Sunday Old School: Slaughter
Band Photo: Slaughter (?)
Slaughter was (and still is for some) a guilty pleasure. A band spawned from the eighties, Mark Slaughter and company enjoyed major, but brief success with both “heavy” tracks as well as the all important power ballad. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always Slaughter!
Formed in Las Vegas, Slaughter came in at the height of the glam metal movement. Mark Slaughter (vocals/guitar) and Dana Strum (bass) from Vinnie Vincent Invasion started Slaughter and recruited guitarist Tim Kelly and drummer Blas Elias. In 1990 they released the album “Stick It to Ya,” yielding immediate success with singles “Up All Night”, “Fly to the Angels”, and “Spend My Life.” Soon after they recorded the song “Shout it Out” for the movie soundtrack, “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,” once again receiving heavy airplay on the radio and video plays on MTV.
The beginning for the video “Up All Night” checklist reads: SMOKY BACK ALLEY – check. BURNING BARREL – check. HOT GIRLS EXITING LIMO – check. LOTS OF JUMPING TO INTRODUCE THE BAND – check. After “Up All Night”, did Slaughter really need to shoot the video “Fly to the Angels” in an airplane hanger? This has to be a classic “Just let the band making money do what they want” moment. Next someone asked, “Hey, can we have the guitar players do solos with clouds in the background?” A quick “NO” was heard, just kidding, that made it in too.
The band released their follow-up, “The Wild Life” in 1992 and followed up with a tour. After another successful record (certified gold) and tour, the band went back into the studio to record their third album. The year 1993 was not kind to Slaughter. Tim Kelly was busted for dealing drugs, Dana Strum was injured in a motorcycle accident, and EMI records dropped the band. Their third album, “Fear No Evil” was eventually released in 1995 with CMC records, (an ironic title given the circumstances). After Kelly’s “legal” troubles finally ended, it was 1997 and the band released their next album, “Revolution.” Critically the album failed, as did ALL glam rock from this time.
I always pictured one block off Sunset Boulevard, a church basement with thick, bitter coffee brewing in one corner, heavy layer of cigarette smoke, and a circle of chairs in the middle:
“Hi, my name is Mark Slaughter and I was a famous rock star just two years ago and now no one likes my music”
(Everyone in the room) “Hi Mark”
(Next person stands up) “Hi my name is Bret, and like Mark…”
I’ve digressed. You get the idea. Unfortunately for Slaughter, it would get worse before it got better.
In 1998 Tim Kelly was killed in an auto accident. Guitarist Jeff Blando replaced Kelly as they worked on their next album. In 1999 the band came back with “Back to Reality,” and began partnering with many other rock acts from their genre starting with the Rock Never Stops Tour in the summer of 1999 featuring Ted Nugent and Night Ranger. In 2001 Slaughter, along with Vince Neil, Ratt, and Vixen was featured as part of the Voices of Metal tour.
Slaughter continues to tour behind the support of their die-hard aging “Stick It to Ya” fan base and of course Japan, which apparently can’t get enough of Mark Slaughter and his vocal range. Still today, it’s hard not to get a little excited when I stumble upon “Up All Night” on VH1 or on the radio, if for no other reason: I know Gene Simmons is kicking himself for not writing this song for Kiss
“Up All Night”
“Fly to the Angels”
“Spend My Life”
“Shout it Out”
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