Slank Biography

Akhadi Wira Satriaji (aka Kaka) - Vocals

Bimo Setiawan Almachzumi (aka Bimbim) - Drums

Mohammad Ridwan Hafiedz (aka Ridho) – Guitar

Abdee Negara – Guitar

Ivan Kurniawan Arifin (aka Ivanka) – Bass

 

They have sold more than 15 million records;

They have performed around the world in front of millions of rabid fans;

They have been treated like royalty in their home country;

And chances are you’ve never heard of them.

That is about to change.

Introducing Kaka, Bimbim, Ridho, Abdee and Ivanka: the members of Slank, Indonesia’s biggest band.

“Slank’s uses its music to promote P.L.U.R. (peace, love, unity and respect) between the world’s diverse religious, ethnic and economic communities.” — Bimbim

Despite Slank’s immense popularity throughout much of the world, the band’s members are looking forward to their biggest challenge yet: breaking through in the United States. As Bimbim admits, Slank welcomes its return to the musical underground and is willing to do whatever it takes to become popular in America, even if it means building its following one “Slanker” at a time. (If you have not already figured it out, a “Slanker” is a loyal Slank fan, the equivalent of a Grateful Dead “Deadhead.”)

The first step in meeting this challenge: Anthem For The Broken Hearted. The band’s first English-language record, it is 10 tracks of catchy hard pop that blends Slank’s appreciation for artists as varied as The Rolling Stones and Bob Marley. Featuring the inevitable hits “I Miss You But I Hate U,” “Drug Me Up,” and “Too Sweet To Forget,” this disc is certain to attract fans of bands like Sublime, Jet, and Buck Cherry.

What inspired Slank’s foray into the American music scene? Besides its desire to spread its musical messages of peace and harmony throughout the world, the band became smitten with the states when it performed a handful of shows here in 2006 and 2007. Soon after, the band contacted guitarist-turned-producer Blues Saraceno, who Ridho befriended at a Hollywood workshop, and relocated to Studio City, California, to begin crafting its latest masterpiece.

While some vocalists will attempt to overcome language barriers by spending endless hours painstakingly recording lyrics syllable by syllable (in hopes that a producer equipped with Pro-Tools can turn it into a coherent song), Kaka had little trouble singing lyrics that had been translated into English by a band friend.

“English is the second language of Indonesia,” he explains, “and I speak it fluently. I have to credit Blues, however, for preparing us for when we entered the studio.”

Unlike some veteran American and European artists who have been branded “sell outs” by their fans for altering their creative approach, Slank’s legion of adoring fans has stood firmly by its decision to record in English.

“They fully support our desire to be established internationally,” says Bimbim. “They realize that more successful we become around the world, the more attention we will focus on Indonesia.”

Despite the positive vibe and uplifting lyrics of Slank’s previous albums, Anthem For The Broken Hearted indicates an abrupt change in mood. “Not so,” counters Bimbim.

“We come from a third-world country and we’re just starting to learn about democracy,” he says. “The things we have witnessed in our country lately have left us broken hearted. But we hold on to hope.”

In a recent interview with The Jakarta Post, the drummer said there is a need for “a complete, ground-up movement [in Indonesia] that fights corruption, both legally and culturally. Although it might seem like a distant dream, Slank has hope that this dream is inching closer [to becoming a reality]. This country will improve only if its leaders come from a younger generation. Maybe Slank should form its own political party.”

The name of this political party? Perhaps “The Blue Generation,” which is how Slank refers to the youth in their home country. Explains Bimbim: “We call ourselves ‘The Blue Generation’ because we want to think as wide as the blue sky and as deep as the blue ocean.”

Although the current and the most popular incarnation of Slank has been together for more than a decade, the bands’ roots can be traced back to Bimbim’s junior high school band Cikini Stone Complex. That short-lived band evolved into Red Evil.

“[Red Evil] was nicknamed Slengean, which is roughly translates to “Come as you are,” the drummer explains. “You do not have to pretend to be someone else; just be yourself. We shortened the word to ‘slang,’ changed the ‘g’ to a ‘k’ and took it as our name.”

Despite Slank’s commercial success, personal issues have threatened to tear the band apart, proving the pitfalls of rock stardom are universal.

“We’ve experienced our share of problems,” admits Bimbim, “but we’ve been clean for some time and now we’ve working closely with our government on a number of anti-drug initiatives.”

Having withstood these trials and tribulations has only made the band’s resolve to break through to American audiences stronger. Are the Slank’s members ready for this daunting challenge?

 

“We’re ready to take thinks to the next level,” explains Bimbim. “Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt if we earned some money,” he laughs.

 

Are you ready to become a Slanker? This amazing band is getting ready to make its mark on the States when it returns here late in October. More information and upcoming tour dates check out Slank’s official Web site (www.slank.com), YouTube (youtube.com/slanktube), MySpace (myspace.com/slank), and Friendster (friendster.com/slankband).

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