Even if the name Slim Sandy isn’t familiar to you, if you dig rockin’ music you’ve inevitably heard about him before. This guy is no one but Peter Sandmark, drummer for Ray Condo during The Hardrock Goners days, singer and guitar player in the western swing and jazzy “Crazy Rhythm Daddies”, drummer for The Howlin’ Hound Dogs, and now he plays all of these instruments as well as harmonica under the guise of Slim Sandy “the one man hillbilly blues band”. With so many years of activity on the scene, playing different styles with different bands, here at the Jumpin’ from 6 to 6 office (just kidding it’s my room) we thought this man would have a lot to say, and we were damn right. So take my advice, put a good record on (what about “This is Slim Sandy”, a good choice isn’t it?) and read this

by Fred "Virgil" Turgis

Your brother Eric is well known, but aside of him were you raised in a musical family ?

Yes. My brother Eric (who was lead guitarist for Ray Condo & his Hardrock Goners, as well as the Crazy Rhythm Daddies) is three years older than me, and taught me guitar when I was about 15. But our father, Sture, was very musical. He had a big collection of jazz 78s that he brought from Stockholm when my parents moved to Canada in 1952. We grew up listening to Louis Jordan, the Delta Rhythm Boys, Nat King Cole trio, Fats Waller, Les Paul, Nellie Lutcher, Duke Ellington, Django Rheinhardt, and so on. Also my father played in a jazz group, the “Jay Sands Trio”, in the late 40’s, touring around Sweden. He played rhythm guitar.

How did you become interested in music?
I was always interested in music singing as a small kid. When I was about 4, my parents worked in a summer camp, and I went around all day singing Popeye the Sailor man, so they put me on stage in a camp variety show. I remember it still, it was very scary, with the lights and the back stage and the audience, but I think the experience hooked me on performing.

You play guitar, drums and even harmonica, what was your first instrument? And how did you start playing the others?
Guitar was my first instrument, I got one when I was 12, but sibling rivalry set in, and my brother kept taking it away from me to show me how to play; he got very good as a consequence. I liked harmonica, and got one, but I learned how to do blues sounds from a book in a music store that explained how to bend notes. I couldn’t afford to buy it, so I would just stand and read it in the store. I formed a high school rock and roll band when I was 16, and I would try to fool around on drums. Later when I was about 20, my brother and I were forming a band, and we didn’t like the syle of our drummer, so one day we arranged to jam without him, and we took turns on the drums.

We (at least me) discovered you with The Hardrock Goners, but were you in bands before? I’ve heard about a band called the Paradots.
That was the band my brother and I formed in 1980. As Gerard from the band “Deja Voodoo” remarked we were a strange mix of 50’s rock and roll (we did songs by Eddie Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis, for example) and original new wave type songs (influenced by bands like the Stranglers, the Specials, James Black and the Contortions, for example). I actually played saxophone for a couple of years, but ended up just singing, and my brother played drums! We played from 1980-84, only in Montreal, mostly art school parties and some early punk clubs.

How did you meet Ray Condo?
I saw him play at one of his first shows as Ray Condo, in 1984. He didn’t have a drummer, and I thought maybe he needed one. A short while later I invited the band onto a radio show I did, and recorded them live in the studio. Then Ray invited me to play drums with them on New Year’s Eve, 1984, and I stayed with the Hardrock Goners until 1994.

He was a painter, Clive Jackson made the painting on the cover of “Come on”and you draw, The Hardrock Goners were really an “art band” didn’t they?
Yes, everyone in the band was an artist as well, the violin player, Edgar, was an animator, and did the animation video, “Barroom Crazy” (based on the Pee Wee King song “Ballroom Baby”); Eric drew and made films, I did comic strips and films (we made all the Ray Condo music-videos), Ray did paintings, Clive painted,and Chris Dean, the original member and banjo player also did artworks.

In term of recording and/or touring what was the highlight of your period in the Hardrock Goners?
Recording was always fun, and for sure playing Hemsby was a highlight, in fact I would say that playing Hemsby the first time, in 1992, helped revive Ray, and inspired him to continue playing music. He was very disillusioned with the music business, and the scene at Hemsby was so alive, and the people actually knew the songs we were playing. Still, I have to say that all the tours were crazy, and we had a constant party with Ray!

“Come On” by Ray Condo contained seeds of the Crazy Rhythm Daddies as you and Eric, your brother, sang more and more...
For sure. We had already started the Daddies in 1988, as Ray would leave Montreal to go to Vancouver for a couple of months. When he came back, we would go on tour and open with a set as the Crazy Rhythm Rhythm Daddies, then bring Ray on and do a set as Ray Condo and his Hardrock Goners. The Daddies were essentially the Hardrock Goners without Ray, until 1994, when Clive Jackson moved to Vancouver to start the Ricochets with Ray, then the Daddies got a new bass player (John Davis from the Gruesomes) and a drummer, Robert Kraft.

You and your brother formed The Crazy Rhythm Daddies, I think Chris Dean, ex- Goner, was involved in that project in the beginning…
At first the Daddies had no drums and I played rhythm guitar. Chris Dean was on banjo, and he sang many songs. My brother Eric and I loved the 40’s “jive” vocal acts, like Slim and Slam, Cats and the Fiddle, and we brought that element, so it was a mix of stuff.

You started the “Daddies” during your Goners days. Do you think their early jazz/western swing sound had an influence on the Ricochets?
Oh yeah. Chris and Clive loved western swing and Bob Wills’ music was a big influence on the Daddies. Ray would be in the audience for many of our shows, as I said, we often did the opening act. Also Ray loved Billie Holiday and wanted to swing more, so western swing was the natural fit for him.

I believe at the beginning you also had, in addition of the banjo, a fiddle. Did you record with that line-up?
Yes in 1989, I think, before Edgar, who was the violin player in both the Hardrock Goners and the Daddies, moved to Vancouver.

You recorded some cassettes with the Crazy Rhythm Daddies, any chance to see them released on a rarities cd?
We recorded two cassettes. The first cassette is called “Flat Foot Floogie”, and the second “Swingcats’ Ball”, after the Louis Jordan song. Maybe we should put them out on CD?? Good idea?!

“Satan takes a holiday” is, in my humble opinion, one of the best song on the first Crazy Rhythm Daddies cd. I guess there’s a story behind the lyrics?
I heard an instrumental version by Eddie Lang, but never heard a vocal version. Then a piano player friend of mine, Greg Shea, gave me a fake book with a 1000 standards, and there were the lyrics! But I didn’t really know how it should be sung, so I sort of made it up.

The first record was more western swing-country flavoured and the second was more jazzy…
The second CD was done over two years in sporadic sessions, 1999-2001, at a time when we had alot of jive dancers coming to our shows, people from Sophia Wolff’s Jiving school, and so we played more jive tempo songs.

What about the band to this day, do you still play together? I think you recently moved…
I just moved to British Columbia on the west coast in June, 2005, so the Daddies last show was in March. But we will play together again. I will be back in Montreal for the Red, Hot & Blue Weekender in October, where we will do a tribute show of Ray Condo & His Hardrock Goners songs.

Is this the reason you stopped drumming for the Howlin Hound Dogs?
Yes. The last show I did with the Hound Dogs was in April. I played drums with them from 2000-2005. What can you tell us about them? The Howling Hound Dogs started out in 1994 as Jim Dandy and his Howlin’ Hound Dogs. Then Jim Dandy left. Noel Thibault was the lead guitarist and he took over as the lead singer, and still is the front man for the band. They have a very authentic approach to rockabilly, inspired by artists like Charlie Feathers, Bob Luman, and Johnny Cash. They have a new CD out, recorded last December while I was still with the band, and Jim Dandy had returned and played lead guitar for that album!

Your main musical act today is Slim Sandy. A project you defined as “Hasil Adkins meets Joe Hill Louis”. How did you come up with the idea of a one-man band?
I always wanted to play harmonica and guitar together, especially inspired by Slim Harpo, I got a record of his in 1979..., but when I saw Hasil Adkins in about 1986, I was blown away! He had an acoustic guitar, played bass drum and a high hat cymbal, that’s all, and it was a wild rockin show?! So after years of practicing guitar and harmonica together... and seeing the Bo Weevil band from France at the Rhythm Riot inspired me about how to mic the harp, anyway.
I finally tried doing the drums too. At first it was hard to synchronize, but eventually I got it.

Do you have other “one-man band” influences?
Dr. Ross, Joe Hill Louis, Harmonica Frank... I actually recorded “Rockin Chair Daddy” for the Ray Condo “Come On” CD, with Clive on bass, and my brother on drums. Ray told me he really liked that version. Also Bloodshot Bill is a friend of mine.

Can you describe your set?
I do some original songs, like “Don’t Need Nothin” and “Roadster Rumble” which you can hear on mywebsite,
www.slimsandy.com, and covers like “No More Nothin”, by Zeb Turner, or “Texas Boogie” by Gene O’Quin, “Mean Ol’ Train” by Papa Lightfoot, “Rockin Bones”, by Elroy Dietzel, “Cadillac Model A” by Bob Wills, “Ain’t Got a Thing” by Sonny Burgess, a whole mess of stuff!

I was wondering : do you record live or do you use multitracking?
It is all live to tape!! And I will have the engineer swear in court! Haha! Actually for years we recorded, doing over dubs, because that’s the way studios worked, especially in the 80s’. But I have tried for several years to record live in the studio. Some of the Daddies’ cuts on both CDs were done live in the studio, but as Slim Sandy it is all live! That’s the only way I want to record now.

Any plans to do a Slim Sandy album soon?
Yep, I have over 100 songs in my repertoire, it’s time I get more of them recorded.

Recently you’ve also been working on a DVD about Ray Condo. Can you tell us more about that?
We made 9 music videos with Ray from 1989 to 1994, and shot a lot of super-8 mm and 16 mm film, in black and white and colour. So recently I had all that footage transferred to video, and I edited it down to one hour so far. Then I did three interviews, and the next time I go to Vancouver I will interview the other original members of the Hardrock Goners, and some old close friends of Ray. I have no money to make it, but that never stopped us from making videos before, or albums or touring!! Then I’ll edit it and burn the film to DVD. I work for a video production company so I have access to the tools.

Can you tell us a word about your comic strips thing?
I did a comis strip for 4 years called “SLUM DOG” about a hobo dog, living in the slums of the city. Recently I have started up drawing again with a new strip called “ROACH TOWN” set in the bug world. It will be published on www.roachtown.com

What are your projects?
I am doing a CD: “Best of Ray Condo & His Hardrock Goners”, and I plan to do a “Slim Sandy” CD and a 45.

You issued a 45rpm by Ray Condo, will there be more in that serie?
There are recordngs of Ray’s last band, but I am not sure what they will do with them. I have more Ray Condo master tapes, so I could put out another 45, but I need a distributor!

A last word?
Keep boppin!


  This is Slim Sandy
Crow-Matic Records
This cd offers 10 cuts (three covers and seven originals) recorded live by the one man hillbilly blues band. Harmonica, guitar, drums and vocals all played in the same time by the same man. Slim Sandy’s inspiration goes from blues (Doctor Ross’ Come Back Baby) to hillbilly (a great rendition of Jimmie Rodgers’ California Blues with yodel) with a lot of Hasil Adkins and Rock’n’roll in between. Sandy’s own are great too and well written. Sure the sound is raw, but you don’t expect a one man band to sound like a Phil Spector production, do you? I can only encourage you to go to
www.slimsandy.com to order your own copy of this cd (it’s only $10).
    Rough & Ready
Sleazy Records SRCD09
“Rough & Ready” with his eight self-penned songs and two covers (John Worthan’s “Cats Was a Jumpin’” and Roy Hall’s “Three Alley Cats” even if his “Flathead Ford” is very similar to Papa Lightfoot’s “Mean Old Train”) will delight the raw and primitive sound lovers. The last track “Party in Room 109” is a song Slim wrote based on the events that happened in room 109 at the Red Hot and Blue Rockabilly Weekender 2006. Don’t have to tell you that there were a lotta booze, yellin’ and savage rock’n’roll involved (have a look at this