Slapback BTD Artist Interview
Written by Matt Zin on February 10, 2021
Hi Slapback! Welcome! I am loving the band name. I would love to talk to you about your band name in a minute, but lets first hand the mic over to you and let you introduce yourselves. Just go around the room, state who you are, what you do in the band and where are you from?
Michele: Hi T, Slapback is Steve Cole – bass and Michele Gear-Cole – vocals, percussion, keys and a little guitar, both from Whitman, MA.
Jerome Higgins – guitar from Abington MA & Mark Macrina – drums from Taunton.
How did the band name Slapback come about?
Slapback: Steve and I had been throwing around names and nothing was sticking. A friend of ours heard a couple of demo songs and said, “Wow, this stuff really comes back to you later, it really sticks.” From that it came to me, Michele, thinking Steve’s bass playing is funky and he uses slap bass a bit so between the two it was slap bass and the sound going out and coming back. Slapback!
I love the mixture of sounds you bring to the table. A bit of rock, funk, jazz, blues. Do all these come from some kind of musical influences? If so, could you elaborate?
Michele: speaking for myself, I believe everyone I have ever listened to is an influence. Growing up I sang with everything from Barbara Streisand to Ronny James Dio and all in between. If I had to pick specific influences, as with all of us, the list is too long but a few are: Heart, Pat Benatar, Laurie Sargent from Face to Face, Beth Hart & Roger Daltry. A few of Steve’s are: James Jamerson – Motown, John Entwistle, Pino Pallidino & Victor Wooten. Jerome’s are: Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Rush, Mike Bloomfield, Bad Brains.
Mark’s are: Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, Neil Peart & David Garabaldi.
When did you all get together and start playing? Who started the first thought about putting a band together?
Michele/Slapback: Steve and I got together in Nashville in 1999. We became bandmates and a couple at the same time and decided to start a group. After some time there we got to meet with an industry guy and although he liked our stuff and thought it was unique, he would not be able to do anything with it as it was more something for East or West Coast. So since we came from the East Coast, we moved home to South of Boston. From there we started writing and putting something together.
Is there anyone in the band who is a multi-instrumentalist?
Slapback: Michele – vocals, percussion, keys & guitar. However, I only play a little of each live. I like being free to move around and entertain the crowd so I don’t really want to be stuck behind anything all night but a couple to a few songs is okay.
I would like to talk about your new song “Guardian Angel”, great song. Who wrote it and what is it about?
Slapback: Thanks. The song was written musically by our friend and past bandmate Rick Gordon, who moved out of state some years ago. Michele wrote the lyrics. The song is about my father who passed away in 1995. He was my bud so it was really tough and I felt so much about it I wasn’t able to write a song about it for years, but when it came it wasn’t so sad. It was a more positive view.
A question I seem to be asking right now is how musicians are dealing with COVID-19. So I will ask you, has this changed how you guys get together? I noticed you’re band is a live preforming band. Since this virus, what are you doing now that you can not play live?
Slapback: We have still been rehearsing weekly, for the most part, our space is large enough we can be a good distance from each other. We have been working on songs to then record.
I hear that the legendary Rob Fraboni, Grammy winner with Keith Richards mastered your tracks, that’s awesome. How did you happened to score Rob to master your music?
Slapback: So yes, Rob is a great find. Well I have to say that my friendship with Joe Viglione has been a prosperous one as well as a blessing. Not only is he a great friend but he is a savvy promotion mind. He knows what he is doing and is very, very passionate about it. It is through this friendship that I was produced at an early age by the legendary “Jimmy Miller” (Blind Faith, Traffic, George Clinton, Spooky Tooth, The Rolling Stones, Motorhead.) What an experience that was. We met and played with former Mercury and Pye recording artist Jo Jo Laine and now get to have our songs mastered by a Grammy Award winning producer (Grammy for the Hank Williams Tribute with Keith Richards.) So for a few years while nothing was really happening musically, Joe was not working with us because we weren’t putting anything out. So then Slapback got many songs together and Joe heard our stuff, loved it and we ended up working together again. He then put us on the Boston Rock & Roll Anthology #21 that he puts out and the one and only Rob Fraboni mastered it. I was so blown away, that all our songs will now be mastered by Rob. When I heard Guardian Angel = mind blown! I would like to put in a quick plug for the Boston Rock & Roll Anthology #21 cd. If you haven’t heard it, you need to. There are so many great artists on there that are completely individual and unique from one another and that is a thrill to listen to. It’s a variety of genres that really make it cool and exciting. Recorded well and mastered incredibly.
So if I was a fly on the wall in the studio, what would I see? How long would you be in the studio?
Slapback/Michele: We get in there at 11:00am until around 5ish pm. First you get in and they get the drums set up and mic’d, then the guitar and bass get set up. We get sounds and then we start playing and recording. We try to get all the basic tracks in that first day. From there it’s just getting the vocals and any keys done, then the guitar will finish adding what he wants. Then we take it back from there and listen and make sure we like all that is there and no changes need to be made.
Once that is finalized we go in and mix. We save that for a day all it’s own so you don’t get ear fatigue. Then lastly have it mastered and you are ready to go. As far as how long all this takes, it really depends on each individual and what they want to do and how long it takes them. I would also like to give a shout out to the studio where we are recording and the engineer who owns it. We recorded at Ultrasound Productions in Hanover, MA and the owner – engineer, master of all is Joe Clapp. A great place to record.
When you are not in the studio, what do you like to do?
Slapback/Michele: Well before Covid we were enjoying doing things together as a band. We went to Comedy shows, King Richard’s Faire, dinner as well as spending time with other friends and family. cookouts, some like camping, games in the backyard, supporting friends bands.
I am digging the song, “The Mirrored Glass.” It has such a great funky sound. Could you let our listeners know what this song is about?
Michele: This is a funny story. So Steve and I were living together in Nashville and were doing guitar auditions. One night this guy came in and right from the start, even after finding out we lived there together, kept eyeing me and looking me up and down and checking himself out in the window and mirror. He did this the whole time he was there. After he left, Steve and I laughed at what a jerk this guy was and that even if he hadn’t been like that he would not have fit the music but hey, we got a song out of and and my feeling is that nothing is ever a waste if you get a song out of it. LOL
What new projects, albums, events do you have coming up that you can tell us about?
Slapback/Michele: Events I hope will come this year.
All in all right now we have 25 songs that we have gone in to record. Six of these were done just before Covid hit and those are done except mastering. We did master Guardian Angel with Rob Fraboni and the others are next. We have 11 that just need extra guitar and keys and 8 more basic tracks we just did. Now we will go on and finish these songs and start releasing them after that. We released Guardian Angel as a single. It seems that whenever you get a cd or EP together you start creating all these songs. We are releasing an EP shortly titled: “Places In Time” and will have 6 songs. Then we will decide from there what to put on future releases. We did think we were releasing one on another EP but are moving it to the Place In Time cd as it fits the theme and that would be “Standing Tall”.
We are coming to a close of this interview and I would like to ask if there is anything else you would like to add that I might have left out?
Michele: Thank you and no you have left nothing out.
It’s been a pleasure interviewing your band. One last thing, where can our listeners buy your music?
Michele/Slapback: We are on Cd Baby – ITunes/Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, youtubemusic, yandex, deezer and so forth.
Thank you so much in your interest in our music and having this interview. It was our great pleasure! All the best to you and yours.
Michele, Steve, Jerome & Mark/Slapback
Be sure to keep BTD Radio locked in to all your new music adventures!
T Dawn and the BTD Radio Crew!