The Slacks: They are and you aren’t
by Andrew Nickerson
The Slacks, Bellingham’s garage-punk blues duo in the form of Leather Pants on drums/vocals and Andru Creature on guitar/vocals, bring us a taste of bratty showmanship, myth, with a splash of histrionics. Their catchphrase “We’re the Slacks and you’re not,” a fact they repeatedly remind you of during their shows, props up the stage names they don. However, as these stage personae tend to bleed over into real life sometimes the line between fact and fiction gets fuzzed up. While Pants and Creature may be the Slacks, I have to wonder if the people behind them have any say in the band, or if it’s possible that in fact no one is the Slacks.
“The Slacks should speak for themselves,” said Creature, over a short can of beer. “We’re just two dudes dorkin’ out and having fun; we don’t want people getting into our personal lives.”
Their music slides through blues based grooves with wild-one ‘tude that could care less what you think about it. If they had to be another band they would be The Cramps or The Kinks (“would that be the Crimps or the Krinks?” they asked each other). Creature’s guitar tone is like a laid back bass hybrid giving them their swagger. His vocals also feature a too-cool-for-school affectedness in contrast to Pants who gives them more of their snot-nosed punkness. When asked about their lyrical content this exchange half answers everything you need to know:
Creature: “I don’t wanna.”
Me: “You don’t wanna talk talk about it?”
Creature: “No, that’s one of our lyrics.”
The duo started in the early 2000′s as The Snipes, playing a few shows including a private bedroom show in which a drunk attendant, or “some drunk girl,” exclaimed: “You’re not The Snipes, you’re the Slacks!” Soon after the band moved out of the bedroom and into the living room to become The Party Favorites with the addition of Ben Wildenhaus (Federation X). After Wildenhaus took off for New York, Leather Pants and Andru Creature thought back to that bedroom show and decided they liked the name The Slacks and continue to play together with plans to do so as long as they can.
Despite being around all this time, the duo is now getting ready to release their record debut. The nine song You Ain’t was tracked at Egg Studios in Seattle with Conrad Uno, the engineer/producer/legend behind The Presidents of the United States of America’s self-titled album and countless other recordings with bands like Mudhoney, The Mono Men, Fastbacks, Flops, and the Young Fresh Fellows. The tracking took place on Oct. 23 and was completed between noon and 5 p.m. before a dinner and whiskey break, and then mixing completed in two hours after that.
“I asked Conrad what bands usually give him,” said Pants, “and he just said ‘Always good whiskey but never bad whiskey.’ He wanted Knob Creek but we brought him Bulleit.”
“‘Always drink whiskey for dessert but never drink whiskey for dinner,’” added Creature, quoting Uno.
After the recording session in October, the recordings were entrusted to Paul Turpin for mastering at Bayside. While the album predominantly features older songs, this isn’t a complete compilation of their catalog as the band is constantly writing. Despite their lack of a web presence it will be available on the web, but no definite date is set. (Their personal rock goddess Michelle Schutte, who, as Creature said, “loves and makes little things important,” often has to set up accounts for them on MySpace, Facebook, etc.). They also plan on releasing You Ain’t on vinyl and shopping it around to labels while they write their next album, You Made What?
“The days of my life spent playing music with LP are some of the best of my life,” said Creature.
“And as far as I’m concerned I still will for the rest of my life,” added Pants.
Catch The Slacks on May 6 at The Shakedown. For more information, visit myspace.com/xtheslacksx.