http://www.metal-rules.com/metalnews/20 ... ana-strum/
THE EARLY YEARS WITH VINNIE VINCENT
Metal-Rules.com: The next obvious question is about Vinnie Vincent…
Dana Strum: Oh, Vinnie Vincent, really interesting person. Needless to say, I haven’t talked to him since 1988. I’ve never even said “Hello” but I don’t harbor it anymore. I did for a long time. I just didn’t get it, but I don’t harbor it anymore. I almost feel bad for him.
Dana Strum: To have that interesting talent but not know how to…
Metal-Rules.com: How to use his talent?
Dana Strum: Yeah, in my opinion, very important, this is only my opinion, it’s not a fact – in my opinion, he’s never been able to capitalize on what I do know is some really serious talent that he has. And I never talked to him again. The early days with him were interesting, those were interesting. Those days were really naive and young and I just wanted to get a leg up. I’d been working in L.A. studios and when I met him I thought “I know how to do what you want to do” so we made the first record, the first Invasion record. “Oh, I know how to do this? Do you really want to go for it? I know how to do this and it will sound fucking really great” And it was a really unique sounding record. And I said “It won’t sound like anything you’ve ever heard because we’re going to do this from our heart. I’m going to sit here all night long with no computers, I’m going to make this happen”. And I was really proud of it. So when the whole thing started to crumble I was personally – again I was just devastated because I thought “I put my heart into this man. I sat every day working on this thing” so I was devastated. But things happen in life that devastates you, and it devastated me because I put my heart into it and I lost. I mean, I lost because the person that you invest in isn’t what you thought they were, so I lost.
Metal-Rules.com: You actually were the one who recommend Vinnie for KISS in 1982, right?
Dana Strum: In the early day I just thought it was a cool opportunity because Gene and Paul had called me because Sharon talked about “Look this guy, he knows all these guys, Randy Rhoads and so on” and it was different. It wasn’t like what you’d think. With Randy, it’s the same thing, when he told me he didn’t like Black Sabbath I was devastated, I’m like “How? That’s my favorite band and you’re insulting my favorite band. How could you do this?” But it was the way it really was. And he gave me the Mick Ronson bootleg tape and said “You see the way I look” and all the sudden I looked at the pictures, I’m like “Oh my God!” I never got it really. “You are literally that guy that you love”. And he gave me that tape, he says “You know the strings in my band and my D-tuning, this is all Mick Ronson. Listen.” But when he gave me the tape I did, I got my stupid car and listened to the cassette. I’m like “Oh my God, it’s everything this guy does”. And there was a certain innocent beauty to that. I remember when we sat in the Le Parc Hotel and he’s like well “What do you think we’re going to do”. I said “I have no idea but I know you need to do this”. He’s like “Yeah but what’s the music going to be?” I said: ”I don’t know?” He was very concerned though about the Black Sabbath part. He just did not want anything to do with it. I’m like “How can you say that? Those are my favorite songs?”
Vinnie Vincent Invasion in 1988: Bobby Rock, Mark, Vinnie Vincent and Dana
THE STORY OF GÖRAN EDMAN AND THE ALICE COOPER TOUR
Metal-Rules.com: What was role of vocalist Göran Edman, the Swedish guy, during the early Vinnie Vincent Invasion days?
Dana Strum: Oh Göran, yeah Göran. I was just talking to him (Blando) about it. He was going to be the singer, you’re right and I called him. I spoke to him and I was concerned that he couldn’t say Vinnie’s name. I said to Vinnie “Look, he can’t say your name. He pronounces it in dialect and he can’t say your name. What would it be like to tour and he says “Winnie Wincent”. That’s not your name”. He said “I don’t know”, and I felt odd because I would have had to fly all the way over. And in the meantime I had met Mark, a young kid that was so anxious and I thought “I’m from Las Vegas, my money is on the kid” you know. And so Göran, Vinnie wanted him big time and Vinnie liked the way he sang, he really wanted him and I guess I was the criminal that fucked that up. I went with Mark and the record company was angry at me, Vinnie was angry at me, Göran’s probably angry at me, all of Sweden’s probably angry at me. But I went with what I thought was the right thing to do and I just didn’t think it was right.
Metal-Rules.com: I met Göran like two years ago when he was Helsinki. We talked about this Vinnie thing and he said that he did altogether three separate sessions with Vinnie, the first session, the one after Mark left, and then there was one in ’94 in Sweden or something like that?
Dana Strum: Yeah, when Mark left I think what Vinnie was trying to do whatever… you know – “I should have just done this… He probably called him up and went “Fuck these guys, I should have just done this right from begin with!”. And meanwhile we had sold millions with Slaughter. So he’s like “I’m just going to call everybody I wanted to call and say fuck these idiots”. And I knew he hated us. I think it’s a fair bet to say…But with Göran, I didn’t do anything bad to him. I just didn’t think it wasn’t the right thing to do then.
Metal-Rules.com: Actually Göran didn’t say anything negative about you but however he wasn’t too happy how things worked with Vinnie at the end…
Dana Strum: Well if he had dealt with him (Vinnie) afterwards I’m sure he did, you know. I’m like “Good luck, if you can make it work, good luck baby.” “Laughs”
Metal-Rules.com: There’s one more thing from the Invasion days I want ask for and it’s the tour you did with Alice Cooper in 1988. That tour was a kind of break-in for Mark as well, right?
Dana Strum: It was really interesting tour. I mean we used to throw shit down, we broke shit every night. It was really an interesting time. It was really good memories. Mark had never sung a show as a singer in his life. He never sang ever with a microphone in his hand before that. It was one of those on the fly things and it was like “All right kid, get up there and give it a go. Here’s your shot”. And it was interesting.
Metal-Rules.com: From a fan perspective that tour was a good package. Alice had a great stage show and band and you did put on a bunch of great performances as well.
Dana Strum: It was. The stage show was great, his band was great. Everything was great, and it was all good fun. Everything about that tour other than the band we were in was really good fun. If I was just tour managing the tour, I would have been really happy because I love the Alice Cooper songs. I just wish that I wasn’t playing on that tour.
THE BREAKUP AND FORMATION OF SLAUGHTER
Metal-Rules.com: The final breakup with Vinnie. How was it?
Dana Strum: That was ugly, ugly.
Metal-Rules.com: Was it any surprise to happen after all?
Dana Strum: No, I wasn’t surprised, it was ugly. At one point we were in the dressing room and I don’t know what happened. At the time I didn’t drink that much but just this rage came over me. I’d just fucking had it and I’m like “You know what, fuck you”. And I remember I put the thing down, I said “Take one fucking swing, it will be the last fucking swing you ever take in your fucking life”. And he looked at me and I looked at him and I knew it was over and he knew it was over. But I said “Look, I’ll play until you supposedly find a replacement. I play every city you want. Find a replacement”. Well it never happened and then we played until the end in Anaheim, I took my shit and when I slammed the door of the car with my fucking shit in the car I couldn’t have been happier. I say that’s the best fucking day of my life to drive away from this fucking stupidity. That’s what I did.
Metal-Rules.com: Once you and Mark decided to form a new band together, there’s a story saying that the Chrysalis Records, took the $4 million contract away from Vinnie Vincent and transferred the contract to you?
Dana Strum: We turned it down, you know?
Metal-Rules.com: I didn’t know about that?
Dana Strum: Because I just didn’t feel at the time that it was right. We went with a smaller company because we didn’t have that opportunity and they offered a bunch of money and they tried to take us out… They offered us something that we didn’t (want), and Mark and I talked about it and I said “hey look, we’ve burned this bridge with these people at Chrysalis (Records) and if we were to make that move, if it doesn’t work, we’re fucked! If it does work, we’re heroes.” But we stayed with the small guys and won that way and believe me. That was a really weird meeting because we left and we were like “wow, we’ll have to break out everything we’ve done and tell them like, I dunno…” So we actually met with the small guys and said “look, we’re not going to beat you up, but how do we change this crappy deal we are in?” Everything happened in one night over dinner. Even our lawyer didn’t believe it.
Mark Slaughter: Our lawyer said “He’s not going to discuss that with you.” So he was like you go have dinner, you kids go have a good time…and then we literally renegotiated the deal. It was just Dana and I, just the two of us. No manager, just the two of us, that’s it.
Dana Strum: He told us there was no way that’s going to happen at dinner and I’m like, “look the whole deal is not going to be what it was”. We sat at this meeting and it’s like look, “we want to drop this and this and we’ll give you a million dollars”…and I was like, “we can’t do that”.