10,000 vinyl records, a barbed wire bat and a photo of a pissed off looking Iggy Pop
Drakeification. Ask Torontonians – it’s a real thing. A native of the city, Damian Abraham remembers a time when Canada’s main cultural exports were Bryan Adams and Avril Lavigne. These days, the city has caught up with the modern world’s other metropolises. “We have all the cool sneaker stores now,” says Abraham proudly. Of course, the repercussion of the likes of Drizzy bringing in the tourist dollar is that it’s growing, changing and gentrifying.
Fucked Up’s frontman, who has spent almost two decades slicing his head open with a blade and generally orchestrating chaos, grew up heading to punk shows in downtown Toronto. These days he lives just north of the centre. It’s not suburbia. “Up the street from me we have a methadone clinic,” he says, “a lot of people in the Canadian cannabis community live in this neighbourhood and there’s actually two great record stores.”
That’s where he lives with his wife Lauren, their three children, a dog and a cat. But the family home is also a shrine to self-confessed nerd-dom. There’s an eye-popping amount of collectables here, from an estimated 10,000 vinyl records (including an entire section dedicated to Polish punk) to figurines still in their boxes. TV, film, music, art and, Damian’s great passion, wrestling – there’s memorabilia from all corners of pop culture. “In most normal, sane family homes this would be a dining room, but it’s our library,” he begins. “My number one passion is the intersectionality of all these cultural things. There’s a common thread that runs through everything I find cool.”
Black Flag signed vinyl (image above, top left)
This was signed by Henry Rollins when we played MTV years ago, very early on in Fucked Up’s career. I now recognise that I was a bit of a punisher. Do you know what I mean by that term, ‘punisher’? It describes a person who will come up to you and they’re a fan of the band but they want to prove it to you by punishing you with facts about yourself and your own band. I have a touch of punisher in me. When I first met Henry Rollins years ago, I was very excited to punish him. So at MTV, we didn’t get to talk to him all day and then finally just before we were about to go on he came into our dressing room and was introduced to us by the producer. I’d brought a bunch of Black Flag records in punisher fashion to get signed. I just started hitting him with weird, obscure things I’d always wanted to know about. He was into it. Very receptive. It was something that was going pretty good. Then we had to go and play live on air. That show was a train-wreck of epic proportions. I was trashing the set, bleeding from the forehead. There’s blood everywhere. I think we did $8K worth of blood damage they said. Anyway, Henry Rollins was nowhere to be seen after I got off stage… I’ve bumped into him a few times since and I always get the vibe that he’s weirded out by me. I really fucked myself in my Henry Rollins friendship with my performance that day.