“I think you have to listen to your hairline,” is Andrew Scott”s take on knowing when it”s time to bow out of the business of rock. And he should know, since his Canadian band Sloan have been at it for over ten years, hairlines intact. “I feel better about the band now than I ever have,” Scott says confidently. Far from ready to retire, the band finds itself with a new record, a new tour, and new father among its ranks.
Poised to become the first Sloan dad, Scott claims that he”s, “beyond the freakout stage.” He now occupies a more reflective mental realm from which he has been able to sort out the band”s place in his life, “the band isn”t the be all and end all to me. It”s not the most important thing.” The band has always meant different things to its four members, never more apparent than during their temporary break up in the mid-“90s. Sloan, trying to crack the enigma that is American popular success, signed to Geffen Records and found themselves struggling to reconcile their dreams with their reality. “Along the way, that dream it maybe shattered in certain ways by just the way the world works,” admits Scott, “it”s not all fuckin” just like the Beatles books you read when you were a kid.”
The difference, of course, is that when Beatles broke up they went on to make solo records that can mostly be rated on a scale of bad to worse, while Sloan actually reformed and made one of the best albums of the “90s, the perfectly poppy One Chord to Another. Scott says, “Somehow we managed to bounce back and re-evaluate our whole existence and our whole outlook on what we might want to get out of playing in a band.” Since then, the band”s music has continued to grow to the point where their latest, Pretty Together, sounds stadium-ready.
Sloan”s new musical direction has left some fans wondering from whence all the Thin Lizzy-style guitars and reverb-drenched vocals are coming. “Maybe it”ll all make sense when we play,” Scott hopes, “I still stand behind what we do. I still stand behind the records we make. I don”t think we”re getting worse.” But that doesn”t mean that the band is getting any closer emotionally.
“We”re not like best friends,” Scott says, “We don”t all live in the same house like the Monkees or anything like that. We”ve been together in a band for ten years and we just kinda know ” What they know is the value of having lives outside of the band, and that those outside pursuits are actually helping to prolong Sloan”s existence. Scott loves the band, but he also loves his girlfriend of 11 years, with whom he will soon have a child. And he has a passion for painting “if this band ends, I”m painting pictures,” Scott remarks. But don”t count on drummer Scott to follow Ringo”s path and make solo records, “I”m certainly not gonna rule something like that out, but I don”t really see myself playing in another band after the demise of this band,” Scott says, “I”ll still make music I love music but I like this band and all its fucked-up-edness.”
So, don”t expect Sloan to break up again anytime soon but be wary of them taking their tour advice from those Beatles books. “I”d prefer to just make records and never go on tour,” admits Scott. If you don”t catch Sloan”s concert in Detroit tonight, your next chance to see them live might be on a rooftop in London and if you”ve read those Beatles books, you know that when that show happens, the end is near.