This is not something I ever wanted to write but at this point I feel like I have to. There is so much false information floating around and being repeated that needs to be cleared up. I would have kept all of this quiet like we have for decades but a few people wanted to come out of the woodwork and talk about things they don’t really know the half of.
The nice way to say it would be that Jason was a complex person who was obviously suffering inside and in turn he lashed out in so many ways at the people he loved the most.
The harder way to say it is that Jason was a horrible person who terrorized almost every single person who came through Snake River Conspiracy as a band member or otherwise. The truth is always somewhere in between, which is fucking horrible no matter how you split it.
He spent the entirety of his career stealing music, equipment, and credit for work he didn’t really do. He produced none of the SRC material by himself, there were three other producers on that record, Eric Valentine, Charlie Clouser and David Kahne. Eric had more to do with recording and producing the record than anyone else. He wasn’t going to be in the band, and it wasn’t a good look to tell everyone that the edgy industrial electronic album was created by Eric Valentine, the producer who also made All Star for Smash Mouth, so a backstory was created that gave more credit to Jason than he deserved. Then when the band changed labels from Interscope to Reprise, Jason started wholesale lying to the new label and band members and managers and anyone else that would listen, saying that he created these sounds from scratch one note at a time all by himself and that he wrote and mixed everything himself and these other producers were a hinderance put upon him. This version of the story more or less gets repeated today.
In reality, the songs are almost entirely covers on that record. The riff to Breed is a jerry goldsmith sample and Denny Porter, Valentine, and Slater all share a writing credit. Among other contributions, Tobey changed the lyric in the chorus from “Breathe” to “Breed” giving the song its new title and lyric but she didn’t get any writing credit or publishing. Casualty, same situation, Denny Porter, Valentine and Slater got the writing credit. You and your friend is a cover by Valentines previous project T-Ride and written by Dan Arlie. Lovesong is obviously a Cure cover written by Robert Smith. How Soon is obviously the Smiths, written my Morrissey and Marr. Strangled is a James Bond sample and the writing credit went to Valentine Porter and Slater and John Barry.
“Oh Well” and “Act Your Age” were both released way before SRC in the mid 90s on a Running With Scissors album that Denny Porter put out. This was a shock to us, we just found this out recently. Tobey was the singer in the band and I played guitar in the band and we didn’t know this, we spoke to other former band members and they had never heard about this Running With Scissors version of Oh Well or Act Your Age, Jason told everyone that he wrote that stuff. He got a lot of musicians to join SRC and contribute all of their songs, by telling all of us that he wrote the SRC album and played all of the instruments. That’s the farthest thing from the truth. When band members would start to catch on or become threatening to him in any way or would ask too many questions, they would be kicked out, hence the huge list of band members for a project that only had one album. Their songs would be left behind with Jason. He’d then say he wrote and played all of that himself, too. There was always a guy, usually a guitarist who could engineer, in the band, getting his songs stolen (Me, before me Troy Van Leeuwen, before him Rob Patterson, before him Geoff Tyson and many others) We only found out about the running with scissors record because after Jason died, we looked up his IPI number to pass the information on to his “estate” to make sure that anyone entitled to his publishing would be taken care of. I made peace with him and spoke with him a few years before he died and he told me that he wasn’t well and that when he passed he wanted Tobey and I to have control of SRC and to “make sure his ex girlfriend’s-kid got his share of his publishing.” In recently trying to facilitate that, I found out more and more about how much Jason had lied and continued to steal my songs and other band members songs after SRC broke up. I also found a recent video of him talking shit after we had “made peace” but shortly before he passed. (Real cool of the guy who posted it to make shit ugly for all of us at the end. I didn’t make a video about you and YOUR wife and everything SHE did you fucking nerd.)
Around the time SRC broke up (the last time, 2006) Jason had a friend who managed a security company who were basically bouncers at nightclubs across the Bay Area. When I came to the studio the morning after the band broke up to get my stuff Jason was hiding in the back and wouldn’t come out but he had 10 huge guys in there, bouncers, and the manager of the security company in the lobby, screaming at me from out front “ONLY YOU, JUST YOU CAN COME IN” and I was let into a hallway where a few broken pieces of equipment were laying and they said “this is your shit” - and in the end they strong-arm stole about 12 guitars, 2 basses, two drum kits, a couple of racks worth of amps and effects, basically all of my stuff I had worked to attain for my whole entire life. This is after I played uncredited as a session musician for him on a Queensryche record that he totally fucked up, that had no solos on it and was weeks away from being due. I wrote and played all of the guitar solos, played every rhythm track on the record, was a voice actor, percussionist, programmer, background vocalist, and played a bunch of other shit for no credit and no money. After I had worked for him on records for no pay promise after promise until I was homeless and living in the control room, no money but he always had drugs to shove in my face, after I got him clean and sent him to rehab and kept the studio going until he got better only for him to relapse immediately, all before I was old enough to buy a drink! Why was I, a teenager saving this 36 year old man’s life and sending him to rehab. Why did I end up with no car and stuck living in a 2 bedroom apartment where he had everything furnished in his room and I slept on the floor in a bare room with a protools rig in the corner? That motherfucker had me trapped. Then to pay me back for living like a dog for all that time and working for him, he used a bunch of assholes to steal all of my gear from me. At that point I had played on this record that was entering the billboard charts at number 12, the dudes from Queensryche were miming to my parts in their music videos and touring the record, putting out a live DVD with my contributions on it that would be certified gold, and not only was I not getting money or credit or recognition but I didn’t own a fucking guitar because Jason Slater stole them all from me.
This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. He harassed and tormented us for the next fifteen years. Any time we did something musical he had people come fuck with us or try to get us dropped or blocked. I didn’t even go into the things that happened to Tobey on tour with SRC, being assaulted by tour staff and nobody doing anything about it, sexual harassment every single day as the only woman on the crew and nobody doing anything about it, Jason lying and telling management and label and band that Tobey and him were EVER “an item” and having to walk it back and apologize in front of everyone when she called him out for him trying to book one room for them to share; him making the headline on the official website “this is not a Tobey Torres fan site”; him being a homophobic asshole, him not wanting keyboards in the band “because they are gay” - if you don’t believe he was like that look at his homophobic tirade against Third Eye Blind that was broadcast on MTV or the videos from the old SRC site he made about Usher or his final Facebook videos about Glenn
Jason got people to work on SRC songs for the second record - the one he was supposedly putting out all of this time. It was never coming out and I can tell you why. You can see from the credits on the first album he didn’t write any of that stuff by himself. He used that record to get people to join and write new songs for the second album. That first SRC album sounds incredible and it’s really hard to record and finish music like that. He never got a follow up together. He never released anything with music on it that was even remotely similar to the SRC album. He didn’t have Valentine, Clouser, or Kahne anymore. In the meantime he used the record to get gigs as a producer. Eventually he got Queensryche. He latched onto them and kept working for them as a producer. It turns out that over the years after SRC broke up he took all of the songs you heard online as SRC songs that were supposed to be on the second album (drug tongue, methlehem, not long for this world, etc.) and went around behind our backs and put them out as [BAND NAME REDACTED] songs. He stole stuff that I wrote with him and a childhood friend of mine -and that music was never online- he stole all kinds of songs and put them on those albums. Again, we only found out when we recently went out of our way to try and help out and give the publishing/PRO info to his “estate” after he passed. And it’s really depressing to find out about. To know that a lot of “friends” stayed on board and went along with this behavior as his assistants or other hanger-ons is really eye opening.
Well eventually Jason’s habits caught up to him. With a diminishing circle of friends to steal from in order to supplant his production and songwriting, he was eventually put into the position to actually do the work himself. In 2013 he produced and mixed Queensryche’s “Frequency Unknown.” The album was submitted for release and based on overwhelmingly negative response to the quality of his mix, brought on by negative fan reaction to the iTunes preview samples going viral, Slater’s production was rejected and given to Billy Sherwood and a few others to re-mix. Jason Slater never worked on an album again. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frequency_Unknown (see the “mixing” section on the wiki article for that record)
He did continue to openly sexually harass people and use homophobic slurs on the internet. One of the engineers who fixed his mistake and remixed a track from that final album is a guy named Glenn Fricker. All Glenn did was make a video about his experience mixing a track for Queensryche and not getting paid (is this a support group?) but that’s all it took for Jason to create a video series called “Glenn Fricker can Suck My Dicker” where in addition to anti-Asian slurs against employees of Cleopatra records and homophobic slurs against Maor Applebaum and Queensryche, he also said a bunch of disgusting vile shit about this innocent person Glenn Fricker who was just doing his job.
There are a lot of people who still believe Jason’s shit because while he did lie to a lot of us, little pieces of it would be true. And he was fun to be around and at times he was a funny likable person - but he couldn’t stop lying and stealing. There are a lot of people who still believe his shit because they want for it to be true so bad, like I did. There are a lot of people who believe it because a label used it as the backstory for a band and it got printed in a bunch of magazines and websites. But the real story is totally different and way more interesting. I loved the guy, I lived with him I was his best friend for a few years but he fucked me over, hard, and it kills me to hear anyone think that we are going to continue SRC to make “Jason proud” or to “put out Jason’s songs”
He stole songs from us and everyone else, period. He didn’t write the first SRC album. He didn’t produce and create it all by himself or play all of those instruments. The songs for the second album got stolen away and given to another band. Because he couldn’t write new ones.
That’s not legal, that’s not how publishing works, that’s theft. You can’t take someone’s contribution out and use the remainder, it’s still theft. The law looks at songs kind of like a baked good. If you bring the salt and I bring the flour, and we make bread, I can’t decide after we make bread that I want to take your salt out and get my flour and go back to make a song with someone else without your permission. That’s how the law works. You aren’t allowed to take my part out and finish it with someone else without my permission, unless I’ve signed a “work for hire” contract. And you most certainly can’t leave my parts in and use them without permission. And when you post the music online everywhere with the band lineup attached and videos of us playing the songs, and then five or eight or ten years later put them out on someone else’s album without permission, you’ve pretty much documented the entire situation for us.
Now one can start thinking about potential damages. If Jason stole music from someone who has had a seven figure development deal with Reprise, that means that the potential damages she’s incurred could be in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars easily. Because in music publishing if you sue for potential damages you are suing someone not only for the records they made and sold with your stolen work, but you can also sue for the potential deals and sales you could have made on your own had your intellectual property not been infringed upon. So if you can prove you’ve had a major label deal (easy, multiple) you can recover a lot of money from the thief/from their estate.
So if you want to know what’s going on with SRC? Are we going to use any of Jason’s songs? What songs?! Those songs on the first SRC record are covers except for three (that we know of) and he never got a sole writing credit for any of them! The second record songs were written by other people and stolen by Jason for use on other albums. He didn’t have any songs. Show me Jason’s songs.
You want to know who WAS on every single SRC song? One person, my wife, Tobey Torres-Doran.
I can’t stress enough how deep and twisted the full story is. This is the “me being nice” version.
And you know what’s sad? Not one media outlet or blog or magazine, not one single person has ever come to ask Tobey her side of the story. You all just took whatever he said about the situation and went with it, even joined in with him in bashing her on the internet. If you think this blog was shocking and horrible you should hear the full version from her. Nobody has ever heard her story. We are going to start telling it now.
Mitchell Joseph Doran
PS click 41 minutes into this interview to hear what Geoff Tyson, original SRC guitarist had to say about his time in the band. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VBwuL8TXceg
here are a few select quotes from Geoff Tyson’s interview:
”It was the most dysfunctional, most toxic musical environment that I have ever been in my life. The drugs, the backstabbing and the lies and the stealing… You know, through it all, Tobey, the singer, she was always painted as -it’s all her fault, she’s dumb she doesn’t know what’s going on. But in actuality she was probably the most honest one and the most straightforward one, and a great talent and a sweet girl who was just in the middle of this noxious nonsense…” “Work that I did for them, I would find out later on that my credits had been erased, songs that I had written had been published with somebody else’s name. I had no contracts with the people that were doing all of this. And even petty little things like all my contributions being scrubbed from Wikipedia. And for what? I was there while the final songs were being written and mixed and was contributing to those. I didn’t get credit for any of those. I didn’t get credit for any of the remix stuff that I wrote and performed. Touring was a living hell because Jason hired the most horrible people.”
One of the saddest things about all of this has been the several fans who have come forward online with stories of Jason using abusive language and behavior towards them.
And then someone sent me this post of Jason’s where he admitted to stealing peoples songs in the studio when he was high on drugs:
Wow. Not much else to say right now.