Monday, April 27, 2009

Marc Friedman (The Slip) Interview

The Slip. Heard of 'em? No? WHY NOT!?! Okay, sorry to yell. How about Guitar Hero? Of course you have. One of The Slip's newest singles "Even Rats" is featured in said game as a bonus track. This proved to be a helpful spotlight for the band as new fans began to grab their latest indie rock album Eisenhower. What many of those fans don't realize, however, is the group isn't all about indie rock. The first few albums leaned more toward jazz fusion, while later still they began to experiment more with the releases of Aliveacoustic and Alivelectric. It wasn't until the release of Eisenhower that they began their journey into the realms of indie rock.

Speaking of journeying into new, unexplored realms, let's delve into the mind of bassist Marc Friedman, shall we?

To start off, where did the name “The Slip” come from?

I believe a stork dropped it down the chimney of an ocean-side bungalow one morning. It was early spring in the year 1993 and no one in the band was even awake yet. A moniker that would endure to the present day music of "the slip."

A lot of publicity came for the band when the “Even Rats” single was put into the first Guitar Hero. Was it any different putting a song into a video game rather than an album? If given the chance, would you put a song into a game again?

Not really because all we had to do was choose the song and the company did the rest! It was obviously a new experience when we got to play our own song and also receive a tremendous amount of responses from new fans who enjoyed playing our song in Guitar Hero 1. I like Katamari by NAMCO the best if we're going to talk gaming, but I admire greatly what the Harmonix guys have done for music in the 2000s.

What are your feelings toward being used in a video game?

100% approval if I like the game.

Your latest album, Eisenhower, has a definite indie rock feel to it, yet this was the first time the group went for this sound, as you were originally more of jazz fusion band. What made you decide to make this change?

I have written and edited about five different answers to this question so far. I even translated one into Mandarin Chinese at one point! No, really this is a poignant question and the simple answer is that we didn't just 'decide' to change from a Jazz Fusion band to an Indie Rock band. It is a longer and more complicated story in fact. However, I am fully aware of the confusion we bring to the public and media when we choose to exist as a band that seeks a path of development and experimentation, NOT a path of stagnation. One major outcome involved with making a bunch of albums over 15 years is having people judge and compare them. Also, my other brief answer is that 'change' is written into the fabric of our music, so there will always be genre-bending Slip records. Enjoi.

You’re currently working on your side project Surprise Me Mr. Davis. Will you be continuing this collaboration for a while or do you expect to work on a new Slip album anytime soon?

Currently we are working on both bands. Davis lost 'side project' status a long time ago and is more in "full-throttle" mode right now, working on some HOT new tracks. The Slip is about to go on the road for the first time in 2 years in JUNE. The slip is also starting to throw ideas at the wall for a new record.

Do you plan on re-inventing your “sound” again, ala Eisenhower, or is the plan to stay safe with the one you have?

Not sure. It's against my religion to pre-meditate anything like that.

Which do you prefer: playing live or in the studio?

BOTH. I have different reasons for appreciating each, but it's hard to compare things that are so second nature in my life.

Respectively, what are your favorite songs/albums both from your band and other bands?

You might have to pay more for this answer because this question is a novel in itself. Although, I will say The Walkmen are the band to watch right now and have been for the past decade. Also I usually enjoy everything I hear besides modern country, pop punk, nu metal and the Jonas Brothers.

Who are some of the band’s major influences?

Woody Allen, Martin Scorsece, Chaplin, Omar Hakim, Ang Lee, etc.

What typically goes into creating a song for you?

There are infinite ways a song can get penned. Look into the cosmos and the constellations are always shifting around in their patterns. That is similar to how I feel about music. Its melodies, chords, rhythms, colors, words, and an endless supply of other things that surround us. It's our job as songwriters to pick and choose and decipher the endless options. Eventually a song can be developed from what you choose.

You’ve had many different members of the band come and go, including Sally Taylor, Carly Simon and James Taylor’s daughter. Now you’ve added Nathan Moore for the Surprise Me Mr. Davis side project. Are there any plans to add other new members?

Sally was in the band before my time and I think Andrew's as well. Everyone was pretty damn young back then and overall The Slip had many members pre-1994 but the trio line-up has stayed the same since then. We plan to add or play with Elvis or any other dead-icons if they should happen to be reincarnated or resurrected.

What was your favorite on-stage moment?

I haven't officially labeled this my "favorite" moment but getting sung "happy birthday" by 7,000 or so people on my 30th was very cool. We were playing Bonnaroo that year and the audience pulled off a great rendition for me.

What was it like playing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien?

I was just reminiscing about that day with my roommate last night in fact. We talked about the plethora of sandwiches at the ready in our green room at NBC. I had a tuna, turkey and maybe even a Ham n Cheese at one point. (We were there all day...) It was truly a major highlight of my career to talk to Conan on camera about Boston where we are both from.

What was the most challenging obstacle in trying to achieve success in the music industry?

Having to become transient to make any money at all and having that struggle be tied into our music.

You’ve gone through many different record labels and are currently signed to Bar/None. How difficult was it to constantly keep switching like that?

Not hard at all. Each album has a different feel to it really so the music was well suited to travel around from label to label, kinda like the way we toured all the time...haha.

What are the band’s plans for the future?

1. Taking it one day at a time and getting together all sorts of new ideas for Slip albums and tours.
2. Testing recipes at home in the cities we be: Brookyln and Montreal.
3. One plan I had was to post this very interview on our website,, to give people a real up-to-date revealing of my soul. That cool?
4. Trying to stay calm about "swine flu".
5. Just the usual.

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