Slug of Atmosphere: 'Prince was a shitty version of Rick James and Parliament'

Categories: Local Music
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Photo by Dan Monick
There's a bit of a kerfuffle happening on the interwebs today surrounding a new interview with Slug of Atmosphere published by Pitchfork. For the most part, it's a pretty standard interview -- Atmosphere are getting ready to release a new full-length, The Family Sign, on April 12, so writer Tom Breihan kept the focus on the group's new material -- but there were a couple of passages that seemed to stand out to Minnesota music fans.

When talking about The Family Sign, Slug says, "It feels like a Minneapolis record, that title almost sounded throwback-y to me, like something Prince would've named his record."

When the interviewer asks what he means, Slug goes on a mini-rant about his hometown that, at first glance, doesn't come off so smoothly on paper.

"Prince, the Replacements, Hüsker Dü -- we're all just bad imitations of the shit we loved," he says. "You have these motherfuckers here in their garage in the winter trying to write songs that remind them of the songs they love. That's how I characterize the Minneapolis sound. Prince was a shitty version of Rick James and Parliament. The Time was a shitty version of the O'Jays. We know the rules of contemporary pop music and we try to adhere to those rules, but we always end up stepping outside of them."

Pulled out of context, "Prince was a shitty version of Rick James and Parliament" is a pretty controversial thing for anyone from the Twin Cities to say. But was he really saying Prince is shitty? No, not exactly.

People love to get hysterical about anything that could be seen as "hating" these days (thank you, internet, for propagating the pull-quote style of arts writing and reporting), but from my perspective, Slug was waxing a bit philosophical on a common characteristic that binds together some of the area's most famous acts -- that artists tend to hole up inside for months at a time and obsess over music. Of course, filtered through Slug's ever-present smirk, it comes off a little strong, but he's also lumping himself in with these acts and projecting his own self-deprecating attitude onto the whole thing.

In other words? Nothing to fuss over. But I won't let that stop you -- on the plus side, I've witnessed at least a handful of pretty enlightening conversations on social media today that stemmed from this interview, and that's something we could all use a little more of in these sometimes alienating winter months.



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17 comments
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Manchegosanchez
Manchegosanchez

Most of Minneapolis' Music is over-rated, including Atmosphere. Period.

Fishing Charters
Fishing Charters

The Time was a shitty version of the O'Jays. We know the rules of contemporary pop music and we try to adhere to those rules, but we always end up stepping outside of them.

business networking
business networking

I think It could also be argued or acceded that the flavor of modesty used inthe interview is one of our state's greatest character exports. Tackedon the whole "much deserved" bit as that I am of the opinion thatAtmosphere is weak.

Capn
Capn

How tenderly you treat Slug. I guess I thought this was supposed to be a news brief (or, "reporting," as you mention) rather than a full-fledged defense of his mean-spirited words. And yes, I'm pretty sure calling someone "shitty" is in fact saying they are or were shitty.

Instead of just stealing from another story and making an uneducated and/or biased judgment, how about calling Slug, or Rhymesayers, or at least asking a couple passers-by what THEY think? Otherwise, it's not really worth more than posting, "I think whatever Slug says is just peachy," as your status update.

Volkswagen Parts
Volkswagen Parts

Tacked on the whole "much deserved" bit as that I am of the opinion that Atmosphere is weak.

Fishing Mothership
Fishing Mothership

It could also be argued or acceded that the flavor of modesty used in the interview is one of our state's greatest character exports.

Carmen
Carmen

Atmosphere is a shitty version of Vanilla Ice

Danny DeMichele Entrepreneur
Danny DeMichele Entrepreneur

Well the Sean's a nice guy and I doubt he meant to come off as such a prick, but in the end, that's what happened.Thanks

Eolcott
Eolcott

Self-deprecating or not (nice way to protect yourself from your own mistakes, eh?), it was the wrong word to use, bar none. If he meant "derivative", say "derivative", not "shitty". "Shitty" has its own definition and connotations and it means what it means. You don't get to twist the English language to mean something different.

Trying to spin this to make Slug look like the victim here makes you look silly. Slug tried to come off as a profane music historian and ended up looking like an idiot. He deserves the flack he's going to get.

Madmn
Madmn

"People love to get hysterical about anything that could be seen as "hating" these days (thank you, internet, for propagating the pull-quote style of arts writing and reporting)"

By people, of course, you mean yourself and your blog, right? Because I didn't see any other sites writing a whole article about this "event."

Ching Chang Chong
Ching Chang Chong

to be chalked up as some much deserved self-deprecation on the part of Mr. Slug.

Dumford & Bums
Dumford & Bums

How is it SELF-depreciation to rip on other bands that have no affiliation with you? Sean's a nice guy and I doubt he meant to come off as such a prick, but in the end, that's what happened.

Ching Chang Chong
Ching Chang Chong

... interpreting the article as Nice Guy's acknowledgment of his affiliation and connection to the Minnesota sound. It could also be argued or acceded that the flavor of modesty used in the interview is one of our state's greatest character exports. Tacked on the whole "much deserved" bit as that I am of the opinion that Atmosphere is weak.

jaymboller
jaymboller

Wait, people are actually getting worked up over this?

Reed Fischer
Reed Fischer

Yeah, nothing too serious. I think it rubbed some people the wrong way and caused others to launch cool conversations on their Facebook and Twitter feeds analyzing what was said.

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