What’s in Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz Ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6 cubic-foot refrigerators.
On the grill
Who Are You
A multi-talented threat, Vancouver-born and currently L.A.-based Mish Way writes about music, sex, and other things for some of North America's most respected web and print publications. You might know her best, however, as the whip-smart and all-around badass frontwoman for White Lung, whose uncompromising latest album, Deep Fantasy, is out now on Domino Records.
My first concert was Charlotte Diamond at the PNE or something. I don’t have a vivid memory of it or anything, but my parents told me what happened. Charlotte Diamond is like Fred Penner, kids stuff. At one point she asked a bunch of juniors to come up on stage, most of them were older than me, probably 6 or 7-years old but at 3-years-old, I wanted to go up. Charlotte gave us all the kind of instruments kids can’t really fuck up playing. There’s a photo: Charlotte Diamond, a bunch of dancing second graders and a bugged-eyed, alien toddler with a tambourine. I guess I always wanted an audience, even when they didn’t want me back.
I don’t really have a concert that I went to that changed my life in the way most would assume it happened because all the music I attached myself to when I was really getting into music wasn’t happening with me in real time. I was obsessing over a genre that happened five years too late for me. However, my friend in high school Zsofia Zambo started taking me to shows when I was 16-years-old and the first show I went to was to see her band playing at the Mesa Luna. I don’t remember the name of her band (I’m pretty sure Sean Orr was in it) or really what they sounded like, but it just made me realize I wanted to be in a band. That I could be in a band. That there was an entire place out there for that. It made me excited for once because I had not been excited about anything in a really long time. I was pretty much just floating.
Top three records
Butterglove The John Morand Session Even though this record came out in the '90s, it was recorded in 1989 on a live 2-track. Butterglove were not around long and this is their only album I have been able to find. I know it note for note. Pen Rollings plays like no one else. He’s totally hypnotic. I first discovered this band when White Lung was on tour with this band from New York called Pollution and they showed me Butterglove. I got obsessed. Sean (who played in Pollution) gave me an old Butterglove shirt. It’s covered in spaghetti stains and it’s giant, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I wish I could have seen this band live, but instead all I’ve seen is clips Sean had on VHS. Sean and his wife Erica used to let us stay at their apartment and both of them grew up in North Carolina seeing this band live, so they would always talk about Butterglove and show me everything they had saved. I’ve listened to this record so many times. It’s the first thing I put on when I get on an airplane. I never get sick of it.
John Frusciante Niandra Ladies and Usually Just A T. Shirt A few years ago I got really obsessed with John Frusciante’s solo career. Nü Sensae and White Lung were on our first tour together and Andrea [Lukic of Nü Sensae] was reading Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis and she made me read it. The book is great, but the parts about John just pushed me into a k-hole of his music. This debut solo album is my favorite one. Half the album was recorded when he was on tour with RHCP and the other during the recording of Blood Sugar Sex Magik. John claims he was stoned for most of this album but who knows. He went off the deep on dope. The second half of this album, or the Untitled songs, are mostly instrumental. I could listen to him play guitar forever. It makes me feel comfortable and safe, like I’m stuck in it. It’s delicate and careful, then the chords come in under the notes like a thick swat. He uses synths and warped vocals to shove you down into the patterns of the songs. The way he layers the guitars on this record... I don’t know. There’s this video of young John Frusciante talking about his Hendrix obsession and how, when he was a kid, he would impress all the guys at the record store because at 12-years-old, he could solo Henedrix parts. But when John “solos” on Niandra Ladies it’s not a “solo”, you know? There’s no gross alpha mojo about it. There’s no jerk off. He’s all arrangements, not tricks.
Them A Very Angry Young Them I grew up listening to Van Morrison because, in my father’s mind there’s only two types of music: jazz and Van Morrison. I know every single god damn Van Morrison song, even the bad shit from the '80s when he got all religious and saxophone heavy. Anyways, before Van Morrison went solo he had a band called Them and these first records are so good. A Very Angry Young Them was released in 1965 with two versions: UK version and the American one. I own both, but the UK one wins just because of Them’s cover of “I Gave My Love A Diamond” by John E Sharpe & The Squires. I remember sitting with one of my ex-boyfriend’s at 5 a.m. one night and we were listening to Morrison’s cover of “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” and he goes, “What other red-headed Irish man could sing like this?” I love Van because he’s been in my life since I was born. I don’t even know if I truly love it the way I think I do or because his voice is just home.
All-time favourite videos
Girlschool and Mötorhead “Please Don’t Touch” on Top of The Pops 1981 What isn’t great about this video? Mötorhead and Girlschool covering “Please Don’t Touch” but changing all the lyrics that were too after-school-special and making them way sexier? Come on. Kelly Johnson was such a cool front woman and any Girlschool album is hit after hit after hit, just like Mötorhead. In his biography Lemmy talks about how he was always after her. I forget if she ever gave him the time of day and if they got a night together on tour or not... it would have been way cooler if she hadn’t.
Hole “Miss World” Courtney Love doing her take on Carrie and playing up her obvious confusion with beauty by making fun of pageants, looking the most doll-like, the most perfect, the most pale she possibly could? Practically kissing babies with her big, red lips and pastel Miss America dress? I’m a big fan of always seeing the band play live in a video and in “Miss World” the meeting of that with the story is perfect. I loved song growing up. I still do. Hole were incredible. Plus, the sneak diss in the back drop of the set - “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” - at Billy Corgan (he uses this old biblical adage in the lyrics of “Zero”) is funny. Maybe they were dating then? Or had just broken up? Courtney always played her personal life at the forefront of her career to make sure the public’s curiosity was always perked. So they could read into her lyrics, making sense of them through gossip and when asked about them, she’d play coy and never fully tell the truth. This is why most people hate her, but I think it was just her way of intriguing people whether it was intentional or not.
Dinah Washington “Send Me To The ‘Lectric Chair”, Live Newport 1958 Old performances like this from the 50’s are just so tough. Dinah Washington is my favorite blues singer, but in this video she covers a Bessie Smith track and out-does it. It’s a song about a woman who caught her husband cheating on him, so she killed him and she has no problem taking the punishment. Watching Dinah sing is effortless, no bullshit. There’s no gloss or dancing or lights or distractions to mask anything. It’s just her sitting on a chair singing straight into the camera.
What’s in your fridge
Trader Joe’s Lime Popsicles: There’s never that much in my fridge except for boring vegetables, soup stock, and frozen berries because I am usually on tour and eating garbage. So when I am actually at home I want to flush my system. We have a Vitamix at my house thanks to my roommate Yasi, so most things I eat come in liquid form. However, I will always have Trader Joe’s Lime Popsicles in my freezer. When I’m hung over I just want cold things--doesn’t everyone? Ice, citrus and sugar. Until they find a way to make a Perrier Slurpee then Trader Joe’s popsicles remain the standard.
Coca-Cola: I don’t even drink pop, but my boyfriend drinks Jim Beam like it’s water and if there’s Coke around he’ll put ice in there and then at least he’s getting some water with his grossly unhealthy (delicious) drink. In Los Angeles, the tap water isn’t nice like British Columbia. Los Angeles tap water tastes like what I imagine is the chemicals in a shitty mood ring from the dentist. I drink it, but my stubborn Southern boyfriend won’t unless it’s via an ice cube. Total diva.
Tomatoes: Okay, I am aware that tomatoes are not weird, but the way I eat them kind of is and since, as I said, my eating habits are tragically boring, this will pass. For me, tomatoes are my apples. I eat them solo, with my hands, sometimes with salt or pepper. I love them. I could give up a lot of things in my diet before I gave up tomatoes.