Simon Tam, The Slants, and the Power of Language

download (1)Simon Tam is the founder and bassist of Portland’s very own Chinatown dance rock band, The Slants. The band is beloved worldwide and has even gained recognition from younger audiences, survivors of Japanese internment camps and everyone in between! However, they are battling a five-year lawsuit with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The band is made up entirely of Asian American members, yet the US Patent & Trademark Office claims their rejection on the basis of the band’s name being racist against…Asians. An irony not left unchecked, but resulting in a lengthy and expensive lawsuit.

Simon is also the author of Music Business Hacks: The Daily Habits of the Self-Made Musician (on sale!) and will be giving talks on language and race at TEDxSalem (September) and TEDxSpokane (October).

We chatted live for APA Compass at KBOO on the power of language. This interview also features music by The Slants! Check out the podcast!

download**This interview was edited and re-aired on Stage & Studio.

Air dates: 8/1/2014 and 8/19/2014: