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
Well, for all intents and purposes of this interview, I am Cary Pratt from Prairie Cat. Vancouver- (currently) based solo musician who is fortunate to play/record with, on, in or around some of the finer musical acts this city has to offer. If you go to shows in Vancouver or listen to CBC, you have probably heard me at some point, on some songs, doing something.
The first live performance I remember attending was more of a variety show with music. It was a Mr. Dressup cross-Canada tour around 1986. ( Just cringed thinking of the geriatric groupies that must have lingered in the community centre parking lots offering up their “Tickle Trunks”). This was in the “Casey and Finnegan” days (prior to them “leaving for kindergarten”) and featured a few crowd-pleasers peppered throughout the performance, including a roaring rendition of “Down by the Bay”. The first legit concert with tickets I remember going to, without parents, would have been Tripping Daisy opening for Our Lady Peace at the Kelowna Community Centre. The crowd got so rowdy they tore out the first three rows of the soft-seat theatre. Very reminiscent of the Penticton “MC Hammer Riot” of ’91. Can’t trust those jacked-up Kelowna kids.
Picture this: Calexico at Richard’s on Richards is cut short by a power outage forcing patrons to exit the now-pitch-black venue. The street fills with anxious bodies as a line of fire trucks illuminate the darkened block. Through the eerily still summer air and crowd murmur (with impromptu visuals of red lights dancing on adjacent houses—this is pre-condo Richards Street folks—the sound of a lone trumpet pierces the night. Like a funeral procession, the band marches from the tomb-like bar into a bewildered congregation which quickly encircles the ensemble. Upright bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, horn and a capella vocals entertain the troops whose dismay at an early night quickly turns to joy. Behold! The concert is not dead! Resurrected by Calexico themselves, administering Concert Performance Resuscitation. So yeah, it was a good show and stuff. But you probably wouldn't understand if you weren't there. I’m sure it was just as good as the time you saw Jeff Martin burp out a few of his hits that time at the Commodore...
Top three records
Obviously this is a changing and subjective list which varies from month to month, but...
Big Star #1 Record The songs remind me of summertime as a teen, jumping off docks and biking around looking for trouble when you are too young to find trouble. I put that record on sometimes and pretend they are singing just for me.
Super Friendz Mock Up, Scale Down They wrote the book on Canadian indie pop. Catchy guitar riffs and smart arrangements make the drive from Flin Flon to Thunderbay a little more bearable.
Martin Tielli We Didn't Even Suspect That He Was The Poppy Salesman Mostly solo guitar and vocals, this record weaves tales of heartbreak with elegant lyricism and wit. Sonically it is huge with a reverb that will make you cry. Also it’s fun to try and emulate the vocal acrobatics as you attempt to croon along.
All-time favourite video
Growing up we didn't have the cable stations that showed MuchMusic. My first interaction with music videos would have been at my cousin’s house and being a child of the ‘80s meant I had a love for the King of Pop (as I’m sure he had a love for me). The first music video I liked would have to be “I’m Fat” by “Weird Al” Yankovic. I guess all the sexy and super-starriness in conventional music videos at the time went over my head and the absurdity of Al ballooning out to a plus-sized-pop-icon was right up my alley. I still get a kick out of his videos.
What's in your fridge
Selection of non-alcoholic beers: “I have a love of all things fermented or pickled. I realized this past year that I started playing in bars when I was 16 and even as an underage performer, the gigs came complete with drink tickets and self-loathing. Clubs like the Starfish Room and other venues around the city were an early enabler for a junior Prairie Cat. I got into the habit of enjoying a couple cold ones here and there. I am taking my first break from the sauce in 17 years and have enjoyed the fine cold ones that can be obtained at the local grocers, for the last few months. I will put this out there too... I`m not sure about the process, but come on local micro brews!!!! Let`s get some near-beer action with some taste, I`d be happy to donate my body for testing.
A plethora of hot sauces: I like spicy everything. I have multiple colours, calidity, consistency, and countries represented in the fridge door. The labels on some of these sauces are the new album art. I have even contacted the artist from “Fiery Fart” hot sauce to work on the next Prairie Cat T-shirt (T-shart?).
Pickles: As mentioned above, I love all things fermented and pickled. I make my own pickles including dills, green beans, and a Mexican spicy pickle that I use on the many tacos I cook at home. They taste like Talum and John Convertino in my mouth.