Access Control with Mark St. John

Slash Puppet Interview

On the evening of October 19, 1989, More than 900 rabid fans gathered inside Toronto’s legendary
Rock ‘N’ Roll Heaven to witness the birth of a musical phenomenon known as Slash Puppet -who would forever
influence not only this city’s hard rock / heavy metal scene, but also others spread across Canada.

Although Slash Puppet’s career was short-lived due to numerous disruptive changes which affected the music industry
in the early 1990’s one cannot deny the success which they achieved (Best Toronto Club Act 1990, Best Independent Music
video for “When The Whip Comes Down” at the 1993 Los Angeles Area Music Awards, Securing a deal with Ray Daniels of
SRO Management). This band was always in excellent form right up until their final gig in 1994. Although their legion
of fans were saddened to hear of their demise …the legacy Slash Puppet created lived on and demand for their music never
waned throughout the years.

32 years to the precise date of their debut gig later, Slash Puppet’s lead vocalist Mif has released “Studs & Gems”
a collection of the Band’s greatest songs on CD -which I regard as a monument to the unique chemistry which existed
between himself and fellow members Frank Bartoletti (guitar) Pete Dove (bass), “The Late Great” Lou Garscadden (guitar), Franklin Wyles
(drums), Dave Carreiro (bass) and Marcel La Fleur (guitar).

“The decision to release “Studs & Gems” is sincerely and emphatically for our fans.” Says Mif. “Even after all these
years, interest in Slash Puppet has continued to linger, and somehow the band and our music continues to resonate in its
own cult-like way with many people throughout the world! So much so, that our original CDs continue to sell for top buck
online making it quite unaffordable for many who wish to purchase our music. By releasing this compilation we hope to
make it easier for these same fans to have some of our very best songs to enjoy once again.”

Mif at Entex in Mississauga, Ontario (Photo: Ron Boudreau)

Literally within moments upon announcing “Studs & Gems” imminent release, the excitement on social media could
not be contained as this news caused an eruption of anticipation amongst Slash Puppet’s supporters. Mif reflects on this
reaction and shares with me the response this compilation has received one month after being made available for sale.

“Out of the gate the buzz from our fans has been very positive and pre-orders have been doing extremely well. Most
surprising is how international orders have been coming in from across the globe -which blows me away considering the
limited exposure Slash Puppet had, combined with the fact that we haven’t performed a live show in over 26 years. What
truly impresses me however is that many of these sales are from much new fans of ours as indicated by their youth.
I hope that with some more press, radio play, and exposure, this ball can keep rolling!”

It appears to be the norm in this day and age when any artist who has been out of action for quite some time releases
an album comes to the inevitable speculation or rumors of a reunion show or tour. Slash Puppet is no exception. Here is Mif’s
official statement regarding this matter.

“I am and always have been a never say never kind of guy, and if the opportunity ever arises where the members of Slash
Puppet wanted to try and get back together for a few shows or a tour, I would welcome it! My idea in fact has always been
to involve all the members who were in the band (including both bassists) as I have no problem whatsoever of jumping
back up on stage with any of those guys or variation thereof. No animosity or issues exists towards them on my part.”

As this Writer had mentioned earlier, Slash Puppet had accomplished so much in a very short amount of time. One has to
wonder what their proudest achievement was?

Slash Puppet performs the first-ever all-ages show at Toronto’s  
Rock ‘N’ Roll Heaven in 1991! (Left to Right: Frank Bartoletti, Pete Dove and
The Late Great Lou Garscadden)

“While I can’t speak for anyone else.” Mif quips, “I think for me besides the music of course was the day we were signed
to SRO Management as this brought with it a certain degree of validation for our band and in some ways vindication.
What I mean is that it felt like we had finally arrived in the big league by signing to the same company that handled
Canada’s greatest rock band of all time in the form of Rush, not to mention Max Webster, Kings X, and later Van Halen!!!
Everything just seemed “more happening” and much bigger at this point in Slash Puppet’s history. It felt real and genuine
…an undeniable accomplishment!”

As the Readers of this publication are undoubtedly aware, many changes have occurred within the music industry in recent
years. Some have been beneficial such as technology, while others have been harmful -especially here in Toronto since the
beginning of this wretched pandemic, with many venues closing their doors permanently while those who are barely surviving
were forced to stop booking live entertainment due to Government and Health regulations. I had to ask Mif if there were any
other changes that he might have noticed from a musician’s point of view.

“Well, to be frank, I find the lack of live music venues within the Greater Toronto Area which cater specifically
towards the hard rock and metal audience to be very saddening. When Slash Puppet first came on the scene there were
numerous clubs such as The Gasworks, Entex, Hot Rocks, The Spectrum, and of course Rock ‘N’ Roll Heaven in which many
bands could apply their craft and establish a following amongst the regulars who attended those establishments. It
would be great to see this issue corrected.”

You may recall from my last interview with Mif which was published back on June 10, 2019, that next to being a musician, he
is also quite a successful actor who appears to be busier than ever! “Shortly after we last spoke, I was fortunate enough to
find myself on the sets of two separate films being shot in Winnipeg, Manitoba between July and August 2019. The first is a
Canadian production called “The First Encounter” (Manifold Pictures) and is best described as an extraterrestrial film that
explores an Indigenous dimension where colonization as it pertains to the Indigenous world in North America never occurred.

Slash Puppet (top left) – photo by Andrew MacNaughtan.
Slash Puppet (top right) – photo by Ron Boudreau.

In this, I play the “Elder” who has the ability to enter in and out of both the existential and extraterrestrial dimensions
risking great peril in an attempt to prevent a catastrophe. The film is currently in post-production and is slated to be
released to Landmark Theatres across Canada. The second was an American action film starring martial arts icon Michael Jai White
(Spawn, Tyson, Black Dynamite) entitled “Welcome To Sudden Death” (Universal). It was released to Netflix on September 29, 2020
-ultimately reaching #6 as the most-watched program across all platforms on Netflix US! I play the role of “Devlin Montez” in
this film. He is the Odyssey Arena’s dubious and deceptive head of Security. More recent projects include Season 3 of “Titans”
on Netflix in a recurring role as Gotham Mob Boss “Santiago Perez”, along with an upcoming Musical called “Sneakerella” (Disney
Channel) where I have a cameo role as New York City Taxi Driver to be released in 2022.

Slash Puppet was a band that never gave anything less than 100% in terms of musicianship and professionalism. It was always
for their fans first and foremost while “the suits” took a back seat every time. Anybody fortunate enough to have seen them
perform live and/or purchase their music always got more bang for the buck. In closing, I asked Mif what legacy does he hope
Slash Puppet is best remembered and known for?

“One of survival, that after all these years Fans the World over continue to seek out Slash Puppet and our music. Because of this,
we have stood the test of time. Thank you all so very much for continuing to carry the torch… HORNS UP!!!”

To pre-order your copy of “Studs & Gems” visit Mif Entertainment on Facebook by clicking the link below:

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