SEBASTIAN BACH – “Rock And Roll Makes You Feel Like A Little Kid”

May 6, 2024, a month ago

By Aaron Small

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SEBASTIAN BACH – “Rock And Roll Makes You Feel Like A Little Kid”

“The new video, ‘What Do I Got To Lose?’, has surpassed one million views! I can’t stop thinking about that video being played one million times! You can’t f*ck with that sh*t right there,” beams an overly excited Sebastian Bach. “That is like the ‘80s when you sell a million records; that really meant something. That’s a four-minute piece of art that I made.”

“What Do I Got To Lose?” is the first single / video from Sebastian Bach’s new album, Child Within The Man, due May 10 via Reigning Phoenix Music. The beginning of the second video, for the song “Everybody Bleeds”, which is the first track on the album, features a tribute to Maxell audio cassettes. Sebastian is sitting in a chair with his hair blowing behind him, and a glass of wine sliding across the table. That’s so retro. “Well, I always thought I looked like that guy. When that commercial was out in the early ‘80s, I wanted to be that guy,” admits Baz. “I was like, ‘When I’m in my 30s or 40s, I’m going to be just like that guy, listening to my rock and roll in my chair with my glass of wine, and my butler and everything. I brought that Maxell commercial to a whole new level. Maxell on steroids!”

The album title, Child Within The Man, actually comes from a lyric in “Everybody Bleeds”. It’s one of several easter eggs contained within Sebastian’s new album. There’s a lot of hidden meaning waiting to be discovered. “It’s totally, exactly what you just said. You’re not going to even fathom the vinyl packaging, and the CD packaging, and the cassette packaging; they’re all different. For the collectors, there’s seven different vinyl variations. Three bio-formats that are the highest level of vinyl quality and sound. And then four colored versions. The vinyl packaging is f*ckin’ spectacular! I can’t tell you what it is, cause then it’s not an easter egg. All I can tell you is that since the vinyl format is so much larger, I picked different images and art in the vinyl than I did in the CD. The CD comes with a 29-page booklet! And it’s totally different packaging than the vinyl. Different pictures, it’s totally different. I’ve never seen that really. But I got to design all this, and I just used different imagery for the vinyl than the CD, cause of the size of it. Also, horizontal versus vertical, all that kind of thing.”

Speaking about the artwork for Child Within The Man, Sebastian reveals, “The cover is a real photo that my dad made into a painting in 1978. It’s a photo of me running in a field in… it was either Port Hope or Pickering. It was somewhere on Highway 7, between Peterborough and Toronto. My dad saw this old Cadillac in the middle of a field. The next day he got all his photography equipment and we drove back out there. He just said, ‘Run as fast as you can next to this car that doesn’t work.’ The pictures are funny. All those easter egg things, it does all go together. The whole concept of the record is that rock and roll makes you feel like a little kid. It makes you feel young, it always has. There’s no art form that’s as visceral as rock and roll. ‘What Do I Got To Lose?’ – when I watch that video, I feel like I’m watching ‘Back For More’ by Ratt on The New Music in ’82. When Nikki (Sixx) and Tommy (Lee) are in the car. They pull over Bobby Blotzer, he gets arrested! That’s the kind of sh*t I love. I love fun, that’s what I dig.”

Former Skid Row drummer Rob Affuso appears in the video for “What Do I Got To Lose?”, however he doesn’t play on the song. “Well, I’m always trying to work with Rob in any way because we’re still buddies, and I know the fans love that. Why wouldn’t they? So, we just made something together. It was joyous. It was totally magical. We shot that video on the outskirts of Vegas in the desert. We had to rent this car, and me and Rob drove it like 25 minutes to this location. It was just me and him in this 1950s Cadillac driving, and we hadn’t made anything together since ’96. The feeling was incredible, to make that video with him. And you can feel it watching it. That’s what art should be. That’s what rock and roll videos should be. It’s a lost art form.”

Sebastian surrounded himself with an A-list group of musicians for Child Within The Man. Devin Bronson (Treble Charger, Avril Lavigne) on guitars, Todd Kerns (Slash, Toque, The Age Of Electric) on bass, and Jeremy Colson (Steve Vai) on drums. But when it’s time to hit the road, it will be a completely different lineup on stage. “I don’t look at making records at all like touring; to me, that’s two different jobs, like completely. You can look at who lasts, and who falls by the wayside… it takes a certain kind of real, true rocker to be a lifelong touring musician. Going on tour and playing every night is not like doing a show a month, or a couple shows during the summertime,” chuckles Baz. “It’s not the same thing. I think by now, I hope by now, everybody realizes that I’m actually doing this for a living. I’m not like somebody you just heard of six months ago, and now I’m out. That’s not me dude. That’s not me. You can f*cking depend on me!”

Two songs on Child Within The Man were co-written with Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge and Slash – “What Do I Got To Lose?” and “To Live Again”. “To Live Again” is the closing track on the album, and while it’s undeniably a ballad, it’s not like “I Remember You”. In fact, it sounds more like Sebastian Bach on Broadway. “Well, I’ve got to apologize to my wife right now, because I wrote that song lyrically, kind of to her,” confesses Baz. “And I shouldn’t give away all my lyric meanings because if they mean something to you, that’s fine. But I wrote it about starting over with your girl in life. Starting over and living again, especially after being shut in the house. A lot of the lyrics on the record are about being shut in the house, and not being able to leave during the pandemic. When I was writing a lot of these lyrics, I was dying to live again. So, I have to thank her because the first time I played it for her, her reaction was, ‘That sounds like one of your Broadway songs.’ I was like, ‘What the f*ck? What do you mean?’ I wasn’t going for Broadway, but she said that too, and now you said that, so maybe it has a little bit of that in it? To me, that song sounds very European metal, like the Scorpions. I can see a festival crowd in Finland doing the chant I’m singing with that. To me, that sounds like a power metal ballad.”

Child Within The Man was recorded in Florida at producer Elvis Baskette’s studio, where the band lived, wrote, and recorded together under one roof, sharing breakfast, lunch, dinner. This was a first for Sebastian. “Yes. And I didn’t even know or realize that albums were made in that way anymore. Everybody nowadays really likes to send files back and forth, and record in your house. But that’s not recording a band. That’s not even capturing the spirit of a band. I understand why people do that, especially in the pandemic when you couldn’t go anywhere. Elvis Baskette and me first started talking about working together on the Angel Down record (released in 2007). We were talking on the phone about doing that record. It didn’t happen because I’m really such a Priest fan, and Halford did his albums with Roy Z. I love Halford, so I wanted my album to have the feel of Resurrection; who wouldn’t want that? So, it didn’t work out then.”

“In the pandemic, I was in my hot tub, listening to SiriusXM, and the song ‘Distance’ by Wolfgang Van Halen came on. I’d never heard it before, and the sound of it sounded totally unique on my stereo, compared to all the other songs, to the point where I said, ‘Who produced this? What is this?’ I didn’t even know it was Wolfgang; I just heard the song. So then, I found out it was Elvis Baskette, who’s always wanted to do a record with me. I go, ‘Get the f*ck out of here.’ I called my management right away. I go, ‘Get me in touch with him. That’s who I want to do my next record.’”

There’s some high-profile guest guitarists on Child Within The Man, who in fact did play their parts remotely. Appearing first is John 5 (Mötley Crüe, Rob Zombie) on “Freedom”. “Well, this is my third record in a row with John 5. On Kicking & Screaming, we did a song ‘Tunnel Vision’, and a video for that. Then on Give ‘Em Hell, we did ‘Temptation’, and a video for that. This song called ‘Freedom’ is the third in a row. And yes, his solo was done remotely, which totally wrecks my last answer to the last question. I should clarify, that was due to Covid. We all four guys, the core band, lived in Orlando at Elvis’ studio, Barbarosa. Then Steve Stevens, Orianthi, and John 5 did not want to travel due to Covid and all that. So, their solos were done and then put in the song. But the core, all the bed-tracks, were done with us looking at each other in the eye and doing it just like we’re playing live.”

“When I first found out we were going to Orlando, Florida for a month, I was so excited cause I hadn’t left my house in a long time. I was like, ‘F*cking right! I’m going to the beach, I’m going to Disney World, I’m going to check out the record stores.’ Cause it seemed like the restrictions were less there, and I was all excited. We went out the first night we got there, and then we did not leave the studio again for the whole time we were there, cause there was nothing as interesting as working with Elvis Baskette. It was recorded; I should say this too. My whole inspiration for this album was my own vinyl collection. I am a serious collector of vinyl records! 

“My favorite ones are from the ‘70s, because I love the sound of the way those albums were made. I said to myself, ‘Okay dude, you have a record label that’s for real now, and a whole team of people that’s asking you to make an album. And you can do whatever you want.’ I said, ‘I’m going to try to make an album in 2024 that feels like it was made in 1978.’ Like a missing album. That’s what I tried to make – an album that I would love that could have been by Thin Lizzy or AC/DC or Goddo or Harlequin or Triumph. Just an album that really, legitimately was made back then. Everybody wants to use technology to brick-wall their music so it’s as loud as it can go. Why don’t you use technology like they did on The Beatles Get Back documentary? Make something from the past, but make it now. That really is reflected in the cover art, which is unseen since 1978, and combined with another painting my dad did in 1990. The album cover of Child Within The Man was on the cover of The Peterborough Examiner in September 1978. If you can find that… I have it. I’m tripping. The cover of this album was on the cover of The Peterborough Examiner in ’78, with me in it. It’s f*cking crazy!”

The song “F.U.” with guest guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), a lot of people are going to assume it stands for F*ck You, but it doesn’t. “F.U.” is actually shortform for Fake You. “Well, I appreciate that you noticed that. Now we’re getting into the… when I’m doing interviews, I really don’t like to say what the words are about because I want people to get what they want out of them. But musically, to me, that tune is like 2024 Deep Purple. That song reminds me of Richie Blackmore a lot. Also, this is not the first collaboration between me and Steve Stevens. We did a song called ‘Gun To A Knife Fight’, we did ‘Push Away’, we did ‘Had Enough’ (all from Bach’s 2014 album, Give ‘Em Hell), and now we did ‘F.U.’.”

Lyrically, “F.U.” is interesting because it says, “This is not a dream, this is reality television TV.” Sebastian has had more than his fair share of TV appearances from The Masked Singer to Hell’s Kitchen, Gilmore Girls, Trailer Park Boys, and AXS TV. “Well, Gilmore Girls and Trailer Park Boys are not reality TV at all; they’re scripted. The most reality TV show I did was Supergroup (on VH1 in 2006). Gone Country was reality TV. Celebrity Fit Club, that was reality TV. I did some other ones… Celebrity Rap Superstar, you can’t forget that amazing piece of art. I didn’t write that song about me, but we’re surrounded by that. To the point where, when I was in the pandemic, I was so fucking bored, that me and my wife and my kids shot something called, Keeping Up With The Sebastians (available on YouTube). And everybody watched it! I wasn’t trying to look glam or anything, I was just walking around the house. But right now, I’m looking at a full year of touring. I’m going to tour like a motherf*cker, man! I’m going on tour, and I’ve always wanted to do a reality TV show on tour. I’ve always thought that would be great to watch. All the drama about getting to the gig, and the band politics, the crew, and dealing with travelling, all that. And include live footage from the show. I don’t know why I’m giving this all away. Some other guy’s going to read this, and f*cking do it before I do. But I’m trying to do that for this tour. I’m trying to figure out a way to use technology in a fun way.”

Returning to the topic of easter eggs on Child Within The Man, the song “Future Of Youth” contains the line, “Kryptonus leader on a campaign to kill.” Kryptonite is an alien mineral that deprives Superman of his powers, and it’s no secret that Sebastian is a huge fan of comic books. Is that an accurate interpretation? “Yes, because that’s what you hear in that. You can’t not be accurate. If that’s what you feel about that lyric, then that’s what it is. I will say, that song ‘Future Of Youth’, I did that with Orianthi and to me, that chorus is so commercial and huge sounding, I keep telling the record company, that could be a big f*cking song because ‘What Do I Got To Lose?’ is very mass appeal. There’s something about it that reminds me of ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ (by Def Leppard), like that big. It’ sexy, chicks f*cking love it! But I think ‘Future Of Youth’ could be a very big song. That’s the way I feel. You know why I say that? Because I’ve got to tell you man, I did not know that it was still possible for Sebastian Bach to get on the radio with a big radio song in 2024. I can’t even believe it! I can’t believe I have a song that’s on FM radio charts all across the country. Now I’m never going to stop! You thought I was f*cking here to stay before, now, it’s on mothertrucker! And the album’s not even out. I already feel like it’s a success, and it’s not even released yet.”

(Photos by Jim Louvau)

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