Mark Slaughter Discusses His New Album “Halfway There”, Due In Stores May 26th via EMP Records

Mark Slaughter Discusses His New Album “Halfway There”, Due In Stores May 26th via EMP Records
April 28, 2017 | By More

It’s been a few years since we have had Mark Slaughter here on LRI. Last time was in-depth interview about his early days with Vinnie Vincent Invasion and Slaughter.  This time, Mark took time out of his insanely busy schedule to speak to Sarge here at LRI about his second solo album “Halfway There” which is due in stores on May 26th via EMP Records,  the US-based label of Megadeth’s bassist David Ellefson. We kept the focus mainly on Mark’s new album. Mark also discusses the possibility of recording new Slaughter material, what new music he is listening to these days and MORE!!  Enjoy!

LRI: Mark- thanks so much for taking time to sit down with us seems like you’re one of the busiest guys on the scene today with your voice-over work, SLAUGHTER tour dates, your new CD “Halfway There” (May 26 via EMP Records), it’s! So, really, THANK YOU!

Mark: Hey, man, thank YOU, and, yeah, my pleasure! I’m really blessed to be able to do what I love to do, you know? It’s been my passion for over 30 years and, yeah, I’m lucky to be able to continue to do something that I love. Have you heard any of the new CD?

 **As of this interview, LRI had only heard one track- look for a full CD review coming soon!

LRI: At this point, the only song I’ve heard is “Hey You” and it friggin RIPS, bro! Seriously kicks MAJOR ASS! WOW!

Mark: Dude, I’ll be honest with you, it’s one of those things where when I do it I don’t think about it, but at the very end of it, the interesting thing for me is that, I started making the record for vinyl sake, you know..really going back to when I was a kid and I wanted it to be a long playing record so I started scratching songs and making it like a record and that type of mindset really changed the mindset of the way this record was going, you know, and I’m just thrilled to death with it. I really am.

LRI:  Very interesting! Now, I’ve been a fan going way back.. clearly your fans know about your start with Vinnie Vincent Invasion and the history there, so I’m not going to resurrect those questions, instead I really want to give YOU the power to discuss what’s most important in your life today- I mean, along with a few select questions I have of course, but I promise you- NO VVI questions!

Mark: (laughs) Look, I’m FINE with talking about that (VVI), it’s where I came from, but, yeah, you know, it’s out it (laughs)

LRI: Exactly! Ok..your last solo cd, “Reflections in a Rearview Mirror” was an incredible album on its own, but from what I’ve heard so far, the direction of “Halfway There” sounds like you’re musically headed in a different a throwback sound..was that on purpose or did it happen as a result of your approach to write the record for vinyl?

Mark: Great question! “Reflections” was more of me writing a body of work as opposed to a directed “this is what the album is gonna be” you know what I mean? That was more of just me really finding myself as an artist, again, when you’re doing everything yourself, you DO kind of go all over the place, and I think that now that I’ve got my sea legs so to speak, now I’m on my game and with “Halfway There”,, I just can’t wait for you to hear it!

LRI: Hell yeah! So tell me about the meaning behind “Halfway There”

Mark: Halfway There just became the title track because I think it spoke the most of where I am in life and I think a lot of the people that listen to what I do are in, and it’s kind of like, you know, this is what goes on in life and now I’m at this stage where I’m halfway there, meaning halfway through life, halfway through it’s pretty crazy, goes pretty quick.


LRI: So true! I’m definitely right there with you, brother! Haha!

Mark: Right on!

LRI: Now I know on “Reflections in a Rearview mirror”, you played all of the instruments on the CD except the drums.. Is that the case on the new CD as well?

Mark: No. I had a friend from high school on drums, a buddy on bass, I mean, look..this CD really has a lot of attitude. This one really came together like..if you would have asked me a month ago if I would have this done at this point today, I wouldn’t have thought it would be done..not possible..but we did it. I was working with Dave Ellefson (Megadeth/EMP Records) and we got Japan to jump on it (Universal), and they- get this- actually signed on after only hearing two songs, “Halfway There” and “Hey You”, I mean, the support we’re getting so early on is amazing. It’s pretty darn crazy, man, it really is.

LRI: WOW! Talk about a vote of confidence!

Mark: Yeah, I think so. Look, there’s a lot of heart in this music, man, and I feel really good about this. It’s what I want to do as a musician, as a guitar player, and as a vocalist, I kind of learned something on the last record working with Michael Wagener, I was singing the vocals to death, you know..resinging this and resinging that over and over trying to get it just “right” whatever “right” was in my head, and he goes, “Mark, you’re not 19 know how to sing..just do it and it’s fine” and it was kind of this freeing thing where I learned a lot from Michael..just the honesty and then, you know, I just started knocking it out (vocals) and the believability and everything else is better, so basically, a lot of these songs on the new cd, I sang them right down live off of the lyric sheet. It’s not like I was like “ok I know this song by heart I’m gonna sing it”, it was really more of a first interpretation..that first, you know..that first take like they did in the 70’s..there is something that happens that you just can’t recreate when it happens in that moment..that spontaneity.

LRI: I can see that. More like stripping it down to basics and just doing what you do best- not overthinking or over-complicating it..just DO what you do best.. and with the raw talent that you have, to Wagener’s point, this is what you do..

Mark: Exactly! It was one of those things where I was like “oh, ok”. But I’m not releasing demos, you know, these songs are far from demos, but I thing I spent less time on the vocals on this than I did on anything else.. I really honed in on every other instrument, but I just really started to trust what my friend said and he’s got over 100 million records under his belt so I think I’ll listen to this guy, you know? But, look, it’s an honest record. In some ways it’s harder- when I played a couple songs for Dana (Strum) he thought it was a little darker than some people would expect from me, but, I mean, I didn’t really think so, may be, but I’m so close to it..I’m the police chief, the governor, and the mayor of this record, so I’m in my bubble and not on the outside looking in as much as other people are.

LRI: I get that. And, again, although I haven’t heard the entire CD yet, my ears perked up when I hit play on “Hey You” for the first time..I was like “holy shit!”! I wasn’t expecting that! Sounded like something left off of “Stick it to Ya”- and I mean that as a HUGE compliment, bro!

Mark: You know what’s so funny? I’ve heard that more than once and I just think that’s’s crazy, I mean, I didn’t think of it that way going in, I just thought “here’s another song, BANG!”

LRI: Yeah, but it’s like, it’s not dated sounding at all, it’s fresh and new but..familiar!  That’s the term… Familiar.

Mark: Again, thank you. It’s an interesting place in life musically for me, you know, I’ve gone from, well, first off, I was a guitar teacher, and then I put my guitar down and played with Vinnie as the singer, and then through Slaughter I was the singer but started to play a bit more guitar, and now here I are grown and I’m picking up my guitar and realizing, “oh, yeah, that’s what I did..that’s what I do”, so I’m coming back to having a lot of fun being an artist playing guitar and, I mean I’m not trying to be this big guitar player by any means, but I know how to do it and I know what I wanna hear and that’s really what people will hear on this record. It’s just an honest rock and roll record. There are some heavy songs, and I, you know, I still have like, not sure what you’d call it- “pop sensibility” maybe? You know, I’m a writer, so I do think about having some stuff..SOME..thats got commercialism appeal, you know what I mean? I’m a writer, so some of it you’ll listen and be like “oh yeah, that’s Mark, that’s what he does”, whereas other stuff you’ll hear you’ll be like ..I sent it over to a couple buddies of mine and they were like “dude! That one song was so heavy, and it was so cool and wow and..” it’s’s rock and roll. I’m really, really happy with how it turned out.

LRI: Fantastic! Any tour plans in support of “Halfway There”?

Mark: At this point, ultimately, if there were some shows that made sense I would do it, but right now I’ve got a pretty busy schedule with the band (Slaughter) and that’s still my baby, but, yeah, if my guys are out playing their shows and doing their own thing and I’m open and there’s not something on the books, then, yeah, I’ll probably do a couple shows, but it’s not like I’m looking at this like “ok folks, now I’m a solo artist doing a solo career” it’s not where my head’s at…it’s artist makes art and what I’m really doing right now is making art. Period. Just trying to stay true to who I am as an artist and do what feels right.

Mark Slaughter performing at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI on 9/1/11. Photo by Shawn Thornton

LRI: Gotcha. How about plans for a video for “Hey You”? “Halfway There”?

Mark: I don’t have any plans at the moment. To be honest, these last couple weeks have kind of been a whirlwind, you know, with Universal saying “we love it” and “we want it NOW” so we were hardcore pushing to get the record finished and out and into their hands, so we finished it and now we’re just kind of telling the world about the record and introducing it to everyone, so we haven’t really sat down and mapped out video plans yet, no.

LRI: As I mentioned in the beginning, Slaughter is still as popular as ever with Monsters of Rock cruises, festival gigs, bike rallies, and large club dates, and now you’ve got fans buzzing about “Halfway There”..holy hell, Mark! You’re on fire, brutha!

Mark: Yea, I’m real pleased with where everything is right now. The new music..the end result..lots of classic rock influences made their way in on the record- especially tonality wise you know..guitar tones and that..again, this is one of those records that was made for fact, I actually rewrote the back end of this record before we finished it because I wanted it to be in the right sweet spot and not too long so it would fit on vinyl and deliver the optimum performance..which I’d never done before. I’ve always just written the record, you put it out on CD and it was done, but this was thought out and done with the intent on making it an album.  So it’s different. In a good way.

LRI: Killer! I’m SO looking forward to May 26th and hearing the entire body of work- I’m friggin stoked! Now, obvious question- any plans to do new music with Slaughter?

Mark: I’d love to, but at this time, you know, with the guys doing so much with Vince Neil when we’re NOT on tour, it’s really a matter of just getting everyone to slow down and catch all of us not being busy so we could sit down together and focus on that. That’s why, you know, while they’re out with Vince doing their thing, I’m making my music and doing my thing- and it just works for us, you know? There’s no animosity or anything like that- we’re artists and we’re making art. I’m ready when they are. Would love to.

LRI: Great news for us Slaughter fans! Awesome! Ok..I know our time’s almost up- let’s jump ahead and ask about something else near and dear to your heart- are you still doing voice over work?

Mark: To be honest with you, I’ve not had time to do much with all the new material, what with writing and recording, not just this but with other projects as well, so..who knows what the future holds..

LRI: Well, us music fans are not gonna complain about the new music, man! Totally fine by us! What kind of music are you listening to outside of your music? Any new bands on the scene that impress you?

Mark: I’ve always been a fan of the band BIG WRECK. Always something I enjoy, I mean, I don’t know, I just look for music with heart, something that moves me. Winery Dogs, I dig them, always thought their stuff was tastefully done, I mean, yeah..all I can really think of for now, again, I’ve been so consumed with my music that there’s not been a lot of down time for anything else.


LRI: Understood. How about this- you’ve opened for Kiss, Damn Yankees, Ozzy, Poison, just to name a few off the top of my head..who would you want to see on a bill with Slaughter that would just make you be like “wow!” I there anyone you’d love to tour with that you haven’t yet?

Mark: You know what man? I just love music. I love it all. Whether it’s Ozzy Osbourne, KISS,’s all been a dream just to be a part of rock n roll history and to have left my mark on this industry and the best part? I’m not done. There’s a lot left in the tank, man.

LRI: Mark, I think I speak for millions of fans worldwide when I say I certainly hope so! Thanks so much for your time and I can’t wait to hear the new CD and catch you out on the road this summer! I’ll be working with RATT on select dates this summer, including Rocklahoma so I guess I’ll see you there!

Mark: Yeah, man! Definitely see you at Rocklahoma! I love the guys in Ratt, man, there’s no egos in that band, and I’m glad they have the lineup as it should be..good guys. I wouldn’t be surprised if we played several dates with them..hopefully it’ll all work out and we can play some shows together and we can go out there and play for the people and let them relive the music they all know and love.

LRI: That sounds like the PERFECT summer! Mark- thanks again!

Mark: You bet!

Click here to pre-order your copy of HALFWAY THERE, TODAY!

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