Megan Slankard is something of an indie sensation. The Bay Area based indie singer-songwriter has a powerful, expressive voice and pairs that with honest, heartfelt lyrics. With five self-released albums up her sleeve, and a 6th album due for the fall of 2018, you can’t help but be impressed by her industry. She’s independently sold nearly 40,000 copies and is touring extensively across the US, performing songs from her unreleased album.
We were able to chat with Megan recently about her achievements and her life on the road.
What was the moment that made you want to be a musician?
I still remember this moment. It’s kind of strange to look back on it and see how clear it was to me at the time. It’s like it hit me all at once that I was going to play music forever, from that day forward. I’m sure over the years this memory has changed a bit, but I still see the 10-year-old version of myself standing in front of a mirror with my mom’s classical guitar, wildly strumming open chords and singing “Help” by the Beatles. My parents had just subjected me to the movie, and I was madly in love.
Who were/are your musical heroes?
The Beatles, The Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin.
What do you never leave home without when you’re on tour and why?
I never leave for tour without two things: 1) good loose-leaf tea, 2) my mobile recording setup. I’ve made it my mission to write and record one new song every month to release on Patreon.com. You can make anything into a recording studio. I’ve recorded in a car, a park, a bathroom, and a hotel closet.
What’s your pre-gig ritual?
A hot cup of tea and 5 minutes of silence. Oh, and cookies – they can be a part of my pre-gig ritual too.
What accessory can’t you function without when playing live and why?
My weird, but wonderfully functional, “Flying Possum” guitar strap. It fits onto the jack like a normal strap, but it’s a big loop that cradles the guitar to my body. It’s become a necessity and works great for my guitars without strap buttons. Plus… it’s got my name on it. And you know, makes me feel special.
What MONO gear do you use at home, in the studio or on tour?
I have 3 mono cases: M80 Single Electric for my short-scale Fender Mustang Bass, M80 Single Acoustic Dreadnaught, and an M80 dual Acoustic/Electric. I also have two guitar ticks (for cables, pedals, CDs, change of clothes, etc.) and a MONO Passport Wallet that I use every time I travel.
What is it about the product that you like and why?
I’m a full-time, professional touring and recording musician, and that means I need full-time, professional protection for my instruments. If I’m touring across the country 150-200 days a year, that means I’m doing a lot of gear schlepping, a lot of throwing instruments into the back of a van, or in the overhead bin of a plane. MONO offers the protection that my instruments need with the absolutely necessary convenience of being able to throw my guitar on my back when my hands are full of other gear. Being able to take one trip from the venue to the van, or the van to my hotel room after shows has been a lifesaver.
I love walking through the airport, my guitar on my back, safely tucked away in its MONO case, when I pass another musician—off on some other tour, on their way to some other city—with their MONO. We smile at each other. And for a moment, the world is small and we’re connected.
What’s your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is I haven’t let anyone (including myself) tell me I can’t do this—be successful in. It might sound like a small victory when you say it out loud, but it’s so easy to become discouraged, disgruntled, and jaded with the changing music industry, and the career successes and failures; but if possible, I’m even more in love with creating music now, than when I first started. And out of all of the fun and cool things that I’ve gotten to do in this life so far, I’m most proud of this.
What would be your fantasy band line-up? (choose any musicians from any genre to play together)
Paul McCartney – bass, Dave Grohl – drums, Guy Garvey – lead vocal, St. Vincent and Sister Rosetta Tharp dueling lead guitar. I’d just play triangle in the back, and try not to pee my pants.
What’s one of your favorite albums of all time?
Prrrrobably, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I remember my dad would put on the vinyl for me and I would sit in front of the stereo and stare at the cover the entire length of the album. It’s mysterious and complicated, but fun and twisted all at the same time.
Who was the last band you saw live?
Elbow. It was off the charts.
What’s coming up next for you and your career?
I’m currently writing new songs for a new album, booking a summer tour in the Midwest, a fall tour in the East, and a spring 2019 tour in Europe. Also, I plan to open for the Foo Fighters, I just haven’t told them yet.