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 singer, songwriter, guitarist, truck driver. Not necessarily in that order. I started playing in the early '80s Vancouver punk scene with a band called Soldiers Of Sport, moved on to Shanghai Dog and then Tin God. The Circus In Flames has been my band for a long, long time now. It's more of an acoustic thing than those earlier bands.
It was about 1974 and I saw George Harrison at the Pacific Coliseum. I went with a couple of my friends but they'd dropped acid and even though we got into the the Coliseum real early they wanted to sit in the top row way at the back. I couldn't convince them to move down a bit. Harrison was touring on his Dark Horse album and the critics weren't being very kind. I think he overdid it in rehearsals and his voice was pretty shot. Some people called it the Dark Hoarse Tour. Ravi Shankar played the concert too with this large orchestra of traditional Indian instruments. Billy Preston was in George's band and he played some of his hits. The crowd seemed to respond better to Billy's stuff. I really wanted to hear Harrison do "What Is Life" from All Things Must Pass but I think because his voice was so rough he tried to funk it up and it was pretty disappointing. I do remember that he had that psychedelically painted Stratocaster from the Magical Mystery Tour up on stage with him. I could actually make that out from way at the back.
I saw the first gig by the K-Tels (later the Young Canadians: Art Bergmann, Jim Bescott and Barry Taylor). It was at this small art space called Gambados in the same block of Powell St. as the Europe Hotel in Gastown. (See photo above.) It was around 1978 and I was just starting to learn about this punk rock thing. They were great. Loud, tight, catchy and raw. I'd been banging away trying to learn guitar but the idea of playing in a band in some club somewhere seemed absolutely unattainable. Besides, I hated the music that was being played in the clubs at the time. But with bands like the K-Tels, here was this music that really struck a nerve being played in something like a speakeasy and I thought, 'Maybe I can do this". I never imagined that five years later I'd be playing in a band with Barry on the drums. (See below.)
Top three records
I dunno, that's pretty tough.
The Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols It changed everything for a lot of people of my generation. Put it on and it still sounds exciting to me. A perfect storm of guitars, drums and vocals. Bass sounds good, too.
Bob Dylan Take your pick of anything Dylan recorded from 1965 through 1967: Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde (with "Visions Of Johanna"), or all the Basement Tapes stuff.
The Pogues Rum Sodomy & the Lash Featuring "A Pair Of Brown Eyes" and "The Old Main Drag"). Or If I Should Fall From Grace With God.
Actually I have to add Bright Day Star by the Baltimore Consort. It's a collection of Early Music for the Yuletide season and what a collection it is. There are lutes and fifes and citterns playing French dance music from the 16th century, Baroque chamber organ music and Appalachian Christmas ballads with rebec and bandora. I don't really know anything about this stuff but I know what I like and I play this record every Christmas. Drives the rest of the family bonkers.
All-time favourite video
Tom Waits "Blow Wind Blow" From Franks Wild Years by Tom Waits. I don't really like videos but it's a great song and this is a good way to mention another one of my favourite records. I also like the Tom Waits video for "Downtown Train" from Rain Dogs (another favourite record). He dances real good in that one.
What's in your fridge