LA label Slash started life as a punk fanzine in 1977, but eventually grew to be one of the great indie labels, helping launch the careers of great-to-seminal bands like Violent Femmes, X, Faith No More, Gun Club, L7, Los Lobos, Fear, Grant Lee Buffalo, BoDeans, Dream Syndicate and Green on Red. UK’s London Records purchased Slash in 1996, meaning Slash became a subsidiary of the Polygram “family,” inevitably leading to the label’s downfall: When ugly giant Universal took control of Polygram in 2000, Slash was shut down. However, label distributor Warner secured the rights to the label catalogue, so that when Slash founder Bob Biggs recently decided to have another go at it, Warner • whose US CEO happens to be the former ruler of London Records • was willing to license out some tracks to help launch Biggs’s new label Slash/Bigg Massive.
Hence this, a somewhat amputated summary of one of the truly defining crossover indies of the eighties and early nineties. Now, one can hardly fault an album that includes the Violent Femmes’ “Gone Daddy Gone,” Faith No More’s “Epic,” the Misfits’ “All Hell Breaks Loose” and Gun Club’s “Sex Beat.” Still, this album fails to accurately tell the history of the label, and doesn’t really seem to try very hard either. Far too many names are lacking from the album, too many aspects of the label have been ignored, and Salute This seems, quite frankly, pretty accidentally thrown together, with little thought or consideration put into it. There’s no way some measly 13 tracks from 11 artists, spread over 45 minutes, are going to do the label’s long and proud history any justice.
There are two previously unreleased tracks on here. “The Sky is Falling” is late-80s rap-metal that sounds rather outdated coming from 2003, but it may work as a tribute of sorts to Slash’s past. The other track is from the same band’s spin-off reggae project (the Shiner Massive Sound System). It’s called “Here We Come,” and while it’s not particularly cutting edge, it does hint at a more productive direction for the resurrected Slash. Both Shiner Massive projects have albums coming out soon, and it’ll be interesting to see what direction in which this will take Slash/Bigg Massive.
Slash/Bigg Massive: http://www.slashbiggmassive.com/