(R) EVOLUTION OF METAL
With a style that sticks out like a sore thumb, it’s hard to remain indifferent to the paradoxal music of The Lord Weird Slough Feg. Paradoxal because the music in question is mainstream but also complex. Melodic whilst rough. Innovative but traditional. Last year the band had heeded conventional logic and shortened the band-name to Slough Feg. In spite of this, the adjectives ‘lord’ and ‘weird’ are maybe more appropriate than ever in describing the band’s growing stature and its music. Life currently seems quite rosy for this band that was spawned from Pennsylvania in the early 1990’s.
In the aftermath of the release of “Atavism”, Slough Feg’s 5th release, I interviewed vocalist / guitarist / founding member Mike Scalzi and guitarist Angelo Tringali. Here’s how it went...
Chris: How would you describe the lyrics of Slough Feg?
Mike: I wouldn’t describe them. I mean all right, there’s always a way to describe them, but the lyrics describe themselves.
C.: Keeping what you’ve said in mind, would you at least say they’re introspective or narrative?
M.: Both. And neither. And sometimes one and sometimes the other. You have to be more specific, if you know what I mean. For example whether you’re referring to any particular song because they’re all very different.
C.: Let’s talk about Slough Feg’s most recent album: “Atavism”……. how would you describe it, musically, to someone who hasn’t yet heard it (such as, ahem, myself)?
M.: I’d say it sounds like Iron Maiden. And Black Sabbath. And Thin Lizzy. Well actually I don’t think describing “Atavism” as a specific categorical thing is going to tell anyone anything about the band. Pigeon-holing us is always a misleading affair.
C.: Slough Feg’s releases have mostly been released under Italian labels. You being based in the USA, hasn’t this geographic distance caused any complications?
M.: Yeah, I suppose so. Like, we don’t know how many records we’ve sold and can’t go and see them and say: “Hey what’s goin’ on?” We can’t go and threaten them or anything like that. [laughs]
We don’t have no real knowledge of what they’re doing and they don’t have real knowledge of what we’re doing.
C.: Angelo, how long have you been with the band and how would you describe your experience until now?
Angelo: Well I’ve been in the band since January  and I think my experience has been good, pretty much what I had expected to achieve when I joined the band – going on tours, writing songs, rehearsing, playing shows……
C.: What were you doing before joining Slough Feg’s ranks?
A.: I had been playing with While Heaven Wept, although I only toured with that band and do not feature in any of their studio-recordings.
C.: Were you familiar with Slough Feg previously?
A.: Oh yes. I mean I had known about them for almost 10 years before I joined.
C.: In the lyrics of Slough Feg, I noticed a number of implicit and explicit references to mental disorders. Examples are ‘Shadows Of The Unborn’ and “Bi-Polar Disorder” (both from “Twilight Of The Idols”).
Is this done consciously or subconsciously?
M.: Well it certainly didn’t happen by mistake. Of course it’s intentional. Most Metal bands just write ‘Hey, I’m craaaazy!’ or sing ‘Metal helps to drive you mad’ or whatever. I like to get much more specific than that, address the real issue. I think this makes it more interesting for the listener who might decide to go and find out what it is all about.
C.: In fact I would personally describe Slough Feg’s music as the musical equivalent of schizophrenia because there are so many aspects to the songs and the music, an aspect which makes your releases more appealing.
|"I would personally describe Slough Feg’s music as the musical equivalent of schizophrenia because there are so many aspects to the songs and the music"|
Would you agree with me?
M.: Yeah, sure. I would agree.
C.: I’d also like to elicit your comments about the artwork adorning Slough Feg’s albums. There are sleeves such as “Dawn Amongst The Deadmen” and “Twilight Of The Idols” that quite frankly remind me of the imagery of H. P. Lovecraft……….
M.: Yeah, some of that is intentional.
C.: Are you inspired by literature, when writing songs?
M.: Yeah, definitely. And both those covers you mentioned were done by somebody who’s work reminded me of Lovecraft. At least that’s one of the things that the artwork reminded me of.
C.: How important is the visual aspect of Slough Feg?
M.: You mean physically?
C.: Yeah, the aesthetic aspect basically, like the appearance of band-members…….
M.: Yeah well I think it’s pretty important. But the music’s more important.
A.: Yes, the music’s definitely more important. As far as how we look, well I didn’t take a shower today so you can see I’m not too worried about my image. [laughs]
C.: The name Slough Feg has some mythical origins, right?
M.: It come from ancient Celtic (Irish) mythology. Something to do with druids, I think…….
C.: One final question…….I recently read a comment on the internet that described Slough Feg as the best unknown band in the world. Do you consider this comment flattering or impertinent?
M.: Well it’s a pretty cool comment. And it’s true, although obviously not unknown to that person. I mean it would surely be better if we were the best known band in the world but for now we’re not.
C.: Are you counting on improving the known/unknown factor?
[Rich Walker, of Solstice and the Miskatonic Foundation label, passed by and briefly joked with Mike. I belatedly realized Mike didn’t answer this last question. The interview now approaching its end, he is thankfully more eloquent….. ]
M.: You know what this is about - in this scene you’re not going to achieve any material success. It’s more like a close knit family. Currently more people are finding out about us so there is a little bit of growth. There is an aspect within the band of working for more exposure, maybe selling more records [as a result]. Ultimately that is the goal but there’s a limit to the commercial success in this scene. So you might as well enjoy it for today and not for tomorrow.
Chris Galea [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Mike Scalzi - vocals, guitar
Angelo Tringali - guitar
Adrian Maestas - bass
Greg Haa - drums
Dawn Among The Deadmen (2000)
Twilight Of The Idols (1999)
The Lord Weird Slough Feg (1996)