Let's talk about the Canadian protogrunge band Slow

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In a thread on Fark.com about great riffs, someone linked to a video from a band called Slow.

I have found that clip and another from this band I never heard of, and link them here:


Never heard Slow before but they combine a lot of things I look for in music. They seem to be ahead of the curve, which I like (I dig musical archaeology). Some people online said they predated grunge, which I guess is right in that they were from the Pacific Northwest and flew the flannel, but I also hear a lot of what would come out of the Touch And Go label in a few years. I dig how they have attitude and riffs in abundance. I also appreciate the lore that the band's performance actually got an event at Vancouver's Expo 86 World Fair cancelled, got the band detained and then they broke up! How much more punk rock can you get?

Of course, I don't know any of this for real, just from interweb legends.

Anyone recall Slow in real time? I didn't see a lot of mentions using a search - a few ILMers put their one released EP "Against The Glass" on some Best Canadian Album lists and the like. But no real insight to the band. I would welcome some.

Also, I would welsome picking up said EP if anyone has it. And can someone reissue it, maybe?

NYCNative, Saturday, 15 January 2011 00:10 (seven years ago) Permalink

you can find the mp3s here, for the EP and another real good single: http://modelcitizenzerodiscipline.blogspot.com/2008/08/slow.html.

I did find the EP in Arizona years ago for 5 bucks (gloat, gloat, gloat), but getting a copy in Canada would set you back 50-100, as far as I know.

amazing band. Never saw them live (being an eastern Canadian, although I heard they did an eastern Canadian tour, blew up borrowed amps, caused trouble everywhere). I did see their followup band, Copyright (aka Circle C). They played Ottawa sometime back in the early 90s. They had one good , I grew to like a lot, available here: http://modelcitizenzerodiscipline.blogspot.com/2009/12/this-ones-for-patrick-fiset.html, a pretty great single ("Honey"), and a few tracks on subsequent records worth tracking down. I like about half of the record called "The Hidden World". But, yeah, their name is maybe even harder to search for than "Slow".

There's a book on Canadian indie/underground/whatever called "Have Not Been the Same", which has some sections on them. Some background info in the links above, too (not my site, by the way).

Hope this helps you.

pauls00, Saturday, 15 January 2011 01:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

great band.

kate78, Saturday, 15 January 2011 01:06 (seven years ago) Permalink

just came across an interview with the singer, here: http://www.punkglobe.com/thomasanselmiinterview0110.html

pauls00, Saturday, 15 January 2011 01:08 (seven years ago) Permalink

I enjoyed that interview, so cynical and funny and anti-corporate. Don't think tongue was in cheek too many times. Smart guy who's seen some things, done some things. Don't think he has any regrets. Man, now I really want to find that EP.

Also will start checking out the post-Slow stuff, thanks!!

NYCNative, Saturday, 15 January 2011 20:44 (seven years ago) Permalink

I had forgotten about the goodness of the Slow Christmas single in the link, above. It's wonderful that someone saved that old flexidisk and digitalized it. "Santa Claus is Back in Town" sung by the slightly scary Elvis, barely keeping it in check.

Re-listened to the first Circle C/Copyright album last night, 'cause of this thread. When I first got it, some 20 years ago, I was disappointed at how non-Slow it was, and I almost re-sold it after first listen. Over the long haul, though, I've listened to it way more than the Slow e.p., and maybe even more than any other album I have, to be honest. It's a grower, I guess. I'm not sure what to compare it to. Maybe the later period Grifters? Maybe not, it's probably a little more, I dunno, mainstream rock in some ways? Maybe comparable to some of Nick Cave's stuff? Maybe comparisons are no help here. A variety of instruments, beyond electrical guitars and drums (there's mandolins, rock and roll piano, a kora) applied to a lot of songs about death, as it turns out (death in a car on a bridge in vancouver, in a hospital, near a resort in mexico, in lake tahoe, etc). Some are loud and fast, some are slow and quiet, some stop and start a bit. And most of all, the singer seems absolutely there, committed in all of them, even when the words are unclear. The words to the songs don't seem to be broken into verses and choruses at all, just pouring out in short blurting anecdotes. After probably a hundred listens, the band seems impossibly tight and right, as well.

And, in re-listening to the Slow e.p. itself, it really doesn't sound that grunge at all. But, thinking about when it was released, no wonder it was unusual, and no wonder people (ok, not many people) make big claims for it's impact on others. It wasn't hardcore, it sure wasn't straight edge. It wasn't metal, and it wasn't any kind of thing hip people in 1986 could latch on to. It's just a big, very ugly rock record, put out when it seemed like no one else was doing that. Maybe the Nils, all the way over on the other side of Canada, had similar moments. Maybe some other people did elsewhere in the world, too.

And, yeah, that interview was terrific to read! Found a muchmusic interview with the band on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olF44RzHRR0, as well.

pauls00, Monday, 17 January 2011 20:47 (seven years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Saw them a lot back in the day. Never missed a show by them or Nomeansno. Slow were not a Grunge band, but they were a ProtoGrunge band. They had the whole "fuck, whatever" attitude down, and a non-ironic love for good Rock music. They were music fans. They were also pretty young and reckless when they started out. Not old enough to be in the bars they were playing.
The thing about the studio tracks is... they are nothing compared with one of their live shows, which veered from the sublime to the ridiculous. No doubt in your readings you came across mention of them inciting a riot at Expo 86. As far as a musical experience that evening, they were horrible... but for performance art... they blew the place up. Their shows always had a level of hysteria and chaos that was very exciting.
Sadly, I've never seen any live video footage, but here's a live cut of them performing a Nazareth cover as the final song of their final show... a show, BTW, with Green River... who soon after split up and formed Mudhoney and Pearl Jam. The Green River boys were pretty crazy ProtoGrungers too... but believe me, they took notes.


PS The post Slow career for for most of the band members has been spotty, at best. Anselmi and one of the guitarist went on to form Copyright... give that a miss (although, if you can find the demo under the name of ©, grab that). The rhythm section went on to for a full on Grunge band called Tankhog that weren't too bad, but short lived. The second guitarist joined a band called the Scramblers, who were intermittently good

A. Pearson, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 03:07 (seven years ago) Permalink

love slow. they went to my high school!

symsymsym, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 03:12 (seven years ago) Permalink

just cued up the youtube for have not been the same for while washing dishes. immediately had to go back and crank the shit cuz the opening riff & tone were so filthy. uh, shame about the vocalist. band sounds equally great on the midtempo blues verses and on the speedy punked-up chorus. but that fucking riff!

rejecting the idea that anyone might have been "proto-grunge" in 86, though. that year saw the sub pop 100 comp, and the word was entering use in seattle through pavitt's rocket weekly column, iirc. maybe more to the point: C/Z records' hugely influential deep six comp early that year w/ green river, melvins, soundgarden, skin yard, u-men and malfunkshun. also green river's dry as a bone EP (on the heels of their homestead debut from 85). collectively, this stuff represents the recorded genesis point of "the seattle sound." many of these bands had been playing shows since 84 or earlier, though. see also 64 spiders, the thrown ups, bundle of hiss... 1st couple halo of flies 45s on amrep likewise = 86.

ALL THAT SAID, i do wonder whether the fuck you punk energy that came to characterize grunge in 86-88 was in part a product of slow. green river in '85 certainly sounded a hell of a lot less slow-like than they did in '87/88. the bands on the deep six comp generally tend to a dirgey, psychedelic, 70s metal-influenced version of grunge, anticipating the likes of alice in chains.

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 04:12 (seven years ago) Permalink

I like the singer though... He has charisma at what is obviously a very young age and, unlike many loud underground bands since, actually projects it past the noise. He seems to have a very '80s singing style which clashes with the music's giant riffs, but it's better on 'Against The Glass.'

Maybe Slow ain't decades early like The Monks, but they were definitely loud and interesting early in an area where things may have been loud, but it would be a tiny bit before things got interesting.

Others have said that the band reminds them even more of what Touch And Go would be doing a few years later more than Sub Pop and I tend to agree. I can hear a line between Slow and, say, Didgits, though I have no idea if they or any of that crop heard the band at all.

The EP is hard to track down, sadly... It sold on eBay a couple months ago for $20 which I would have paid but no listings anywhere else that I can find.

NYCNative, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 04:52 (seven years ago) Permalink

I actually reviewed their album (EP?) when it came out--the one with "Have Not Been the Same." Gave it a very good review at the time (primarily the one song, probably), but I'd be surprised if I liked it as much today.

clemenza, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 04:57 (seven years ago) Permalink

I just checked, and I still have my (mint) copy. Make me an offer!

clemenza, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 05:00 (seven years ago) Permalink

(Trade-wise, I mean, not money. Click on my handle and e-mail me.)

clemenza, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 05:01 (seven years ago) Permalink

I can hear a line between Slow and, say, Didgits, though I have no idea if they or any of that crop heard the band at all.

dunno about the T&G crowd in general, didjits definitely. they were always outliers on that label tho. love & miss you, mr. sims.

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 05:02 (seven years ago) Permalink

cuing up hornet piñata & pouring one out

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 05:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

I sent you an email Clemenza... Thanks!

NYCNative, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 05:10 (seven years ago) Permalink

I responded, but I did this before, and I think you have to include your actual e-mail address; I don't think a response to the ILX-mediated e-mail gets through.

clemenza, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 05:18 (seven years ago) Permalink

Email me at e7jey4a02 @ sneakemail.com.
Yes, it's a real address! :) Thanks!

NYCNative, Wednesday, 2 February 2011 15:54 (seven years ago) Permalink

Also, I emailed the store/label that put out the EP and here is the exchange:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Brian O'Neill"
To: Zulu Records
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2011 8:08 AM
Subject: Slow - Against The Glass EP

> Greetings!
> Any plans on reissuing this EP on CD, maybe with the band's single?
> A new generation of fans needs to hear this. I only recently found
> out about Slow and I would gladly pay for a CD of the stuff instead of
> the MP3s I found online.
> Brian O'Neill
> Upper Darby, PA

-----Original Message-----
From: Zulu Records
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 3:48 PM
To: Brian O'Neill
Subject: Re: Slow - Against The Glass EP

We and Mint Records have worked on it with the band for a few years...
and constantly the band decides that they don't want the project to go


NYCNative, Wednesday, 2 February 2011 15:57 (seven years ago) Permalink

Never had the chance to see the band in any of its permutations, but I did hear two Tankhog stories from friends - one of which involved the lead singer jumping onto the bar in a near-empty venue and smashing glasses while continuing to perform, and another involving refusing to let the band sleep overnight at his house because at least one of them had a tendency to piss himself while sleeping.

You can find one of the Slow songs in digital format if you can find the Zulu compilation Last Call, which has a lot of other really fantastic music on it too, so definitely worth seeking out either way.

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 2 February 2011 17:46 (seven years ago) Permalink

Also forgot... immediately after slow, Hamm and Terry (bass and drums) we part of shortlived, lumbering, theatrical Metal outfit called Ögre, who were pretty fucking great...


A. Pearson, Thursday, 3 February 2011 17:45 (seven years ago) Permalink

NYC -- this record is still yours if you want it, but I need an address...

clemenza, Friday, 4 February 2011 01:50 (seven years ago) Permalink

I just replied again, Phil...

NYCNative, Friday, 4 February 2011 13:03 (seven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Clemenza is a God who not only sent me the EP but refused a penny more than postage and handling costs upon the threat of not cashing the check.

Public notariety and thanks to this guy who is just awesome, as awesome as the wonderful slab of vinyl I can now crank whenever I want (and will).

NYCNative, Sunday, 6 March 2011 11:38 (seven years ago) Permalink

Thanks--glad it wasn't damaged in transit.

Lucy Liu, are you paying attention? I'm a god.

clemenza, Sunday, 6 March 2011 18:42 (seven years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

incredible but seems to be true...reissue planned for October 2017, CD & record formats, including their single: https://slow.bandcamp.com/releases

Also, many photos and more info: https://www.facebook.com/SlowComingSoon/

pauls00, Tuesday, 5 September 2017 20:10 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I am so excited to get this on CD!!!!!!

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Friday, 27 October 2017 14:08 (one year ago) Permalink

and...recording new songs? playing some shows? https://www.straight.com/music/989691/inevitable-fall-and-unlikely-rise-slow

pauls00, Tuesday, 7 November 2017 16:51 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

video evidence, here and elsewhere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qetDuex-WU8
Plus sloppy Shangri-las and Stooges covers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z7XSttA1n4

pauls00, Thursday, 7 December 2017 19:25 (one year ago) Permalink

i forgot to go to the shows doh

-_- (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 7 December 2017 19:36 (one year ago) Permalink

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