Interview with guitarist and composer Mike Slamer, Slamer (October 2nd 2006)

Greetings from Denmark!

I'm listening to "Nowhere Land" right now and I can honestly say that this is the best release this year! Some of the best playing I've ever heard from your side and the production is just out of this world! Congratulations on this very fine achievement!
Mike Slamer - Thank you very much!

Well, it's an honour for me to be able to do this interview as a big fan of STREETS and especially CITY BOY so let's start!  

The sound and style of "Nowhere Land" seems a bit more progressive than your other recent projects. I seem to discover hints to CITY BOY passages. Is it a deliberate decision to make it a bit more complex this time?
Mike Slamer - It wasn't a deliberate decision but I did want some interesting songs both musically and lyrically. Its funny that you mention hints of City Boy because I hear them too. I think this album has a slightly more British sound than S.H.L. or 7th Key.  


Is the material on "Nowhere Land" all new or are some of the songs left-over's from days gone by?
Mike Slamer - All the songs are new. Two tracks are based on music that I had written for a popular TV show a couple of years ago and I'd wanted to develop them into songs if and when I had the opportunity.
Those songs are “Beyond the Pale” and “Come to me”. The intro to ‘Nowhere Land’ is from a movie I did and I'd always thought it would be a cool set up for a powerful rock track. Everything else is completely new.

Having watched the interview on the SEVENTH KEY - "Live in Atlanta" DVD, it seems like you, Billy and Terry are having the time of your lives while recording. How did Terry Brock end up being the singer in SLAMER? Did you rehearse for other singers than him?
Mike Slamer - Yes, Frontiers suggested it would be good if this album also introduced a NEW singer to the melodic rock scene, but for various reasons I never felt that I found the right person. Once we got past that idea I wanted to try Terry. It was a great partnership and I think he did a fantastic job. And yes, we (Billy, Terry, Chet and myself) always have a good time in the studio because we are "no bullshit".." no ego".. down to earth people with a good sense of humor. I think this is very important when you spend long hours in the studio.

I can't help notice, as mentioned above, that this is an almost flawless production! Has your various projects with Beau Hill influenced you as a producer? If yes, what exactly did you learn from your time with Beau Hill? Do you guys still keep in touch?
Mike Slamer - I haven't seen Beau for quite a while. I always enjoyed working with Beau, Streets, Warrant, Fiona etc. Spending that much time in the studio with him did help me as a producer/engineer but mostly it was Mutt Lange. Recording 5 albums with him was an education! Priceless.  

As a production fanatic I noticed that each song has a special way of ending.It's like the last couple of seconds are cut away.I noticed the same thing with SEVENTH KEY. Why is this done?
Mike Slamer - Really....maybe its psychological because I can honestly say I was completely unaware of that. Now you've brought it to my attention I'll probably never do it again.  

I know that you're the producer on Terry Brock's new solo release.What can we expect? Something similar to SLAMER?
Mike Slamer - No I don't think so. Terry is still writing and we will be writing together later this month but, this album will be whatever Terry wants it to be and I will be there to assist in any way I can.  

There's a rumor that you did the leads for bands like AIRRACE and WARRANT back in the 80s.Is this true? And what was your exact role with those bands?
Mike Slamer - That was a long time ago and I don't remember all the bands. But I did play a lot of guitar on the first two Warrant albums. During those days I did lots of session work for Beau and some of it was as a (ghost) player, you know...don't tell anyone.  

As a guitar player I wonder why you're not known as a "hero" on the fret board. Have you ever wanted to be one of those shredder-types?
Mike Slamer - Never.  

Who influenced you as a guitar player?
Mike Slamer - Mainly Clapton but I was also a huge Deep Purple fan.  

Can we expect any bonus material from the SLAMER - "Nowhere Land" album? I'm thinking of Japanese bonus tracks for example.
Mike Slamer - No, I am not really into that bonus stuff.

I've just reached "Higher Ground" on your new album and WOW - that's melodic alright! Do these melodies come to you naturally are do you deliberately try to write a "hit song"?
Mike Slamer - I don't try to write hit songs ...I just try to write a good melody. “Higher Ground” is a combination of Terry's melody in the verse, mine in the pre chorus and a joint effort in the chorus.  

This is more of a personal question but is there any possibility that "It's Personal" from CITY BOY will ever see a CD release? As a fan of CITY BOY I miss that one album on CD!
Mike Slamer - I have absolutely no idea. Sorry.  

It's pretty easy to trace your career through the 70s and 80s but what happened in the 90s?? Apart from WALL OF SILENCE, STEELHOUSE LANE and MICHAEL SWEET I don't know what else you did? Time off from the music biz?
Mike Slamer - Time off from making rock albums but not from writing and recording. I started composing music for film and TV. I also wrote and recorded an instrumental rock library for ABACO. Those rock tracks were and still are used in very popular TV shows. I still write music for TV and film. So no time off just a change.  

As a great admirer of your guitar playing on ANGRY - "Blood from Stone", I've got to ask this question; wasn't it bizarre working with that bald guy?? :-) - Did you live in Australia back then?
Mike Slamer - No, Angry came over to LA to record the album. We became very good friends...and what an interesting guy. The whole experience was great. I have to admit; the first time I saw Angry I wasn't sure what to make of him but within minutes we were talking like old friends.  

Apart from your own projects, what artist/what band do you see as the best newcomer?
Mike Slamer - To be honest with you I don't listen to enough new music to answer that. Most of what I hear I'm not that keen on and I prefer listening to the great bands and songs from earlier years.

Do you know any bands from Denmark?
Mike Slamer - Unfortunately, no I don't sorry.  

Which three words would best describe you as a musician, in your own words?
Mike Slamer - I can only think of one: Conscientious.  

Can we look forward to any European live dates for SLAMER??
Mike Slamer - Oh I really hope so. I would love to support this album in a live situation but in reality it is out of my hands.  

Well, thanks for your time and, once again, congrats on the release of this brilliant album called "Nowhere Land"! An instant classic!
Mike Slamer - Thank you very much,

Interviewed by Janus "The Jack" Lybro

Slamer - Nowhere Land

Album available on Frontiers Records.