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The Slackers Interview

After their mellow show at the Metro in Chicago, I was able to interview David Hillyard and the rest of The Slackers. Check out what he had to say.(3-18-01)

The Slackers Interview

Question: How did you all meet?

David: Marcus and Vic used to play in punk bands together a long time ago. Vic and I played in a punk band called Sick and Mad. Vic and our old drummer played in a ska band called The Rabies. We all broke up with our other bands and we became the Slackers. We were a trio for six months and then we added TJ and Q-Max and a couple of years later old dave wandered down the street, saxaphone in hand, beer in the other. After six months of regular beatings, we finally got the hang of it. Then the beatings stoped.

Question: What are some of the bands that you like to tour with?

David: The One Man Band, we usually don't tour with other bands, because bad things happen to them. Like a band from England called Pain, and they were a really cool band. There were a couple of gigs where they waxed us. They are that good. That is what I like in an opening band. I want them to play a great show that inspires us to want to do better. Like right now there are a bunch of good bands on the west coast, a couple from New York and Boston, but we usually don't tour with them. Westbound Train out of Boston I thought was pretty good. Secondhand was good. A lot of good new traditional and rock-steady bands coming out.

Question: Where do you like to tour?

David: New Orleans, Holland, Italy. The Slackers are all about food, we like to eat. If you ask us where, you could also look for regional cuisine. Like, lets see, New Orleans has good food, The Slackers like to play there. Southwest has excellent Mexican food.

Question: How do you put together an album?

David: Vic is the main songwritter, but I write some stuff. What usually happens, is that the songs are worked out, then they are flushed out by the band. The songwritter brings in the general lyrics and the band flushes it out, or mutilates it depending on your point of view.

Question: What do you think of the new album compared to older ones?

David: I think this is my favorite by a long shot. It represents the maturity in the band as musicians. I am a big fan of the new album. I am also a big fan of the fact that we released a vinyl compliment to the CD and that makes it an opus. Practically two hours of music. The Slackers have also developed their own language. And "Minko Finko" is one of the expressions we use. Guido says it in Star Wars. When he is at the bar and Han Solo is about to shoot him. We had just though that was the most articulate thing we had ever seen.I mean, "Minko Finko", my god! It practically summarizes everything.

Question: How did you get the idea for the cover of the new album?

David: The album is actualy the stoop outside the rehearsal studio. On 3rd Street in Manhattan. That's our stoop. The girl on the cover is Q-Max's daughter. She's reading, you know, shes wasting her day reading comic books.

Question: How do you think your music has changed since you started as a band?

David: Way back in the day, in the early 90's, we were pretty heavily two-toned, two guitar's, two basses. We developed a more traditional sound and constant brawling - I like to think of it as mautring, we have become substantially better players. It takes maturity to know that you don't have to make every statement all the time. When I joined the band, the fact that today the band is mainley the same people. In a lot of other ska bands, it is kind of a revolving door. So that new people come in, but you never really have an identity. On a lot of old bands, they were all the same people, so you see the band change over the course of time and how they develope. I think that's one of the strengths, that we've stayed intact. You can hear it in the records, the people evolving and growing. I think that is one of the cool parts of playing in the Slackers.

Question: Where did you get the name "The Slackers"?

David: The story I heard, is that one time when the band was practicing at some rehearsal studio, someone had written, "Lewis is a Slacker" on the wall. At the time, the guys were going around and changing their name for every gig.It was like "The Anti-success story. It always began with "S". We were The Silencers, The Stilettos, and then we were the Slackers. That was our plan, at each gig, we would change our name. But we liked the Slackers. It seemed so appropriate. It really defines the band.

Buddy from Less Than Jake