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 gangly song and dance man with a penchant for adventure and intrigue. Widely regarded as Canada's gift to the world of espionage, celebrated for a rare talent when it comes to infiltrating locations that are believed impenetrable. Also very good at the game of Cranium, and tiny horse enthusiast.
These are interesting questions to try and answer, as I grew up in the music industry, with two professional musicians for parents, and never considered pursuing any other profession, myself. But here goes…
I'm pretty sure the first concert I went to was possibly Michael Jackson. Either that or a show of my parents. The memories of various parental concerts and shows are vast and tough to separate, but Michael is one of my earliest memories. Being musicians themselves, my parents were intent on exposing my sisters and I to as much music as possible. I don't remember much of that concert. I do remember that I slept through almost all of the show. My sister Angela woke me up to see Michael, "Moonwalk," and I immediately fell back asleep. I was feeling sick because I also got to drink a milkshake, which I promptly vomited back up. This would continue to be a theme of my childhood—overzealous milkshake consumption, immediately followed with a violent, exorcist level of projectile exodus—until more than 10 years later when Ange had become a nurse and illuminated my parents and I to the wonders of lactose intolerance.
Life-changing concert is very difficult to answer. I always knew what I was going to do, without question. When my mother used to teach vocal jazz at Capilano college, her students would do a showcase concert, every year. They would each audition, and then perform one song, for which they had to have arranged the chart, and rehearsed the band for. As a kid, I always watched and imagined which songs I would do, and how I would approach the band arrangements. I would mull over if I thought a cover was the right choice, or if I would do the gutsier choice of an original. In hindsight I was watching 19 and 20 year olds at their class concert, but to me, I was learning and preparing ideas. I know you were looking more for "I saw the Foo Fighters with my sister when I was 16 and it was AMAZING." And actually I did, and they were, but I also smoked too much pot and threw up. I tried to blame a milkshake, but she knew.
Top three records
In no specific order—and how do I pick just three?
JellyFish Spilt Milk The brilliant and meticulous take on the vocal-harmony-driven rock bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s, combined with excellent songwriting and flawlessly performed and produced. One of my absolute career highlights was having Roger Manning from that band, provide guest vocals for a song on our last album [Marianas Trench's Astoria]. I was as giddy as a schoolgirl when I got his tracks.
Ben Folds Five Whatever and Ever Amen I think Ben is one the best writers of his generation, and that album changed the way I looked at music. It was a rock band with no guitar, but with all the attitude. Compete with super-next-level playing, witty lyrics, and unbelievable melodic sensibility. I snuck in to see that band when I was 16 or 17, on their final tour. It was at that club down by the Plaza of Nations that changed its name every few years. They were everything I hoped they would be. And, NO, I didn't puke, thank you very much.
Foo Fighters Color and the Shape I struggled to narrow this down to three, and eventually went with what albums I think I've listened to the most. I was a kid when this album came out. Before then, I had listened to primarily whatever my parents were listening to. Which luckily was all amazing stuff. But this was different from their interests. This was the first time I listened to very guitar-driven, screaming rock. Before that I wasn't interested in the genre because I didn't think it ever had a melody. I was too young to have known about the grunge and punk that came before it. This was the first time I can remember hearing a band that had that much energy and attitude, but with a super pop-friendly, sense of catchy melody. It was the most singable hard rock music I had ever heard. I was obsessed. And it opened the door to all sorts of genres I had never been exposed to.
All-time favourite video
Michael Jackson “Thriller” There are so many amazing music videos to choose from. How do you pick one? I picked this because I think this was an important turning point in music-video history. It was the first time a video was really approached more like a short movie than just a performance video. It had a beginning, middle and end. It changed everything for MTV, and I think it still would be considered to be one of the most iconic videos of all time, by anyone who considered the question. Things have come a long way since then, but to me, that's the original zenith of great music videos.
What’s in your fridge
Car keys. Just the other day I searched my house high and low for my car keys. I don't mean for five minutes, I mean for several hours. I had abandoned the notion that I was going to be able to make it to my studio for lack of transportation. I went to grab a snack from the crisper drawer, and lo and behold, on top of the celery I was reaching for, my keys. The stranger and more troubling aspect is that I suffered no "Oh right, I remember this," type of realization. I am still completely mystified by this occurrence.
Something strange. There's also a mystery tin of something in the back. This can has no label on it, and I have no idea why a canned good would be in the refrigerator. So out of respect and fear, I am choosing to respect its privacy, and I hope it respects the same qualities in me, and we agree to keep to ourselves.
Expired juice. I also just looked in there and discovered a fruit cocktail beverage that expired in 2014. An expired thing in the fridge isn't any new territory for anyone obviously, but the date is confusing me. This date means that I have brought this juice with me while moving homes, twice. Now the real question becomes to throw it out or not. On the one hand, that's horrifying. On the other hand, I now question an unsettling yet growing sense of emotional attachment.
Josh Ramsay can usually be found singing for multi-platinum Juno winners Marianas Trench. You can listen to his new solo single, "We Should Be Friends", which was written for Adventures In Public School, here.