Halifax natives Sloan return to Metro Moncton this coming weekend, their first performance in the Hub City since Sept. 2011.
Their show Sunday night in McSweeney Co. Dinner Theatre’s space, located above the Tide & Boar Gastropub at 700 Main St., is a celebration of the group’s 1994 record Twice Removed.
In a trend that is becoming more common among bands with a deep catalogue of music, Sloan will be performing Twice Removed from front to back in its entirety on Sunday night. A second set of music will then be dedicated to songs taken from the group’s other nine studio records.
As an album, Twice Removed isn’t Sloan’s best-selling album. It has however attained an almost mythical status over the past 19 years, especially here in Canada. The record was crowned “Best Canadian Album” by Chart Magazine readers in 1996 and again in 2005 while also securing the Number 14 position in Bob Mersereau’s The Top 100 Canadian Albums book.
Twice Removed also earned the distinction of being one of Spin Magazine’s “Best Albums That You Didn’t Hear This Year” at the end of 1994.
And though the record is generally regarded as one of the group’s finest, it could be argued that the Twice Removed time period in Sloan’s career was one of the most turbulent periods in their history.
While the record sold well in their native Canada, their American record label at the time, DGC, refused to throw much promotion muscle into the record. The lack of promotion was largely attributed to the label’s dissatisfaction with band’s change in musical direction in comparison to their guitar-heavy debut Smeared. Not surprisingly, with the lack of promotion give to the record, Sloan’s association with DGC was dissolved after Twice Removed failed to make an impact on the lucrative American market.
“It was a strange time because in some ways, the odds were really against that record,” Sloan guitarist-vocalist Jay Ferguson begins. “It sold well in Canada but not in the United States and so the record earned a kind of underdog status over the years; it was different than what was happening in the mainstream at the time. It didn’t sound anything like Smashing Pumpkins but was still in that realm of music that people who were fans of Smashing Pumpkins could get into it. I think there are a lot of different reasons why people like the record. In many ways, it was the lynch pin for people getting into the band via that record.”
Music is perhaps one of the most simultaneously personal and public experiences that any individual can live through. Specific albums end up really resonating with certain individuals, holding certain significance for any number of reasons. Ferguson says that performing Twice Removed in its entirety is even bringing back old fans.
“We’ve been hearing from a lot of fans that tell us they haven’t seen us live in 10 years or more. They are the people that might have seen us in their early 20s but they got a job, have a family but they tell us that they couldn’t miss this specific show. It is the kind of tour that has brought out a lot of fans. Hopefully they are enticed to come out to future shows as well.”
Last year, Sloan released a Deluxe Edition of Twice Removed exclusively via their website at sloanmusic.com. Available in digital and physical formats, the band printed a total of 1,000 Twice Removed box sets, comprised of three full-length albums of unreleased material in addition to a 32-page book and other items.
Ferguson says that the reception afforded to the box set was encouraging. In fact, only a limited number of the box sets remain so if you have been on the fence about getting yourself a physical copy of the set, you had best act soon.
“Since the Twice Removed reissue campaign went so well, we are certainly open to undertaking a similar endeavor down the road with other albums. There was a lot of material left behind when it came to Twice Removed so it made sense to start there in terms of offering a deluxe re-release. There isn’t quite as much material left over from (1996 album) One Chord To Another but there is definitely some songs that could comprise a similar reissue to what we did with Twice Removed.”
With the group’s newest studio effort The Double Cross now almost two years old, Ferguson says that the group is indeed hoping to get working on a new studio record before long. Acknowledging that recording will most likely start once the group’s shows in the Maritimes have wrapped up, Ferguson says the group’s newest songs are in various stages of completion.
While each member of Sloan — all songwriters — have typically claimed a bit of space on every one of their studio albums, Jay shares that the next Sloan record might be unlike anything that the group has undertaken in the past.
“We are talking about making the next record a double album that will actually be akin to four mini-albums. Each of us would have our own ‘record’ under the umbrella of a Sloan album. It is an idea we have talked about throughout the years. We’ll see what happens.”
Article published in the February 15, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript