What would you think if you saw a dude in line at Starbucks. His arms are filled with tattoos and he has a shaved head.
Assume he is a skinhead – type guy with an attitude? Smile politely and keep a distance due to your ignorance?
Many would …
How bad would you feel once you discovered the individual was a DJ on CHOM? How discusted would you feel inside if you found the fellow in front of you was on a National news program once a week? Then, if that was not enough – a discovery was made the man in question was part of a band that was the first to be signed by Ozzy Osbourne‘ s record label?
Go to the corner now! Come out in five minutes after you feel shame …
Meet Jason Rockman. Co – founder of the Band; Slaves on Dope.
Along with Avrum Nadigel and Kevin Jardine, Slaves on Dope started in 1993 and won the CHOM L’espirit contest shortly thereafter. A victory which opened doors for music which was seeking a home …
Slaves on Dope were part of a new genre of music called NU Metal. A style which was not ‘in style’ in the city of Montreal at that time. Nu Metal is closely related to Rapcore – a genre of music which evolved from punk and not metal as most believe. Bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit are considered to be leaders in the Nu Metal genre.
In 1995 – original drummer and bass player Patrick Francis and Lenny Vartanian left the band. New guys Frank Salvaggio (bass) and Robert Urbani (drums) joined Jason and Kevin in a heavier version of Slaves on Dope. A version which ended up in L.A.
Salvaggio and Urbani took off on a six day trek to get the band’s name out there. Says Rockman; ” Following almost a year of playing out there and showcasing our music, one day we get a call from Sharon Osbourne asking us if we could meet. We became the first band to sign with Ozzy’ s record label – Divine Productions in 2000.”
That year was busy for the band. A full length album titled ‘ Inches from the Mainline’ was released. It went on to sell 70,000 albums and being a part of Ozzfest was a big reason for that.
” My parents came to the show to watch us play.” Says Jason. ” Sharon Osbourne brought them into her private box to watch the show. Instead of being in the crowd, they were just off the right of the stage. It was pretty awesome!”
The next four years was filled with touring and craziness. Through all that – Rockman stayed sober. Something he is proud to say has been for twenty years now.
In 2004, shortly following the release of the band’s third album ‘Metafour and amid a three month tour of Europe -Rockman decided he had enough. He left the band he helped create to fulfill his family duties.
His girlfriend was three months pregnant at the time and Rockman’ s sense of duty took over.
” I just did not feel right being on the road. I wanted to be there – hands on!”
Jason returned to Montreal and worked for a transport company as well as the Sunglass Hut while his children grew. His relationship ended but his loyalty to his two children remained. The Montreal native who grew up listening to Zeppelin, the Stones and Jane’s Addiction – got a job working for CHOM, the very station which helped Slaves on Dope get discovered in the early nineties. He credits longtime DJ Tootall and his current wife for guiding him along.
Slaves on Dope returned to Jason’s itinerary in 2009 thanks to Patrick Charles.The Virgin announcer took Rockman’s demo and re- introduced Montreal to the band through a five song EP. Rockman and longtime partner -in- music Jardine were back along with new members; Sebastien Ducap ( Bass ) and Peter Tzaferis ( drums) .
Songwriting partner Jardine had been running his studio since Slaves on Dope disbanded. That five year gap proved to be a blessing in disguise. Being back together displayed a maturity that might have been missing in the past.
Says Rockman; ” I wrote the songs and in the past – if Kevin attempted to give advice or add something, I would have snapped his head off!” He laughs. ‘ Now – we write together.”
Slaves on Dope have just released their fourth album; ‘Over the Influence’ and are hitting the road for a mini – tour to promote their new seventeen songs along with an impressive back catalogue.
” My kids are more important than music. I’ll go on the road but not for long …!” Says Rockman as he and his mates prepare to hit the pavement for three weeks.
Apart from the album, Slaves on Dope have also recently released a digital – only ep titled ‘ Careless Coma’ and Rockman et al are looting through old concert footage to piece together a documentary.
Jason can be heard on Chom – FM every week MONDAY TO FRIDAY from 8pm til 12 am. He can also be seen every Friday at 3:20 pm on a CTV Toronto news program called ‘the blitz’ with Todd Van der Heyden. It is a pop culture panel discussion show.
Slaves on Dope can be seen and heard on their website along with MySpace and YouTube.
The next time you grab a coffee and see a guy with tatoos and a shaved head in line, you may want to ask for an autograph. After – all, how many guys do you know shook hands with Ozzy Osbourne?
Slaves on Dope – Discography
One Good Turn Deserves Another (1998)
Inches from the Mainline (2000)
Over the Influence (2012)
Careless Coma (2011)
War Pigs , Black Sabbath Cover, appears on Japanese release of Nativity In Black II: A Tribute To Black Sabbath (2000)
Look What The Cat Dragged In , Poison Cover, appears on Show Me Your Hits: a Tribute to Poison (2000)
Go (Demo) (2002)
Drain Me (Demo) (2002)
All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) (2011)
SLAVES ON DOPE.COM