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Sloan Strap On Their Navy Blues

Sloan Strap On Their Navy Blues

This October, Sloan, one of Canada’s most prolific bands head out on tour to celebrate the reissue of their fourth record, Navy Blues, which was released just over 20 years ago in 1998. We had the opportunity to chat with guitarist and singer Patrick Pentland about their upcoming tour and some of Pentland’s memories of playing in the band.

To start, with your Navy Blues reissue tour coming up, what has it been like revisiting those songs from 20 or so years ago?

It’s always interesting to go back and realize that we might have been playing some of those songs from that record but we weren’t doing them as they were recorded. We have had to go back and realize that the songs have changed a little bit over the years. We’re also doing some songs that we’ve never really played before too. But, we’re doing the whole record and it has been fun to relearn these songs and realize that they sound pretty good, maybe even better now, than when they were previously released.

Looking back at 30 years of playing in the band, how were you all able to keep the original lineup together? That in itself is a gigantic feat, people grow up and move on but Sloan kept on going.

I always feel like we’re on the verge of that, but the stock answer we always give is that ‘everything always gets split evenly’, so no one person is making more money than anyone else, which is usually why bands break up. We’re at an age now where we’re not really able to do anything else or start over with a new career, so we just keep on going. We get along ok and its not just the four or five of us, there’s plenty of people around us to keep us busy too.

I grew up in the 90s when Can-rock was at it’s peak, what was it like being such a prominent part of that scene?

We were all in our mid 20s when things started taking off and we were very busy all the time because we weren’t just touring Canada, but we were touring all over the world. There were a lot of bands that were becoming very popular in Canada that we didn’t want anything to do with, so we just kind of did our own thing.

Are there any particular records that stick out to you as some of your favorites?

I mean, I feel like this Navy Blues record was kind of when we finally decided to be comfortable and have fun and not worry about what other bands or critics were saying about us. We just embraced rocking out as opposed to worrying about being cool or hip. That record was a bit of a watershed moment because we just went off and did our own thing and didn’t worry about anyone else. It was quite successful too, and “Money City Maniacs” became a huge hit for us.

What would consider to be an iconic moment in Sloan’s career that you was a big turning point or a really big moment in your life?

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A big moment for a couple of us was when we were recording One Chord to Another and we had a horn player come in and lay down some horns on “Everything You’ve Done Wrong” and “Take the Bench“. It was mind blowing how much the songs changed into something so different than anything we had ever done before. It was a really big moment just sitting in the control room just wondering what we had done. No one was doing anything like that, or at least no one that we knew. Bands were doing horns, just not in the Canadian music scene at that time.

What do you love about being in this band and where do you see it going in the future?

We’ve just been doing this for so long, but there’s also a certain type of freedom from being in a band. For instance, I’m at home talking to you, rather than being at work. With that comes other problems, but as far as the future of the band? I don’t know. We’re going to do this Navy Blues tour and then talk about whether or not we’re going to do another record. The last record we did was with Universal in Canada who we hadn’t worked with in a long time, so we might do another record with them. The thirtieth anniversary is coming up too, so we will have to do something big for that too.

Sloan perform at the Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on October 9.

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