Skid Row

Origin Toms River, New Jersey, United States
Genres Heavy metal, glam metal, hard rock, speed metal
Years active 1986–present
Labels Atlantic, Skid Row, SPV
Website www.skidrow.com

Skid Row is an American heavy metal band, formed in 1986 in Toms River, New Jersey. They were very successful in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with their first three multi-platinum albums. In their years of greatest success the band consisted of Sebastian Bach (vocals), Dave “The Snake” Sabo (guitar), Scotti Hill (guitar), Rachel Bolan (bass) and Rob Affuso (drums). As of 2010, the band consists of Sabo, Hill, Bolan, Johnny Solinger (vocals), and Rob Hammersmith (drums). At the end of 1996 the band had sold 20 million albums worldwide.

To date, Skid Row has released five full-length albums, an EP, a compilation album, and a live album. For album and single sales information, see the Skid Row discography page. They became popular with their first two albums, Skid Row and Slave to the Grind, which are often considered their best-known works to date. Their 1995 follow-up, Subhuman Race was also critically acclaimed. Skid Row’s latest albums, Thickskin and Revolutions per Minute, came out in 2003 and 2006 with mixed reviews.

Early years (1986–1988)

Skid Row was formed in Toms River, New Jersey, in late 1986 by bassist Rachel Bolan and guitarist Dave “The Snake” Sabo. The pair added guitarist Scotti Hill, drummer Rob Affuso, and lead vocalist Sebastian Bach, who replaced original lead vocalist Matt Fallon, to the line-up by early 1987. The band began playing shows in clubs throughout the eastern United States.

Jon Bon Jovi had been put in a position to seek out new and upcoming talent. He had set up a publishing company called the Underground Music Company. Bon Jovi and Dave Sabo had been friends for a very long time. They agreed that if one of them made it in the music business, he would help the other out. Bon Jovi manager Doc McGhee sought out Skid Row, and signed them. They secured a record deal with Atlantic Records in 1988, and entered the studio with Michael Wagener (of Ozzy Osbourne, White Lion and Extreme fame) to record their first album. The album was recorded in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin at Royal Recorders. Skid Row would later open for Bon Jovi, who were touring behind their New Jersey album. Reportedly, Jon Bon Jovi asked Gary Moore – guitarist with late ’60s Irish rock group Skid Row – to sell the rights to the name for $35,000. Bach recalled, “When (Skid Row) got signed to Atlantic, Gary Moore heard about it and said we could have the name for $35,000 U.S. dollars. ‘We have to pay Gary Moore 35 grand to use the name,’ and so we, as a band, did buy the name from Gary Moore. We were all glad to do it because it is a great name for a band. I remember saying, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of $, but we gotta do it!'”[1] However, other members of the Irish group continue to dispute this version of events.[2]

Skid Row also signed a publishing deal with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Skid Row signed over a lot of the publishing rights to Bon Jovi, which later became an issue as the band became more successful. In time Sambora agreed to give the band back his percentage of their publishing. Skid Row also took part in the Moscow Peace Festival Concert, which was set up to keep manager Doc McGhee out of jail. McGhee was facing drug trafficking charges, and therefore set up an anti-drug/peace concert in Russia, featuring a few of the artists that he and his brother managed. Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe later dropped Doc as their manager.

Skid Row (1989-1990)

Skid Row, released in January 1989, was an instant success. The record went 5x platinum and produced the hit singles “18 and Life”, “I Remember You”and “Youth Gone Wild”.

As part of Bon Jovi’s ’88/’89 Jersey Syndicate, Skid Row played their first ever UK gig as opening band at Bon Jovi’s outdoor show at Milton Keynes Bowl on August 19, 1989 (which also included Vixen and Europe). The very next day, Skid Row played a hugely successful club show at London’s Marquee Club in Charing Cross Road.

Skid Row were back in the UK 3 months later where they were the opening band on Mötley Crüe’s European ‘Dr. Feelgood’ tour during early November 1989. White Lion also appeared on the bill. There followed, again, a hugely successful UK headlining tour culminating in a show at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. US band VAIN were in support for the whole tour which was their first visit to the UK.

In what is referred to as “The Bottle Incident” by fans of the band, Bach was hit with a bottle thrown onstage from the crowd at a concert in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Skid Row was opening for Aerosmith on December 27, 1989. Bach threw the bottle back, hitting a girl (not the thrower), so he jumped on the crowd to beat the person who can be seen on a tour video released by Skid Row called Oh Say Can You Scream in 1990.

Shortly thereafter at another show, Bach put on a t-shirt proclaiming the anti-gay slogan “AIDS Kills Fags Dead”. The shirt was given to him by a fan.

Slave to the Grind (1991-1992)

Skid Row returned to the studio with Wagener in 1990, to record their second studio album. Slave to the Grind, released in June 1991, it debuted at Number 1 in the American charts. Slave to the Grind became a major success, with the album spanning the hits “Monkey Business” and “Wasted Time”. Skid Row once again went out on a worldwide tour which lasted over a year, including a leg supporting Guns N’ Roses in 1991 and an appearance at the Castle Donington festival in 1992. Slave to the Grind was a departure for the band; where Skid Row was an album that followed the typical 80’s band formula, Slave to the Grind had a heavier sound, even verging on speed metal with the title track.

B-Side Ourselves, Subhuman Race (1992-1998)

Before a third album could be recorded, Skid Row took an extended hiatus in 1993, following the Slave to the Grind tour and the release of the EP, B-Side Ourselves, in September 1992.

For some time, Skid Row parted ways with Wagener, possibly due to their music taking a different direction for the follow-up to Slave to the Grind. In 1994, the band returned to the studio with Bob Rock (of Metallica, Mötley Crüe and The Offspring fame), to record their third studio album. Subhuman Race, released in March 1995, charted in the top 40. Although it did not achieve the success of Skid Row and Slave to the Grind, it generated a few hits and received positive reviews. At that point however, their videos were rarely played on MTV, partly because of the rise in popularity of grunge and subsequent decline of many heavy metal styles and 1980s hard rock. Skid Row would open for Van Halen on the North American leg of the tour.

Eventually, Sebastian Bach was fired by the band in late 1996, following an argument with Rachel Bolan over a chance to open up for KISS. Skid Row were called to open for KISS on New Year’s Eve ’96 and Bach was all for it as he has always been a huge fan of KISS. According to Bach, Rachel Bolan was more concerned with his punk band side project and did not want to play the show.

The group never officially disbanded. The remaining members went on to play briefly in a band called Ozone Monday in mid 1998. Ozone Monday featured lead vocalist Shawn McCabe of Mars Needs Women. (aka Shawn Mars.) Shortly after, drummer Rob Affuso left the band and was replaced with Charlie Mills. From 1998 to 1999, The group performed both locally and nationally, opening up for both Kiss and Mötley Crüe under the Ozone Monday name.

The New Skid Row and Thickskin (1999-2004)

Skid Row re-formed in 1999 with new lead vocalist Johnny Solinger, formerly of Solinger, and drummer Charlie Mills. Mills soon left the band and was replaced by Phil Varone (formerly of Saigon Kick). After re-forming, they opened for KISS on their farewell tour, and have also played with other 1980s metal bands such as Poison. They have been on tour every summer. In 2002 they were part of the Rock Never Stops Tour. The new lineup has shared the stage with such acts as Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Def Leppard, Sammy Hagar, as well as many others from their genre.

Skid Row released their fourth full-length studio album, Thickskin, in 2003, which was their first album to feature Solinger and their first studio album in 8 years. In 2004, Dave Gara came on as drummer.

Revolutions per Minute and the future (2005-present)

The fifth Skid Row album, Revolutions per Minute, was released on October 24, 2006 through SPV Records. Michael Wagener reunited with Skid Row and became their producer for this album.

In 2007, the band recorded Jingle Bells for a Monster Ballads Christmas album. At the end of January 2008 they played at MOTLEY CRUISE, a 4-day cruise in the Caribbean (Miami, Key West and Cozumel, MX) with Vince Neil, Ratt, Slaughter, Endeverafter, Lynam.

On February 20, 2008, the band played a private, invitation-only party for the Nordic Games Program group at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Keri Kelli filled in for an ailing Dave Sabo. Skid Row joined a variety of other hard rock acts on the November 2009 cruise entitled “ShipRocked“. In early 2010 Dave Gara left Skid Row and was replaced with Rob Hammersmith.[3]

Asked in September 2009 about the next Skid Row album, guitarist Scotti Hill replied, “we haven’t sat down and recorded anything yet, but we have sat down and worked out some ideas and just played them on a handheld recorder. Everybody’s writing and we’re getting into that mind set. Once the wheels get in motion we’ll all probably fly out to Atlanta spend a week or two up there come home, go back up there do it again, we’re all living in different cities, which can make it difficult at times.”[4] In April 2010, it was announced that Skid Row had parted ways with drummer Dave Gara, who is now replaced by Rob Hammersmith.[5]

In March 2011, rumors of Bach’s return to Skid Row – for a series of live shows – were facilitated and furthered by an admission from the aforesaid, stating “I wouldn’t rule out some form of collaboration in the future…”

Sebastian Bach appeared on VH1 That Metal Show and revealed that although Doc Mcghee did initiate a conversation between him & Dave “The Snake” Sabo, and it was discussed that a box set should be made for the fans, the plans fizzled out when post this conversation, Snake announced at a show that no reunion with Bach would happen.

Sebastian Bach also said on the same show that he too does not want to play and concentrate on old songs, and is quite excited and happy with his 3 record deal, and is not “youth gone wild” any more.

In October 2011, Skid Row accompanied Kiss on the first ever KISS Kruise. The cruise lasted 5 days and visited Nassau Bahamas and Half Moon Cay. The cruise also featured upcoming bands The Envy and Bad City.

Band members

Current members

Former members

  • Matt Fallon – lead vocals (1986-1987)
  • John Ratkowski Jr. – drums (1986-1987)
  • Steve Brotherton – guitars (1986)
  • Kurtis Jackson – guitars (1986)
  • Jim Yuhas – rhythm guitar (1986-1987)
  • Rob Affuso – drums (1987-1998)
  • Sebastian Bach – lead vocals (1987-1996)
  • Shawn Mars – lead vocals (1996-1999)
  • Charlie Mills – drums (1999-2000)
  • Phil Varone – drums (2000-2004)
  • Timothy DiDuro – drums (2004)
  • Dave Gara – drums (2004-2010)

Guest musicians

1986 1986 1986-1987 1987
  • Rachel Bolan – bass
  • Matt Fallon – lead vocals
  • Dave Sabo – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Rob Affuso – drums
  • Scotti Hill – lead & rhythm guitars
1987-1996
Classic lineup
1996-1998 1998-1999 1999-2000
  • Rachel Bolan – bass
  • Dave Sabo – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Rob Affuso – drums
  • Scotti Hill – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Sebastian Bach – lead vocals
  • Rachel Bolan – bass
  • Dave Sabo – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Rob Affuso – drums
  • Scotti Hill – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Shawn Mars – lead vocals
  • Rachel Bolan – bass
  • Dave Sabo – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Scotti Hill – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Shawn Mars – lead vocals
  • Rachel Bolan – bass
  • Dave Sabo – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Scotti Hill – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Charlie Mills – drums
  • Johnny Solinger – lead vocals
2000-2004 2004 2004-2010 2010-present
  • Rachel Bolan – bass
  • Dave Sabo – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Scotti Hill – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Johnny Solinger – lead vocals
  • Phil Varone – drums
  • Rachel Bolan – bass
  • Dave Sabo – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Scotti Hill – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Johnny Solinger – lead vocals
  • Timothy DiDuro – drums
  • Rachel Bolan – bass
  • Dave Sabo – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Scotti Hill – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Johnny Solinger – lead vocals
  • Dave Gara – drums
  • Rachel Bolan – bass
  • Dave Sabo – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Scotti Hill – lead & rhythm guitars
  • Johnny Solinger – lead vocals
  • Rob Hammersmith – drums
Timeline

Discography

• 1989 – Skid Row
• 1991 – Slave to the Grind
• 1992 – B-Side Ourselves (EP)
• 1995 – Subhuman Race
• 2003 – Thickskin
• 2006 – Revolutions per Minute

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