Skid Row has been rocking out hard since 1986 and they have no plans of slowing down. Australian fans will be in for a treat this October when they commence their full tour of Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. Bassist Rachel Bolan is keen to kick off the tour.
“We are all really excited,” he enthuses. “Australia is one of those places that, whenever it pops up on our calendar and we know that there’s a chance of going there, we start getting excited. Then, once it’s confirmed, we are just losing our mind. Because, growing up in New Jersey, and with Australia literally being on the other side of the planet, it’s so much fun to tour there. Rock and Roll is still so alive and well down there, through the whole country, you know, and we get very excited when we see that coming up.”
The band has been to Australia many times before but this will be the first time with new frontman, ZP Theart, formerly of DragonForce fame.
“The reaction has been so overwhelming since he joined the band, and so positive. It’s really nice to have people just genuinely losing there mind over him. He is a great frontman and he is a great singer. Since he joined the band, we have had so much fun. My best friend from New Jersey said that… he goes, ‘Man, I’ve been watching you play for over 30 years now, and I have never seen you have so much fun on stage.’ It is really cool knowing that you can count on everyone around you on stage. To have every single member of the band really giving it all they have is a really good feeling.”
Skid Row has toured all over the world and Bolan went on to discuss some of his favourite memories while on tour.
“A few years back we did the Polish Woodstock; we headlined it, and it was in front of six thousand people. To try and describe what that sounded like and looked like from standing on the stage is impossible, that was a huge highlight! It was incredible; it was literally a sea of people. This last European tour that we did, it was our first with ZP, it went really well and we just had so much fun we couldn’t believe we were actually getting paid for it. Every day off, we got out and did stuff together. It was like, you would think we would be sick of each other, but no. Everything has been so positive and so fun that, you know, if any of us were considering retiring, that has been put on the back burner for a long time!”
Touring with so many amazing bands over the years, Bolan reflects on some of the people and bands he’s made some lifelong friendships with.
“We were friends with the Bon Jovi guys before we did tours with them; Snake and Jon are still very close. I see Brad Whitford from Aerosmith here all the time. He lives outside of Nashville and I live outside of Nashville, so we are always running in to each other. We have made friends with a bunch of bands, even bands we’ve played with more recently. You make friends and sometimes it is just like your friends on the road, and then it is kind of like high school, you know? Oh, yeah, we are going to be friends forever and then you never see them. That happens! But, yeah, you do still have those friendships that last forever and that is a cool thing when that happens because you know it’s a business of egos, and when you can avoid all that and become friends with someone, it’s pretty special.”
Skid Row has been rocking out since 1986 and Bolan and the guys still love it now as much as they did then, and why wouldn’t they!? Very much living the dream!
“We talk about it all the time,” Bolan adds. “This European tour is so much fun, it really made us take notice of ourselves and what a good time we were having. We asked ourselves: have we ever had so much fun on a tour together on a tour bus where you can’t get away from each other!? And the answer was ‘no’, we have never had that much fun! A lot has to do with the way we all think. We are five guys with the same goal of what we want to do and what we want to accomplish. It’s a really cool thing and no one has their own private agenda and that’s very rare for a band.”
A lot of local rock and metal bands are clearly influenced by Skid Row’s music. I mentioned a local band that has a lot of love and respect for them and how strongly influenced they have been by his music.
“Oh, that’s so cool, I love to hear that sort of thing. You know, it is a huge compliment when I will run into bands all the time – and they may be really heavy bands – and they’ll say, ‘Oh, man, your first album, ‘Slave To The Grind’, that made me want to play guitar and that album is still in my iPod and I play it all the time.’ That just blows my mind when you hear stories like that. It really never gets old and it makes you feel really good because (not putting us on the same pedestal as KISS and Aerosmith) but those were the bands that did that for us. So, for us to have that effect on bands that come out and are successful bands, it is pretty awesome. It is, really.”
The band is currently working on the final chapter of the ‘United World Rebellion Trilogy’, which is really exciting for both the band and fans alike.
“We are actually starting pre-production on the 25th of this month for a few days before we have to fly out for some shows, but this is the beginning, you know? We have written a bunch of songs we will have to finish, and we still have a lot of ideas to work on, but right now, we have a good handful of songs that we are going to get in pre-production. We are doing the record with Michael Wagner who did our first two records and then did ‘Revolutions Per Minute’. To be working with Michael again is very exciting. He is excited, we are excited. Rob and ZP have never worked with him before so they have a new excitement for it, so it is going to be great. We are going to make a full-length record as opposed to an EP. We just we can’t wait, it will be out sometime next year because we just don’t have enough time this year to finish it. We have a lot of shows! More than we ever thought we’d have in a year. Things really have changed since ZP joined the band and we are getting offered a lot of gigs, and who are we to turn them down!? We have actually had to say to our agent: ‘We can’t do any more shows’. Because if we are going to get this record started this year and hopefully almost finished, we can’t take any more shows, we will just run out of time. There are worse problems to have!”
Skid Row is not a band to usually work with outside writers, but on this album, they have been working with a few good friends to co-write some tracks and have been having a lot of fun in doing so.
“We never really wrote with outside writers, with the exception of Damon Johnson who did a lot of co-writes on ‘Thick Skin’. He was a good friend of ours, so we didn’t think it would be uncomfortable. Snake and I have a way with writing where we just don’t get insulted, we have been doing it so long our feelings don’t get hurt if you don’t like each other’s ideas. With Damon, it was the same way. So we figured if we are going to write with outside writers, let’s write with friends. Corey Taylor was one and Lzzy Hale and Joe Hottinger from Halestorm were some more, and Damon and a couple of other people. For Snake and I, that is way outside of our comfort zone because we have been so used to doing it the same way for so long, but it was really cool. When you write with friends, if you don’t like the idea, no one’s feelings are going to get hurt. You don’t have to mince words, you know, you just say: ‘I’m not feeling that and let’s move on’, you don’t have to worry about shit. Whereas if you get in a room with someone you don’t know and they have had a string of hits, the egos might get in the way and you might hurt someone’s feelings, so that is why we just started up with friends.”
Music really draws like-minded souls together and is a great way for creative people to work together and to create a kind of magic for others to share. I asked Bolan what music means to him.
“Music is my life-blood, and if I didn’t have it, I would probably die. It is one of those things that has always been part of my family. There are no other musicians in my family but everyone is very much into music. My dad loves stuff like the soundtrack to Dr Zhivago and harmonica players and polkas, and I’m like, ‘Where does the polkas come in?’ He loves Roy Clark, so I had that influence. Then my mum was into Frank Sinatra and show tunes and stuff like that. I am the fourth out of four kids and what they listen to influenced me, and then I started branching out into the stuff I like. So music has always been around me forever. And it hopefully will always be.”
Talking to Bolan today was a true honor and I am sure I speak on behalf of all the fans when I say we are glad the band has no plans of slowing down. Skid Row hit Australian shores in October and will play shows in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, and Adelaide before then heading to Auckland, New Zealand. This is not a tour you will want to miss! Get your tickets now.
Tickets available through Silverback Touring HERE.