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Jale Breakup/Chris Murphy interview
The fact that Jale are breaking up?
Doesn't induce a lot of happiness.
The fact that Allison McLeod left the band way back when?
As well, not cause for celebration.
The fact that Sebastial Lippa, a man with an amazing voice both as
singer and -- more importantly -- songwriter isn't performing on a national
level/recording with a band/etc. ?
The end of the Enclave leaving Sloan partially adrift in regards to
promotion and support in the Dread America?
Cheerless as well.
Maybe it's over. Maybe it never actualy happened outside of a dream
some people had and then forgot.
As a side note, I'd rather read well-founded and thoughtful posts
about good bands anywhere --Ontario, Vancouver, Zanzibar -- than the sort
of stuff that could be carried by two tin cans and an adequate length of
And, On another note, this was doen in Early March for an American
thing that didn't use it. Glimpse into the mind of Murphy or irrelevant and
dated? You make the call.
SLOAN: ONE THING TO ANOTHER
The first rule of riding is that when you get thrown off the horse,
you get the hell back on it. Canadian super-pop band Sloan released two
albums, Smeared and the stellar Twice Removed that, after their release in
America on Geffen, can now be found in either the great delete-bin in the
sky or clasped tight in the hands of people who won't part with them for
love or money. Meanwhile, in Canada, the band turned their own Murderecords
from a vanity imprint to a real indie label and then, quietly,
sortakindamaybe broke up for a while and left Geffen. After a little time
away, Andrew Scott (drums, vocals) Patrick Pentland (guitar, vocals), Jay
Ferguson (guitar, vocals) and Chris Murphy (bass, vocals) decided that they
still wanted to be a band and got back on the horse to record One Chord To
Another for Murderecords, released in Canada in the summer of 1996. Now,
they're working with another American label, The Enclave, and are getting
namechecks from CMJ to The New York Times for the 'new' album, to be
released in the USA on March 11. Chris Murphy, bruised, wary, but still
riding high, spoke from the band's base in Halifax.
LOOKING FOR THE NEXT BEST THING
Are you looking forward to the American release of One Chord To Another?
Chris Murphy: Yes . It's been out since the summer in Canada, so ... I
don't want to say that I'm tired of it. [Emphatic] Yes, I'm very psyched
... We're a little bit optimistic, I guess; our record company, The
Enclave, is very gung-ho about it, but again, we've been through this
situation before, with American expectations. I'm not getting my hopes up,
This record, though, is getting raves everywhere: 7/10 in Details, 3.5
stars from Rolling Stone, favorable mentions in Option--- do you look at
this stuff and go 'Hmm ... Maybe this time it'll happen ?'
CM: Not really ... It would be nice. I'm really trying to keep a poker
face just to my own heart, I don't want to be sad if it doesn't work
because, not to play small time, but we have a career, we have a fan base,
it doesn't matter that it's Canada ... We can run our band based on that.
'Blowin' up real big' would be exciting and all, and we'd be more prepared
for it emotionally, and professionally, than if it had happened the first
time. Our first record had 3.5 stars in Rolling Stone, too.
But now it's a trend, not a flash in the pan.
CM: Perhaps, but we did delve into complete obscurity from semi-obscurity,
and basically our band broke up, too ... but we're stronger than ever now,
and I kind of like the fact that some people know about us in the States,
and if you do know about us in the States, you probably didn't have us
shoved down your throat ... in the States you had to hunt the record(s)
down ... Now I kind of feel a little more deserving of success if it
happens, whereas when the first record came out I would have just been
FOUR WRITERS, FOUR SINGERS, FOUR FRIENDS
Reference checks in reviews for One Chord To Another are all "The Beatles,
blahblahblah.' Does the Beatles thing make you happy, or sick?
Chris Murphy: I saw a band that I really hate -- they had made their third
record -- and they said, 'This is kind of our Rubber Soul, but really since
it's only our third record, it's really our Hard Day's Night ... and they
suck ... I'm a little Beatled out, as I think we all are.
Does being a four-person, four-songwriter band lead to tensions above and
beyond last year's semi-breakup (Note: actually, in 1995) semi-breakup ?
CM: No, I think last year's semi-breakup, [laughs] whatever ...
Wasn't 'Last Year's Semi-breakup' Elvis Costello's second record?
CM: That's right ... The biggest thing that contributed to that was that
Andrew (Scott) moved away to Toronto, which to you American folks is
another city here. We're in Halifax, it's a 24 hour drive ... I don't know
how many miles it is versus kilometers, but when we started over again in
'95, Andrew was already in Toronto. The fact that Andrew lives in Toronto
is not allowed to be a point anymore. It does create a bit of tension, and
sometimes it's a democracy to a fault, but hopefully the decisions we come
to that are unanimous don't have to become too homogenized or too bland.
Usually the person who writes the song is the boss of their song, and they
have the say and at some point we have mutual trust. The four person thing
... we had a lot of resistance to it at first from Geffen; they were like,
'How are we supposed to market you? How are we supposed to tell a story
about you?' I think it's easier to tell a story about us now because not a
lot of bands do it . It's hard to get that story going. It's only now that
we're three records in, or fifty songs in, that Jay has a style, I have a
style, Patrick has a style, Andrew has a style.
DAD AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT
What's your timeline like? The albums out on March 11th, you're playing
South by Southwest ...
Chris Murphy: That's the same week, that's like the 13th of March or
something ...I'm not exactly sure of the day ... We're playing Varsity
Arena in Toronto ...
... With (Murderecords labelmates) The Superfriendz.
CM: You knew that ?
I'm still on Sloannet.
CM: You are? [Laughs. At me.] Did you hear that I spit on somebody? (At a
show.) Not very cool of me. My dad's on Sloannet, so that did not go over
What was the spit-receiver doing ?
CM: Two fingers, two middle fingers in the air, and screaming
'Underwhelmed!!' [The first single from Smeared] and calling me a f******g
a*****e all night, screaming 'Underwhelmed!!' all night and I asked him to
stop, and I was playing a song, and I was basically dazed out and I
couldn't even concentrate, I was just looking at this guy, he was right in
my face and then I just gave him a little horck, and I said 'Let's leave.'
And your dad said ...
CM: He said, 'I won't tell your mom, but I'm very disappointed.'
So telling him about the crack habit is really going to break his spirits?
CM: We haven't gotten into that, although I would say that if anything gets
me it's going to be the girls.
Once dad finds out about the girls, you're in trouble ?
CM: That's my big deterrent from doing anything.
If dad finds out.
CM: I've called him before and I've said, 'In Kingston I met some people
... ' Basically, I met a girl -- ' ... And we went out after to some bar
... ' and he's like 'Yeah, I know.' Oh my God ...
He's watching you everywhere, it's sort of an Oedipal nightmare.
CM: It's terrible. [Laughs] That's right, I think I hear a headline.