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For Love of Music-
Spending Some Time With Slaughter
by Debbie Seagle

 Back to Part I

RNW:  There are so many really young fans that are growing up now with the whole rap-core rock scene that have never seen a big rock show.  I think just turning them on to something like that and bringing that kind of a thing back . . . I mean, I know logistically that’s an expensive tour and its hard to put a show like that together again, but I think that definitely there’s always a place for something like that and I’d like to see something like that come back, you know?

Blas:  Yeah, a lot of kids are exposed to that now.  They’re going to see KISS with their parents and they’ve got, obviously a huge production.  Poison and Cinderella both have a pretty good sized production and they’ve got pyro and explosions and green lights and all that.  Dokken and ourselves, we’re kind of stripped down to the bones, you know?  But we make up for it in energy.

RNW:  Oh yeah!  There’s always something to be said for that.

Mark:  There’s only so much you can do in the time that we have to do things in.

RNW:  How long is your set?

Mark:  Thirty minutes.

Blas:  We cheat - 33  (all laugh).

RNW:  You know, if you were to take 35 I don’t think anyone would complain, and I say "go for it."  Now you mentioned KISS, and you guys have opened for them before, right?

Mark:  Right.

RNW:  Like everybody has in their long career . . . but I’m taking this informal poll because it seems like every single rocker that I interview, whether they are from the 70s, 80s or 90s, they all list KISS as an influence.  So can I mark you guys down in that column too?  I mean, was there anyone who wasn’t influenced by KISS?

Mark:  Well, you know what?  Its not just KISS, it was the whole rock and roll thing.  I mean, Blas was influenced by Ted Nugent, I listened to, well I don’t really have one specific person who influenced me.  Its a mecca of people, various things, so that’s kind of how it is for me anyway.  So we all have our different influences, but rock and roll itself is definitely a lifestyle. 

RNW:  Speaking about lifestyle, you all are survivors.  You’ve been in the business for quite a while.  What do you think was the key to your survival?  We’ve seen an awful lot of people come and go. 

Blas:  I think a big part of it, although it doesn’t sound very rock and roll, is that we didn’t have severe drug and alcohol problems in our band.  And I think that we were able to work through any kind of problems that would arise in a rational manner because we were clear headed enough to work things out.

RNW:  You know, that’s not really rock and roll, but that’s really cool.

Blas:  Well, at least we’ve been playing the whole time.  One of the things we hear the most from people when they see us on these tours is "We’re glad you’re back.  Its so great to see you guys have gotten back together."  They forget  this whole period of time we’ve actually been working.

Mark:  We’ve had three records out.

Blas:  It true and it makes us happy that people are finally actually getting to hear them.  Its a little frustrating knowing we put so much work into all these other record tours and nobody basically knew anything about it.  But I think for us going through that, and like I said, being clear headed enough to go through that, pay those kind of dues, now I think we have things to draw on for new songs and records and experiences that we’ve had, I think, have been made much stronger.

RNW:  Definitely.  You’re here, you’re healthy, you’re making good music, and that’s the cool part about it, you know?  Just think about how many beautiful musicians we've lost because they didn’t come through that.  That’s really sad.

Now, your group faced the one thing that all bands dread, that’s the death of a band member.  (Guitarist Tim Kelly was killed in an automobile accident in 1998).  Can you tell me a little bit about how you guys got through that and how you were able to regroup and move on?

Mark:  Well, its just like anything like that, that’s what "Fly to the Angels" is all about, its about letting go.  And its very difficult to let go of somebody, a friend who’s with you rubbing elbows on a tour bus for ten years.

RNW:  Family, huh?

Mark:  Yeah, exactly.  So, that was difficult.  But, it was fans, it was family, it was friends, and we just hung in there.  I think that we find an escape in our music.  (Blas) You can add to that . . .

Blas:  Well, more so, I think than the fans . . . like people are really in touch, especially with the internet and you’ve got fans who are constantly reading things about bands and sometimes they act like they know the people as friends, but really they have somewhat superficial relationships with us and other band members.  And we’re friendly with them, we see them on the road, but they don’t really know us like we know each other.  So there was something, there were things that we’d gone through together with Tim, his divorce, his trial for a drug conviction and just going through having success very quickly and we went through a lot of these things together so there was a huge bond there, you know?  We fight like brothers but we’re extremely close and that made it harder to deal with.  And we were very proud of the fact that we’d always been the same four members and a lot of bands had split up, broken up, and we were real proud of that so it was a hard decision to make to continue on without him.  Luckily, our sound man, who was also a good friend of Tim’s had been with us for a while before so he was already part of the family and if it wasn’t like we had someone in the family already there, it probably wouldn’t have worked out.  We played clubs before and it really didn’t feel right.

RNW:  That whole recruiting process?

Mark:  Yeah, we got phone calls from everybody like the day of, when people found out,  you know?  He wasn’t even laid to rest and a lot of people called, so that’s left a kind of a sour taste in my mouth, but did what we had to do.  We’re still doing what we love to do and we’re very lucky to have the people who are still out there and still love our music.

Continued - Part III


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