Earring Records  

SLT is loud, ugly and simple, like the guest that just won't leave your party. And it still keeps hanging around with the release of its new CD, Gone Dead Gone.

Its 13 songs might make you weep, might make you laugh, might make you curse, might make you roll over and beg. Or maybe not. But they will make you ROCK.

And, by exclusive arrangement with Mondo2000Corp®, SLT has licensed 3 sets of lyrics by cyber culture hero RU Sirius™ and put them to what some critics are calling music.

Love, Sex, Death—these grand themes are probably in there somewhere, too.

And all for only ten bucks.

SLT Gone Dead Gone CD cover

SLT - Gone Dead Gone - EAR 15 $10 CD includes shipping

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"I Should've Been A Guru" | Download

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Matt Sabo: Vocals, synth
Chuck Irving: Guitars, backing vocal
Phil Marshall: Guitars, synth, backing vocal
Ken Frank: Bass guitar, synths
Pat Lowery: Drums, gong

SLT photo by Bob Martin
photo by Bob Martin

I Should've Been A Guru (R.U. Sirius/Frank)
Shake (Marshall)
Walking Stick (Frank)
Gone Dead Gone (Lowery/Irving)
Everybody Must Get Rehab (R.U. Sirius/Frank)
Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay (Marshall)
Sweet Bloodhound (Lowery/Frank)
Big Time On The Night (Frank)
I, Politician (R.U. Sirius/Sabo)
Big Big Love (Lowery/Irving)
Dirt Bike (Frank)
Bombs Over Paradise (Irving)
Say Goodbye (Lowery/Irving)

All songs © 2010 by respective songwriters (I Should' ve Been A Guru, Everybody Must Get Rehab
and I, Politician lyrics © 2010 Ken Goffman)
Recorded at Holt Studio, Mt. Morris, New York
Engineered by Gary Holt
Mixed by Ken Frank and Gary Holt,
Mastered by Gary Holt
Art by Paul Dodd

EAR15 EarringRecords.com p&© 2010 Earring Records. All Rights Reserved.


By Frank De Blase on March 10, 2010

SLT is a band that has earned a second chance. It first burst on the scene in 1991 with a raw and menacing stab at classic punk rock. The music was direct, uncompromising, and incendiary, played by musicians that loved it and lived it. There were wild slash 'n' burn shows, there was dope, there was chaos, but there were no lifeboats. It was too much, too soon, and not everyone got out alive. Guitarist Luke Warm died of an overdose in 1995 and the band essentially disintegrated.

But there was unfinished business, unreleased recordings, and unresolved emotions; things that the remaining members of SLT finally started to address in the last couple of years. Founding members Chuck Irving (then bassist, now guitarist), drummer Pat Lowery, and singer Matt Sabo finally released the CD "Dirty Sleep" last year on Jargon Records - the album they had laid down at Arpad's Studio before Warm's death. Soon after, the itch to mount the stage began to fester, and the remaining original members teamed up with guitarist Phil Marshall and bassist Ken Frank (both ex-Colorblind James Experience members) to bring SLT back.

It's been a longer and stranger trip than any Deadhead could possibly imagine, but it has gotten SLT to where it is today. And SLT has never sounded better.

When the band kicked off at the end of the last century, it adhered to the mid-1970's sound exemplified by Detroit groups like The MC-5 and The Stooges, and New York's The Heartbreakers - loud and snotty stuff that was just a few clicks shy of r&b and self-destruction. It was a particularly volatile and reactionary time in music, with the press speculating and insinuating and generally missing the point. Creem magazine was one of the few rags that got it right, and SLT's name is a tip of the hat to one of its main writers, the prolific and eccentric music critic Lester Bangs.

"It means 'Show Lester's Time,'" Lowery says. "We were sitting around thinking about who would be our audience, somebody that would dig us. And we thought Lester Bangs."

"We kicked around a couple of names," Irving says. "And nobody could agree on anything. We were talking about Creem magazine and Thing [singer for The Fertility Rite Brothers and local scenester] said, 'This band shows Lester's time.'"

SLT hit the scene hard. It was provocative. It was reckless. It was street-tough and street-wise, but it also had a tragic, lyrical beauty within the rapidly consuming lifestyle it projected. SLT lived and played this way. It threatened to destroy the band. And if you don't take into account the band's recent rebirth, it did.

"It was just a disastrous dissent into hell," Lowery says. "The final stages of it, anyway. I was suffering from hepatitis C, injecting interferon, and collapsing at rehearsals. It was just so nuts, that's all I'm gonna say. Anyone who wants a tragic story can look in the mirror."

"The rumors everybody heard," says Irving. "Are all of them true? No. Some of them true? Yeah, maybe."

"It's worse than their imaginations," says Lowery, who in 2003 split for Texas. But before his exit, he had the wherewithal to take the master tapes for the album - in limbo for nearly a decade - to Dave Anderson at Saxon Recording on East Main Street for safekeeping.

Then things went quiet. There was no communication between the remaining members for several years. Lowery wasn't playing at all.

"I was denying myself the joy of music," he says.

"Irish Catholic guilt," Irving says.

SLT City News

"I'm sure it was guilt," says Lowery. "Over things that aren't really a part of music - because that's such a beautiful medium - but the things that were happening in between, personal relationships, Luke's death... I never really handled it. I mean, handling it in a mature, emotional, grieving, healthy way...going through the steps."

In 2007, Lowery returned to Rochester, ready to write SLT's remaining chapters - or at least get started on the next one.

"That was the beginning of the whole healing process," he says. "It doesn't matter when you do it as long as you do it. I knew we could heal the past, make it right. For me, when I wrote the song 'Dirty Sleep' [the lone new track on the album], I knew it would be a song that would move us into the future, something to present and say, 'Look, we're alive."'

"We knew we had this pretty intense body of work that no one else knew about," Irving says, referring to the original album's master tapes. "And we kind of had this open wound, and we thought this would be a good way spiritually, artistically to finally fucking get some closure - or at least face it."

Irving continues: "I'll tell you what we didn't want. We didn't want this to be some kind of contrived bullshit, we wanted to celebrate the art, the spirit of it. We didn't want it to be this thing that happens in America where you put it in gold shoes and it gets sapped-out, 'Oh, this is about Luke...'"

"Yeah," says Lowery. "'Another junkie has come back to life...' Fuck that."

So the band went into the studio to mix the old recordings and record the new track. The session wasn't without its obstacles. Irving had to record both guitar and bass parts, they hadn't officially invited Sabo back into the project yet, and Lowery was out of practice and in pain.

"Pat hadn't played drums in five years," says Irving. "And he'd just had ass surgery."

SLT prevailed, and "Dirty Sleep" finally emerged, sounding big and bad and happy and sad and mucho, mucho cool.

"So we put it out and, boom! The future is now," says Lowery.

On the album, Lowery's drums are a mix of apocalyptic thunder and a barroom brawl, the guitars (both Warm's and Irving's) are ragged and sexy, and Sabo's voice slithers in ominous seduction. He has one of those ultimate rock 'n' roll voices.

"Matt's the coolest guy in the room," Lowery says. "There's something about him, his heart is so big. He can steal your grandmother's wedding ring, call her up the next day to apologize, and she'll take him out to dinner. He can pull that kind of shit off."

In order to play live, the band asked veteran bassist Ken Frank to fill in. But Frank wasn't having it; he wanted to be in the band. Not too long after, Frank brought in Rochester six-string wizard Phil Marshall. Marshall wanted in as well. Most bands in SLT's position have to beg cats to fill in, and settle with whatever they can get. Yet people were volunteering to be in SLT. Lowery was knocked out.

"It's us," he says. "Are you kidding me?"

"Yeah," says Irving. "Two of the most scabberous, scurrilous, disgusting, sniggering junkie motherfuckers in rock 'n' roll around here, and Phil Marshall wants to join?"

SLT is in the studio now banging out a new record due in the summer. The preliminary tracks are powerful, referential, and reverent, as if they were classic cuts from an era that showed Lester's time. That's because it's in the musicians' blood; they've lived it. Some have died living it. Regardless, and according to Lowery, SLT doesn't try, it just is.

"Tryin' is denyin,'" he says.

SLT, re-emerging from the mid-'90s | Group celebrates new CD release

A new SLT record? Who needs this?

"No one's life is gonna be extended two seconds, no one's gonna get richer or better looking," says guitarist Chuck Irving, which perhaps explains why Gone Dead Gone wasn't issued as a cream or ointment. But, Irving says, "if you need art that's intelligent and passionate, that's why we're around. If you don't need it, don't worry about it."

SLT, celebrating the release of Gone Dead Gone Saturday at Montage, is a familiar rock and roll story. It was a rough-sounding local punk band of the early '90s until guitarist Luke Warm died of a drug overdose. "When Luke died, we all kind of went our own separate ways," Irving says. "All kinds of craziness ensued there; I'm not gonna talk about it to a journalist."

He rattles off a laundry list of bands and jobs that occupied his time, and that of drummer Pat Lowery. "Pat had healed enough, I had healed enough. No one killed anybody. I didn't. Pat didn't. Matt, who knows?"

He can't vouch for SLT lead singer Matt Sabo, who signed on for the resurrection as well after Lowery and Irving had re-mastered and released a handful of old SLT tapes at the end of 2008 as Dirty Sleep. The one new song, the title track, is about Warm, and fired up the band enough to get it writing and recording again. First they picked up bassist Ken Frank, who suggested that his old Colorblind James Experience band mate Phil Marshall was interested in joining as well. "Who's going to say no to Phil Marshall playing guitar?" Irving says.

Out of this has come Gone Dead Gone, described by Irving as "Jim Thompson rock," after the author of legendary pulp-crime novels such as The Grifters. So Gone Dead Gone is rowdy and literate, filled with guitar and songs about killers, victims, fringe dwellers and bars. "Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay" is an encounter with a female serial killer in a bar. The title track is the story of a demented guy who thinks he's helping out a woman by luring a man to a lonely shack and killing him. For those who need to get the blood off their hands, and bathe in the cynicism of the times, "Everybody Must Get Rehab" borrows heavily from Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35," and the chorus, "Everybody must get stoned."

SLT is back, for those who like their art intravenously, and timelessly dangerous as the band's ages and day jobs. Which gets lost in the conversation. "We're 'well-seasoned,'" Irving says, proving that with a Saturday morning cartoon reference that goes back to the mid-'70s. "When we get together, it's like Super Friends. We don't like to talk about our true identities."