Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Up All Night

Slaughter is a forgotten band.

The people who normally read and comment on this blog would know that Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum were in Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion, which was signed to Chrysalis, when a person called John Sykes ran the label (not the John Sykes that we all know from Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Thin Lizzy and Tygers Of Pang Tang fame), but what a bloody coincidence.

Anyway, Vincent’s diva like demands didn’t sit well with the label and they offered the rest of his deal to Slaughter and Strum and the rest is history.

For two albums, Slaughter ruled because the band could rock, could croon like Michael Bolton and they could also bring out the metal, with Mark Slaughter belting out a triple octave voice.

And they even had a 25 year old Michael Bay direct the music video clip for this song. In 5 years’ time, he would become well known with the first “Bad Boys” movie.

Up all night
Sleep all day

This is an anthem.

It still has the same power 30 plus years later as it did back in the day. We tried to live to this. Artists lived this life, they didn’t care about their brand, their endorsements, their promo on Morning Breakfast shows. They kept it mysterious. All to themselves. With a lot of groupies.

Which doesn’t even exist anymore in music, because the techies and the financers are now breaking the rules and living the rock star lifestyle. When Steve Jobs hit the stage at an Apple launch event, he was greeted with an applause that was normally reserved for rock stars. When Oprah or Ellen or Lettermen walked onto their sets, they had a bigger applause than rock stars.

And musicians just kept signing their rights away for another chance to record and to be in a state of never recouping with the labels, while the labels laughed their way to billions in profits. Those same label execs who contributed nothing to culture, fly private, while the artists who made them billions don’t. There is no way a techie would have given away their rights the same way the music artists did.

When evening comes
I am alive

I feel I am most productive at night. Sometimes its past midnight and I don’t want to sleep because I am in the zone.

Up all night, sleep all day.

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Fly To The Angels

Slaughter was one of those bands you either liked or didn’t like.

Bassist Dana Strum was a go to man when people needed band members. He recommended Randy Rhoads to Ozzy’s camp along with Jake E Lee.

Afterwards, he teamed up with Kiss outcast, Vinnie Vincent for his Invasion. After Mark Slaughter joined the band (replacing the original singer, Rob Fleischmann), the Invasion went full tilt on album number two, before Chrysalis pulled the plug on Vincent’s diva like demands and offered his record deal to Slaughter and Strum.

And for a 4 year period, Slaughter was slaying the scene, becoming a reliable platinum act in the process.

Nothing lasts forever and for Slaughter, the fall was quicker than the rise in a commercial sense. Guitarist, Tim Kelly had some law enforcement problems over trafficking narcotics and then tragically, he lost his life in a motor vehicle accident. These days, Strum is more than happy playing Motley covers with Vince Neil, while Mark Slaughter is still writing and dropping new music.

“Fly To The Angels” is not my favourite track from the debut album, but it captures the great song writing that Slaughter and Strum are capable of. There is an electric and acoustic version of the song and both are good.

It’s a sad song and Slaughters vocal commands attention with its power.

Heaven awaits your heart

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Twisted Sister and Slaughter

“Love Is For Suckers” was released in 1987. It was meant to be Dee Snider’s first solo album. Instead it was the final Twisted Sister album.

Twisted Sister had released three career defining albums in “Under The Blade”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” and “Stay Hungry”. Then came “Come Out And Play” and it didn’t do as well as “Stay Hungry” however that didn’t mean it was a shit album.

But hey, when something doesn’t meet the sales expectations, someone needs to be blamed. The tour also had a lot of cancellations and half empty arenas.

One of my favourite songs is “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)”. A simple riff in the key of Am kicks off the song before it morphs into an A5 Power Chord groove like Acca Dacca.

Who the hell are they to say
What we can do and how we can play

Anyone who has the money or the power or the authority, will always be looking to control others. It happens at home, in school, in the workplace and in society. Even in your friends circle you will have someone who is like a pseudo leader.

We got the numbers, yeah,
We got the might
We got the strength and
We got the right
We got the reason, yeah,
We got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant

I always saw the WE in the song, as the metal heads.

But by 1987, we had woken up and we needed something else lyrically. We had been hearing this same message for the last 6 years. Metallica nailed it a year later when they released an album about the corruption in the justice system. Black Sabbath Ozzy era came back into the public conversation because we liked to “smoke the sky” and there’s no better song for it then “Sweat Leaf”. Motley Corabi Crue wrote a killer track as well in 1994 called “Smoke The Sky”.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

It’s the war cry against the censorship that was taking place against heavy metal music. But the troops weren’t sure if they wanted to commit. A troop who was a rebel in 1983 and wasn’t gonna take it, had now graduated and is in college and are on their way to becoming part of the degree factory and another stat in the workforce.

“Tonight”, “Me And The Boys” with its “Summer Of 69” style riff and “Love Is For Suckers” are all strong songs.

“Hot Love” and “Yeah Right” are also cool and they round out the quality of the album for me.

The album had “Slippery When Wet” from Bon Jovi, “Girls Girls Girls” from Motley Crue, and “Whitesnake 1987” to compete against. All of those albums were in the Billboard Top 10. “Look What the Cat Dragged In” from Poison was just outside at number 13. “5150” was doing great business and “The Final Countdown” was also setting charts alight. To top it off, two 87 releases were slowly percolating lower down the charts getting ready to break through. Those albums being “Appetite For Destruction” and “Hysteria”.

Basically, a lot of competition for people’s ears and minds.

Going into 1995, Slaughter went from platinum darlings in 1992, to a band without a label. Their label Chrysalis Records was taken over by EMI and EMI didn’t have room for Slaughter.

How things change in three years?

The band also had issues within. Guitarist Tim Kelly was arrested on drug trafficking charges and had a legal mess up until 1997. A year later he would tragically die in a traffic accident. Main co-songwriter and bassist Dana Strum also injured his hand in a motorcycle accident so that delayed the writing and recording.

Lucky for the band a new label called CMC International was formed in 1991 and all they wanted to sign was hard rock and heavy metal artists.

So in 1995, Slaughter finally released “Fear No Evil” and no one even knew or cared. This is what its like when the record label doesn’t know how to compete in the current market place. Just because Grunge and Industrial Metal became mainstream it didn’t mean that hard rock and classic heavy metal had no audience. But the labels had no idea who and where the audience was. Most record shops would promote what was popular and only the ones who specialize in genres would have the rock and metal and even those stores would promote what was popular.

“Live Like There’s No Tomorrow” kicks off with an “Immigrant Song” vibe and wail, and you need to check out the solo section. And if you’re looking for a ballad like Slaughter, the opening track delivers a blistering speed metal song which I class as one of Slaughter’s best.

“Keep lookin’ forward don’t ever look back”, is one of the lines which stood out. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Mark Slaughter was thinking of Tim Kelly when he wrote the lines, “you’re livin’ everyday of your life like there’s no tomorrow”.

“Hard Times” is another song which is ignored but it shouldn’t be. Just press play to hear the intro riff which reminds me of “The Headless Cross” from Black Sabbath.

It also has cool lyrics like “so now you learn from the concrete and pavement, it’s hard to see through city lies” and those lines connected. Because failing leads to growth and the city lies shows how people are always scheming to get ahead to the detriment of others.

“Prelude / Outta My Head” is a great combination of an acoustical piece leading into a rocking track. These two songs wouldn’t light up the charts but they would become fan favorites. The riff is good and the lead break is excellent but the lyrics didn’t match the excellence.

“Unknown Destination” has a lead section which I dig and the lyrics about travellers from the East who don’t know where they’ll be tomorrow captures the gypsy life and maybe we all should be doing a bit of that. Instead we get up and get to our first destination, the office and then get to our next destination, home. In between, there will be other destinations like school drop off or pick up and getting some groceries from food outlets.

Anyway the messages I get from the two albums is don’t let people in power abuse your rights and don’t be afraid to fail, because if you want to live your life like no tomorrow you need to feel the concrete and pavement.

And both artists felt the concrete and pavement a few times in their careers.