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.
Who are you
I am James Farwell. AKA: Gnarwell, McGillI, Whisky James, The Dude (sick), One, Dad, The Prick, Old Man Time, etc… I am lead shredder and vocal in Bison. I am currently fixing my brain by breathing air, throwing rocks with my kids and rocking the fuck out. I am on Dad welfare currently, which means I play in the dirt with my kids for a living right now. It rules hard.
In 1983 my wonderful sister Barb took me to my first concert at the Winnipeg Arena—Men At Work, the Cargo Tour. I was used to sitting at hockey games with my dad in this building. I was amazed at the transformation from sports centre to illicit rock concert. The smell of strange smoke, people acting out in ecstatic combination of adrenalin, booze, pills, and weed, rather than cheering on Hawerchuk and Babych. I remember a tense moment with some drunk dudes sitting in front of us. I found myself booing the warm up act, the Shaking Pyramids, not containing my excitement to see my Australian heroes. The fellows in front of us eventually turned around to face my sister and I. Barb thought I was gonna get punched. Instead I was treated to a round of high fives and cheers.
This would have been SNFU at the Cauldron in Winnipeg. Around 1987 or ’88? I had been a fan since I was 13, and this was my first chance to see them live. I remember Chi Pig flying around, hanging from the rafters, fucking everyones’ mind. It felt scary as fuck and liberating. That band is the reason for me. They are why I’ve spent so much fucking time in a van with dudes, travelling far, to play to nobody, for no money.
Top three records
Pegboy Strong Reaction This record is like an open wound, so emotional and beautiful, yet just fucking balls out kick-you-in-the-face with great songs and melody and cut-your-head off guitar. This album had the best mixed tape song on it—to this day I haven’t found a better one than “Strong Reaction”. There are so many peeps out there with a mixed tape from me packed away in a box somewhere with that song on it, for sure. Or maybe they just chucked it away. Yeah, that’s probably more likely. Anyway, great album.
ZZ Top Tejas Fuck off. If you even put this record under your pillow at night as you sleep, it will make you a better guitar player. I was backstage at a ZZ Top show once. Some idiot thought I was Billy Gibbons (I also have a beard, I guess). I tried to get them kicked out. I got kicked out. Very passionate about that man.
Descendents ALL Okay, I know I said that “Strong Reaction” by Pegboy was the most reoccurring song on my mixed tapes. I now realize “Cameage” would actually be the most reoccurring song I put on my mixed tapes. This album was drinking Labatt 50, skateboarding, throwing bricks through car windows, smashing anything and everything, shoplifting entire 7-Eleven’s, and living on your friend’s couch because you did not want the summer or winter to end.
All-time favourite video
The Spoons “Romantic Traffic” Great song. And this is when I truly fell in love with Sandy Horne and her super foxy porcupine hair. I wanted to hang out in the Toronto subway with her. Why couldn’t I hang out on the Toronto subway with her? I guess I was 12. Don’t look at me like that! Watch the video! I love you Sandy!
What’s in your fridge
Old shrunken dried-out bits of lime. I put a lime in almost everything I drink. Inevitably I will squirrel away the last bit and forget about it. I repeat this process for about a week, and by Sunday night I have about seven bits of dead and crusty lime chunks.
Organic antioxidant Omega oil blend. This is shit we use to make our kids smart as fuck, so they can rule the world one day and kick the crap out of fascists with their words and brains. This can also be filed under “Shit I never would have thought would be in my fridge in a million fucking years”.
A bottle of bitters. I drink beer, wine and whisky or bourbon. I have no idea why it is there, and no idea where it came from. I’m actually gonna throw it out right now, thanks for making me notice.