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Still Giving 'Em Hell: An Exclusive Interview With SEBASTIAN BACH

By Chaos G, Nomad Contributor
Monday, July 6, 2015 @ 4:34 PM

"Because I’m not with my old band, people somehow expect that the show is somehow going to be less crazy or something."

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Live Photos By Larry Petro

In 2015, the term ‘RockStar’ is used rather loosely & has become blanket-terminology thrown on anyone who gets signed, sells a few records & touts themselves as such. Albeit somewhat of an arduous undertaking to figure out who was the last true ‘RockStar’, it’s not so difficult to identify the ones who’ve been crowned prior to the ‘digital-age’. Twenty-plus MILLION record sales - check. Provided a soundtrack to millions of people's youth - check. Devilishly eccentric - check. Mysteriously controversial - check. Numerous world-tours with PACKED venues - check. When stating a case that SEBASTIAN BACH may be one of the last true ‘RockStars’, it may not be that far fetched.

Not only has much of SEBASTIAN BACH’s music stood the test of time, but so has his voice. At forty-seven years of age, SEBASTIAN BACH maintains his ability to do his SKID ROW-era material justice while achieving excitement & thrilling fans with the vocal prowess of his solo work. Must have sold his soul.

“There are singers like STEVEN TYLER or JAMES BROWN, before he died - that guy was still screaming-like-a-demon. If you use proper technique… What I do is called ‘Speech-level singing’. It’s a technique that gets my voice a place where I can save all my power for those ‘Screams’. It takes a couple of weeks of doing these scales and stuff, to get to a point where my voice sounds like a chipmunk. [LAUGHS] I also drink a lot of water and a NEW thing has happened. I’m “smoking” way less. I’ve found a new way to take cannabis and THC. I’ve smoked since I was thirteen, now I’m forty-seven. Now I don’t “smoke’ hardly at all because there is so many other ways to do it. [LAUGHS] Like today, I didn’t smoke anything [before the show], and that’s NEVER happened. [a second or two of silence, then the whole bus erupts with laughter] What I’m saying is that there’s other ways to do it, like ‘vaping’. So when you asked me if there’s anything else I do to keep my voice in check - by not ’smoking’ so much, I’ve noticed a real improvement. My lungs feel much better. I don’t cough and hack up shit. I think ‘vaping’ instead of ’smoking’ is the way to go.“

Without question, SEBASTIAN BACH is one of Rock and Roll’s greatest singers of all time. With his level of vocal ability, it would be interesting to hear such an iconic voice venture into the realms of heavier music and extreme vocals.

“I’m a fan of heavy-riffs, not so much a fan of death-metal-singing. I can only listen to that stuff for short periods of time… but I LOVE HATEBREED! Those guys are incredible and have made some great records. Oh! and LAMB OF GOD and "Contractor" is RIDICULOUS as far as ‘heaviness’ goes. My voice? I think when it’s really magical… is when I sing ‘clean’, but it’s very unique sounding, something you want to listen to over and over again. Like, "All My Friends Are Dead" or "Temptation" - When we sing the chorus, it’s ‘clean’, no ‘dirt’, no ‘gravel’. I listen back to that stuff, it’s very unique and special to me, but you know, when I do give it good ‘grit’ in ’screams’ in the middle of "All My Friends Are Dead", that’s cool, but I think it’s gotta be mostly clean for me. I actually did write songs with JAMIE JASTA. Me, trying to just scream that way, doesn’t sound good. As much as I’d love if it did sound good… as a singer, I have to know my strengths.”

When SEBASTIAN BACH, burst onto the Broadway-scene as lead in 2000’s Jekyll & Hyde, he was swelled with pride & expected his ‘friends’ would share in his excitement. MUCH MUSIC [Canada’s answer to MTV] sent young-wide-eyed reporter GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS to interview Broadway's new leading man. What were they thinking? Check out the infamous incident below.

“That’s legendary! Oh. My. God. Yeah, that’s not going to go well! I love shutting shit down! It’s one of my favorite things to do! [BACH begins to impersonate himself] “SHUT THIS FU… STOP YOUR… STOP IT! STOP THE SHOW! That fight [with GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS] was one hundred percent authentic. One thing you can say about me: everything I do is pretty much… I don’t preconceive things. I don’t have some, like, scripted plan or something. I’m very spontaneous and there’s an element of danger to our shows. I don’t strive for that. It’s just the way it is… there’s a spirit in the air of ‘What’s gonna happen?’ “Something might happen… ‘, and usually something DOES happen, [LAUGHS]. Oh yeah, what was the question? Oh yeah, Strombo. I was doing Jekyll & Hyde [Broadway]. I was the first Heavy Metal singer ever to be on Broadway, in the history of Broadway. For him [GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS] to come into the room and not say ‘way to go, dude!’, and instead come at me in a confrontational manner. If any other Canadian was starring in a Broadway show, it would’ve been made a big deal… so, what? I don’t count? FUCK YOU! I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting MUCH MUSIC, who were my ‘friends’, to just be buddies, like ‘way to go, bro! We’re on your side.’ But, he [STROUMBOULOPOULOS] was very young then."

Eleven years after their first encounter, SEBASTIAN BACH and GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS attempt to sit down and figure out what happened in 2000. Round two? Find out in the clip below.

“Oh, when we had the ‘made-up’, ’make-up’ session. Yeah. When someone questions my age, my answer is: it’s a lot better than the alternative! Guess what? It’s gonna happen to you, too! That’s something you can’t change. I’m fucking proud that I can still ‘Rock’ at my age! Guess what? All the bands that are huge like THE ROLLING STONES, BLACK SABBATH, KISS, VAN HALEN… they’re all in their sixties or seventies. If those guys can do good shows at their age, there is no reason why I can’t still rock em’ too.”

On 3/15/2016, Harper Collins Publishers are set to unleash 18 And Life On Skid Row - SEBASTIAN BACH’s autobiography [which can be pre-ordered HERE]. Tales of indescribable hedonistic excess or a substantial account of the man’s journey to the top?

“There’s a lot of focus on the time before SKID ROW were successful & as we started to make it big. I was really inspired by PAUL STANLEY’s book, especially when he focused on the details right before KISS was big and just as they made it… which is most of the book. It’s just so fascinating to me. As much as he speaks badly of ACE [FREHLEY] or PETER [CRISS], his book was very kind. My book will include many of my own personal pictures, from my own scrapbooks from the BON JOVI, AREOSMITH, PANTERA, GUNS N’ ROSES, SOUNDGARDEN,.. from all the tours we [SKID ROW] did. These are MY photos that nobody has EVER seen & have gone in the book.”

When someone achieves a level of certain glory, they can be plagued, haunted and sometimes be held prisoner to that particular achievement. This in none more evident when it comes to high-level musicians/bands. While success, accolades and adoration can’t be the worst thing to happen to an artist, it can become debilitating to the creative process when fans refuse to relinquish over-zealous ideas.

“My fans let me move forward. My fans LOVE my solo stuff. If they get into Angel Down, Kicking & Screaming or Give 'Em Hell, that’s their way of letting me move on. When we do "Tunnel Vision" , "American Metalhead", "Taking Back Tomorrow" or "All My Friends Are Dead" - of course "I Remember You" will get a bigger response because people have been listening to it since they were kids… but the new songs fit GREAT.“

SEBASTIAN BACH is no stranger to controversy. Seems to follow those who are followed. Throughout SEBASTIAN BACH’s career history, for whatever reason, media of all types appear comfortable in taking artistic license and sensationalizing much of what he says, or doesn’t say. A current example was on BLABBERMOUTH.COM right HERE.

“Let me clarify what I said. BLABBERMOUTH is a site that I actually like. I don’t read the comments, I just read the stories, like every other musician. What they’ll do is take a sentence I’ve said & turn it into a headline. The headline was "SEBASTIAN BACH to fans: ‘Put Your Fuckin’ Cellphones Away!” I’ve NEVER urged ANY fans EVER! I never did that! I was talking to a guy, here’s my point - When I go to a fucking movie like The Avengers, right?!? There’s a big fucking sign: “PLEASE BE KIND AND PUT AWAY YOUR CELLPHONES”, and if anybody’s on a fucking cellphone, I want to fuckin’ smack em’! In the movie theater there’s not even anyone on stage! We’re watching the playback of a tape! So, for live performances you don’t give the same respect ?!? You can’t go to a movie & have your cellphone on, but when you have actual live human beings, it’s fucking okay? THAT’S FUCKING BULLSHIT! It's not appropriate in our society to stand up in a theater and film the fucking movie, but it’s totally acceptable to do that at a concert? I’ve done four fucking BROADWAY shows and you can’t pull out your fucking cellphone or you’ll get kicked out! Do you know why? Because it’s distracting. It’s just not the way to watch and enjoy a show. I’ve toured with the best of the best. I’ve filmed shit on my cellphone from the side of the stage watching AXL [ROSE] and everybody. Guess how many times I’ve watched that shit? ZERO. I look at it and go ’That sucks! DELETE.’ It sounds like shit and it looks like shit. I think it takes the mystery out of Rock and Roll. With the KISS album Alive, they’ve admitted that they overdubbed shit - and that’s what everybody loves. If you listened to Alive, then went to one of the Alive shows, would you enjoy it as much? No, you wouldn’t. That’s my point. We used to control what got released, which created an element of mystery and implemented quality control. Just because you film it doesn’t mean you have to share it with everybody. [laughs] When I was in SKID ROW, there were times when we spent entire days doing photo-shoots. I mean like eight hours of posing with all the lights and shit. When we would get the photo session back, we would end up with like seven hundred pictures and then we’d pick TWO and that’s what everybody would see. People didn’t get to see every fucking picture! We’d pick the best ones. That shit doesn’t exist anymore! Having said all that… I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. FILM WHATEVER YOU WANT. I don’t care. I’m just offering an opinion, not telling anybody what to do or urging anyone to do or not do anything. I’m just offering my opinion on the subject.“

Put public opinion, media-fuckery and all other general bullshit aside. There are much worse things that can & have happened to musicians while performing on stage. SEBASTIAN & the 18 & Live tour have not been immune to fan provided jackassery. From people jumping on stage in an attempt to accost, to people trying to pull him off stage, he’s seen it all.

“I’m just going to come right out & say this. Because I’m not with my old band, people somehow expect that the show is somehow going to be less crazy or something. NEWSFLASH! NEWSFLASH! You’re taking the spirit and the music of SKID ROW and putting it in a club. Guess what’s going to happen? It’s going to be fucking nuts. DIMEBAG should NOT have been playing that dump! He was too good to be playing that fucking dump. He was too talented to even be there. No security. Just because he wasn’t in PANTERA. I just don’t get it. So, when promoters say ‘Oh, Sebastian’s not in SKID ROW, so we’ll have to book smaller venues…'. THE FANS DON’T GIVE A FUCK. The fans pack the fucking place. They’re [FANS] like, ‘We’re gonna come here & watch this guy sing this shit!’. I’m not putting anybody down, I’m telling you, my fans don’t give a fuck about who’s backing me up. It doesn’t matter. I’m just saying, we should be playing a proper place with proper security. When you put us in a tiny place, things are going to get fucking crazy.”

Be sure not to miss this maniac when he comes your way!


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