SKID ROW's DAVE 'SNAKE' SABO On Keeping A Band Together For Nearly Four Decades: 'You Have To Really Have The Ability To Listen'
August 29, 2023
During a new appearance on the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast, SKID ROW guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo was asked what he has learned about being in a relationship by being in a band with bassist Rachel Bolan and guitarist Scotti Hill for 36 years. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "You have to really have the ability to listen. It's so important to listen and to make every attempt possible to understand where the other person or other people are coming from. Like, what's the basis for their point of view? And to respect that — you have to respect it, because if you don't, then what's the point of being in business with them and forging these relationships?
"Music is an emotional expression," he continued. "We all came together because we found commonality not only in the music that we love, but that it was the truest form of expression for us as individuals, whether we were socially awkward or felt like outsiders that we didn't fit in and we couldn't maybe verbalize those particular feelings. I know that was the case for me. When I discovered the guitar, it became my voice. And it's still the case to this day. Thankfully, through the course of the years, I've become slightly more articulate than I was back then, but music is still the true voice.
"Creating music and writing songs is a very selfish act, in a good way, because it means what you're saying and what you're writing is true to your heart and to your spirit," Sabo explained. "And we never wrote to an audience or for an audience; we wrote with the hopes that we would get an audience. And then after we did, we still maintain the same sort of viewpoint and attitude, because that was, the purity and the honesty of the band. And we've maintained that throughout our careers, for better or for worse. So that's how we express ourselves to this day.
"Just the process of writing a song, you have to listen to the guy you're writing with, you have to hear what they're saying and respect it and not just dismiss it," Snake added. "And we've never dismissed each other's ideas. We've all collaborated and we would listen and attempt it, and if it didn't work, it didn't work. And sometimes when your ego comes into play, sometimes if you're the guy that's presenting the idea and it gets — I don't wanna say 'shot down'; that's harsh — but just doesn't work, it doesn't fit in and everybody feels it, you have to kind of have your dukes up a little bit. You're protective of it 'cause of your ego. It took us a long time, but we gradually would let our egos go. I mean, you have to, if anything's gonna get accomplished; you have to within that moment, really, or else you're gonna be at a stalemate. And there's been times, for sure, where we've gone back and forth, 'cause we both believed in a certain idea that differed from one another, but we were always respectful of one another. We were never, like, 'Oh, you're an asshole' — it was never like that. It was always, 'Well, I believe it should be this because of this.' And same argument on the other side. And you work through it. It's communication. But, again, I think the most important things are being able to listen and equally as important is just be respectful of what you're listening to."
SKID ROW's latest album, "The Gang's All Here", arrived last October via earMUSIC. The group recorded most of the LP in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Nick Raskulinecz, who has previously worked with FOO FIGHTERS, STONE SOUR, HALESTORM, EVANESCENCE, RUSH and ALICE IN CHAINS, among many others.
Erik Grönwall, who auditioned for the competition show "Swedish Idol" back in 2009 by singing a cover of SKID ROW's "18 And Life", joined SKID ROW in January 2022 as the replacement for ZP Theart. Theart, who had been in the group for more than six years, played his final gig with SKID ROW in February 2022 before being officially given the boot.
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