Friday, December 15, 2017

New York ska group The Slackers bring the skank back to town

October 15, 2014 by Matt O’Connor, contributing writer

After first hitting the stage in Victoria back in 1998, New York ska band The Slackers formed a bond with the Victoria Ska Society and have been performing in our city as frequently as possible ever since. Saxophonist David Hillyard has nothing but praise for Mile Zero.

“Victoria’s got quite a great scene. People are really open to new kinds of music and are serious about music as well. People support bands,” says Hillyard. “They don’t support the bands because of the logo or because of what they think the band stands for; they just really like the music.”

The Slackers have brought their ska tunes all over the place, but hold Victoria in especially high regard (photo provided).

After touring Europe this summer and a short stint in the Canadian prairies, the Slackers will kick off their west coast tour, beginning in San Francisco with 12 shows along the way, including three gigs in British Columbia, starting with Victoria, then Nanaimo and Vancouver. In addition to all the touring, the Slackers were able to raise $30, 000 this summer with their Big Tunes Fundraiser, which is going towards putting out new recordings.

“As the record labels go away, you have to figure out ways to put out new material for your band. Fundraisers are a way you can pre-order. We put out a lot of previously unreleased material, an LP version of Wasted Days, a new EP, as well as a lyrics book,” says Hillyard. “We are lucky that we have such good fans, not a huge amount, but good fans everywhere. We go around visiting them most of the year.”

Recently, the band produced new music with Ticklah of Antibalas and the Daft Kings, and will soon be heading into the studio with Brian Dickson of the Aggrolites.

Hillyard says that the band hopes to release a full-length album next year that will be a happy medium between ska, reggae, and garage rock, as well as having an overt ’60s rock influence.

But in more pressing news… it’s been about a year and a half since the Slackers played Victoria, and now they’re coming back. And they’re ready to rock… and eat.

“We play a hundred gigs a year. There is a theory that I can remember almost every meal I ever ate. I can connect the meal and the show experience. But the date of it I don’t know,” says Hillyard.

So, what does he remember eating during his last visit to Victoria?

“Seafood… also, Persian for lunch the next day,” says Hillyard. “British Columbia is always a great hang. I’m looking forward to being back there; it’s a beautiful part of the world.”

The Slackers
Thursday, October 23
$22, Upstairs Cabaret

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