antiMusic's Morley Seaver recently conducted an interview with former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
antiMusic: I really liked your previous records, but this one ["Give 'Em Hell"] I absolutely love start to finish, every single song. And to my ears, it's my favorite one, really since the first SKID ROW album. Every single song
Sebastian: Well, you just made my day, man. You just made my day, for sure.
antiMusic: Am I wrong, but it seems to me that, according to the updates I saw on the net, the writing process for this record happened a lot quicker than some of your previous records. Is that right?
Sebastian: Actually, no. The quickest record, writing-wise, I ever did was "Kicking & Screaming" because I had a guitar player that had brought in, like, 20 tunes, and I liked so many of them, so it was like already done, kinda. But this album, I was more in control of the writing process, because I had, like, nothing. So I just asked my friends to collaborate with me and my friends happened to be Duff McKagan, Steve Stevens and John 5. I did a song on the last record with John 5 called "Tunnelvision" and the first single off the new record, "Temptation", is another John 5 musical piece that I wrote lyrics and melody to. He's, like, the top guy out there for metal guitar right now and I'm so lucky to have him on this record. And Duff McKagan, you know, is my friend and I've been a fan of his forever. And Steve Stevens, ever since I was a little kid and I'm so lucky to be able to do this, with guys I'm a fan of, you know?
antiMusic: Who were you thinking of in "All My Friends Are Dead", or is that just a good lyrical idea?
Sebastian: Well, the term is funny. I just saw it on a T-shirt and I just thought it was funny… But we're all getting older, and it seems that every day, I lose a friend. Last week I lost a friend named Dave Brockie, better known as Oderus Urungus of GWAR. He cast me in the GWAR movie, "Skulhedface", and I went down to Richmond, Virginia and I lived with GWAR for a couple of days and shot their movie and got to know him and he's dead. So, a lot of my friends are dead. And before that, Jeff Hanneman [SLAYER]… It just keeps going on down the line. You can also refer to a relationship that's dead. "You're dead to me." It's actually a song title I've had, "Dead To Me", but I just blew it because I told you. [Laughs] So it can mean that too. But I gotta say, in the middle part of that song we go a little crazy, musically, it's like a freestyle heavy metal jam in the middle section. And I unleashed one of my favourite screams erupt out of my throat, in the middle of that song. And I love capturing the pipes on the new record 'cause I ain't getting any younger. When I hear my voice like that, at the full roar, like a lion, I'm like, "Damn, this is great that I'm capturing this on a record in 2014." I'm, like, "Cool. I can't believe that's me."
antiMusic: "Rock 'N' Roll Is A Vicious Game" is a pretty faithful cover. What made you want to take an APRIL WINE song?
Sebastian: That's kind of a commentary on an old man like me, who's been doing this for decades now, on some of the younger dudes I work with that, to me, seem to have a big sense of entitlement, as far as like, it's almost like they think that if they're in a rock band, someone's going to hand them the keys to a Ferarri. And it just doesn't work like that. You have to give everything you've got, your whole life to…
antiMusic: We know who you're talking about now. [Laughs]
Sebastian: [Laughs] No, no, I'm really not specifically throwing anybody under the bus, or ripping anybody apart, or putting anyone down. I'm saying, from my perspective, I never felt anyone owed me anything. I always, always felt so lucky to play rock and roll, from the bottom of my heart. I would pay to do this. I need it to survive. I'm not looking for a way to get out of it. [Laughs] I want to fucking rock and it's astonishing to me that some people underestimate the amount of heart and soul that you have to give to have a total stranger relate to what you're doing. Maybe I learned that from my dad, who was an artist, who just gave everything he had to what he did. And his art, you can feel it when you see it. And when you listen to the record, "Give 'Em Hell", you can feel that I love what I do, and I really, really do. So that's what that song is about for me.
antiMusic: It might sound silly to say this, since it's obviously your record, but even though you've worked with different people on every solo record you've made, it all still really seems like Sebastian. The songs may take chances here and there, but even though you're writing with the likes of Roy Z, John 5, Steve Stevens, to name a few, there's still this huge vibe of you that sits over each record. Do you agree and if so to what do you owe that to?
Sebastian: Absolutely, but the white elephant in the room, you're holding yourself back from saying SKID ROW, because there's this misconception that I don't write or something… What a fucking crock of shit. I do what I do, for better or for worse. The things that people like about me are the things that people don't like about me. I'm very polarizing. The reason my old band is not together is exactly what you just said, and some people don't want to… I believe that any good band has tension in it, from THE ROLLING STONES to AEROSMITH, to VAN HALEN to MÖTLEY CRÜE. I don't believe that all these guys are best friends and get along and hang out all the time. I believe that good music is created with some sort of tension. And when you say that all my records have that feeling to them, that's true from "Kicking & Screaming", to "Slave To The Grind", to the first SKID ROW album, to "Give 'Em Hell"… But the flipside of that is that if I don't feel something, then I get put into the position of hurting people's feeling and making them not like me. But I can't sing a song that I don't feel in my heart. That's the curse of a great album as far as, you know, why don't you work with this guy? Why aren't you in this band? Or why aren't you guys together. I have to be the bad guy sometimes and say, "This sucks". [Laughs] Then people say, "Oh, his ego is out of control. He's got Lead Singer's Disease." I just can't sing a song I don't dig. I just can't do it. But on the other side, when I do dig a song, people relate to my feeling, it's a visceral feeling and people seem to feel what I feel when I sing it. So there's good and bad with that.
Read the entire interview at antiMusic.