'Tim was always concerned about others. He was a very compassionate man and was the guy who always put a smile on your face.' – Mark Slaughter
Born in 1963 Tim Kelley was a self-taught guitar player drawing inspiration from guitarists with unique styles such as Peter Frampton & Rick Derringer. Left to develop his playing without the hindrance of a tutor, Tim found a style that fully reflected his love of rock music and his positive outlook on life.
Tim paid his dues, playing in a number of bands – Hellion, New Haven and alongside his brother in Allegiance - without hitting the big time. That was to happen with the group Slaughter, formed with Mark Slaughter, Dana Strum and Blas Elias. The group were intent on developing their own sound from the outset, something that reflected the enjoyment they got from playing. Their first album hit the charts in 1990, it held within it three hit singles and a detailed instrumental piece written by Tim and dedicated to his sister who had died of cancer in 1982, (“Thinking of June”).
Supporting the album’s release with concentrated touring, the group ended up playing with some of the biggest names in the world of metal such as Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne. The stage craft that Tim and the group had developed during the tour was demonstrated when they released a live EP; it immediately entered the charts and went ‘Gold’.
The group found an even bigger audience next when they were asked to write and record the theme to “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Adventure”, with this song Tim’s playing was to be heard around the world.
With their second album released in 1991 and a tour with Ozzy in 1992, the band’s progress seemed to be continually on the up. While there was a slight hiatus for an operation on Mick Slaughter’s vocal chords the group continued to tour into 1993. During the writing of their third album Tim was arrested on an old charge by drug enforcement officers. This placed immense pressure on Tim he managed to complete the recording whilst commuting across the US to meet with attorneys.
With another album behind them the group continued to tour relentlessly, the only downside being a successful tour of Japan that Tim had to miss due to the ongoing legal action. Slaughter’s sixth album was released in 1998, it was live, and with one of the concerts being recorded in 1997 in front of their home crowd, Tim’s playing was at its best. Unfortunately it could never be bettered as Tim was killed in a car crash and the record, quite rightly, became a tribute to him.