What’s in a name? To paraphrase The Immortal Bard himself, that which we call a band by any other word would sound as sweet.
Saturday night’s performance in support of Joan Of Arc will be the debut of a project known as Tan. While it’s the first time Tan will take the stage, it’s far from the band’s first show. You might recognize the project by one of these short-lived names: Sic Glitz. Talker. The World Famous Cat Sisters. Though the band’s identity is always changing, its pedigree is consistently impressive. The quartet boasts current and former members of such Milwaukee (and Wisconsin) mainstays as Volcano Choir, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Worrier, Seven Days Of Samsara, Group Of The Altos, Dorth Nakota, Bosio, and No Future.
Before Saturday’s show, we spoke to Sic Gli…er, Tan about how this project came together, the reason behind their frequent name changes, what they currently sound like, and the utter lack of expectations they bring to this project.
Milwaukee Record: What are a few of the past iterations of this project? Wasn’t Sic Glitz one of the old names?
Daniel Spack: Sic Glitz was one. Talker was one and Cat Sisters was one.
Chris Roland: The World Famous Cat Sisters. We stole that one from my daughter, so we had to give it back.
MR: So why have you changed the name as often as you have? It seems like you do one show per band name.
Andy Silverman: We’re really indecisive.
DS: I think we just don’t take ourselves that seriously. We don’t know any music.
CR: We change [the songs] every time we play.
MR: When did you guys initially get together? Who made the initial approach, and did you all know each other from playing around?
DS: Chris and I ran into each other and we’d talked about doing something together. Me and Silverman started something that didn’t work out, so we didn’t know what to do. Chris had some free time and he told us about Jerome [drummer].
AS: That was the first time I met [Chris and Jerome]. Dan was the person who brought it all together. It’s Dan’s fault.
MR: All of you are involved in different things or were involved in different things at that point, so why did you want to take on a new project on top of everything else you were involved with?
CR: I think Worrier was fizzling out around then and Dorth Nakota was pretending it was a band at that point. I just want to join new bands. Anytime somebody asks, I’m in. And me and Dan had been talking about doing a band forever.
MR: What artistic itch does this band scratch—or you hope will be scratched—that isn’t addressed in anything else that you have done or are doing presently?
DS: At this point, I really don’t know. We’ve been playing together for a few years now and we’ve attempted to categories what the fuck we’re up to numerous times and it hasn’t worked.
CR: It was supposed to get really weird, but then it just morphed into this different thing. It’s almost pleasant.
DS: Yeah, we’re teetering on pleasant for sure.
AS: When people ask what we sound like, I tell them it’s just a weird rock band.
DS: It doesn’t sound anything like I would’ve imagined it would sound like.
MR: So is this new name, Tan, the name?
DS: Who knows, man?
AS: Fingers crossed. We went through a period where we’d send hundreds of band names to each other.
MR: This weekend’s show with Joan Of Arc is kind of an unofficial re-minting. Like, “We are a band. This is what we’re called now. Here’s what we sound like this time.” What can people expect, other than the unexpected, I guess? And what’s next?
DS: We’ll try to record again. We’re a rehearsal band. We get together and had out together, drink a little, and play music we think we want to record. I don’t know if we’ll ever make a record. It kind of doesn’t matter that much. That’s not why I’m in this band.
CR: We’ll have three different versions of the same album or maybe we’ll find the right version and totally accomplish recording it. It’s going to great. Maybe it’s this one. Tan might be the one.
MR: With most of you being in other bands, is the lack of any real goals or pressure make it easier? When you have to tour or open for band, play out regularly, play festivals, and do other things with rules and constraints and expectations, is it nice to have one show every six months or with this project?
DS: All the other bands that I’m in are constantly working and it’s only goal-oriented. They have to work and function. This one should, but we don’t and, for whatever reason, that’s totally okay.
Tan will open for Joan Of Arc at The Back Room @ Colectivo on Saturday, August 18.