Want to go?
• WHAT: Slaughter, with openers The Holy Divers and Shadows in Red
• WHEN: 6 p.m. June 3
• WHERE: Toledo Harley-Davidson,
7960 W. Central Ave., Toledo
The days of being up all night and sleeping all day haven’t stopped for Mark Slaughter and his namesake ‘90s band that continues to rock on with concert after concert. Thisincludes a June 3 Ohio Bike Week “Kick Start Party” show at Toledo Harley-Davidson in Toledo.
Formed in the late ‘80s by former Vinny Vincent band members Slaughter (singer-guitarist) and Dana Strum (bassist), the Las Vegas band hit it big in 1990 with its debut “Stick It to Ya,” which yielded hits “Up All Night,” “Spend My Life,” “Mad About You” and “Fly to the Angels.” Sadly, its 15 minutes of fame lasted about, well, 15 minutes, with Kurt Cobain’s grunge changing the musical landscape forever.
Funcoast talked to Slaughter about playing Ohio Bike Week, his connection to Shannen Doherty and what it would have been like if the group’s success had taken place in the middle of the ‘80s hair metal zeitgeist, instead of at the end.
Q: First of all, why does Slaughter playing a motorcycle festival make sense?
A: The key thing at the Slaughter shows is (that) it’s a party waiting to happen. It’s like our type of music is really good times.
It’s very celebratory and the guys go look at the girls and the girls go and look at the guys. It’s one of those things where everybody is a big part of the party. We’ve done a lot of bike fests in the last 15 years. We played Sturgis, Daytona and even Chillicothe, which is an Easy Rider bike fest. So yeah, we’re no strangers to it. The key is we just play good old rock ‘n’ roll from the ‘80s.
Q: Are the crowds any different at a bike show than a normal Slaughter gig at a club?
A: No, not really. It’s not, “oh my God, it’s bikers,” like when I grew up and they were heavily tattooed guys who were scary. Now it’s doctors and lawyers with tattoos. If you have a motorcycle you’re not necessarily hurting financially usually. So it’s a different mindset to what it was years ago.
Q: Speaking of mindset, what comes to mind when you think about the video for your song “Real Love,” which featured an appearance by then Beverly Hills 90210 bad girl Shannen Doherty?
A: We all have skeletons in our closet. It’s cool. It’s Hollywood and nice to have Shannen in the video. She did a fine job.
Q: Rumor has it you guys actually dated?
A: (Laughs.) I can’t disclose that information.
Q: Fine. Maybe you can answer this: It’s been over a decade since the last new Slaughter studio album. Any new music planned for release?
A: We’ve gotten a couple of songs we’ve written, but we haven’t gotten into the studio. We’ve probably been spending too much time on the motorcycles (laughs). Right now it’s an interesting model where the music industry has gone. I learned something a long time ago when I went to see Paul McCartney -—I’m a huge Beatles fan — in concert and he was really getting this emotional response playing Beatles stuff. And then he said, “I’d like to do a new one for you,” and then everybody would sit down. Right then I kind of realized you can do a few other songs outside of the realm of what you do, but at the same time you have to be true to where you came from and not run from it. And that’s what we do. We’re making music that we always made.
Q: Finally, did you ever wonder what kind of success Slaughter would have experienced had it released its debut album, say, two years earlier?
A: I really just think it would be like the bands that were a few years ahead of us. And I’d be doing the same thing that those bands are doing, which is (that) those of us that do, do. Those of us that don’t, b*tch. And we’re the ones that are doing. We’re really blessed to be one of those bands that has had the longevity and the chance to play bike fests and play for our fans. We’re not looking at it like we wish we would have had this or that. We’re very satisfied at what we’ve done.
Slaughter is scheduled to perform at 6 p.m. June 3 at Toledo Harley-Davidson, 7960 W. Central Ave., Toledo. Opening is The Holy Divers and Shadows in Red. Tickets are $10 to $25. For more information, visit ohiobikeweek.com.