What's In Your Fridge: Erik Hoffman

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      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

      Erik Hoffman

      Who are you

      I’m a music business “lifer”. I’ve played in bands, pushed road cases, hung speakers, worked in a studio, mixed live sound, tour managed (babysat) artists all over the world, and promoted shows for my entire adult life. All of that led to a life-changing move to Vancouver 11 years ago to book the legendary Commodore Ballroom. These days I have a fancy title at Live Nation and I book a bunch of high-profile festivals and tours, including the upcoming Squamish Valley Music Festival. I sit on the CARAS and MUSICOUNTS boards and am tremendously proud of the work they do. I have a wife (Jennie) that does more than her share, and two kids (Ainsley & Archie) that appear to be stranger than other people’s kids. I like to tell jokes to hide my stress, and have an uncomfortable obsession with food (preparation and consumption). I’ve recently taken steps to become a sommelier and I hope to fly airplanes one day…but for now, I’m staying on this music thing.

      First concert

      I refuse to report the Irish Rovers or Murray McLaughlin as my first concerts so I’m going right to Metallica (Black Album Tour) as my first live-music experience sans parents. My older rocker brother took me. He was probably high on hash or something, but I had no idea. The venue was the Ottawa Civic Centre, a dump of an arena that I know for a fact Metallica had a super hard time setting up the show in. Oddly enough, the guy that hired me at this company was the promoter for the show. All I remember is having my mind blown, spending all my money on merch, and accidently smashing my head into the back of a dude’s head a row in front of me. I guess I was head-banging so hard during "Seek & Destroy" that I lost my balance. He had no idea what hit him. I haven’t been the same since.

      Life-changing concert

      Easy. Bootsy Collins—Phoenix (maybe it was the Diamond Club at that time)—Toronto, Ontario, mid-'90’s. I had been mixing live shows as a teenager in downtown Ottawa and was eventually invited by a Toronto band (PROJECT 9) to come up on weekends to do their sound. One of these times the band was opening for Parliament/Funkadelic bass legend Bootsy Collins. I had seen George Clinton at a festival, but had never witnessed any of these guys as a headliner. I was in awe of Bootsy’s crew (one of them was rocking a Huey Lewis tour jacket). His sound engineer had worked for James Brown for years and was giving me pointers throughout our opening set. I couldn’t believe this guy would take the time. Bootsy’s set that night felt like we were all in the Apollo Theatre or a funk church of some sort. It was mind-melting. It was then and there that I decided I wanted to go on the road indefinitely, and perhaps I’d open my mind to all genres of music.

      Top three records

      Wilco Being There  This one is so hard. There were so many great records that came out during the “No Depression” movement. Son Volt’s Trace, Whiskeytown’s Strangers Almanac, some Jayhawks, some later Steve Earle. This double record though felt like a cut above it all to me, not just in the songwriting, but sonically as well. It was a perfect rock record, and there haven’t been many as good since.

      Slayer South of Heaven  Slayer is a metal band…day in and day out. No bullshit ballads, no “departure from their sound”. The AC/DC of thrash-metal bands. Give the kids what they want. Most purists would argue Reign In Blood was their best record (and fair enough) but I always loved South of Heaven more. I found it to be far more musical and slowed down. Kind of like their Paul’s Boutique, I think people only came onto it years later. Plus, any album with "Mandatory Suicide", I mean…come on.

      Public Enemy It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back  I was 11 when this record came out. Crazy. My brother (my other brother) had a cassette copy of Yo! Bum Rush the Show floating around, but when this record came into our house, it changed my opinion on hip-hop for life. It was eye-opening, angry, and unbelievably meaningful to all kinds of people. Suburbs. Ghettos. Same strong message. We should all erase from our brains the image of Flavor Flav doing reality shows in recent history. Their legacy is far too important.

      All-time favourite video

      Sinead O'Connor "Nothing Compares 2 U"/Daft Punk "Da Funk" I hate music videos, straight up. No seriously, I do. Very few of them stand the test of time. If I had to pick, though, it’s a tie. 1) Sinead O’Connor "Nothing Compares 2 U": Besides being a beautiful song, I think it’s unbelievably powerful and brave to rock a head shot for 90 percent of your video. Plus, gotta think this bad boy was done on a budget; 2) Daft Punk "Da Funk" A dog. A cast. Uncomfortable conversation. The End. Best. Of. All. Time. (Three-way tie would’ve included Mitsou’s "Bye Bye Mon Cowboy" but have to draw the line somewhere.)  

      What’s in your fridge

      Hondashi Bonito Soup Stock. What can I say, I’m a sucker for homemade dashi. I’m very confident this has expired but I refuse to throw it out. Plus, who doesn’t like to mess around with monosodium glutamate, disodium inosinate, and disodium succinate? All locally sourced of course…

      A wide array of half-emptied bottles of wine: Going through this sommelier program I’m tasked with tasting (drinking) many types of noble grapes. So, believe it or not, the back of my fridge is littered with German Reisling, Rioja, and Rosé. (The Rosé bottles are mostly empty…let’s be honest.)

      To Die For” Banana Bread by Erin Ireland. Not sure if there’s crack in this or what the deal is, but I’m holding this woman responsible for my weight gain.




      Tom fijal

      Aug 1, 2015 at 12:21am

      An ace piece - a taste of just how engaging and amusing Mr. Hoffman can be. But is that photo taken from his good side? And those eyes in the painting seem to follow me wherever i go.