Let me just say this: I wanted to interview Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach because a) he seemed like a really funny guy and b) because he started popping up on weird reality shows like MTV’s Celebrity Rap Superstar. I guess he was trying to whore out his new solo album Angel Down. Bach was having some sort of boxing match with fame, except instead of fighting he was hunched in the corner getting repeatedly punched in the face.
Anyway, he seemed like such a nice, funny guy. And he is. But when I saw today that he’s now on Celebrity Fit Club next to Bobby Brown, the fat gay guy from Project Runway and Kevin Federline I remembered this disastrous story.
I got a lot of shit for this interview because I really just wanted it to be short and sweet and buried in the back of the paper. But the editor of the SN&R at the time was kind of a psychopath and he was like, “Fuck it, lets put him on the cover!”
The result was this:
A Bachalypse Now!
Usually, you need a reason to write a cover story about a person. And I guess this reason was, “It’ll be hilarious!” And it was, for about 5 people. The rest of the readers were mad. “How dare you?!?” they said, with righteous indignation. “We want stories about women who eat rocks and sex toys that are powered by the sun!”
Anyway, the best part of the interview were the illustrations by Kelly Mudge.
[Note: When Bach says the word “rock,” he pronounces it “rooock” in an almost Germanic accent.]
OK, check this out, dude: We’re doing a whole Sebastian Bach issue.
Whaaaaaat? All right! That sounds great. I love it!
So I’ve seriously been listening to Angel Down non-stop since I got it.
Well, thank you, dude. That makes me feel great. I worked on it for seven years.
Does anyone try and tell you that heavy metal is dead, that you should change your sound to conform with trends?
They told me that when I was recording [Skid Row’s] Subhuman Race record. Back in ’94 was when I heard that. But that was a long time ago and people seem to love rooock, that’s for sure.
It didn’t matter to me when I was doing Subhuman Race what they told me, so it doesn’t matter now, you know? I don’t look at outside situations when I’m making my music, as far as what other bands are doing or anything like that. I know what I like and I know my rooock ’n’ roll. I love rooock and I made it for myself. That’s the way I made the first Skid Row record, and that’s the way I made Slave to the Grind. That’s the way I made Angel Down. I made a record that I dig 100 percent. That’s what I’ll always do, you know?
And this time around, it seems like you had a perfect combination of people behind this album—like Axl Rose, for one. Did things just click in the studio?
That’s an interesting question. I wrote the album with a bunch of different songwriters—that’s why pretty much each song has its own vibe … and I don’t care if my plumber, my gardener, or I don’t care who the fuck writes the fucking song, it doesn’t matter to me. I just want a kickass record no matter what it takes—and it has to be able to kick ass from the first song to the last note. For me, it’s not who writes it, but what is written—what the tune is. I have an amazing collection of songs, and basically “Metal” Mike, Steve DiGiorgio, Johnny Chromatic and Bobby Jarzombeck are my band right now [except for Steve, who is not in the band anymore]—they’re the basic nucleus of the album. And we had a lot of metal tracks written, like “American Metalhead,” “Get it Right” and then Roy Z came in and he’s like, “Dude, you know what would be cool is if you had some straight-up rooock!” and then he came in with these riffs, like “Bitchslap,” which has like, holy shit, very straight-up, very sleazy, street kind of rooock—and I love that kind of music. That made it more of a complete kind of a record with all the textures and sounds. What I love about the album is that it keeps going. It’s 14 songs. Every song stands on its own.
You know, Angel Down gives me the same feeling as the first time I put on Mötley Crüe’s Too Fast for Love.
Oh wow! Really?
Yeaaahhhhhhh! Hahaha! Well, the song “Angel Down” is great. It makes you turn your stereo up because the intro is quiet, so you’re like, “What’s goin’ on?” Then it’s like, fuckin’, “Boooooom! It’s over!”
It kicks your ass! I made it like that, dude—for me. I’m trying to make an album that you can put in your iPod next to Slave to the Grind and fucking it makes sense. And that’s not easy.
Would you be pissed if someone said that Angel Down is better than anything Skid Row has ever done?
Would I be pissed? I’d kiss the motherfucker!
I mean, you can’t compare, you know? I know just like every band I look up to, like Rush and AC/DC, they have 30 records out. So, believe me, I’ve got a ton of energy and all of the TV and theater—everything I do is to promote my rooock ’n’ roll because we live in such a crazy celebrity-obsessed culture that if I could wear my Angel Down T-shirt on Celebrity Rap Superstar, it’s fucking killer to me because my fans are like, “Look at Baz, man, wearing his fucking album cover on a rap show. He knows what he’s doing.” I mean, I gotta get the word out. I’m one of those guys, but in my brain all these TV shows I do, nothing means anything close to what Angel Down means to me. It means so much to me and I love talking about it and I can’t believe it’s coming out. I’ve been working on it so long. It really is coming out. When I listen to it, I can’t do any TV shows. I’m like, fuck every TV show in the world, because this is the shit right here.
You waited a while to put out this album.
I was given a deadline, too. I got a new record deal through EMI—a huge fucking record deal—but they said if you want it out by Christmas, you gotta have it done by this certain date. It was in August! And I was like, “Jesus Christ, why do you have to have something done in August to have it out by December?” But it was good that somebody put that in my face and got the job done, finally.
I was reading in an interview when I think you were 20-something. You were like, “When I’m 39, my voice will be at its peak.” [Bach is now 39.]
Is that what I said?
Yeah dude. And you’re like, “I’m gonna’ have long-ass hair like Crystal Gayle.”
Ha! No way!
And finally, you’re like, “and I’m still going to be rocking!”
And you still are, dude!
That’s totally true! And my hair is getting back to fucking Crystal Gayle level here. I’m on track!
Dude, I’m gonna be doing this for the rest of my life. I look up to people like, I mean, you mentioned Too Fast For Love, my heroes used to be like Mötley Crüe, now it’s like Neil Young and Willie Nelson—these old dudes that just never stop rooocking. That’s definitely what I’m going to do. I’ve got the voice. It’s in my throat right here and that’s really all I fucking need, if you really want to know the truth.
There’s never going to be a point when you’re just going to stop rocking?
No, nothing really makes me happier than making music. Since Slave to the Grind came out, [Angel Down] is like the natural progression from that. To me, this is like when Ozzy put out Blizzard of Oz after Black Sabbath. This is kind of the same vibe, for me, because it doesn’t really sound like Skid Row, but it kind of does, though.
Yeah, it does.
Because my voice—that’s the voice of Skid Row, and that’s just the way it is. And, like, Duff McKagan, when he was talking about Velvet Revolver, he definitely wanted me in the band. He said, “I love Sebastian and he can sing like a motherfucker, but all you think of when you hear that voice is Skid Row,” and I’m going, well, dude, all I think of when I hear your bass playing is Guns N’ Roses … but I love Guns N’ Roses! A lot of people love Skid Row, so if you dug “I Remember You” and all that stuff, I mean, I know you’re gonna dig this album because I dig that stuff, too. I don’t deny my own music or shy away from it. I embrace it, and this album, to me, fits along with the other albums. And that’s all I wanted.
You know, when I heard “Falling Into You,” I think I fell in love with you a little bit.
Ahhhhhh!!!! [Pause] That’s OK!
Ha, does that make you uncomfortable?
That’s fine with me. No. I wrote it with Desmond Child. I know he wouldn’t be uncomfortable about it.
When you were approached by MTV with Celebrity Rap Superstar, were you kind of bummed out at first?
I kinda just rolled my eyes. My attitude is kind of like, “Uh, is this what you want? This is what you want? It’s what you want, right? Here. Here you go.” Phhhhhesh.
Like, that is my attitude. I’ve been doing television shows for MTV for 20 years—this is another one of them. That’s what that is. You know?
It was a fun show, though.
Yeah, I thought it turned out pretty good, actually. I mean it’s live, so I could suck, you know? And some performances were better than others, but when I was on, man, and when I was really kickin’ it, it was kickass!
When you were on tour with Guns N’ Roses, to watch you onstage with Axl, it just looked insane, seeing you there in front of thousands of people with Axl fucking Rose next to you. A normal person like me can’t wrap his head around that kind of thing.
I can’t wrap my head around it, either! And I’ve spent a better part of the year on the road with them. I sang on Chinese Democracy on a song called “Sorry” and I came out to finish my album a couple months ago and I said (to Axl) “When are you gonna’ sing on my record?” just kidding around, and then he came down and did it. He sings on three songs: “Back in the Saddle” [an Aerosmith cover], “Love is a Bitchslap” and also “Stuck Inside.”
I think my favorite part of the record, definitely, is the ending of “Stuck Inside,” when he goes to this high harmony over what I’m singing, and it’s so mind blowing. It’s just crazy. And if anybody out there digs metal-style vocals, this album has got it. We got metal singing on this album.
That’s the cool thing, because I really wasn’t expecting it. I was expecting a change or some kind of weird, pop shit.
Fuck all that. I’m gonna give you rooock. It’s what I’m gonna give you, dude.
Just from watching you on television, it seems that people are always like, “God damn, calm down Sebastian.” Do you get that a lot?
Yeah … yeah, yeah … yeah. Ha! On the rap show, I’d be doing my Italian vocal exercise and Kurupt would be like, “What in the fuck are you doing?” I was like, “Le-le-le-le-le-le!” and he’s like, “Stop it, dude—your voice is warmed up enough, brother.”
And, I mean, SuperGroup was one of those shows that’s edited to make everyone look as shitty as possible. So I’m kind of done with those kinds of shows.
Would you say that you rock harder than everyone who rocks now?
No, I think everyone rocks hard in their own way.
That’s very nice of you.
OK, I rock harder than, what the fuck is that guys name? That guys name from The Hills? [Jason] Wahler.
But do you rock harder than Van Halen?
No, they rock pretty hard.
Anything you wanna’ say about the album?
Check it out. I worked really hard on it. Everybody’s been waiting a long time for the return of Axl Rose. That day is November 20. I really hope you dig it and that’s it man. Go to the Web site, www.sebastianbach.com.