Sebastian Bach is on the verge of exploding. Nearly a year of pent-up energy, creativity, frustration, and hunger to perform will do that. The legendary front person has certainly had enough of the pandemic that has caused the world to shut down and he’s itching to hit the road again. Yes, he’s been a constant presence on social media, tweeting his disdain for the current White House administration, engaging in friendly debates with fellow heavy metal icons, and battling other rock musicians in all-out verbal assaults, but the stage has and will always be his true home. In addition to working on what he promises to be a heavy new solo album, he has joined the personalized celebrity video “shout outs” craze, which fans can find out about through former Skid Row singer’s verified Instagram account.

On Saturday, January 30, however, Bach will join Poison’s Bret Michaels, Lita Ford, Kenny Loggins, and a variety of other musical personalities for Radical Sabbatical — an all-day, ‘80s-themed virtual music festival. Bach will throw his notorious Vinyl Wino party where he shares his favorite wine and spins his favorite music, and the festival will also include live performances, aerobic classes, cooking lessons, trivia, costume contests, and more. To say the Radical Sabbatical is ambitious is an understatement and obviously, there will be something for everyone.

Bach hopes the Radical Sabbatical is the symbolic start to a slow return to normalcy. He has rescheduled cancelled tour dates celebrating the 30th anniversary of Skid Row’s debut album (they start this May) and then he hits the road this fall for another special solo tour (which he reveals exclusively to The Aquarian).

There is only one Sebastian Bach and, after 35 years in music, he is still an energetic, unfiltered, and entertaining rock ‘n’ roll madman. Hysterically funny and always engaging, The Aquarian recently had the pleasure of speaking with him.

Sebastian Bach’s Vinyl Wino party is just one of the many acts taking part in the Radical Sabbatical virtual music festival on Jan 30.

How did you get involved with ’80s Radical Sabbatical Virtual Festival?

I used to have these bashes at my house where my friends and I played vinyl [records] and drank wino. So, I called the [gatherings] Vinyl Wino. I even trademark [the term]. But that was before the world ended.

What are some of your favorite wines?

All will be revealed during the Radical Sabbatical broadcast.

The virtual festival seems like a great opportunity for both the artists and the fans.

I have a lot of followers on Instagram and when I post things, it’s crazy how much free shit I get and how many offers I receive. I’m an older dude, so it’s hard for me to keep up with all of this technology, ‘cause everyday it’s a new thing. For instance, I just got [the] TikTok [app] and I don’t know what the hell it is. Recently, my 13-year-old daughter ran [into my room] so excited and crying ‘cause her friends watched my TikTok video and were laughing hard. It’s a whole new world [for me].

I’m assuming that when I posted about my Vinyl Wino parties on Instagram, [the Radical Sabbatical promoters] said, “Let’s get that dude!” ‘Cause we’re all stuck at home. Now, I don’t drink wine every day, but I do enjoy certain great red wines and I don’t think I am alone in that. And we’re in this pandemic, so give us all a break.

Through Instagram, Tik Tok and other social media platforms you are reaching new fans.

Yeah. It’s been almost a year now and I want to get the fuck out of [my house]. Like most people when the pandemic happened, I lost a whole year of work. I had no gigs obviously, ‘cause singing is illegal and that’s wonderful for Sebastian Bach. But [personalized celebrity video “shout outs”] happened. I didn’t have a Cameo, but when I got locked in my house, the fans just crushed me [through Instagram] with requests for videos. To me, all these other celebrity videos are boring, and I wasn’t about to do [the same thing]. If I’m going to shoot a video, I am going to come up with an idea, then execute it while having fun. And it’s put food on the table for my kids. I turned it into my job [for now].

You’ll be doing virtual “Meet and Greets” the day of the festival.

And I’ll be joined by people like Bret Michaels and Lita Ford, both of whom I’ve worked with many times before. It’s a way for people to party in their houses. Hopefully, this shit will be over soon, but for now, people can grab a glass of wine, throw their feet up and have a little fun.

It’s amazing how people are able to adapt to difficult situations.

Since we can’t socialize in person, it’s great that we have the Radical Sabbatical. If we didn’t have this Internet thing, we’d be blowing smoke signals to each other.

Among the other celebrities participating in the virtual festival is famed photographer Mark Weiss whose amazing new book, The Decade That Rocked, is available with certain ticket packages. In addition to frequently shooting you and Skid Row, didn’t he play a pivotal role in you joining the band? Weren’t you still a member of Madame X when you attended his wedding?

That is how Skid Row started. I came to New Jersey for the very first time to attend Mark’s wedding at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank. It was 1987 and me and Zakk Wylde took over the wedding band. We were rocking it heavy metal style and Jon Bon Jovi’s parents were in attendance. They summoned me over to the table and told me they really liked my voice. I was talking with Jon’s dad and I asked him, “What’s your favorite of your son’s songs?” He thought about it for a moment and then said, “Never Say Goodbye.” I said my favorite was “Let It Rock,” the first song on that album [Slippery When Wet]. He told me his son’s friend Snake had a band and they were looking for a singer. That’s how it started.

Mark’s book is mind blowing. The quality of it is incredible. There are pictures that were never seen before. There is a picture of a 16-year-old Jon Bon Jovi that is just so crazy to look at, ‘cause he’s just a kid. And there are pictures of me when I was in Madame X that are totally nuts. The most fascinating thing about the book for me is where Mark goes into detail about shooting me for the very first time. It took place in Phoenix, Arizona and I was 16 or 17. And the backdrop he used for the Madame X shoot, he used again a week later for the first time he shot Guns ‘N’ Roses. So, the first shots of me and Axl Rose were taken a week apart and I can’t believe I [came] before him. That blows my fucking mind. Mark has been my great friend for decades, but I never knew that story until I read the book.

It is certainly a must-have for ‘80s hard rock and metal fans.

The Decade That Rocked is an essential piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. If you were a fan of Circus, Rock Scene, Metal Edge or any of the rock magazines of the ‘80s that don’t exist anymore, you need to get it. It is like holding the ultimate rock magazine in your hands. And Mark’s book makes [the reader] feel good about loving the music [of that era].

And vinyl records are enjoying a resurgence.

I live in Southern California and there are so many record stores around here. Vintage Vinyl in [Fords,] New Jersey has always been one of my favorite stores. When I used to go on the road—fingers crossed that I will be able to do it again—on a day off, I’d investigate and hit as many record stores as I could. If you follow me on Instagram, there are a lot of posts of me at different record stores around the country, ‘cause I want to give these places business. Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved nothing more than spending the afternoon going through albums. Record stores are my happy place. [Visiting them] is my favorite thing to do while standing up.

Ever since Hurricane Irene destroyed my house in Lincroft [New Jersey in 2011] I have been rebuilding my collection. I have a room in my [current] home that I call the record room which [houses] ceiling to floor and all alphabetized records. And during this pandemic, owning my collection of vinyl has been so satisfying. I also have about a thousand books in my house. So, listening to vinyl and reading has gotten me through this [lockdown]. I couldn’t imagine what I would be doing without them.

Streaming music is what it is, but sometimes you don’t want to go through text, email, the news and advertisements to get to a song. I don’t want to wade through all of that stuff on my phone or my computer just to get to a song. I like to shut off my phone—I know that sounds crazy—and just put on a record.

Music is an escape.

According to scientists, some people are wired to respond emotionally to music and some people are not. I am here to tell you that my family and I—my mom, dad, sister, brother and aunt—would weep when we heard music that we liked. My little brother, who plays hockey, is a hardcore metalhead. I grew up in a household where if Elvis came on the television my family would freeze while my Aunt Leslie bawled her eyes out. What was up with my family?! Then, when I was a little boy it started happening to me whenever I saw Kiss. I remember my mom letting me stay up late one night to see them on either Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, Midnight Special or In Concert. And when they hit the screen my family would almost have to take me to the hospital. I cried and couldn’t breathe. My mother would scream, “Sebastian, what’s wrong with you?” I didn’t know what was happening to me. After seeing Kiss only on posters and in magazines I couldn’t handle seeing them move. I couldn’t believe how Gene [Simmons] moved his arms like a marionette and how Ace Frehley played guitar. I would love to know why music just destroys some of us.

When I heard the new Wolfgang Van Halen song [“Distance”], it hit me so hard that I can never listen to it again. I love Van Halen and Eddie so much that I can’t take it. When Wolfgang sings to his dad in heaven, it makes me think of my dad in heaven and it’s too much. The song is so emotionally powerful that I can’t listen to it. And then people ask me, “Well, what did you think of the ‘Distance’ music video?” And I tell them, “Are you out of your fucking mind? There is no chance I am watching that. You would have to call a medic and take me out on a stretcher.”

The apple does not fall far from the tree. Wolfgang is extremely talented.

His voice is what does it to me. The way he sings that song just kills me. The first time I heard it, by the end of the song, I had to hold on to something, ‘cause my knees were buckling. But how can music do that?

You have always been known as someone who has energy to spare? Do you still have it?

Before [Covid-19] happened, I was really into staying in shape to the point where my wife and I were doing hot yoga every morning. We had a routine. We would drop our kids off at school and head right to the yoga studio and I was in the best shape since I was a teenager. But that’s over [for now].

I’ve gone running in my neighborhood a few times, but you don’t want to cross paths with anyone who might have the virus. But I may start that up soon. I am human like everyone else and sometimes I just don’t feel motivated. It’s a bit sad. All I am thinking about is staying away from people until I get the vaccine. I am not thinking about my hair color or the shape I’m in. I know how to get into shape and it’s not like I have a new wardrobe, but I just don’t give a fuck right now. I will, but not right now.

People that view my Instagram posts write, “Hey man, time to get your roots done.” Yes, I’ll get right on that so I can walk around my house with perfect hair.” Who cares? But I will. I am telling everyone reading this, if I am able to go on tour later this year, I promise you I will die my roots and it’s going to be fantastic.

You sound like a caged animal ready to break free.

I am, 100%, but I have a huge vinyl record collection, I have a lot of books and I am able to go outside [on my property]. I don’t take that for granted. So, I’m not complaining, but if I can’t get on a stage and sing rock ‘n’ roll [for much longer,] I’m not going to be a happy guy. ‘Cause that is what I’ve done all my life and I’m just waiting to it again. That is reality. And the fans reading this article, you’ll want to come to the motherfucking shows, and I want to go to other shows. We’re all ready for that. Human beings are designed to sit around a campfire, drum with a stick and chant [makes cavemen noises]. This is the first time in human history that we can’t beat a drum together or sing a song together. That is unless you are Kirk Cameron, and no one wants to sing with that jackass.

[Note: the former teen actor recently held a mask-less religious gathering near his California home.]

I am a liberal.

Then you must love my Twitter [posts].

I loved the recent t-shirt you wore on Instagram that parodied Cheap Trick’s band logo and read “Fuck Trump.”

I saved that shirt for the time I needed to wear that shirt. You can say what you want about me, but when I get a goal in my brain and I flicked the switch on, I get the job done. It’s been 35 years of me doing that. I said, “You’re going to stop me from rocking and rolling? You’re going to take rock ‘n’ roll away from America? Well, I am going to change this.” And in my own way I have. There are a half-million people reading [my social media posts], so it’s not just nothing. In my own way, I set out to accomplish a goal and I [helped] accomplished that goal. Parents of my kids’ friends recently stopped my wife and asked her if I was going to be on Twitter that night. My wife was like “What?” They said, “It’s comedy.” I guess a lot of people are reading it.

Aren’t you concerned about alienating some people?

We’re all allowed to have our opinions, so no, I am not. And when there is no such thing as [live] music the gloves come off.

I enjoyed your recent Internet debate with Dee Snider about “derogatory” music terms.

Dee Snider is one of my heroes…. He is one of my favorite musicians. He is a great friend and an inspiration in every way. On stage, nobody can touch that dude. People ask about who sings live and who mimes to tape. I know because I’ve worked with all of them. Dee Snider, at his age, still sings 100% live. We did Guns ‘N’ Roses “Paradise City” together with Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Smashing Pumpkins) on drums. And Dee was killing it. You can find the video on YouTube.

This is the discrepancy: Dee owns a radio show called “House of Hair.” He pretty much owns the brand “hair metal.” I respect Dee for having a successful radio show. Dee has said he is quitting rock ‘n’ roll; quitting the stage. Twisted Sister is over and that’s great for him and where he is in his life. His brand is good for him, but it’s bad for me. I don’t have any intention of quitting anytime soon. And the label “hair metal” keeps a guy like me or even Dee Snider from playing [at] all these festivals in America. Promoters [like those who handle] Rock On The Range will say, “We can’t have Sebastian or Dee perform ‘cause they’re ‘hair metal’.”

Ironically, if any of these festivals dared to put me or Dee on the motherfuckin’ stage, we would show them what rock is all about. So what is good about the name of a radio show that keeps guys like me or Dee off the stage? If people are going to call me that, I am going to say, “fuck you! Don’t call me something that keeps me from doing my job.” I pity the day they let me play at one of those festivals. I will show the crowd what the fuck is up. I do it throughout Europe and I do it in Brazil. I did it at Heavy Montreal where they said, “When you put a person like Sebastian on the stage, it’s a different scene from the other bands.” What a guy like me or a guy like Dee brings to the stage, these death metal bands and extreme metal bands don’t have the skills, [charisma and presence]. But we’re [pigeonholed] as “hair metal” and that’s where I get mad.

It’s understandable.
Until I get to [perform at] all of these festivals I will tell the world that it’s not fair. I was the leading man in four Broadway musicals. Four. But I am “hair metal.” Anyone who headlined four Broadway musicals would be known as a Broadway star, except me. So, I bristle at the term.

One sad note to the Dee Snider [situation]: he contacted me a couple of years ago and talked about the two of us being in a Las Vegas musical. I said I would do it as long as it’s not about hair spray and spandex. I didn’t want it to be Hair Metal: The Musical. The two of us singing on stage would have been mind-blowing, but it didn’t happen.

You separated yourself from the so-called “hair metal” bands when Skid Row released Slave to the Grind, which remains one of my and Aquarian Editor Dan Avella’s favorite albums. It is truly a heavy metal album.

When Skid Row started, the music we played was simply called rock ‘n’ roll. It was called heavy metal. One of my good friends is Adam Jones from Tool. We happened to be neighbors when we both lived in Studio City, California. And we just became friends who swam in each other’s pools and listened to albums. Adam invited my solo band to open for Tool on their last tour. We couldn’t do it for financial reasons, but I wish we could have done it, ‘cause it would have been really fun.

I though the internet feud you had with [pro-wrestler/Fozzy frontman] Chris Jericho was hysterical.

That rhymes! I have an open mind about everyone. If I read on that some band says, “We’re the future of rock ‘n’ roll and we are the next thing after The Rolling Stones,” I think, this must be incredible! What have I been missing out on? So, I checked out one video during which the singer was 100% miming to a tape on stage at The Rockpile in Toronto. I thought to myself, “That’s weird, that’s not the next Rolling Stones.” So, I watch another video where he was opening up for Nickelback in an arena and, again, he’s miming to a tape. You can go watch it for yourself. Then someone said, “Here’s a clip of him singing live. Legit, Bro.” And it’s him miming to a tape again. It’s crazy obvious. It is not my opinion, it’s fact. It is not me starting a fight. But don’t tell me what singing live is, ‘cause I have never used tape. I don’t even know how to do that.

I have seen you and Skid Row perform through the years and it’s obvious that you sing live.

Axl Rose sings live. Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray sings live. I perform with him in a band called Royal Machines and we don’t use tapes. Dee Snider and Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy both sing live. Miming to tape makes a real mockery of what real singers do.

It also begs the question: ‘What am I doing?’ Maybe I should use tapes. Why do I spend a month before a tour warming up? Why do I lock myself in a lounge for an hour before each show to do scales?

I found it funny when he responded that you have an unoriginal stage name. He takes his stage name from Helloween’s Walls of Jericho album.

I switched a couple of letters of my legal last name {Bierk]. Who’s Mongoose McQueen? What kind of a stage name is that?

His original stage name for Fozzy. How about this: professional wrestling sucks. Everyone wishes they were a rock star. It hilarious. Evidently, all you have to do is [record] a tape, go on stage, and jump around. You can jump off the drum riser and do jumping jacks. It doesn’t matter if you are miming to tape.

What are you currently working on?

I am not doing a damn thing until I get the Covid vaccine. If concerts exist by then, however, my band and I will play the dates celebrating the 30th anniversary of Skid Row’s debut that we cancelled when covid happened. Then this fall, I will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of [Skid Row’s] Slave to the Grind across America. My band and I will be playing the album in its entirety. The tour is already booked, [The Aquarian] is the first one I am telling this to. The first time we performed the entire album was at The Whiskey A-Go-Go in Hollywood last year and it was incredible. I will also be releasing a new album though I can’t tell you the name of the label putting it out. Yes, I have a new American label and I have been working somewhat on the album during this damned quarantine. But there is only so much I can do in my house. I have been sending files back and forth [to my bandmates], but it is not as exciting as being together in the same room. Maybe Taylor Swift lives with her whole band. I don’t know how that works.

My new album is going to be heavy. In many ways it is my follow-up to [2007’s] Angel Down. I am trying to make the best record I have ever made. There will be a lot of heavy [music] coming your way.