Interview: Slammin' Gladys

Published on 10 May 2021 at 16:27

1: How did you decide on the name, “Slammin' Gladys"? 

Yeah, Slammin' Gladys, what a name!  We had a different band name before we were signed by Priority Records. One of the things they insisted was that we come up with a new name. I remember we were sitting in a boardroom around the big rectangular table just as you would imagine and we were saying anything and everything we could come up with. Our singer Dave Brooks mentioned he was in a band back in Cleveland called Bratty Gladys and he always liked that name. I remember that we all realized that Elvis Presley's mother was named Gladys and thought it would be cool to use her name since she was the mother of rock and roll. "Slammin'" was a word we kind of stole from Prince that we used back in the early 1990s as an expression of something being really cool like Al Collins coming up with a slammin' bass line for instance. I think we gave our tech Brian Metz credit for putting the two words together but I honestly don't remember who did it so it probably was him. It seemed to click in that boardroom meeting and Slammin' Gladys was born.

2: What inspires you to create? 

Being alive inspires me to create. I love music and am constantly looking for some sound that turns me on or turns my head. It doesn't have to be difficult to play or even easy to play musically. It's the intangible X factor that I only know when I hear it. It can be a catchy guitar riff, a rhythm I hear when I'm walking down the street from the garbage truck or the melody a bird may be singing. What makes a good song better than a bad song? As much as it is subjective it is no coincidence that many people agree with what is good and what isn't good. That goes for all art whether it is music, a painting, a movie, jewelry making or even a PowerPoint presentation. I believe we are made in the image of God so therefore it is in our nature to be mini creators. Some people may be more in tune with their creativity than others but we all have it to one degree or another. It manifests itself in different ways depending on the individual and their purpose.  

3: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a creative profession? 

My advice for someone who wants to be in a creative profession is first, to hone your craft. Do what you do best and work hard at it to make it better with no end in sight. It's the old adage, the more you learn the more you realize you need to learn. Second, do it because you absolutely have to because you love it.  Don't do it for the money. Play in a cover band, take the waitress job or the office job if you need to make money in order to fund your creative venture. The best jobs are the jobs you would do for free anyway.  Just don't tell anyone that. While you should believe in yourself and what you're doing you should also keep your pride in check. You should do your best to balance your confidence with humility in order for you to be able to accept criticism and rejection. I don't make music because I think everyone will love it. I make music because I feel like I have to. It's an amazing feeling when inspiration hits and I like what I'm creating or what I'm contributing to someone else's creation. I have the humility to understand not everyone will like the music I'm involved with but I also have the confidence to put it out there once I feel it's ready.

4: Do you feel open minded about what you listen to? Do you like going out of your comfort zone? 

Yes, I feel open minded about what I listen to and so do Dave, JJ and Al. We have always been music vacuum cleaners, sucking up everything we can and internalizing what works. All four of us live and breathe music. I gravitate towards organic music and by that I mean people singing and playing real guitars, basses and drums but I do like a lot of electronic music too if it's good. I remember when I was learning how to play drums I would be as inspired by a great programmed drum track as I would by a great drummer playing a killer groove. I also like music from every genre you could think of.  JJ creates some amazing movie trailer music that I love to listen to when I visit him. It's fun to track how popular music continues to morph and break new ground every year.

5: What outlets do you find out about music from? (Record stores, magazines, samplers, etc.) 

I find out about new music mostly from YouTube, Spotify, internet forums and through my friends and family. Word of mouth is still the best way for me to get excited about new music. If someone I trust tells me I'm probably going to like something it turns out they are usually right. I love to be that person for others too.

6: What was the inspiration for your song “Toxic Lover”?

JJ Farris wrote "Toxic Lover".  You'll have to get his answer but from what I heard he wrote it specifically for Dave Brooks to sing. Just from hearing the lyrics it sounds to me he is tapping into what many of us have gone through with a person we're dating. We are really into the person, know they are not good for us, know we need to leave the relationship but for whatever reason we stay. It takes a lot of trial, error and growth to find a special person to be in a life affirming, loving, solid relationship with. I'm learning it's worth it!  

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