Jim Louvau

What Does Sebastian Bach Got to Lose?

His new album is out today, so when you’re done delving into this grand feature with this metal maniac friend of ours, make sure to take a listen.

Sebastian Bach, the iconic former frontman of Skid Row, ranks high on my list of all-time favorite rock singers. Despite the intense rivalry with his ex-bandmates, I hold both Snake Sabo and Rachel Bolan from Skid Row in high regard, and I do enjoy my conversations with Sebastian. Thus, I remain neutral. (Nonetheless, I harbor the hope that one day, the original Skid Row lineup will reunite for a performance before they decide to retire from the music business.)

With that said, Bach has a killer new album titled Child Within The Man out today, which follows his stint on the popular FOX TV show, The Masked Singer. After listening to Sebastian’s first single from the new album, “What Do I Got To Lose?”, I was compelled to secure an interview with him. The track is quintessential Sebastian Bach, featuring an infectious guitar riff, dynamic rhythms, and a hook that lingers in your mind all day. The music video, which quickly hit over a million views on YouTube, features a reunion with Rob Affuso, the former drummer of Skid Row. Sebastian continued with that momentum with his next single, “Everybody Bleeds,” and the latest music video for “(Hold On) To The Dream,” once again showcasing Affuso on drums.

I eagerly anticipated another conversation with Bas. Our interactions are always filled with laughter, but I had to remind him of the time in 2014 when I served as a guitar tech for his band at the request of his bassist at the time, Rob DeLuca. Sebastian graciously agreed to another interview with me, with The Aquarian, of which he is a longtime reader of. “I can’t believe The Aquarian is still going, man. Jesus, right on! That’s cool! When I first joined Skid Row, I lived in Rachel’s house and I used to get The Aquarian every week – like every rocker in Jersey. I used to read it,” he was excited to share. “When I moved there, in the back, it said, ‘We’re looking for a lead singer.’ You remember those ads? Every one of them said, ‘We want a guy just like Sebastian, Skid Row, Sebastian, Skid Row, Sebastian.’ And I go, ‘This is fucking killer! That’s who they want!’ I was like ‘Wow!” As I told Sebastian, one of those ads was probably mine – for me and my band!

Congratulations on another great solo record, Child Within The Man. The last time we spoke was when Give ‘Em Hell came out. That was 10 years ago! What the hell took so long?

Well, there was this thing called the pandemic for three of those years. I know that’s the first thing in my press release and that’s the first thing everybody asks me, but nobody was putting out a record in 2020, obviously, and there was also a business thing that happened. I was signed to this one label that turned into another label that turned into another label. That’s kind of boring, but this is the first solo album that I’ve ever put out ever that I’ve had a huge, full, international team of people helping me around the world with. It’s crazy, dude! It’s all day – yesterday signing and autographing album flats for record stores – to be in record stores around the planet! “Get a special autograph from Sebastian!” I love shit like that. It’s a whole team, and you need a team if you’re gonna compete. The first Skid Row album, or Slave to the Grind… you can’t do that with your wife on a fucking phone. No offense – my wife helps me, but you need a team, and I finally have that!

After hearing the first single, “What Do I Got To Lose?” I was sold! It was classic Sebastian Bach, vocally, plus Rob Affuso was in the video playing drums! Was that a one shot deal? Or will we see performing with the live band?

Well, he’s still alive! Let’s let him sit down and hit that kit, man! I just shot two new videos and Rob is returning for both of them, so if you like Rob, you’re going to get more Rob. We’ve talked about him being part of the live band. To be quite honest, all my shows have been booked without him and he feels – and he might be right and I, too, think that he deserves more money for my band if he’s in it. Because I know if that was a thing and Rob was in my band, the promoter would sell more tickets and shit. He’s a great guy. He has real charisma and our chemistry together due to our past is undeniable. It’s like if Robert Plant had John Bonham in his solo band. To Skid Row fans – and I’m not comparing us to those guys, but I’m saying to Skid Row fans, that’s kind of the same. I gotta say, I’ve never not rehearsed a one-and-a-half hour set with him, so I’m not saying he can’t do it. I don’t know if he can, but that’s a heavy physical thing.

I read that Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge co-wrote “What Do I Got To Lose?” with you. I have a funny story to share! I interviewed Myles about a year ago and we were talking about you and how you did Broadway a few times. I told Myles that he had a great voice for Broadway. He’s like, “I can’t do it. Sebastian has the charisma, the personality to do it. I’d be better singing from the back of the stage, but not like Sebastian.”

I think he could do it! I think he’s an incredible vocalist. He inspires me and I’ll tell you how. During my whole career – I don’t know what it is – I have it in my brain before I go on stage that I’m gonna kick their fucking asses, I’m gonna rip it down. I have all this kind of aggression. When I see Myles, and also in the same way as Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, they walk up [on stage] with zero aggression, like… none. They’re all calm and I don’t even know if they break a sweat. I’m a fucking animal, and I’m like, “There’s another way to go up there?” I don’t know what it is about me, but I look at it like a war zone or something. I need to chill the fuck out. I need to get more like those guys because they’re just cool, man. There’s Robin Zander wearing his fucking white blazer and shit and I’m dripping sweat and fucking banging my head like Tom Araya, you know? When I watch those guys, I think to myself, “Dude, you really could maybe just try a little less like physically… not vocally!” [Laughs]

How did the collaboration with Myles happen? I mean, I know you worked with Alter Bridge’s producer, Elvis.

Yes, that is 100% how it happened, but I also have got to say, and I haven’t read this, but I’ve done a billion interviews and I haven’t seen it come up: I just want to say thank you to Myles Kennedy from the bottom of my heart for helping me get back on the radio. This song is on FM radio. I didn’t know that was still possible. I didn’t know it was around for me. I didn’t! I thought that was, “Oh, he’s from the eighties. We can’t play his new shit.” That doesn’t apply to me! Oh my God, how many guys can say that from my time? That does not apply to me! People are playing my songs on the radio. I got the numbers. It’s like… I can’t believe it, I can’t. I honestly thought that the M3 Festival was it, like cruise ships and casinos and state fairs. I mean, it is what it is, but that shit is not applying to me. Thank the Lord. Knock on wood. I don’t have that tag on me anymore as far as like ‘hair metal,’ and I thought I was doomed forever to that label, but people are not putting that on me with this album anymore. It’s killer!

You had Devin Bronson playing guitars – he’s the man! Todd Kerns is playing bass and Jeremy Colson is on drums for this record with a slew of guests like John 5, Steve Stevens, and Orianthi. I also saw on social media a photo of your son, Paris, on drums. Who will be part of the live band when you kick your tour off?

Well, I have 60 gigs in the next two-and-a-half months, and that’s only the first leg. Then we’re going to Europe in the summer and playing the Wacken Festival in Germany, but not everybody has the time. I’ve played with Brent Woods on guitar for 15 years or more and he’s now in Gene Simmons’ band. He’s like, “I can do all this, but I can’t do this one,” so then I’m flying people in and out. I don’t like to do that, because then I’m worried about missed plane flights and all of what happens if the guy doesn’t get here. I’d rather have a dude that’s going to do the whole thing, so, to answer your question, it’s going to be Brent Woods sometimes. It’s going to be Bruiser Brody sometimes, who is in my videos. It’s going to be my son sometimes. It’s going to be Andy Sanesi sometimes, who is the drummer from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – I’m not even joking! Hey, Jersey! Me, Sebastian, and Frankie Valli share the same drummer! That guy was introduced to me by Danny Carey from Tool. I was like, “Oh, wow, yeah!” We just played the Rainbow a couple nights ago. I’ve played many shows with Andy and he’s just a great guy. On bass is a guy named Clay Eubank who I got from Beasto Blanco. This guy is a really fun, cool, young dude with hair down his knees.

I just have to change it up, because, you know, Rob DeLuca’s great! I’ve played with him for many years, but he is totally dedicated to Spread Eagle. Everybody’s got their other things.

Speaking of live shows, I read that you planned to perform the first Skid Row record in its entirety to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the album’s release, but you’re not doing this in the states. Do you plan to do this for any US dates? I’d love to hear those songs again live!

I’m doing one in the States, all because the promoter offered us a show and we said ok, then he said, “If you do that CD in its entirety for this show, there’s a bonus.” We started laughing and we go, “Really?” Yeah, we are doing that one show in America. The reason we’re only doing it there is because we already did it on the 30th anniversary. I’m not going to be doing this all the time. The reason we’re doing it overseas is because we did not get overseas because the pandemic hit. I did this in the States in 2019 and everybody loved it. Everybody fucking went crazy for it. We planned to do it again in America, and then all the other countries and us were all locked up at home. That’s why we’re only doing it at one show. I’m more concentrating on my new record, but in cities like Mexico City? Yeah, they’re gonna flip the fuck out!

Maybe someday you’ll hear that CD live beginning to end with all the other guys in the band? Who knows? You never know you never know what’s going to happen. 

Let’s talk about the artwork of Child Within The Man! I love the artwork on the cover – a painting of a classic shot of you live with Skid Row at Giants Stadium? A show I was at? And is that a painting of you when you were a kid? Did your dad do these? I remembered he did the covers of Slave To The Grind and Subhuman Race, and your solo CD Angel Down.

That’s right. Now that I live in Vegas, it’s very hot here for three months out of the year. I had a storage unit with a roll of my dad’s paintings in there. It said on it, ‘1994 Skid Row Subhuman Race paintings for Sebastian.’ I go, I better get this fucking painting out of the storage unit because it’s too hot; you have to have that shit cared for and stretched and put on! I went in there to get that out, then I unrolled it at my house and underneath the subhuman race original painting was the Child Within The Man painting. That’s not what it was called, but that was me at the age of 10 running. I forgot about that painting, and the line in the song, “Everybody Bleeds,” is about a child within the man. I scream it, and it kept haunting me like it was like an ear-worm. It wouldn’t leave my brain for some reason. Then I looked up at the wall and my dad, also in the year 1990, who did a painting that’s like 12 to 14 feet high of me on stage at Giants Stadium. That was a centerfold in Circus magazine. I was like, “Dad, that’s cool. I wish you did a painting of like KISS in ‘73 or something,” [Laughs]. Anyway, I looked at the painting that I unrolled of me as a child and I looked up at the wall and that was me as a young man, and also Jesus is in there and he’s a child. Then with the song? It was like from heaven, man. I saw that in that title and I go, “You have gotta be fucking kidding me! I’m gonna use digital technology to merge these two paintings into one painting.” I didn’t do it myself – I had total professionals doing all of this. There’s the album cover: Child Within The Man painted by my dad, started in 1978 and finished in 2024.

There are great songs on this record – from your latest single “Everybody Bleeds,” to “Future of the Youth” to “F.U.” to “Freedom,” even a ballad with “To Live Again.” Were there any other musicians you would have loved to collaborate with on these songs and this record, but because of schedules, they couldn’t?

Well, I have a funny story about that, and I never told anybody this. We did a cruise ship about five or six years ago and the headliner was Roger Daltrey of The Who. I went to watch his show on the side of the stage and his road crew said, “Hey, today’s Roger’s birthday! We want you to go on stage and give him a cake!” and I go, “Well, what does he know about this because it’s his show?” He’s doing a fucking show. Maybe he doesn’t want somebody to come up and stop his show and give him the cake, but they go, “No. No, no, it’s cool. It’s great!” I’m all nervous, and I’m like, “Are you sure this is ok?” They give me a cake in between the songs. I go over to Roger Daltrey and the whole crowd is going crazy. I was singing happy birthday and holding the cake. At the end of the song, Roger puts the cake in my face in front of the whole crowd! The whole place is in shock. Now, I’m like three times the size of Roger. I could put him in my pocket if I wanted to. I go, “Man, it’s a good thing you are Roger Daltrey.” Anyway, I had to go back to my cabin and rinse off, take a shower, get the icing out of my hair, blah, blah, blah. I started drinking. Then, when I was done with my show and it was a day off, I started drinking pretty early – around two or three in the afternoon. Then, at about seven or eight at night, I’m pretty fucked up, but my wife’s like, “I have a surprise for you,” and I’m like, “I don’t want any surprises. I’m tired, I just want to chill out. Just leave me alone! I just want to sit here fucking do nothing.” I just wanted to chill, you know? She goes, “No, no, no, no! You have got to come!” I’m complaining and whining while we get in the elevator, and I’m like, “I just want to go and do nothing and chill out.” She goes, “Roger Daltrey wants to have dinner with you.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? I can’t go!” She asked why and I yelled, “’Cause I’m drinking! I don’t want him to fuckin’ see me like this! He’s gonna think I’m crazy!” She’s like “No, just come!”

He has a private room on the boat, all amazing, and he’s sitting there. His band is there, his management, and all his people that are close to him are there. He’s at the table and there’s a seat right across from him for me. I look down and he’s drinking, too. I go, “Alright, this is going to be fun, man.” Me and Roger Daltrey and his band polished off a bunch of red wine – that’s all we were drinking, nothing else, and we had a wonderful meal. I talked to him all about KISS. I go, “What about KISS?” And Roger said, “Well, what about Twisted Sister?” That’s what Roger said [Laughs] and we were all laughing. We had a great time.

Now, this was Roger’s idea: He goes “I’ll tell you what, Seb, I want to sing on your next record.” I go, “What? Ok, I’m gonna hold you to that!” For years I would send him an email… ever since that cruise. Every couple years I go, “Hey, man, hope you’re doing good. I’m almost ready to send you something.” It took a long time, but finally, he’s like, “Yeah, just send it to me and I’ll listen to it.” I have his emails. “Yeah, I don’t you know if it works out, I will do it and I will sing on your album.” I was so excited! Then, when it’s done, and I send him “What Do I Got To Lose?” and “To Live Again.” That’s the best I can do. I don’t know! I thought he would sound great on both of those songs duetting with me. Imagine that! Man, that would be that would be so crazy, right? I get an email back and he goes, “I have to leave this kind of music to the young folks now.” I never even emailed him back, because I was pretty hurt and I don’t know what he expected. It was his idea, too! It wasn’t my idea! I’m thinking, “I’m not that fucking young. I’m 56, man. Is that young? Ok, Roger.” Yeah, that would have been cool.

You lived here in Jersey for many years, made the move to LA, and now you’re in Vegas. Do you find it easier to do what you do on the West Coast rather than being here on the East Coast?

I’ll tell you why, man, and here’s a real answer: with the weather in Jersey, for a lot of the time of the year and not just Jersey, but also Toronto, Canada, where I really came from, and all the East Coast, you spend so much time indoors because of the bad weather. I don’t know if it’s changed now because of global warming, but every day in Jersey when I lived there, I would go, “Oh, today’s going to be a summer, day! A sunny day!” I’d open up my blinds and it’d be 55 and gray. I’d go, “Fuck, man.” I would get that seasonal disorder where something in my brain would tell me to just sit in my living room and watch TV and get a fire going and smoke weed and do nothing. I don’t know what it is about that, but when it’s snowing and shit out or freezing rain or hurricanes or whatever, you just don’t want to go outside. I would gain an incredible amount of weight sitting inside doing nothing. I’d try to go running and the weather would suck. I’d go to the gym and people would just talk to me the whole fucking time. On the West Coast, you have to have a real big excuse to not go for a run or go for a walk or be outside. For me, I’m just outside more here. That’s the answer. I’m outside more. That’s a boring answer, but I want to get the fuck outside. I get really grumpy being inside. I spent all my winters in Jersey going into my woods and cutting firewood because my living room ceiling was like 35 feet high and if I didn’t have a fire going, it was fucking freezing in there. I’m going, “Why am I a rockstar? I spend all my time cutting fucking wood.” I spent so much time doing that because it was freezing. There are better things for me to do.

Like filming Cameos! Seriously, how many Cameos do you get requested to do a day?

Well, that pays the bills, so a lot, yeah. I keep raising the price so I don’t have to do it as much, but that doesn’t work. There’s a good problem to have right there!

One final question: with all of these reunion rumors flying again, do you really think there will be a Damnocracy reunion?

Ha! I don’t think me and Ted [Nugent] could be in a band anymore… and I think that’s an understatement right there!