Recently, I had the chance to see Slaughter in concert and had a chance to speak briefly with the very articulate Dana Strum. Watching Dana work a room was very interesting. It seems as if Mr. Strum has taken a Dale Carnegie course in public speaking and observed the master music businessman Gene Simmons very carefully over the years. Strum made sure he spoke to everyone who came near him and approached others introducing himself. The consummate business professional has also done an excellent job in seeing to it that Captiol Records would re-release the first 2 Slaughter CD’s as well as the first 2 Vinnie Vincent discs as well.
Your average newspaper or print magazine journalist would call the Slaughter discs “80’s hair metal”, while in actuality, “Stick It To Ya” was not released until 1990 and “The Wild Life” in 1992. Slaughter’s brand of melodic metal was accentuated by the fact that the band was very tight in a live setting and possessed an ability to write infectious songs. Their non-stop self-promotion with the “Up All Night” late night record store appearances definitely helped to build the fan base as well. (Folks in our area still mention this when they come to town).
“Stick It To Ya” possessed 8 potential hit singles and the rest of the disc was far from filler. “Up All Night” got things rolling as it was an instant anthem for the band. “Fly To The Angels” was the big tear-jerker ballad that would unfortunately later become the tribute song to their fallen comrade Tim Kelly. Mark Slaughter’s high-pitched vocals were distinctive enough to help separate Slaughter from the what was becoming a glut of similar bands at the time. The blunt, tongue in cheek humor of “Burning Bridges” seems to recall Mark and Dana’s previous band. “Mad About You” and “Desperately” were and have been staples of the band and are still enjoyable rockers to this day. This reissue includes 4 demo versions of songs from the CD. While the CD was remastered, it certainly did not need to be as “Stick It To Ya” was one of the best recorded and produced albums of its time and still sounds excellent 13 years later.
“The Wild Life” CD would follow up in 1992 and it possessed much more of a stripped down sound. Instead of making an exact duplicate of “Stick It To Ya”. Slaughter diversified the writing and style of “The Wild Life” enough to keep them from becoming stagnant and playing it safe…although nobody would have blamed them for doing so. “The Wild Life” and “Real Love” were the big hits from this release, yet there were many other potential hits including “Dance For Me Baby”, “Shake This Place” and “Hold On”. Another song which would have done excellent at hard rock radio was the mysterious “Times They Change” which has a Beatles feel to it and timed in at over 7 minutes. Unfortunately, this was at a time when too many weak, copycat bands were being signed and releasing material on major labels. All the while, these very same labels were looking for a new trend to cash in on which soon became known as grunge.