SKID ROW — Johnny Solinger (vocals), Scotti Hill (guitar), Rachel Bolan (bass), Dave "Snake" Sabo (guitar) and Rob Hammersmith (drums) — will release its new seven-song EP, "Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two", on August 5 via Megaforce Records.
After a hiatus that started in 1996, SKID ROW returned to the big stage — literally — opening for KISS in 2000. Exhilarated to tour with the heroes who rallied them in the first place, the band was reinvigorated by being underdogs who needed to come out fighting to prove themselves.
"When we put the band back together, we needed to reintroduce SKID ROW as relevant without relying too much on past success," explains SKID ROW bassist Rachel Bolan. "We wrote songs and hit the road. We sunk our heart and soul into it, letting people know we weren't doing it for lack of something better to do."
2003's "Thickskin" and 2006's "Revolutions Per Minute" were battle plans for hundreds of live shows with new singer Johnny Solinger out front, every night being a hard fought battle to win new fans and convince the old ones. "United World Rebellion - Part 2" is SKID ROW coming out swinging. Rachel and Sabo tapped again into the potent songwriting collaboration that built the band. Sabo says they were eagerly up to the challenge. "We seem to be at our best when we're faced with adversity. It's us against the world again — and by us I mean the band and the fans who stick with us and carry the SKID ROW torch without fail."
New plans came together in an Atlanta recording studio. But it's a different time, a different industry, so they decided to record a series of EPs. "The idea really appealed to me," says Bolan, "especially with the constantly changing musical climate. I like the idea of a steady flow of new music, as opposed to releasing a full-length album then riding it for the next two years."
That guerrilla burst of recording a concise EP fostered a focused intensity that was liberating, says Snake. "The pressure seemed to be lifted. That immediately set me at ease and it became really exciting."
Exciting and potent, prompting Solinger to exert the full range of his ability. "The third time in the studio as the voice of SKID ROW was the proverbial charm, and the proof is in the tracks. 'United World Rebellion - Part 2' is the most meaningful work I've done with the band. It's definitely the most I've been challenged, vocally."
"Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two" will also contain covers of QUEEN and AEROSMITH classics as bonus tracks. Asked why they chose these tracks to cover, SKID ROW said: "These songs fit seamlessly into the subject matter of 'United World Rebellion: Chapter Two'. They both have that 'get up and fight' attitude.
"These songs were from our youth that meant a lot, and as far as we know, no one has covered them, and more important, the songs are still exciting and fit perfectly with the attitude of all other songs on the album."
"Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two" EP track listing:
01. We Are The Damned
02. Give It The Gun
03. Catch Your Fall
04. Damnation Army
05. Zero Day
06. Sheer Heart Attack (QUEEN cover)
07. Rats In The Cellar (AEROSMITH cover)
A trailer for "Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two" can be seen below.
In a recent interview with Finland's Kaaos TV, SKID ROW guitarist Dave "The Snake" Sabo stated about "Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two": "I've said this in every interview that we've done about the new EP… I've said that it's the most fun that I've personally had making a SKID ROW record in our history of the band… for a number of reasons.
"We're afforded a freedom that not many artists get to enjoy. So we do everything on our own schedule. And the writing process was so stripped down and fun.
"[SKID ROW bassist] Rachel [Bolan] and I have been friends and started the band together 28 years ago, and so, after all that amount of time, 28 years later, to be able to sit in a room with this guy, and he with me, and actually have fun creating music, there's something special to be said about that. And so, that, combined with the fact that we just always seemed like we were on the same page throughout the whole process. [We had] a couple of little disagreements there, but nothing that was detrimental in any way; it was helpful. And every day, we would listen to the music and we'd have the same thoughts: 'It's close, but it's not there yet.' 'it's close, but it's not there.' 'OK, we're right there. We're at the door.' 'OK, it's done.' Everything was just right on the same page. That's the first time that's ever happened. And we just had a great experience the whole way through. Everybody really came to the table and loved the music and brought their 'A' game. I mean, we were in and done in a couple of weeks, which is amazing. And it wasn't like we were cutting corners or anything like that. Everyone just practiced the crap out of the music and the songs — we rehearsed really hard — and everyone loved the music so much that they made it their own, and thus, they performed that way. And it is. It's all of ours'. It's five guys."
Asked what the main differences are between last year's "United World Rebellion: Chapter One" EP and "Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two", Rachel said: "Well, there's not many differences except in the recording process. We recorded in a few different places with the first EP, where we recorded the whole thing in the same studio with the second. But we took the same approach to writing and recording. The writing for the first one, I'd say, we labored a little more, because we were trying to go back to our roots, and I know that's a cliché saying for bands to say, but it was true. And after 25 years, it's really hard — harder than you would think — to retrace your steps to where you were when you were that 22-year-old kid jamming in front of a mirror and playing your first big gigs or whatever. So we really had to find our roots and rediscover what got us off in the first place, the guys that wrote the first two records, and I think we succeeded in it. That was the biggest difference — I think it was a little harder to write the songs [for the first EP] — but I think what we came out with, the final product, was well worth it."
SKID ROW's last EP, "United World Rebellion - Chapter One", was released in Europe on May 24, 2013 via Germany's UDR Music. The European version of the EP includes two bonus tracks, both of them cover tunes: "Fire Fire" (EZO) and "United" (JUDAS PRIEST).
"United World Rebellion - Chapter One" sold around 1,500 copies in the Unted States in its first week of release. The CD was made available in North America on April 16, 2013 via MRI.