Alright…You Picked It! And this one was really close. It was back and forth most of the time with Slaughter taking an early lead then Tesla going out in front, but in the end Slaughter pulled ahead and never relented after that. Slaughter’s ‘Stick it to Ya’ was one of the ones in my collection. Here are the results.
- Slaughter – ‘Stick it to Ya’ – 5 votes
- Tesla – ‘Psychotic Supper’ – 4 votes
- Daft Punk – ‘Random Access Memories’ – 3 votes
- Eddie Vedder – ‘Earthling’ – 3 votes
- Kanye West – ‘The College Dropout’ – 3 votes
Thanks to all for participating. The April choices will be up on Saturday!
SLAUGHTER – ‘STICK IT TO YA’:
Slaughter owes all their success to Vinnie Vincent. A strange comment for sure but true. Let me explain. Back after Vinnie left Kiss, he started his own band with a gentleman by the name of Dana Strum. The band, Vinnie Vincent Invasion, signed with Chrysalis…okay, Vinnie had a record contract, the band really didn’t. The auditioned a lot of singers including a very young Mark Slaughter. However, Vinnie didn’t like Mark so he passed and went with former Journey singer, Robert Fleischman.
Robert joined the band and they recorded the debut album. Right after the album was done, Robert left the band over a contract dispute and the band needed to tour. Dana brought up Mark again and so Mark was brought in to replace Robert for the tour. They tour was successful enough and they recorded a second album with Mark on vocals called ‘All Systems Go’. They toured for that album, but there was trouble brewing. Vinnie was a mess, his ego was shattered because Mark was getting all the attention so he kept walking in front of Mark while he was singing so he would be front and center on the stage. This pissed Mark off naturally. Vinnie was spending money hand over fist and pissing everyone at the label off and even the band members. We could go on and on about his ego, but there isn’t enough space on the internet to handle it all.
Eventually the label had enough of Vinnie Vincent. Chrysalis took away his record deal and basically transferred it to Dana and Mark as they were the two stars from the band. And that is why Vinnie is the reason behind their success. Now, this meant that Dana and Mark needed to write some songs and form a band. They eventually recruited guitar wizard, the late, great Tim Kelly as well as a beast of a drummer with Blas Elias and Slaughter was ready to go. The album was finally released on January 23, 1990 and would go double platinum spurring 4 singles and 3 Top 40 hits. The band was huge and were massive MTV darlings and the rest is history.
My copy of the album is the 30th Anniversary re-issue of the album on red translucent vinyl and supposedly limited to only 500 copies. The album jacket was a gatefold and the album was remastered, but sadly no bonus tracks or anything new. Only the original album, but since the original issues are so hard to find and so expensive, I will take this any day. Now, let us get to the music…finally.
“Ready or no, Here we come” is the great opening line to the song “Eye to Eye”. It announced to the world that the boys were back minus Vinnie and ready to rock the world. Mark’s vocals are so unmistakable as he has that whiny falsetto style (and I mean that in a very good way). The song is heavy and yet melodic and totally kicks ass as an opener.
Then we get the best “Fuck You” song ever with “Burning Bridges”. The song is a massive middle finger to Vinnie Vincent and goes through all the troubles the man caused. The line “so you want to do another solo huh, well not here pal” is classic as Vinnie thought every song needed many Vinnie solos and that was the most important part of the song. Throw in “You’re a liar, liar, liar / With your pants on fire” and it is so cheesy but so Vinnie. Now, the opening riff on the song by Tim is awesome and the joy Mark gets in singing the lyrics is a little wicked and very contagious. Brilliant track!!
The first single off the album was “Up All Night”. It went to #27 on the Top 40 charts and introduced the band to the world. It didn’t take long for them to have success. The song is a rock anthem and gets the crowds cheering “Up all night / Sleep all day”. It is melodic and Mark hits notes that only dogs can hear, I swear!! It is a fun, heavy track and a pure party song which is what we loved about bands from this era. Let loose and have fun…plain and simple. On a fun note, Michael Bay was the director of the video. Yes, that Michael Bay!!
“Spend My Life” is up next and another single off the album. It went to #39 barely cracking the Top 40. It is a slower rocker, but not a ballad. Mark changed things up and sang in a lower register and showed that he didn’t need to always rely on the crazy falsetto. It wasn’t as exciting as the first three tracks, but still a good song and a good time for a little break. It is catchy and more melodic and therefore radio friendly for the time.
Then we get an instrumental track called “Thinking of June” which is a mixture of keyboards and acoustic guitars in a mixture of Spanish and classical guitar stylings. It is quite beautiful. And then it goes in to one of their cheesiest songs every with “She Wants More”. It is about the groupies and hanger on girlfriends that only in it for the money and spending as much of your money as possible. I think its silliness is also part of its charm. Not a favorite at all, but it does have its moments.
Then we get to their second single and their biggest one as well. “Fly to the Angels” is the power ballad of all power ballads. It went to #19 on the Top 40 Charts, #1 on various other charts, went platinum on its own and helped catapult the album to double platinum status. The song is about long lost love from either someone who has either died or just no longer in their life and Mark is so emotive with the lyrics you can feel his pain. It is one of the best ballads to come from the era in my opinion.
Side 2 kicks off the AC/DC styled song “Mad About You” which keeps the party going strong. As with most of their songs so far, they all have a little introduction going on at the beginning of the song which keeps them interesting and might be a little too much at times as well. This was the fourth and final single from the album as it didn’t even chart on the Top 40…oh well, they all can’t be winners.
“That’s Not Enough” is more of the same with the AC/DC inspired sound and riffs. Compared to the other songs on the album, this one is pretty weak and might be the first song that did nothing for me and is skippable. So we will move on. Well, I guess that was enough…yes, I went there.
Then we get another ballad with “You Are the One”. Production wise this is great. The guitar solo is awesome, Mark’s vocals are awesome…so the song must be awesome. Well, mostly. It is melodic and the arrangement is great plus Blas’ drumming is exceptional as his fills are perfect here, but still not quite as good as “Fly to the Angels” when making the comparison as it is a little wimpy and not enough power. But I won’t skip it.
“Gave Me Your Heart” really sounds like every other song out there and not in a good way. It is dull in its delivery, generic, lifeless and sounds like a bad Kiss 80’s song (and there were a few of those).
Then we get saved from total disaster on Side 2 with “Desperately”. More AC/DC and Scorpion style here. The chorus is big and catchy and overall, a really decent track especially compared the last few tracks on the back half here. I think Mark sounds really good which helps give it a few bonus points.
The final track, “Loaded Gun”, has a race car opening and some talking before the band kicks in. It has a whole live feel like they are playing at a bar. Mark speaks the vocals more than sings which is different and a little fun…at least it brings variety to the song and not the same old same old. Tim’s playing on this one is great with a killer riff and great solo. Not a bad song to close out the album. Pure 80’s sleaze rocker!
- Eye to Eye – Keeper
- Burning Bridges – Keeper
- Up All Night – Keeper
- Spend My Life – Keeper
- Thinking of June – Keeper
- She Wants More – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Fly to the Angels – Keeper
- Mad About You – Keeper
- That’s Not Enough – Delete
- You Are the One – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Gave Me Your Heart – Delete
- Desperately – Keeper
- Loaded Gun – Keeper
The Track Score is 10 out 13 or 77%. Now, it is obvious that Side 1 is so much stronger than Side 2, but this is still better than anything Vinnie Vincent Invasion released. I also have another minor negative on the album and that is each and every song has a fade out so the songs don’t fit together perfectly and it messes with a pacing and I blame the producer on this one. Outside of that, this is a strong debut and I have been a fan of this one since the beginning. Mark’s vocals are an acquired taste, I have like them as there is a roughness around the edges. The first half of this album is better than most bands entire albums and really carries it for me. My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. If you like the whole 80’s glam era and melodic sounds, then this will be right up your alley. And I think the album title is a perfect title as they do really stick it Vinnie with this one.