Dave Slave is an eccentric character – to say the least.
He has carved out an enduring reputation of certifiable insanity and bizarre conduct both on and off stage as a member of the legendary and notorious Sydney metal band Sadistik Exekution.
Whilst Dave’s grasp on reality may be questionable – his proficiency as a musician is nothing short of astonishing.
Dave decribes these instrumental pieces as
‘Soundbytes of Extreme Musical Instrument Playing’.
Amongst the techniques he has employed are :
‘finger raking’, ‘classical thumb bass soloing’, & ‘coke bottle taping’.
Dave played all imstruments including bass, guitar, drums & keyboards.
Casual listeners take note – there is more happening here then just ‘fast playing’
Interview with Dave Slave – June 2010
Quarterpipe : Sadistik Exekution had achieved cult status years before they had even played a gig. Was this a planned strategy? And why did it take so long for SE to play live?
Dave : Well it was a plan but it was also us being useless as well. how can I explain it ? we didn’t want to go out and just start as a band that no one’s ever heard of because then you’re just another band you’ve got to get out of that delusion bit so we thought we’ll just promote it first and get in magazines and make out like we are a big band somewhere else – well put it this way : for example when kiss come out people over here never saw ’em for a couple of years so like they got the hype before they got the band didn’t they and a lot of overseas bands do so we treated it like a band from another part of the world
Your first gig in June 1991 at the Mars club in Darlinghurst with Addictive, Enticer and FU Roek was a sell out. What are your memories of that first show?
Oh – being heaps pissed! Abusing the audience – that was great. That was the first time I’d been on stage with the band, and I yelled out to everyone “SHUT UP, OR I’LL KILL YA’S ALL!” – and they all shut up! They took it so fukkn serious ! Yeah it was fukkn amusing. I remember there was a lot of people, and the floor was ramped so the people at the back seemed taller – it was a perfect venue for that – it was probably the best venue we played at. It was probably the worst gig we’ve ever played – as in our playing.
We once saw an Encyclopaedia of Serials Killers that had been entered as evidence in court owned by a convicted murderer who committed a particularly brutal decapitation and mutilation. In the margin he’d written “Sadistik Exekution”. You certainly attracted some, let’s say “out there” fans. Any particular incidents with fans come to mind?
Well, I’ve never heard of that before – that’s all news to me! We do attract a lot of pelicans and fukkn idiots. (laughter) A lot of twits! (laughter). We act mental and they ARE mental. That’s the difference (laughs) I mean we’re crazy, we’re eccentric, we’re artistic, but these people are fukkn autistic! They’re fukkn nuts.
One of your claims to fame is your appearance on Hey Hey It’s Saturday’s Red Faces segment. Tell us about that experience…
That was another thing to promote the band before we existed. I went on there and I was wearin’ a Sadistik shirt. I took my bass and a guitar and um. shit myself – I was a bit nervous when the camera actually hit me but before the.well that show is in delay by 2 hours. It’s live but it’s not live to air. It’s recorded live. I was in there early before the recording started and I was having a jam with Red Symons and Animal. I said to Red Symons “Look mate – I’ll make ya a deal” He goes “What’s that?” “You give me 1 point, and I’ll gong myself out” He goes “You’re on!” And while he was waiting on the panel before the show started I was wavin’ at him, and he was flipping this card up n down with the 1 point (laughter) and I was doing aggro faces toward the rest of the panel, so there was probably a few less points for that! Jackie MacDonald was a bit scared of me ‘cos I asked her if she liked dead people. She sort of didn’t know how to relate to that. I mean, everyone likes dead people. When people die you shouldn’t hate ’em. like fukk? (laughter).. Anyway, I went to play the bass. but it was a catastrophe. the worst bass playing I’ve done. Well, for one, you couldn’t really hear it. The speaker had a screwdriver hole in it (laughter) When I tried to fix it the screwdriver went straight through the cone – it was farting (laughter). It just sounded crap to start with, and you know, the volume wasn’t quite loud enough, and I just shit myself. so I just though “I’ll just turn this into a bit of stupidity” – You know, and then when I went for the audition they said “You have to keep it stupid”, you know.They like it to be silly. It’s Red Faces, it’s not anything else.. So I thought “Yeah, technical bass playing’s not really what you wanna do here.” I just got up and grabbed the mallet – oh that’s right, yeah – it was brought to me.
How did your life change after you appeared ?
Yeah, I met a lot of young girls. (laughter) . Well, I was young myself then. No – I’m just kidding. But people recognised me down the street for about, you know, a month. Then after that it was like : “I’ve seen that guy somewhere” (laughter)
At what age did you start playing musical instruments ?
When I was 6 I used to get buckets, rubbish bins. turn them upside down in the back yard. I had these old coat hangars – they were wooden – they made a nice pair of drumsticks. I had some saucepan lids nailed to sticks. Had some milk bottles with water in them – at different levels. That’s the percussive side there. And another big steel bin. And then I used to just there and bash the crap out of these things for hours, you know.
When did you move onto stringed instruments ?
Oh like real instruments ? Well I had a set of bongos a few years later. but I used to hit ’em with drumsticks.. went right through ’em (laughter) ..then I moved onto cardboard boxes (laughter) I made a drum kit out of cardboard boxes – whack on a bit of Ramones or something and just jam along to it. I was renown for playing Ramones with 1 hand. (laughter)
When I was 14 I was diagnosed with Leukaemia and they gave me 6 weeks to live. and I thought “Nah it’s not gonna happen” and all these relatives came to the hospital and brought me money which was. from relatives I’d never seen as well. (laughter) I had all this money and I just thought “OK I’m gonna buy that guitar that I saw that I liked. And I bought an Aria guitar, which a neighbour was selling cheap 2nd hand. 60 bucks. Then I bought a bass guitar from of my Dad’s mates – it was an old piece of crap – with plastic coated strings. Called a Rhythm Beat. Piece of junk. But it doesn’t matter. It was red. I just painted it black. Tried to make it look like Phil Lynott’s bass (laughter). It was a Fender Precision copy but it was just. crap. I wasn’t playing long enough to know the difference between crap and good anyway. And then I thought “I wish I had a real bass” after a while I knew that there was something a bit crappy about it. My mother had a shop at the time, and this woman walks into the shop with a bass guitar in her hand. And she goes “Can you put this somewhere ? I’m moving and it’s my son’s” or something and then I said “I’ll give ya 50 bucks for it” She just sold it to me. It was a Suzuki Rickenbaker copy and I just played that for ages.
How long did it take to get to the level that you’re known for know ?
I was at my peak about 10 years ago really . I mean on bass. It took about 12 years before – I think in the last 12 years I’ve been at pretty much the same standard as a bass player. In fact I have to warm up for 2 hours to get back to where I was. With Sadistik Exekution’s reformation I spent 2 weeks warming up. Rokk & Kris were over here – we were going through 1 of the songs – it was so fast, and my hand was just moving so fast it was – I had these muscles jumping up in the forearm. My arm was starting to lock. It was sticking to my chest and Rokk was saying “Put it under bloody cold water” and then I go “No, no, warm water!” (laughter) he wanted me to fukkn suffer more – the bastard ! (laughter) No, no, he was panicking. and I had my hand stuck to my chest, and this was like only a week before the gig. I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to do it then. I mean it was stuck to me. …I mean, I pulled it apart… I can still feel the aches. it was locked!
What are your recollections of reformation headline gig at the Australian heavy Metal Awards Show?
Oh it was excellent ! But they put barriers up there. Not to protect us – to protect the audience (laughter) It’s hard to kick people when there’s barriers in the way. I used to love it when people would climb on the stage – like a football just sitting there. take a swing (claps once) Especially when they were dickheads you told not to – like I hated all our fans. You tell them not get on the fukkn stage, so what do they do ? They get on the stage. One bloke – I warned him, I go “If you get on the stage again…” – like this guy was at a previous gig and had ripped cords out with his clumsy, stupid stage diving. if they wanna fukkn dive. how about a fukkn Olympic pool or something?, or a diving pool? (laughter) They should have diving board at gigs ! (laughter) Anyway, this guy, he had to climb on the stage, so I just kicked him in the head.. You know, it wasn’t good – I got blood on my fukkn shoe ! …from his nose. eh I don’t want his nostril fukkn blood on my fukkn shoes, you know. fukk. So he bought me a beer for that anyway… (laughter)
We heard you are now focussing your creative energies into film-making ?
Oh yeah I will be moving into the film industry. Yeah. I saw this thing they called “Paranormal Activity” and it’s just silly – its just Americans being fooled by their own stupidity. It’s sort of like Benny Hinn of the horror world (laughter) you know (laughter) I think Aussie movies are the best movies because they are realistic. When you hear somebody get shot on a Aussie TV show for example – you believe it – the gun sound will be real for example. and you sort of think “Oh, someone got shot”. When it’s on American shows, it’s like, you know,.. it’s like someone breathed” (laughter) Like its just not real. So I wanna make stuff that’s freaky, you know – stuff that plays with peoples minds. More atmospheric, less story. More theatrical. I’ll leave more to their imagination..
Doomed & Disgusting. That’s obviously an extreme state of performance with that character. How do you get yourself into that state ? Does it take you long to get into the zone ?
Nah, that stuff just flows through me. It’s got its own mind that music. And lot creepy shit happens when I was recording those videos. There’s one bit in “Are You Possessed?” where it looks like when my mouth opens up, I’m screaming and my inner glands of my mouth form into fangs. And I never done it. It looks like the inside of a python, like errrgghhhhh, or a cobra’s mouth, you know. When we did the “Torture Chamber” video there was some colour code in the editing that I didn’t understand much about it, and it’s like a code with 6 digits. They go from A to F, 0 to 9. I think there’s like 16 million possible combinations and mine happened to be six ‘6’s. (laughs) I think six ‘6’s is better than three ‘6’s because it’s its own number by itself.. multiplied to the power of its own number, you know. and it’s funny ‘cos in that same song I filmed three ‘6’s on my wall and I filmed these gates of St Peters.. and I make things up as I go along, I improvise, and things fall together. I just trust this now. Some part of my brain just does it without me knowing. And these bars lined up exactly with the ‘6’s in the zooming – you have to see the video to know what I’m on about – just weird things happen.
Digital Fiction : What can insight can you offerl about that project ?
Well, once again, the Digital Fiction is just … totally mental. That’s the craziest stuff I’ve ever done. I’ve been doing that since 1992, & I sent it out to nearly every record company in Australia, in about ’93 to ’97. and they all just rejected it. Saying “What do you call this ? It’s not normal music” and “Its crazy”. 1 record company said “Bring it back in 20 years..” and that’s what I’m doing now ! (laughter) The character Mr Moon Alien, which I play in the Digital Fiction, he’s been in TV commercials..
Another one of those weird twighlight zone things again – I was just at an internet café using a computer, a newspaper was open and out of the corner of my eye I could see “Crazy” written (laughs) in the classifieds section, and I picked up the paper and brought it to my eyes and it said “musicians” and though “Oh, that’s me”. So I rang up and then it turned out that the ad was put in the wrong section and it was actually “Crazy Artists / People”. Anyway the woman said “What do you do?” & I said “Oh I play drums on my face” (laughter) “and on my body” you know. she goes “Oh, sounds good”. They sent the crew around & they wouldn’t tell me what it was for, they go “Its for a snack food”. They came round. I was dressed up like Mr Moon Alien with the silver paint all over my face and the LED’s – all over my head, you know (laughs). So I done this drum solo all over my body and they said “Nah, that’s a bit too extreme…” they go “Just tame it down” so I played ‘Pop Goes The Weasel’ on my face. Then it turned out that that was actually the factory that I worked for making chips, 3 years before, and that I got fired from… (laughter)
Digital Fiction also has a mind of its own. There’s an aliens head which appears in the ‘Alien 500’ video that I didn’t put there. And it just happens to fit in with the theme, it’s just a crazy thing.
Is there anything further you would like to say ?
Yeah. Get stuffed. (laughter)
Oh. Mr Moon Alien will take over the world. It’s not really me you know. I’ve got 3 personalities and they’re all fukking mental.
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