Saturday, August 16, 2008


Ex-Slow Members In Copyright (The Band): Christian Thorvaldson & Tom Anselmi

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. 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.



jeffen said...

You did the Slow post.

(I still might slap up the e.p. when I post the next set of Og-related stuff but I'll link to you.)

P.S. Did you like HNBTS book? I found the writing atrocious and the focus to indie-rock and Toronto-centric (Toronto, the city of the Maples Leafs and not the band which was Canada's entry into the crappy-AOR-bands-named-after cities-or-states racket.)

Son of Spam said...

Hi Jeffen:

Yeah, you reminded me that I should get this thing up and running, LOL! Thanks!

Actually, I DID enjoy the book. I don't remember the writing much but I certainly found the information intriguing. I found myself so engrossed in it because I wanted to find out more about these bands. It wasn't uncommon for me to read up to 16 pages a night.

Yeah, there were parts that were VERY indie-centric, but then again: it made me want to go out and find the music. That's how I populated my previous site with so much of it.

jeffen said...

As a teacher, I use the Introduction to show how weak music writing with a wonky thesis ("Canadian music changed in 1985 and then just stopped changing")can be.

I suppose I did read almost all of it (I skimmed all the Change of Heart stuff - they simply were not that important)plus of course the title was a fitting reference.

Perhaps since I witnessed so much of that era that I'm bitter at what they missed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that.Slow's Against the Glass is one of 5 cassettes I've hung onto. I was hoping it would be released onto CD one day. Finally! I'm able to listen to it on my computer & mp3 player... I saw Slow open for the Cramps when I was 14. I had never heard of them till that point. I was blown away and went out and bought the album the next day.

Anonymous said...

I was part of a group of high school students who ran a Student rights group. we had SLOW play a fundraiser for us at Langara CC in 85 . Still rememeber TOm running up and down the aisles of the auditorium. Havoc and pure raw energy one of the best live shows I have ever seen.

Patrick Fiset said...


Can you please share the Circle C (Copyright) album?


quentin said...

I missed the Expo 86 show cause I slept in and missed my ride to the big city... still mad about that!

The copyright logo actually stood for Cockring... but the label wasn't too thrilled.

brianjames said...

thanks for this,one my my favorite bands of all time,i still have it on vinyl(and no turntable,d'oh)so again big thanks for making this avaiable.
was late getting to the expo show,and all i saw were hamm's genitals,lol.hamm and ziggy formed tankhog,after the band split.cheers m8

mboadway said...

Thanks for this. I had looked for mp3s of Against the Glass and had given up years ago. I just started looking again and 30 minutes in, I found your site.

I've been listening only to the Vancouver Indy compilation version of Have Not Been the Same on my mp3 player for a long time. I forgot how good Bad Man and Against the Glass are.

S.S. said...

Tom Anselmi is (unless it's the OTHER one) part of a group of entrepreneurs who have renovated an old hotel/bar here in East Vancouver. Fans of Tiki/cocktail/exotica/lounge-type stuff would know The Waldorf as it is one of the (sadly) few places that can boast genuine artifacts from that era (Leeteg artworks collected by the original owner). It was a rundown place before-nothing wrong with it-but NOW the Tiki Lounge is a thing of beauty and the art is being treated with a lot of love and respect. Kudos to Anselmi for the Waldorf, JEERS to him for blocking the re-release of the SLOW recordings. Come on, it's been 20+ years, lighten up.

Eveready said...

Oh my...A Slow Blog! awesome. I never saw them but saw all the off spring except Circle C. Got to Know Terry and Hamm when TankHog played in Calgary often. Many nights were very blurry but the shows always awesome!

The links you have above to Megaupload are broken as it is a dead site. Any chance you could re-up to Mediafire etc?

Cheers and thanks for this

Anonymous said...

Any chance you can rehost these? The links are dead and I would love to download the Slow stuff! Thanks!

Son of Spam said...

Hi There,

Yeah, sorry I don't know what happened to a lot of my links.

I'll repost them as soon as I get a chance.

Don't worry...I haven't forgotten about'cha!