As a new band in the classic trio format, Slavior are one of the first big surprises of the year 2007 with their self-titled debut album. Heavy rock has rarely sounded so fresh or modern. "It was designed for the masses" says the band themselves. The line-up is first class with a highly explosive artistic mixture. Formed around the nucleus of Fates Warning drummer Mark Zonder, MSG guitar and keyboard player Wayne Findley and former Tribe of Gypsies vocalist Gregg Analia, Slavior present themselves as one of the big hopefuls for 2007. In our review section you can read my review and now you can read all about the band as I had an interview with Mark Zonder about "his" new band.

Who came up with the name of the band and does it have a special meaning?

Mark: Gregg actually came up with the idea to form a new band and Wayne said that we could call it Temple Within. But after a while when we wrote songs and were rehearsing them the musical direction changed little by little and so we had to come up with another name for the band. The music in the end became more intense, rockier, so Slavior is a much better name. It is a great name for a band, it has a certain edge and it is a true modern name and most important the music we play really fits to the name, don’t you think?

What happened to Fates Warning by the way?

Mark: I really do not know. What I know is that I am no longer a part of FW. I really did not want to tour anymore with that band after 14 years….. Do not get me wrong, I did NOT quit, but could we change the subject, please?

Of course, how did Slavior come to life?

Mark: You know it is really tough to find good people for a band but I think that with Gregg and Wayne I found the ideal musicians for this power trio band. Wayne lives very close to me and that makes it easier to communicate and share ideas the moment you have them. It is easier to rehearse if you live close to each other. We had some ideas for a couple of songs and we sat together and it worked really fine but then we had to find a singer for the band and we were overloaded with demos from all sorts of vocalists. However when we heard Gregg’s voice we knew this the guy we were looking for, he really stood out of the crowd. His singing was creative, modern and he really killed all the other guys..

Will it be difficult to go on tour as you have no bass player in the band?

Mark: Being a rock trio is ideal but live we use a bass player of course. Going on tour is never easy as it is all about money. You have to make money because it is no use gong on tour and playing for 6 people in Germany or 20 people in The Netherlands.. Of course you also got to have fun on tour otherwise it become a true drag after a couple of shows. At the moment I cannot tell you if we will be going on tour and where or when. It all depends on how the album will be received and what Inside Out’s ideas of a tour are.

When I first heard the album I instantly thought of bands like King’s X and Living Colour or am I completely wrong there?

Mark: I hear you and I think that you are right in a way, not bad if you compare us to those great bands. However I think that Slavior has a rather unique sound, but of course you always hear influences from other bands or other musical directions. Gregg’s vocals are the key to our music, his vocal performance on the album is really super and we concentrated on the songs, not on musical solos. Furthermore the groove and the rock rhythms are really meant for a mass audience, I would even say that it is radio friendly music. Of course there are also enough technical things to discover but songs like "Dove" or "Shatter" could really be played on the radio and even become hits???

How did you end up with Inside Out as this is a more progressive oriented label?

Mark: You are right of course about that. But in the first place we were with Black Lotus, however they went bankrupt and so there was no record deal for us. The master CD was ready so we sent it to Inside Out in the USA and that really worked out great. They really liked the stuff on our debut album and so we ended up with them.

The CD really sounds "fresh", is this due to the almost Spartan production of sound engineer Joe Marlett? And who is Joe Marlett?

Mark: He is a young engineer with a very modern approach and he turned out to be the perfect guy for the job. The album really sounds in your face and direct. Joe also came up with ideas and suggestions regarding the guitars and the keys. He made the album completely down to earth.

Were there any songs left?

Mark: Well, there is one track called "Come alive" which we actually did not like that much in the first place. It is featured on our Japanese release tough. With that song the album actually became too long, almost 60 minutes. I think that with the playing time of 52 minutes the CD is already very long… It is always difficult to choose the songs for an album if you have any "leftovers", which track is good, which one not. But I think that the quality of our album does not suffer from the fact that we left out "Come alive".

So, hopefully we will be seeing/hearing Slavior in Europe in the near future…

Mark: You can count on that, but when I really would not know. You know as I said before I cost a lot of money to set up a decent tour. We love Europe; it is always a pleasure to play there. I still remember places like Tilburg, Amsterdam and the Dynamo Festival. So, let’s wait and see how the CD will be received by the press and the fans.

Thanks for your time, Mark.

Mark: You’re welcome.

Interview for Rockunited by Martien Koolen
All photos by Alex Solca, borrowed from

1 April 2007
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