SKID ROW's DAVE 'SNAKE' SABO: 'We Have Longevity Because We Respect The Audience'

July 21, 2014

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently conducted an interview with SKID ROW guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Icon Vs. Icon: Obviously, your dreams became a reality and you have been doing what you love for a long time now. To what do you attribute the longevity of SKID ROW?

Sabo: An appreciation and respect for the fans, the consumer, the person who makes a conscious decision to buy a SKID ROW record or a ticket to see us live. First of all, being able to play music for a living is something I feel a lot of people take for granted. We absolutely do not. We realize this isn't a birthright; it's a privilege to be able to get out and play music every night and as your means of living. We are incredibly humbled by it and it doesn't get lost on us that people make a conscious decision to spend their money on what you are doing, whether it is coming to see your show or buying your record. That is such an amazing compliment that something we put together and built some 28 years ago is something people still believe in enough to support it. It is the most amazing and humbling thing I have ever experienced. We are reminded of it every day. They are the reason we are able to travel the world and make music for a living, which is the most incredible thing in the world. That is why we have longevity — because we respect the audience.

Icon Vs. Icon: You have been hard at work on your latest EP, "Rise of the Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two". Did you have any particular goals or expectations for this release?

Sabo: Songwriting is a very selfish act. It has to be. I say that because you have to write for yourself for it to be pure. If you are writing for radio or a particular trend, then you are not being true to yourself. When we write from the perspective of what matters to us, what appeals to us and what we want to hear, we do that to the best of our ability and then, from there, we hope it connects. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't, but at least it's for real, it's pure and it's not disingenuous. Once you start writing from the standpoint of "I want this song to be on the radio, so have to write it a particular way..." I think it becomes a bit disingenuous. We have never looked at it like that. Our sensibilities from a songwriting perspective run the gamut from pop music to heavy old-school metal. You take all of those things, my influences, Rachel Bolan's influences, along with the influences of Scotti [Hill], Johnny [Solinger] and Rob [Hammersmith], put them in a pot, mix them together, it comes out a SKID ROW song. First and foremost, it is always about being true and respectful of the process and to ourselves. This record was a rediscovery of things for Rachel and I. We get in these conversations before we start writing any record. We just start peeling away the layers of life, if you will, because this is our form of expression. We started questioning each other asking, "Why do we do this? What is the essence, spirit and soul of why we do this in the first place?" It is because when we first picked up a guitar, a bass or any sort of instrument and started writing music, it was because that was the only way we truly knew to express ourselves. Whatever angst moments we might have been going through in life, we got through by expressing it through music. Maybe we weren't the greatest communicators with other people verbally or maybe we weren't the greatest at social interactions but for us music was the great communicator. Music was our pressure valve and allowed us to release what we needed to release in order to get through life. Basically, what problems you have at 16 or 17 year old might seem mundane by the person you are today but their impact was no less severe than the things we go through today as adults. They are just as powerful except you are dealing with it from a different age mindset but the force of it is still the same. That force we felt propelled us to write music because it was form of expression and the same holds true today. We just peeled away the layers and got to the core of life and why we do this. Once we got there, the lightswitch went on and everything just clicked. Again, you are writing from a really selfish standpoint and it needs to be that way. We just seemed to be on the same page throughout that time. I can honestly say I didn't know it was going to be this way but this record was the most fun I have ever had making a SKID ROW record. From start to finish, it was a lot of hard work but it was such a joyful experience. Everyone just seemed to be in lock-step with one and other.

Icon Vs. Icon: It is great to hear you so passionate about the band's work these days. Were there any particular challenges you encountered in bringing this EP to life and what did you learn from the process?

Sabo: I have known this but it seems in this situation, less is more. You have to adjust in this world almost on a daily basis. Change is right in front of you and it is occurring all the time. Things move at the speed of light in our world now. As people, we don't have the expendable time we used to have to invest ourselves in sitting and listening to a record that is an hour long or 15 songs long. By and large, we don't have that luxury, it seems. We wanted to do something that didn't keep us in the studio for months at a time and allowed us to release product quicker in shorter spurts, if you will, and not browbeat the public. We are giving them something to where they hopefully want more and then they will get it eight months down the line. It is kind of the same thing as putting together a 20-song record, but just cutting it up over the course of two years and releasing it in three different installments. We also wrote each EP before we recorded because we didn't want to write all 15 or 20 tracks and just space out their release. We wanted to be very much in the moment, so that is what we have been doing and we will do that with the next EP as well. It has really served us well. It has kept everything really fresh and there is a sort of urgency and immediacy to it. I like that a lot and I think it comes across in listening back to it. I think we have also gotten to the point that we are so appreciative of what we have and are so thankful. We are really humbled by it all. I think with that comes a respect for the audience and what the band has been able to do over the course of the past 28 years. There is a respect for the songwriting, along with a respect for each other. For these EPs, I think everything sort of presents itself at that particular time. That is what really worked for us with this last EP in particular. Rachel and I really became conscious of how fortunate we are. To still be songwriting partners, band members and best buds after all this time is really something. That doesn't get lost on us through this whole process. We are keenly aware of being present and in the moment. It sounds cliché but when it really does happen it is something truly incredible. I think we are just going to take that philosophy and presence of mind into the next release and create from there. It is a great sampling and a great place to be in when you are both on the same page with one and other. The results are something to behold.

Read the entire interview at Icon Vs. Icon.

Find more on Skid row
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).