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Slank

  

Slank

Slank are a very long running and very successful rock band from Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. It was founded by some teenagers in a street alley called Gang Potlot in 1983, and as of 2017 they have released 22 studio albums, 4 live albums, 3 international albums and been featured in 3 movie soundtracks. They sing in both English and Indonesian, and have become very well known in the Indonesian music scene and as a result have become an influence for many Asian rock bands such as Dewa who formed as a result of their inspiration.

Slank have a very classic rock sound, somewhat reminiscent of bands like The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Def Leppard. There are a lot of big drum beats, distorted and driving guitar, melodic yet assertive lyrics and bluesy instrumental solos, reminiscent of many iconic 80s rock groups. Although their sound has become somewhat more refined over time, they have stuck very strongly to their roots and kept their music fun, upbeat, and full of energy.
The band started it's life under the name Red Devil, however after deciding this sounded slanderous and rebellious, possibly due to Indonesia's religious rich culture, they changed their name to Slank. It took seven years until their first album, “Suit Suit…hehehe”, was released with high success, becoming a smash hit and an inspiration for many other bands. “Suit suit…hehehe” and their following two albums, 1991's Kampungan and 1993's “P**s”, gained awards from BASF Indonesia as the best selling albums on BASF tapes, and subsequently, their fourth album, 1994's “Generasi Biru” went multi-platinum, gaining them several top ten places with multiple songs. Since then, they have been going strong, sometimes releasing more than one album a year to commercial success, and have increased their profile and toured all over the world. In 2005, Slank became the first icon of MTV Indonesia.
Despite several band member defections due to internal tension and personal issues, the band has undergone several lineup changes over the years, but have still maintained a strong presence in the Indonesian rock scene throughout. They have, on several occasions, caused political controversy in Indonesia, but have still managed to keep going regardless of these problems.
2009's “Anthem for the Broken Hearted” was Slank's first English language album, and came as a result of travelling to the USA. It was produced by Blues Saraceno, a virtuoso guitarist who has worked with Poison, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker from Cream and Ziggy Marley, as well as an established producer in Los Angeles. Abdee Negara from Slank quoted “If you want the world to see what you want to say, you better to go the highest mountain. And for music, the highest mountain right now is in the USA”, and so they set forth to conquer the English speaking rock scene. Although releasing several songs in English, this has been the only album entirely in the English language from the band so far, and it is reflective of the classic style that the band is known for despite being crafted for a more westernised ear.
in 2009, the band was invited to play at the world renowned Java Jazz Festival. The band, not very experienced in Jazz, were surprised, but after being challenged by Peter F Gontha to perform in a jazz setting, rearranged their most popular hits into a jazz style to create a jazz/rock fusion to much success. The show was described as a “once in a lifetime experience”, and hasn't been replicated since.
Slank also have a cult following from their years of hard work on the Indonesian rock circuit. Dedicated fans of the band refer to themselves as “Slankers” and have a reputation for being completely devoted to everything that the band does and stands for, and range from all ages from children to adults.
It takes a lot of guts to have a classic rock band with classic rock ideals in a heavily religious setting like Indonesia, but Slank have proven that it is possible to succeed. If their previous career is anything to go by, we can expect hard rock music from them long into the future, no matter what life throws at them.

 

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