Prior to SKID ROW's headlining performance at the Stonedeaf festival in Newark, United Kingdom on August 25, bassist Rachel Bolan spoke with Midlands Metalheads Radio. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On current SKID ROW vocalist ZP Theart:
Rachel: "We became friends a few years before [Theart joined SKID ROW]. We were going to put a side project together right after he left DRAGONFORCE with Rob Hammersmith, our drummer. We actually flew to London just to hang out — 'Yeah, let's do it, let's do it.' Then this guy gets busy, we get busy and it never happened, but we stayed friends. Actually, I AM I [Theart's previous band] came out with SKID ROW on a U.K. tour a few years back, and then when we parted ways with Johnny [Solinger], ZP was on the top of the short list. We had another guy [Tony Harnell] for a short time, [but] it didn't work out. I don't know who called who first — whether I called ZP or he called me. He came over and it was effortless. It just worked out really well. It took us a while, but we found the right guy."
On the group's upcoming album, which will be produced by Michael Wagener (who also helmed SKID ROW's first two albums):
Rachel: "We couldn't be more excited. We've already started pre-production, and he's got his hands on it. The thing I love about working with Michael is he doesn't pull any punches. If he likes it, he likes it. If he doesn't like it, he lets you know — 'This is my opinion. If you get your feelings hurt, tough crap.' There's one song that Snake [Dave Sabo] played this riff that he wrote 15 years ago, and I was like, 'Is that an old riff?' I just heard it completely different all of a sudden. He was like, 'I have brought this to you a million times, and you kept saying, 'Naah, it's okay.' We do that to each other all the time. You have to keep ZP's vocal in mind too, and it's like, 'Wow, that will work perfect — that will complement each other.' It's almost like rediscovering something that's been around for a while that you kind of forgot about."
On when to expect the new album:
Rachel: "We're hoping no later than summer of 2019. That's what we're shooting for. We're not going to rush it. This is going to be a pivotal album for us — our first album with ZP — and we're excited, we're nervous [and] we just want it to be absolutely perfect."
On how the band writes together despite living nowhere near each other:
Rachel: "Sending an idea through an email is basically like sending a cassette to someone. It's a new-age cassette, because that's what we used to do when we first moved apart. We all used to be based in New Jersey, but now, ZP's in the U.K., I'm in Nashville, Scotti [Hill] is in L.A., Rob's in Atlanta and Snake's up in Long Island, so we'll shoot the ideas around. But it's not like we're going to record that way — we still get into rehearsal rooms and hash it out, and we still work out parts and demo just like we always did, and take that home and listen to it and then go back and rework it until it's exactly how we want it."
Rachel: "Snake and I just happen to write the bulk of everything. Everyone contributes where they can contribute, and it's always, all five guys have to love what we're doing; otherwise, we change it or we just don't do it. We may do the bulk of the songwriting, but it's not a SKID ROW song until everyone puts their own feel and personality into the song. I can't stress that enough. Being a songwriter's cool and all, but it's not a SKID ROW song until the other guys get on it."
SKID ROW has collaborated with several other artists, including members of SLIPKNOT and HALESTORM, on the songwriting process for the final installment of the band's "United World Rebellion" trilogy. The follow-up to 2014's "Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two" and 2013's "United World Rebellion: Chapter One" will mark the band's first release with the South African-born, British-based Theart (DRAGONFORCE, TANK, I AM I),who officially joined SKID ROW last year.
Despite having played sporadic shows with SKID ROW for a year, Theart wasn't officially announced as the band's new vocalist until January 2017.
Theart stepped into the group following the departure of Tony Harnell, the former TNT frontman who joined SKID ROW in April 2015 as the replacement for Johnny Solinger, the band's singer of 15 years.