In 1992 four boys started a band in somebody's basement in Montreal's West Island. A year later, with total dedication and a clear direction, they already had 60 shows booked, organized and played. The next thing was, of course, a recording - the first professional recording, Sober, was a Slaves-only affair: engineered, produced, and mixed by the band. Slaves on Dope were ready to hit the local rock circuit in '94 and be exposed to the public eye. The band, composed of Jason Rockman (vocals), Kevin Jardine (guitar), Frank Salvaggio (bass), and Rob Urbani (percussion), had their music style well defined from the beginning. Still, it is not discernible what distinguishes them from many other contemporary hard rock bands of D.I.Y. successors.
Some are of the opinion that their music lies somewhere in-between 70s stadium rock and 90s 'Lollapalternative' and others think that their style is hard guitar rock, heavy but without metal. The influences are everywhere; those more evident are, perhaps, Tool, Korn, Feight No More or even Kiss. But, Slaves on Dope confirm the rule that shuffling many influences together means actually being highly original and innovative. Therefore, they do not like being compared to any other hard rock, heavy, grunge metal or simply alternative band. Their sound is powerful, solid and very together; their vocalist, Jason Rockman, knows how to stand up to this steadily heavy curtain and ranges from a scream to a whisper mode with the same performance intensity.
In 1994, Slaves on Dope released their first recording entitled Sober (sounds like a paradox next to the band's satiric name, as they claim to be drug free), a six-track EP on CD that sold more than 3000 and saw them tour Canada five times. A big buzz surrounded their first independent album, reaching over the border. The result, unsurprisingly, was that the Slaves were simultaneously booking shows in the States too.
In 1997, the Justin Time Records subsidiary Just A Minute! Records signed Slaves On Dope as the very first recording its budding rock and punk label. Coming from this well established jazz/blues indie, the new subsidiary was a surprise to many, but everyone saw the point: to give opportunities to local modern rock & alternative players young, unrestrained and refreshing.
After two albums in two years, the Slaves were unstoppable, touring across Canada, consummately criss-crossing towns and prairies many times, working determinedly, and ending up in Los Angeles. Kevin comments, "We'd exhausted our opportunities in the Canadian rock scene, so we decided to take a chance where we could get noticed on a larger scale. The chicks and nice weather didn't hurt, either".
They moved to L.A. in May 1999, and their presence was immediately felt. Before long the Slaves were headlining on the competitive L.A. club circuit. Jason, Kevin, Rob, and Frank were writing some of the best songs in town. It was on the strength of these songs that a demo was recommended to Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, who were scouting the scene for fresh talent for their nascent Divine Recordings label when the two camps crossed paths. The Ozzfest 2000 was another, even bigger challenge, and the same year saw Thom Panunzio (Black Sabbath, Iggy Pop) produce the Slaves' Divine debut album Inches From the Mainline.