Mark Slaughter Looks Back on the Band Mutiny That Ended the Vinnie Vincent Invasion
Normally, if a band is named after one of the guys in the lineup, he enjoys a little extra job security. But as his fans have learned more than once over the years, the normal rules rarely apply to Vinnie Vincent.
One of the stranger chapters in Vincent’s increasingly odd career was revisited during Mark Slaughter’s recent appearance on the Decibel Geek podcast, during which Slaughter recalled how his days as the vocalist for the Vinnie Vincent Invasion came to a screeching halt when he and bassist Dana Strum walked away — and essentially took Vincent’s record contract with them — to form their new band Slaughter.
Pointing out that Vincent’s label, Chrysalis Records, was gunshy about losing talent after Steve Stevens quit Billy Idol‘s band following Idol’s 1986 Whiplash Smile LP, Slaughter said the label had the members of the Invasion sign agreements giving Chrysalis a first option on new music if they left the group. As it happened, the Invasion fell apart just as the record company’s patience with Vincent was running out.
“Vinnie and Dana got into it and Vinnie pulled me down, with his manager at the time, and said ‘Are you gonna be in my band or are you gonna go with Dana?’” recalled Slaughter. “I said I’d rather be in the gutter with Dana.”
In the late summer of 1988, Slaughter and Strum walked offstage after an Invasion gig and never went back, booking studio time to cut a collection of demos that sparked the label’s interest in what ended up becoming Slaughter’s Stick It to Ya LP.
“We had to record four songs for the label which we did in 1988, going into ’89 on New Year’s Eve we were in the studio,” said Slaughter. “‘Fly to the Angels’ is one of those songs. We do the songs, we give it to Bud Carr, who managed Kansas. We take it to the record label and they go, ‘We’re definitely picking up Mark’s option.’ They had already dropped Vinnie because they had disagreements. They didn’t like him and he didn’t like them, and that was done. They, basically, by picking up my option, gave me his record deal.”
“Gene, the first day, he said, ‘Listen, we are not going to discuss Vinnie Vincent ever on this whole tour.’ And I said, ‘Okay, Gene.’ And then,” laughed Slaughter, “Five minutes later he goes, ‘You know what really bothers me’ … I think we were both in agreement that Vinnie’s a very talented guy but stood in his own way.”
In fact, Slaughter suggested that one of the ways Vincent sabotaged his own career was by consciously downplaying his own diversity as a guitarist in order to fit in with the predominant sound of the day, focusing on the shredding side of his technique at the expense of more soulful playing.
“We were on tour with Iron Maiden,” remembered Slaughter. “I was talking guitar player talk with him, and I go ‘I love Jeff Beck.’ He starts playing this Jeff Beck stuff, and I’m like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’ — and the next thing you know, Dave Murray and all the guys from Iron Maiden and their techs are standing outside our dressing room watching him play this stuff and going, ‘Mate, why don’t you play like that?’ Vinnie goes, ‘Because it’s boring.’ He was just trying to be recognized with the shredders.”
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