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Slaughter – Mark Slaughter

Slaughter – Mark Slaughter

by Lori Smerilson Carson

Remember when you stayed “up all night” and would “sleep all day”? Well, Slaughter fans, you have an opportunity to reminisce and relax with an amazing live show that Slaughter is taking on tour across the U.S. This world-renown extraordinarily talented band consisting of co-founders Lead Vocalist Mark Slaughter and Bassist Dana Strum, Lead Guitarist Jeff Bland and current Drummer Will Hunt will be bringing all of the hits that originally started with the band’s debut double platinum album Stick It to Ya released in 1990. They’ve sold five million records worldwide and are recipients of the American Music Award in 1991 for Favorite New Artist, and they never slowed down.

Catching up with Slaughter, he revealed some details about the show, a bit about other projects and what fans can look forward to.

SFL Music: You’re are on tour and you’re going all over. Las Vegas, California, West Virginia, Ohio. Tell us what fans can look forward to with this show?

Mark Slaughter: Well, first and foremost it’s the songs that people know and love. We’re not running away from where we came from. The most important thing I think is we’ve all realized it’s music that, we’re now a classic rock band. So, we’re not running away from it. We enjoy playing that type of music and certainly if people like that and they like to have a good time and kind of forget their problems for a minute, that’s what the band’s about.

SFL Music: You guys also have a box set promotion?

Slaughter: Yeah. Kiss My Wax records. We have a couple different ones that we’ve done. The first one we did is FEAR NO EVIL which is out in ‘95 and we just redid it. They’re doing a (THE) WILD LIFE now, so it’s a vinyl collectors thing. If a persons into vinyl, than they will certainly get it.

SFL Music: What prompted that idea?

Slaughter: Well, it’s a couple guys that are really into the band, (Jason Herndon and Joe Lalich) and they had this record. They did a company that released Ace Frehley stuff and they did such a good job that the fans are like ready to do more. These guys reached out to us and they did a phenomenal job. It’s not a money-making thing. It’s actually more of a time capsule thing, and I really appreciate the fact that they care about it that way.

SFL Music: They are KISS MY Wax records?

Slaughter: Yeah, it’s odd. I mean, we’re actually going into a realm of what used to be you know, cassettes and CD’S and albums and the only thing that’s really survived at all and physical, is of all things, vinyl. Who would have thought that that would be the surviving of the products?

SFL Music: Why do you think that is? Other musicians have said it’s the album covers and the whole experience and the sound. What do you think?

Slaughter: It’s a warmer sound if it’s actually mastered properly which we actually remastered for these, but ultimately, it’s a warmer sound. Yes, it is and the artwork is not shrunk down to a thumbnail. I think that’s you know, one of the things that I used to really get a kick out of it when I listened to records as a kid, and I’m sure we’re the majority of the people that are buying it, and some of the young kids are also getting into vinyl because it’s just kind of an experience that you just, you’re not going anywhere when you put on an album, and that’s kind of a nice thing. Digital is really a squashed you know, the sound is actually squashed and if you’re looking at it on a scope, it actually is distortion. So, that’s part of the reason why a lot of people are going back to it is they’re realizing it doesn’t have that distortion in the vinyl.

SFL Music: People may not realize you and Dana have produced other bands back in our day, there were some bands that you helped get started. Are you still doing any of that? I know you both are crazy busy.

Slaughter: Yeah. I worked with a band called Fuzzrd. I did a couple tracks with them. I did Seven Angels, but the thing is with all of it, it really is just a visual thing. There’s no physical product, so if you really don’t know it’s there, you don’t know (he laughed). You know look, I love making music. I love just to get new music and new talent out there and I’m a supporter of it. In fact, some of the shows that we’re doing is with local talent because I think that some of these bands need a shot.
SFL Music: So, when you’re playing the different places that you’re going, you’re hooking up with talent in those cities?

Slaughter: Absolutely! Look, I don’t know how you can really help people out. The only thing that we can really do is try and get these bands some exposure. Really that’s about all we can do in the help side of it because the industry as we know it, is completely changed. We’re ultimately defying that. All of us that have been doing this for like ten million years, but you know, I love it. I do it whether there’s money or not because that’s what I do. An artist makes art. That’s pretty much it.

SFL Music: I think we talked about this when we were younger. You started in high school in bands and choruses and stuff like that. What actually attracted you to music? What made you chose music as a career?

Slaughter: I think it was the most natural thing. Some people just are attracted to sports because they have a gift of it. It’s not my gift, but they have that and I think if you can find your gift and share it you know, that’s a key point of God gives you. What you do with your gift is your gift to God and you just try to go out there and make people smile and you know, try to make the best of what you have. I think that’s the key point with it is I discovered it. I knew I loved music and just having a love for it is probably the most important part, and it just seemed like a likely road.

SFL Music: Well, it definitely was the perfect choice.

Slaughter: Well, it’s been good and I’ve been very blessed to be able to do it a lifetime for a business. As we all know, it’s a very strange business we’re all in. That’s for sure.

SFL Music: That is true, but you are extremely talented. What would you say is the secret for the success that you and Dana have had with Slaughter for so long?

Slaughter: I think that we never treated it like a talent show. We were always treating it like the songs. The songs and having it connect with people emotionally. You know, ‘cause really what it boils down to for all of us is, you write songs and you try to connect those songs to people and that they relate to it. So, inevitably, I think that’s what we did. We wrote songs that people, they got it. It became part of their DNA through radio and TV, etc, and that’s to me the success is that people really let our music be part of their life.

SFL Music: What would you recommend to new or up and coming bands?

Slaughter: I’d say keep it believable and do things that you believe yourself and that really represent you as an artist and as a human being because if you start doing something that’s really not you, you’re not going to be happy with it. So, I think more importantly is to always do stuff that makes you happy. That people can relate to. That if it’s believable for you, it’s gonna be believable to the listener and the person who’s going to your concert to see you.

SFL Music: That’s great advice. Was there anything else new that you guys are working on? New projects?

Slaughter: Well, I always write music. I’ve done a couple solo records. When these guys were out doing stuff with Vince Neil, I was out you know, doing shows or doing music of my own here in the studio.

SFL Music: For Reflections In A Rear View Mirror and Halfway There?

Slaughter: Yes, yes. You know again, it’s not a money grab. It’s just something that you just do because you like to make music.

SFL Music: What inspires you when you write your songs?

Slaughter: I think ultimately, it’s just life. It’s things that you go through. It’s things that you know, if you have the feeling or wow, that’s really profound or something really hits you a certain way, usually there’s a song hiding in it. So, I always kind of keep my radar up with something that really means something as opposed to just, I’m gonna write a song you know, to have something that catches my ear or eye, that represents.

SFL Music: I noticed on Halfway There you were writing that for your son?

Slaughter: I wrote stuff for my son and I wrote stuff for a lot of people who are my age who you know, have seen life. It’s really difficult as we all get older and lose our family and you just have this, I want to say it’s a reality mortality, but it’s more of just an awareness, and I think that’s probably the best way of putting it. I think there’s a lot more awareness in the newer music that I’ve done. Look, I’m not gonna run away from “Up All Night” and the party stuff that we’ve done over the years. It’s nice to escape a little bit, but there’s always still the reality of what life really dishes us.

SFL Music: There’s also the one song I think you wrote for your mom (“Not Here”)?

Slaughter: Yeah, yeah.

SFL Music: My dad passed away, so when I heard that, I was in tears. I thought, oh my God, this is beautiful!

Slaughter: I’m sorry. It’s kind of wallowing in your own, again; the hardest thing is to let go and you know, they’re not suffering anymore. The hardest thing is to let go and I think it’s just that whole thing of everything you knew and the person that knew you the most is gone. That ah ha moment is just like wow! Ok so. Now what?

SFL Music: I understand completely. Is there any new music on the horizon with you or with slaughter?

Slaughter: I’m always writing. Lately I’ve been working with a legendary artist Mark Farner who’s from the band Grand Funk Railroad, and we’ve been doing some writing and re-records and that has been such a blessing to get to know Mark and to hear his golden voice and to get to know that generation before me of talent, and he is just incredibly talented and it’s nice to be able to stand behind him and you know, throw some gasoline on the fire so people recognize how good this guy really is.

SFL Music: How did that come about?

Slaughter: We met each other through the rock and roll fantasy camp. I think it was 2007, 2008. We just kind of kept in touch, and he went through life, his son had an accident. He’s had a heart attack. He died and came back, and I think we both just realized that it’s better to get music out there that time stamps this life of ours that can resonate to people when we’re gone. I think that’s really what we’re trying to do with his music is bring that forward.

SFL Music: Was there anything else you guys are doing?

Slaughter: We’re going to keep trying to improve our show as a touring band. We’re going to visit where we came from. We’ll probably get into some writing with everybody together at some point. I’m kind of busy with Mark in between you know, doing all this. So, I’m kind of focused on that right now to get that finished, but yes, we are gonna do more music. We are gonna get more stuff out there and you know, nobody knows what’s in the cards for any of us, but I just know that we certainly have enjoyed the ride thus far and we certainly want to make sure that everybody is you know, they were there for us in the beginning. We’re still there for them right now and we’re very thankful. So, we’re just gonna keep it real and keep going.

SFL Music: Was there anything else you wanted to add?

Slaughter: Just looking forward to the show. It’s just gonna be nice to see some friends I haven’t seen in a long time. Everybody’s kind of coming out of their Covid huts and we can smile for a minute.

SFL Music: Was that tough for you?

Slaughter: Yeah, I mean, it’s tough for everybody. You get in this isolation. I started doing podcasts and talking with people. There’s other ways of social, but it’s not like really connecting with people face to face or you know, same thing with music. You can tell that when people go to a show that they really release a lot tension and some of the other things that they’re really you know, kind of bringing them down, and I think that’s one thing from our genre is that that music really was uplifting. The whole genre to me.

SFL Music: That’s true. I never thought about that.

Slaughter: Well, it’s very optimistic. That’s the thing that you know, in this world, and we’re all looking at the news and just as we’re peeling off our Covid masks and going what’s going to happen next? It’s crazy, but what can you do? You can just look at it and you can say, ok so, this is what’s going on, but for this time, let’s forget about it for a minute and let’s smile. Have a good time.

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