SKID ROW guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo has confirmed to Finland's Kaaos TV that the band is "just about done" recording the final chapter of the "United World Rebellion" trilogy, which will tentatively be released in early 2020. The disc is being tracked at a Nashville, Tennessee studio with producer Michael Wagener, who also helmed the group's 1989 self-titled debut and 1991's "Slave To The Grind".
Sabo told Kaaos TV (see video below): "[Michael is] such a phenomenal person. He's a family member. He's great. And he's one of us. And he has an incredible ability to bring the very, very best out of us. I don't know how he works with other bands, but with our band, he's always managed to bring the very best out of us. He's so much fun to work with, and it's always a great learning experience. It's not to say that every day is sunshine and smiley faces — we go at it every once in a while. Because if everybody's goal is the same — like, we're here to make the best record possible — then how we get there is not as important as getting there."
SKID ROW's new disc will mark its first release with South African-born, British-based vocalist ZP Theart (DRAGONFORCE, TANK, I AM I),who joined the band in 2016 following the departure of Tony Harnell (TNT, STARBREAKER).
According to Sabo, SKID ROW "had nothing worked out with any of the old singers" for the upcoming album. "We weren't even thinking in terms of that at that particular time," he explained. "We just wanted to get some stability and have it be fun. And so we got it. And now we're pushing forward.
"Johnny [Solinger] was let go from the band [in 2015]," he continued. "We had Tony [Harnell] in for a brief period of time, and then it was, like, 'Oh, man!' It didn't work out very well, obviously. And so we called Zee up and we were very guarded, 'cause of what we just went through. And he came in, and he's been great. We haven't had any complaints, no arguments — nothing like that.
"We wanted to make sure that when we went in to do this record that we were really, really prepared and that we had written the best possible material that we could come up with at this particular time," he said.
SKID ROW's new album, which will be made available through Australia's Golden Robot Records, will feature collaborations with several outside songwriters, including Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT, STONE SOUR) and Lzzy Hale and Joe Hottinger of HALESTORM, a group that covered the title track of "Slave To The Grind" on its "ReAniMate: The CoVeRs eP" in 2011. SKID ROW also worked with songwriter-for-hire Marti Frederiksen, who has previously collaborated with AEROSMITH, DEF LEPPARD, Jonny Lang and Sheryl Crow.
"Rachel and I wanted to work with other people together, just to learn and just to broaden our scope and gain experience," Sabo said.
Sabo went on to say SKID ROW's approach to making albums is "so much different" now compared to how it was when the band made its classic first two LPs. "It used to be, you write the record, you go in pre-production for a few weeks, and then you go in and record the record, and then you go on tour for a year or two, and it's just not like that for us anymore. We did a month of recording, and then we go out and we do a bunch of shows that are booked, 'cause we book shows six to eight months in advance. And then we go back: 'Okay, we have a block of time here. Let's go back in the studio again.' Or, 'We've gotta go back out and do more shows.'"
Admitting that he prefers the "old way of writing" an album, Sabo said that there were some advantages to being able to revisit the recordings after spending time on the road.
"We did a month of recording and then went out and did more shows and then came back and then when we came back to it, it was really exciting to listen to what we had done," he said. "To be able to step away from it for a little while, and then to listen to what we had done, and it was, like, 'Wow! There's some really, really good stuff here. I think it's better than I thought it was.'
"We did come up with stuff, when we came back, that we thought would make some of the songs better," he added. "And, again, we're not under the gun; we're not in any rush. So that's great — we're not getting pressure from anybody. It's case of, 'Let's just make the best SKID ROW album that we possibly can.' And we have the time to do it. So it's fun… Because it just allows you to be you. And I think that we're far along enough in our career where we're not gonna just sit there and keep attempting to reinvent the wheel. We'll know when this record is done, and it's pretty close."
This past January, Rhino released a 30th-anniversary remastered digital reissue of SKID ROW's quintuple-platinum 1989 debut album, which featured the hits "Youth Gone Wild", "18 & Life" and "I Remember You". The reissue also includes "Forever", a b-side recorded during the sessions for the album that previously appeared on the 1998 greatest-hits compilation "40 Seasons: The Best Of Skid Row", and a 10-track live performance recorded on April 26, 1989 at the Marquee in Westminster, California.
SKID ROW 2019 is:
ZP Theart - vocals Rachel Bolan - bass Dave "Snake" Sabo - guitar Scotti Hill - guitars Rob Hammersmith - drums