Raging Slab

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Raging Slab
Origin NYC, NYC, U.S.
Genres Hard rock, Southern rock, Stoner rock
Years active 1983–present
Labels Buy Our Records
RCA Records
American Recordings
Tee Pee Records
Website ragingslab.com
Members Greg Strzempka
Elyse Steinman
Niklas Matsson
Mats Rydström
Past members Kory Clarke
Dmitri Brill
Alec Morton
Tony Scaglione
Phil Ondich
Bob Pantella
Rob Cournoyer
Jack Irons
Paul Sheehan
Mark Middleton
Scott Nesmith

Raging Slab is an American hard rock musical ensemble.

History[edit]

The group formed in 1983[1] when Greg Strzempka and Elyse Steinman, both guitarists, met in New York City. The two had a shared interest in the heavy rock sounds of 1970's style "boogie" rock and such contemporary punk rock groups as the Ramones and Black Flag. The couple enlisted the services of drummer Kory Clarke (Warrior Soul and Space Age Playboys) as well as a third guitarist, Dmitri Brill (Super DJ Dmitri from Deee-Lite), and the nascent boogie group began playing their first shows in Manhattan's Lower East Side rock clubs.

By 1986 the group had gone through several personnel changes, and both Clarke and Brill had departed, but the line-up solidified somewhat with the addition of Alec Morton on bass guitar. The group began to build a steady and loyal following around the New York City and New Jersey area, playing many shows with the Butthole Surfers and also with Strzempka and Steinman's then next-door neighbours, White Zombie. Ultimately the band would utilize the talents of over twenty different drummers, including former Whiplash drummer Tony Scaglione, Black Label Society co-founder Phil Ondich, Monster Magnet/Riotgod drummer Bob Pantella, and New Orleans native Rob Cournoyer, before finding Backdraft drummer Niklas Matsson to fill out the line up.

In 1987 the group recorded their first album, Assmaster, released on the New Jersey based punk label Buy Our Records. The cover art was executed by Marvel Comics artists Pat Redding and Pete Ciccone, and Raging Slab began to tour across the United States. In 1988 Steinman and Strzempka decide to add a third guitarist, Mark Middleton, and the group released their second album, True Death.

By 1989 several major labels were bidding to sign Raging Slab, and ultimately it was RCA Records that attracted the band to sign a multi-record contract. The group recorded their eponymous third album Raging Slab, produced by Daniel Rey (Iggy Pop, The Ramones, Masters of Reality). To help support this album the group also produced a video, and the clip for their song "Don't Dog Me" featured the band being dragged around the Mojave Desert by a monster truck. The video climbed to No. 2 on the MTV countdown.

A 1989 Guitar World review of Raging Slab described the groups sound as "Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Metallica". By this time the group was touring extensively, opening for big name acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Ramones, Molly Hatchet and Warrant.[1] One of the bands that had opened for Raging Slab on their 1990 tour was a then little-known group called Mr. Crowe's Garden, who were soon to become the Black Crowes. It was during this time that Strzempka and Steinman purchased a rural property in Pennsylvania and built "Slabby Road", the group's personal recording studio. The members of the group lived together on the farm in a type of "communal" relationship and began recording their second RCA record, From a Southern Space, produced by Alex Perialis (Anthrax, M.O.D., S.O.D.). Executives at RCA were not pleased with the direction that the group was going with this recording and decide to withdraw their support for its release.[1] During this time the group also opened for Guns N' Roses on their "Top Secret Club Tour" .

The band reentered the studio to record their third RCA record Freeburden with producer Michael Beinhorn (Soundgarden, Ozzy Osbourne, Chili Peppers) and during recording, and the group were utilizing the talents of Chili Pepper and Pearl Jam drummer, Jack Irons.[1] Once again their work is rejected by RCA. Def American impresario Rick Rubin began to make offers to the group to leave RCA and make records for his flourishing label. The group agreed and Rubin bought out the remainder of their contract with RCA.

In 1992 the group began to record a new album with producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Jackyl, Stone Temple Pilots) as well as former Led Zeppelin member John Paul Jones who had agreed to work with the band, contributing string arrangements.[1]

In 1993 the band released their Def American debut, the magnum opus double album Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert. A video that the group creates to accompany this release featured former child actor Gary Coleman, and the video debuted on MTV's popular Beavis and Butt-Head program, where Beavis is heard to declare, "they're like Skynyrd, but cool…".

The following year the band embarked on a European tour in support of Texas.[1] They also played with Lenny Kravitz and Monster Magnet, but while in England the group's then-drummer Paul Sheehan suffered debilitating knee injuries and the group curtailed its touring schedule.[1] They returned to the U.S. and began recording their second Def American (by now known as American Recordings) album. The group delivered Black Belt in Boogie, but the record was rejected by Rubin,[1] who reportedly told the group that he "didn't hear any songs" on it, and currently has not been released. It was during this time that lead guitarist Mark Middleton chose to leave the band, citing "personal problems" as the reason for his departure. Middleton went on to reform The Desperadoes, a classic rock coverband from Johnstown, PA.

The group then returned to the studio to record its next album Sing Monkey, Sing!, which was released with very little publicity. American Recordings then severed its relationship with its distributor Warner Bros. Records, but neglected to tell the members of Raging Slab that it had done so, and also overlooked the legalities of releasing the group from its contract. Sing Monkey, Sing! is then sold to the Columbia Record Club, and the band began legal proceedings against their former label. Deciding that formal proceedings against such a powerful adversary would result only in their own financial ruin, the group decided to wait out the remainder of their contract, which effectively barred them from releasing any new music until the year 2000.

In 1997, however, the group began gigging and recording for their next release, utilizing the talents of drummer Phil Ondich who subsequently left the band in May 1998 to form Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society. The group was able to lure Dale Crover (The Melvins, Nirvana) to help them with drum duties until a permanent replacement could be found. Crover also played some live shows with Raging Slab, including some opening spots for legendary guitarist Leslie West. Rob Cournoyer joined after being referred to the band by Allman Brothers and Government Mule guitarist Warren Haynes.

With the passing of the year 2000, the group's contractual restrictions finally fell away and they began to again record and release music, and they appear on compilation albums such as the Aerosmith tribute album Right in the Nuts, as well as a supplying a cover version of "Mississippi Queen" that appears on the In the Groove compilation album.

In 2001 the group returned with a renewed vigor and they released The Dealer on NYC based independent label Tee Pee Records, and this was the first album of new and original music released by the band in almost six years. The group toured the U.S. and Canada extensively at this time, and were preparing to embark on a European tour. Scheduled to depart New York City bound for London, England on September 11, 2001, the infamous atrocity that occurred on that date postponed the European leg of their tour until later in 2001. On their return to the US the group once again headed into their studio to begin a new record. This album entitled Pronounced: Eat Shit was released in 2002, also on Tee Pee Records.

After the release and European tour for Pronounced: Eat Shit, the band took a long hiatus, before announcing that longtime bassist Alec Morton was suffering from congestive heart failure. Slab frontman Greg Strzempka joined Swedish southern-metallers Backdraft in 2003, before changing the band name to Odin Grange. But in the year 2004, drummer Niklas Matsson and bassist Mats Rydström joined Raging Slab for a short tour of the US and the recording of a new record, which has yet to see the light of day.

Members[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

Reissue[edit]

  • Slabbage/True Death CD (1991 Restless Records) (combo of Assmaster and True Death EP)
  • Raging Slab +2 CD (2000 Axe Killer Records)
  • Raging Slab CD (2009 Rock Candy Records)
  • Assmaster CD (2013 Cherry Red Records) (includes original Assmaster album, True Death EP, bonus tracks from Slabbage/True Death, and other remixes and previously unreleased bonus material)

Compilation tracks[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Raging Slab at MusicMight

External links[edit]