Published May 02, 2011Beloved Canadian rock'n'roll icons Sloan are celebrating two full decades of music making with the release of The Double Cross, their tenth studio album. Having performed together for so long, the quartet of Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson and Andrew Scott have had their share of ups and downs, a fact that is highlighted well in our newly published Timeline piece on the band.
Check out the full Sloan Timeline right here online, or pick up a copy of Exclaim!'s print edition to study it properly and take notes. But for a quick fix, check out five interesting facts we learned from the article below.
Of course, Sloan's The Double Cross will be released on May 10 via Outside Music in Canada and Yep Roc in the United States. The full album will be available to stream here on Exclaim.ca starting tomorrow (May 3).
Five Facts from Sloan's Timeline:
1. Most of the band members got their start in punk and hardcore bands
Murphy is inspired after seeing a punk rock band from Halifax West High School, Jellyfishbabies, release their own album in 1985. He plays guitar in a few punk bands culminating with a hardcore quartet named Spent. The quartet travel to Washington, DC to meet Fugazi/Minor Threat leader Ian MacKaye. MacKaye's straight-edge and community ideals are highly influential to Murphy, which will become clearer in the following decade. Ferguson plays in the Deluxe Boys with Matt Murphy [later of the Super Friendz/Flashing Lights], Pentland plays in a hardcore band, the Ripping Convulsions. Both this band and his post-high school band, Happy Co., feature future Thrush Hermit drummer and best friend Cliff Gibb.
2. Sloan didn't self-release their first EP on Murderecords for feigned indie cred
Scott noted in 1992 in the band's first biography, "We don't want people to think that we penned a deal with DGC and then immediately released an indie EP to try and gain some obligatory punk rock street cred before a major label release. We always wanted to put out our own record and we simply kept a promise to ourselves. We hope to keep Murder going with local bands as a new thing to Halifax: a record label." The band will continue on that mandate between 1992 and 1998, releasing full-length albums, EPs and seven-inches for Eric's Trip, Al Tuck, Stinkin' Rich (later known as Buck 65), Hip Club Groove, Thrush Hermit, Hardship Post, jale, the Inbreds, the Super Friendz, the Local Rabbits, the Vees and Zumpano.
3. The band's classic 1996 album One Chord to Another was recorded in fragments on a shoestring budget
Over Christmas, the band record One Chord To Another with Laurence Currie at his Idea of East studio in Halifax. Scott -- still considered a wildcard whom the band fear they will have to replace -- flies in from Toronto and completes his drum tracks for the record in a single afternoon on a four-track recorder. The boxy drum sound will become a defining part of the album's retro palette. He has yet to complete his contributions for the record, and returns to Toronto... One Chord to Another, an album recorded with an approximate $10,000 budget and relatively low expectations, arguably becomes their greatest success.
4. Their music was pulled from Vancouver's CFOX radio station following a run-in with a mascot
Pentland details most of the key events of the tour in an online journal, including an unfortunate CFOX festival gig in Vancouver that culminates in a disaster that ends up having their album pulled from the station's play list. When the CFOX fox mascot dances around the stage during Sloan's performance, "Chris Murphy pushed [the mascot] out the back door and the whole entire place roared with cheers," soundman Brenndan Maguire noted in a 1997 interview. "He meant it in fun. It's unfortunate that the fox fell down the stairs. Of course the Fox interpreted that as evil."
5. After 20 years, Chris Murphy keeps a humble perspective about the band
Murphy remarked in a 2010 interview, "I think we are still making great records, but I suppose the Stones [think that] too, and they're wrong, so maybe I'm wrong. There are a lot of newer music acts in this country that are doing well internationally in a way that our band and our peers were not able to do. There are a million factors including the possibility that we have always been terrible, but don't believe it. In the meantime we just keep chugging along. I am happy that the band affords us the ability to pay the bills while also creating a large body of quality work. I couldn't ask for more really."