Slaughter wants you to rock — not ring — in the new year Thursday.
The Las Vegas rock band that ascended to national prominence in the ’90s with hits like “Up All Night” and “Fly to the Angels” is returning home for a New Year’s Eve gig at Vince Neil’s Feelgoods Rock Bar and Grill.
Slaughter guitarist Jeff Bland assisted the club owners in creating a state-of-the-art sound system that fills the room yet doesn’t leave your ears ringing with the auditory hangover that usually accompanies the day after a rock show.
Slaughter will hit the stage around 11 p.m. and lead the crowd in a countdown with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Following Slaughter’s performance, guests can stick around to hear Bland’s other band, Blandini, keep on rocking into the wee hours of Jan. 1.
To catch up with the iconic Las Vegas rockers, Las Vegas Weekly sat down with Bland, vocalist Mark Slaughter and bassist Dana Strum.
How did you first get involved in the local music scene?
Mark Slaughter: I was very blessed in the Clark County School System to have some really great teachers. The music program in the schools was just so phenomenal that it really impacted my life in a big way. We were very lucky when I was in high school jazz band to have some of the trumpet players who played in Glen Miller’s orchestra come in to work with us. Vegas had some phenomenal music coming through back then, and it still does and I don’t think it gets its due.
What was it like trying to keep a band together with all the pressures and temptations of a town like Las Vegas?
Dana Strum: None of us want to admit this, but we go back 26 years. It was fun to be from the middle of the desert where nobody would have believed this would happen, rather than from the Sunset Strip. People ask if we get tired of playing “Up All Night.” No. It was a good song then and it’s a good song now. It was a signature song from a time when a lot of people were happy. This is the greatest job in the world, making people feel good.
Jeff Bland: [laughing] I got all my craziness out early.
Mark Slaughter: “Up All Night” was a signature song about Las Vegas, and I think anyone who’s really been out in Vegas has certainly experienced what the song is about. That’s really one of our biggest influences — just living the Las Vegas lifestyle. Our music was about the music. It was never about the party.
As you have gotten older, your fans have aged, too. Do you notice any differences in the energy level at your concerts?
Mark Slaughter: It’s the same energy. Our music was always an escape. It was good time rock ‘n’ roll. We’re all facing some strange economic times and with our music and the vibe at Feelgoods, we just want to break into that party atmosphere. We want people to embrace the good times and let go of the negativity that sometimes consumes us.
Jeff Bland: It’s really weird to see younger kids who are like 16 at our shows, and then they say their dad was a huge fan or their mom used to play us all the time. They either heard it from their families or they heard it on Guitar Hero. I think it’s really cool. When we see people that young and even younger, we’ll pull them up on stage and have them sing along with us.
You’re sometimes described as a “glam band,” but you don’t seem as over-the-top with the stage makeup as, say, KISS or Twisted Sister. How do you feel about that label?
Dana Strum: The Vinnie Vincent Invasion I did with Mark Slaughter before this group was an over-the-top glam band. So of course, if you do that once, it’s almost like being in a porn movie. You do that once and you become that guy who was in that porn movie. That was in like 1981. Slaughter never ever was a glam band. We were a rock band from Las Vegas.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
Mark Slaughter: My New Year’s resolution is this: stop existing and start living. We all get into our little worlds of clocking in and clocking out and we really need to recognize how lucky we are to have our health, friends and family and to be able to rock at a Slaughter show at Feelgoods on New Year’s Eve.