Intervju med Sebastian Bach!
I fredags hade jag äntligen nöjet att få ringa upp mannen, myten, legenden Sebastian Bach. Han visade sig vara en väldigt rolig rockstjärna som skrattade högt och länge flera gånger under samtalet och var på ett mycket gott humör, trots att han nyligen stigit upp.
I januari/februari dyker han upp på våra breddgrader igen visade det sig och vi kom även att bl a snacka om skivomslag, New Jersey, ny teknik och överblivna låtar.
Hey, this is Niclas from Sweden!
Sebastian Bach: Yes, hello dude!
How are you?
SB: Alright, what´s going on?
Not much! Had a couple of beers. Been to a birthday party.
Congrats to the new album! Not to kiss ass or anything, but it´s a fantastic album!
SB: (laughs) Thank you so much dude! I´m just waking up here, so I´m having a coffee while you´re having a beer. Thank you very much! I worked really hard on it for two years and I´m back on the charts all over the world for the first time in 16 years and it feels really, really good! It´s incredible! I can´t even tell you how good it feels.
I was actually pretty floored the first time I heard it and it´s a bit different from “Angel down” and I just sat there listening to it and it was just song after song with kick ass melodies and great riffs. It sounds awesome!
SB: Thank you so much! I think the producer, Bob Marlette, did an incredible job and I´ve gotta give a 100 % credit to Nick Sterling for revitalizing my whole sound. He´s 21 years old and just came in with all this incredible music and we came up with the first Skid Row album when we were that age, so people say this reminds them a little bit of the first Skid Row record and that´s because rock and roll is all about the spirit of being a teenager and getting crazy, you know. Going out and fucking getting loaded and having fun! (laughs)
True! It is!
SB: True! (laughs) Well you know, when you get older and into your 50´s or whatever, some guys can´t retain that spirit. I´m quite immature! (laughs)
Well, you probably should stay a bit immature in a way.
SB: Well, I go see Ozzy Osbourne now and it´s so much fun and he says “Let´s have fun!” and everybody´s smiling and having a great time and he´s one of my favorite front men. And we´re running out of dudes like that! I don´t know how much longer they can go because they´re really getting up there in age, you know. All of them! Maybe I´m next up to bat? There´s not many, you know!
Bob Marlette, was he a first choice? What led you to choose Marlette for producing?
SB: Well, I have a manager named Rick Sales and he´s really, really helped my career a lot since he started managing me and he hooked me up with Bob. We were looking at some other producers, but Bob was really fired up to do it right away. I want always to be busy doing stuff. I don´t wanna wait around and Bob was like “Let´s go!”. We started in February and went up until… well, the last day of recording was April 3rd, my birthday. He just did a great job! Technology has progressed so much recording wise and since we made the Skid Row albums it´s completely different, so when people say it sounds like… “You only like modern!” and I´m like “Well, if you´re making a record in 2011, you´re gonna use the best equipment in 2011! You´re not gonna go and get a fucking board from 1987!”. You know what I mean? (laughs) I don´t think I could make a record that sounded exactly like those old records. It would be impossible! I don´t want to do that! I want to make those current killer sounding records that I can and I think I did to so…
How do you feel about making records today? Some say that people just want one song and there´s no one listening to a whole album anymore. It´s so much about just one song here and one song there.
SB: Right! Well, I listen to records and like... I love the new record by Black Veil Brides, “Set the world on fire”. I listen to it from the first song right to the last song and I love it! That´s a great new album! With “Kicking and screaming” I don´t want you to press shuffle! It´s all made to go in the sequence that it´s in. The ballads are kind of hidden on the record, but then when you find them it´s like “Wow!” and the tempos and the grooves and the key changes, they go together real well. I just wanted to make a record that fits along the line of all the other records I´ve made and I haven´t made that many. I look up to a band like Rush, which has like over 30 albums or whatever it is. I don´t know how many, but that´s what I wanna do. I´m that kind of vocalist and I´ve got a lot of energy and when I have a guy like Nick Sterling, it makes it real easy because he´s very prolific and he comes to me like “Do you like this?” and I´m like “Yeah dude, I really like it!”. (laughs) “I really like it a lot!”. (laughs)
The title for the album, did that come early on or…?
SB: I think the part of being a good writer is to be organized and when you have an idea, you should be able to capture it on your smart phone or, like a million years ago, on a piece of paper. (laughs) Or you should be able to record it or if you have lyrics you should be typing it somewhere. Whenever I hear a phrase or something, I´ll write it down and I have so many ideas from over the years and I´m always writing stuff down and Nick and Bob Marlette, the producer, came up with that music and I fucking freaked out. I remember Nick going “Dude, wait till you hear this fucking song! You wanna rock?” and they put on “Dah dah dah dah” and I was like “Oh my god! You gotta be kidding me?”. It had no lyrics or melody, so I went through all my ideas and I had an idea, “Kicking and screaming” and that riff to me, sounded just like that. I love music where the lyrics seem to describe the sound of the music and I really learned that from Rob Halford of Judas Priest. For some reason… like “Desert plains” sounds like he´s in the desert riding in the plains. I don´t know why and I don´t know how he does that. And like “Hot rockin´”…(sings, Editor´s note) “I wanna go, I wanna go, I wanna go hot rockin´” and it sounds like hot rockin´. (laughs) Or (sings again, Editor´s note) “I got a contract on you… dah dah dah dah!”. It sounds like I got a contract on you! (laughs) he´s really good at that and I always noticed that about his writing, so I always listen to the music and go “What does this sound like?” and that sounded like kicking and screaming. (laughs)
It makes sense!
SB: Yeah, right on!
Did you wind up with a lot of leftovers from the recordings that didn´t make the cut?
SB: Yes, we did! We had a bunch of other songs. Three or four with Nick that were fucking amazing and then I had about five or six songs with Jamey Jasta and another song with John 5, so there is a bunch of other demos.
Any chance of you using them later on?
SB: Yeah, and there´s also other country songs that I didn´t put out. There´s a bonus, “jumping off the wagon” on the deluxe version and there´s other songs from that session. But these are the best of the best and I´ll probably do the next record soon because I wanna capitalize on this momentum, so I wanna put it out sooner rather than later. I might listen to that old stuff, but by then I´ll probably feel different, you know, and I wanna express different things probably.
The artwork then? Did you just go “Well, I want some elephants, I want fire and I want a woman with a lot of arms!”?
SB: (laughs really hard) That sounds so funny! “Well, I want elephants, I want fire, I want a woman with a lot of arms, I want some skulls, I want leather!”. (laughs)
No, but how do you do that?
SB: That fits the lyrics of the album. The album cover was done by Richard Villa, who did the Black Veil Brides cover and I´m good friends with them and Andy (Andrew Biersack) showed me their cover and I was like “Wow dude! Who painted that?”. He hooked me up with this guy and I went through a divorce last September and then I came to LA and fell in love again with another girl, who I´m still seeing. She did the video and so a lot of the lyrics are about losing love and some of the lyrics are about finding new love. I mean, any guy that´s been around for a couple of years have gone through stuff with girls and the cover (laughs) is the goddess Kali Ma dragging me into hell with knives to kill me and I´m kicking and screaming not to be dragged into hell. (laughs) We came up with that concept, me and Richard Villa, and he´s like “Dude ok, let´s have the goddess of Kali Ma dragging you into hell!” and we just came up with the concept and it´s based on the lyrics on the record. It came out really good and my girlfriend Minnie, she´s a model, on the front and we did an amazing photo session that was a lot of fun, of her doing all that and he painted it. I´ve never seen that Indian artwork in rock and roll. I´ve seen like Japanese and German world war II kind of things, but I´ve never seen that crazy fucking violent Indian art and I´ve always been attracted to that. I like to make something that I´ve never seen before. The album cover is very original to me.
Going back to when you first started out and everything and getting into singing and all that, was there a first moment when you felt that “Wow, I´ve made it!”?
SB: Yes! It was on the Bon Jovi tour and we started touring with him in Texas and this was one the “New Jersey tour” and by the time we got to Chicago, I think it was a month into the tour and maybe less… We were building up momentum and becoming a big band, but then when we got to Chicago and the Rosemont Horizon and I´ll never forget this… I was on stage and I told the whole crowd “I want every single one of you to stand up! Get up out of your seats!” and I raised my hand and the whole arena stood up and I went “Oh my god!”. It was like to the back row and for the first time I raised like 20.000 people to their feet with their fists in the air and I turn around to the guys and go “We´re fucking making it! This is it”. (laughs) Then I came off stage to Doc McGhee and I go “Did you fucking see that?” and he was all crying and “Yeah, you did it dude!” and we were all freaking out. That was the exact moment!
Cool! I saw Skid Row when you opened up for Mötley Crüe in Gothenburg…
SB: Oh yeah!
It was the "Dr Feelgood tour” and me and my friends had the first album and you came on stage and blew us away and we thought “Wow, this is amazing!”.
And then Mötley Crüe came out and they felt kind of tired and old…
SB: I remember that!
Skid Row blew Mötley Crüe off the stage and during that tour, did you have that feeling that there were more action in you guys than Mötley Crüe?
SB: Well, I don´t wanna put down Mötley Crüe and they´re certainly doing amazing now, but at the time yeah, we felt like the younger version of a rock band. I don´t know what to say… I was such a Mötley Crüe fan, that I was just blown away that I was on tour with them, like a fan. “I´m on tour with Mötley Crüe and I can´t believe this!”. I don´t remember feeling that we were better than them. We were different and I´m such a fan.
Not long ago I talked to Ted Poley from Danger Danger and Danny Vaughn from Tyketto and the whole New Jersey scene back then. Were there a lot of things happening in New Jersey back then?
SB: Yeah, New Jersey felt like rock royalty, because Bon Jovi was so huge on “Slippery when wet” and he really summed up the whole New Jersey scene and also Springsteen. It wasn´t heavy metal but there was this whole scene in Jersey that felt like rock royalty and it was weird. I remember driving around in Jersey back then in ´87 or ´86 and I was like “Wow, we´re in New Jersey”. (laughs) It was like Graceland or something. (laughs)
What made you end up on Frontiers Records?
SB: They´re signing so many bands, like every hard rock band you know! It´s amazing and they´re very good! They pulled out all the stops for me. They´ve done everything. They put me back on the fucking charts! My album came out at number 68 and my album “Angel down” came out at 190 and I was not happy that day when that happened! I was fucking miserable! So this is something I can live with and it inspires me to do another record, which is all I really want. We also have an hour long DVD in the deluxe version with live versions of all the songs from the Guns N´Roses tour plus the three videos that we shot for the album and they also made a vinyl record, which is amazing! They´ve really gone all out to make sure. It´s all very high quality, everything that they do and that´s what I really appreciate. You have this CD for the rest of your life so it gotta be really good quality. I mean, I´ve had record companies in the past, where I´ll get the CD and the album cover is completely fucked up, like it´s cropped in the middle of the guys face. Shit that makes you nuts and it´s too late to change it because they printed it up already and I´m like “How the fuck can you do it? How can you have the cover like all screwed up, fucked up? This is it!”. It´s fucking garbage, but everything with Frontiers is amazingly high quality!
Cool! You were just here last weekend, but when can we expect to see you back on stage in Sweden and Europe?
SB: We´re booking a tour right now for January and February.
SB: Yeah, we´ve got a new agent now, Steve Strange, and he´s one of the biggest booking agencies in Europe and he signed the band and we´re going to Europe in January and February.
Excellent! I hope to see you in Stockholm!
SB: Oh yeah buddy! I think my great memory of Stockholm is when I played the Globe (Stockholm´s biggest indoor arena, Editor´s note) with Guns N´Roses and I was wearing my silver pants. (laughs) I came on stage and Axl Rose is like “Dude, where did you get those pants man?”. He really liked my pants.
Of course! An honor talking to you and again, all the best with the album and the tour and looking forward to catching you here in Stockholm!
SB: Thank you so much dude! I´m glad you like the record and I hope to see you in January!