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20 Questions With Snake Sabo, 4/4/00




Skid Row Guitarist

 Dave "The Snake" Sabo

Here it is!  This is the interview a lot of you have been waiting for, and you won’t be disappointed!!  Snake doesn’t avoid any questions, he tells it like it is, and answers all the shit we wanted to know!  He also discusses some shit we haven’t heard him talk about before and he now holds the record for longest answers as well!  Thus, we are giving Snake the:

Super Balls Award!

Metal Sludge Super Balls Award!!

We feel that he deserves this prestigious award!  Congratulations Snake!

So enough bullshit, let’s get right into it!

1.  What are you currently up to?  This is your only chance to plug your shit.

Right now, Skid Row is in the 2nd week of our tour w/ Kiss & Ted Nugent.  As everyone knows we have a new singer in John Solinger and a new drummer in Charlie Mills. So far, everything has been beyond anything we could’ve hoped for. The crowds have completely taken to John and Charlie so it has been very inspiring for all of us. Plus, Kiss and Ted Nugent’s band have been incredible to us. Last night in Oakland, Paul Stanley came into our dressing room to see how we were doing and if everything is cool. Plus, he wanted to let us know how well he thought we sounded and how cool it was that we were going over as well as we are. That just completely blows my mind! I mean, this is one of my heroes and a major reason why I do what I do and he’s asking me if everything’s cool. UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE!

Snake with bum leg

Snake with his broken leg on tour – 

courtesy of KNAC

2.  The bio for Skid Row’s "Forty Seasons" says that Skid Row sold 12 million albums worldwide.  We know you sold 7.5 in the US according to RIAA. So does 12 million sound right to you?  How many records did you guys sell?

The last I was made aware of was that we had sold 12 million records worldwide. The RIAA only keeps track of US sales so, 7.5 is about right, but to be honest, I think the number is a little higher. Regardless of the exact #, I’m just proud as shit for what we have accomplished!

3.  How much of a pain in the ass was Sebastian to deal with?  Give us some really good examples.

How much of a pain in the ass? That’s a great question. Everything had to center around Sebastian. Everyday on tour, we would all be waiting for him on the bus to get to the gig and every day he was late at least a 1/2 an hour and we’d be sittin’ on the bus with our thumbs up our asses waiting on Baz.  He didn’t give a shit about anything unless it somehow centered around him.  He would make his security guy come into his hotel room at 3:00pm, the room would be pitch black and this poor security guy had to pack Baz’s suitcase in the dark. And, God forbid, he woke Sebastian up, Baz would start yelling and screaming and would throw something at the poor guy. That was something that occurred very often. I remember being in Japan in 1995 and our merchandising guy, Homeboy, showed Sebastian the tour program that the 4 of us had already approved. I happened to hear Sebastian tell Homeboy that there was no way he would allow Homeboy to sell that program. So when Homeboy said that we had all approved it, Baz said to Homeboy, and I quote, "Fuck the Band," that’s when I realized that this was coming to an end. You see, we always worked in a democracy in the band. Everyone’s vote was supposed to be equal, and Baz was fine with this as long as the vote was in his favor. Once it went against him, forget it. He would yell and scream and threaten not to play until he got his way. I look back on this now and I still can’t believe I allowed this to go on. But, you live and learn.

4. Just how much did Sebastian contribute to the song writing for Skid Row?

On the 1st record, he contributed one lone, ONE LINE, in "Makin’ a Mess", and that was it, and he got a co-write for that. That’s a joke. On "Slave To The Grind" Baz forced himself to be more involved with the songwriting process and this is where the trouble began. He would badger Rachel and me to write with him and as much as we tried, it was always a very uncomfortable experience. That’s not to say that he didn’t have some good ideas, but, you either have a special bond with someone or you don’t. From day 1, and still to this day, Rachel and myself have that "bond" that allows us to create the music that we did and do. Once Sebastian started forcing himself upon the situation, it impeded our creativity. We always felt like we were bringing our homework to the principal to be "graded." That’s when writing started to become work and not a labor of love. I always said that, just because I wrote "18 & Life" doesn’t mean I thought I could sing it. So, by the same token, Just because Baz sang it doesn’t mean he can write it. But, that wasn’t enough for him. He always said "I don’t wanna be Vince Neil" and I was like, "Why?" I don’t know, but he seems pretty happy to me.

5.  For $5,000,000, that’s 5 million, would you do the following:  Push a red button in front of you and 100 random people under the age 30 from around the world will die of natural causes.  You are guaranteed not to know any of the people or ever hear about their deaths.

Definitely not. I couldn’t be a part of the death of innocent people for 5 million dollars or any amount for that matter. Life is far more important than money.

6.  Rumor has it Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora had owned the publishing off the first Skid Row record. After its huge success there was obviously a good amount of money made. Jon & Richie had already stacked their bank accounts pretty well due to their own sales.  After this was made somewhat public knowledge rumor was that Slash from GNR said something to Richie that prompted him to give back his share of the money to the band (you guys, Skid Row). However Jon didn’t do the same after Baz pulled his shit. Is this true, please elaborate?

I know Rich felt uncomfortable about the money he made off of our 1st album but the money was never given back to us, that I am sure of. But, as far as that whole thing goes, we basically signed a shitty deal, but we all signed it, and contrary to what anyone might say, we all knew what we were doing.  It’s just that when success hit, we realized how much we had given up and it was quite a bit. But, we still made a pretty penny ourselves.

7.  Another rumor, there was a very ugly backstage incident involving Jon, Sebastian & security guards. What is the real truth about this. Who said what, who slapped or punched who?

What happened was, it was the 2nd to the last night of the tour, and the BonJovi crew were doing the usual end of the tour antics, dumping milk on us, throwing eggs at us while we were onstage, all of it harmless. So, as this is happening, Sebastian announces to the crowd "Jon BonJovi should come up here and get a Piece of ME", and then we went into the song. He didn’t say this maliciously at all. He said it in good fun, because we all thought Jon was behind it all. Well, after our set, I’m walking up the ramp of the arena, and I see Jon walking towards me. I start laughing and say to him "man, you really got us, that was awesome!" And walks right past me with this scowl on his face headed right towards Baz. So, I stop and turn around, because I have this bad feeling in me, and I see Baz smiling and going to give Jon a high-five and says, "You guys totally got us," then I see Jon throw a punch at Baz and I’m like "what the fuck is going on?". So Baz throws a punch back at him then a ton of security jumps in and separates the two of them, but as they’re heading back to our dressing rooms they’re still yelling and screaming at each other and I still don’t know why. As it turns out, Jon had nothing to do with any of the end-of-tour- stuff and he thought that Baz called him a pussy on stage when, in fact, Baz was just introing Piece of Me!  To this day I defend Baz on this because he did nothing wrong and it was a completely ridiculous incident.

8.  3 Part Question:  How many other singers were you guys looking at before you found Johnny Solinger and how quickly did you guys know he was the man for the job?  Also, is Johnny allowed to talk directly to you guys and make eye contact, or hasn’t he earned that yet?

We only looked at 2 other singers before John, and we were very discouraged, but when John came down he had such great quiet confidence. He knew he could pull it off and I was convinced the 2nd day because, the night before, we stayed up until 5 in the morning and drank 2 bottles of Crown Royal and passed out. He woke up the next day and sang better than the day before, that’s when I was convinced. As far as talking directly to us or

making eye contact, he has to schedule an appointment with our secretaries and has to refer to all of us as Mr. or sir. : )

9.  What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?

Deicide (but please don’t let them know I said that, for I fear they have satanic powers far beyond mine OR your comprehension)

10.  Rate the following guitarists on a scale of 1 to 10.  1 being someone who sounds like they play with broken fingers, and 10 being a virtuoso.

Richie Scarlet = 5

Dimebag Darrell = 9

Mick Mar
s = 7

C.C. DeVill
e = 6

Richie Sambora = 9

Joe Perry = 9Ace Frehley = 8

Eddie Van Halen = 10

Zakk Wylde = 9

Paul Crook = 8

11.  How do you feel about Sebastian releasing his solo album with a majority of Skid Row songs on it?

I guess it’s kind of like a Skid Row cover album. To tell you the truth, I hope he sells a shitload of records because that means I get paid a lot of cash.

12.  It was reported that KISS had offered the Skid Row the opening slot at the New Jersey Meadowlands for their huge reunion tour a few years back, but Rachel opted against it due to his feelings towards Sebastian. Is this true?  Please tell the Sludge & Skid Row fans the real truth?

That’s partly true. The full story is that we hadn’t spoken to Baz in 4 months, and there was definite tension and bad blood after we did some shows in South America. We (Rachel and myself) had been writing new material and Sebastian was pulling his usual "I’m not singing this, I’m not singing that" crap. So, the way I looked at it was, we had no new material, there would be no soundcheck, we hadn’t played in 4 months, and the last thing anyone wanted to do was get onstage with Sebastian in that frame of mind, especially in front of our hometown fans. We would’ve been completely bullshitting the fans. But, even with all of that, I was  still willing to do it until on DEC. 19th, ’96, Sebastian called me at our mgr’s office in NY City and starts yelling at me about Rachel’s an asshole and How could we do this to him and I told him if your gonna keep yelling at me about Rachel, I’m gonna hang up the phone and if he had a problem with Rachel, then that was his problem and not mine. That completely sent him into a tailspin at which time I had heard enough and hung up on him. Needless to say, we didn’t do the show and I don’t regret it one bit.

13.  What are your top 3 best and worst memories of Skid Row?

My 3 best memories would have to be, 

1: Playing Giants Stadium in NJ, in 1989 with BonJovi, 2: The whole Aerosmith tour, we were playing with our heroes and it was a dream come true. And 3: re-forming Skid Row and getting on the KISS Farewell tour 2000. Again, I’m playing with my heroes on their last tour ever. It’s completely overwhelming and amazing. I’m very lucky! 

My 3 worst memories would have to be, 

1: Baz wearing the "Aids Kills Fags Dead."  What awful thing that was. And, as he was the "focal" point of the band, it reflected on all of us and that drives me crazy to this day because I have many friends who are gay and some of them suffer from HIV, and it’s heart-wrenching to see what they have to go through on a daily basis. So, for his stupidity to be a reflection on me is something that was very embarrassing to me. 2: The whole Subhuman race tour. A total nightmare. 3: Not taking a strong enough stance within the band at critical moments of our career. I stood on the fence and compromised my position to try to and appease everybody and to try to hold the band together. In the process I nearly lost invaluable friendships with Rachel, Scotti, and Rob.

14.  The bottle incident really became a big deal. Obviously a real stupid move by Bach. What kind of financial burden did this put on the band, management, etc.. or did Bach pay for it himself?  Also do you think that was the beginning of the bands downfall & demise?

The bottle incident ended up costing well into the 6 figure area, half of which was paid by Baz and the other half by the band and our mgr., Doc. And, to this day, Baz has never thanked us for helping him out. He felt as though we "owed" this to him. But, I don’t think this was the beginning of the end.  I think that came later on, around 1993, when we were just finishing up our Headline tour with Pantera.

15.  Have you ever seen somebody where a Poison shirt to a Skid Row show?  Do you think people who listen to Poison are fans of Skid Row?

I don’t recall ever seeing a Poison shirt at one of our shows but I’m sure someone, somewhere along the line has worn one. I definitely think there are people who listen to Poison who listen to Skid Row. Why Not?

Snake in Ozone Monday - 1998

Snake – 1998

16.  Here’s something Sebitchian has been crying about for a while.  You guys didn’t give him any input on the "Forty Seasons" CD, and he considers it a ripoff.  What do you have to say about that?

That statement is so laughable it’s ridiculous. When the idea came up, everyone submitted what songs they wanted on it. Sebastian included. And the majority would win. As a matter of fact, I still have the fax he sent me and, the only reason "Forever" is on there is because Baz wanted it on there. He also wanted to name the record that as well We all thought it was an awful idea for an album title. We also asked him if he wanted to record a new song for the record and he flat out refused. So, for him to sit there and say he had no input into that record is a flat out lie. It’s just that everything he contributed was negative. But, he had every opportunity to be a part of it and he was a part of it. It’s because he didn’t CONTROL the situation is why he’s pissed.

17.  What happened to Rob Affuso?  Why didn’t he rejoin you guys?

When we put Ozone Monday together, Rob was a part of that situation, but as time grew on, it became obvious that his mind was elsewhere and became frustrating to the rest of us because we were trying to move forward and we just weren’t. It sucked because, I love Rob and I always will, but, from the band standpoint, it just wasn’t working. Then, when we decided to get a new singer for Skid Row, we felt that because we had been playing with Charlie for the last year, and it felt really good, we should just continue with Charlie. If we had done a "reunion" then Rob would definitely had been in the band, but this isn’t a reunion.

18.  Sebastian has said you guys never told him to his face he was fired.  What was the reason for that?

Actually, he’s right! He was never told to his face because he was never fired. The truth of the matter is, I called him on DEC. 22, 1996, after he had left a message on my machine letting me know how much of a spineless, cock-sucking, faggott I was because I wouldn’t do the Kiss show. I called him and he wouldn’t pick up the phone but I knew he was there because he was sending hate faxes to everyone in the band and management. Something he’s very well versed in. And, on his machine, I thanked him for his kind words of cheer, being it was the holiday season and all, and that he had just lost a guitar player. I never fired him, I just simply stated that, as an individual, I would never play with him again. Then I called our manager and informed him of my decision to which he replied "I can’t believe it took you this long." After that, I called the rest of the band and told them of my decision and, needless to say, they were all relieved that it was finally over. Then, in Dec. 1998, I received a fax from the "bands " lawyer stating that Sebastian refused to perform with Skid Row from that point forward. In lieu of that, when we decided we wanted to do Skid Row again, we realized we were forced to find a new singer because, according to the lawyer, Sebastian REFUSED to play with Skid Row any more.

Skid Row - 1988

Skid Row way back in the day, 1988

19.  What Skid Row song could go into a vault called "Song The Fucking  Suck?"

"Can’t Stand The Heartache"

 20.  Time for Memory Lane.  Tell us what you remember about the following


1984 = Van Halen at the Meadowlands. Managing a nightclub underage.  Selling tools out of the trunk of my car. Playing in a band and playing at every dive in NJ and loving every fucking second of it. Beef & Bean Burritos

at 7-11 at 4 am shit-faced and having to be at work at 8 Am.

1988 = Skid Row gets signed and we record our 1st record in Lake Geneva, WI. A truly amazing experience!!

1991 = "Slave to the Grind" debuts at #1. The 1st heavy metal album to achieve this. We embark on the biggest, most controversial tour of the year with Guns & Roses. A bittersweet time. Decadence and debauchery abounding

24/7 with no end in sight. Much liver damage done and many lives changed.  Some better, some worse!

1994 = Writing and recording of Subhuman Race. I was 180 lbs. a full blown alcoholic, and couldn’t give a shit about anything, especially myself.  The only good thing to come out of it was that I still believe this is a very good record. We could’ve released "Back in Black" and it wouldn’t have mattered. It just wasn’t our time anymore.

1996 = Rebirth. I cut my ties with all the negativity in my life, including my relationship with Sebastian, and decided to move forward and in a positive direction, and get back to the core of why I did this in the 1st place; because I love creating music. Pure and simple.

21.  Sebastian recently said in an interview that Jon Bon Jovi was "a faggot" and that "he sucks."  How is your current relationship with Jon?

My relationship with Jon is awesome. We’ve healed all the old wounds and fessed up to all of our mistakes and put it behind us. We decided friendship is more important than business bullshit. So, now, we don’t do business but

we are closer than we’ve ever been. Go figure!

22.  Do you think there will ever be a full Skid Row reunion?

What’s the point? I couldn’t be happier in a situation than I am now! And now is all that matters to me.

23.  Time for Metal Sludge’s 20 Questions.  We give you a name and you tell us your thoughts.

Sebastian Bach =
Great singer, great frontman, the quintessential rock-star. Not someone I see in my future but I wish him well.

Tommy Lee = Amazing talent, both in the sack and out! He’s always treated me with great respect and I have great memories of hanging out with him. One of the best drummers I’ve ever seen or heard.

Jon Bon Jovi = Childhood friend, shrewd businessman, great songwriter. I learned and learn so much from him, both good and bad. The most driven individual I have ever met.Vince Neil = To me, Vince is THE definitive voice of LA metal. Again, Vince has always been incredible towards me and I’m psyched he’s back in Motley Crue.Zakk Wylde = One of the most gifted musicians I’ve ever known. And a truly great person. I’ve known Zakk for 15 years now and I don’t get to see him enough. I love him because he doesn’t follow trends or anything like that. He is who he is. A total individual.Howard Stern = Again, an individual who continually bucks trends and just does what he does regardless of the repercussions. His humor appeals to the lowest common denominator of people and fit right in there. I Fuckin’

love fart jokes and shit like that. There are no boundaries with him and he’s made himself a multimillionaire at figuring out what the people truly want and constantly delivering. A pioneer!
Rachel Bolan = One of the most talented, artistic people I have ever met. My partner since day 1. I can’t imagine being in band without him.  Because of him, I’ve been able to live my dream and with him I’ve created some of the best music I could ever have hoped to create. I think he’s underrated but someday that will change.Rob Affuso = A great friend and someone I have shared some of my most fond memories with. He’ll always be my brother!Limb Bizkit = Cool, creative band. Bridging gaps between musical genres while writing great songs. It seems like everyone in that band brings something original to the table.Slaughter = Very nice guys and I was saddened by Tim Kelly’s death.  But they were always really respectful to us. I have nothing bad to say about them.

Jani Lane = The few times we’ve hung out, he’s been cool to me.  Both of our bands came out at the same time, so I always felt there was some sort of competition between the 2 of us. Personally, I never had a beef with him. I wish him well.
Now that’s how you do 20 Fucking Questions!

Props to Snake for being totally honest and telling it like it is.  He said Skid Row sold around 12 million or so records (not the 22 million Sebitchian tells everybody "he" sold), he gave us some good examples on why Sebitchian is a dick and a pain in the ass, yet he did it in a way that he didn’t come off sounding like a dick. At least we don’t think so.  I’m sure some of you Sebitchian fans might think otherwise, but your opinions are worthless anyways, so they don’t count.  And not to mention, Snake spelled everything right!  You can’t ask for more than that!  

Word has it that Scotti Hill wants to do 20 Questions next, so hopefully we will have that sometime this Summer.

This isn’t the official site yet, but it’s the most updated, so check out www.skidrowonline.com for the latest on Skid Row.  They have all the tour dates and the latest info on Skid Row.

Thanks again to Snake for having the balls to do and not being a puss like his former singer!

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