Double the pleasure

Great White and Slaughter bring double the rock to Hobart

By Allyson B. Crawford

Photo: Great White will perform alongside Slaughter on Nov. 20 at Hobart Arena

“Life is pretty darn good. Enjoy it while you can,” advises Mark Slaughter, front man for the band Slaughter.

Slaughter and fellow ’80s glam metallers Great White will team up for a show and some of the good life at Hobart Arena in Troy on Friday, Nov. 20.

Slaughter and Great White often play several shows together each year. The bands have the same management and the package works well for fans. Still, it’s been awhile since both bands have played the Dayton region. Great White played the Ohio State Fair earlier this year but neither act has been around the Miami Valley in years. This means there’s pent-up demand for a classic, straight-ahead rock show.

“You can say what you will about [music] trends, and New York and Los Angeles seem to dictate the newest thing, but straight ahead rock n’ roll plays really well in the Midwest and always has,” explains Great White rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Michael Lardie. “We literally could have a career playing from Ohio to Utah, back and forth up and down. We could do 50 shows a year just in that region. I don’t know if it is the realism of going to see a real band that actually plays their instruments … I think that might be part of the attraction. There is a certain authenticity to what we’re still doing.”

Great White formed back in 1977. Since that time, the band has had some super highs and even lower lows. Highs include platinum records, Grammy nominations and touring with some of the biggest bands in rock. Lowest lows include a break-up in 2000, floundering solo careers and the horrific Station nightclub fire in February of 2003. Eventually the band officially reunited only to face ongoing issues with singer Jack Russell. In 2010, the band members hired vocalist Terry Ilous to replace Russell.

“We set out to not get a clone,” explains Lardie on the decision to select Ilous as the band’s new front man. “Many of our contemporaries who have changed singers have gone after singers that sound very close to the original singers. We had the intention—if we’re going to become relevant again—we wanted a reboot. We wanted a singer that hit within the framework of Mark’s [Kendall] guitar playing but didn’t sound like Jack. It was an uphill battle. When someone was with you for 25 years and you make a change, the doubters say it isn’t the same. Well, that was the intention. People have been warming up to Terry over the past four or five years and we’re banging along so it must be working.”

On the other side of the spectrum is Slaughter, which has featured the core team of Mark Slaughter and bassist Dana Strum since the band’s inception in 1988.

“There’s a friendship and kindship that allows our band to continue on,” continues Mark Slaughter. “[Dana and I have] worked together longer than most people even know someone else!” laughs Slaughter. This means stage chemistry is easy going—something fans notice.

“The way I look at the industry now is that I get paid to travel and I play for free. I’d make music even if I weren’t paid for it, because that is what I do. You can’t put a dollar amount on art, but it isn’t something that should be given away and the artist lives in poverty. Now we have a great balance. We play a lot of shows, people are happy and the party goes on,” admits Slaughter.

Both bands play between 40 and 50 shows a year. Life isn’t on a tour bus like back in the ’80s. Now it’s all about fly-in dates and scheduling a group of shows around certain geographic areas that make the most sense. The bands also prefer to play more favorable venues, which usually mean larger spaces with better sound and no smoking. Thus both bands are really looking forward to the Hobart Arena gig.

“When people go to Hobart Arena, they’ll hear music and it will bring up a lot of great memories,” explains Slaughter. “That’s ultimately what music is. Besides your sense of smell, there’s nothing that takes you back to a certain time in your life like music. That’s the power for music.”

Between the power of the music and the chemistry on stage, rock fans can expect a high-energy show from both bands. In fact, it is that energy that keeps the guys in Great White going, show after show.

“I think one of the things I hear a lot from the fans is ‘You look like you’re having a great time on stage!’ We’re really lucky that we have that connection of the creative mindset between this group of people. There’s a lot of energy and people respond to that. It’s circular and you get out what you put in,” Lardie explains.

Slaughter continues and adds, “The music that we make and Great White makes is all about fun. It’s a party waiting to happen!”

Slaughter and Great White will rock out at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20 at Hobart Arena, 255 Adams Street in Troy. Tickets are $25-$60 and can be purchased online at hobartarena.com. For more information visit greatwhiterocknroll.com and slaughterusa.com.

Allyson B. Crawford lives in Kettering and writes about ’80s metal bands on her daily blog bringbackglam.com. You can usually find her at all sorts of metal shows around Ohio and across the country. Allyson can be reached at AllysonCrawford@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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About Allyson B. Crawford

View all posts by Allyson B. Crawford
Allyson B. Crawford lives in Kettering and writes about ’80s metal bands on her daily blog bringbackglam.com. You can usually find her at all sorts of metal shows around Ohio and across the country. Allyson can be reached at AllysonCrawford@DaytonCityPaper.com

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