Slaughter to return hard rock to Pala Casino

Monday 30th November 2020

In 2019, the hard rock band Slaughter features, from left, Jeff Bland, Dana Strum, Blas Elias and Mark Slaughter.

Slaughter will play at Pala Casino's Events Center Saturday, Dec. 5, and will become the first hard rock musical act to play at Pala Casino since the facility reopened.

"I think it's going to be a great show," lead singer and rhythm guitarist Mark Slaughter said. "We're looking forward to playing."

The Pala concert will be Slaughter's second show since the coronavirus outbreak shuttered most entertainment facilities in the United States.

"It's a strange time for everybody," Slaughter said.

Members of the Events Center audience will be wearing facial coverings, and social distancing protocols will also be in place.

"They're doing it all in a safe way where people can enjoy themselves," Slaughter said. "What the casino is actually doing is the proper way. I think it's a good thing."

The social distancing means that seats will be separated - small groups who traveled to the concert together will be allowed to sit with each other - so the band will be playing to a smaller crowd than under normal circumstances.

"You entertain whether it's 50,000 people or 100," Slaughter said. "We're entertaining and we love to entertain."

In 1990, Slaughter and Kiss played before approximately 15,000 people at the San Diego Sports Arena, and Slaughter's sports arena concerts also included performing with Poison in 1991 and with Ozzy Osbourne in 1992. Slaughter and bassist Dana Strum were previously with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, and with that band they played with Iron Maiden at the sports arena in 1986.

"It's a very strange time, but that's what we do. I think that music has always been an escape for me," Slaughter said.

Slaughter's sister and nephew live in San Diego County.

"I know the area," Slaughter said. "It's a beautiful area."

Slaughter is originally from Las Vegas. He was born in 1964, so during his youth the large entertainment venues such as the Thomas and Mack Center, the MGM Grand Arena, the Orleans Arena and the T-Mobile Arena hadn't yet been built.

"Vegas was a small town. I used to refer to Vegas as Green Acres of life," Slaughter said.

The casino showrooms in the 1970s and 1980s tended to feature the nostalgia genre rather than rock. Slaughter said that Las Vegas wasn't completely devoid of music.

"There's a lot of great music in the schools, and I certainly did real well because of that," he said.

Slaughter moved from Las Vegas to Tennessee 22 years ago. Strum lives in Las Vegas. Guitarist Jeff Blando and drummer Will Hunt live in Florida.

The Monsters of Rock cruise, Feb. 8-13, included Slaughter. The ship returned to Miami, and the passengers were not quarantined.

"As soon as we came back, that's when the lockdown started," Slaughter said.

Slaughter had a Feb. 28 concert in Sarasota, Florida, but did not perform again until Oct. 13.

"It pretty much shut down," he said.

The Oct. 13 performance was at the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson. Slaughter's Pala Casino concert will be the band's first performance since the state fair.

"It's pretty crazy how fast time goes," Slaughter said. "This is a band that tours year-round, so it's very odd for all of us."

Slaughter has a recording studio at his home, so the eight-month break from touring allowed him to focus on creating new material.

"I've done a lot of songs. I've done music for television," he said. "It's certainly something that keeps my brush strokes up to par being an artist."

Other than the safety precautions, the Pala concert returns the band and Slaughter's fans to happier circumstances.

"I think the music has been a solace for everybody and that's what we're looking to do at Pala," Slaughter said. "As long as everybody's wearing a mask, we're good to rock."

Having a performance is more important than the size of the audience.

"We can't wait to rock the San Diego area," Slaughter said. "I just hope that everybody gets out there to enjoy themselves."

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