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
I'm a Vancouver-based musician/songwriter. I'm part of a long-running folk band called The Fugitives and I also moonlight as a theatre/TV/film actor. (The Fugitives just released our latest album, The Promise of Strangers, and I just finished performing in a Leonard Cohen-inspired theatre piece called Chelsea Hotel).
My first ever non piano-recitally concert was a capella sensations The Nylons, at Malkin Bowl, when I was 9. It made me obsessed with harmony. Then my first rock concert was Rage Against the Machine at the Plaza of Nations when I was in high school and it made me want to break stuff (it's still one of the best shows I've ever seen).
I went to the Vancouver Folk Fest when I was about 22 and it was formative for me. I'd basically spent my musical life to that point listening to grunge and singing in choirs (but no grunge choirs—they didn't exist yet). I did folk fest completely sobre (no, really) and discovered so many songwriters that weekend that I still listen to on a regular basis (Dan Bern and Kelly Joe Phelps, as two examples). I was also one of those people that spent the whole weekend dancing barefoot and eating corn on the cob—my soul was an open field of wildflowers. Now my soul is a parking lot but hey, that's the music biz.
Top three records
This is an impossible question and I'm mad that I have to answer it. I will pick only records that I can listen to top to bottom and then repeat.
Paul Simon Paul Simon's Concert in the Park He's one of my favourite songwriters of all-time and I used to sit in my parents' den when i was about 11 and listen to him on headphones while reading along with the lyric booklets. The live versions of these songs are better than the originals—for example, Michael Brecker's sax solo on "Still Crazy After All These Years" mops the floor with the sax solo on the original. The band is massive and disgustingly good and blazing through some of the best songs ever written.
Lou Rawls Live! Another live record. I stole this from my brother's box of vinyl years ago. Lou Rawls is one of the best singers of all time. I used to listen to him and Jeff Buckley and try to learn to sing like them. I fell somewhat short of the mark, but it taught me a lot. The band is so deep in the pocket and Lou riffs with the audience and it's hilarious and beautiful. At one point he's ad-libbing about food and he hits a high note on "candied yams!" and it punches your soul and makes you hungry at the same time. I could listen to his version of "St James Infirmary" forever. I can't seem to get sick of this record.
Gillian Welch Time (The Revelator) I discovered Gillian Welch's music at a folk fest. All her records are good but this one goes deeper and darker. Just two voices and two guitars at one microphone but David Rawling's guitar-playing is so alive that it sits in for a full band and the song-writing is so layered and mysterious that I'm still deciphering lines and wondering about them all these years later. Plus the album ends with a 12-minute folk dirge of the same 4-chords and it actually slows down as it goes and instead of getting bored to the point of desperation, it lulls me into some kind of rootsy hypnosis.
All-time favourite video
Guns N' Roses "November Rain" I actually can't listen to GN'R anymore. Not that I was ever their biggest fan, but I liked them in my younger years. But I was Indonesia last year on a long bus ride and the driver played only GN'R for many hours straight and I realized that they're actually a really annoying band and I don't need to listen to them ever again. However, they could blow through a video budget like nobody else! "November Rain" is a ridiculous mini film. Sweeping crane shots of guitar solos outside of abandoned country church-houses?! Supermodel wedding guests getting destroyed by a rainstorm?! A cake falling to the floor in slow-motion?! What a metaphor. This video has everything.
What's in your fridge
Eggs. I hate eggs. But I put raw eggs in my morning smoothie to help fill me up. Bad idea? Probably.
Five bottles of teriyaki sauce. I only cook with it every so often and I always forget if I have any at home or if it's expired. And does it really expire? It doesn't seem like it. So I have give bottles of probably expired teriyaki sauce.
One can of Vanilla Coke. The only time I drink a Coke anymore is when I sneak one into the movies to compliment my movie popcorn (I can bring myself to pay the exorbitant popcorn price but not the exorbitant sugar-water price). But Vanilla Coke sucks ass. I keep thinking someone will take it off my hands. Any takers?
The Fugitives play the WISE Hall on Thursday (April 26). You can stream The Promise of Strangers here.
THE FUGITIVES TOUR DATES
April 26 - Wise Hall, Vancouver, BC
April 27 - Dream Cafe, Penticton, BC
April 28 - 108 Mile Ranch, 100 Mile House, BC
May 1 - House Concert, Red Deer, AB
May 2 - The Westwood, Black Diamond, AB
May 3 - The Ironwood, Calgary, AB
May 4 - Village Guitar, Saskatoon, SK
May 5 - West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, MB