SEBASTIAN BACH – “Rock ‘N Roll Means Complete Freedom”

September 27, 2011, 7 years ago

hot flashes news sebastian bach

By Aaron Small

Enjoying a bottle of Luigi Bosca Malbec with SEBASTIAN BACH at Hernando’s Hideaway in Toronto, the former SKID ROW singer – who happened to be seated directly across from the exact table at which he proposed to his now ex-wife Maria many years ago – was not exactly drowning his sorrows. Quite the opposite in fact, Baz was celebrating the release of his brand new solo album, Kicking & Screaming.

“I’m so fortunate to be with Frontiers Records, they have pulled out all the stops. They gave me a real budget, a real producer – Bob Marlette – who’s worked with SHINEDOWN and BLACK SABBATH; he just did such a great job. I love the bottom end on this record, it’s fucking fat sounding! When I’m doing all my high screams, I need a real bottom end on the production to even it out; Bob did a great job. But Frontiers Records… I couldn’t be happier with them. This is a high quality release that is of the calibre of what I put out with Skid Row and Angel Down. My fans expect me to always have a high quality release, but it costs a lot of money, and Frontiers came through with a worldwide release. They have made Sebastian Bach’s voice heard in 2011. And we’re not just doing the CD, there’s a deluxe package that has an hour long DVD that’s pro-shot around the world on the GUNS N’ ROSES tour from Bogota, Colombia and San Sebastian, Spain and Halifax, Canada; it came out killer!”

Kicking & Screaming is such an appropriate title as Sebastian never goes quietly. After the laughter subsides, Bach admits, “I think part of being a writer is being organized. If you’re trying to write music, or write books, I really think a lot of that has to do with being organized. You have to have a voice recorder or an app on your phone, or a piece of paper and a pen at all times. If you get an idea, you have to capture it. Kicking & Screaming was a title I had from four years ago. I heard it; I liked it and thought it would be killer for me. Bob Marlette and (guitarist) Nick Sterling came up with the music for that song, and it fucking knocked me out! I had no words and no melody. I went through my stockpile of titles and I had written down Kicking & Screaming. I said that to Bob and Nick and they said, ‘Fuck yeah!’ I learned that from ROB HALFORD. A song like ‘Desert Plains’ off of Point Of Entry, for some reason, it sounds to me like he’s on a desert plain. Halford’s words… he had an uncanny ability to put words with music that fit really good. ‘Exciter’ sounded like exciter, ‘Painkiller’ sounded like fucking painkiller. There was something about the way he wrote that I was really influenced by. I always try to make the words fit with the music somehow. What does this riff sound like? That song sounds like kicking & screaming… I don’t know why? Music is so subjective. All you can do is go in the studio and make something you really, really love. You can’t try to figure out what other people love; I love this! I’m proud of it! I know I’m done my CD when I want to grab you and say, listen to this!”

The aforementioned guitar wonder-kid Nick Sterling was scooped up by Sebastian when he was only 19 years old, he’s now 21. “So we played Air Canada Centre (in Toronto) when Nick was 20, had a great show – we played every arena in Canada. That was a great tour last year. I’ve always been looking my whole life, for my RANDY RHOADS. Not only does Nick play incredibly and write great songs, but he kind of looks like Randy; it’s that crazy. It’s very much like when OZZY came out with Randy – Randy and Nick are the young prodigy guitar-slinger. I’m like Ozzy – the old crazy motherfucker, and you all know me. You know my voice and my history; I’m wild.”

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Another guitarist, specifically JOHN 5 of MARILYN MANSON and ROB ZOMBIE plays on ‘Tunnelvision’ on Kicking & Screaming. “That was through Bob Marlette the producer,” reveals Sebastian. “My manager, Rick Sales, was telling me how amazing Bob was. Since this is Brave Words, I’ll tell you something I’ve never told anybody else – ‘cause you guys know about metal! I was nervous about Bob Marlette, only for the Two record by Halford. Bob told me, ‘Did I ever fuck that up! I should have just made a rock ‘n roll album.’ I don’t want to change who the fuck I am. I just want to put more songs in your iPod that are like ‘Youth Gone Wild’ and ‘Monkey Business’. A little known fact, John 5 is in the video ‘Piece Of Me’ by Skid Row – before he was John 5. He told me, ‘Dude, you guys are my favourite band.’ We were shooting the video somewhere in southern California, he found out about it, came down and stood in line with all the fans. John 5 is one of the guys in the video that does a stage dive. So he says, ‘Sebastian, I would love to write a song that would get your voice back on the radio in 2011.’ I don’t know if ‘Tunnelvision’ will get me on the radio, I don’t pay attention to the radio, but the song is heavy and fucking cool.”

Sebastian also worked with Jamey Jasta from HATEBREED, but none of that can be found on Kicking & Screaming. “I have six or seven songs that I did with Jamey and Charlie Bellmore, his guitar player from KINGDOM OF SORROW. It’s super-duper heavy metal, but you have to be objective on your instrument. I listen to very heavy music myself, but my voice sounds good singing melodically – ballads and clean. It sounds good dirty too, but I have a clean tone that’s a special sound. The song ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ is all clean and pure. The stuff with Jamey, I was really screaming a lot. I can only judge music when I hear it come over the speakers. I can talk about it or say, I like Hatebreed, so I’m going to write with the guy from Hatebreed . But maybe my voice isn’t cut out for that. I have to be objective, listening back. When I hear this record, Kicking & Screaming, it fucking sounds amazing to me!”

What exactly makes Bach my ‘My Own Worst Enemy’? “Well you know, I get in trouble, I go to jail. I don’t try to do those things… I’ve been called the bad boy of rock many times – I don’t try to look for anything like that. All I ever try to do is good. I never try to do bad ever. All I’ve ever tried my whole life is to be good. But if somebody wants to fuck with me, I’m not scared. I can defend myself and that can surprise people sometimes. That’s rock ‘n roll. I grew up in Toronto. KID WIKKED used to play at The Gasworks, it was a rough scene. There were fights, lots of partying. Where I came from was very much the street, it’s just the way it was.”

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Mid-interview, various members of Sebastian’s family began to filter in to Hernando’s for dinner with their rock star relative. ‘As Long As I Got The Music’ provides insight into what life on the road is really like - missing family and friends. Everybody thinks touring is one huge party with non-stop groupies and free booze. “There is that but, the free booze gets old after a while. How many times can you go out partying? Rock ‘n roll takes 100% of your life if you want to do it right; you get what you give. But there’s a side to being on the road that’s very lonely; you’re in a hotel room by yourself – Jani Lane (of WARRANT) died in a Comfort Inn by himself with a note in his pocket (that read) ‘I’m Jani Lane’ and a bottle of vodka – holy fuck! That’s crazy!”

According to Sebastian, it doesn’t seem like four years have passed between his previous album Angel Down, and his new one Kicking & Screaming. “No, it seems quicker. It took me so long to make Angel Down. Bring ‘Em Bach Alive (issued in 1998) had four studio songs, the rest were live. So Angel Down was really my first proper solo studio record. But Nick Sterling is the reason this came out so quick. He came into my band and would ask, ‘Do you like this?’, ‘do you like this?’ I was like, Jesus Fucking Christ! You are a bad-ass motherfucker! He’s prolific!”

Two bonus tracks can be found on different versions of Kicking & Screaming; ‘Jumpin Off The Wagon’ is included on the CD/DVD version. “I did a television show in America called Gone With Country” – that scared the shit out of a lot of Sebastian’s fans! “The crazy part is I won the show. It was all about writing a song and I wrote this song with Jeffery Steele – ‘Battle With The Bottle’. I don’t have any rules. For me, rock ‘n roll is about not having fucking rules. Some new rock bands are so blinded by it – you can’t do this, you can’t do that. To me, rock ‘n roll means complete freedom to do anything you want to fucking do. Rock ‘n roll is my first love. I’m not going to try and go country or anything, but I can do a song here and there. I’m a fan of THE ALLMAN BROTHERS, NEIL YOUNG, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, MOLLY HATCHET, BLACKFOOT. I’m just not into rules man, I’m into breaking rules.” And ‘Ain’t There Yet’ is exclusive to iTunes. “You’re the first one to ask me about that. That’s a song that I wrote with Jeffery Steele and Vicky McGehee; it’s a beautiful song. I really liked ‘Battle With The Bottle’ so I went down and wrote more with those people. I had a bunch of demos and that’s one of them. It’s all about bonus tracks these days. So I had to go through my archives and find a bunch of stuff.”

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Currently Baz has four US shows booked in November, after that? “We’re going to Europe in January and February. But I want to come to Canada. It’s frustrating for me because you can’t just call up people and say, I’m coming; the promoters have to ask you to come. I kinda always fight the Skid Row thing… they just expect me – because MÖTLEY CRÜE is together, POISON’s together, NIGHT RANGER, FOREIGNER – so they just assume I’m going to go back with those guys. But to me it’s more meaningful and more interesting to make new music. For me to go back to Skid Row, what would make me excited would be to make a new Skid Row CD and then go tour on that. It’s not creatively fulfilling to just go on stage and play old songs. I wouldn’t be able to do any of these songs; I wouldn’t be able to do any of Angel Down. The songs ‘Stuck Inside’ and ‘American Metalhead’ off Angel Down, those are the two best songs in my fucking set. When we do ‘Stuck Inside’ – holy fuck! You can’t deny it. And ‘American Metalhead’, the crowd goes mental! I can’t see my set now without those songs.”

GN’ R has announced a US tour that runs throughout October and November. Considering just how much Baz has played with Axl in the past, and the fact that Axl lent his vocals to Angel Down, an opening slot on this upcoming jaunt would seem more than likely. “Yes, I got a text last week. Nothing’s been confirmed, but I did get a text saying, we want you to play with us. I don’t know how many shows, so keep your fingers crossed.”

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Baz is no longer married to the mother of his three children. Divorce is a huge thing for anybody to go through, and that impacted what is heard on Kicking & Screaming. “A lot of the lyrics on this album are about losing your love or finding new love. I was going through a divorce while I was coming up with the songs with Nick, and he was going through a breakup; he had written some lyrics that were very touching. Then when we started recording, I fell in love with this new girl named Minnie Gupta who lives in Hollywood, and that’s her on the album cover. She’s in the ‘Kicking & Screaming’ video too, she’s amazing! That song says, ‘In the night we’ll be kicking & screaming.’ I’m not talking about kicking; I’m talking about fucking! I wrote that song to her. The lyrics of the second verse say, ‘you whispered prendimi ora - I’m roaring take me now.’ She texted me once, ‘prendimi ora’, what the fuck is that? So I Googled it and it means take me now in Italian. I thought that was so hot! I had to put that in a song. I like to put interesting words in songs. I’ve got to give credit to Rachel (Bolan) and Snake (Sabo) for actually teaching me that – and I never give them credit for nothing – exclusive. I remember when I joined Skid Row, those guys were really good songwriters and the song ‘Monkey Business’, the lyrics go: ‘Kangaroo lady with her bourbon in a pouch, can’t afford the rental on a bamboo couch, collecting back her favors ‘cause her well is running dry, I know her act is terminal, but she ain’t gonna die.’ I was like, what does that mean? I don’t even know. But they taught me to paint a cool picture with words. Don’t just go for the easiest words, put some effort into it and try to make an interesting lyric.”

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Finally, Sebastian provides the latest on his house in New Jersey that was destroyed, condemned, and deemed uninhabitable in August due to the extreme flooding caused by Hurricane Irene. “It’s really hard to talk about… it was the only home I ever knew. I was there for 20 years… I just find it very appropriate, that once we divorced and the love was out of the house, the house was destroyed. How fucking weird is that? We were together since I was 16, and I’m 43. I couldn’t get away from that house because it was really my refuge from the world, but now I have no choice. My life has always imitated the art and the art has imitated my life. The first line on the album says, ‘An original crazy in a world that I’ve never known, my life is so rearranging, where you end up… can you ever know?’ Then it says in the chorus, ‘Pickin’ through the past’s remains.’ I’m in my house, picking through the past’s remains. In the song ‘As Long As I Got The Music’, it says ‘Broke & stranded, I don’t care, as long as I got the music, you can’t bother me.’ That’s what I’ve got now; I’ve got the album. I’m literally stranded without a house – is that fucking crazy? It’s like I was prophesizing my life; it’s fucking unbelievable. But you can’t argue with Mother Nature, what’re you going to do?”



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