You might be wondering who SLATR is. So was I. I was drinking in the Auschwitz-style caged area known as the “Beer Garden” (where nothing grows, but dreams go to die), when I looked over at the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands Stage to see pre-pubescent band SLATR, fronted by Dakota Fanning’s doppelganger, doing a cover of a Led Zeppelin track, and had to find out more. Here is our interview with a few kids that should be playing on a jungle gym instead of on a stage on the rarified Warped Tour.
Disarray Mag: OK, kids, tell me your names and what you do in the band.
Slatr: I’m Paige Augtusta, and I’m the lead singer. I’m Teagan Stedman and I’m a guitarist. I’m Christian Menard, and I’m a guitarist, too. I’m Trevor Smith, and I’m the drummer. I’m Alex and I play bass.
DM: OK, and your ages, on average?
Slatr: 12, 13, 11...
DM: So no one here is 14?
DM: Under 14, and you guys just did a cover of Led Zeppelin!? How have you heard of them!?
Slatr: Well, it’s kind of like, my parents used to listen to Led Zeppelin when I was just a little girl, and now that I’m all grown up, they still listen to Led Zeppelin. So, you learn it, and if everyone else in your family is listening to a song, you kind of get used to it. You learn the lyrics, learn the beat, and everything else.
DM: For the players, drums and guitars, who are your inspirations where you just had to pick up a guitar?
Slatr: Jimmie Paige, Jeff Beck, Van Halen, and Neil Peart.
DM: Paige, as the lead singer, who are you emulating or inspired by?
Slatr: Stevie Nicks aaaaaaand...wow, there are so many good ones...and Gwen Stefani.
DM: So being your ages, how long have you been together?
Slatr: Actually, only a few months. I (Paige) was just a fill-in singer, for this one concert, so for me it’s only been one or two months. The rest of them have been together for two years.
DM: So being together a few years and so young, when did you pick up your instruments?
Slatr: About seven, nine, five. I was five and picked up a guitar, but someone told me I sucked, which was true, so I picked up a bass when I was eight and have been playing it ever since.
DM: So just a few months together as a whole group?
Slatr: Well, I (Paige) will be lead singing from now on.
DM: So you guys just handed me a single?
Slatr: Yeah, we have a demo we released last year, but this is single, The Slatr Song, that we have today.
DM: So this isn’t a cover? This single is completely composed, written, everything, by you guys?
Slatr: Yeah, all on our own.
DM: So you guys clearly have the family support. You should be on a jungle gym, you’re like 12, and today you played on Warped Tour, this has got to be very exciting?
Slatr: It is a rush. I think the adrenaline is partly what fuels us, and the crowd responding to our performance, to us, so it is really inspirational and helps me (Paige) feel confident. Even if I miss a word, or skip a line, they are right there and maybe don’t notice, so I just keep going. It’s part of the show. It is amazing.
DM: So you just got off stage, you’re so young that people must think you lost your parents or don’t belong backstage at Warped Tour. Your friends must be insanely jealous right now.
Slatr: They were so jealous. My friends were like, “Can I come!? Can I come!?” I was like, “well, I have to be there at 9:30, so I’m pretty sure you don’t wanna come because I have to wake up at 7, my mom does my hair, I’ve gotta practice my songs, make sure I’ve got everything down.” I come here today, watch everyone else and it’s like, “wow, I am so glad I can be here today.”
DM: So, are you guys planning anything after this? What’s next for you guys besides a 4th of July BBQ? Which I am sure can’t match this.
Slatr: (laughs) No. Nothing really planned. Just off school for the summer.
DM: So just jamming and practicing?
Slatr: Yeah, mostly.
If there is ever any doubt in your mind about the future stewards of rock music holding up their end of the bargain, check out slatr.org and like them on facebook.com/slatr, and feel safer knowing that it is all in good hands.
About the Author
Wesley Bauman, author of Doggy Paddling in the Deep End, is a writer/photojournalist originally from Oregon who makes his home in Ventura, CA. He's contributed to the VCReporter and maintains an active blog (http://projectpoppycock.com/) where he writes on political and social satire regularly. Follow Wesley on Twitter @myownfalseidol