SLAUGHTER Vocalist MARK SLAUGHTER: 'We Never Saw Ourselves As Rock Stars'

April 14, 2019

SLAUGHTER vocalist Mark Slaughter recently appeared on the "Thunder Underground" podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below (interview starts at the 24:30 mark). A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On his goals as a songwriter:

Mark: "I've always had a sense of melody to what I do. Even if it's heavy, I still try to have a sense of melody instead of just slamming heavy riff, heavy riff, heavy riff. I think that's probably the difference of how I approach it as an artist, even on the heavier stuff. I always try to make it to where there's something that people can walk away humming in their head or that resonates... what I always try to do is write songs that I think can match up to what people are going through, even in my own life. If I don't get it, people aren't going to get it."

On wearing many hats in the studio:

Mark: "What a lot of people don't realize is that Dana [Strum] and I produced those [early] records and wrote those records. We're the only band from our genre that wrote, produced and still performed those songs to this day. We're kind of an oddity in that time frame. Everybody has a studio nowadays, but we were hands-on all the way across the board. In that, I think that's probably the difference — it was Dana and I writing it and assembling the songs and making sure it connected the way we wanted it to. We had great players — Blas [Elias] and Tim [Kelly] were awesome — and it's one of those things that there's a magic when you do it a band in that side of it when you're in the studio, and when you're doing it by yourself, it's like an objective outside yourself. You put it down as a producer/engineer and then [as a] performer on my records, I always come back and go, 'Okay, now how was that, really?' I have to step outside myself and really criticize myself to make sure that it's [up] to par of what I'd want somebody else's record to be."

On fighting for the right to self-produce SLAUGHTER's albums:

Mark: "On the first record, [Chrysalis] said, 'We'd like you to hook up with a producer.' We said, 'Listen — if you don't want us to do it ourselves, then why don't you just drop us, because there's plenty of other labels that would love to have our production.' We had meetings with several big labels, including Warner [Bros.], who said, 'If you guys get off the label, we'll be right there.' Chrysalis said, 'You know what? You guys are right. Just go ahead and do your thing. We love your demos. Make sure the songs are there.' They really gave us the freedom to do what we wanted to do — kind of [like] what I'm doing right now, except by myself."

On SLAUGHTER's longevity:

Mark: "Music trends up and down. One minute, it's really hot; the next minute, it's not. That's the cyclical activity of all music. Right now, it's pretty hot [for us]. There's a lot of festivals, and every year, we've been doing festivals, even in Europe. You never know where your next show's going to be coming from. It's like joining the Army – 'Are you available on May 6? There's a show'... I think that SLAUGHTER has always been a people's band. We never saw ourselves as rock stars or any of that stuff. We're just the guys next door who like to play music. If you look at it like how Sammy Hagar is, I think of us as the same type of animal. We just like to be there when the party's happening."


Mark: "I was teaching guitar and I got the call that Vinnie was looking for a singer. Ultimately, I put my guitar in a stand. I taught about 279 lessons a month [at the time], so I put the guitar in the stand, and I'm a lead singer opening for up for ALICE COOPER and IRON MAIDEN... it was fricking awesome, but it was very different for me. First off, it was glammed out of my tree; I was singing a record that had already been recorded; and I was 22 years old at the time. If you look at 21, 22 years old, it's pretty young. I was a snot-nosed kid up there doing it. It was pretty cool."

On his future plans:

Mark: "It's a singles world. I think it might be more putting songs out one at a time instead of a full record. I don't know — I think everybody in this industry is trying to define it and figure out how to do it, but one thing for sure [is] I still love making music. I still have a love for songs and creating those memories. I really don't have the answer what I'm going to do. It's the music business, but it's also an art form, so however I can make the art and get it to the people the best way that makes sense, that's what I'll be doing."

On whether SLAUGHTER has any plans to record:

Mark: "We actually have a song or two that we've written, but we've never put out. I think it really is one of those things of getting everybody together to say, 'Okay, let's track this song. Let's do this song. Let's record this song.' I think that's one of the things that as your life becomes a little more hectic with things you've got to do, trying to get out of your zone is a little bit more difficult. I'm open for it — I'm ready to go — [but] it's just really getting these guys from their everyday stuff to be able to connect and do it."

Slaughter's second solo album, "Halfway There", was released in 2017 via EMP Label Group.

SLAUGHTER has not released a studio album since 1999's "Back To Reality".

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