Simon Tam of The Slants. Ariel Zambelich/NPR hide caption toggle caption Ariel Zambelich/NPR Simon Tam of The Slants. Ariel Zambelich/NPR Warning: This episode has explicit language, for unavoidable and soon-to-be obvious reasons. Growing up in California, Simon Tam had some tough moments. He was Chinese-American, and in middle school, kids called him all kinds of racial slurs. Those moments stuck with him. Simon grew up, and eventually started a band that was beginning to take off.