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
Commercial Drive dad. Grunge kid. Neverpet. Feminist. Honorary Sri Lankan. Fast-food connoisseur. Annoying contrarian (I’ve never seen Star Wars). Unrelentingly argumentative misanthrope. Fiercely loyal friend. Massive NBA dork. Montreal Expos mourner. Unreasonably competitive rec volleyball player. Better than you at Mario Kart (SNES, obviously). Got a wicked Bruce Springsteen man crush. I met my wife at the Mirage. Been mad at Nardwuar since 2004. Please ban fighting from hockey. Former Mr. Pan Pizza delivery driver. Mike Keenan and Chad Kroeger apologist. I have the printing of a child. Please don’t complain about paying taxes around me. Careful cyclist. Public-radio proselytizer. Musician and award-winning CBC journalist. I cry during Terry Fox videos. Let’s talk about electoral reform.
Gob and d.b.s. at the Langley Civic Centre ABC Rooms (1995) Langley had a stellar grassroots punk-rock scene in the 1990s and because I went to elementary school with my old friend Andrew Drury (Baptists), I was lucky enough to know about his older brother Ivan’s band Manner Farm and all of the other wicked punk and grunge bands (the McRackins, DDT, Dave’s Neighbour, FailSafe, et cetera) that were a few years ahead of us in school. On Friday nights, "coffee jams" went down in the ABC rooms at the Civic Centre. I would hang out almost entirely by myself because all of the kids I knew from school were out in the bushes surrounding the rink smoking joints and drinking beers. I wasn’t into that yet/wasn’t cool enough to be hanging out with them anyway. But that didn’t stop me from being an unreasonably cocksure little dickweed, moshing my ass off for hours on end. On this particular night I got to see Gob, who were pretty much top of the Langley punk heap and North Vancouver's d.b.s. It was a packed-out show, and I took more than a few stiff elbows in the mosh pit. The bands played the hits (Gob-"Soda"! DBS-"Snowball"!) and I ended up with a Gob shirt (with blue toilet on front) and a d.b.s tape (Tales From the Crib). Amazingly, 21 years later, the lead singer from d.b.s. has produced the last four albums I’ve recorded. The incomparable Jesse Gander, ladies and gentlemen!
Bruce Springsteen at Rogers Arena, March 31, 2008 I was sitting at the Reef on Commercial Drive with my now-wife Sajeeda, celebrating my birthday, when I got a text from my buddy Adam: "Why aren't we at Springsteen right now???" It was an excellent point. I had somehow spaced and completely forgot the show was that night. After a few uncomfortable moments, I broke the news to Saj that I needed to leave dinner...like right then. I grabbed a cab, bought an insanely expensive scalper ticket on the floor and watched in awe, as the Boss delivered his rock 'n' roll gospel in all its glory. It was my first Springsteen show, and I'm not sure I really knew what rock music was before that. Ever since, I've strived to bring that kind of unbridled energy and passion to every songwriting session, rehearsal, and live show. It was transcendental. It was truth. And for me, it was church.
Top three records
Bruce Springsteen Born To Run These are the anthems of life. The highs, the lows. The falls from grace and the triumphant returns. The more epic and frantic it gets, the more emotive Bruce becomes, the more ornate the arrangement, and the more soaring Clarence’s sax solos, the happier I am.
J.J. Cale Naturally Sparse. Subtle. Tender. Warm. Legendary. It's just simple, nearly perfect music. For driving at dusk or kicking back on a front stoop. Saj and I played "Magnolia" for the first dance at our wedding.
Rancid ...And Out Come the Wolves I love this album so much, I quoted it on "Teenage Autumn Nights", the first single from my latest album, Memory Electric. This is powerful and emphatic punk with crunchy, palm-muted guitars, cartoonishly acrobatic bass playing, ragged-ass vocals, universal-feeling lyrics and a big helping of the we-don’t-give-a-fuck punk ethos.
Favourite music video
Nirvana "Heart-Shaped Box" I have to admit, I'm not a great fan of music videos. There’s something about seeing someone else’s vision of the song accompanying the music that strips the experience of that magical, personal feeling you can achieve just you and the tune. That being said, if I take myself back to the golden days of rushing home from school on a Friday to catch the Much Music countdown, I’ve gotta say "Heart-Shaped Box" by Nirvana. At the age of 12, that video made me feel like I was watching something fully taboo on mainstream TV. The crucifixion, the kid wearing a KKK hat (that’s a Klan hat, right?), the obese woman walking gleefully toward the tree full of fetusus. Man, the imagery is still so vivid and I definitely remember it blowing my preteen mind. And there was something about that crazed look in Cobain’s eyes, as he thrust himself toward the camera on the “HEY. WAIT.” part of the chorus that really captivated me too.
What’s in your fridge
Coors Light. I live very close to the heart of Yeast Van and with this confession, my excommunication from the community is likely imminent. What’s that? My kid’s kicked out of preschool? Oh. You never received my pizza order? Weird. My Compass card is no longer valid? Hmmmmm. Not to worry, this macrobrew pariah has cold, crisp, refreshing ”beer” to ease the worried mind.
Babci Polish-style horseradish mustard. I discovered this amazing Polish horseradish mustard at Santa Barbara while waiting for a massive line at the deli counter. Manna from the gods. I now plan my meals based on what will go well with a sauce. It's weird, but it feels so right.
Leftover curry. One of the amazing things about marrying into a Sri Lankan family is that it’s basically considered a moral sin, a collapse of the societal fabric, if you leave someone’s house without food. Now, will that curry be so hot that it renders me a sweating, hyperventilating, incapacitated mess? Likely. But it’s gonna be one helluva wild and tasty ride, my friend.
You can buy Jeremy Allingham's latest album, Memory Electric, here.