As Canadian alternative rock band Sloan crossed into the United States to begin the current leg of its “One Chord to Another” 20th anniversary tour, many Americans were starting to look North as election results began rolling in.
“We were watching (the results) before we played,” says guitarist Jay Ferguson, who hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia. “We do two sets. Before we were playing, there was an early lead for Trump. We came in mid-set. This is not looking good, and then by the time the show was over it was locked in.”
Americans crashed the Canadian immigration site.
“It makes me wonder if Americans think it’s easy to move to Canada,” says Ferguson. “It’s harder to get a job because jobs are preferred to Canadians, but the costs – a friend tried to immigrate from Michigan to Canada and it was going to cost $10,000 to $15,000. It’s a bit of a challenge. I don’t meant to rain on anyone’s parade.”
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Raining on parades is far from what Sloan plans to do at Visulite Theatre on Thursday, when it makes a rare Charlotte appearance revisiting “One Chord to Another,” the 1996 album that reignited the band after it parted with the DGC label (a hotbed of alternative rock in the early ’90s).
“(1994’s ‘Twice Removed’) wasn’t the record we were expected to make,” he explains. “It was a lot different than our first album,” 1992’s “Smeared.”
When the band chose to release “Twice Removed” as-is without honoring the label’s request for changes, DGC just didn’t promote it.
“In the United States we did a big tour, but not playing to anyone,” he adds.
Circumstances surrounding the making of “One Chord” and its predecessor were vastly different. While DGC spent between $100,000 and $200,000 for the quartet to record “Twice Removed” in New York, “One Chord” cost roughly $10,000.
It was supposed to be the band’s last record, given the experience.
“The end of the Cinderella story is that it became our best-selling record. In Canada, we had three top 20 videos and it did well at radio,” he says.
The slim budget helped color the album’s personality. For instance, says Ferguson, the drums were recorded on a 4-track cassette in the band’s practice space.
“The drums in turn sound scrappy and raw, but in a positive way,” he says.
The tour has helped bring old Sloan fans back to the fray.
“It brings out a lot of fans who might’ve been in high school or university when the record came out, but don’t go out to shows anymore. We did a similar campaign for our second album, and it re-stoked an element of our fan base.”
At 48, Ferguson can relate.
“There’s times when bands come through town that I would’ve driven 10 hours to see when I was younger and I say, ‘Oh, I’m not going out tonight,’ ” he says. “For us, it seems to have brought out those people.”
When: 9 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave.
Details: 704-358-9200; www.visulite.com.