Slow resurfacing

Vegas survivors STS tweak lineup, prepare slew of new material

Photo: Ryan Olbrysh

They don’t go overboard fliering parking lots, nor do they post loads of MySpace bulletins. In 2007, they played only 14 shows. But that doesn’t mean eight-year-old Vegas band Slow to Surface was ever over, or even, in the mind of its members, unproductive.

“We were called irrelevant because we didn’t play every weekend,” drummer Mac Purdy says. “But we just kind of went off the local map for a bit.” Adds singer Benwood (yep, just Benwood): “We feel like we’re still making music that’s relevant. We’re at the point where we will never compromise ourselves. We’re very content.”

During Slow to Surface’s recent down time, the band lost two members—second guitarist Steve Penhall and keyboardist/sample wizard Jay Perry. Enter guitarist Jeff Basso, a sometime STS producer who joins Benwood, Purdy, bassist Adam Handley and guitarist Zach Saucier in a new, five-man lineup that has returned to playing more frequently around town. The group has written more than 20 new songs that reflect the evolution of its cinematic rock sound, with an eye toward an October CD release date and another disc sometime in 2009.

Purdy explains that Slow to Surface’s music previously “involved a lot of experimentation. Now it’s more soulful, but not soul music. We’re just writing what feels good.”

Some of that new music will be showcased at this week’s Amplify!! Music Conference, with Slow to Surface scheduled to play Canyon Club at 11 p.m. on August 6. But make no mistake, STS isn’t looking to be the next big thing out of Las Vegas. “[We don’t need] millions of dollars and rims,” Purdy says. “We just want to make a living … not having to do anything else but this.” Adds Benwood, “We don’t beg people to love us; we ask people to listen.”

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