Raging Slab were something of an anomaly. Not unlike their peers in Circus of Power, the band specialized in a sound and style that owed practically nothing to their immediate environs. Born out of the same Lower East Side scene that spawned more (tenuously) urbane, punky bands like Prong, White Zombie, Helmet and — oh, yes, wait for it — Cop Shoot Cop, Raging Slab played big-trousered boogie-metal, like a burlier blend of Blackfoot, Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet, complete with chaps, rawhide and cowboy hats. Like the afore-cited Circus of Power (who played more Midwestern roadhouse rock in that same convention-hostile scene), Raging Slab were a mainstay at the Lismar Lounge, and always fighting an uphill battle, it seemed. Bizarrely enough, DJ Dmitri from Deee-Lite was a former member. Wrap your head around that one.
I only saw them perform once, opening for Guns N’ Roses, of all bands, at the New Ritz on 54th Street in 1991. I remember chatting with two of the guys afterwards, and despite looking like members of the Oak Ridge Boys, they were incredibly cool and gracious.
I was sad to learn that their guitar player, Elyse Steinman, passed away this week after a long struggle with cancer. By all accounts, Elyse was a sweet, lovely human being who played with fury and fire.
Pour one out for Elyse.