HEARD! #8 BILL CORBET

I started Food Punk to create a space to celebrate food and music. Where else could I herald the magic of both Ramps and Pusha T? Cooking, like music, is an art. Both can be visceral, sensory experiences that transport, inspire and even define us. I’ve often found that those who play with knives are also into ‘deep cuts’ of another nature. It is in this spirit that I bring you this series: HEARD! highlighting the music enthusiasts behind the line, the bar, the pass and the pen.

Bill Corbett

Bill Corbett, makes dessert for a living at San Francisco’s Absinthe, his job is to leave you with a lasting impression. “I’m a pastry chef, we are the relief pitchers of the food world”.

What was the first live music performance you attended?

The first live show I ever went to was The Cult.  It was all over from that point, I instantly saw the power of live music. It was New Year’s Eve at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The entire arena went dark and a spotlight came on and in it Billy Duffy started playing the beginning of She Sells Sanctuary then the drums kicked in and the entire place lit up.

After that I wanted to see every show I could get to.  I would skip school to wait in line for tickets to Lollapalooza, Ministry, Guns N Roses/Metallica, etc. Then I started going to shows at the larger clubs and discovering bands just as they were blowing up like Rage Against the Machine, Quicksand, Tool and The Flaming Lips. From there the shows kept getting smaller and smaller as I delved deeper into punk/hardcore and indie music. We were putting on and attending shows in community halls, living rooms, cafes, the basements of Chinese restaurants, record stores etc. The theory was “Keep it small, keep it loud”.

What was the most recent?

The last show I attended was Kylesa and Blood Ceremony at Slim’s on May 25. That was a crazy week here in the Bay Area, I went to three shows but I probably could have gone to nine or ten.

What album/artist changed etc your life?

Hands down Fugazi is the band that had the most influence on me. In on the Kill Taker and Repeater changed my life. It was the summer of 1993, I had just finished high school and I was mostly into “alternative” music at the time, pretty much everyone on the Lollapalooza tour. A friend of mine gave me a tape with Repeater on one side and In on the Kill Taker on the other.

We went to see them play at RPM Warehouse in Toronto on September 9, 1993. The opening acts were Mudfish and Shudder to Think and the show was $6(CDN). They didn’t have merchandise for sale, the show was all ages, there was no light show. These guys weren’t out to make huge profits, they were just there to share their music. It blew my mind and they were a force to be reckoned with live.

That show led me down the path of trying to find out more about underground punk and the DIY movement in general. The more I learned the more I fell in love with the ideas, the people and especially the music of that broad scene. They were recording their own music, starting their own record labels, printing their own shirts and posters, booking their own tours through a network of people and connections built on a lot of trust. It made me realize how much power we as individuals actually have and how much we can accomplish if you just put in effort and invest yourself in a community.  That world they introduced me to is still and always will be a huge part of my life.

Do you have a musical equivalent to a guilty pleasure?

There is definitely a lot of 80’s rock that I love that I probably shouldn’t, but I don’t feel guilty about it.
Here’s a short list:

Scorpions- No One Like You
Twisted Sister-Burn In Hell
Motley Crue-Shout at the Devil
Quiet Riot-Metal Health(Bang Your Head)

What album (or band’s music) is your go to for when you wanna smash stuff and life is sticking it to you?

This list could go on forever, so I’ll try to keep it to a few. Disfear’s Live the Storm is a compete rager. 

Another incredibly heavy album is His Hero Is Gone’s Monuments to Thieves. It’s one of my favorite heavy albums of all time. If I just want to listen to screaming hardcore there’s the 19 minute noise fest that is Orchid’s Chaos Is Me.

What album is your go to for fist-pumping-this-is-the-best-
ever-happiness times?

AC/DC’s Powerage is one of my favorite records of all time. Bon Scott had such swagger, you don’t see front men/women like that so much anymore. Also, Hot Snakes’ Automatic Midnight. The combination of John Reis and Rick Froberg is always amazing, from Pitchfork to Drive Like Jehu to Hot Snakes they can do no wrong together. Speaking of John Reis, I also am a complete fanatic for Rocket From the Crypt, and their album Group Sounds never fails to make me happy.

What is on your turntable at home right now? Or the last album you listened to on computer MP3 etc?

The last album I was listening to was the Torches to Rome LP that came out on Ebullition Records. I also just got a hold of Red Hare’s Nites of Midnight that just came out on Dischord records.

Music is powerful, it brings people together, it can unite and connect them. I listen to a lot of music, I definitely lean towards faster and heavier but I listen to music from almost every genre. Music has helped to shape me as a person and that flows into the food I make, the decisions on where I get ingredients from and where the money I have control over goes and who it supports. From an artistic perspective I’m trying to constantly find balance between ingredients and flavors. How loud are certain ingredients and how subtle should others be? Which are there for support and which are there for the solo? We’re always talking about flavor notes. Food and music bring people together, and that’s probably the greatest reason I’m so passionate about both of these things.

How do you listen to music?

I mostly listen at work from my ipod or through LastFM, torturing my cooks. I’m also  usually wearing headphones and listening to music on my commute from home to work, although lately it’s mostly listening to my own band while I try to write lyrics. In the kitchen, depending on my mood, a lot of catchy rock, punk and metal. Metallica, Slayer, Hot Snakes, Rocket From the Crypt, The Bronx(first album), Doomriders, Old Man Gloom, Russian Circles, Torche.
Sometimes it’s hip hop or doom or new wave.


“I love discovering the roots of a genre of music. I love the lineage of things, whether it’s food or music.”

Being able to trace back a recipe for instance, is amazing to me. It’s a dream project of mine to trace back a lot of the recipes that I use today. I use a brioche taught to me by Sam Mason who was taught by Jean-Louis Palladin, and that’s pretty insane to me. It makes me feel like I have a duty to do great things with that recipe.
That kind of thing always blows me away. The same applies to music.  Who came before The Sonics? That’s what I want to know. Who was the musician playing dirty, gritty rock and roll faster than they should have been? That’s punk, that’s where it all comes from, and I want to know about it.

Do you have any desert Island jams?

AC/DC- Powerage
Fugazi-Argument
MC5-Kick Out the Jams


Shotmaker-Crayon Club
Union of Uranus-Double 7”
Drive Like Jehu-Hand Over Fist 7”
Rocket From the Crypt-Group Sounds
Hot Snakes-Automatic Midnight


Slayer-Reign in Blood
Metallica-Ride the Lightning
Doomriders-Darkness Comes Alive
Unwound-Repetition

I could go on and on……

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