SKID ROW's DAVE 'SNAKE' SABO Opens Up About His Upcoming Neck Surgery: 'I'm Looking Forward To It'

December 16, 2022

Last month, SKID ROW postponed its previously announced tour of Australia in order to allow guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo "the proper time to heal" from his "rescheduled neck surgery." The dates, which were originally slated to happen in December, will now take place in May 2023.

Sabo opened up about his upcoming operation in a brand new interview with the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I have to go get neck surgery on Tuesday. They're doing disc-replacement surgery. I've got these really bad degenerative discs in my neck, and it causes nerve issues down both my arms, but predominantly my left arm, to the point where mostly every show my arm will freeze up — whether it's the way the guitar sits on my shoulders or the way we move around on stage. Whatever the case may be, this has been something that's been going on for quite some time — actually, two decades. And it's been chronic, but it just got to the point where it has to be addressed. Cortisone shots don't work. I don't wanna get the vertebrae fused, because I don't wanna reduce my mobility in any way, or hinder my mobility. So this surgery was presented to me, and I wanted to do it in a time where people are not really booking shows and holidays and things like that. And then my doctor said to me, 'We need to do this. And I suggest that when you're done with your touring in November… We have a lot of pre-op stuff that we have to do, and it would be best if you were just home.' And so, obviously, I spoke with the [other] guys [in the band], and we spoke with our management and the promoter down in Australia and said, 'Due to this injury that I have, is it okay if we postpone till next year?' So it looks like we're going back in May. And that'll coincide with a Japanese run, and hopefully Southeast Asia as well. So it worked out. And I'm looking forward to it. Oddly enough, I'm not nervous about it. I'm just looking forward to getting it done and moving on. And hopefully it won't inhibit my playing ability any more than I already do. [Laughs]"

Sabo elaborated on the way his ability to play has been affected by his condition, saying: "It's frustrating because pretty much every night I have to deal with my arm kind of freezing up. And so I have to map out a plan of when that happens, what I have to do to unhinge it, if you will. It's problematic, and sometimes it's kind of embarrassing, because you're in the middle of playing and all of a sudden your arm freezes and you can't really move it. So you have to be creative in how you kind of tiptoe around it and hope that it doesn't affect the song and affect the performance of the band in any way. But now's the right time to do [the surgery]. And I'm really confident in the people that are gonna be performing this and in the process. And I'll be in and out and enjoying the holidays… To me, this is — not that it's easy, but it's just a process, and I'll get through it. And life will be better."

Earlier in the month, SKID ROW bassist Rachel Bolan addressed Sabo's upcoming surgery in an interview with The Rock Experience With Mike Brunn. He said: "[Snake is] doing okay. He's been in chronic pain for quite some time and just dealing with it — I would say at least 15 years. And being on planes, wearing 10 pounds of wood around your neck and jumping around with it every night, none of that helps. So he finally got to the point where it was starting to affect his arm — like numbness and pain and stuff like that. And it's a couple of discs. So they scheduled surgery for December, and that's where we're at now. And we're taking, obviously, December, January and February off for him to do PT [physical therapy] and all that stuff. And he'll be fine. He's psyched. He's, like, 'I just don't want to be in pain anymore.'

"You step out onstage and all the adrenaline kicks in and you don't feel it. And then, 10 minutes after you come offstage, all the adrenaline's gone and then you start to feel it again," Rachel explained.

"Yeah, it's for the better. We're bummed we didn't get to go to Australia, but this is a legit reason why not," Bolan added. "So we rescheduled for May, and it'll work out. I think we may go to Japan after that and then possibly to Korea, since we'll be on that side of the planet. But the promoter, he understood, and all of our fans understand that it's just one of those things that you can't get around because it could do irreparable damage if you don't get it taken care of. He's put it off long enough. He probably should have had the surgery about 10 years ago, 12 years ago."

In October, SKID ROW played some of the shows on its U.K. tour without Sabo after he tested positive for COVID-19. Filling in for him was SKID ROW's guitar tech Casey Sproatt.

Sproatt previously played guitar for SKID ROW in April when guitarist Scotti Hill was forced to miss the band's concert in Ashland, Kentucky after testing positive for COVID-19.

SKID ROW's latest album "The Gang's All Here", arrived on October 14 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.

Swedish singer Erik Grönwall joined SKID ROW in January as the replacement for ZP Theart, who had been in the group for more than six years. Theart played his final gig with SKID ROW in February before being officially given the boot.

Sebastian Bach fronted SKID ROW until 1996, when he was fired. Instead of throwing in the towel, the remaining members took a hiatus and went on to play briefly in a band called OZONE MONDAY. In 1999, SKID ROW reformed and, after a bit of shuffling over the years, featured a lineup consisting of bassist Rachel Bolan and guitarists Dave "Snake" Sabo and Scotti Hill, alongside drummer Rob Hammersmith and singer Johnny Solinger. SKID ROW fired Solinger over the phone in April 2015, a few hours before announcing ex-TNT singer Tony Harnell as his replacement. Eight months later, Harnell exited the band and was replaced by Theart, the South African-born, British-based singer who previously fronted DRAGONFORCE, TANK and I AM I.

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