The fan's the thing for Slaughter

For the many nouveau-riche, long-haired rockers that love to flaunt their penchant for sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll -- or at least to perpetuate that image -- there sometimes comes an exception.

Just spend a few minutes with Dana Strum, bassist for the band Slaughter, and you realize he is the epitome of the rare humble rock star.


He is the first one in line to speak to the media. He calls for early interviews. He spends at least an hour before every concert in the parking lot talking with the fans. He thanks fans after he signs autographs.

Sometimes Strum appears more like a person running for political office than a rock 'n' roller whose debut album has sold 2 1/2 million in just more than a year.


"It's been our feeling from the beginning that the fans come first," said Strum, whose band, featuring singer Mark Slaughter (believe or not, his real name), drummer Blas Elias and guitarist Tim Kelly, will appear at Hammerjacks tonight. "It's starts to sound trite or like a cliche but we back it up every day. Those people have taken care of us over the past year and we plan to take care of them."

In an unprecedented showing of good faith, Slaughter recently performed 10 free shows as a support act on the Poison and Trixter tour.

"We had a couple of free weeks with nothing to do so we asked if we could just get on the bill and play some shows," Strum said. "It sure beats sitting around and doing nothing. The money wasn't in the budget to pay us and tickets were already being sold so we decided to gamble that we'd earn enough in T-shirt sales at the show to cover our expenses."

"Unless you've garnered the kind of success and had the good fortune that we've had you can't begin to realize what a rush it is to just get out there and play for people that love to hear the music."

From the release of its album, "Stick It to Ya," at the beginning of 1990, Slaughter was an unlikely choice to be one of last year's most successful new acts. There wasn't a huge record company push, there was little fanfare at the album's release and the Las Vegas band had played just a handful of live dates with the current lineup.

"We had big aspirations," Strum said. "I didn't want to have money to pay for an apartment. I wanted to own the whole town. But, realistically, I never expected two and a half million albums, an American Music Award, and touring all 50 states and most of Europe. The music industry couldn't have provided a better opportunity for anyone.

"I know of a lot of situations, and I can honestly say that I'm not aware of any band that has had better luck or a better run than

we have over the past 12 months," Strum said.



The concert calendar . . .

The Replacements perform at Shriver Hall on the campus of Johns Hopkins University tonight.

Also coming to Hammerjacks, Winger, Extreme and Tangier (Saturday and Sunday), Cyndi Lauper (March 10), Todd Rundgren (March 13) and Sam Kinison (March 23).

Painters Mill has a special four-act show March 18, with Nelson, Child's Play, The Ravyns and Face Dancer performing for a $5.98 ticket. Also playing that venue, Kentucky Headhunters (March 16), the Bulgarian Female Choir (March 31) and Cocteau Twins (April 1).

Coming to the Baltimore Arena, Paul Simon (March 12) and Vanilla Ice (March 31).


The Capital Centre welcomes INXS and The Soup Dragons (tomorrow), Sting (March 7), Paul Simon (March 13) and The Grateful Dead (March 17, 18, 20 and 21).

Max's On Broadway has Mayfield Parker, saxophone player for James Brown (tomorrow).