Steven Rosen of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Are you still a teenager at heart?
Bach: I’m very immature — I haven’t progressed much past 14 myself so that’s like my personality. And it very, very, very much reminds me of Ozzy with Randy — the wunderkind, prodigal guitar player, the angel and Ozzy is the old crazy fuckin’ wild man [laughs].
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You talk about the spirit of working with [guitarist] Nick Sterling being similar to what you felt working with SKID ROW back in the day. Is the actual process of doing a solo record similar to recording a record where a real band is involved?
Bach: I don’t do anything at all different; I do the exact same thing. If I heard “Monkey Business” and they’d go, “Do you like this?” I’d go, “Yeah, I like this.” What I would say is there’s far less arguing. The thing is Nick doesn’t walk in the room and say, “I’m the songwriter or the singer.”
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Is that what happened in SKID ROW?
Bach: That’s such garbage; that’s just a foolish way to live your life. If somebody has a good idea, use it. Don’t say, “That’s not my idea so we can’t use it.” What kind of immaturity is that? I don’t see how you could make good music your whole life if you demand that you’re the only one that can have an idea. I don’t think you’re gonna have very good music [laughs]. And I think that my stuff proves it. I’ve always done the same exact same thing.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Even on the “Skid Row” and “Slave To The Grind” albums?
Bach: “Slave To The Grind” was a real collaborative effort and so was the first record but the first record we were just kids. I was a little boy and I didn’t know if I changed all the notes in “18 And Life” which I did — I put all these screams in — I didn’t know I was helping write the melody line. I was just a little boy. It was, “Hey, can I do this? Ahahahaha [sings sustained note]. And they’re like, “Yeah, do that.” [laughs]
Ultimate-Guitar.com: In your mind, “Kicking Screaming” could have been the SKID ROW album after “Subhuman Race”?
Bach: I know those songs as well as anybody else and when I listen to the ballads on the new record, it’s seamless. It’s like, “Oh, here’s the new one.” “By Your Side” on “Angel Down” [Bach‘s previous solo record]. I don’t see how you could like “18 And Life” and not like “I’m Alive”. I don’t see how that’s possible.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: In talking about the sound of “Kicking Screaming”, how did it feel working with producer Bob Marlette?
Bach: Bob Marlette was incredible. Obviously the technology has completely progressed since 1989. Literally back then when we wanted to dub in a part, we would go to the little machine in the corner with a razor blade and cut the tape and put the tape in. I mean that’s crazy to people now but that’s how we did it. Now, of course, you can tweak things to the 9th degree and the nth degree and Bob doesn’t use too much of that, which I love. It still sounds like me and it’s not Celine Dion or somethin’. It’s me but it’s me with totally brand new production and brand new sounds and I really think that’s the big difference on the record is it’s a 2011 incredibly hi-tech sounding album and we pulled out all the stops. We made a real record with a real budget in a real studio with a real producer.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: “Subhuman Race” was your last album with SKID ROW. Were you looking forward to pursuing a solo career after leaving the band?
Bach: I never ever, ever, never in a million years wanted to pursue a solo career. That was done out of necessity and also because I have this silly celebrity status of my name. I wanted to use all the TV shows that I do to help my rock and roll career. I get noticed walking down the street for “Trailer Park Boys” and “Gilmore Girls” just as much as SKID ROW. It depends on what part of town I’m in.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Are you looking for the type of career that both Robert Plant and Rod Stewart had inasmuch as they both came from rock bands to pursue pretty eclectic solo careers?
Bach: Yeah, I’m the guy when Robert Plant does an interview and says that he doesn’t want to be in LED ZEPPELIN, he wants to be with Alison Krauss, I’m the guy that respects that. I’m not the guy who goes, [in exaggerated voice], “We all need LED ZEPPELIN.” I don’t see why he should be; he’s not feeling it. My whole thing is I let the artist be the artist. I don’t watch an artist make art and then cut up his art because it’s his fuckin’ art. Let him make what he is here to make. Don’t tell Picasso what to paint. “Why isn’t he painting this?” What the fuck? Let him paint what he wants to paint. Let me sing what I want to sing. I am me. I’m a Neil Young fan and I don’t listen to his records on samples on Amazon before I buy it — I just go and fuckin’ buy it ’cause he’s never let me down before. And even if he makes a record that doesn’t sound like I was expecting, I won’t not like him for it. I kind of listen to it and try and figure out where he’s comin’ from and it’s interesting to me. I don’t need my music to be cookie cutter and all nice and wrapped up nice. I like stuff that’s dangerous and exciting and somethin’ that I never heard before. Somebody said, “What’s rock and roll?” and they said, “Somethin’ you’ve never heard before.” And I was like, “That’s a really good way to describe it.” I don’t want to be bored.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: “Kicking Screaming” will surprise a lot of your fans.
Bach: That’s why I love my record ’cause it kicks my ass from the first time I press play on the first song right to the very last note. It’s entertaining and the performances are very good and the songs are very good and that’s what I wanted to achieve. Neal Peart said, “When you’re judging somebody’s art, what was their purpose that they wanted to achieve and did they achieve it well?” And I think if I go on those two criteria, my album is a fuckin’ winner because all I wanted to do was make an album that kicked your ass and I achieved that [laughs].
Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.