What do you get when you put together a group of multi-platinum frontmen from the ’80s and ’90s that collectively sold 50 million records worldwide and have more hits than you can count? The answer is “Scrap Metal!” This powerhouse project is made up of such familiar faces and voices as Gunnar and Matthew Nelson (Nelson), Mark Slaughter (Slaughter), Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger) and Eric Martin (Mr. Big). Jason Price of Live-Metal.Net recently caught up with Mark Slaughter, one of the bands founding members, to discuss the project’s origin and its promising future, as well as what is on the horizon for Mark’s original band, Slaughter.
Live-Metal: How did the Scrap Metal project come about?
Mark Slaughter: Well, I did a benefit along with Gunnar Nelson and Kelly Keagy for the Nashville Songwriters Association International (www.nashvillesongwriters.com) out here in Nashville. What they do is basically make sure that songwriters get their share of the royalties and et cetera. We went out and played and had some great guests, as well. We got a really, really incredible reaction out of it. I think it was a little better then we thought it would be. Subsequently, Gunnar turned to me during the show and said “Hey, we should call this Scrap Metal!” and that is where it all started.
How did you get hooked up with the Nelsons originally?
Gunnar lives out here in Nashville. I met Gunnar and Matthew when I was in the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, years ago, even before they even had their project done. So we have been running into each other for years.
What can we look forward to when Scrap Metal takes the stage?
Well, it will definitely be the hits. There is definitely a point where if there are ever artists around from other bands, they usually they come up and we will end up playing the hits with them. You never know who you are going to see at the show. It’s a lot of fun.
What members comprise the core of Scrap Metal right now?
It is Gunnar, Matthew, Kelly Keagy, Eric Martin and myself, all lead singers.
Scrap Metal is unique in that way. How big of an adjustment is it to have a group composed of all frontmen?
I think that everyone gets a chance to jump in and play their instruments. I used to be a guitar teacher years ago, so I get a chance to really play guitar instead of just being a frontman, so it is a lot of fun for me, too!
You mentioned that members of other bands may join you. Is there anyone that we can look forward to seeing with Scrap Metal soon?
Well, let’s put it this way, we have had Artimus Pyle from Lynyrd Skynyrd. We have had Jim Peterik from Survivor. He wrote the song for “Hold on Loosely” for .38 Special. Mark Farner from Grand Funk Railroad is going to come out and do a few shows with us. It is an environment of just great artists. So we have that and a lot of the metal guys who are waiting in the wings that we will pull in as well.
Did you know everyone in the band before it formed, Eric Martin for example?
Not really. I had met Eric a couple of times at different shows, but I definitely didn’t know him as well as I do now.
In working with these artists, has anyone surprised you?
I think that it is really cool on how it all works. As far as surprising me, I think that everybody plays a lot better than one would perceive, even that I would perceive. It is really cool when you are playing with a group of guys that really do this.
Can we look for a national tour anytime in the near future?
Well, we have a lot of shows that are coming up. Our agent is actually looking to find what is out there and what we can do in the following and we will just see where it maps out. Obviously I am still doing Slaughter as well, so I will still being doing shows for that, as well. I will be jumping back and forth between the two. We are all still doing our prospective bands, but that would certainly be a blast to do.
Have you been working on any original material for Scrap Metal?
Yeah, we have been writing some stuff. We might be making a record for Japan. It looks like we are going there. We will go over and do some shows in Japan, and we are just looking to get out, play some hits, have some fun and make some smiles!
With a wave of pop culture nostalgia and reality TV around every corner (Rock of Love, for example), has anyone ever approached you or the band about doing a reality show?
Yeah, it has been discussed in several channels, and there is a couple of places we are looking to possibly do something, but nothing is engraved in stone yet. But yes, we are looking to do that.
I saw on your web site (www.markslaughter.net) that you have been working on a score to a film entitled Thunder Over Reno. How did you get involved with that project?
Actually, the director contacted me, and it is something that I truly love doing, film and television. I do a lot of voiceover work, as well.
As you mentioned Slaughter is alive and well, what is happening in regards to Slaughter?
We have written some songs, as well. Obviously, we are still out there doing shows. I just back from doing three shows with Slaughter along with Vince Neil. Dana (Strum) has been playing with Vince Neil, as well. So we are just out there making music and tearing it up! It’s been great.
Slaughter has had a much longer life span than a lot of bands of that era who were your peers. What do you attribute the band’s longevity to?
Well, I think that there is no substance abuse problems. There is not an ego problem. I think that everybody understands that we make music, just like Scrap Metal. There are no egos here. Maybe one of the reasons is that Slaughter is the only band from our genre that wrote and produced our own music. So, I think that there is a confidence there that always to really feel what we are doing.
Are you working on any material for a future release?
Yeah, we have about three or four songs written already. We are just looking to see what makes sense for Slaughter. I don’t really have an outlet or a label that really makes sense to me right now. We’ve got several songs, and we have been trying them out live and they have gone over really well. I don’t really have the answer as to where we are going to be or what label it will be, but we are looking at that.
In closing, is there anything you’d like to say to all of the Mark Slaughter and Scrap Metal fans out there?
I’d just like to say thanks for all the years. It has been 17 for Slaughter, and since the Vinnie Vincent days, it has been 21, so there you have it. I have been very blessed that I have been able to do this and want to thank everybody for giving me the opportunity to do so!
Thanks for your time, Mark!