One of the big success stories within the world of heavy music in late ’80s and early ’90s was the emergence of Skid Row, who scored big right off the bat with their self-titled debut.
Produced by Michael Wagner (who had previously worked with the likes of Metallica, Dokken, and Accept), 1989’s Skid Row spawned such ’80s hard rock classics as “Youth Gone Wild” and “Piece of Me”, and the power ballads “18 and Life” and “I Remember You,” peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard 200, and going 5-times platinum.
And the album featured the best-known Skid Row lineup — comprised of singer Sebastian Bach, guitarists Scotti Hill and Dave Sabo, bassist Rachel Bolan, and drummer Rob Affuso. They’d hit No. 1 on the chart with 1991’s Slave to the Grind and tour with Guns N’ Roses that same year). But five years later, in 1996, Bach and Affuso exited the band.
Bach would go on to appear on Broadway, get a recurring role on Gilmore Girls, and pursue a solo career, all the while having a publicly contentious relationship with his former Skid Row bandmates. Skid Row, in turn, continued on with new singer Johnny Solinger and, currently, vocalist ZP Theart.
To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of Skid Row’s debut album, Bach will be touring from late August through early November, and performing the album in its entirety with his solo band. The singer recently spoke with Heavy Consequence about the 1989 debut, inviting his former Skid Row band members to join him onstage on this upcoming tour, and future plans.
ON WHETHER HE KNEW SKID ROW’S DEBUT WAS A SPECIAL ALBUM DURING ITS RECORDING
I knew it was going to be a special album to me, because I loved the songs that we had recorded — we recorded the songs three times separately before that record came out. And I got the tattoo, “Youth Gone Wild” in 1987 — two years before the record came out. I was so sure of that song, I loved that song — that’s one of the reasons why I joined the band. And the lyrics to “Youth Gone Wild”, 100 percent meant everything to me years before we had a record deal.
I kind of knew that song was going to be big. I didn’t know for a fact that the public would like it, but I knew that I loved it. And that was the beginning of me always believing in myself, saying, “This is a great song, and if I think it’s great, then I can sing it great, and if I can sing it great, then it’s my best shot at other people thinking it’s great, too.” And then conversely, if I couldn’t sing something because I didn’t like it, then I would run into problems. [Laughs] But there was never ever a problem or any arguments about the song “18 and Life”, “I Remember You”, or “Youth Gone Wild”.
ON WHAT HE RECALLS ABOUT THE FILMING OF THE VIDEOS FOR THE ALBUM
The videos were all shot by Wayne Isham. The first one was “Youth Gone Wild”, the second was “Piece of Me”, the third was “18 and Life”, and the fourth was “I Remember You”. The record company wanted us to put out “I Remember You” right after “Youth Gone Wild”, and we knew — because of the times we were in and how good that song was — that we should save that until the end, as the last video. And we were totally right on that account.
So anyway, we shot those videos, and one crazy piece of trivia is that John 5 — the guitar player from Rob Zombie, who everybody knows and loves as one of the greatest guitar players around today — is in the “Piece of Me” video. There is a guy who comes on the stage, and I toss him into the crowd, while he does a stagedive. That’s John 5, who at the age of 18, stood in line, because he saw in the paper there was a Skid Row video, so he came down to be in the audience. He was like, “Dude… that’s me!” I’ve been writing music constantly lately — this will be my third collaboration with [John 5]. But actually, our first collaboration was the “Piece of Me” video. Shot at the Canyon Club.
ON WHAT HE REMEMBERS ABOUT TOURING WITH BON JOVI AND AEROSMITH IN SUPPORT OF SKID ROW’S DEBUT
We were very, very young when we toured with Bon Jovi. I was 19/20, and not much older than that on Aerosmith. But we learned the old way — as far as being musicians that played every single night. You couldn’t not get better, unless you blew your shit out — but we didn’t, because they were short sets, 40 minutes. That’s a pretty quick, short work day. But one thing I would say is that I learned how to sing live in arenas. And it’s always different for me as a vocalist, singing in a big, huge, cavernous building — as opposed to a tiny club, where it’s challenging for me to sing in the same way if I’m too close to the drum kit, than it’s too loud. When it’s a big arena, there’s separation from the other instruments, and you also have this echo in the building — that’s where the big Sebastian Bach screams really came around to sound amazing, in these arenas. It’s a challenge for me as I get older, when I’m playing little rooms to recreate that, I have to put a plastic cage around the drums. That’s the difference from then to now for me.
ON INVITING HIS FORMER SKID ROW BANDMATES TO JOIN HIM FOR A JAM ON THIS 30TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR
I haven’t heard back from them, would be my answer to you. I wish they could get along with my manager, Rick Sales, like everybody else does in the industry. What else can you do? I don’t know what else to do. I’m 51, and this is the 30th anniversary of the first record I ever put out in my life. Would I like to celebrate it with the other four people who put it out? Yes, I would. But I’m also not going to wait around any longer — because I don’t know how much longer I have, to be honest with you. I honestly don’t know that.
ON COLLABORATING WITH JOHN 5
The field has definitely slimmed as far as guitar slingers go. I think you can read articles about Guitar Center having problems, because people aren’t practicing, putting in the hours that they used to — to become Eddie Van Halen or George Lynch or Warren DeMartini or these real, genuine guitar heroes that we all had when I was a kid. John 5 is from that school. He has reinvented the guitar in his unique way, and I would say the same thing about Tom Morello, who does stuff with his guitar that I have never ever heard, and I never thought could be done. John 5 has the same thing. And our first collaboration was back on the Kicking & Screaming record — we did a song called “TunnelVision.” And then we did a song on Give ‘Em Hell, called “Temptation.” And we have two songs on this next record coming up.
ON FUTURE PLANS
Just new music. As I said, I’ve been working with John 5, but I’ve also been working with Orianthi — we’ve got two songs going. And Steve Stevens from Billy Idol’s band — he was on my last album, and he’s going to be on the next record. And my solo band has got material going. So, that’s going go to be my focus, but I’m also playing live all the time. And I’ve got a bunch of side projects, [like] Kings of Chaos — it’s me, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, and Lou Gramm from Foreigner on vocals, and Gilby Clarke [formerly of Guns N’ Roses], and then Kenny Aronoff from John Cougar’s “Jack and Diane” on drums, and James Lomenzo [formerly of White Lion] on bass, Warren DeMartini from Ratt on guitar. It’s really a lot of fun — we’re playing as a supergroup for that. And then my 30th anniversary tour starts on August 29th, and right now, it ends in November.
Sebastian Bach 2019 Tour Dates:
08/29 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
08/30 – Anderson, SC @ William A Floyd Amphitheater
08/31 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend
09/02 – Huntsville, AL @ Side Tracks Music Hall
09/03 – Columbus, OH @ Skully’s
09/04 – Cleveland, OH @ Phantasy
09/06 – Stafford Springs, CT @ Palace Theater
09/07 – Block Island, RI @ Ballard’s
09/09 – Laconia, NH @ Granite State Music Hall
09/10 – Hampton Beach, NH @ Wally’s
09/11 – Portland, ME @ Aura
09/13 – Harrison, OH @ The Blue Note
09/14 – Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
09/15 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection
09/18 – Kansasville, WI @ 1175
09/19 – St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall
09/20 – Lombard, IL @ Brauer House
09/21 – Dubuque, IA @ Q Casino
09/22 – Lexington, KY @ Manchester Music Hall
09/25 – New York, NY @ Sony Hall
09/26 – Harrisburg, PA @ XL Live
09/27 – Lynchburg, VA @ Phase 2
09/28 – Waterloo, NY @ The Vine at Del Lago
09/29 – Warrendale, PA @ Jergel’s
10/01 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
10/03 – Wichita, KS @ WAVE
10/05 – Golden, CO @ Dirty Dogs Roadhouse
10/06 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
10/10 – Ramona, CA @ Ramona Mainstage
10/11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
10/12 – Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
10/17 – Roswell, NM @ Liberty Theater
10/18 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
10/19 – Waco, TX @ The Backyard
10/20 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
10/22 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
10/23 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theater
10/24 – Corpus Christi, TX @ House of Rock
10/25 – Lafayette, LA @ The District
10/26 – Miramar Beach, FL @ Village Door Music Hall
10/28 – Miami, FL @ KISS Kruise Pre Partye
10/30 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock
10/31 – Savannah, GA @ Victory North
11/01 – Ft. Myers, FL @ The Ranch
11/02 – Pinellas Park, FL @ England Brothers Park