Posted By McClain Johnson ~ 23rd April 2016
Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?
Ryan: My parents weren’t very musical but my uncles and my grandfather all played acoustic guitars at family gatherings. Mostly gospel and old country songs.
What was your earliest musical memory?
Ryan: My first clear memory of music in my life would be riding in my dad’s 1989, sky blue, T top, Camaro listening to this oldies station out of Springfield, MO. It was 105.1 or 105.3. It was a stellar station. He really loved Heart Full of Soul by The Yardbirds. When it would come on, my dad would play air guitar and get really excited. I distinctly remember the lead guitar in that song feeling so electric and having a big effect of me. I wanted to hear more rock and roll like that. He always played great music in the car. He would play these Jan and Dean tapes and they were my favorite for a long time when I was little. He also had cassette copies of Springsteen’s Born in the USA and Born to Run in the car. They were on heavy rotation as I recall.
What was your first concert?
Ryan: My uncle, Harry, took me to my first real rock show. The bill was Slaughter, Quiet Riot, Night Ranger, and Ted Nugent. I think I was ten and I was so happy to be at a rock show. I saw a girl smoking a joint with her boobs out, I got to sip a little beer, and my balls probably dropped right then. Don’t tell my mom.
How did The Sluts first come together?
Ryan: I was between projects and wanted to be in a band, but I was tired of working with musician types. I found that their egos far outweighed their abilities. I just couldn’t find a drummer willing to simplify their part enough to
compliment the songs I was writing. I lamented to Dover about it and he bought a drum kit off Craigslist and we started meeting Saturdays. Our friend Thom Glandzman is nice enough to let us practice in his garage. We’d get a bit drunk and try to write a tune every week. After about a year of doing that, we realized that we had about a 14 song setlist we weren’t ashamed of. So we started booking shows and people didn’t hate it right away. We still just rehearse and write one day a week.
Your studio tracks have a very raw sound. Do you try and record your songs as live as possible?
Ryan: We do like a more natural, raw recording but we do overdub guitars and vocals to achieve a certain tonality. We track drums with me in a booth playing and singing the song. So it is played live but we got back and replace most of the guitars and record double guitar tracks. Then we go back and replace the vox. We do one clean and one dirty and blend that sound to get that scratchy, walkie talkie tone you hear on our recent recordings.
You’re playing The Bottleneck May 6th. What do you enjoy most about playing Lawrence?
Kris: The venues are all a few blocks from where we live, and every time we play a crowd of people we don’t know show up and sing our songs back at us. Why bother touring when you have such a badass scene literally in your back yard?
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Kris: Only our own laziness, drunkenness, and occasional self-doubt.
What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?
Kris: Make music that you like, put it out there, and see if it deserves attention. That’s called being legitimate. Don’t manufacture something and then strive desperately to make it famous. That’s called being pathetic.