Introducing Our New Guitarist, Joe X. Jiang

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

We’re proud to welcome the newest member of THE SLANTS family, Joe X. Jiang. Get to know him a little in this introductory interview:

Tell us a bit about yourself – what’s your musical background, interests, hobbies?

Joe: My abbreviated shameless musical development timeline: Little Tiger Team > Michael Jackson > Will Smith/Bush (same era) > Tupac > Dave Matthews Band > Radiohead. I don’t know how I got to Radiohead, but I think anyone I’ve ever played music with should be thankful I did. I play guitar like a wannabe Jonny Greenwood who’s been listening to B.B King and Pink Floyd a lot. In fact, I’m happy playing any instrument in the room. I also play piano because my mom made me. If I’m not playing music, I am making movies. Narratives, documentaries, commercials and now that I’m in the band: An endless supply of tour videos! In fact, I’m pretty sure I told the band at the audition that it’s fine they don’t hire me as a guitarist, as long as I could still follow them around with a camera.

How did you first hear about The Slants?

Joe: I first heard about The Slants via my friend Alex Rocha back in 2009 {side note: Alex was our first drummer}. We had met through a craigslist ad I put up to start a band, and he told me he used to drum for this Asian American dance rock band. I didn’t really look into the band at the time, but I thought, “…an Asian American rock band huh? Good for them!”

So, why did you want to join The Slants?

Joe: Last year, I heard from my friend, Noel, that the Slants were auditioning for a new lead singer and she egged me on to give it a shot. I took it as a dare, got in touch with Simon and went through the process of the enormous band/job application that I’m certain is some sort of psychological endurance test. At the end of it all, I didn’t get a shot because, well, Ken is a way better singer than me! What did happen was that I got to know the band a lot better and also I became very interested in the trademark case. After keeping in touch with Simon over the past year, I was invited to audition as a guitarist. I hadn’t even thought about playing guitar for the band before, but this came at a time when I decided to go freelance, full time, as a filmmaker dedicate all my time to creative artistic outlets. And then the universe pointed me to The Slants.

What’s it like joining the band? How has it differed from your other experiences?

Joe: It’s been a whirlwind. Who stumbles into an established band with an awesome fan base and tours already lined up? Maybe Arnel Pineda. Or all those other people that’s played in the Smashing Pumpkins in the last 15th years. I’ve done the forming a band with friends and playing bars for pennies, and I would do all that again, but it is really nice to join a band that is as organized and focused as The Slants. What’s even better is that the band is very excited about the future, with a new album on the way and new sounds to explore. I feel like good things are coming and I’m just happy to be a part of it all.

What are you looking forward to most?

Joe: Playing music for fans all over the world and eating food. What else?

Any other thoughts?

Joe: The trademark case is gripping and fascinating and even though I am in full support of the band’s fight, I am also very interested in the conversations that are happening on both sides. As a filmmaker coming in to all this with a sense of journalistic integrity, I would like to help make a documentary that really explores the concepts and voices behind this trademark case. Who wants to help?

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