Rachel Bolan - Skidrow
I'm no slave to the grind, but I've always viewed Skid Row as being true metal. When I found out they were coming to our town, I knew this would make the perfect birthday gift for the wife. Thankfully, I secured an interview with - Rachel Bolan - for us both. These rattlesnake shakin', thickskin tight-knit rockers waste no time; exhibiting real power mettle and ambition. After twenty years, even without Sebastian Bach, they are still makinn' a mess, all the while delivering the goods. After speaking with Rachel, we learned even more about the band...read on and see why!
MettleAngel: Hey Brother, We are so excited to meet you. We have both been fans forever.
MettleAngel: I want to let you know that we've both supported Skid Row, through thick, and thin. In the '80's I was a huge thrash fanatic, and I still am. I did not care for most of the "Big Hair" bands. I always considered Skid Row, Tesla, Warrior Soul, Lillian Axe, Leatherwolf, and a handful of others, as being true metal, and not glam fags.
MettleAngel: Back then, I was not into bands like Danger Danger. I was not even aware of the Monkey Business controversy. For me, Skid Row has always been a metal band. After all, in 1991, you were the first metal band to ever debut at number one, on the Billboard charts; even before Metallica did with the Black album.
MettleAngel: That is quite an accomplishment in my book. Unfortunately after Bach's exit, many loyal fans gave up on the band. However, Wendy and I never did, because, we knew you had more to offer. Personally, I feel Thickskin, and Revolutions Per Minute are excellent albums, perhaps even better than Subhuman Race.
MettleAngel: John Solinger is an excellent vocalist. When I reviewed RPM, a few years ago, I pointed this out. I elucidated the punk meets Southern Rock vibe similar to Dangerous Toys, and D.A.D. The Michael Waegner production, was a plus too.
MettleAngel: It's been a few years, but you can still access it at the site, and I'll link it with this interview. I may have been a bit over the top, and too zealous, but I still stand by what I said, in as much, as it is a kick ass album. So, are you busy working on new material for a new album, or perhaps making a DVD?
MettleAngel: Are you planning to perform some newer songs this evening, or a few from RPM?
MettleAngel: Yeah, I understand that you are not feeling too well.
MettleAngel: This will mark my first Skid Row show ever. I've seen Bach solo, and heard him do the classics. I was planning to see you in '92 when Pantera opened for you in Dayton, but I was in graduate school, and broke.
MettleAngel: Who would have thought Pantera would go onto achieve such notoriety, and now be regarded by some, not me, of course, but many young metalheads, as the best metal band of all time. Am I correct to assume that you are one of the original founding members of Skid Row?
MettleAngel: You were known as Nirvana,
before this. My first experience of Skid Row, was on some Atlantic Records
cassette sampler. I'm not sure how I got this. I must have picked it up
at Camelot music, when I bought another tape.
MettleAngel: Anyway, it had the song - I'll Remember You - on it. I really like that, so when the cassette came out around Christmas, I picked it up, and was blown away. I was in college at the time. During the break, I took this tape, and my Vendetta - Brain Damage home, and I played the shit out of them. Maybe this explains why Brain Damage by Vendetta is my favourite album of all time, and I so avidly support Skid Row.
MettleAngel: Getting back to the present moment, with RPM, I noticed that there was an almost punk, meets true New York Hardcore vibe to it. I cited T.S.O.L, Sex Pistols, New Model Army, as influences.
MettleAngel: Yeah, but you did not go modern, like so many '80s acts felt they were supposed to do, to keep up with the changing, and fickle music trends.
MettleAngel: Well you have the thickskin to do just that. What inspired you to cover the Alarm song - Strength?
MettleAngel: I know what you mean. In the early '80s, bands like The Alarm, Big Country, and their ilk, all had that sort of U2 - War sound, with a real Scottish or Irish appeal.
MettleMaiden: Do you find that you have a great deal of artistic freedom? Do you have a proper say in what you desire to go on the album?
MettleAngel: You are signed with SPV, who are an awesome label. They really support Metal Covenant, and I them. They even sent me a Christmas card. I have been into SPV bands, ever since the '80s, where they were mostly concentrated on German metal, and thrash. Now they have a variety of artists signed to their label ranging from Alice Cooper to Kreator, or Saga to Holy Moses.
MettleAngel: On Thickskin, you wrote - I'll
Remember You Too - a faster, heavier version of the well-known power ballad.
MettleAngel: I loved that song, and the original. Did you know there are some quality metal acts out there who have covered Skid Row, and also taken some serious shit for it?
MettleAngel: Two major Eurobands have recently covered Skid Row. Headhunter from Germany, and Hammerfall from Sweden.
MettleAngel: They cover - Youth Gone Wild - they have made it a single off their all covers album called - Masterpieces. They even made a video.
MettleAngel: Are you familiar with the German thrash act - Destruction?
MettleAngel: Their main man: Schmier, has a side project called Headhunter. They chose to cover - 18 And Life. Since Schmier comes from one of the premiere German underground thrash acts, along with Kreator and Sodom, he has received death threats for even considering covering a "glam band", no less choosing to do a 'gay ballad'. However, when I spoke to him about this, he stood his ground, and has no remorse, or regrets.
MettleAngel: I'll send you the MP3's so you can hear them. Many people, and metal bands do sincerely view Skid Row, as being true metal.
MettleAngel: After you hear the Hammerfall cover, contact them, and tell them what you think. I know they would love to hear from you!
MettleMaiden: This is why I like the Children Of Bodom covers! In 2007 you produced The Luchagors, a punk band, tell me more.
MettleMaiden: You also have your side-project band - The Quazimotors - what a great name! Tell me a little about them.
MettleMaiden: I have a really crucial question that I want to ask you. In the past 20 years, or so with all you have accomplished with Skid Row, your other bands, the ones you've produced, your work on the Ace Frehley Tribute, playing Moscow Music Fest, debuting at number one, etc., what do you think most defines you as a musician?
MettleAngel: Don't forget the nose-earring chain he wore, which was quite uncommon for a metal band in the '80s. I mean everyone new Rachel by that 'painful' piece of jewelry.
MettleAngel: You mean like the published memoirs of Rachel Bolan?
MettleAngel: Like The Dirt, but probably not as sleazy, debaucherous, or drug-crazed?
MettleAngel: Well one point you should include, and one that I want to personally commend you for, is bringing Rob Halford back into metal. By 1992, he had almost abandoned metal. After the fall of Fight, he was working with Trent Reznor on the horrible Two Project, and he was ready to denounce metal. You got him to sing with Skid Row on - B-sides Ourselves - Delivering The Goods. Then, not too much later Ugly Kid Joe convinced him to sing on - The Godamned Devil - and after a few years, he realized how much metalheads missed him. We did not care that he took it up the ass, we just wanted him back to being a metal god. His Halford project set the wheels in motion for his Priest reunion, and now this summer we get to see him play British Steel in its entirety, while on tour with Whitesnake. I am convinced that you had a role to play in his re-conversion.
MettleAngel: You did a fine job with this. The cool thing is this album was available everywhere, when it first came out, and even more so, once it became a cut-out. I think I bought a copy on cassette at my grocery store.
MettleAngel: I'll never forget the time the band hosted Headbanger's Ball, and you got to share the set with Alice Cooper. I appreciated Alice Cooper, back then, but I did not know a great deal about him. Once I saw him in Wayne's World, I became a huge fan, and I still am. What I'm saying is that Skid Row was really an instrumental band for me, and still is. I just want to truly thank you for all you have done over the last two decades! (MettleMaiden): As do I! I've always supported the band, and I'm very excited to see you with Johnny on vocals tonight.
MettleAngel: We are so excited for the show tonight, a great way to celebrate Wendy's birthday.
MettleAngel: Thank You again for everything.