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.
Travis Milton is chef at Comfort restaurant here in Richmond, VA. When I first met him, he was wearing a Misfits T- shirt and had enough pimento cheese to feed 300 people.
What was the first live music performance you attended?
This actually took more thought than I had planned, I thought for the longest time it was Huey Lewis and The News. Last week I was looking through some pictures from my childhood and realized it was actually Ray Stevens at the Appalachian Fair in Gray TN.
What was the Most Recent?
I don’t get to go to as many shows as I used to, it really makes me feel old. I went to see Alkaline Trio at the National. I’ve known the guys in the band for a while now, I used to cook for them as well as some other punk bands when they’d come through VA. It was a good show, it took me back to my 20’s, and afterwards the bass player and I sat outside the bus and discussed how old we all felt these days.
What Album/Artist/ changed your life?
This one is tough, I feel like there has been one of these for every step of life evolution. I listened to alot of country when I was young, growing up in Appalachia there’s music everywhere. You could walk down old dirt roads and hear old timers picking banjos and playing guitar on their porches. Bluegrass and old country will always be close to my heart, but the band that really flipped my lid was Thin Lizzy.
Phil Lynott is like a saint to me, his lyrics are so “heart on his sleeve”. Black Rose in particular blows my mind, songs like “Got to Give it up” and ” My Sarah” are so beautiful and honest lyrically. Gary Moore just kills it on guitar, the last song Roisin Dubh is amazing. Its got this amazing Irish, kinda bluegrassy riff with dueling leads that is mindblowingly good. They are so under-rated in the world of rock and I really do feel rock music lost an absolute great when Phil past in 86.
Do you have a musical equivalent to a guilty pleasure?
Guilty Pleasure: Ask anyone that has ever worked for me, and they will all tell you .38 special. I just can’t help myself, you can often see me playing air guitar on the cooks line or serenading the bartenders when “Caught up in You” comes on in the restaurant. I feel like I shouldn’t like them, but sweet goodness the redneck in me just comes through and I can’t help but love the hell out of it.
What album is your go to for when you want to smash stuff or life is s ticking it to you?
Reign in Blood by Slayer, if I ever mention I’ve been listening to it, its been a bad day in the kitchen……….
What album is your go to for fist-pumping happiness this is the best happy times?
The first question I ask a prospective hire is what kind of music do you listen to. Obviously this has no bearing on whether I hire them or not, but you can tell a lot about someone by their answer. I hate when someone tells me ” I listen to everything”, I call Bullshit!! It is a cop-out answer, I listen to many different genres but I could never answer that question that way. I kinda bear the torch of being one of the few true lovers of hair metal. It never really mattered much to me until I left my restaurant. I had put everything I had into it, time, money, emotion, strength, absolutely everything. I was a shell of a person, I thought my dream was over and I had nothing left in the tank. This is gonna sound corny as hell but, I started listening to Hair Bands. Everything in the world of 80’s Metal is Awesome. Its all about getting drunk, getting laid, partying and just being awesome.
My musical taste obviously does not end with Hair bands, I love early 80’s punk: Misfits and anything Keith Morris, Alt country or whatever you’d call it, is special to me: The Drive By Truckers and The Bottle Rockets are staple of my day. I sing constantly on the line.
Music really is necessary to every aspect of my life, I once halted opening brunch one Sunday by 5 minutes because I hadn’t had a chance to hear “Sunday Mourning Coming Down” as done by Johnny Cash.
Desert Island Jam?
Probably a tie between Static Age by the Misfits ( If Hybrid Moments was the only song I could listen to the rest of my life I’d be a happy camper) and the Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast (to me it’s the most perfect album start to finish ever)