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
During my very short time as an electrician’s apprentice, I became known as C.C. Voltage, and it’s served me well for many years. I’ve been involved in a number of musical projects spanning from Vancouver to London to Berlin. I also dabble in artist management and do publicity for artists via Nice Marmot PR. I’m currently part of the new wave/power pop trio known as Autogramm, and our new album No Rules was just released via Los Angeles’ Nevado records. You can find the gorgeous colour-vinyl LP in all the local record stores.
Although there was a time I foolishly lied and told people my first concert was Van Halen, the truth is it was the band “A-ha” at Expo ’86. I was a pre-teen super fan, and I was able to go alone with my friend from next door, because he was a little older. We were super excited, and there were kids our age everywhere you looked. The singer came on stage doing a handstand on a skateboard, which to us was even more spectacular because we had just started skateboarding ourselves. I’m sure the kids from the city would have been listening to Black Flag and doing backside bonelesses at China Creek, but we were from the ‘burbs and to us these guys were gods. I remember losing my mind when I thought the singer pointed directly at me. I finally saw Van Halen in 2007 when David Lee Roth rejoined the band. It was awesome, but even though as a kid I didn’t like Michael Anthony, he sure would have been better than Wolfgang.
A few years later, probably 1989, I was much more invested in the skateboarding and punk music scene and D.R.I. was one of my favorite bands. One of our older pals drove us in from Abbotsford to Vancouver to see them play at the New York Theatre. It was on their Crossover album tour. I guess that album started getting them a more macho crowd, and all sorts of scary skins and death metal dudes from Surrey were there. I remember them shoving innocent people around outside the club saying, “See you in the pit!”. I didn’t go anywhere near the pit, but that was my first real punk show, and I was mesmerized by the energy of the band and the absolute chaos of the crowd. I joined a punk band called Thumbscrew after that!
Top three records
This changes from week to week, but in high rotation right now:
Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat I remember as a kid being in a hotel room and wanting to watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High with my parents. They told me I wasn’t old enough, but I saw enough of the film to hear “We Got the Beat” and that became the forbidden fruit that informed a lot of my musical taste. I love that era of music, where punk and pop collided with synthesizers in the early 80’s. No one touches the Go-Go’s though, and I’ll have a crush on Belinda Carlisle for eternity.
More Kicks More Kicks I came across London (UK) songwriter James Sullivan via my old bandmate Rich Jones. He’s been called the Paul McCartney of punk by some. This album is his latest project, and I can’t get enough of it. It’s got all the heartfelt lyrics you want in a pop album and all the Ramones licks you need in a punk album. Plus, his British accent cuts through just enough to make it awesomely endearing. Doesn’t hurt that he’s also got this released on some of the coolest international labels like Beluga, Snap, Dirt Cult, Wanda, and Adrenalin Fix.
The Professionals I Didn’t See It Coming This is the album released by the Sex Pistols’ Paul Cook and Steve Jones after they broke up and spent some time blowing record label advances in Brazil. I remember trying to find this album everywhere, and finally tracked one down in Stockholm, Sweden. The good old days before you could just click around the internet for 10 minutes and have it shipped. More importantly however, the Professionals spent a chunk of time filming the movie Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains in Vancouver. Apparently, many of the OG punks in Vancouver spent time hanging out with them and members of the Clash during this time.
L.A. Drugz "Outside Place" I love this band! The video is based on the 80’s punk flick Repo Man (Harry Dean Stanton, Emilio Estevez). All the best scenes from the movie are hilariously remade and they shot all over Los Angeles in places like the L.A. River, Boyle Heights, Downtown, and Griffith Park. Another brilliant part to this song is that allegedly the singer, Justin Maurer, wrote the song to his dog with the chorus line of “Let me take you to the outside place, let me take you to the human race.” You’ll also see cameos from members of bands like Images, The Reflectors, Maniac, Suspect Parts, Cute Lepers and Clorox Girls.
What’s in your fridge
Sauerkraut. Living in Berlin for the best part of a decade does something to you I guess. This is now a staple in the house, and the more mouth-puckering the better. If possible, I always go Russian, and with as little English writing on the label as possible. The Russian supermarkets in East Berlin would have sauerkraut aisles like we have chip aisles or baking goods aisles here. Make soup with it, throw it on your salad, wash your hair with it—there’s nothing you can’t do with it!
Homemade Pickles. Well, this isn’t too far off from the sauerkraut, but you have to understand the family history. The British grandparents and the Mennonite grandparents would battle over the supremacy of their respective pickle recipes. The Mennonite recipe would can the cukes hot and use chile peppers. The British recipe canned cold and used cloves. I can’t choose one side over the other with a clear conscience, so I’ve asked my parents to help me make both recipes for a few years now. Thanks guys! One of these days I hope to pass both recipes down. I have a clear winner for my personal taste, but that’ll have to be a secret I take to the grave.
Haloumi. A staple in our fridge. Cut this delicious cheese up in thick slices and chuck it on the grill. Another throwback to life in Berlin. Perfect Einweggrill (one-use grills) food for eating with your pals at impromptu BBQ meetups in Görlitzer Park. Grab a Jever, some Gauloises, catch the M10 to Görli and dance with the Kreuzbergers in the centre of the bomb crater. Haloumi always reminds me of the outdoors and good times with pals.