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Fireworks Magazine Online 47 - Sebastian Bach
18 August 2011
“I’m a human being, if you don’t want me in your band, I’m not going to beg you to be in your band, I’ll just create my own band!” (Sebastian Bach)
Interview by Mónica Castedo-López
The bad boy is back kicking and screaming. After his 2009 solo album ‘Angel Down’, the charismatic Sebastian Bach finds time in his schedule after performing live solo shows, TV series Gilmore Girls and Broadway musicals including Jeckyl & Hyde, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to release his latest effort aptly titled ‘Kicking & Screaming’. Thirteen powerful tracks produced by Bob Marlette (Black Sabbath) that blast out with fury but also with delicacy. The new addition to his band is a young Nick Sterling that both by looks and age could well be Sebastian’s son. Wanting to discuss the album, his current and future plans and his feelings for Skid Row, the band that brought him to fame and fronted until 1996, I rang up the adrenaline-infused and ever cheerful Bach, who despite his 43-years of age, looks and sounds as young as ever.
Hello Sebastian! How are you?
Good! I’m in Miami, Florida, shooting the Rock of Ages movie with Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta Jones, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin. It’s amazing! I play a rock star. Just one scene with Russell Brand and Catherine Zeta Jones, but it’s my first big movie. I’ve done a lot of television but it’s the first movie I’ve ever done, so it’s pretty cool. I have a new CD coming out on September 23rd, ‘Kicking & Screaming’ in Europe. We have three videos that we shot for it. I’m very happy with the record and very excited.
It’s been three years since we last spoke and that was on the release of ‘Angel Down’. I know it has been a very busy time for you. Can you give us an overview of what you have been doing?
Basically I got a new guitar player, Nick Sterling, who is now 20. I got him when he was 19 years old and we went on the road immediately. We started in Helsinki with Alice Cooper and then we played with Guns ’N Roses all over the place. We did a great English tour, we did two nights at the 02 Arena, which was awesome, and there’s actually a bonus DVD coming out with ‘Kicking & Screaming’. It has one song from the 02 Arena which is an amazing performance. It’s an-hour-long DVD and you have one song from London on there. Then we started getting songs together for the record. Nick is a great songwriter and I love writing songs with him. We have tons and tons of music. We got a great demo and then we sent it to a bunch of producers. They all liked it and we chose Bob Marlette. He did an incredible job, especially on my voice. I guess that’s the way my voice sounds, but it sounds so young in a lot of the songs, like a teenager, and I’m not a teenager! But my voice sounds very youthful and energetic. I am very lucky and Bob did a great job.
I really like the album and think the cover artwork reflects very well the music. What is your view on the overall product?
The title is very appropriate for me because the way I write songs I’m always looking for words or little catch phrases that catch my eye. I write them down in my cell phone and then I have them all in my computer. When we need lyrics, a song title or a song idea I just go through all the stuff that I collected over the years. Bob and Nick wrote that song, ‘Kicking & Screaming’ musically, and they played me the music. I went through all my ideas and it said: ‘kicking and screaming’, and I go: ‘That sounds exactly like kicking and screaming!’, so that’s what we wrote it about. The song has to do with two things: it says ‘in the night we’ll be kicking and screaming’, that’s actually ‘fuck it!’, but it also means going out and partying too, like going out to a show and having a good time. With regards to the cover, I just got divorced from my wife of 19 years and I’ve always been called a bad boy, which is a cliché that I think is funny and hilarious. But the cover is me being dragged into hell and I’m fighting, kicking and screaming to not be dragged into hell. That has to do with relationships and the girl is slitting my throat, which is what I’ve been feeling like! So that is what it’s about.
I know you always like to perform very heavy tracks and this album has a lot of that. Would you ever consider going to the early Skid Row days and writing something a bit more melodic for the fans of that generation?
I actually think that this album is very melodic with songs like ‘I’m Alive’, ‘Dream Forever’ and ‘Wishing’, the three ballads. A lot of the singing I’m doing on this record is very clean and clear singing. ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ is a very heavy and fast song, but I’m singing it as clean, clear and pure as possible. I always liked that sound. On ‘Angel Down’ we had a song called ‘You Don’t Understand’ that was very heavy, but I’m singing it very clean. On ‘Kicking and Screaming’ there’s a song called ‘Caught In A Dream’ that I totally think could have been on the first Skid Row record, especially the chorus. I’m not trying to clone anything that I did before. But there’s definitely lots of ballads here. The first song I’m screaming my ass off and Bob Marlette said my voice sounds incredible! I like it too and my voice has a lot of different sounds. I can sound one way in one verse and another way in the next verse. Another real melodic song is ‘As Long As I Got The Music’. To me that is like a good time, party rock anthem song. It’s like Kiss or Def Leppard to me, arena rock. But I think that there is a lot of melody on this record.
When do you envisage a return to the UK stages? You were hoping to tour ‘Angel Down‘ over here but that never materialised.
I never cancelled any tours. It seems like I’m always touring when I don’t have a record out and then when I put a record out I’m not on tour. I don’t know why that is. It’s messed up! But I have this thing where promoters expect me to go back to Skid Row for some stupid fucked-up reason just because everybody else is doing it and they think that everybody has to feel like everybody else. But I’m not like everybody else and my whole reason for getting into music is to make new music. I’m not going back to Skid Row and these promoters dangle a carrot in front of me: ‘If you go back, we’ll give you a big tour’. But it’s not happening, so I don’t know what to tell you. It’s very frustrating. Bands and musicians don’t book tours. Everybody always asks me: ‘Are you coming here?’ I’d come anywhere, I’d play any fucking places. I love playing! But the promoters are the guys that bring me over there. As soon as somebody in the fucking UK asks me to come play there, I will be there 100%, anytime. I’d come tomorrow. I’d love to! We had a great tour there last time. It was unbelievable. We did some great headline shows, eleven shows in eleven nights, or something like that, and we had a great tour. English fans are fucking incredible, so I really want to come back.
Do you have any kind of contact with any of the Skid Row guys?
And you don’t want to?
If you got fired from a job, would you be going back to the job and say: ‘Hey man, what’s going on?’. You’d be like: ‘Fuck your fucking stupid job!’ I mean, if you got fired from this magazine, would you be calling the magazine all the time? I’m a human being, if you don’t want me in your band, I’m not going to beg you to be in your band, I’ll just create my own band!
Fair enough, but do you keep any good memories of your time with Skid Row?
It’s a double-edged sword because I want to go on tour so bad with my solo band that it puts a bad flavour in my brain about all of that, it’s kind of like a trap almost. Maybe it’s the wrong time to ask me that question! [laughs] I mean, I do, of course, have good memories of it, but it doesn’t exist anymore, so it’s frustrating having this all put in my face. It’s like Slash always gets asked about Guns ’N Roses and he’s tired of it. The same with Duff McKagan and it’s the same with me. But Slash is able to go on tour as Slash, and I just have to get to that point.
Read the full double page spread where Sebastian discusses his new album in detail, talks about Broadway and explains why “Wikipedia is bullshit” in Fireworks #47. Available from:
• Participating WHSmith and McColls Group stores (see Store Finder for participating stockists)
• Here in the Rocktopia Shop (registration required)
• Here in the Fireworks Magazine Mini Store (no registration required)