Listen Up: Modern Slang

Modern Slang includes (from left)  Scotty Ogden, Ryan Saucier, Kris Sharp, J. C. King and Ben Morrell.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Modern Slang includes (from left) Scotty Ogden, Ryan Saucier, Kris Sharp, J. C. King and Ben Morrell.

It's not modern slang, but "scram" was the message to musicians who weren't up to snuff to be in Modern Slang.

When they were looking for a bass player, singer and drummer, guitarist Scotty Ogden, 21, and fellow guitarist Kris Sharp, 22, tried to find people who were creative, dedicated and wouldn't -- in modern slang -- flake or not show up to jam, Ogden said.

Ben Morrell, a Rhodes College junior political science major, answered one of their ads seeking a bass player. He plans to go to law school. "That's definitely where I'm gearing towards, but I'm not really in any particular hurry to get there," he said.

He liked what he heard when he jammed with the group. "Listening to the influences of these guys -- it's old school, but it's not stuck in the past. ... You can still move forward," said Morrell, 21. "I like that balancing dichotomy."

"He knows what to do as a bass player," said singer J. C. King. Morrell can "keep it simple."

King also answered an ad to become a member of Modern Slang. He grew up singing gospel and later hip-hop, neo soul and rhythm and blues. "But I like classic rock," he said.

He was hooked after he heard one of Modern Slang's recordings. "They had an old sound to them. It sounded very Lynyrd Skynrd. I'm like, 'You know, I'd like to see what else they have.' ... If it sounds like old school -- even if just came out yesterday -- as long as it's good, I'm gonna love it."

"I liked his voice," Ogden said. "He has a very warm voice, has some soul in it."

Ryan Saucier, 23, was enlisted to play drums. He got points when he played one of Modern Slang's songs. "He actually did this drum roll before the chorus and it just blew my mind," Sharp said.

Ogden and Sharp formed Modern Slang about 21/2 years ago when they were at Houston High School. They wanted a blues rock band in the vein of Aerosmith -- bands that "fused the rock with the blues," Ogden said.

Not all the band members originally wanted to play the instruments they now play.

Sharp wanted to be a drummer. "But my mom told me, 'No. Too loud,'" he said. "I was gonna start playing bass and she was like, 'No.' Then I was up in my room one day and she called me down. Stevie Ray Vaughan was on WKNO. The Montreal concert or something. I saw that and I was hooked."

"The reason I got into bass was I was bidding on eBay for an electric guitar and the bass," Morrell said. "I lost the auction for the electric guitar, but I won the one for the bass and I said, 'Hey, why not?'"

Modern Slang won first place in the Mid-South Musicians for Le Bonheur battle of the bands April 23 at the Hi-Tone Cafe. They beat out bands with a smoke machine, strobe lights and a fan that blew the lead singer's hair around, King said.

"We were up against a bunch of theatrics," he said, adding: "We got up and just did pure rock and that was it and we won."

Listen Up spotlights area performers. Michael Donahue can be reached at 529-2797.

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Modern Slang

The band performs at 9 p.m. May 6th at The Stage Stop at 2951 Cela Road. Cover: $5. Call: 382-1577. They also will perform May 10th at Brister Fest at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park. Bands will perform 3 to 10 p.m. Cover is $6. Call: 272-2722.

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