Volume 93, Issue 75

Friday, February 11, 2000


Weekend pass

Sloan between bridges of Canada and the world

Fletcher Munsen taking care of business


Let's talk about sex, baby


Sloan between bridges of Canada and the world

By Sara Martel
Gazette Staff

We Canadians have an odd relationship with our musicians, which often results in one of two typical, if not dysfunctional, scenarios.

With the American industry lurking around every corner, the first camp will hold onto any Canadian act with the proud tenacity of a child holding onto his toys. In the second scenario, we virtually turn a blind eye to these performers until they validate themselves with millions of marketing dollars and constant American rotation.

Although the Halifax-based band Sloan doesn't exactly fall into either of these camps, it certainly isn't due to a lack of attention or desire to cage them behind Canadiana. Instead, from the outset, the quartet simply never showed much interest in whether the public coddled or ignored them.

"I don't know, I think there are different ways to do things and I find in Canada there are different issues about how you're supposed to present yourself or how you're supposed to make it in the Canadian music industry," explains guitarist Patrick Pentland. "We've never been that interested in making it in the Canadian music industry as much as just making it overall."

Sloan has certainly fallen off the beaten publicity path as far as winning Canadian hearts with their last album, Between the Bridges, for which they are just now touring in Canada after stints in Australia, Japan and the United States.

Many have interpreted this move as a snub to Canadian print media, but Pentland assures this wasn't the case. The band had their sights set on international touring dates for awhile, but their schedule wouldn't allow their visit to coincide with the release of Navy Blues. Then, an album made up of songs they had left over (Between the Bridges) provided the perfect opportunity to go overseas.

"We kind of expected all of this because we sort of put this record out too early in Canada. We couldn't release the album in Australia, Japan and America but not release in Canada, so we just had to sacrifice Canada a little bit this time so you can get [to] these other places we've been working so hard on."

The boys are now back and ready to bring Between the Bridges to the masses – and it shouldn't be a hard sell. No matter what their bio or music reps insist, this is not a concept record.

"Part of it is, when you're putting out a record you kind of need an angle to have something to talk about in interviews and that was the idea – It will be a concept record and people will ask us about that," Pentland expounds. "But since it wasn't my idea that it was a concept record I can't even remember what the concept is supposed to be about. We all moved away [from Halifax], but three of us lived in Toronto when we made Navy Blues so, I don't know, it's not a concept record."

However, the album is a relentless effort which offers a few poppy singles buried among otherwise solid, yet difficult numbers. The effort features something new for the band – shared songwriting.

"I really felt when we were doing this record it was cleaning out the closet, not getting rid of bad songs, but we just had so many songs," Pentland comments. "If you look at One Chord to Another, Navy Blues and this record I think they all have a similar sound so we weren't sure if we wanted to continue making the same record over and over again, but we definitely knew we had some strong songs left over, so we stuck those on," he continues. "Everybody had at least three songs that were good and we've always wanted it to be that way in the past – it's just not everyone had enough songs."

Some may see the equal effort as a sign of greater commitment to the band. Pentland admits the members are more settled now, but doesn't put any guarantees on collective longevity.

"I think everybody at one point, myself included, just felt like, 'Well I can walk away from this and just keep going. I'll be fine.' Now this is something we've spent years working on. I would be interested to know if everybody in the band feels strongly about the future. I know we'll do another record for sure, but I don't know if everybody would say they're in for another five records.

"We're not going to make the next record in six months or anything. We're going to finish touring and then take some time to make it. We're excited about that and I just look at it as one record at a time."

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