Answered by Jay and Chris.
Jay: It was the nickname of a guy named Jason Larson who plays in a band called The Stratejackets. We knew him from back in the days of Kearney Lake Rd. His picture is on the cover of our Peppermint EP. He lived in Montreal for quite a while and he worked in a warehouse. His boss always called him "slow one", but with the French accent it turned into "Sloan", and all of his friends used to call him "slow one" which just sounded like Sloan. And that’s how we became Sloan.
Chris: Jay and I met though Matt Murphy and Henri Sangalang.
Jay: Who are both in The Flashing Lights.
Chris: We were in university, and it would have been in 1987.
Jay: Matt Murphy played in a band that I was in, and he also played in a band that Chris was in. Then Matt went to McGill University, so our bands broke up. Then Henri and I talked about playing together, and we got in touch with Chris. So with Henri, we formed the "proto-Sloan" band Kearney Lake Rd.
We sort of knew Patrick from his other band Happy Co. But I think Chris knew Patrick as well because Chris used to rent out a space in Halifax for a month at a time. He’d have these gigs there every weekend. I think Patrick’s other band The Convulsions played there. Chris met Andrew at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. And then Patrick met Andrew at our first practice. *laughs* I sort of knew Andrew a little bit. When Kearney Lake Rd. broke up, Chris, Andrew, and a fellow named John Goodrich played in a band together. So Chris had already been playing with Andrew a bit. Andrew went to Toronto for a period of time, and when he came back to Halifax, the three of us started playing together. Patrick came soon after that.
Jay: No. It’s an ongoing fight between myself and Chris in terms of what gets released and what doesn’t.
Chris: I don’t want that stuff released. Not until Sloan sells a million records.
Jay: There’s some good tracks. We were listening to them the other day, and I hadn’t heard them in years. But there were definitely some goosebumps of the bad kind, while we were listening to them. I would say that the official answer is never, but maybe in a long time. After we’re dead.
Chris: Patrick still maintains that we never broke up... There are a couple of different levels that you can get into on this question. One is that Andrew, having moved to Toronto, was becoming a scapegoat for a lot of our problems. But we really didn’t want to replace him, which was the situation we may have been facing. Instead of doing that, we decided that we would just not do anything. I always say that the idea of changing members would destroy the band.
With the record company, it was just cleaner and easier for us to end after two records because if we made another record with Geffen, it meant that we were supposed to be in for two more records. It was just a good time to do it and we had all had our fill with Geffen. We felt like we didn’t have a lot of control of things and we didn’t feel optimistic anymore.
Jay: It was frustrating touring for Twice Removed and making a record that the label didn’t care about. It’s kind of frustrating living your life under a boss that doesn’t even care what you do.
Chris: There wasn’t really a fight among us. Tensions were sometimes high within the band, but for the most part we were united in our disappointment with the Geffen situation. We weren’t fighting. We were also heavily involved in Murderecords that year, so we still saw a lot of each other after the band had broken up. We decided that the best thing that Murderecords needed was a Sloan record to give it a boost. It was just a gradual process of "are we gonna be a band?", "are we gonna make a record?", and "are we gonna tour this record?". I would say that it’s still a gradual process. Andrew doesn’t realize that we are a band yet.
Geffen was also good enough to let us out of our contract, but when we got the band back together, we went to Geffen first so that it didn’t look like a publicity stunt or a smoke screen to get out of our contract. They were initially interested. Our A&R person at Geffen was always interested in us. It was just the company itself that had other priorities.
Jay: I guess we’ll go individually because I think the only one that we would all agree on is The Rolling Stones...
For me, I would say The Smiths, The Beach Boys, The Who, The Jam, and The Beatles I guess. I almost never want to say The Beatles because it seems so obvious.
Andrew really likes a lot of garage music - 60’s garage music. He loves The Kinks, The Who, Velvet Underground, and Can. I think he likes George Jones and that kind of older country music.
Chris: He was also big into hip hop, and big into metal when he was a kid. Seeing and meeting Van Halen was huge for him. He had an older sister who got him into a lot of music. He was really into a lot of weird New York no-wave stuff.
Jay: As for Patrick, I think he grew up really liking a lot of hard rock, but also liking The Cure and Bauhaus. But I think his mainstay has been AC/DC and Rush.
Chris: His dad played in bands in Ireland... He likes Ozzy Osborne and Black Sabbath.
I was into KISS first and Cheap Trick... Then I got into Queen and Rush. It wasn’t until grade 10 that I really got into punk. It was American Hardcore- Minor Threat, Blackflag, Bad Brains, The Descendants. Then the next thing that really blew my mind was listening to Jay’s radio show and hearing My Bloody Valentine. After I heard them, I really wanted to get back into a band with Jay. I think that’s it, isn’t it?
Jay: Did you say The Beatles?
Chris: Oh yeah, The Beatles. And John Lennon died somewhere in the middle.
Chris: My current favourite is Rod Stewart... Nah, I don’t know... I like bands over solo artists. I like careers. I like Zeppelin and Velvet Underground - somebody that has a set of five to ten records.
Something current that we would all agree on is rap - stuff like Dr. Dre. But still, I find that each artist doesn’t necessarily have a lot to offer, so I usually end up liking the odd single by somebody I don’t even know. From "The Boy Is Mine" to "Ruff Riders Anthem". I don’t like anything in the way that I did growing up. I don’t appreciate music in the same way anymore. There aren’t a lot of bands that I follow and love.
Chris: [goes into unnecessary graphic detail]
Jay: ...Did you hear what Chris said?! Oh my God! *laughs*
Jay: I would. The first time around with Geffen, we hadn't done any groundwork in the US on our own. So we had no plans of our own to go to them with. I mean, they’re obviously going to have a plan, but we could've gone to them with our own ideas of how we'd like to tour, or where we'd do well. The second time around with The Enclave almost felt like starting the band up again, so we still didn’t have much firm footing.
Now that we've been to the States a bunch of times on our own, we’ve played enough shows that we’re a bit clearer on where we do well. We know how to run things now and we know how long we’d like to tour. If we went to another major label, at least we have a bit of a history or a bit of a template of how to do things. If they came to us with an idea, we could turn it down because we’ve done it and it didn’t work before. Or, we could accept it if we’ve had a history of success in that area. Now we have an idea of how to do things and that’s why I’m less scared of signing with someone now.
Chris: On the other hand, we are very happy about the fact that we own and run everything. It is taxing and it is expensive, and sometimes you just want to allow someone to come in and shower you with money. With a lot of people from record companies, their job is to just make you feel better and pat you on the back, and I kinda don’t like that. I don’t like ordering at a restaurant. I don’t like being served, and I don’t like that kind of pampering; it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t mind being an independently-run band, and going into a club that was a converted 7-11 in Birmingham, Alabama, and playing to no one. I don’t mind because it’s on our own, but when we’re on a major label and playing to what we do now, it doesn’t mean anything...
Every victory is that much sweeter when we do it on our own. I like work incentive. I like the idea that we’re gonna do something because it’s gonna benefit us in the long run, as opposed to selling yourself short to someone who stands to make more money than you do on your own record. When you’re independent, you want to do as much as possible - or I do. I like working. There’s definitely pro’s and con’s.
Jay: The frustrating thing is that when we do it on our own, we’re not gonna get any radio airplay. So I almost feel that there’s a cap on what kind of success we can achieve. In terms of personal success, I think that it is still rewarding going to The States, but I think we make really good records and it’s frustrating that we can’t get them on the radio in the US. Maybe it’s just not our time to have records on the radio now, because of the state of radio today. That’s one thing that I think a major label can afford - a campaign to get your records on the radio. It’s really expensive and we could never run a campaign like that ourselves. That’s the frustrating thing. But everything else about doing it on our own is perfect and rewarding.
Chris: I moved to Toronto mostly for the girls. I had gone out with every girl in Halifax... *laughs* I think about moving back there all the time, but mostly because of the cheaper housing. It’s easier to buy a house there, because the real estate market isn’t as ridiculous. I quite like Nova Scotia, but right now it makes more sense for me to be here.
Jay: Same here. I have looked at houses in Halifax, so eventually I may move back.
Chris: We could live anywhere because we don’t have to punch in anywhere site specific. We could all live in Jamaica if we wanted to.
Chris: Send me CDs so that I can replace all of my cracked jewel cases.
Jay: My little bit of advice that I always say is learn how to do as much as possible on your own before you let someone else do it for you. That’s in terms of setting up gigs, recording, and making your own CDs.
Chris: Start young enough so that you have lots of time to have fun and play for free. See other bands, and have them see you, and be part of a "community". Don't consider making money at it, because it's hard and you need luck. But if you want to "make it", do something so interesting that people will come to you. People will want to discover you if you're good.
FAQ interview conducted on Aug 17/00.
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