Interview with Sebastian Bach

You have a new album, Angel Down out and it’s your first in a few years?

It’s my first record since 2005 called Frameshift 2: An Absence of Empathy which is a Progressive Metal album. The first Frameshift album was sung by James LaBrie of Dream Theater and it’s a very progressive, intricate Metal album but my new album Angel Down is definitely more of what you’d expect from me and what I expect from myself. It’s a real, raw Rock ‘n’ Roll record.

It’s probably your most diverse album to date. It’s sees you heavier than ever yet there’s plenty of melody too. Was this diversity the aim when you started the writing process or is this how the album developed over time?

The way I work is maybe different. I just collect music, songs, titles and lyric ideas. It took me 7 years to get 13 songs, that’s not including “Back In The Saddle” as there’s 14 songs on the album, that were worthy of me putting my name on. I’m just very critical of myself but my IPod makes it very easy for me as I put all my demos on there and rearrange the order and listen to it all the time to make sure that it’s good.

So you had no real preconceptions when you started writing?

I don’t really go for anything except for something that’s good and that I can listen to and go “I love that”. I don’t think of trying to make this kind of record or that kind of record. I just try to make something that I really, really like and that’s all I can do.

Roy Z has produced the album and his track record is impressive with credits with Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson as well as his own Tribe of Gypsies project. Did you co-write the material with him?

We co-wrote four songs together “Love Is A Bitchslap”, “By Your Side”, “Our Love Is A Lie” and “You Don’t Understand” which is an incredible song. I just love doing that one live.

What did Roy bring to you as an artist?

One thing that’s really cool is that we’re the same age and that might sound like no big deal but I remember being 10 or 11 years old and listening to “Fox On The Run” by Sweet, jumping off the bed with my tennis racket with my friends. We had that same kind of vibe in the studio, there was a lot of air guitar, a lot of err……I’m trying to paint a picture for you of what it was like in the studio. I think you get what I’m meaning?

The album features Mike, Johnny and Bobby who you’ve toured with for a while now. Has that time spent on the road together helped you in the studio?

Absolutely!! I’ve just filmed a show called Gone Country 2 down in Nashville and in Nashville the band that they use to make records with is always different to the touring band. I thought that was so weird. That’s the way they do it in Country music and it’s totally the opposite with Metal. When you’re on the road for a year or whatever, you develop this telepathic kind of thing where you can anticipate what the other guys are going to do on stage. I think you can hear that on Angel Down as we’ve played so many gigs together and we work so well together.

You’ve included a cover on the album by Aersomith, “Back In The Saddle”. As well as this being a great choice of a song to cover, did the meaning of the song play a part in the choice, it being a statement that you are back and raring to go?

I thought that being Sebastian Bach and being back, I thought it’d be so cool to be able to run on stage screaming “I’m baaaaack!!” That just has so much energy. When me and Axl were picking which lines to sing it was very challenging as I didn’t know who should sing which line so we did a lot of versions of it but the one that’s on the record I let the lyrics tell us who would get which line.

This is also one of 3 songs that Axl Rose sings on. You’ve been mates for a long time now. How did this collaboration come about? Did you just ask him one day if he fancied singing on your album?

I’ve told the story many times but it’s hard to fathom but I just asked him and he did it.

Were you there in the studio with him when he recorded his parts?

Yes, he came down to the studio when we were mastering it. We were in Hollywood and I sang on Chinese Democracy on a song called “Sorry” and he flew out to New York to be there when I was singing it in Electric Ladyland studios in January 2007. In August 2007 when I finished Angel Down and I was mastering it, I just asked him kind of joking around and he said yes and asked me where and when.

What would happen if you didn’t like what a friend or guest did on your album??

Well, that’s an interesting question!! It’s never happened while I’ve been in control. There’s been a couple of times when other people have been in control and they’ve completely fuckin’ wrecked it. That’s why I get a CD every time I go into the studio everyday. EVERYDAY, I demand a CD of what I did that day to my specifications before I walk out of the studio. I always make it kick ass so if anyone else destroys it I can go onto my website and put up an MP3 of it so they can see how it should’ve been done. I’ve done that a couple of times now. When Skid Row were going around saying that I quit Skid Row…I never did, they kicked me out of the band. When Snake was bullshitting saying that I quit I had him on my answering machine saying “You don’t have a fucking guitar player anymore” and that he owned the name “Skid Row” so I put that on my website and made it available to download. That was in 1996 around the beginning of the Internet and fans couldn’t believe it that they could download Snake kicking me out. That was awesome.

You’ve also been writing with Desmond Child, he co-wrote “Falling Into You” with you. Desmond has written so many hit songs for Aerosmith, Kiss, Bon Jovi and many more. Did you get to sit down together and bounce ideas off each other or did he send stuff over to you to use?

I did Jekyll and Hyde on Broadway and Jason’s Mom was the one that put me in the play. At the end of the play he came back stage and said that he wanted me to write a song with Desmond Child and I went “great!!” We wrote “Falling Into You” together. I flew down to Nashville in the Fall of 2000 and he had a piano in his living room and I sang and recorded it on my laptop and when I got back to New Jersey I took it over to Paul Crooks’ house. It was originally in a higher key and Roy Z suggested that I record it in the key that it is in on the record. It came out really cool, there’s a lot of harmonies on there, a lot of ear candy like ELO or The Beatles. I’m not putting myself in that category but there’s like trumpets and instrumentation that I’d hear on an ELO record.

Did you learn anything from your time with Desmond that you’ll adopt in future projects?

The one thing I realized from Desmond’s song writing is that it really grows on you the more you listen to it and I think that’s interesting and I’d like that to come across in my music too.

“Falling Into You” has Hit Single stamped all over it. Are you planning to put this out as a single at some point?

I agree with you but I’m kind of giving up on singles as I can’t figure out the radio. I would like to do a video for “By Your Side” at some point, that would be a good shot.

As if all this new material wasn’t enough, you’re also adding in a bonus DVD too. What will be included on this?

It’s a pretty cool package and includes a “making of” section and more importantly it’s 5 songs live from the Gun ‘n’ Roses tour which Axl was kind enough to let us use the material filmed by his video company Nocturn Video. It’s the best quality footage that I’ve ever put out of me singing in concert on stage. If something was to happen to me tomorrow then this would be my last remaining legacy !! It’s really high quality and I’m very pleased with it.

Do you think it’s important in this day and age to be able to offer something extra to the fans to encourage fans to buy the product rather than downloading it?

I’ve sold 22 million Skid Row records and if the fans don’t get Angel Down then it’s their loss. It is just as good, if not better than those records and I should know I’ve heard those records a million times and I’ve heard Angel Down a million times and it’s right up there with them. If you’ve spent 15 years listening to Slave To The Grind then it’s your loss not getting Angel Down. It’s really, really good. All the fans keep telling me it is and the reviews do too.

Angel Down will be released in the UK on DR2 Records which is linked to Demolition Records. How did you get involved with Demolition?

Demolition offered me a record deal at the time when Spitfire was giving me a deal. Both are labels from the UK. Demolition picked up because the people that work at EMI in the UK must be brain dead or something. EMI has the right to put out my record everywhere in the world and they put it out everywhere except the UK. I can’t understand why they didn’t put it out especially after we’d sold out two nights at Wembley and me and Axl did a record together so I’m sure most of them would be interested in getting this so I don’t know how many nights you have to sell out before they’ll put your record out.

Do you think being a priority act on a specialist Hard Rock label is more beneficial to you than being one of many artists on a major label who in many cases don’t know how to market Rock bands?

What label would not want to release the new Axl Rose material?? Forget about me there’s three songs on there with Axl Rose that people will want to hear. That’s nuts. EMI’s loss is DR2’s gain.

All in all you must be pretty excited about this new chapter in your career?

The people love it and dig it and all I can do is make something that I like and that the people like.

Can we expect to see you on the road sometime soon?

I don’t really control that but I hope to get over sometime soon. We are booked in The States through to September then Canada. I’d like to play the UK, South America and Mexico before the end of the year.

The last time you were in the UK was on the Gun’s ‘n’ Roses tour a couple of years back where you appeared on stage with the band, singing “My Michelle” if memory serves correctly. Do you hope Axl will do the odd show on your tour?

Yeah, that’s right we did “My Michelle” together. Axl won’t be coming out on the tour with me though but who knows??

Just to round things off. You’ve always seem to be a music fan who found themselves in a successful Rock band and you never seem to have lost your enthusiasm for other bands. Your love of Kiss and Rush amongst others is well known. Do you still feel that sense of excitement when you hear some great music that makes you sit up and take notice?

I listen to music constantly. My IPod is always on. If I’m in the dressing room before the gig I’ll be cranking out Heavy Metal from Hatebreed, Ozzy to Malice, EZIO to Anvil and Manowar’s ”Battle Hymns”, it’s just so heavy we all love it. In my IPod I’ve got Hatebreed next to Hell Yeah next to Hanoi Rocks so with a little flick of my thumb I can listen to something that was recorded today or something that was recorded 25 years ago. I don’t analyze what I listen to, I just listen to what I want. I just love music.



  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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