Former SKID ROW Manager Recalls Having To Explain To SEBASTIAN BACH Why He Wasn't Receiving Publishing Royalties
October 20, 2021
In a new interview with Golden Robot's "Conversations With..." video podcast, veteran talent manager Doc McGhee, who has worked with KISS, MÖTLEY CRÜE, BON JOVI and SKID ROW, among many others, spoke about the importance of musical chemistry within a band and the role of a lead singer in any group. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Bands are like marriages, okay? And you have problems keeping any band together. And more bands will break up than not, for sure.
"When Sebastian Bach left SKID ROW, and then later in life, I have to do a terrible fucking TV show called… I did it for MTV — for Rick Krim at MTV… VH1. And he said, 'You have to do this thing called 'SuperGroup' for me. You put together the supergroup. We can't tell you who's gonna be in the band.' I said, 'Well, I'm not gonna do it, because I'm not gonna have fucking idiots, and then I'm gonna look like an idiot.' [He said] 'No, no. This is gonna be big. I'll do anything for you.' Blah blah blah blah blah. 'Okay. Fine.' I show up. [The band consisted of] Sebastian Bach, Ted Nugent, the kid from BIOHAZARD [Evan Seinfeld], the bass player… and Jason Bonham. But I'm sitting there with Sebastian, and somebody says to me, 'You know Sebastian is pissed off at you.' And I go, 'Okay. What could he be pissed off at me for? It's been years since he's been in SKID ROW. What can he be pissed…?' 'Well, you took all his publishing away from him.' So I said, 'Really? Did I take his publishing away from him? How the fuck did I take his publishing?' I said, 'Let's get Sebastian.' So I get Sebastian. And I go, 'So, Baz, I hear that you think that I took your publishing away from you.' He said, 'I didn't get any publishing.' I said, 'Sebastian, you didn't write anything. If you don't write fucking something, you don't get it.' But he doesn't get… So, it's, like, okay, whatever."
Reflecting on the period when Bach exited SKID ROW in 1996 while he was still managing the band, McGhee said: "I don't say to [SKID ROW guitarist] Snake [Dave Sabo], who I love, and Scotti [Hill, guitarist] and Rachel [Bolan, bassist], who I really, really care about and [are] good people, I don't say to them, 'You know something? We're gonna find a better lead singer and we're gonna go on and fuck him.' I go, 'You're fucked. Sorry. You guys can't play with each other? You're gonna be playing pay toilets again using your own change — even though artistically you're gonna feel better about it. You've never been a bride; you've been a bridesmaid a bunch.' But after 'Slave To The Grind', they had a chance to get on the PANTERA tour and the GN'R tour, they had a chance to make that step up, and they couldn't do it. But am I gonna fucking throw the lead singer out? You have to be fucking retarded."
Bach joined SKID ROW in 1988 as the replacement for the band's original lead singer Matt Fallon, who sang on demo versions of songs that were eventually re-recorded for SKID ROW's multi-platinum 1989 eponymous LP.
Six years ago, Sebastian slammed his former bandmates in SKID ROW for claiming to have written all the songs on the group's early records without him. During an appearance on the "Snider Comments" podcast with host Dee Snider of TWISTED SISTER, Bach said: "The biggest lie that those guys always tell is, 'We wrote all the songs on all the records.' If you listen to my albums and the SKID ROW albums, and then you listen to the SKID ROW albums without me, and then listen to my solo albums, that'll give you all that you need to know about who wrote what. When they say, 'We wrote the song '18 And Life', you [just] sang it.' Okay, let's examine that statement. You can go listen to the original version of that song online, and then you can listen to me doing it, and there's something called a melody line. Okay? Where it goes, [singing] 'Lived nine to five and he worked his fingers to the bone.' Every time my voice goes into the register where you turn it up and go, 'Holy shit! Did you fucking hear that?' Those are the notes that I wrote, okay? Nobody does that in the version before that I didn't fucking… 'Can I sing this note in this part?' 'Yeah, do that, Sebastian. Yeah, do that.'"
He continued: "So I'm nineteen years old, taking these fucking songs and turning them into JUDAS PRIEST songs, as far as… I'm rewriting the melody lines, never thinking anybody was gonna like it, never thinking anybody was gonna buy it. I'm thinking I'm gonna be the next MALICE, not the next BON JOVI. The last thing anybody ever thinks is that somebody is gonna like this shit. That was, like, the last-case scenario. So I'm not in court, saying, 'I wrote this note! I fucking…' I'm not gonna be in litigation when I'm nineteen. You know?! So, [them saying] 'We wrote all the songs' is such a fucking pile of shit."
Asked in a 2013 interview with Metal Covenant if Bach "actually wrote anything significant on [SKID ROW's early] albums," Sabo responded: "To be totally honest, yeah. I mean, he contributed to things here and there. There is no doubt; you can't deny it. But to the extent that what Rachel and I would put into a song, no. I mean, Rachel and I spent three months on 'Quicksand Jesus'. So to sit there and say that he didn't contribute anything, then I'd be lying. But to sit there and say that he contributed equally as we did, that would be a lie."
In a 2010 interview, Bolan stated about SKID ROW's split with Sebastian: "There was so much tension and so much infighting that it was hard to write songs. Snake and I formed the band, we wrote the songs, and then other people played and sang it. People wanted to break away from what had been working, and that impeded the songwriting."
Regarding the decision to reform SKID ROW in 1999 without Bach, Bolan said: "The blood was so bad after [1995's] 'Subhuman Race' and there was just so much stuff in the press, we knew it wasn't going to work [with Sebastian]. We decided we'd rather go on being happy with what we were doing than get right back into all the tension and dissension. We loved the music, we loved playing, and we knew we could do this and have fun again. So we decided right there to continue without him."
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