SKID ROW's DAVE 'SNAKE' SABO: JON BON JOVI Has 'Always Been A Great Mentor To Me'

December 28, 2022

In a new interview with Colombia's W Radio, SKID ROW co-founder and guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo looked back on his childhood friendship with Jon Bon Jovi and how it inspired him and his bandmates to become better songwriters. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "First of all, [Jon and I] have been best friends since we were children. He grew up three streets away from where I grew up, so we've known each other for an awfully long time — well over 40 years now. His work ethic and his commitment to music and his perseverance showed me and showed us that it was possible to be able to have success in the music business. He was very, very helpful at the very beginning with our band and he's always been a great mentor to me. And he's always been one hundred percent honest with me regarding all aspects of our relationship. We would always play him our music that we were writing and he would always give us his honest opinion. And he was the one who, at the very beginning, was really pushing us to be better songwriters, to be better musicians, to be a better band. And he was the guy that really instilled in us that being just good isn't good enough. You've gotta aspire to be great. And that was him teaching us that."

Despite the fact that the 1989 debut album from the Sebastian Bach-fronted SKID ROW went five times platinum and produced several hit singles — including "18 And Life", "I Remember You" and "Youth Gone Wild" — there was initially a lot of bitterness surrounding its success, largely due to the fact that in return for the helping hands of Jon Bon Jovi, SKID ROW reportedly had to enter a publishing deal with Jon's then-newly established Underground Music Company in which they waived their rights to publishing royalties. All money was paid to Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. After a public dispute, Sambora gave his share of the money back to SKID ROW.

Around a decade ago, Bach reflected on the business arrangement he and his then-bandmates made with Bon Jovi, telling ArtScenics TV: "Bon Jovi took us on our first tour and we signed some papers with him that he got a cut of, if we made it big, that he would get compensated for helping us out. Nobody expected us to get as big as we got. Nobody thought that we would become a big band. That happens all the time in the music industry. Jon was, like, 'We'll take you on tour, but if you guys make it big,' then he gets a cut of it. So I was bitter about that for awhile, but then I realized that we probably wouldn't have made it as big, or maybe at all, if he didn't take us."

Back in 2015, Bach told Rodney Holder of Australia's Music Business Facts that he no longer harbored any resentment toward Bon Jovi over the publishing royalties generated by the "Skid Row" album.

"We signed a publishing deal with Bon Jovi's company, which gave him an extremely large cut of the first album," he recalled. "And when that happened, none of us realized it, really, and we were very bitter when we found that out. But our next record debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart, so quit your fucking whining. [Laughs] It's, like, I look back… He took us on tour… Nobody thought we'd make it. There was a million bands. We could have been BANG TANGO or TIGERTAILZ or… We could have been… There's a billion bands. We could have been BABYLON A.D. … Anyway, so, the fact that we were one of the bands that did make it was like a needle in the haystack. So for Bon Jovi to put us on the road in front of his crowd every night, that's how we made it. So he deserved to get paid for that. He could have taken any other band. So we re-did all those deals after the first album — for 'Slave To The Grind' and 'Subhuman Race' and the best-of album. We re-did all those."

SKID ROW's new album, "The Gang's All Here", was released in October via earMUSIC. It is the group's first LP with new vocalist Erik Grönwall, who was previously a member of the Swedish hard rock band H.E.A.T.

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