Slaves on Dope
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Metafour
6/10/2003
 
Biography
HOME TOWN: Canada
MEMBERS:
Jason Rockman - vocals
Kevin Jardine - guitar
Rob Urbani - drums
Frank Salvaggio - bass

Six years ago, Slaves on Dope stepped into the limelight in their native Montreal with a ferocious wall of sound that would, by the turn of the century, take Ozzy Osbourne by the balls and ultimately make the band the first signed to his record label, Divine Recordings. Hell-bent on capturing on disc a sound that is detailed, dynamic, and intense, the band's path to glory started with ‘Feet’, a basement tape passed around to friends and fans at their early shows. Adhering to the D.I.Y. ethic not out of ostentatious martyrdom but rather lack of choice in the wide-open Great White North, the band’s first professional recording, Sober, was a Slaves-only affair: engineered, produced, and mixed by the band. The EP gained notoriety in their hometown and quickly the rest of Canada caught on. The Slaves were thereafter on the run, playing fast and loose across Canada, criss-crossing towns and tundra ten times before being confronted by their own ambitions. Kevin comments, ‘We’d exhausted our opportunities in the Canadian rock scene, so we decided to take a chance where we could get noticed on a larger scale. The chicks and nice weather didn’t hurt, either.’ Upon completion of the incendiary 1998 demo Klepto (another in-house production), Slaves on Dope packed up and, sight unseen, moved to L.A in May 1999. On the strength of contacts made on the road in Canada, the boys hit the ground runnin', forthwith securing professional management and gigs with System of a Down, Papa Roach, and Motorhead. Their presence was made immediately and soon the four livewires were headlining on the competitive L.A. club circuit with a visceral and provocative live show. Stirring the cheese of metal with the middle finger of punk, the band's sound evolved from a dissonant, angular barrage of aggro riffs into cohesive, tightly-wound sounds of fury, all tempered by an unforced injection of melody. Jason Rockman does not emote about women’s body parts; he rails against the perils of self-delusion and destruction. Empowerment is also a running theme throughout the album: ‘Every person in the world wants a fair shot, I just went and got mine.’ Jason, Kevin, Rob, and Frank were writing some of the best songs in town. It was on the strength of these songs that a demo was recommended to Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, who were scouting the scene for fresh talent for their nascent label when the four Slaves on Dope crossed their path. A short 25-minute set at a Hollywood dive bar last January left the Osbournes’ rapt. The band felt secure that their vision would be championed with providence at Divine, and that trust and faith was the catalyst for the band’s decision to call Divine Recordings home. This cleared the way for the first test, the record they’d struggled their entire careers to get the opportunity to make. The second test awaited: a berth on The Ozzfest 2000. Producer Thom Panunzio (Black Sabbath, Iggy Pop) and the Slaves recently chased the dragon through thirteen peaks and valleys, culminating in the phenomenal debut album Inches From the Mainline, set for release October 3. We promise, this is one dose you'll have to fix.