June 26, 2008
Sebastian Bach: Back for more good rocking!
Fiery vocalist keeps finding new ways to shine
By Rob Swick
Photos by Mike Tompkins
Rock singer Sebastian Bach has had a long and storied career, from his heyday in the Eighties with Skid Row, up through his recent success on stage and television, and he's still going strong musically, as seen with his latest solo album, "Angel Down." Bach was kind enough to take some time to talk to All Access Magazine recently, and here's how it went:
All Access Magazine -- Good afternoon, Sebastian Bach! Thank you so much from All Access Magazine. Earlier this year we were really pleased to review your latest album, "Angel Down," which is a great effort, and we're sure you'll have much success with it. Now, to start things off, we have a question for you that we're spotlighting in the next issue of All Access Magazine, and we've been asking the same question to everyone from Cinderella to L.A. Guns to you, so here goes: Do you think that Eighties-vintage glam-metal is making a comeback?
Sebastian Bach -- Hmm ... I don't know how to answer that, really -- you'd have to be more specific.
AAM -- Well, we've seen that several of the big-name bands from that era are back on the circuit lately. For instance, Cinderella was gearing up for an arena tour with Warrant, Lynch Mob and Lynam, and then again, you're well-aware that Poison is heading out on tour, and let's not forget the huge success of the Rocklahoma festival, coming up again this summer, featuring so many familiar names from years gone by. So some folks say that glam never really went away, while other people say that those who lived in the Eighties aren't letting go, but there's not much new interest, while still others say that we're indeed seeing a resurgence, a new excitement with a new audience. So the question is, do you think it's making a comeback, or did it never really go away, or is it just a nostalgia thing for those who actually wore spandex in the Eighties?
Bach -- I think it's a completely different answer for each band. I don't think that what I'm doing in 2008 is the same thing as what Cinderella is doing. I don't know if they've got a new album out, but I have a brand-new record out, that I just put out, that I haven't even started playing at shows in the USA. We just finished a month's worth of touring in Australia and Norway and Finland and Estonia and Sweden, and we are playing more new songs in our set than old songs, so I think that what I'm doing might be different from what Cinderella, for instance, is doing these days, though I could be wrong. All I know is that my band, onstage, is living in 2008, not 1988. And while I can't speak for others, my band and I are not out to revive vintage glam metal from the Eighties. That's not what we're doing on the stage, or on the record.
AAM -- We're really stoked about your new album, and we look forward to hearing it live pretty soon. Now, on your European tour, besides Scandinavia and Estonia, did you visit the other Baltic republics, including Latvia and Lithuania?
Bach -- No, and in fact, about Estonia, I used to think it was a place that only existed in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," but I found out that it was a real country, ha-ha!
AAM -- And how was the response in places like that, how did they like you?
Bach -- It was incredible! You can go to websites like YouTube and check out clips, and it's very gratifying for me to put out new songs in the set, next to stuff like "I Remember You," which is always going to be a classic song, and then to put out the new record, "Angel Down," and to see the fans get off on the new songs as well as the old. That was very gratifying for us.
AAM -- No doubt it was! So when you get back to America, it looks like you're going to be at Rocklahoma in about four weeks, is that right?
Bach -- And we're also opening up the whole Poison tour, all across America, and we're going to be at the Gibson Amphitheatre in L.A. on August 23rd, I think.
AAM -- You, Poison, and Dokken, right?
Bach -- Dokken's not doing all the shows -- they're doing about half the tour, I believe.
AAM -- Well, considering all the talent that's going to be at Rocklahoma, is that going to be anything like "old home week" for you, seeing folks you haven't seen for a while? For instance, Enuff Z'nuff is going to be there on your day, July 10th, and Tracii Guns and Bret Michaels, and lots of other rockers who date back to the "vintage" times of the Eighties.
Bach -- Well, it depends on where we're going to be the night before, and the next night -- that will have a lot to do with how long I'll be hanging out there. Sometimes out on the road, when you've got to be in the next town and it's an eight-hour drive, then you just do the show and then you split -- but if it's a short drive, we might just hang out with everybody, and party, et cetera ...
AAM -- Rocklahoma is all about the party, that's for sure! Anyway, speaking of friends from the old days, on your latest album, we see that you worked a bit with Axl Rose, which was big, exciting news, and it looks like it went well for both of you. And then there was talk that you might get together with Slash and Velvet Revolver, but that hasn't happened yet. So since you're on good terms with both Slash and Axl, how is that going, do you ever feel that you're in the middle of some kind of "Guns N' Roses sandwich"?
Bach -- A "Guns N' Roses sandwich," dude! I'm in a "Guns N' Roses taco!" Well, here's something that neither Axl nor Slash even knows: about three months ago I was going to record with Sly Stone, of Sly and the Family Stone. I went to see them at Christmas in New York City. I've been a fan of his since I was a little kid, and I couldn't believe he was playing in New York, so I went to see him, and I got to be friends with some of the dudes in his band, and we had a recording session in L.A. that was actually going to happen, and I was going to pay for it, and I asked Axl, "Dude, would you want to sing with Sly?" And he said, "Yeah, if it's a real album, let me know when and where it is, and I'll come on down!" And at that time, Slash called me out of the blue. I hadn't talked to him in like three or four years, so I said, "I might be recording with Sly Stone -- would you be interested in playing?" And he said "Yes!" But then it happened that Sly wanted me to buy him a dog, a special security dog from an exclusive kennel and breeder, and it was this really extravagant purchase that I just couldn't swing, so the whole thing fell through. But I almost reunited Slash and Axl for the Sly Stone session, which was pretty mind-blowing, and it still might happen someday!
AAM -- Well, speaking of Sly, are there any favorite songs of his that really stand out for you?
Bach -- For sure! "Sing a Simple Song" is one of my favorites, and "Family Affair," and "I Want to Take You Higher," and "If You Want Me to Stay." I love Sly!
AAM -- Sebastian, we're curious about how you go about picking the music you perform on a project like "Angel Down." For instance, there's the Aerosmith cover, "Back in the Saddle." So how did you choose that one?
Bach -- Well, "Back in the Saddle" was actually the suggestion of producer Roy Z. We had 13 songs finished and ready to record, but then he said, "You're Sebastian Bach, and you're back on stage, so you have to do this one!" And then I heard how Metal Mike and Bobby played it, and that really cemented it for me, I really loved what they did with the song, so that was a great suggestion from Mr. Roy Z.
AAM -- A further question on how you do what you do -- how do you put your musicians together when you're doing a new effort like "Angel Down"?
Bach -- I just look for the best of the best! I'm a huge Judas Priest and Rob Halford fan, and one of my favorite albums of the past ten years is definitely "Resurrection," by Halford, so when Rob joined back up with Judas Priest, I wondered what those other cats [from the Halford band] were up to, that would be "Metal Mike" Chlasciak and Bobby Jarzombek, so I looked them up, and I've been playing with them for about four years, and I'm like a fan of my own band, which is quite trippy!
AAM -- So these guys are on the new project, right?
Bach -- Yes, absolutely!
AAM -- So when are we going to be seeing and hearing this stuff here in the States?
Bach -- Well, of course the album, "Angel Down," has been out and in stores for a while now, but we're actually going to be re-releasing it for the tour this summer, as a CD-DVD package. The DVD will feature a movie I made, called "Road Rage," which shows the making of the CD, and it also includes five live songs. There's "American Metalhead" from Detroit, and "You Don't Understand" from Winnipeg, and "By Your Side" and "Love is a Bitchslap" from Calgary, and "Stuck Inside" from Mount Fuji, Japan. And there's lots of backstage craziness, with the Trailer Park Boys and stuff like that, so it's a very funny movie, quite along the lines of "Oh Say Can You Scream" or "Roadkill" -- and that's coming out this summer in conjunction with tour, so I'm very excited about that.
AAM -- So are we! That's great, now you're talking about film endeavors. We see that you've had much success on the stage, what with "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Jesus Christ Superstar," and you've also had some television action, including "Gilmore Girls" -- so now, do you have any interest or plans for possible big-screen cinematic productions?
Bach -- I would like to do anything that has to do with Marvel -- maybe Hulk, or Thor, or Captain America, Spiderman, Fantastic Four. I have collected Marvel since I was a kid, and I own this humongous collection of comics from the Sixties and Seventies. And everybody seems to like those movies, and I think I would look killer as Thor with a hammer and cape, and my hair is just like Thor's!
AAM -- Who knows, then -- maybe we'll see you in some kind of Marvel production. At least you have the voice for it, that's for sure! Now, you come from Canada originally, but where do you call home now?
Bach -- New Jersey.
AAM -- Sebastian, you started at young age -- so do you now have any words of encouragement or advice for any of our young readers and aspiring musicians?
Bach -- I would say, definitely the number one thing now is to use the Internet to your advantage. Get a killer MySpace page for starters. Like, Anthrax picked their new singer from there, and then again Journey got theirs from YouTube -- so if you can get to be the lead singer of Journey from an Internet page, then I would tell any aspiring rocker to get it together on the Web.
AAM -- Thanks for that tip! So, Sebastian, we're looking forward to your tour, including your upcoming show at Gibson Amphitheatre on the August 23, and in the meantime fans should be sure to check out your fine new album, "Angel Down."
Bach -- Thank you, All Access Magazine!
AAM -- Sebastian Bach, thank you! You rock, and we'll see you on the road!
Story and Interview by Rob Swick
Photos by Mike Tompkins