Mayhem 2013: Interview with Don Slater of Battlecross

Posted on November 11, 2013

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Mayhem: Interview with Don Slater of Battlecross

Battlecross performs on the Jagermeister Stage during Mayhem Festival at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, Ind. on Friday, July 26, 2013. (Photo by Rachael Mattice/Journal & Courier)

Battlecross performs on the Jagermeister Stage during Mayhem Festival at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, Ind. on Friday, July 26, 2013. (Photo by Rachael Mattice/Journal & Courier)

By: Rachael Mattice

Hoosier metal fans gathered for the festival of the year on Friday, July 26, 2013 at Klipsch Music Center – Rockstar Energy Drink’s Mayhem Festival.

Mayhem 2013 bands included Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, Job for A Cowboy, Machine Head, the Butcher Babies, Huntress, Battlecross, Motionless in White and many more.

Q&A with Battlecross bassist Don Slater:

Question: Congrats on getting on the Mayhem tour. I know you had an indiegogo campaign to help raise funds for the bus and surpassed your goal. Is touring on one bus with a bunch of people what you expected? Have you driven Jill (Huntress) crazy yet since you’re sharing a bus with them?

Answer: Yes and no – I expected more partying, but we are actually pretty laid back. No Jill is one of the dudes. The only time I drive her crazy is if I smoke a cigarette around her which I learned not to do after the first week.

Q: What was life like for you before getting on the Mayhem tour?

A: We were doing tours, we came around here last year with Five Finger Death Punch, but just constant touring. Before touring, my life was boring. I worked 9 to 5 with a desk job and the only time I got to play bass was afterward.

I interview Don Slater of Battlecross during Mayhem Festival 2013. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

I interview Don Slater of Battlecross during Mayhem Festival 2013. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

Q: You just released your second album “War of Will,” what’s the secret to your success, especially since the album has been well received thus far?

A: I think having “Pursuit of Honor” as a strong album really helped out, it was a stepping stone. After several tours, we knew what the crowd would expect of Battlecross and what they wanted. It all translated to “War of Will.” Now it’s just an all out war.

Q: As a bassist, what do you think you do or bring to the table differently that helps Battlecross stick out from other bands?

A: I am not your typical bassist, I am just a bassist, but not typical. I’m not going to sit in the back and give you your grooves. I got something to prove, I have great guitarists flanking me left and right shredding in everyone’s face. I have to do something different to get out there and shred my fingers off and just to prove to the crowd I’m not just another dude in the band. I’m still listening to everybody and I can’t just sit back, I still have my own thing to do.

Q: Your video for “Never Coming Back” was shot just with a plain white backdrop. Why did you choose the straight forward visual and why for this song?

A: It was really about time constraints, but we really just wanted to do something nice and simple.

With “Push Pull Destroy” we different scenes – we had planes from the Yankee Air Museum, we went to the old

Packard Automotive Plant which is essentially urban decay with a bunch of taggers and graffiti. That was obviously well thought out and we wanted to keep this video how the new album is – strong, simple, in your face. We completely brain farted that Lamb of God did something similar a few years prior, but whatever it works. It’s nice and simple, it’s Battlecross.

Q: What’s it like to perform in your home state on a festival like Orion that when you’ve accomplished as much as you have so far? What an honor to be introduced by James Hetfield.

A: Incredible. It definitely set the bar for what Mayhem should be. It was a two-day festival, but all the Detroiters, but not just them we had people fly in from Atlanta, the East Coast and just to catch a ride because it was in the town. I think this is the second year it’s gone on, but they like Detroit, they are going to be there for three years. 

Yes, James Hetfield introduced us, which was probably one of the crowning jewels of my life. It’s James Hetfield! I was tweaking one of my basses and walking back and there is Hetfield, just hanging out by our trailer. I grew up with them, it was awesome. It wasn’t a jerk, he was nice, down to earth, willing to talk to everybody.

Q: Tell me a little more about your situation with drummers and how Kevin Talley came into the picture.

A: When we were recording the album with Audiohammer, we already enlisted drums. But Kevin Talley knows everyone and he had heard through the grapevine that we had lost a drummer and Shannon Lucas was filling in.

Kevin wanted to play for Battlecross. As far as permanency, things are still being talked. Kevin Talley himself hasn’t made any decisions, but right now we’re having a good time.

I Interview Don Slater of Battlecross at Mayhem Festival 2013. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

I Interview Don Slater of Battlecross at Mayhem Festival 2013. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

Q: What’s after Mayhem then?

A: After Mayhem we have a little bit of a break with a week and a half off and then we go to Richmond, Va. to play the Gwar B-Q. It’s a big deal to me because GWAR is my favorite band, they’re so cool. 

After GWAR B-Q, we are going out with Hatebreed. As far west as it will go will be Des Moines, Iowa. Come out and have a good time, thanks to our fans for being so awesome. We can’t wait to see you.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached at
rmattice@jconline.com or on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

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Posted in: 2013