Slash Puppet, fronted by charismatic lead vocalist Anthony J. Mifsuf aka "Mif" (formerly "Tony Terrence Dartanian" for whatever reason) was quite possibly the biggest Toronto band that never got signed to a major label. In 1989 they sold hundreds of copies of the original demo cassette tape, "The Demo", by mail order alone. The hype they generated before playing a single gig was unprecedented. In 1990 they were selected as "Best Club Band" at the Toronto Music Awards. Then the grunge wave hit and everything changed. Yet even the devastating effects of alternative rock was not enough to kill the Slash Puppet legacy. In 2007 "The Demo" was reissued as a remastered CD called No Strings Attached and released all over the world. Incredible! Unheard of for a Toronto indy rock band!
Lesser-known, but of much stronger musical quality, is this 1993 self-titled EP. This was the last thing the band released before their breakup. The tracklist is as follows:
1. When The Whip Comes Down
2. Rippin' On A Wishbone
3. Eyes Of A Child
4. Stop Tellin' Me Lies
5. Hitch A Ride (On A Train)
6. Slow Down
Each song here is a standout. On the rare occassions that I have found this EP at a decent price, I have picked it up and gifted it to friends who like bands such as Motley Crue and other LA glam metal bands. Slash Puppet have been compared to everybody from Faster Pussycat to Motorhead. This EP tones down the heaviness of "The Demo" in favour of stronger songwriting and more diverse sounds.
"When The Whip Comes Down", a tale of survival in the face of adversity, is possibly most similar to "The Demo". This was the award-winning video. An upbeat rock song, this is a pure winner. The tempo slides back a bit into the pocket with the grooving "Rippin' On A Wishbone". From there, next up is the outstanding ballad "Eyes of a Child". If grunge never hit, I could have guaranteed you that this song would have been a worldwide smash hit. It is simply outstanding. Mif's rough and ragged vocals tell a tale that is always relevant, as child abuse must never be tolerated.
"Stop Tellin' Me Lies" is more upbeat, a rocker based in blues and perhaps something that Cinderella could have recorded on their third album. "Hitch A Ride" is an acoustic one, a bit moodier, perhaps akin to acoustic GN'R. And finally, "Slow Down". "Slow Down" is the only track that was originally released on "The Demo", although here it is remixed with a new bass track by newcover Dave Carreiro (who replaced Peet Dove). This was their first ever video, and it is simply a fast and furious rocker, heavier than the other tracks and perhaps a little out of place. It was this track that had people point out the Motorhead comparisons in terms of speed and vocal roughness.
This EP, aside from being a great listen, should also be considered a collectible. Keep that in mind when purchasing and deciding how much you want to pay. It has yet to be reissued and perhaps it never will be. 17 years young, rock fans young and old who miss the glory days will find something to love on this remarkable recording.