By Jim Davis
Music has always been a driving force in Mark Slaughter’s life, helping him create memories and milestones each step of the way. So it’s no surprise he gets to travel down memory lane each time his band performs.
He’s hoping fans get to do the same when they visit Hobart Arena Friday night.
Slaughter and his band of the same name will team up with Great White for a night of rock music at the historic venue on Adams Street in Troy.
“This type of music was based on the good times … and certainly that’s what this whole concert is about,” Slaughter said during a phone interview last week. “There are a lot of good time and memories that coincide with this type of music. And that’s the whole idea — to make it to where people can either discover it or relive it.”
While early Slaughter fans were more likely to cue up hits “Fly To the Angels” and “Up All Night” on a cassette or CD player, the music still rocks in today’s digital format. Slaughter, 51, said it’s gratifying to see those hits still resonating with fans 25 years later — no matter what type of device delivers the sound.
“I think that there are some bands in every genre that are the soundtracks to peoples’ lives, and thankfully our music has been a part of that. That’s what people express … and you can see it in the way people passionately sing along,” he said. “It’s an interesting dynamic. For us, it’s one of those things we’ve always wanted as songwriters and musicians.”
Formed in 1988 by Slaughter and bass player Dana Strum, the group first hit it big in 1990 with its double-platinum album “Stick It To Ya.” The record featured hits “Up All Night,” “Spend My Life,” “Mad About You” and the wildly successful “Fly To the Angels,” and helped put the four-man band with the big sound on the heavy metal landscape.
Slaughter won Favorite Heavy Metal New Artist the following year at the American Music Awards, and the band was on its way to rock stardom. Six No. 1 videos on the MTV music channel followed, and the band went on to sell more than 5 million albums.
Today, Slaughter — which also includes lead guitarist Jeff Blando and drummer Zoltan Chaney — continues to tour heavily and has performed more than 300 shows in the past five years throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada and Japan.
Slaughter said he keeps making music for the sheer love of the journey.
“I think it’s just in me. It’s a fire that’s in me,” he said. “I grew up loving music. It’s something I was passionate about and when you have something that you’re passion about it becomes something beyond the dollar amount. It becomes a love and a part of your lifestyle. I think it’s sort of how a painter would be — even if your painting doesn’t make any money or If it never finds its way, it’s something you do as an artist that you just have to keep doing it.”
Slaughter said his bandmates feel the same way, and it shows when they take the stage. They love to entertain and make sure the audience has a good time.
“There are different people in this business. There are people that are players and there are entertainers, and for us, it’s certainly about entertainment. That’s really where we come from,” he said. “I’m from Vegas and Dana has lived there long enough to be from there. Zoltan our drummer is a carnival within himself, and when you add Jeff into the mix … there you have it.”
“There’s a lot of love in what we do and a lot of smiles.”
And by the time Friday’s show ends, perhaps a few new memories to take with them on the road.
Tickets for Friday’s 8 p.m. concert are $25, $32 and $60 and are available at the arena box office, online at www.hobartarena.com, or by calling 339-2911.
For more information about Slaughter, visit the band’s website at slaughterusa.com
Jim Davis can be reached at [email protected]