At the risk of turning this blog into what my previous one started to become ("All Canadian Punk Hits All Time!!!") I'm still going to provide you with some of the lesser-known lights of Canuck Punk Rock.
And then there's Slow.
I must admit, when they were in their heyday (!) I had neither heard them, nor heard of them ('cause I was into mid-80s Hard Rock and Q107 Classic Shlock -- okay...I still like that stuff).
Anyway, my first reference to Slow came when I was doing internet research on the Canadian Punk Rock scene for a possible documentary. I stumbled upon an online version of one of Chart Magazine's Greatest Canadian Something Or The Other lists for 1996. Slow's I Broke The Circle EP was listed as 17th best Canadian album of all time, in a reader poll. The single "Have Not Been The Same" was named 10th greatest song.
"Slow?" I thought; "What an awful name for a group. Nonetheless, I couldn't help but be intrigued by the descriptor given along the entry for "Have Not Been The Same" (it's offline now, so I can no longer refer to it). Still, I found the song when I purchased a copy of the great Last Call compilation.
So not having ever seen the band live or ever met members of the group, I have to rely on my own journalistic research skills to suss out some form of condensed biography here. As such, if my sources lead me astray, I apologize. Any corrections/additions to the story can be left in the Comments section. Okay...here goes:
Semi-legendary and utterly destructive, Slow's claim to dubious fame took place at Expo '86 in Vancouver, British Columbia (more on that later). The group consisted of vocalist Tom Anselmi, guitarists Ziggy Sigmund and Christian Thorvaldson, bassist Stephen Hamm and drummer Terry Russell.
Hamm and Russell reportedly had been in a punk band called Chuck & The Fucks. They are said to have played an elementary school concert (reportedly, at Queen Mary Elementary), where many of the teachers forced the children to leave. Of course, that leads one to wonder why an elementary school would book a band called "Chuck & The Fucks", but hey...
Anyway, apparently the rest of the band were previously in an outfit called Sisu (correct me if I'm wrong about this). The two factions got together and formed Slow, which produced the single, "I Broke The Circle", b/w "Black Is Black" in 1985, which you can download by clicking on the image below.
Slow:I Broke The Circle7" (1985):
1. I Broke The Circle
2. Black Is Black
Later that year, they would release a Zulu Records-commissioned Christmas single. It's pretty catchy. You'd rather listen to this than any other X-Mas muzak shit you hear ad nauseum.
Slow: Xmas Single (1985):
Santa Claus Is Back In Town
In 1986, they would release their magnum opus, the legendary Against The Glass; a 6-song EP.
This is the recording they would tour the Pacific Northwest with. It should be noted that the band did this during the mid-to-late-80’s:
They toured Seattle wearing lumberjack shirts and played grungey, 70’s-influenced hard rock infused with punk. S0und familiar? Yes, these guys were the original inspiration for the Seattle Grunge movement of the early 90’s. I once read a story, where Art Bergmann of the K-Tels/Young Canadians (?) was once approached by an American record guy about checking out a new group called Mudhoney. The guy was so excited about this great, brand new music and wanted to know what Bergmann thought about them. Bergmann dismissed the band as poseurs. “So what? We’ve got a group in Vancouver named Slow who are the real thing.” (Or something to that effect, I’m not actually quoting — just typing from memory).
If you should be deserted on a desert island and had to choose just one record to take with you, it probably should be this one.
Click on the image below and understand why.
Slow: Against The Glass EP (1986):
1. Have Not Been The Same
2. Against The Glass
3. Bad Man
4. In Deep
5. Looking For Something Clean
6. Out Of The Cold
Of course, Slow are most famous for a controversial incident which both marred the Expo 86 festivities and effectively ended the band's career. On the opening night of the Festival of Independent Recording Artists, several people who were not attending the concert wandered into the pavilion, witnessed the band's outrageous live show, and rushed out to complain to Expo management. The officials turned off the power, ending the band's set. Hamm expressed his displeasure by mooning the audience, and Anselmi quickly followed suit, also exposing himself frontally.
The band were subsequently detained by the Vancouver police, who considered charging them with indecent exposure. Expo officials initially cancelled the evening's concert, citing security concerns.
Some of the fans in attendance got onstage and refused to leave the venue, others began to riot, and yet another group stormed BCTV's onsite studios, where they protested the concert's cancellation so loudly and persistently that the station had to pull its 11:00 p.m. newscast.
The following day, Expo announced the cancellation of the whole concert festival.
The band subsequently split up. Anselmi and Thorvaldson formed the band © (also known as "Circle-C" and later, Copyright), while Hamm and Russell launched Tankhog.
BTW: This Tom Anselmi is not the same man who was (is) involved with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.
In effect: the two Tom Anselmies Have Not Been The Same.
In 2000, three music journalists usurped the title of Slow's most infamous song (rather aptly) for their tome on the Canadian underground scene between 1978-1986.
Do yourself a favour: go get a copy.
BTW 2: Slow's first single was titled, "I Broke The Circle".
Members of the band later formed "Circle-C".
The Letter "C" is a broken circle.