff. (Which is itself a bit hilarious considering his mom was letting me borrow her Stephen King books to read!) One such album he let me check out was unlike anything I’d heard before. The band was called Rainbow Butt Monkeys and they would soon become one of Canada’s biggest and most popular hard rock bands.
Rainbow Butt Monkeys – Circles
It was funky, it was heavy, it was the Canadian answer to The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I loved it. Then they flipped the switch and a few years later returned. Now they had a new name, new sound, but the change made me a fan for many years. Rainbow Butt Monkeys became Finger Eleven.
Finger Eleven – Above
Now it was around this time that my musical tastes started to sway more to the heavier stuff. Through the CD Samplers and my neighbour I was able to get a good idea of what Canadian stuff was out there. But at some point I started to get a bit jaded towards bands from my home country. Still there were two last bands that I really dug that I discovered through a TV show up here. One of the few channels we had at our house was CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). The CBC focused on featuring a number of Canadian made shows about Canadian life. One of my favourites for many years was North of 60. Following the success of North of 60 the CBC released The Rez. While it only had one initial movie and two seasons, I found it resonated with me more. Where North of 60 focused on the adults, The Rez focused on the teenagers. And because of that focus I was introduced to two other bands.
Chore – General Warning
Breach of Trust – Who Am I?
Of note – Breach of Trust is a band made up completely of indigenous people. They were one of the first metal bands I had heard with a groove and my head buzzed with the potential of what might be out there.
Now the last thing I’ll leave you with on my music journey was my discovery of another CBC show. I was a fan of Degrassi Junior High when it first came out. Its air time was on when I would get home, so I’d watch that, have dinner then play or watch sports until bed. The coolest character on Degrassi was Joey Jeremiah who was played by Pat Mastroianni. It was announced that Pat would be hosting (along with Canadian music star Alanis Morrisette) a new show on CBC called Music Works. Select bands would perform live in a warehouse in Toronto and then it would be broadcast. This was my introduction to the likes of Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth, Econoline Crush, 54/40, Age of Electric, The Tea Party and so many more.
I was riding on top of my musical world. I loved hard rock and heavy rock. During these years I was also spending my allowance money on hockey cards and baseball cards.
But then life took a change.
I entered into High School and two things happened.
The first was on one of my normal Friday visit’s to Valley Foods in Nakusp, where I would buy my hockey cards, they happened to be out. So instead I used my allowance money to buy a magazine called Metal Maniacs.
The second was a kid named Anders lending me his Walkman. Inside that tape player was Metallica’s album ‘… And Justice For All.’
My musical landscape was about to change.
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official Website here
The Girl Who Hid In The Trees
Something lurks just beyond.
Centuries ago a heinous act created a ripple that still haunts the residents to this very day.
Now the kids who reside near McConnell’s Forest live forever in fear.
Jason lost his brother when he was young. He left with his friends to ‘debunk’ the urban legend and never came back.
Now Jason and his group of friends are fed up and want to discover what is happening, what is the real cause of the terror holding their small town hostage.
But something is waiting for them. She may look sweet and innocent, but the friends are about to find out that pure evil can exist in the smallest of packages.
She’s out there. And while you may not know her name or what she looks like, the local kids will tell you if you ask, that you should fear for your life from the girl who hid in the trees.
From the dark mind of Steve Stred, the author of Wagon Buddy, YURI and Invisible comes this fast-paced, seat of your pants coming-of-age tale. A quick, violent, bleak read, The Girl Who Hid In The Trees will make you think twice about those sounds you hear far off in the woods.