The gentlemen of Slot 55, and Rock On Philly’s September Artist of the Month, gave me a few moments out of their studio time to bring me a little more than your cheeky-smiled Q&A. From taking our phone conversation into the bathroom mid-answers and calling out a bandmate’s decision to “clean toilets” over making music, they gave me a not so average glimpse into their lives. Make no mistake about their humorous quips that would take the conversation into some uncharted territory, these guys are serious about making music. Their first two singles, “Free” and “Who Are You” are proof of that.
ROP: First of all, thanks for getting some time to chat with us! So, I’ve been doing some Facebook trolling on you guys, it seems that as a whole, your band is pretty new to the Philly game. Tell us a little about Slot 55. Introduce yourselves.
Rich Beaumont: Actually we released our first two singles, “Who Are You” and “Free” in February and May of last year, so we’ve been playing for a little while now. And technically Phil (Gorlaski) and I have been working together for two and a half years but there’s been a hold up since we’ve spent most of this time building our own studio because we want the freedom to record when we want and what we want. We get the luxury to record on our own. We did some work on our first two singles with George Manney and he’s great but we’re ready to do this on our own. I’ve been playing bass and mixing and recording music for 30 years at this point and spent a lot of time in a popular tribute band. And Phil is basically the songwriting genius. My stepson is the greatest bassplayer I ever heard and that’s how I met Phil. They played together, that didn’t really work out and I just thought Phil was a one in a million talent.
ROP: Wow! So you guys have some experience under your belt. Give me some of the background on the feeling behind your song, “Free.” It seems to have a lot of deep rooted emotion behind it. How did it come about?
Rich: You want the real story? For real? If I’m being completely honest, I would have to say is that Phil pretty much taught me on it. I’m pretty sure he was at the beach, saw a wave, jumped in and a song came out of it. I heard it, thought it sounded the most mainstream and most middle of the road and recorded it after two rehearsals.
ROP: Wait, he sees a wave, jumps in and writes a song? How exactly does that work?
Rich: Maybe I should hand this one over to Phil!
Phil Gorlaski: Actually, I just went surfing that day and the feeling I got from it made me want to go home and write. I went home and basically wrote it out that night. I played it for Rich and right away he wanted to record it.
ROP: So, since your surf trip obviously gave you some inspiration that day, let’s talk about what inspires you. As someone who considers myself to be pretty tone deaf, I’m always interested in hearing how a musician gets those creative juices flowing. What could spark you to write your next song?
Phil: It’s actually really spontaneous. Anything and everything around me can make me think of something. I hear something I like. You know, some of them come really easy and some of them don’t. Some songs can be written in like 30 minutes and some can take forever. We’ve actually got about 30 songs recorded now that are ready to go. I really have so many and some of them were written when I was wasted so I don’t even remember how they came about. It really just happens when it happens.
ROP: Hey, alcohol or not, whatever brings a shiny new product works! It’s funny you say that because my next question has a bit to do with that. I see on your Facebook page as well, that your influences are “mostly beer.” We are fortunate to live in one of the best cities for beer selection, what’s your poison? And please don’t say Miller Lite!
Phil: I am a big fan of the Oktoberfest beers. You know, Sam Adams makes a great one. I could name a bunch. Spaten has a great one. They’re all good!
Rich: Well, I started getting fat, so I had to switch to those lighter beers for a while. But when that time of year comes around, I switch to Oktoberfest. I drink that through the Fall and Winter and get myself back onto the lighter beers for the rest of the year. It’s worth it to wait it out for that Oktoberfest beer. I had Spaten on tap at my wedding for crying out loud.
ROP: And that time of year is just getting here. So along with Rock On Philly’s Artist of the Month, you were also nominated for a few Montgomery Bucks Awards. How does it feel getting some nods for your music so early on?
Phil: I’ve been crying every night ever since! No I’m kidding, but it’s pretty awesome, it’s really cool. Not to sound too cocky, but we’re a good band! We have a good sound, we’re fun to listen to and have fun playing. So people respond to that. We’re in this and we want to do this, we eventually don’t want to open for anyone.
ROP: When you aren’t so busy making your own music or working in the studio, what could we find you guys doing?
Rich: Well, located in a commercial building that I own is our studio. It is a fully equipped recording studio. We built that, (Phil mostly, he’s a carpenter) and record and rehearse there. I created, MC, and run a free outdoor concert series in Langhorne called the Langhorne Borough Summer Concert Series. I own and ride a custom motorcycle and build and collect hot rods. I’m involved with local car and hot rod clubs and attend and/or participate in several car and bike shows a year. I have a large family that takes a bit of my time, and I am involved with – and for many years coached – youth sports. Phil is an avid hunter, boater, snow boarder, fisherman, and admirer of hot women in his spare time.
ROP: Yowza! You have a lot going on! Since you’ve got the skills and resources, are there any places you guys hope to conquer in Philly?
Rich: Yeah. The Wachovia Center. Citizen’s Bank Park wouldn’t be bad either, I like the idea of outside shows. We’ve played Pennypack Music Fest and even at your Bands and Bites event we played 55 minutes straight with no covers. All original stuff. Not too long ago, we actually went last minute down to an Eagles tailgate, strapped on our equipment, and played for a huge tailgate party in the Citizen’s Bank Park parking lot. It turned out to be a good party.
Phil: And Lincoln Financial Field!
Rich: Haha Phil is going even bigger and wants to the play the Linc. I’ve been playing for 30 years and for this, we’re going wholeheartedly at it.
ROP: Big hopes for the band, I like it! Before you take over the world, what would you like people to know about Slot 55?
Rich: Slot 55…we’re doing this for real. We’re going to make something happen. We’re thinking something huge for our record release party like booking a national act or something. We’re going to do whatever we can and think outside of our box on this.
ROP: We just hope you invite us. Thanks so much for taking some time to help us get to know you guys.
Rich: Thank YOU!
If only there were a recording device for this conversation, they chimed together and bounced off one another like brothers. They expect great things for the band and we do too. Find their two singles mentioned here on iTunes and keep up to date on all things Slot 55 on their website and Facebook page.