He is a man that was all ready and raring to go; ready to unleash a new smoking album full of raw bones down and dirty rock & roll. The title track, a raging but instantly catchy anthem, was all fired up. And then when the oyster was opening to reveal his new pearl, the storm moved in and almost broke his spirit.
But if Sebastian Bach is anything, he is a trooper. He has been in this business long enough to know that sometimes you just have to fight for what makes the blood run through your veins. So taking a Tuesday afternoon out of his life to talk to journalists about his new CD Kicking & Screaming, Bach has taken back what Hurricane Irene tried to pull down into the murky waters with it: his desire to rock & roll.
Featuring such crank-to-ten tunes as “One Good Reason”, “Dirty Power” and “Tunnelvision", Bach is back for the attack. And the former Skid Row vocalist took a few minutes to talk enthusiastically with Glide about his music, his still-sharp vocals, and how singing in his church choir one night showed him what he wanted to do with his life.
Sebastian, the new album is really hot. It’s really getting back to the good old down and dirty rocking and rolling.
Yeah (laughs). You know, I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here. I’m just trying to make a new CD that fits along with the other CDs that I’ve put in your ipod, like the first Skid Row album and Slave To The Grind and Subhuman Race and Angel Down. I’m doing the exact same thing on this record that I did on all those records. I’m kicking ass and screaming rock & roll (laughs)
I’m glad to see it really rocking.
Well, you know that’s what I like. That’s the music I like. A lot of people love the first Skid Row album and they hold on to those songs like it’s a fluke or something how great that record was. That’s not a fluke. That’s me in there, you know, rocking and rolling with my band and that’s what Kicking & Screaming is. It’s the same kind of feeling music, that high energy rock & roll with good riffs and cool grooves and kick ass screams and amazing guitar solos and sleazy drums and cowbell and all that kind of stuff. And that is what this record is. And I really love the album.
How long did it take you to put it together?
Well, we started getting songs for it about two years ago. The first song was “Tunnelvision” that I wrote with John 5. And we got Nick Sterling in the band and he completely changed everything. He’s an incredible guitar player, incredible songwriter. We got a ton of material when Nick came into the band. So it basically took about two years, longer than that cause some of the songs Nick has had longer than that. But yeah, I’d say about two years.
What can you tell me about Nick Sterling? He is an amazing young guitar player. Where did you find him?
I saw him in Guitar World Magazine. He had an ad for an amplifier. He looked like a rock star and I was looking through the magazine cause I needed a guitar player. So I go, who is this guy? And then I went to his website, and there’s a song on the record called “Dance On Your Grave” and the riff from that song came out of the computer speakers and I freaked out. I go, “I want to sing on that riff right there” (laughs). So I contacted the guy and I go, “hey man”. He was nineteen years old at the time, and I go, “Hey, I was wondering if you want to join my band and go play stadiums in Brazil with Guns N Roses?” And he’s like, “Yeah” (laughs). It was a short conversation (laughs)
I love the title track but then you have something like “Dream Forever”, which is almost like a 360 from it yet still has a powerfulness to the lyrics.
I thought that the lyrics in that song were maybe too negative because it’s like saying, I don’t want to live forever and everything is very painful. Nick wrote those lyrics with this guy Ken Davis and I said to Nick, “Hey man, do you think I could change the last chorus to say ‘I want to dream forever’, ‘I want to live forever’, ‘I want to wish forever’?”, cause I go, it’s very negative. And he goes (mimicking Nick), “Well, Sebastian, that’s like not what I’m trying to say. Why don’t you just say you like to drink wine all day and smoke pot all day?” (laughs). So I’m like, “Ok, fine, I got it. I’ll just leave it alone” (laughs). But he made me laugh when he said I should change it to say (singing) “I want to drink wine all day” (laughs) That was funny.
Another favorite song is the second track, “My Own Worst Enemy”.
Yeah, that is one of my favorite ones. To me, what is weird about that song is my singing. To me, I sound like a little boy in that song. I don’t know why but just the sound of my voice, I sound like a teenager and I’m definitely not a teenager (laughs). I attribute it all to clean living. But that song, “My Own Worst Enemy”, to me sounds like a bunch of pissed off teenagers. I don’t know why God gave me this voice that has a life of it’s own but a lot of the songs on this record – “As Long As I Got The Music”, “Caught In A Dream” – I just sound very youthful, just very, very young sounding and I don’t know how the fuck I pulled that off (laughs).
I was going to say, you have different voices on different songs, your versatility is amazing.
Yes. I know my voice very, very well after all this time and I know how to and what to do. Like “Dream Forever”, when that song starts, it’s me singing as low as I can. As the day goes on, my voice gets like higher-pitched and higher-pitched. I don’t know why that is, that’s just the way it works. So that song, “Dream Forever”, when I really want to sing low like that, (singing) “All I believe is what I see”, like that’s really low for me. But I’ll record right when I get up in the morning and I won’t even speak. I’ll go to the microphone without even talking as soon as I get up and I’ll have the producer there with a coffee in my hand and I’ll sing that very, very low range, and it sounds like fucking velvet. It sounds like so, very, very resonate; has a very good tone. So if I want to sing low, I make sure I do it early in the morning and then I can get that really silky smooth kind of tone. But you can really hear it in “Dream Forever”. I fucking nailed it on that one (laughs)
When are you going to take this on the road in the States?
We are getting a tour together in America before Christmas. When I get the dates I’ll put it on my website. We’re in the midst of putting that together now.
You have such a vibrant stage personality and presence. Have you always been this comfortable in front of an audience and do you remember the first time you actually got up in front of an audience and sang?
Well, I was the lead soprano in my church boys choir. When I was eight years old, I started singing in the church choir, All Saints Anglican Church in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. I was going every Tuesday night and every Thursday night we would rehearse. And then on Sunday morning we would be there in our Cossack and our gowns and singing for the Lord and it was an all-male choir with baritone, alto, tenor and the little boys, we were the sopranos.
I totally remember when I wanted to be a singer for a living. It was a Christmas night and it was like eleven o’clock and I was only eight or nine and we were staying up till eleven or twelve, which was crazy for me (laughs) and it was all snow surrounding the church, high up to the windows, and it was crammed, it was packed in there. It was a Christmas Eve and it came to the part of “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” where the sopranos we did this insane harmony on top of that hymn where it was just incredible singing. And we were killing it, which was at the top of our lungs, and I just felt this exaltation, this feeling inside of me of singing in front of the crowd, and having everybody singing with me, and I said right then, I want to be a singer, this is what I want to do, this is the best feeling I have ever had.
Then I got into rock & roll when I was twelve. I liked listening to it when I was even younger than that but singing it, I could never fathom being a rock star. It’s just that I was a lead soprano in a church choir so I could already sing, and some kids, I went to an all-boys private school, heard me singing to The Police in my dorm. And these guys were like seven or eight years older than me, came into my room and said, “Is that you singing?” I go, “Yeah”. They go, “Well, join our band”. And I said, “What? What do you mean?” The guy was like in the eighth grade or like seventh grade, maybe twelve or thirteen. And they go, “Well, we can’t find anybody that can sing”. And so I sang but I was very, very young in this band. But I was the only one that could sing really, if you want to know the truth. Nobody else could do it. Everybody was like, “You can sing”. Nobody else could sing (laughs). It always seemed like there were a lot of guitar players and drummers but not a lot of singers.
I have a quick question from a friend: She loved you in “Gilmore Girls” and wants to know if you plan on doing more acting roles?
You know, there is not a lot of shows on TV like “Gilmore Girls” anymore. I mean, that was an hour long drama/comedy where we had to learn lines and be another person and now it’s pretty much all contests and reality Tv shows. There’s very few shows if any like “Gilmore Girls”. So I don’t know. I’ll probably do some more Tv but … I just did a movie, Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise and Russell Brand and Catherine Zeta-Jones. That was amazing. And that’ll be coming out next year and Tom Cruise, he’s a big metal-head, he really likes metal, and we got to hang out on the set and it was great. It was a lot of fun.
Last Question: How would you describe your life right now?
Oh wow … Well, in the line of the song “Kicking & Screaming” it says, “My life is so rearranging where you end up can you ever know”. And I can’t believe, I don’t think there’s more prophetic words were ever written cause I wrote that and here I am living in a hotel with no home. I don’t know where I’m going to live, I don’t even know what state I’m going to live in, but “my life is so rearranging where you end up can you ever know”. That’s what I would say.
Is there anything fans can do?
Yeah, go buy the new CD, that would be great (laughs). It comes out September 27 and if it gets on the chart and people buy it and enjoy it then it’ll mean that I can do another one someday. So that would be really a great thing for me (laughs). That’s all you got to do. Go out and rock & roll and support rock & roll. That’s what you can do to make me happy.