Todd Slater Interview PART 2

We start this part off jumping out of poster talk into…personal interest I guess would be the best way to describe it. Dig in!
Jon: So whatup with this NBA? You mentioned your Dallas Mavericks earlier, you’ve been a Mav’s/NBA fan since grade school I presume. That being said advise me sir, as an older and wiser hoop fiend. I’m a grieving Sonic fan, my team has been assassinated.
I still love the NBA but regardless of any geographical bias, I have to say David Sterns NBA is an increasingly watered down product. “More European” some might say. That’s a convoluted way of saying “soft”, basketball was invented in North America and perfected in the good ol’ USA. Why would you want to tweak your game to be more like the guys you used to slaughter in the Olympics? It’s not as physical as it used to be, NBA playoff games used to be knock down, drag out, grudge matches. Call me a caveman, but that shit was intense thrill a minute stuff with all the drama of a Rocky movie, it was kind of like this and nowadays like I say, pretty soft not as intense. I’m less enthused.
So my questions are thus, what would you do if the Mavs where sold down the river as my Sonics were? And do you agree with my assessment of the softness of the NBA? The Todd Slater state of the NBA basically. I’ll be asking you about the Mav’s directly next….
Todd: Well, I have some understanding of your pain because the Houston Oilers leaving for Tennessee left many here betrayed, bewildered and just really pissed off.  If the Mavs switched cities I would continue to follow them because the players are who I care about most.  If I was a Sonics fan I’d want to watch Durant develop into a superstar…that would be fun to me.
The 1989-90 Piston Championship teams really encompass what an ideal NBA is for me.  That was a team I watched as a kid but I know that physical style is gone now.  The NBA will never be full on Euro-ball because the US produces the freakish athletes.  It’s incredible to see the difference between the US and other countries during the Olympics.  The grudge matches are probably gone but there’s enough heat to keep me interested.  It’s possible that 2 of the 3 greatest players to ever play the game are playing right now (Kobe and Lebron) making the NBA very interesting to watch.  While I’m talking about the greatest ever here is my all-time list:
1. Jordan
2. Bill Russell
3. Wilt Chamberlain
4. Lew Alcindor
5. Magic Johnson
6. Hakeem Olajuwon
7. Shaquille O’Neal
8. Kobe Bryant
9. Pete Maravich
10. Julius Erving
11. Larry Bird
12. Lebron James
Shaq, Kobe and Lebron all stand to move up as their careers continue.  One day I could see it being: Jordan, Lebron, Kobe.
Jon: Wow, where to begin?….I’m not a big enough man to see through all the bullshit and just follow my Sonic players in Oklahoma City and even if I did, eventually all the guys who were once Sonics would move on or retire in time and I’d be rooting for a 100% homegrown Oklahoma City team and that wouldn’t make sense. I know Adam Carolla is an L.A native who still follows the Rams in St. Louis but these cases seem pretty rare.
Per your list, that’s a Hell of a lot of respect for the Dream, he is underrated I’ll give you that but you have to put Shaq ahead of him for the number of championships and doing it with different teams…but Hakeem is arguably the best defensive Center ever.
But back to my Sonics, I think they are the Oilers of basketball…except Houston got a franchise back relatively quick and I don’t think Seattle has a prayer for a new team while David Stern is in power and the city(politicians not fans) seems content to let their “Center” rot.
Give us a thumbnail on how hot you are on your Mav’s going into next season. How does Shawn Marion brighten the Dallas picture?
Todd: I’m heating up about my team but don’t believe that they are a true contender this year.  The signing of Drew Gooden as both a PF and C is underrated and will be of great help this year.  If nothing else it will be nice to have a guy who scores in the post.  Marion is a good fit for a couple of reasons:  He played best under Nash, and Kidd is that kind of great passer and creator that Marion needs to thrive.  The Mavs just signed Tim Thomas today and they are looking more and more like the D’Antoni’s Suns from years past.  I’m guessing I get a 55 win season this year.  They’ll make things interesting in the playoffs but are still clearly outmatched to the Lakers.
Jon: Have we ever talked college hoops? Is there a school you root for in particular, would Texas be too obvious?
I actually like Duke…heh.  I would root for Texas over Duke but I admired the Duke teams of the 90s so much that I kinda still end of rooting for Coach K.  A lot of my fav NBA players that aren’t Mavs went to Duke too: Grant Hill, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, JJ Reddick and Carlos Boozer.  The guys that come out of Duke have an understanding and respect of the game that I like…they know how to play the game the right way and usually have great balance in their game.  You won’t see a guy like Marbury coming out of Duke.
Jon: True that, yeah you have to respect the Dukies. You must have really liked Reddick in college to name him a favorite NBA player.
What do you make of these Washington Huskies in the NBA? 10 years ago the only Seattle area products representing in the NBA were Doug Christie and Detlef Schrempf who went to UW via Germany obviously. Now we got Spencer Hawes, Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, recently drafted Jon Brockman from UW and Jason Terry, Marvin Williams, Aaron Brooks and Jamal Crawford also coming out of the 206. Am I forgetting some Gonzaga products? I don’t think many of them guys have stuck in the NBA, Adam Morrison WTF???
Todd: Marvin Williams is a pretty incredible athlete, he’s getting overshadowed a bit in Atlanta but I like his game a lot and have owned him the past 3 years in fantasy basketball.  It probably only takes a few stars making it to inspire young kids in the area and I’d expect the cycle to continue.  Adam Morrison had a really good summer league for the Lakers and I’m hoping he cracks the rotation for them this year.  Playing with Kobe everyday has got to improve your game right?
Jon: Let’s hope so, he’s an interesting character. I think the rain forcing kids into the gym and growing up in the Shawn Kemp/Gary Payton era is likely responsible for this recent explosion of northwest hoop talent.
Segwaying from “sport” to “game”, I recall Emailing you for some reason a year or two ago and getting a reply about you being away at some kind of Star Wars gaming tournament. Care to elaborate about this game, does it involve cards? Dice? Mana????
Sounds pretty nerdy, if you’d rather not share I understand.
Todd: Nah, it’s cool.  If I try and hide this I risk a John Anderson segway type thread popping up on gigposters.  I play a game called Star Wars Miniatures that is produced by Wizards of the Coast who put out Magic and D&D.  I’m actually going to the World Championships in a couple of weeks in Indianapolis.  The game involves maps, small painted figurines, stat cards, dice and dudes who will never get laid…ever.  I can’t really explain how to play it in an Email but it’s a good escape for me.
Jon: Beside hoops and this Star Wars game, is there any other huge hobby or interest you have that competes for your time outside of posters and family?
Todd: Well, I collect vintage sports cards for basketball and football.  There’s a company I send them to that grades them and seals them in clear plastic cases.  Some free time is spent looking for deals on ebay and going to card shows in the area.  I also see a ton of movies and used to be an assistant manager and projectionist at a theater in Austin right after high school.  That’s where I met my wife Kristie actually.  She was my boss and I enjoyed many a long night in the manager’s office (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).  Truthfully tho, she was very professional and I’m still scratching my head on how I landed her.
Jon: Heh,
Okay, off the top of your head, the best movie you’ve seen in the past 6 months or so and the shittiest movie you’ve seen in the past 6 months, in theater.
Todd: Parts of Drag Me to Hell where insanely cool but I can’t say I loved it.  The Hangover is probably the best thing I’ve seen recently and I liked Funny People just fine.  I wanna see Sam Rockwell in Moon too.
Jon: I hear there’s a sequel coming to the Hangover. That’s Hollywood though, if you make a ton of money you have to make a sequel regardless of whether or not there’s any plot to make another movie.
TV, what shows do you make time for? If you haven’t watched all 5 season of The Wire you need to get them and clear the schedule for a couple weeks. Greatest television series created by humans ever, just sayin.
Todd: Not much actually, I usually just have a dvd running in the background while I work.  I do watch: The Office, South Park and the reality trash fest Big Brother.  I like watching seasons on dvd, I just finished Flight of the Conchords this week and it was pretty good.  I’ll put The Wire on my netlfix.  You’re not the first to recommend it.  Oh, and I just finished watching Spaced on dvd (Edgar Wright wrote it with the guys from Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead) and it’s fantastic!  Watch it.
Jon: I like that Simon Pegg. I would also recommend Eastbound and Down, Deadwood, Mad Men of course and there’s a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm starting soon….Mad Men, Curb and football season, you guys can just stop coming back to this blog I wont be getting much work done this fall/winter…and Friday Night Lights will be back at some point.
So I’m the one man shipping department at D&L. I pack your boxes, I write goofy shit on them boxes. I’ve scrawled many a half baked nickname or alternate spelling of your name on these boxes but have found “Turd Slaughter” to be a pretty awesome nickname, it’s funny yet extremely tough. I think we might have something here, what say you?
Todd:LOL, yeah, I laughed when I saw that.  I like seeing the blank stares from the UPS drivers most tho.  I got one in today with “POOH Richardson” written on it.  I’m used to being called Toad so Turd is a welcome the change.  Can I be Turd Ferguson?
Jon: We don’t choose our names, sir. Take it from me, Doug Fister.
Back to posters, let’s take this interview out with a glimpse of the future. What do you have on the horizon sir? Anything art printy, out of the ordinary show posters in the offing?
Todd: Working on some Dead Weather designs for Rob Jones right now.  Also, more Ween prints later this month.  I’m pretty steady with making posters and haven’t really strayed from that too much since I started.
You’ve covered a lot of huge name bands in your time, is there still a short list of bands you’d sacrifice a pinky toe(with nail polish) to do a poster for? You can get fantastical and get into dead bands that will never play again too…
Todd:Ok, of dead musicians it would be Jimi hands down.  There are a ton of Jimi art prints out there but I’ll still probably do one at some point…not the same as a gigposter but it is a way to get it out of my system.  It worked for Jim Morrison and Johnny Cash.  Maybe I’ll try and do a Jimi print for this year’s Seattle Flatstock.  I think a Zappa poster would have been a great challenge.
Bob Dylan has to be really high on my list of living musicians. Also, Prince and Bowie.  Primus was a really important band to me in high school and I’d still like to do a print for them.  Also, Beck, PJ Harvey and Nick Cave.
Jon: I believe it was a year, maybe a year and a half ago I mentioned to you that I really like when you’re prints don’t include a solid black, suggested maybe laying off the black a scosh here and there. I believe your response was something like “Buzz off junior” yet since then you have done some of your best work sans the use of black ink:
I guess this was more of a statement than a question
Todd: Oh yeah, I remember that.  It was an Iron and Wine poster and you were right man.  I hadn’t thought about it until now.  I look at that poster now and am like, how much more black can this be?  And the answer is none, none more black.
Jon: Oh shit, forgot about this one, how do you and Rob Jones know each other? I know there’s an obvious Texas connection but I’m sitting here in Seattle and I don’t know half the fools making posters in this town….
Todd: I was submitting posters to the White Stripes at the same time he was doing their stuff and he offered to help.  He’s kind of been looking out for me ever since.  He is the wind beneath my wings Jon.  Honestly tho, he’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met and is painfully honest in his poster critiques.  That’s what I needed and he recognized that.  He’s just a very giving and generous guy, with his time, his thoughts and ideas.
Jon: Yep.
Alright internet that does it for this interview, I plum ran out of questions and I need to get my ass to work, I’m late. Hope you enjoyed yourself, I should have another interview  up in a few weeks..probably with Brad Klausen, we’ll see.

1 Response to “Todd Slater Interview PART 2”

  1. 1 Bruce September 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Thank you Mr. Smith for this great interview of this awesome artists! Thank you and Mr. Slater for taking time out of your schedule to do it!

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