MARK SLAUGHTER ON NEW SOLO ALBUM, TOURING STORIES (KISS, IRON MAIDEN), AND THE END OF THE VINNIE VINCENT INVASION (AUDIO)
Decibel Geek podcast hosts Chris Czynszak and Aaron Camaro recently interviewed Mark Slaughter for a talk about his new solo album, Slaughter, touring with KISS, and his days working with now-reclusive guitarist Vinnie Vincent in the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. A few excerpts follow:
On the autobiographical nature of his new solo album, 'Reflections in a Rearview Mirror:'
'As records go by in all of our lives, they really are the soundtrack of our lives and that's really what I was trying to do with this record; to make a record that is not only a soundtrack to where people would identify with it, but I used a lot of sounds that were part of my life. My dog is snoring on the first track. My mom, who is no longer with me and my father who is no longer with me are on the record.'
On the decision to put out his first solo album and the reaction from Slaughter bandmate Dana Strum:
'I really didn't get into it real heavy. I was just recording and recording and then I had [producer] ) Michael (Wagener) do it and I said 'Y'know what, I'm gonna put some stuff out' and he kinda discounted it just as 'Y'know, whatever.' He recorded a record with Vince (Neil), you know he's doing stuff. So, it's me just being an artist.'
On memories of a summer shed tour that Slaughter, promoting their debut album 'Stick it to Ya', opened for KISS in 1990:
'There's something about the air at nighttime in the summertime. You've got your beer, you've got your friends; it is magical and I miss that. A week before we got back with them (KISS), Stevie Ray Vaughan had that helicopter crash. It was Alpine Valley. Literally, that was a week before. So, I get up onstage and you could see the charred lawn where he died. Right before 'Fly to the Angels' I said, 'Look, I'd like to dedicate this next song to Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is 'Fly to the Angels' and the whole place, 20,000 people... there wasn't one lighter that wasn't in the sky. I still get goosebumps to this day where I go 'Wow.' It was almost like a religious experience at that point.'
On his first discussion with Gene Simmons when Slaughter showed up at pre-tour rehearsals in Lubbock, TX in 1990:
' It was so funny. Gene, the first day, he said 'Listen, we are not going to discuss Vinnie Vincent ever on this whole tour.' And I said 'Okay, Gene.' And then 5 minutes later he goes, 'You know what really bothers me (laughs)....I think we were both were in agreement that Vinnie's a very talented guy but stood in his own way.'
On Vinnie Vincent being misunderstood as just a shredding guitarist from the 80's:
'I'll never forget when we were on tour with Iron Maiden and I was talking guitar player talk with him and I go 'I love Jeff Beck' and he starts playing this Jeff Beck stuff and I'm like 'you've got to be kidding me' and the next thing you know Dave Murray and all the guys from Iron Maiden and their techs are standing on the outside of our dressing room watching him play this stuff and going 'Mate, why don't you play like that?' and Vinnie goes, 'Because it's boring.' He was just trying to be recognized with the shredders.'
On the strain in the studio regarding direction for Vinnie Vincent Invasion followup (and Mark's debut), 'All Systems Go:'
'I sang that record twice. I sang with Vinnie the way the he wanted me to do it and I sang with Dana after Vinnie left.'
On the rumors over many years that Vinnie Vincent was kicked out of his own band:
'I had to sign a Leaving Member Agreement with Chrysalis as well as Dana and Bobby due to the fact that Steve Stevens left Billy Idol. Jeff Aldrich, who is the A&R guy for Chrysalis said 'We cannot afford to lose our talent if these people leave. We need to have them sign an agreement that they will record 4 songs and we will have the option to pick up their option under the premise of the record agreement that was done between the artist they're signed under. In other words, in Vinnie Vincent's record deal; when we were done in 1988, when I walked off the stage and never saw him again, we had to record 4 songs for the label which we did in 1988, going into 89 on New Years Eve we were in the studio; Tim, Blas, Dana and I. 'Fly to the Angels' is one of those songs. We do the songs, we give it to Bud Carr, who managed Kansas. We take it to the record label and they go, 'We're definitely picking up Mark's option.' They had already dropped Vinnie because they had disagreements. They didn't like him and he didn't like them and that was done. They, basically, by picking up my option, gave me his record deal.'
'Vinnie refused to do radio interviews. He wouldn't walk up a set of steps. He said 'Is there an elevator? I'm not walking up those steps' It was a long set of steps and maybe he would've been too winded. I don't know what the issue was but I walked I walked up those steps and I did the interview. I was out there meeting people and I was shaking hands and I was doing what arists like Bonnie Raitt, who's a heritage artist, who's done this her whole frickin' life of meeting people and being an entertainer, never stopped doing.'
'I called Mike (Bone) [Chrysalis Records president] at one point when Vinnie and Dana got into it and Vinnie pulled me down, with his manager at the time, and said 'Are you gonna be in my band or are you gonna go with Dana?' I said I'd rather be in the gutter with Dana.'
'In Sacramento, Dana and I were at the bar during the day at soundcheck having a soda and MTV was on and the 'Love Kills' video came on. I looked up and I just said 'Can you fuckin' believe that?' it said 'The Vinnie Vincent Invasion (featuring Mark Slaughter).' I was like 'Wow, okay.' I knew I had the interest of the label at that point. I'll never forget that Dana said 'And of all fucking times, this is the most publicity that the band's got and it's over tomorrow.'
On Tracii Guns being a candidate for Slaughter:
'He called me when we were done; when Vinnie was over. He said 'You know how I play, you know how good I am.' And I said 'I do know, Tracii. But you know here's milk and cookies which is me and Mr. vampire Hollywood. You know one of these things is not like the other. Not saying that there's anything wrong with that but there is a little bit of a different image so to speak. In my mind I was thinking more of just a guys-next-door band and not trying to get too deep into an image.'
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The Decibel Geek podcast, started in 2011, is a weekly hard rock and heavy metal music and discussion show. Covering rock and metal bands from the late 60's to today, the show features rotating themes including Year in Review, Radio Sucks Radio Show (music-based), Interviews, Fresh Blood (upcoming bands) and many more.
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