He pounds the skins for one of the "hottest" and most talented groups round today on the hard rock circuit. We're talking about Slaughter, of course, and Drummer Bias Elias.
Recording for Chrysalis Records, Slaughter has enjoyed plenty of success with their "Stick It To Ya" and "Stick It To Ya Live" CDs and cassettes.
Q: Bias, are ya a little surprised at the success Slaughter
has achieved with "Stick
It To Ya?"
A. Yeah. We're all surprised in a very good way of course. We didn't expect it to happen. I mean we all hoped and we all set out in the beginning to make it happen. Everybody dreams about it. We've all been in other bands and done other things that weren't successful. No matter what, whether we were successful or not, we were gonna do it anyway. We finally found a combination of guys that we're happy with. We all got along together. We made good music that we like to play. It's not something that we were expecting because music has to do with people's tastes. It's not something that you deserve. It's a matter of what the people like. We're just very glad and surprised that it did so well.
Q: What have you sold, a million plus units?
A: I think we're up to a little over 2 million at this point.
Q: Slaughter has opened for Kiss and now Poison. Compare the two for me.
A: Our first tour we did was Kiss. It was a completely different thing. The audiences were kind of different. Theirs were a little bit older than ours, ours were younger and they were separated more. Now with Poison, the general audience is pretty much the same. The age group is more of the same. The style of music is more the same, so that there's a lot more crossover in the audience. But, it seems like, there's nobody that doesn't like either band. With Kiss, there were die-hard Kiss fans who didn't really care for us, and there were die-hard Slaughter fans who didn't care for them. But now, it's like everybody's in it together. Mark came up on stage and sang with them (Poison) the other day. The first day Poison came into our dressing room and talked with us and said everything was gonna be cool, no problems, and there hasn't been any problems. There's no egos involved because both bands are doing very well right now. It's just like a big family thing right now.
Q: To get on a Kiss tour as an opening act, what is involved?
To get on any tour as an opening act, what is involved?
A: Mainly, right now because of the way the economy is going, they're looking for a band that is gonna help 'em draw. We've been proven as a good draw, so promoters have told us. They need ticket sales. Right now, it's hard, especially for Kiss and us. It was two different audiences, so we did real well with that one. Kiss really believed in our record and I think they wanted to give another band a shot. They've always done that. Van Halen got one of their first tours from Kiss. They (Kiss) heard the record early 'cause I remember they had gotten a tape from a girl who was going out with the drummer, I think. They liked us even before we were on the radio. They were watching us, and we were starting to get a little bit of success and they gave us a shot, and it really worked out well.
Q: What kind of things do ya feature on the Slaughter "Hotline?"
A: Mainly that's just to keep in touch with the people who put us where we are, the fans, the people who buy our records. We put the number on the album cover. I mean CDs and cassettes, 'cause there is no album. We get feedback from them on what songs they like. They helped choose our singles and videos. Also, just to let them know what we're doing - what the new song is going to be, where we're going to be in concert, things that are happening with the band. They can actually leave a message for us with their address or phone number, and a lot of times we'll call them back, and you know just say 'Hi.' It's just a way for us to keep in touch with our fans, 'cause that's one thing we don't want to do is separate ourselves, build a wall between us and the people. They're the ones who put us here in the first place. We've always made a point to stay close to 'em. No matter where we are, we never take on this 'rock star' attitude, where we're too big or too busy to talk to the people.
Q: Why did ya put out the "live" album?
A: There's a few different reasons for it. One thing is we actually started the band off before we'd ever played 'live.' The first thing we ever did was go into the studio and start recording. So, we didn't know what we were like as a 'live' band. We finally got on the road and we learned more about each other musically and personally. A lot of things changed. So, we wanted to show people a different side of us, 'cause we had progressed. Of course, if you never have played 'live' and you start playing every night again, you're gonna progress. We wanted to show people that progression. We were just gonna do that one song 'Fly To The Angels' for radio, 'cause it really took off. A lot of the radio programmers wanted an alternative to the normal one, so we were gonna give 'em a 'live' one. It sounded so good, we decided to keep on recording. It turned out real well, and we decided it was sort of a gift to the people who stuck by us, and those who saw us in concert, and really had a good time, to bring back some of those memories, and someone who didn't hear us, to give 'em a chance to hear what we were like 'live.
Q: How are sales of the 'live' album going?
A: The 'live' album is pretty close to going gold. We've also got our home video which has some 'live' footage on it. And that's doing well in sales. Everything we put out seems to be doing alright. So, somebody is still listening.
Q: In your liner notes, you thank friends, family and
press. But then you say, "No thanks to Nigel Thomas, Beverly Hills Hotel Bungalow." What's
that all about?
A: That, was a manager who used to work for Mark and Dana in a band they played in before. The only way to say it is, he cheated them out of a lot of money. He led them, as far as the career of the band, in a very wrong direction. It's mainly a personal thing for them. It's kind of like an inside joke, and they don't really like to talk about it too much. They usually try to avoid the question as much as possible, to be honest with you. This person was very hard on them in the beginning and basically told them they'd never have any success. It's just a little inside joke, so if he ever reads it, he'll know what they're talking about, but nobody else really will.
Q: Mark and Dana write all of the songs for the band. Does that cause any
A: When we joined the band, Tim and I, a lot of the songs were already written. We did have some part in the writing, as far as arranging and studio playing 'cause that's where we basically came into this. So, they did give us a part of the songwriting income. For the next record, we've all gone through a lot of things together. I'm sure the next record we're gonna have a lot of common experiences we could write about together. The writing on the next record should be more equal among everybody.
Q: How did ya hook up with Mark Slaughter?
A: When their last band was on it's final legs, they were doing a club tour that wasn't very successful. The drummer for that band was my drum teacher when I was in high school. I went to go and see him because of that. Honestly I wasn't into the band, other than that, that much. But I did like the way Mark sang. I did like some of the music on the record. So, when I went to see 'em, I was told that they may be looking for a new band pretty soon, so I kept in touch. When that thing finally dissolved, I called up from Texas where I was, and they said I could send out a video tape and just be another one of the persons considered. I figured if I did that, there was like no way 'cause they were auditioning all these name' drummers in California. I just jumped on a plane with one day's notice. They didn't even know I was gonna show up. I showed up and called 'em in the morning and they didn't nave room for me in the auditions, so they cancelled a couple of people for me. They figured if this guy is gonna fly all the way from Texas just to give it a shot, they're gonna give me a chance, and they did. And it worked out, and we hung out the whole weekend. I ended up staying there. We all got along real well as people, as friends, which is the main thing. You can have the best group of musicians in the world, but that's really not what it's all about. Musis is not like a rock 'n' roll Olympics. It's not a competition. It's an attitude. It's a feeling. It's an expression of things you go through in your life. You know, you've got to be able to get along, to do that successfully.
Q: When Mark was putting the group together and thinking of band names, did
you and Tim have input there?
A: Everybody had input. It really wasn't Mark that was putting the band together. When we joined the band, it was Dana, Mark and me. We got Tim later. We didn't have a name. At first, we were calling ourselves The Janitors. That was basically our joke name, when we were recording. We went through so many names. It was costing us $1,000 every time we researched a name to find out if it was already taken and copyrighted by somebody else, by say a local band somewhere that owned the rights to it. We didn't have the money for it. Basically, after awhile, we wanted to call it Slaughter House because that's his name. They can't take that away from him, right? It turned out, we tried that and believe it or not Slaughter House was taken, and we couldn't even use that. So, we just decided, hey just take off the House and call it Slaughter. It was more of the rest of the band's idea than Mark's, 'cause he didn't want it to be like that.