What is the greatest band? The Stones? The Beatles? The Clash? Alvin and the Chipmunks? People sit up late into the night asking this question. Well, put on your footie pyjamas and shut off the lights. Extremely talented local musical comedians and jacks of all genres Slit Slot are here to give us the answer.
"We are the greatest," Matt Hutch and Peter Van Ruff inform me over beers at Squirly's. Hutch and Van Ruff share vocal, guitar and beat duty. They're joined by drummer and relatively new addition Andre Skinner (the guy who busks at Queen and Spadina). Bassist Cedrick Best is absent, which is OK in this case, since Hutch and Van Ruff talk over each other at all times.
Skinner tells me he's "the best drummer in Toronto." Hutch and Van Ruff concur. It's been difficult, they tell me, finding a drummer who can keep up with the drum machine they often rely on. You can witness all this greatness tonight (Thursday, October 31) at the 360. There'll be wrestlers and all sorts of crazy shit. Hutch thinks the band may dress up as dictators.
Slit Slot have been carrying on like this for close to two years. One of those years was spent playing regularly at Beat Junkie without a stage -- they just played on the dance floor, freestyling originals and covering numbers by the Stones, Ministry, Curtis Mayfield, Zappa and Black Flag, jamming with whoever wanted to join in and getting unlimited free drinks.
They've recently released their independent first album, Snake Oil. Often hilarious, Weenlike in its experimental approach, as goofy as it is technically sound, Snake Oil explores the territory of Latin, punk, rock and hiphop with entertaining tunes like Cocaine, Heroin and Doggy Style.
Eighty per cent of the record was recorded freestyle. Hutch, Van Ruff and Skinner each has his own studio. They'll soon open another at the base of Mount St. Louis, complete with 24-track ProTools and snooker tables, where bands can go, ski, snowboard, lounge in the hot tub and maybe even record some music -- and let's not forget, bask in the presence of greatness. You know the kind of guys, the ones who are always recording something.
"Some of the record was done on a four-track, some on a 36-track. Some of it's live, some was recorded at a cottage," says Van Ruff.
"We've actually got enough material recorded for seven or eight records," Hutch tells me. "The next one is gonna be a double disc of country, German techno and death metal. Oh, and Cuban. There'll be some Cuban in there. We've also been working on rap-a-billy."
Alas, not everyone recognizes greatness when they see it. Some people have even been known to storm out of Slit Slot shows, offended by their attitude or language.
"I guess they just don't get that it's improv comedy," says Hutch. Others take issue with the lyrics of songs like Doggy Style, a light samba about fucking bitches from behind.
"Some women tell me it's offensive," says Van Ruff. "But the truth is, their boyfriends are banging them from behind later that night just like in the song. And I can't think about what's politically correct and what's not when I'm freestyle rhyming."
SLIT SLOT, performing as part of the RING N' EARS ROCK N' ROLL FREAKSHOW, at the 360 (326 Queen West), tonight (Thursday, October 31), $12. 416-593-0840.