Former BLAZE guitarist John Slater recently spoke to the BLAZE fan site BlazeFans.com about his departure from BLAZE and his recent activities. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
BlazeFans.com: You have posted on the forum recently about a new project you are working on with [former BLAZE guitarist] Steve [Wray]. How did this come about?
John Slater: "Well, we're still deciding on a name actually. As I said earlier, Steve and I still keep in touch with both Rob and Jeff and we always wanted to continue playing together so we decided to. During that break, Steve and myself got together on a couple of occasions to write some stuff which we did. We sent a copy off to both Jeff and Rob. Shortly after, Rob and Steve came over to my house where we laid down another idea down. We then had a call from this guy in London as we were looking for a vocalist. We knew what kind of voice we were looking for and when we last played Bradford Rio's Steve went home to find a demo on his doormat. He called me while I was in the bar saying, 'John, I think we've found our man.' He tried playing some to me down the phone but it was quite difficult to pick up. He brought the CD down to the venue and we listened to it before we did the gig. He fit the criteria perfectly. We're actually recording with [producer] Andy Sneap in October. It's great fun because it's like starting your first band again. We planned quite a few things and made deadlines for ourselves just to make sure we went through with it I suppose. We've had offers for gigs and at the time we'd not really looked that far. We don't even have a set. We will still be doing what we did 6 years ago and what new bands do now. Recording a few tracks, doing a few gigs, trying to get a deal. The advantage is that we have experience. We are aware what our limitations are and stick to what we believe is an achievable goal. It can go either way and we’re well aware of that."
BlazeFans.com: We have to ask, if you are both involved in a band outside of BLAZE, does this signal the end of BLAZE the band?
John Slater: "You also have to ask yourself who BLAZE 'the band' are. I'm certain that Mr. Bayley himself has no intention of calling it a day and to most people BLAZE the band is Blaze Bayley which I can fully understand. It's no real secret that we were all going through a sticky patch. Personally, I feel that the level we reached is the highest we were ever going to reach unless somebody was prepared to back us. I always felt that the record companies did as little as possible and relied mainly on Blaze's connection with IRON MAIDEN to get us started. We were fighting for attention but were not being given a big enough platform to stand on. Unless anyone within the industry is prepared to support BLAZE then I believe they'll continue to struggle where they are. It's a horrible thing to say, I know, but because I'm no longer in the band it doesn't mean I don't want our music to be heard. I still want Blaze himself to continue because it's what keeps him going. He is a great singer and performer and deserves more. He's always been grateful for every fan that's believed in him as the rest of us have. He sees everything from the fans point of view because he still is a fan himself. We all are. I will certainly miss writing, recording and performing under the BLAZE banner but during the recording of 'Blood and Belief' I felt I wanted to move on. I'd been working on so many other things musically that I knew I couldn't put them in motion while ever I was working in BLAZE. I've had my own personal traumas and problems to overcome as we all have and I want to know that there are other things I can succeed at doing."
Read John Slater's entire interview with BlazeFans.com at this location.