Thomas Anselmi of Slow singing Have Not Been The Same, circa 1985
Slow at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium, dressed in bloody nurse’s outfits, circa 1986
Slow was a legendary 80s Vancouver band sometimes credited with spawning grunge. That is pretty impossible to prove (or disprove), but no one seems to dispute that they had an influence on Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the whole Pacific NW thing. They may be the best band to ever come out of this city. I saw them live but sadly missed Slow’s fateful, band-ending show at Vancouver’s Expo ’86. I missed it because at the time I was boycotting Expo, that fateful glitzy mega-event which served as an alibi for the handover of great swaths of Vancouver to developers. To tell the truth I was pretty surprised Slow were playing Expo at all, but I suspect they were too, and probably anyone could have predicted how that gig would turn out. I remember one of my friends, who then looked like a punk Ziggy Stardust crossover, complaining about the “Socred stink” down at the site (a political reference only western Canadians will understand). Anyway that day we did something else and missed everything. Slow apparently put on a fairly mental show. The electricity to their equipment was shut off following complaints that it was inappropriate at a family venue, and they responded by getting partially naked onstage. This provoked the cancellation of Expo’s entire local music programme and eventually the dissolution of the band.
At some point somebody stole my Slow album, an EP called Against the Glass. I want a replacement (and this post is going to make that project more difficult). If anyone has a copy I can buy, name a price. [Update: I found some copies. Thanks for the tips.]
I have heard that Zulu Records and Mint Records tried to convince the band to re-issue Against the Glass, as well as the © Circle C album that came later (see below), but apparently the bands resisted. Nothing is available on iTunes either. You can’t even find a single Slow torrent, lyrics listings, nothing.
Anselmi and Christian Thorvaldson went on to form a band called © (sometimes known as Circle C) whose poppier but excellent eponymous album you can download here, for as long as that lasts. It was a critical hit and a commercial flop and Geffen, who didn’t like them and didn’t promote the album, fired them. The band later became known as Copyright and put out two albums with BMG but most feel these didn’t live up to that first © album. Anselmi then moved to Berlin and L.A. though is now back in Vancouver running music and event venue The Waldorf Hotel. In 2009 he produced a music/multimedia project called MIRROR.
Punk Globe: Tom, thanks for doing this interview. Let’s go back a few years… Your earliest band SLOW is known as the ‘Band That Killed Expo’ with their infamous performance at the World Fair in 1986. With the Olympics coming to Vancouver in less than a year, any thoughts of reforming and seeing what kind of trouble you can cause?
T.A.: No, I just want to see some figure skating.
If you saw Slow or © or Tankhog perform, can you leave a comment below?
Thanks to my friend Tony for making me think about Slow again.
©, the eponymous album by the band “©” aka Circle C