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Members include: Rob Affuso (group member, 1986-96), drums; Sebastian Bach (born on April 3, 1968; group member 1986-96), vocals; Rachel Bolan (born on February 4, 1969; joined group, 1986), bass; Scotti Hill (born on May 1, 1964; joined group, 1986), guitar; Dave "the Snake" Sabo (born on September 16, 1964; joined group, 1986), guitar; Johnny Solinger (born August 3, 1966; joined group, 2000), vocals; Phil Varone (born on October 15, 1967; joined group, 2000), drums. Addresses: Publicist--Chipster Public Relations, 1976 East High St., Ste. 110, Pottsdown, PA 19464. Website--Skid Row Official Website: http://www.skidrow.com.
Skid Row arrived on the tail end of the late-1980s hair metal craze and quickly became a predominant force in the genre. Their youth, ambition, and knack for writing catchy songs helped attract a worldwide following. Over the years they have appeared in various incarnations and lineups, and although they are not as popular as they were in their heyday the group has maintained a fan base and continues to perform and record.
Skid Row was launched in 1986 in New Jersey by guitarist Dave "the Snake" Sabo and bassist Rachel Bolan. Sabo was heavily influenced by the glammy hard rock group Kiss, especially guitarist Ace Frehley. Bolan was inspired by original punk rock, telling Maddog Rock Radio, "The aggression, humor and honesty that made up the spirit of punk rock really lit me up." The two began writing songs together and decided to form a band. They eventually recruited guitarist Scotti Hill, who had jammed with Bolan in another group and worked at Garden State Music with Sabo. Rob Affuso, another of Sabo's acquaintances, joined the band after joining them in the studio for a jam session on "Midnight Tornado."
Now they needed a lead singer. Enter Sebastian Bach. Born in Freeport, Bahamas, and raised in Peterborough, Canada, he developed a love for rock music at an early age and moved to Toronto as a teenager to pursue it as a career. Bach played with several Canadian bands including Madame X and Kid Wikked before catching the eye of renowned rock photographer Mark Weiss. Weiss caught one of Bach's gigs, was impressed, and soon dropped his name to a then-struggling New Jersey band in search of a singer. When Sebastian Bach flew to New Jersey for an audition, the band gelled automatically. Skid Row played their first gig as a full lineup on January 1, 1988, in a now-defunct Toronto club called Rock and Roll Heaven.
That same year Skid Row signed with Atlantic Records. An accessible hard rock or "hair metal" band with an edge, Skid Row released their self-titled debut in the United States and the album became tremendously successful, selling more than five million copies in America alone. With songs that had the aggressive bite of metal and a couple of the power ballads thrown in for good measure, the album launched several top ten hits, including "I Remember You" and "18 and Life." Attracting male and female fans alike, Skid Row became of one of the most popular bands of the genre and graced magazine covers worldwide.
Sabo was also was good friends with fellow Jersey-ite Jon Bon Jovi, and the connection proved a profitable one. Both bands had the same management and in 1989 Skid Row landed a coveted tour slot opening for Bon Jovi. Skid Row went on to tour around the world as the opening act for such heavyweights as Aerosmith and Mötley Crüe.
Bach, Skid Row's flamboyant frontman brought the group both good and bad press. Two incidents, however, were particularly damaging to the band's image. Bach was arrested and tried on charges of mayhem and assault and battery after Skid Row opened for Aerosmith on December 27, 1989, in Springfield, Massachusetts. When he was hit by a bottle thrown that he said had been thrown onto the stage, Bach threw it back into the audience and then jumped into the crowd, attacking audience members and sparking a fight so fierce that a young woman's nose and skull were broken. He was convicted and sentenced to three years probation. Shortly thereafter, Bach caused further controversy by wearing a shirt that proclaimed "AIDS Kills F**s Dead." Although he first joked about the incident on MTV, after being slammed by gay rights groups and the press Bach apologized for his lack of discretion.
The band's follow-up, 1991's Slave to the Grind was much heavier than their first album. Its debut at number one on the Billboard charts was remarkable for two reasons: It was the first album to do so in three years, and, most impressively, it was the first album by a metal band to debut that high. The album flashed some notable rock tracks such as "Monkey Business," "Quicksand Jesus," and "Slave to the Grind." Unfortunately, the album failed to spawn any hits and was a disappointment when compared with the band's debut. Even so, it sold over four million copies. The group went on to perform at such notable events as the Castle Donnington and Rock in Rio festivals the following year.
When Skid Row finally returned to the recording studio the overall musical climate had changed significantly. Metal--especially hair metal--had decreased in popularity and grunge, a form of dark anti-image rock that originated in Seattle, was infiltrating the airwaves. Accordingly, Skid Row's music took a different direction with 1995's Subhuman Race, experimenting with a harder sound that touched on grunge and even hardcore. Although the album did crack the top 40, it failed to make a major impact, although, surprisingly, it was liked by many critics. The group opened for Van Halen's "Balance" tour later that year.
Although there were rumors of internal conflicts in Skid Row for many years, things came to a head in 1996. The group was offered an opening slot on a Kiss tour, but because several members of the group were working on solo projects, they turned it down. This infuriated Bach, a longtime Kiss fan who wanted to go on the road with his childhood heroes. The invective he unleashed on the band members prompted them to request that he leave. Drummer Rob Affuso was also asked to leave soon afterward. The band soon officially disbanded that year.
In 2000 the remaining band members recruited former Saigon Kick drummer Phil Varone on and singer Johnny Solinger. Skid Row made a prolific, if ironic, comeback, supporting Kiss on their farewell tour. Despite mixed audience reaction, Skid Row continues to tour every summer. They also released a new album on their own label entitled Thickskin in 2003.
by Nicole Elyse
Skid Row's Career
Group formed in New Jersey, 1986; signed to Atlantic Records, 1988; released debut, Skid Row, 1989; opened for Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe and Aerosmith, 1989; released Slave to the Grind, 1991; Subhuman Race, 1995; original lineup disbanded, 1996; original members regroup without Bach or Affuso, who were replaced with Johnny Solinger and Phil Varone, 2000; released Thickskin, 2003.
- Selected discography
- Skid Row Columbia, 1989.
- Slave to the Grind Atlantic, 1991.
- Subhuman Race Atlantic, 1995.
- Forty Seasons: The Best of Skid Row Atlantic, 1998.
- Thickskin self-released, 2003.
- Rip, November 1989.
- Willamette Week (Portland, OR), May 27,1998.
- "Bazography: Sebastian's Life in Words," Bikercouple, http://www.bikercouple.com (March 5, 2004).
- "Sebastian Bach Interview," The Celebrity Café, http://www.celebritycafe.com/interviews/Sebastian_bach.html (March 5, 2004).
- "Skid Row," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusicguide.com, (March 3, 2004).
- "Skid Row," Sleaze Roxx, http://www.sleazeroxx.com/bands/skidrow/skidrow.shtml (March 5, 2004).
- "Skid Row Interview," Maddog Rock Radio, http://www.heavymetalradio.net/modules (March 5, 2004).
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