In 1990 Slaughter hit radio, MTV and the U.S. touring circuit like a tornado- coming seemingly out of nowhere to roll through everything in its path and turn it upside down. Touring the world with bands that they loved, Kiss, Ozzy, and others meant the good times were just a song away , and their first hit single, “Up All Night” certainly fit into that mold, their second chart-topper, “Fly To The Angels” was more representative of the spirituality and awareness that goes into most of the band’s music and lyrics. But never were Slaughter more accurately represented that live onstage in front of their legions of devoted fans over the last ten years.
During this time filmed what became a platinum home video “From the Beginning” depicting the bands rather different and humorous lifestyle. To showcase the live prowess the band had garnered during their first tour, the band released “Stick It Live” a five song EP collection which entered the billboard charts and went gold as quickly as it was released. This was certainly a shock to the non-believers in the world.
Slaughter was contacted by Orion pictures and Record Producer Jimmy Iovine to write and record what would become the theme song for “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” and later made a video featuring clips from the film as well. This CD was also Gold.
The band went on to record the “WildLife”, it’s second record after a consistent schedule of touring behind the multi-platinum debut, “Stick It To Ya.” During this time the band was awarded the prestigious American Music Award in 1991. The “WildLife” CD entered the billboard charts the first week of release in the top ten at # 8 and was shortly their after certified platinum. The band also filmed what became a second gold home video documenting the making of the “WildLife” CD. The band embarked on a tour that would take them through their first challenging obstacle to overcome.
During the Ozzy Osbourne Tour (June 1992), Singer Mark Slaughter was diagnosed with a nodule on his right vocal chord that required surgical attention that was later performed in August 1992. The band would not perform again until Halloween of 1992 on the Dick Clark’s Halloween Special from Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA. The band continued to tour with the Damn Yankees bringing them midway through the 1993 season. After receiving the most media attention for a second CD effort, the band began to make plans to record their next Chrysalis release (Fear No Evil). The next series of challenges was soon to come. The writing of “Fear No Evil” in Las Vegas seemed to start out with a normal timber as all other records thus far. However midway into writing, guitarist Tim Kelly and then tour manager were arrested in Las Vegas by drug enforcement agents for a six plus year old charge involving narcotic trafficking. From this point through completion of the record, it was not known if Tim Kelly would ever tour with the band again. Soon to add gasoline to the fire was the small dirt bike accident within a half mile of Dana Strum’s house in Las Vegas, NV causing multiple broken bones including a left wrist and two fingers on the left hand (the hand he plays bass with). Once again the band was determined to continue on. Tim was now travelling coast to coast to record and meet with attorneys as Dana was going through rehabilitative therapy and the band embarked on a recording schedule starting in November of 1993.
The band played it’s first engagement on new years 1993 debuting material from the forthcoming CD at the Hurricane in Las Vegas at a meager price of $100 dollars per person. “Fear No Evil” was completed in February 1994 with the band touring with Damn Yankees from February on . After flying to New York to debut the album for the record company at the mid year point, the group soon realized that no one involved in the promoting of their early records was any longer employed by Chrysalis(EMI) records. The band spent four months negotiating their release from the label. Within three months after negotiating the release the band signed a deal with then newcomer CMC International records with a vision of bringing Hard Rock and Metal Music to the people again. Slaughter also made a Pacific Rim record deal with JVC Victor Records of Japan, marking a new world release period for Slaughter.
The band embarked on a tour that would take them through late 1995 that took them from the days of tour busses to adjusting to Chevy Astro Vans. The band never lost their humor or spirit during these trying times. The group also released “Rain On”, a five song import EP featuring Slaughter’s first cover song, Elton John’s “Saturday Nights Alright for Fighting.” The band then embarked on their first tour of Japan. The tour was a long overdue overwhelming success. Slaughter had to perform with Vince Neil guitarist “Dave Marshall”, (Tim Kelly’s long time friend) in Japan due to Tim’s ongoing legal problems. Many seeing the band during these trying times felt as thought the group itself was beginning to perform better as a unit ironically. By this time Tim Kelly’s legal problems had ended and the band was now bound and determined to continue it’s pursuit of good time rock and roll.
Returning from a rather long tour, the band begun to make plans to record “Revolution”, the bands fourth full length effort and first enhanced CD. With musical climates changing the band embarked on a bit of a psychedelic approach still maintaining a good time spirit with often more challenging songs to be recorded. The record was released with an in store promotion campaign across major cities in America with the band signing copies of all of its catalog to date. Slaughter then embarked on it’s first of what would become many package tours, this time with “Motley Crue” singer Vince Neil who had performed with Tim, Mark and Blas at a Las Vegas charity engagement earlier that year. (Ironically the band had met a talented young sound man/guitarist from Orlando, Florida named Jeff Blando who would later become the fourth member of Slaughter after the tragic passing of Tim Kelly.) The band began to feel an upswing in audience attendance and peoples determination to let hard rock live.
The band continued to tour with Alice Cooper, Dokken and Warrant on it’s second package tour showing even more promise and teaching the band that sticking to their guns was the right thing to do. After playing their last headlining date in Detroit, MI (November 1997) the band returned to their respective homes and planned a new live release to encompass performances of material spanning the years.
“Eternal Live” was the band’s 6th record, and their first full-length live release is Slaughter at it’s best- live on stage. Recorded in the summer of 1997 at two of their most exciting concerts – one in Mexico in front of more than 20,000 fans, and one in their hometown, Las Vegas, “Eternal Live” captures the excitement of a Slaughter performance and showcased 12 songs off their earlier albums. Sadly, this album must also serve as a tribute to original Slaughter guitarist Tim Kelly (1963-1998)-RIP, who was killed in a car accident. “Eternal Live” was Tim’s farewell performance, “explains bassist and producer of all Slaughter albums, Dana Strum.” And I think he’d be pleased that his last recordings were not just in the studio, but were with our fans there too.” Uncertain if the band would continue or tour after Tim’s passing, the only logical replacement was Jeff Blando who was described by late guitarist Tim Kelly as “One Hell of a player.”
The band rehearsed with Jeff Blando during the last week of May 1998 with no other goal in mind than to continue and make this work. The bands first performance with out Tim Kelly was in Salt Lake City in June 1998. The warmth and support of the audience was nothing short of overwhelming. The band several gigs later realized that the fans would rather feel and hear the music than see it fade away. This marked a noted positive change for all of the members, with Blando being received with open arms. Drummer Blas Elias adds, “You can’t top our fans. They stick with us through the best and worst of times. We keep in touch with them all via the internet and they never let us down.” According to front man Mark Slaughter, “It’s been the love and support of our fans that helped us carry on after Tim died. And we make this solemn promise to them that as long as they are there, so will Slaughter be there.”
The band continued touring on there self named “1998 “Rock Never Stops” Tour playing to as many as 16,000 fans the likes of which Slaughter had not seen in a great many years.
This would become a positive turning point for the group with nothing but promise ahead of them. All of the members reflect that Slaughter has enjoyed plenty of “BIG TIME” success in their 10 year career. Five songs on their albums were #1 MTV videos. Seven of the songs were in rotation on AOR radio. Like any group who has known the thrill of selling millions of records around the world , filling large arenas and having their faces plastered on magazine covers, the members of Slaughter have felt the pressures of maintaining that success. “Five years ago , it’s all we could think about,” says Dana, “but then losing Tim and seeing music come and go over the past few years has taught us a lot about the music business and has allowed us to re-evaluate what we’re doing.” Blas admits, “From this point on our only priority as a band is to make the best records and perform the best live shows that we can for as long as we can.”
Las Vegas, Nevada / May 1999 : Slaughter had completed their seventh CD to date entitled “Back to Reality.”(CMC/BMG RECORDS) That marked the first joint writing effort involving all four band members and the most challenging recording schedule to date. (With Production of the CD beginning only in March of 1999) During this time the band also filmed for VH-1 “Where Are They Now”, the show aired Summer 1999.
During the summer of 1999 it was interesting to note that while on it’s own (SELF-NAMED) “Rock Never Stops Tour” (which included : TED NUGENT and NIGHT RANGER) Slaughter did more press (including “Forbes” and “Various TV and Radio Shows”, but also had the “#1 Track” on the “VH-1” CD “Power Ballads” with “Fly To The Angles” and “Up All Night” became the “#1 Track” on Rhino Records “Hard Hitters” meaning that Slaughter had Never released more Product in any year of the GROUP’S history.
VH-!,MTV and Major Film Companies have gone to SLAUGHTER requesting that “Songs, Sounds and Images” be included in releases for 2003 and beyond.
Slaughter took part in the hugely successful summer 2000 “Poison, Cinderella, Dokken and Slaughter” tour proving that rock is stil alive and well.
In 2001 Slaughter was a part of the “Voices of Metal” tour featuring Vince Neil of Motley Crue, Ratt, and Vixen.
Slaughter has shown that with perseverance and sheer talent, a band can survive and win over the support of fans , regardless of what others may say about the quality of their music. What’s most important is that their music is still here and the vast majority of critics who panned them in the past are not, and that’s as good as gold.
In summer 2003 Capital records re-released the first two Slaughter CD’s “Stick it to Ya” and the “Wildlife” featuring 24 bit digital re-mastering, additional photos, bonus tracks and liner notes written by Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum.
In April of 2004, Slaughter released a DVD-A entitled “Then and Now” that features 12 songs and 50 rare photos of the band over the years. Slaughter will also have a DVD that features all of the music videos and behind the scenes footage during the 2004 season”. “Check the SLAUGHTER TOUR DATES PAGE for SLAUGHTER TOUR DATES
In 2005 Slaughter toured the USA between February and November.
Here’s to “Slaughter”! Here’s to over a decade of Rock n Roll and the Love Of Music.