By Johnny Papan and Heath Fenton
VANCOUVER – Slow is one of the most infamous punk groups to come out of Vancouver. Despite only having a short two year stint from 1985 through 1987, the band’s record Against the Glass is considered a staple in Canadian music. After a long three decades from performing together, Slow has reunited for a homecoming show and anticipated new album. Vocalist Thomas Anselmi spoke about the band’s return and future.
“We got offered quite a lot of money to tour,” Anselmi explains about why the band got back together. “At first I was viewing this as a cash grab. I have a kid so there’s more at stake than my fine artistic sensibilities. Then when we started playing together that all changed. We actually took a step back and decided not to do a big tour right away because the music was sounding so good and the writing was going so well. It’s like Pretty Woman. At first it was for the money but now it’s for the love.”
Slow’s career is no stranger to controversy. When their megahit “Have Not Been the Same” started garnering the band some traction in the mid-80s, they were invited to play the Expo 86 World’s Fair. Happening in 1986, this was only the second time Canada would host a World’s Fair, the first taking place in Montreal in 1967. Expo 86 drew criticism from locals when the city was forced to evict over a thousand low-income residents from their homes in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. When organizers approached the hot-new local group Slow to perform at the event, the band found it as a great opportunity to do something… ballsy.
“A lot of bands were not playing out of protest. We decided that was a mistake especially since there was a grand at stake. We’ve always been a band that reacts to where we’re playing and what the atmosphere is. Even aside from the mass evictions etc., that Expo represented something ugly, something that was in opposition to our values. So we decided to fuck it up.”
During their most controversial performance, Anselmi stripped his clothes, only performing in his boxers, occasionally “poking out” beneath the elastic waist of his garment throughout the set. At the end of the performance, guitarist Stephen Hamm dropped his shorts to his knees, flashing his family jewels to the unexpecting audience while raising his arms triumphantly. Expo 86 shut the power and cancelled the night’s festivities. This led to audience havoc, resulting in chants of “Expo sucks!” outside of the BCTV onsite studio. Despite having a week left, Expo 86 cancelled the remainder of the event entirely. Slow was detained for indecent exposure and was later released. After a plethora of negative press received after the event, the band soon disbanded in 1987.
Anselmi confirms that Slow is now working on new material and will be recording in mid-December. The band plans to stay true to the Slow sound.
“Great bands are an alchemy of the various members and how they interact. So we’re just playing and it sounds like Slow. It’s not hard to keep out the influence of modern rock because none of us listen to it. We are just looking to take some chances, change some minds, break some hearts and fuck some people up.”
Slow plays a mammoth triple nighter at the Fox Cabaret with two night shows on December 1 and 2 and an all-ages early show on December 3.Fox Cabaret, slow, The Skinny