As guys go, they don’t get much more casual than Chris Murphy of Sloan.
Mr. Murphy was very generous and accommodating with The Music Express as we prodded him for a few answers as to the W5 of his role in Sloan.
Murphy finds it a bit awkward and embarrassing that his band should be so often compared to the Rolling Stones, but it’s easy to see why they might be. Commercial success aside, the rawness, temper and style of Sloan’s early work brings the British rockers to mind pretty quick. With 23 years together and no end in sight, it makes one consider that they might end up being compared for their longevity too.
When asked how it is after so many years, they aren’t trying to kill each other, Murphy replies: “We decided at the very beginning we would split everything four equal ways, no matter who writes what. Patrick (Pentland) may have generated more actual income” (with his songs) he says, “but others of us work more on promotion and the business side of things. So, it all comes out in the wash.” The arrangement started off as an experiment but “I think it‘s the only way to stay together” says Murphy. This “experiment” of the 4 way split extends as far as the concept for their latest project, a double LP on which each member takes a side of their own. “It’s with as much pride as I can muster that I say we’re the only band that can do that. Hopefully we’ll be finishing it soon” says Murphy (casting a sidelong glance with raised eyebrow toward his fellow members).
I’m a fan of songs I’m a fan of records but really I’m a fan of bands” says Murphy. “I love the interaction and the familial thing. To me the most important thing is the chemistry. That’s probably the thing that we are really selling at this point.”
It’s fairly well known that Murphy is a pretty huge KISS fan. “I bought the latest book on the story of early KISS and read it 10 times. They are the archetypal example of chemistry and were founded in democracy. When something comes along to disrupt that chemistry (In the case of KISS, drugs and greed) the fans no longer want to know about them.”
It doesn’t phase Murphy that at the time of this interview, they are playing some smaller venues (in this case The Bragg Creek Center for the performing arts in Bragg Creek Alberta). “The smaller crowds are often great” he says. It doesn’t really matter to him where that crowd is or if they’ve even heard of Sloan as long as they’re having fun.
Right alongside great song writing, production and performance, the solid foundation of democracy that the members of Sloan have built for themselves is a chief factor in their success. “We love to do what we do and get to stay alive and pay our mortgages” says Murphy. It’s obvious he’s grateful for the privilege. So it would seem are the rest of Sloan. They make a decent living in the Canadian music industry and that’s no mean feat. It’s just good business.
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