|Uncut - Uncensored - Unleashed|
|Interview with Sebastian Bach!|
|Sebastian Bach; do you really need to know anything else? Probably one of the most distinctive, influential, and recognizable vocals in rock, Sebastian Bach just released Angel Down; a seven year work-in-progress and one of the most anticipated albums of 2007. With a personal feel, a great mix of balls-to-the-wall rock and ballads, along with 3 songs with other rock icon Axl Rose, Angel Down does not dissapoint.
Sebastian is pretty much what you see on T.V. (no, not the stuff from Supergroup); very excited about everything, has an infectious laugh, and even with a hatred for it, a very good business mind of the music industry. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Sebastian about anything and everything that came to his mind; MySpace, reality T.V., Digipaks, and the decline of CD sales.
|Rock Monthly: What does this album mean to you?
Sebastian Bach: Seven years of hard work; all my emotion, and I just tried my best over the last 7 years to make a good CD, and I’m very happy with the way it sounds…let me ask you a question; where are calling from?
SB: Is this going to be on the Internet?
SB: Well, I just gotta say that I’m starting to see the international versions, and since this is on the internet, everyone around the world can read this, the CD says in the packaging “Art Direction & Design by Sebastian Bach”, and in actuality, the version I designed and approved is the American version. The reason I’m saying this is because I made a Digipak (NOTE: Digipaks typically consist of a gatefold (book-style) paperboard or card stock outer binding, with one or more plastic trays capable of holding a CD or DVD attached to the inside) specifically because of global warming, to use less plastic; I was told Digipaks are more envirnmentally-friendly than the plastic jewel case. So I said yeah, let’s go with the Digipaks but now I’ve been told that it’s cheaper, worldwide, to use the plastic ones (laughing) so they had to redesign all the packaging without me ever seeing it, or approving it…I’m not saying the international packaging is bad, but it’s different than the American one. So since this is going to be on the internet if you live in Canada, or Brazil, the one that I designed is the American one. I guess they do this all the time it just blows me away that I can’t see my own record before it gets put in the store; it just makes me insane! I guess I’m just a fuckin’ psycho or whatever…I did not design the one that I just saw that came from Brazil, and I just wish it didn’t say that I designed it when the one I designed is only available in the United States. So for all the collectors out there, the one distributed in the U.S. is the one I designed…
RM: Well, I'll make sure to go on the internet and try and find the different one from the other countries…
SB: Well, have fun because it makes me fuckin’ nuts! (Laughs) I did this all for the environment, I thought I was doing a good fuckin’ thing! Then I get told, “Dude, it’s actually cheaper to use the one that fucks up the ozone layer…Baz, we can only do the right one in the U.S. bro because it’s too expensive.” Well then why the fuck didn’t you tell me that for fuck-sake! Ugh! Grrrr! Why didn’t someone say that before they manufactured thousands and thousands of copies! Your saying to me after the fuckin’ thing is done, and I’m the fucking asshole! Wrong! I am not! I designed the American version, and I’m very proud of that version…more than the Brazilian one (laughs). Ok, thank you…that’s it.
RM: Your band on this album gives a great sound; how did you all come together?
SB: It came to be when I did one festival in Germany in 2004 called the Bang Your Head festival. My solo band played and Testament and Iced Earth opened up; Testament at the time had Steve DiGiorgio on bass and Metal Mike (Chlasciak) on the guitar, and Iced Earth had Ralph Santolla on guitar and Bobby Jarzombek on the drums. So after the show I started hanging out with Ralph, and the band I played with on that day were a good band but they were very “green” and I couldn’t see myself in a long relationship with them. Don’t get me wrong, they played very well but, you know, this is a tough gig and only the strong survive. Basically I walked away from the gig with Ralph’s number and Metal Mike’s number. Then when Rob Halford went back to Judas Priest, I was a huge fan of the band Halford (members Metal Mike and Bobby Jarzombek) and I just wondered what are those guys doing, then got in contact with them and they became my band.
RM: When did you realize “Now is the time to release this album”?
SB: Well…I was finished basically. I had a record deal with MRV and EMI, and they gave me a deadline; there’s something to be said for a deadline. In a perfect world it would’ve come out when I was on tour with Guns N’ Roses, but I finally finished it and basically said, “Fuck it, it’s done, here”.
RM: Being such a veteran in the business what inspires to still come up with ideas?
SB: Just the music itself, I love it way more than anything. That’s what I enjoy. I don’t enjoy the music business; I pretty much hate it, I don’t understand it, I don’t get it. I love the music, I love the feeling when I press play on the start of the song “Angel Down” all the way to end of “Falling Into You”. That’s why I do it. You thought 7 years was a long time; I don’t know how long the next one is going to take! (Laughs)
RM: You seem to be always working, do you even have any down-time?
SB: Not as much as I’d like…um…I don’t really know how to answer that; I do what I want to do but sometimes I push myself too hard with traveling, which happened recently actually. I don’t really know how to answer that…you have to make the hay while the sun is out. Sometimes the sun is out so long that you have to go to sleep (laughs) while it’s still out.
RM: I’ve read recently that you weren’t happy with the show itself Supergroup; what would we find on the cutting room floor from that show?
SB: Celebrity Rap Superstar. (Laughs) I’m sure you have a digital camera, everybody’s got one now, and if you’re like me, you start taking pictures and you shoot about 200 pictures and how many of them are good, like maybe 60? The rest just suck; some are out of focus or you’re making a stupid face, and you delete those right? Well Supergroup is an example of keeping the shitty ones and throwing out the good ones! Celebrity Rap Superstar is an example of a show that shows the good takes, and the good sounding moments. I mean that’s exactly what Supergroup is; you can go through your camera and show everybody the pictures that are out of focus with the stupid faces or you can show them magical moments that you’ve captured. The show Supergroup was all about showing shitty moments. (Laughs) You know it’s bad when the show starts out with me saying, “Man, we just jammed for six hours” standing there dripping in sweat, and they don’t show one second of us jamming. I mean, it was all about us eating dinner after the jam session; who gives a fuck! Whatever! I don’t care. But that’s the culture we live in now.
RM: That ties right in to my next question; do you think reality TV exploits it’s stars to some degree?
SB: Yeah; it’s the Roman gladiator mentality of going to the fucking arena to go watch people get eaten by the lions. There’s a German word Schadenfreude meaning “taking pleasure in other people’s misery”. That should’ve been the name of the show, Schadenfreude instead of Supergroup.
RM: Do you feel you have to censor yourself at all?
SB: (Brief pause) Yes, definitely. I’m not good at it either (laughs).
RM: In everyday life, just in interviews…?
SB: Yeah, in everything; for the last 20 years, the last fuckin’ everything I’ve ever done. I mean, there’s a whole thing on Blabbermouth about me getting mad at a radio station over them putting up a Skid Row poster…it’s such bullshit I can’t even tell you, it’s just so funny. It’s all lies, pretty much everything I read. Ugh! I don’t know what to tell you.
RM: From doing the various reality shows do people come up to you more thinking that they “know” you now?
SB: Well, they’re all so different; I Married…Sebastian Bach was the number one rated show I ever did. I Married…Sebastian Bach got a thousand times the ratings that Supergroup got; I Married…Sebastian Bach was the positive side of who I am. Celebrity Rap Superstar was, I think, the positive side of who I am, even though they wouldn’t let me sing, but we’re all human beings; we get mad, we get sad, happy…angry. It’s all part of being human. If you want fake bullshit, then go watch fake bullshit, that ain’t me (laughs).
RM: They call it the music business for a reason; how do you think, with all the ups and downs in your career, you’re still here after 20 years, and you may have put an album that could put you back on top?
SB: Well…we’ll see about that, but it’s just my voice; that’s it. And the fact that I’ve been fortunate enough to have a career outside of music, whether it be Broadway or T.V. that gives me the money and the funds to actually make CDs. There would be no Angel Down if there was no Gilmore Girls. I mean the fans may not realize how much I love rock-n-roll. Most musicians don’t pay for their own albums; they pay for fucking Lamborghini’s and coke and other bullshit…or not even bullshit like mortgages. I take my own money out of my bank account and buy you Angel Down. That’s literally what I did. And as the CD industry continues to die, there’s going to be way less of these. Every rocker out there should know, when the consumer makes a choice of not buying a CD and downloading it on some Bit Torrent site or burning a copy from your friend, there’s not going to be any more CDs. That’s just the fact of the matter. When I like Hatebreed, Hellyeah, Rebel Meets Rebel, or Neil Young, or Sly and The Family Stone, I go out and buy the motherfucker on CD (laughs) because I want another one. I want to support the band, to support rock-n-roll. Every time you make a choice not to buy a CD, you put another nail in the coffin of rock. It’s up to everybody; there are no more CD stores, Wal-Mart and Best Buy have maybe one aisle left, and people ask me “how come it took you seven years to do this?”…who the fuck wants to do this? I love the music but the business part of it is completely miserable.
RM: What’s your whole take on MySpace, I mean…
SB: It’s OK but the whole ironic thing to me is I have 80,000 fans but I have not sold 80,000 records; if you’re my “friend” could you go fuckin’ buy the mother fucker! (Laughs) Who cares if I have 80,000 “friends”; I mean who gives a shit! I want to sell 80,000 records! If every one of my “friends” bought my record it would be great! Whatever! Some friend! (Laughs)
RM: With Skid Row, Guns N Roses, and every band from that time frame, you all had to go through a school of hard knocks; the club circuit, constantly touring and now bands that have there song downloaded enough times are getting record deals…
SB: Well, I’m doing this interview walking around my house with 22 platinum records on my wall. I’m looking at one right now and let me describe this to you; “Presented to Sebastian Bach to commemorate RIAA certified multi-platinum of sales more than 5 million copies of the Atlantic Records album, cassette and CD Skid Row” and that’s just in America. I have never gotten better reviews, in my life, for the CD Angel Down. I’m the guy that did all the interviews for the Skid Row record, and Slave To The Grind…all of those. For the first Skid Row record the interview questions were “you’re a pretty-boy”, “Bon Jovi gave you everything”, “why should I talk to you?” and there was not one good review ever of this record that sold almost 6 million copies. The reviews sucked! The next record Slave To The Grind…”This is too heavy”, “you guys are supposed to be a ballad band”, “where’s I Remember You?”; nothing but bullshit in every interview. #1 album! Angel Down…”This is the best work you’ve ever done”, “ I can’t put this down”, “this is the greatest record of the year”…when I get another one of these 5-million-sold things on my wall, it would be nice for the reviews to match up with the sales.
RM: I’ve heard the comparison to 5 million then is like 1.5 million now….
SB: No; I’m not going to tell you because it’s too embarrassing but it ain’t 1.5 million, believe me. If it was 1.5 million I’d have another one of these fuckers on the wall!
RM: With all the bands launching reunion tours like Van Halen, The Police, and even Led Zeppelin reuniting last night, would you ever consider a Skid Row reunion?
RM: That was a quick answer…(long pause) Do you have any relationships with any of your old band mates?
RM: “Nope” not at all?
SB: Just maybe Rob, the drummer. When you see the band Skid Row now, there are only 2 out of the 5 original members left in the band. Snake’s not even in the band! Snake manages Down now, he’s not even in Skid Row. So at what point does it become ridiculous? I mean 2 out of 5 guys?? At what point do you say, “What the fuck?” Whatever, have a nice time. I hear William Hung is going out on tour. (laughs)
RM: The chemistry between you and Axl on the album is great…
RM: What did it mean to you, as a friend and professionally to have him on the album?
SB: Incredible. I’m extremely happy with the way the songs turned out and they sound great, and that’s all you can really ask for.
RM: What’s coming up for you in 2008?
SB: I can’t talk about that right now. I know that I’ll be playing some festivals in Europe but that’s all I know.