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New Groove of the Month: The Slip

One day a friend and fan of The Slip approached Brad Barr, The Slip guitarist, at a party and asked him for guidance. This friend, let’s call her Sissy, was experiencing acute anxiety over her “career path.” She was deciding whether to move to New York City to pursue her acting career or stay with her friends and carve out a new post-college life in Boston. Brad answered with a question – “have you walked through the woods yet?”. Sissy stumbled “Ah, yeah. I was in the woods for a while last weekend.” Brad replied,“No. have you REALLY WALKED through the woods, alone. For a day or a week or whoever long it takes. This will help with your decision.”

A number of fans have struggled to describe what The Slip is. The Slip is not a typical rock and roll band. They are not even a typical jam band. There is a quality of immediacy and seriousness about their music. Andrew Barr, the drummer and brother of Brad, describes his intent with The Slip’s music as “an attempt to awaken the listener. To make him look within and evaluate his own priorities and problems, and then to look around and address those problems around him.” Marc Friedman, the bassist, describes the band’s relationship to its audience “Well I know how I feel at a great show. I get so anxious and excited about the next note that I can barely stand it. That’s what we’re trying to do on stage for our audience. It’s a challenge, but we strive for it every time.” Here’s how one fan recalls his virgin Slip experience …

“the first time I saw The Slip was at Hempfest 3 at the Strand. I went expecting some cool people, cool music, and some cool knowledge to be learned. What I got was The Slip. I couldn’t even explain it to my friends that weren’t there. It wasn’t possible in my vocabulary. It was just too powerful. I watched Brad jam, Andrew smile as he pumped out the best beats I had ever heard, never repeating a riff, and Mark, as motionless as ever, not missing a beat and laying down the phattest bottom-end. All I can say is that 15 shows later, not once have I been disappointed in the least. Every show is better than the one before it. And every time I talk to the band after the show, it’s the most humbling experience I have ever had. And the New Year’s party was simply unreal. [editor’s note- this refers to the band 1997 New Years show which clocked in at 7 1/2 hours] There was so much feeling, loving, being in that one room that I want to stop time and relive that one night over and over again. I guess I’d call it bliss. Others may call it a wicked good show, but it was so much more. And it continues to grow …”

The Slip have been playing with the current lineup since 1995. All 3 members went to Tabor Academy, a boarding school in Massachusetts. At first, The Slip began gigging out at The Living Room in Providence, RI. This bar has hosted dozens upon dozens of jam bands early in their careers. The bar is decorated as a raunchy fraternity house living room. Replete with 20 year old barely upholstered couches and minimal lighting, The Living Room still generates positive energy for The Slip and its fans.

After graduating from Tabor, Brad, Andrew and Marc enrolled at Berklee School of Music in Fall ’95. During this year, the boys wrote some of their early classics such as Honey Melon, Eube, and Sea Legs. Playing almost exclusively originals, The Slip began collecting a regular audience in Boston as well as Providence. Old timers will recall regular gigs at Harper’s Ferry and special ‘coffehouse’ gigs at The Red House from this period.

The Fall 98 schedule is packed with Slip shows, primarily in New England. If you are in this neck of the woods, be sure to experience this music …

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