Turn on, Tune in, Cop out
With Scarlett Quinn he runs Electroswing Project Kitten & The Hip,
Trombone Player and Singer with Fatboy Slim, Freak Power, Microgroove to name a few. Toured and worked with Debbie Harry, Elvis Costello, The The, The Rolling Stones, Carla Bley, Hugh Masekela, Ferry Ultra & Rob Hardt to name a few.
In 1977, he moved to Edinburgh, Scotland on his own, and there joined the regimental band of the 1st battalion the Royal Scots as a bass trombonist. He also got his first taste of minor stardom whilst standing in for the lead singer of Northern Irish R&B band Otis and the Elevators.
In 1983 after leaving the army, he attended the National Centre for Orchestral Studies, after which he joined the jazz orchestral collective Loose Tubes. Over the next few years he was the bass and tenor trombonist of choice for the likes of George Russell, Carla Bley, Andrew Poppy, El Sonido de Londres, Billy Jenkins, Django Batesand Andy Sheppard. During this time he also worked as a session musician recording and arranging for The The, Fairground Attraction, Julia Fordham and the Rolling Stones.
After a gig at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London with Loose Tubes, Slater was approached by Rob Partridge, the then head of the Antilles Label on Island Records. At this time Ashley and a fellow loose tuber, John Eacott had also been singing and writing songs for their funk band project called Microgroove. Their USP was an electric tuba played by Oren Marshall. They released one album called The Human Groove in 1988.
In 1993, shortly after Norman Cook, a.k.a. Fatboy Slim, had remixed one of Microgroove’s tunes, (“Walkin'”) they teamed up to form Freakpower and went on to have a top three hit single in the UK with “Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out”. Freakpower released two albums, Drive Thru Booty and More of Everything for Everybody, also on Island records. As Cook’s Fatboy career took off, Slater also went his own way and released music through Skint under the alias Dr. Bone. He also contributed vocals to and topline EDP’s Sweet Music.
He has also recorded with Dimitri from Paris and Rui da Silva and has contributed vocals to Fatboy Slim’s albums, and Krafty Kuts. After a break of about five years from playing the trombone Slater was lured back by Gary Crosby from the Jazz Jamaica All Stars. Since then he has toured with Sam Rivers, Hermeto Pascoal, Roy Nathanson’s Jazz Passengers, Hugh Masekela, Dub Pistols and his own band BigLounge. He also recently appeared with Elvis Costello and Debbie Harry at the London Jazz Festival.
In 2011, Slater formed an electro-Swing act called Kitten & The Hip, featuring his partner Scarlett Quinn on lead vocals. Kitten & The Hip featured in the auditions for The X Factor 2014. The judges decided to unanimously vote Scarlett through as an independent contestant, and she got as far as boot camp.