Their name suggests a whole lotta trouble brewing, too, though it's the actual surname of lead singer Mark Slaughter, a wailer in the Robert Plant/Bon Scott (late of AC/DC) mold.
As for the provocatively posed woman (Laurie Carr, wife of Ratt's Robin Crosby) depicted in light bondage on the cover of Slaughter's album, they make no excuses.
Still, 23-year-old Slaughter fan Dan Zimmermann has talked his parents into letting the group hang out at his house in Yardley for a few days, before their Spectrum debut tomorrow, when they open for Kiss.
And Slaughter guitarist Tim Kelly, an area native (from Bucks County and West Trenton), convinced the L.A.-based band that it would be a cool homecoming for him, and a big dollar-saver for all of them, to take Zimmermann up on his gracious hospitality.
"We first heard about the offer on our Slaughter telephone hot line (213-969-1760)," Kelly said, before the group arrived yesterday to chow down at a welcoming barbecue of chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers at the Zimmermanns', and to pose for pictures with Dan and about two dozen of his buddies.
"Our fan club president brought us the message. Then we called back
his parents" - Don and Doris Zimmermann - "and found out it was legit. We
asked if they could put up with our tour bus and equipment truck clogging up
their driveway, with a bunch of people sleeping on the floor, and they said,
Even with the band's fast success and featured status on the Kiss tour, they're "breaking even at best" as a support act, Kelly said.
"It costs us $18,000 a week to keep our part of the show on the road. That's why most new groups who only sell 200,000 albums wind up $100,000 in hock to the record company after a three-month tour like this. Staying at Dan's house is gonna save us a lot of money. And if it doesn't work out here, well, we can always go to a hotel," he said.
A heavy equipment operator by day, die-hard rock 'n' roll fan by night, Dan Zimmermann goes to "practically every Spectrum and Troc show," and hangs around with a crew of local rock musicians.
"They're a nice bunch of kids with long hair," said his mom, Doris. ''They all rallied around the hospital bed when Dan was in a serious boating accident recently, rupturing his spleen. We're all happy he's here.
"So we were glad to help him entertain the group. They're not exactly my cup of tea, but then again Frank Sinatra was not my father's, either," added Doris Zimmermann, who's "old enough to have a 40-year-old daughter."
"I can tell their songs are pretty good," she continued. "They haven't gotten bad publicity like some rock 'n' rollers. They come across as musicians who really like to play. And they don't have to come up with weird lyrics and so forth to get attention, like some bands do."
Dan is the youngest of five Zimmermann children; the rest are married with
families of their own. "We're used to having a lot of people around," his mom said. "This is going to be a lot like a sleep-over party."
Yesterday, a few hours after the group's arrival, she pronounced the band ''very nice, easy to entertain."
Pumping up the event to "MTV House Invasion" proportions, Slaughter's publicity crew had somewhat overstated the Zimmermanns' modest spread. In one music magazine report, the house was described as having seven bedrooms (it really has four), a gourmet maid (nuh-uh), a fax machine (it's just a touch- tone phone) and a swimming pool.
Well, they used to have a pool, one of those vinyl-sided, in-ground types. ''One wall caved in last winter, and we had to fill it in," Dan Zimmermann said.
While the Slaughter crew do enjoy their beer and their womanizing, they say they don't indulge in harder stuff, and they come off as a normal, cooled-out lot in person. They get their natural high on-stage, Kelly said, raising a ruckus with stormier concert versions of album tracks like "Up All Night," ''Eye to Eye," and their new power ballad single, "Fly To The Angels."
Mark Slaughter and bassist Dana Strum paid their dues backing Vinnie Vincent, a former guitarist with Kiss. But even with that grounding, Slaughter's success has come phenomenally fast. Kelly recalled the first night on this tour, in Lubbock, Texas, on May 4.
"It was the first time we ever played on stage together," he said.
Afterward, they were summoned backstage by the upper management team of their record company.
"We thought they were going to tell us to tone down our stage act. Instead, they presented us with a gold album" - signifying sales of 500,000 copies. Not bad, for starters.
Humble almost to a fault, Slaughter credits all their success to their fans - the kids who recently made "Up All Night" the No. 1 requested song on the Dial MTV show for nine weeks in a row, and who've helped them cross the single over from the older appeal album rock stations to the 11- 19-year-olds' favorite format, CHR (contemporary hits radio), which really sells the most pop records nowadways.
"Usually, it takes a lot longer for a hard-rock band to cross over," Kelly said.
While they're here in the area, Slaughter won't be spending all that much time relaxing at the Zimmermanns'. Early today, they planned to start making the rounds of music wholesalers, radio stations and retailers, to press the flesh and proffer thanks to all for their good fortune.
IF YOU GO
Kiss, Slaughter and Little Caesar at the Spectrum, 8 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets: $17.50 & $19.50. Info: 336-3600.