SKID ROW's RACHEL BOLAN On SEBASTIAN BACH: 'I Wouldn't Say We Were Friends; We Were Bandmates'
October 14, 2020
SKID ROW bassist Rachel Bolan says that he was never friends with the band's former lead singer, Sebastian Bach.
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 Bolan, 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 vocalist Tony Harnell as his replacement. Eight months later, Harnell exited the band and was replaced by South African-born, British-based singer ZP Theart, who previously fronted DRAGONFORCE, TANK and I AM I.
Asked in a new interview with "The Chuck Shute Podcast" if SKID ROW's original 1996 split came as a relief to him, Bolan said: "Things were pretty bad within the band — with all of us, actually. [We] never heard from each other when we were home, and most of us lived 15 minutes from each other's house. And it started to get not fun at one point, because it was just all bullshit that went along with preparing to do stuff, and and whatever it was. It was a relief in a way. It was melancholy. It was a relief, and good, I get to go home and just chill and and recharge my batteries, but where are we going from here? So it was kind of waiting out a storm, so to speak, and just seeing what's what's gonna be there when it goes by. And it was years — it was years — and then we decided to get the band back together in 2000, and here we are, 20 years later, still having fun and doing a lot of shows. Well, not now, but we were doing a lot of shows [before the pandemic] — 100 shows a year. And that's a lot for a bunch of old guys. [Laughs]"
Bolan went on to confirm that he and his bandmates "were entertaining the idea" of reuniting with Bach following Harnell's departure. Rachel also shot down the possibility of a rekindling of his friendship with Sebastian, explaining: "Well… Here's the soundbite for Blabbermouth. I wouldn't say we were friends [when we were in a band together]. We were bandmates. You know what I mean? We're two very different people." Bolan added that he hasn't seen Bach "in years."
Last year, Bach completed a U.S. tour during which he celebrated the 30th anniversary of SKID ROW's self-titled debut album.
In June 2019, Bach issued an "open invitation" to the other members of SKID ROW's classic lineup to "get onstage and jam" during the vocalist's tour. A few days later, during an interview with Finland's Kaaos TV, Sabo confirmed that he would not accept Bach's latest overture. "I'm working with my band," he said. "This is SKID ROW, and this is what I do."
Drummer Rob Affuso — who left SKID ROW in 1998 and claims to be "the only former member that keeps in contact with all former SKID ROW bandmates and is still good friends with them all" — subsequently joined Bach in September 2019 at Sony Hall in New York City to play the band's classic song "Makin' A Mess".
Asked by Rolling Stone if he thinks his former bandmates are offended that he put his invitation out there publicly, Bach said: "No. I think it's an ego thing. They don't like when I get attention, and they don't get attention. It's always been like that. I can already see them getting mad, because I'm selling out shows, and they're not part of the show, and blah, blah, blah."
In February 2019, Sabo told "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that SKID ROW came "pretty close" to reuniting with Bach after Harnell's exit from the band. But then he clarified: "I said 'pretty close,' and that's actually not true. Because we didn't get beyond text messaging each other, to be quite honest. The same old stuff just seemed to exist where there was this confrontational sort of demeanor going back and forth between myself and Sebastian.
"I'm so proud of what we were able to create throughout the entire history of this band, and that will never change," he continued. "But some things just don't work anymore and people go their separate ways and you can't get that back together. And I'm fine with that.
"I play music to be happy," Sabo added. "I don't play music for a paycheck. It's great to get paid to do what you love. But I've never done it for the money. It's always been about my love of music, and that's what it still is. At my old crusty age, it's still because I love the guitar and I love creating. And I love the response. I love being able to connect in some way with an audience. That's why I started playing music — because I didn't know how to communicate, so it came out through music, through songs.
"Playing with [ZP] in the band has brought a real joyousness back to our lives. You can see it — it's not faked or phony. You can see it when we play. And that's what I live for — I live for those moments of just absolute joy.
"A reunion [with Sebastian] would have been great for a lot of other people who have wanted to see that happen," Snake said. "But for us, it would not have been pleasurable, to be quite honest."