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Sebastian Bach says: “Rock n’ roll…is evil business.”

Sebastian Bach says: "Rock n’ roll…is evil business."

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Sebastian Bach: Clean, sober, and ready to rock on VH1’s new show

By: Alexis Colvard for The Georgia State University Signal

The article is found -here-

 
In the early 1990s, hard rock band Skid Row was topping the charts with its hits "18 and Life," "Youth Gone Wild" and "I Remember You." After a tumultuous breakup, the band’s former lead singer Sebastian Bach began seeking out other ways to further his career, including Broadway and a solo album. The past couple of decades have been full of ups and downs for the persevering rocker, who is now a staple on VH1, but somehow he always comes out on top.

It seems that Sebastian Bach is everywhere these days. Flipping through the channels, you can find him on everything from the WB’s "Gilmore Girls" to VH1’s "I Love the ’80s," and the rock star has no intention of slowing down. Set to star with four other rockers in VH1’s new reality show "Supergroup" (which premiers May 18), Bach helped form the new band Damnocracy, all while preparing to release another solo album called "Angel Down." The craziest part ever is that, from now on, he will do it all completely sober.

Sebastian agreed to take some time out of his insanely busy schedule on March 21 to chat with the "Urbanite" about his career, "Supergroup," and his decision to stop drinking.

Bach proved himself to be a funny, intelligent and truly kind person to interview, which made him accessible and easy to talk to. An absolutely genuine person, there is no façade with Sebastian Bach. The person on television seems to be exactly who he is off the screen. This quality makes him a hot commodity for the reality shows VH1 creates.

Sebastian said that he had been asked numerous times to appear on a popular VH1 reality show, but he had always said no to VH1’s offers. After being rejected eight times, VH1 went back to the drawing board to create a show on which Sebastian might be willing to appear. When VH1 called Bach again to do a different show, he was concerned it might be something ridiculous.

"I’m figuring it’s some silly thing," Sebastian laughed. "I’ve got to eat bugs or bungee cord or some crap that has nothing to do with anything. Then (VH1 says), ‘We want you to live with four other musicians in a mansion in Las Vegas for twelve days, and at the end of the twelve days, you have to have a set, at least one brand-new, original song, and you have to do a concert.’ And I go, ‘Count me in.’"

Since VH1 and MTV do not play many music videos nowadays, Sebastian felt that he had to find another way to stay in the public eye and promote himself without necessarily looking cheesy.

"Here we are in 2006. MTV and VH1 do not play rock videos anymore," Bach explained. "They play reality shows. So I didn’t change the game, (but) I still play the game. If in 1989, ’18 and Life’ was the way that I promoted my career, great. If that doesn’t exist anymore, I’m still on the channel."

The music factor was what attracted Sebastian to "Supergroup" in the first place, but he was also thrilled that he was able to work with one of his idols, guitar god Ted Nugent (Bach now considers Nugent a "father figure"). Also included in Damnocracy’s lineup are Evan Seinfeld of Biohazard, Scott Ian of Anthrax, and Jason Bonham, the son of the legendary Led Zepplin drummer John Bonham.

One interesting facet to the eclectic lineup of Damnocracy was that three of the band mates were completely sober – they consumed no drugs or alcohol at all – going into the show. Sebastian, on the other hand, was, as he put it, "100% not sober."

"The truth of the matter is, between the ages of 15 and 37… I cannot think of more than five days or a week that I did not drink alcohol," Sebastian confessed. "That’s just the way that I’ve lived since the mid-eighties, (with) all my bands, and my family, and being Canadian. Where I grew up, there were three things: hockey, beer and Rush. That’s pretty much it. I didn’t know one person when I was fifteen …that did not drink beer."

Bach said that, until recently, he would get drunk almost every day on a regular basis, often starting his drinking as early as 3:30 p.m., and would hide from his sons (now 18 and 12) so they would not see him hammered. "I was drinking too much," he admitted.

Known for his crazy substance use, Sebastian was unaware of what the result would be of him becoming part of a band with someone as adamantly against drinking as Ted Nugent (who is a spokesman for D.A.R.E.). One pivotal episode of the new show will include Ted Nugent and Evan Seinfeld hosting a come-to-Jesus meeting with Sebastian.

"One of the episodes is Ted doing a mini-intervention on my ass," Sebastian confessed. "It’s extremely emotional, this episode. Lots of tears. Not an easy thing to do. And Ted’s not Mr. Nice Guy about it. I don’t want to give too much away, but a little tough love happening."

Since the intervention, at the time of the interview, Sebastian had not had a drink in three weeks and counting. The life change has affected him in greater ways than he ever could have imagined: he said that being sober now allows him to look and feel much better, and also to spend more quality time with his children.

"Instead of getting hammered as part of my daily thing, I can go to coffee shops at seven o’clock at night with my son and spend time with him and not be a loud, sweaty, slobbering drunk," he said.

In an effort to express his commitment to sobriety to his fans in particular, Sebastian reasoned that going public with his decision would help him keep his promise to stay clean.

"I couldn’t talk about this in the press until today," Bach said. "I was waiting for months to go on my website and say it. But the more people I tell, wow… I can’t go back now. If I tell the fans I’m sober through you, there’s no way I can get fuckin’ drunk now. I’m in for life."

"Supergroup" is not all tears and hard times. After living in a house together for twelve days, the members of Damnocracy played a big concert in Las Vegas on March 14 to an ecstatic crowd. The band wrote one original song that they played for the reality show ("Take It Back"), as well as rocking with several cover songs at the concert. The band also continues to write and has intentions of recording in the future.

"We have three songs that we’re working on right now, plus Jason Bonham has this beautiful piano ballad that is totally gorgeous that I want to sing," Sebastian said. "We’re working on demo stuff so that when the show does start airing, we’re going to have five or six songs that we can either put out through our own websites, or get a deal, or see what happens."

The sound of the music the band is producing is hard to explain, according to Bach. "I find talking about music so futile because I could describe the songs to you, (and) I could say it’s really dark and heavy and in minor key and it’s got a real driving beat, and it sounds really gothic," he reflected. "I could be describing Black Sabbath or Vagner. You’d use the same adjectives to describe both, who sound completely different."

Despite the challenge of explaining music verbally instead of just playing it, Sebastian did attempt to explain a little bit of the music Damnocracy created and how it ended up sounding. With Ted Nugent and Scott Ian playing guitar together, an original sound was created from the heavier Anthrax music with the Nugent-style riffs, Sebastian explained.

"The music we made in Damnocracy, it’s pretty much what you’d expect, I hope," Sebastian said. "The screaming vocals. Ted Nugent on lead guitar- he’s not changed his style. Ted Nugent with Scott Ian, I think, is a very cool juxtaposition of guitar tones."

Along with the new show on VH1 that just finished filming, Sebastian is also looking into other career ventures. Having performed in three different Broadway shows ("The Rocky Horror Show," "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Jesus Christ Superstar"), Bach hopes to one day return to the musical theatre stage. He was recently offered a role in the Broadway show "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" but turned it down due to of the nature of the show.

"To me, it’s not about Broadway, it’s about what I’m singing," Bach said. "I have to be able to put my heart into anything that I do. And I couldn’t see myself going on my website and saying, ‘Heeeeey, all you rock ‘n’ rollers, come see me in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!’ You’ve gotta draw the line somewhere!"

Sebastian does love being onstage, however, and has plans to return. One role in particular that he has his eye on is the vampire Lestat (from the Broadway show "Lestat"), a character he describes as "a rocker who turns into a vampire that has real long hair." He laughed, "I think I could pull that one off." For the moment, though, he is working on "Angel Down," due out in July. He said that rock ‘n’ roll always comes first over theatre, even though acting has proved more lucrative for him in recent years than has singing.

One down side to a career like Sebastian’s, where country-hopping and coast-to-coast flights are all a part of the daily grind, is being away from one’s family (often for months at a time). Regardless, Bach would never complain about the negatives that come with traveling and rock ‘n’ rolling all over the world.

"If you’re gonna play the game, fuckin’ get ready, or you’re toast," he said energetically. "And if you’re not prepared for all the attention and the time away from home and everything, don’t do it.

"I read about all these British bands who are huge in England and they try to crack the States, and I laugh at these articles, like the guys in The Darkness saying, ‘We had no idea how big America was- like the drives between the shows.’ I’m like, ‘Shut the fuck up!’" Sebastian broke out laughing. "You’re complaining about driving to the next city? Why do you do this? You’re lucky to be driving to the next town. ‘It’s so hard. I didn’t know how big America was.’ Then fuck off back to England!"

When it comes to understanding the nature of the music industry, Sebastian Bach is nothing less than a professional. Having toured the world, performed in a screaming frenzy every night (often while intoxicated) and regularly made appearances on television, Bach knows quite a bit about the business and is able to offer his own unique word of advice to Georgia State students looking to break into rock ‘n’ roll:

"Don’t."

This may seem strange coming from someone with such an obvious love of rock. One of the few lead singers of the Skid Row era that continues to make a decent living (and remain famous) in the entertainment industry, it seems almost counter-intuitive for Sebastian to warn students against the evils of a business that has given him so much. However, Bach explained that the sacrifices he has made for his career are great, and he would not encourage anyone to pursue rock ‘n’ roll unless they are willing to give up everything else in their lives.

"Rock ‘n’ roll is such a shitty, fuckin’ backstabbing, lying, deceitful, evil business," Sebastian said adamantly. "There’s all these rock ‘n’ roll schools that call me to come in and talk to the kids, and it breaks my heart. I’m like, you kids don’t even know how fuckin’ mean this business is. The reason I (sing) is because my voice will not let me do anything else in this world. …I don’t wanna break anybody’s heart or throw stones at the window, or whatever. But you have to love (rock) so much that that love takes precedence over your feelings, your family, your bank account, your sanity, your physical well-being, your mental well-being, your relationships with your friends. If you’re prepared to fuck with all that, then join a rock band."

On the up side, Sebastian’s advice to future rockers was not all depressing. He did mention that those interested in going into music in any form should take vocal lessons. One of the biggest reasons that Sebastian continues to sing (while his former fellow rockers pray for it to rain cash) is because he was trained professionally to sing and uses that training for each and every show.

"I’ve taken vocal lessons since I was 13 years old," he said. "Italian opera scales- I do them before each and every time I sing, and it totally gives me an edge over other singers that don’t warm up or anything like that. So I’d say definitely take musical training. If you want to be a singer, you’ve got to take vocal lessons. It doesn’t matter if you’re in grunge or power pop, if you can’t go fourteen nights in a row screaming your guts out and then wake up the next morning and you can still do it… that’s a talent in and of itself."

For someone who could have easily melted into the shadows after the breakup of his old band, Sebastian Bach has proved himself a living legend and a man with staying power. Not only does he have VH1 eating out of the palm of his hand, he continues a flourishing solo career as a singer and as an actor on "Gilmore Girls" and Broadway. As Sebastian ventures into a new, powerful band on a sure-to-be amazing new reality show, the world can wish him well and salute his pledge to stay away from alcohol. Good luck staying sober, Sebastian- we’re all behind you. It seems that even those who never really left can still make a hell of a comeback.

Baz also recently did an interview with www.shiningstarradio.com which was lifted from our World Famous Gossip Boards which was in turn lifted from www.Blabbermouth.net

SEBASTIAN BACH Announces New Album Title, Says He’s ‘Too Big’ to Play Small Clubs – Apr. 3, 2006

Alberta, Canada’s Shining Star Radio recently conducted an interview with former SKID ROW frontman Sebastian Bach. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Shining Star Radio: You’re set to appear in the new VH1 reality show "SuperGroup" along with some other famous names, including Ted Nugent. I’ve gotta know: Was it a pain in the ass living in the same house with a bunch of other musicians or was it just a non-stop party?

Bach: "Ummm… Wow, that’s a good question. The one thing, I think, that people don’t realize that aren’t in rock bands is that you can’t really schedule rock and roll. I went in there with the intention of making as much new music as possible, and we did make, like, three or four songs, which was great, but… When you say, ‘Was it a non-stop party?’ Yes, we did go out on the town of Las Vegas, and we did do some of that, so there was a little bit of that, too. If it was up to me, there would have been less partying. [Laughs]"

Shining Star Radio: And more songwriting.

Bach: "Yeah, yeah. You’ll see that on the show. I get kind of annoyed that I’ve gotta go out to meet this publicist or whatever. If it was up to me, if we’ve only got two weeks to jam, it would have been non-stop jamming, but we did jam a lot, believe me. It was a lot of fun."

Shining Star Radio: The band that you and the others formed is called DAMNOCRACY. And you played in Las Vegas as a group in early March. Are there any plans to do more live shows together once the series is released on VH1?

Bach: "Yes, there definitely is plans to play live. The only thing is Scott Ian is in ANTHRAX, Ted Nugent has a very successful solo career, and Jason Bonham plays in FOREIGNER right now, so we all have our own individual careers. I have an album coming out in July called ‘Angel Down’, and I’m going on tour in Europe, and Ted’s going on tour, too, so we would have to schedule it properly, but we all want to do that. There’s no gigs booked right now, but we would definitely love to play."

Shining Star Radio: I’ve read in some places where people are trashing you for the recent episode [of "Gilmore Girls"] where you sang [a cover of GWEN STEFANI’s] "Hollaback Girl".

Bach: "That’s the first I’m hearing of that — I’ve never heard that. The thing is, five million people a week watch the ‘Gilmore Girls’, so you can trash me all you want, I make a shitload of money. [Laughs] I have ‘fuck you’ money. You can trash me all you want, I’m too busy working."

Shining Star Radio: And having a good time doing it.

Bach: "Yeah! And it’s fun. That’s actually the first time I’ve ever heard of that, so I don’t know… If people are gonna trash me for acting, get used to it, ’cause you don’t know the shit that’s coming down the pike. I don’t announce things until I’m doing it, but get ready for me on the TV and you’re not gonna be able to get away from my face. [Laughs]"

Shining Star Radio: I know you’ve done plenty of club dates since leaving SKID ROW. Do you like the intimate atmosphere of a club setting or do you prefer the arena thing?

Bach: "I prefer the arena thing. And in the last two years, I’ve done nothing but stadiums in my solo band. I’ve done clubs, too, but the last two years, every summer I go and play the biggest festivals in the world. Last summer I played Sweden Rock [festival] with MÖTLEY CRÜE in front of 65,000 people outside of Sölvesborg, Sweden and you would not know the difference between 1989 and 2005 watching that show. To have 65,000 people with their hands in the air in my solo band is killer. I’ve got a brand new album coming out this summer called ‘Angel Down’, and we’re gonna tour everywhere. I did play clubs when I first started in the solo band. I don’t mind playing clubs, but to be honest with you, I’m so tall that — this might sound silly to some people — but I can’t really do my Sebastian Bach show on a small stage just because of my size. It’s like, I’m like 6-foot-3 [inches]. My arms are really lanky, like a basketball player. When I’m on a big stage, I can fill that stage, just by the way I walk, the way I swing my mic, so it’s really frustrating for me to play a small stage. I’m just too big. [Laughs]"

Shining Star Radio: You’re just too confined on a small stage.

Bach: "Definitely. I have all these moves and tricks and stunts that I’ve been practicing for 20 years that you can’t even see me do in a club."

Download the entire 30-minute interview in MP3 format at www.shiningstarradio.com

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