Former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach will return to Fort Wayne on Nov. 18, taking the stage of The Clyde Theatre to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Skid Row’s double-platinum album Slave to the Grind. Detroit rockers Kaleido will open the show.
Bach fronted Skid Row for a decade from their formation in 1986 until 1996 when he was fired due to the standard “irreconcilable differences.” He will perform his former band’s celebrated 1991 album in its entirety and in sequence, along with some other hits.
An intriguing sophomore effort, Slave to the Grind saw Skid Row “zagging” when it seemed most artists of the era were “zigging.” During that time, the fastest way to success, at least for rock bands, seemed to be by way of the catchy, radio-friendly ballad. But Skid Row, who themselves received a lot of airplay with their own ballad “I Remember You,” decided to go the opposite direction and release a decidedly more aggressive second album.
“I remember specifically when ‘I Remember You’ was a big hit on MTV,” Bach told Backtrack in a recent interview. “We were playing in Daytona Beach and I was walking around before the gig when a couple of guys starting singing the song and mocking me. In those days when someone insulted your band, you were expected to beat them up. That’s the way it was, but I was mocking myself with them. I was sick of me, too, because they played that video so much. So, on Slave to the Grind, we said we’re going to show everybody that we can put out a rock song and ‘Monkey Business’ (the first single from Slave to the Grind) was a big hit radio song and it was a heavy song for that time.”
Bach went on to say in that interview that while they were writing and recording Slave To The Grind, their record label was putting pressure on them to repeat the success of the first album. But the band had enough confidence in themselves to do what they thought would work instead of what the record label wanted them to do.
“We had people in the industry, years later, say, ‘You guys were ahead of your time, you definitely knew what you were doing because not a lot of bands would have gotten heavier on the second album.’ Thankfully, we had the luxury of being able to do what we wanted and that’s what we wanted to do.”
Sticking to the Original Keys
Many of Bach’s peers from the era now find it more difficult to sing some of the songs of their youth, thanks at least in part to an unforgiving Father Time.
Bach admitted that some of the songs on Slave to the Grind were a challenge to sing when he initially recorded them and remain so today. But he doesn’t want to change the key of the song to fit his voice now as has become the norm for some rockers. Bach said he would rather sing the songs the way they were meant to be sung in order to provide the most authentic experience possible.
His voice is the same it’s always been, he said, but he has to sing every day for many weeks in order to get it to the top of its abilities.
“The most challenging part of performing all of Slave to the Grind,” he told Trunk, “is the ending of ‘Quicksand Jesus.’ That is me pushing my voice and my melodies, my licks. That’s pushing it to the max. That’s really hard to do.”
“I have to say this,” Bach said. “Sometimes fans lose sight of the fact that making a record is not the same as playing a show. Making a record, you’re standing completely still. You’re in an air-conditioned studio and you can try as many times as you want to get the ultimate take that you want. That’s not the same thing as going out there and getting one shot and that’s it. And if you’re not using tapes, too bad for you. If you mess up, everyone’s gonna know it.
“I’m not interested in going to a karaoke show; that doesn’t have any interest to me. So that’s just the way it is. It’s a real rock show. I’m not just gonna stand there and try to be perfect. I’m gonna run all over the place and I’m gonna put on a show.”