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Former Whistler band Slow Nerve Action debuts at Tommy Africa’s



B.C. band on the rise with new tour and sound engineer

Who: Slow Nerve Action

Where: Tommy Africa’s, June 12

Where: Boot Pub, June 24

Slow Nerve Action is on a quick rise.

The stage presence and continued touring energy of the five-piece, self-dubbed "porn funk" band has led to the booking of a second tour with a sound engineer in tow.

They represent another B.C. band who got their start playing shows in Whistler.

"I can’t believe more bands don’t move up here, there’s lots of work and the bars pay," says Chris Berry, who says gigs at Moe Joe’s helped pay for their first van.

With a new vehicle ready to transport the five-man crew to their next set of gigs, their former theme of "sex and sensuality" remains constant.

"It’s always been a theme in my head, plus, no one really talks about it. I see a lot of humour in pornography," says Berry, who once encouraged a whole audience to get naked at a pub in Golden.

The lead singer might bring out "the accomodator" during a show, or parade around in a jock strap. Audiences never know quite what to expect, and perhaps that’s part of their appeal.

Tony Cailes, owner of Whistler Love Nest, a store that occasionally donates promotional items at their shows, says "they’re very creative, with songs like Astroglide, and sometimes they use our products (onstage) so it’s a mutually beneficial relationship."

In terms of songs, they keep things light.

"Everyone’s angry in music these days – which is fine, there’s nothing wrong about that, but why not make people happy and smiling, and sing about something other than what’s thrown in their face all day long?" adds Berry.

Their sound, from their debut album, The Soap of Beautiful Women, is a mix of free styling vocals, drums and bass, and instrumental improvs.

Shawn Cole, sound engineer at Trebas Institute Vancouver, was keen to work with the band after he saw them play the Purple Onion.

"Frankly, the band also know how to work music publicity, and you need that in order to make music a business," says Cole, who joins them on tour, as their first official sound engineer.

The band sold 300 CDs off the stage on their last tour, and are currently pressing another 500, for a total of 1,500 copies of their first album.

Not a bad outlook on CD sales, for a band that played their very first gig on the peaceful Denman Island.

"The fact that they’ve handled the gargantuan task of tour bookings from here to Montreal and back is pretty amazing," he adds.

Vancouver booking agent Jay Loewe sees many bands come and go.

"This band’s got stage presence and charisma – just looking at them play, zoned in to the music – these guys get everyone’s ass on the dance floor!"

The band members manage to combine a school-boyish attitude with a level-headed seriousness about their future in music.

"Communication is number one, and that’s probably the reason most bands out there just don’t make it," says Berry.

"There’s definitely times when there is tension, when you’re spending every waking moment with each other, but everyone’s got to get that out," he adds.

"As long as you keep doing that, the rest will come." Slow Nerve Action played 100 shows in 2001, including larger city venues like Toronto’s Bovine Sex Club, the industrial and alternative music venue located on Queen Street West.

Benson, on bass, says a great feeling is when they finish a show "and the manager jumps up onstage and says, ‘when can we book you next?’"

That’s just what the club manager for Bovine Sex Club said. He has re-booked them for this summer’s tour.

Keen to keep the shows happening, they also keep an eye out for record deal offers.

"If we were offered a recording contract, we’d tell them ‘You can market us this way, because we’re all or nothing,’" adds Berry.

With plans to arrange a second album when they return home, they may tour Europe before heading to the USA.

And where would they play first?

"I think France, maybe Paris!" giggles Berry.

And you think you know just what he means.