Enduring rockers Sloan elect to make St. Albert visit
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 06:00 am
Friday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $38. Call 780-459-1542 or purchase online at www.ticketmaster.ca
It’s difficult to effectively juggle artistic integrity and commercial popularity. So when rock/power pop band Sloan released Hardcore 7, a series of caustic punk songs, fans were left scratching their heads.
“Chris (Murphy) and Patrick (Pentland) are big fans of punk. It was something they did when they were younger. The music was an homage to it and it reflected another side of us. It’s always been something that creeps into our work here and there,” said rhythm guitarist Jay Ferguson. The fourth player is Andrew Scott.
Now in preparation for a three-city tour of Alberta, Sloan parks its gear at the Arden Theatre on Friday, Sept. 27.
After 22 years of music making, the band’s songs are laced with taut melodies and sumptuous lyrics. Few Canadian bands with a national presence and the original lineup survive this kind of longevity.
But after two decades they are still on the industry forefront with 13 LPs (one is a double), two EPs, a live album, a “Best of” collection and more than 30 singles.
Originally from Halifax, the band released their Peppermint EP in 1992, a guitar-heavy art rock sound similar to Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine.
“It was called grunge. It was the term du jour like Nirvana or Pearl Jam. We were basically a pop band with loud guitars like the British pop bands,” Ferguson notes.
Impressed with their fresh approach, Geffen Records signed Sloan and released their first full-length album Smeared. By 1994, Twice Removed was recorded but Geffen refused to promote it citing artistic differences.
“We expected them to promote it since our first record did well,” Ferguson explains. “We had a team of people working on our first album but halfway through the team broke up. A second team came along and it was not something they developed and it fell through the cracks.”
Despite being forgotten by Geffen, they opted to tour in the United States, but came home feeling tired and discouraged. They took a hiatus after the long hard slog of touring and rumours ran rampant that the foursome was breaking up.
Fortunately Sloan owned its own label, Murderecords, and decided to produce one last album. Their 1996 One Chord to Another was their biggest hit. Vindication was sweet when one year later Sloan won a Juno for Best Alternative Album.
Almost two decades later the four-piece still continues to crank out the tight harmonies. The next album will total 20 songs. Each of the four singer-songwriters is contributing five songs.
“It will be like four mini solo albums and it will fit like a double LP,” Ferguson said.
Throughout their career, each member has always contributed a minimum of two songs for each record.
“We’re a four-way democracy and everybody gets to do what they want. We’re about the only true democracy in North America,” laughs Ferguson.
Many imitators have copied the band, but they are true originals that have written some of the best songs in the Canadian catalogue.
Mo Kenney, an Arden favourite, returns to open with her witty, intimate compositions and soul-stirring power.