Heart of Steel: Interviews


Interview with Rachel Bolan
(TUE. DEC. 9/03)

Interview by Lord of the Wasteland
All Live Pics by Celtic Bob

Skid Row has weathered many difficulties after nearly 15 years together. The band went from phenomenal success in the late 80s and early 90s with such songs as "18 And Life", "I Remember You", "Youth Gone Wild", "Monkey Business" and "Slave To The Grind", to almost overnight obsolescence with the popularity of grunge, to the falling out with, and dismissal of, original vocalist Sebastian Bach. The band decided to call it quits in 1996 and the members went on to form other projects. In 2000, a new vocalist was found and Skid Row decided to take the new lineup on a few dates with KISS on their high-profile "Farewell Tour." After the band was met with unprecedented positive feedback, they decided to go back into the studio and record a new album. Fast-forward to 2003 and Skid Row is back with new vocalist Johnny Solinger and new drummer Phil Varone (ex-Saigon Kick). They have also just released THICK SKIN, their first album of new Skid Row material in 8 years. I spoke with bassist and co-founder Rachel Bolan from his home in Atlanta about the new album, new lineup, and his thoughts on some of the older stuff as well.


You have a new CD out called THICK SKIN and it's really a great return for the band.

Thanks!

Can you explain the album title?

Well we're comin' out, and as I like to put it, we're the "oldest new band". We've made a lot of changes and we haven't been out in a long time, so it seems like we were against all odds and we'd have to prove ourselves all over again. We have no problem with that either. You know the old saying where if you face some scrutiny, you have to have thick skin to get through it, so that just kind of stuck and summed up where our heads were at. We were waiting to meet a lot of resistance but we really haven't met any yet (laughs). Everyone has welcomed Johnny and Phil with open arms and we're pretty happy with the way things turned out.

 

 

How has the response been to the new record so far?

It's been great! We haven't gotten a single bad review yet. Most of them have been stellar and a few have been good at worst. No one has really beaten it up too badly yet. It's played quite a bit on satellite radio as well as on a lot of Active Rock radio stations. We're doing everything ourselves, especially in the States. We're managing ourselves, we started our own label, so in North America, we're covering pretty much everything ourselves. It's a lot of work but it's well worth it.

 

 

Obviously, you were HOPING for a positive response from fans but were you EXPECTING a positive response? Did you think that some of the older fans would turn away thinking the "real" band ended when Sebastian Bach left, or that the updated sound is too far away from where Skid Row was in 1995?

No…because…I mean, we grew like everyone else did in the eight years we haven't released anything as Skid Row. People do change but a lot of it still rocks really hard and I can't really hear the changes, maybe because it was so gradual and I'm on the inside. We never really worried about what people would think. You have to satisfy yourself before you can satisfy other people. That's just the mindset we've always had. We had a few songs that we didn't think were up to par with the rest but we just wrote what came out. It all came from within…nothing was calculated and there was no blueprint for it. We just went out and wrote songs that we liked and you can only hope that other people like them, too. Everything may sound modern but it still has the Skid Row fingerprint on it. There's no denying that.

 

 

I agree. There are a few heavy tracks like "Lamb", "New Generation" and "Thick Is The Skin" and they could have come off of any of the older albums. But you also get the more melodic, modern ones like "Ghost", "Born A Beggar" and "See You Around" and they would fit perfectly on the radio today. I think you guys did a really good job on this record of not alienating the older fans while also leaving room to welcome a new generation of fans that may have written you off as "has beens".

We would never want to alienate our old fans and that's why we're still Skid Row. We still do our older songs when we play live. It's all about being creative. We're not doing this for any other reason than the love of the music and I think that translates from the stage and from the CD. People know that we're honest about we do. Like I said, it's not something we consciously did. It all came from within, you know?

 

 

You re-recorded a heavier version of one of your best-known songs, "I Remember You", on THICK SKIN. Why did you choose that particular song to do over?

Well I have a side project called Prunella Scales and when I used to do gigs, people would occasionally yell out, "Do a Skid Row song!!", so we did "I Remember You" and a couple of punk covers and some Prunella Scales songs. I never expected people to want to hear it, especially with me singing it (laughs). I decided to pick a song that would grab people's attention if I made a few changes to it, so I picked "I Remember You" and decided to just rock it out as much as I could by tripling the tempos and that sort of thing. I demoed it back in '98 and I found the tape again around 2002 and played it for the guys when we were rehearsing for the Tesla tour. I said, "We have to do this live this way!" and then Johnny suggested we actually open with it. We all thought that would be the ballsiest thing we could do (laughs). We actually play both versions live and the response was amazing. Some people hated it and said was sacrilege but we thought since it was our song, we could do whatever the hell we wanted to with it (laughs). We decided to record it and hold it off for a b-side or something and then we listened to it with the rest of the record and it just sort of fit! Inadvertently, we were making a statement that we still appreciate our past and we'll never let go of it, but this is Skid Row 2003. It made more of a statement without saying a word than anything else. It just gets a great response live.

 

 

What is the ratio of old songs to new songs in your live set?

When we do our own shows, we do about 15 songs and play for about an hour and forty minutes, so we do about 5 or 6 new songs and the rest old stuff. We have certain songs that we know we HAVE to play like "I Remember You", "18 And Life", "Youth Gone Wild" and all that stuff, which we love to play. We don't want to play all new stuff because people will be disappointed. No matter how good the new record is there's nothing worse than going to see a band who has a new album out and you don't get to hear your favorite old songs, you know?

 

 

Have you been recording any of the material from this tour for a live album later?

That seems to be the question of the day. We are but it will come later on. We'll start recording more shows and then do something a little more down the road. We're going to get a couple more studio records out and then put out a double-live album or have more new stuff to include. We want to do it right like back in the 70s where you get 2 albums just packed full of live music. Right now, we're looking at touring until next year right around September and then we'll start writing for the new record, go into the studio and hopefully have something out by early 2005.

 

 

So you are going to continue touring into the New Year then?

Oh yeah! We're putting a Canadian tour together for early in the year…

 

 

I live in Vancouver. Is there any chance for a date here?

Well…actually I was going through offers right before you called and seeing where people want to put us, so hopefully there will be some shows in B.C. We're planning to go coast to coast with about 10 shows in Canada and then go down the west coast of the states because we haven't been there in so long. Then we'll probably head over and do a Pacific Rim swing including Japan, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and then back through Europe and the U.K. If all is going well and we still have some energy left, we'll do Australia, South America and Mexico, too.

 

 

WOW! That's a busy year you have planned!

Well the lifeblood of this band is to play live and with this new record out, we're completely energized to go out and do it. We're also doing it for the right reasons now. We're doing it for the love of the music and we all get along so well that there's no drama, no arguments. We're all there on the same team. It's great. It's the most fun I've EVER had in my career with the guys I'm with right now because I know that at any given time, one of those four guys will have my back. It's such a creative environment in and out of the studio and I just love that vibe.

 

 

You mentioned your side project, Prunella Scales, and you recruited Phil Varone from that band as Skid Row's new drummer. With Skid Row back together, is Prunella Scales done or is there a chance that there will be another record?

Prunella Scales will always be there. I could probably call any of those guys and say, "Come down to Atlanta and let's do another record". Right now it's all about Skid Row, but I hope to do another Prunella Scales record in the future.

 

 

In 1998, you, Scotti Hill, Rob Affuso and Snake Sabo formed a band called Ozone Monday and actually opened a few of KISS' farewell tour shows. Considering that Ozone Monday was 80% of the original Skid Row, why did you decide to change the band's name?

Because we weren't doing any Skid Row songs. Ozone Monday was more of a "project" than it was a "band". It was more like a mid-career crisis type of thing (laughs). I think we were exorcising demons more than anything else. We were working with Shawn McCabe who is a good friend of ours, and actually co-wrote "Born A Beggar" off THICK SKIN with us. He was a talented guy and we just kind of got together and started writing songs and people started to hear about it locally and were asking us to play here and there. We did some really cool shows but it was always more of an interim project than a band. We did shows with Soul Asylum, Spacehog and KISS, which was really cool but it was just one of those things, you know?

 

 

If Ozone Monday hadn't have happened, do you think Skid Row would still have re-emerged?

Yeah, I think so. We all had projects on the go. I had Prunella Scales and Ozone Monday, Scotti had a band called Chrome Daddy and Snake was doing some stuff. Everyone was working on stuff and just keeping busy. It was a matter of just decompressing from the fallout. By the time it came around where we all just let everything go, speaking of myself, Snake and Scotti…we were always like brothers and there was this gigantic wedge that divided us apart. Once all that was gone, we really stated to miss playing Skid Row songs. We got back together and decided that if we were going to do this, we were going to find a new singer and that's what we did. And Rob had stuff going on in his life that he had to focus on and we're still cool with Rob. We had a guy in there for a little while named Charlie Mills, but Phil was the guy we wanted, being that I played with him and we all have known him since '89 when he was with Saigon Kick. It all worked out. He came out and joined the band and since those two guys joined, it really set a fire under our asses, because we fed off of their hunger and their determination. I also realized that I wasn't as jaded as I thought (laughs)! Our main goal is to go out there on stage and wear everybody out and leave completely content knowing they just saw a great rock and roll band. I always think back to when I would leave a concert and remember how happy I was that I just got to see KISS. I think that's in all of us and we appreciate that and that's what we try to do for the people who come and see us.

 

 

How have the fans responded to Johnny being the new frontman? Has it been mostly positive?

99.9% has been totally positive. We know that when you change a singer, there can be backlash.

 

Like Van Halen, when they brought in Sammy Hagar and, even more so, Gary Cherone.

Yeah, exactly, It's been done so many times before. Van Halen comes to mind right away. Iron Maiden…Deep Purple…the list goes on forever, but we did it. Johnny is SO honest. There are no pretensions about Johnny. When he talks to an audience, it's like how he would talk to one of his friends. He really feels that connection to those people and it's great! People respond well to Johnny and they appreciate his vocal ability. The guy's got pipes, there's no doubt about it. He has this Southern soul that just belongs in Skid Row's music.

 

 

I saw Skid Row open for KISS in July 2000 and Johnny had only been in the band for a couple months at the time. He sounded great! I'll admit to coming into the show as a bit of a skeptic wondering if the "new guy" would be able to pull it off, but he really impressed me!

Yeah! He's the goods. That's how the audition went, too. He came in with 5 or 6 songs that he had learned and by the time he was halfway through the first song, we all knew it. We were all like, "Oh my God!" This guy has his own style but stays true to the melody and to whatever screams and high notes there are and he doesn't back away. That's the kind of guy he is and that's the kind of guys we are, too. It's great when I hear people like you say that they were a skeptic but walked away a believer. That means we did the right thing.

 

 

Did the band know immediately that Johnny was "the one"?

Oh yeah. We knew immediately. We actually cancelled the three other auditions we had after him. We called and said, "Sorry but we found our guy." It just didn't make sense to even bother. We were all so happy and knew we'd just be wasting those people's time and our time.

 

 

That must have been an amazing feeling for you guys. Having that tremendous weight off your shoulders and knowing that Johnny was "right"?

Yeah, absolutely. It was so easy. We found him in Dallas through a friend of ours in Boston, if you can believe that (laughs). When we were getting ready to audition people, I asked her if there was anyone up there and she said there wasn't but a friend of hers knew this guy in Dallas. A couple days later, she gave me his website address (www.solinger.net) and I went there and listened to some of his tunes-which were good songs-and watched some videos and thought, "This is too easy! Something's got to be wrong with this guy" (laughs). So I called Snake and told him to check this guy out so we started e-mailing back and forth and then some phone calls, then he got on a plane and came up. We auditioned 2 or 3 guys before him who had far more time to prepare than Johnny did, yet he was so prepared and so honest that we knew this was just a natural thing for him. He's a down-to-earth, good guy, who I'm proud to call a friend. That doesn't happen a lot, you know? We hit the jackpot.

 

 

When you played your last show with former singer Sebastian Bach in 1996, did you know it was over then?

Yeah, I did. Before we even got off the plane. We went down to South America and we were on this totally heavy, heavy bill with bands like Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Biohazard, King Diamond and Helloween and before we even left, I'm like, "What are we doing on this bill?" (laughs). We may be considered a metal band but not like that. That's not saying anything against these bands either because I love a lot of those bands. That's just not our kind of bill and the crowd hated us. That wasn't the determining factor, though. The tension for years before that-the drama and the headaches-but that was the final straw. When I got off that plane in New York, I thought, "I hope I see a couple of these guys again but I've got a feeling I'm not going to be seeing any of them for a while" (laughs). I had that in my gut and I didn't talk to Snake or Scotti for, like, a month after that before we started calling each other again. And we only live 15 miles apart at best! That all passed and now we've moved on and everything's great, you know? It's totally cool now (laughs).

 

 

Getting back to the new album, it has a very basic, black cover with the Skid Row logo on it and the album title. You did the artwork for the record, so why did you choose such a plain cover?

That's us. We're a simple American rock and roll band. I had all different ideas for artwork and I just kind of came up with that and I showed it to the guys. There are some little graphics that you have to look really hard on the cover to see. But we're a simple band. Here's our logo. Here's the name of the record. What else do we need to say here? Absolutely nothing (laughs)! It was the "let the music do the talking" theory. We don't need to win album cover of the year awards. We don't care about that. We want people to put this record on and bang their hands as well as their girlfriends to it (laughs)!

 

(Laughs) I think that's a pretty gutsy move on the band's part, too, having been away for so long. Wouldn't a cover that was more eye-catching, something that would stand out and show people that Skid Row is back, have been a better move?

We just wanted to let the music speak for itself.

 

 

You filmed a DVD called UNDER THE SKIN simultaneously with the new record. Basically it's just a behind-the-scenes chronicle of the last 2 years and what went into recording the new record and touring with the new lineup. Did you plan from the get-go to film a DVD or did it come together in the end with all the footage you had?

A friend of ours was filming us for what was supposed to be a five-minute news documentary piece to let people know what we were up to. It started turning into him following us around with the camera and after a while we forgot he was even there. He accumulated so much footage after a year and a half to two years time that it was actually his idea. He said he had some really good footage and wanted us to let him edit it together and put it out on DVD. We were like, "Yeah, I guess" but I didn't realize what we had. There was almost 50 hours of footage! We flew down to Florida and went in the studio with him and he showed us all this stuff and we were like, "Wow! This is really good!" He did a couple edits and we flew back and forth a couple times. He put together such great stuff and we couldn't believe how good the end result was. We couldn't believe how he did that (laughs). It was really cool! Then we got an offer for the DVD itself that he was instrumental in doing, so we thought we'd get it out around the same time as the record. We thought it would be really cool for the fans to see what we've been going through for the past few years since we haven't been around. We've been getting a great response to it, too.

 

 

It's a pretty cool DVD. How did you go about whittling down all that footage from 2 years to make a 70-minute DVD?

That was his deal because we just wanted to show the important stuff like when Johnny joined the band and show some interviews and show what we do when we're not playing music and what goofballs we really are. But we didn't want to bore people, either. Sometimes when I watch a DVD and it goes on for too long, I'm just like, "Too much information" (laughs). I'm from the generation where you put on a vinyl album and it lasts maybe a half an hour (laughs). There were ten songs and no more. Sometimes I think less is more because people get bored and sometimes too much is just not good. I think we covered all the parts that people would want to know about and the bonus section is kind of cool too. You can learn how to cook chicken enchiladas and drink tequila with Johnny (laughs).

(Laughs) Something everyone needs to know!

(Laughs) It's hilarious because people come up to Johnny at a show and say, "Hey I tried your chicken enchilada recipe!" Johnny will ask how it turned out and the guy will say, "I don't know. I got too drunk on tequila!" (laughs)

 

 

(Laughs) I read that THICK SKIN was recorded twice. What was wrong with the first session?

It came out good the first time but it was a little too polished, a little too clean and we thought this isn't the Skid Row that WE know and it's certainly not the Skid Row that our fans know, so we went in and beefed it up. In doing that, we also wrote a couple of new songs during the in between time, one being "New Generation" and another being "One Light" and "Swallow Me". It all worked out for the best. Everything happens for a reason.

 

 

Are you going to film any videos for the album?

We're thinking about doing one for "Ghost" or "New Generation" right now. It's a different ballgame in America but everywhere else, there are a lot of video outlets that would play us and have actually been requesting a video, so I think it would be a missed opportunity if we didn't.

 

 

I'd like to touch on your songwriting relationship with Snake Sabo. How did the two of you first meet?

He worked at a local music store in the town where I lived and we just kind of met there and started writing together. We each had bands. Scotti and I were in a band together and Snake had his band a little further up north in New Jersey. I knew of him and he knew of me, but we really didn't know each other. Once he got that job at the music store, we started to talk and write some songs. He needed a bass player to jam with him on some of his tunes so I jammed with him and then we really started writing a lot. I saw how open-minded and creative he was. He has the pop sensibility where I came more from a heavier punk background. It just worked and we started writing songs and then more and more every week. Soon we found we had written so much that we started putting Skid Row together.

 

 

Has the way you write songs together changed at all over the years or do you still approach them the same way?

Not really. If anything, it's just more relaxed. We've grown a lot as songwriters, which makes being creative a little easier. We don't have any formula for writing a song, per se, but the process is usually us, sitting in a room, bouncing some ideas we had off of each other and then when something clicks, we expand on that and run with it. When we feel we get it to where we can bring it to the band, we do and everyone puts their feeling into it and that's when it truly becomes a Skid Row song.

 

 

You just finished a short tour of Germany with Def Leppard. How did that go?

It was great. It was really great. We've known those guys for years and oddly enough, this was the first time we ever played with them. We've played with just about every band known to man but we've never played with them, not a festival…NOTHING! They're so cool! As huge as those guys are, you wouldn't know it. If you didn't know who they were, you'd NEVER think they were in a multi-million selling rock band because there's no attitude, no egos. They're all still like brothers and they treated us like we were too. They had a "mi casa, es su casa" kind of attitude. Even little stuff like merchandise. There was never any restriction where we could only sell one shirt and it had to be white. "You can't sell this, you can't sell that." They didn't care! They were like, "If you want to sell Skid Row couches, go ahead. We don't care!" (laughs) They're just those kind of guys and that's what rock and roll is all about. It's all about rowing the same boat so to speak and being on the same team. It's really cool.

 

 

Before THICK SKIN came out, you toured with KISS, Poison, and now Def Leppard. What was it like touring with the "big names" again?

Touring with KISS is just something I can't explain being such a huge KISS fan. When we got offered that tour, especially when Johnny was only in the band for about four weeks before we had to leave, it was unbelievable. It was a learning experience like no other. The only thing that came close was the Aerosmith tour. To be in the state of mind that we are now and to be out with one of our favorite bands was just unbelievable. The Poison tour was cool. We'd known them for a long time. The tour with Tesla was the most fun I've EVER had on a long, extended tour. We didn't even know those guys before we went out and within a month, it was just mayhem (laughs). You couldn't keep us off each other's tour buses. It was a tour manager's nightmare because it was constantly, "Where's Rachel? Where's Phil? ". We still keep in contact with them. They're just a bunch of knuckleheads like us (laughs).

 

 

What was it like meeting Gene Simmons for the first time?

He's the REASON I play bass! I wanted to play what he played before I even knew what it was, you know? The first time I met him was in '89, I guess, and it blew my mind! First of all, the guy is so tall and when he walks in a room, he carries this aura with him, which is pretty incredible. I was so nervous that I sang the last verse of "God of Thunder" at the top of my lungs! I couldn't control it (laughs)! He's like, "Uh, hey…that's pretty good" (laughs).

 

(Laughs) I'm a HUGE KISS fan, too, and from fan to fan, what do you think of the way the band has carried on with other members in the makeup, especially having Tommy Thayer in Ace Frehley's makeup?

You know, I went to see it a couple of times, once up in New Jersey and again down here in Atlanta. It's great! Tommy's great. He's a motherfucker of a guitar player! He is really, really good and he's a really cool guy as well. Seeing him out in the Ace makeup is kind of weird. Seeing them out still doing a farewell tour is kind of weird but being the KISS fan that I am, I'll go see them every time they come around (laughs).

 

(Laughs) Me too! As long as they want to stay around, I'll go see them.

Absolutely. It was cool though. I mean they were tight and they put on a great show. They did all the KISS songs I love to hear.

 

 

What do you think of all these "reunion tours". First KISS, then Iron Maiden got back with Bruce Dickinson and now Rob Halford is back in Judas Priest. From what you've said, I'm guessing the chance of reuniting with Sebastian Bach is out of the question?

No way. There's no reason to. We've been offered pretty significant money to do another record with all five original members but it's not worth the unhappiness. We were miserable, so why would we want to do it again, you know? Sometimes you can't put a price on that. I think it's cool that Bruce is back with Maiden. I like Bruce…I like Paul DiAnno, too. I never really heard anything by Blaze but I'm sure it was good. They're just a good band. Ripper did an amazing job with Priest, you know? I mean that guy's got PIPES! They're getting back together for a 30th anniversary thing and evidently it was a really easy break with Ripper and I commend the guy on that! He was in his favorite band in the world and that was pretty amazing!

They even made a movie about him!

Yeah! But I love Halford. I absolutely love Rob Halford's voice so I'm glad they're back together. I hope their record is really good. We'll see. I've got no problems with reunions, you know? If guys can put stuff aside…I'm not even sure why Judas Priest broke up. I think Rob just kind of wanted to stretch and do some of his own stuff but I don't think there was infighting for years and years and years, but I could be talking out of turn…I'm not sure. But Rob Halford IS the voice of metal and no one will EVER touch him with that.

 

 

When Skid Row first signed with Atlantic Records in 1989, Jon Bon Jovi was credited with "discovering" you. Was he really that instrumental in getting the band a record deal?

We wrote a lot of songs…I mean A LOT OF SONGS (laughs)! We must have had 40 or 50 songs demoed at one point. Jon grew up with Snake and they were friends. It was basically a friend who was successful helping out another friend. He brought us to the right people and got our foot in the door. So, yeah, I would say he was instrumental in helping us out because if 5 guys went and knocked on the door of some A&R guy at the Atlantic Records office, they probably wouldn't answer it (laughs). They didn't know us from anything. I think, eventually we would have got signed but having someone help you out…there's nothing wrong with that either. If I hear a band I like, I'll help them out. I'll do whatever I can to keep rock and roll alive.

 

 

What do you think of the first 3 Skid Row albums when you listen to them now? Have they stood the test of time?

Once we get out of the studio, I don't usually listen to a record until we get together to rehearse for a tour and then I have to brush up on a couple parts. This new record is the only one that I pop into my CD player to listen to and it's really weird because I listen to it like it's not us. Wait…that doesn't sound right. I listen to it with open ears without critiquing. It's really refreshing to do that. I'm just so damn proud of this record and when I hear our old stuff on a radio station or something, it just sounds odd (laughs)! When we play "Youth Gone Wild", we aren't as young as we used to be but we can still pull it off! People that are older than us still throw their fists in the air. It's just about the energy of rock and roll and that's why we do what we do.

 

 

When SLAVE TO THE GRIND came out in 1991, it was the first hard rock album to debut at #1 on the Billboard album charts. What did you think when you heard that it charted so high right out of the gates?

It's weird because we were so miserable and when Snake called me and told me, I was like (in depressed voice) "Oh…cool". But reflecting back, it was quite an accomplishment. It was the first week of Sound Scan so timing was perfect. Not taking anything away from that album because I'm very proud of it, but it's going to be good to tell my nieces and nephews when they get older, "That record was the first heavy metal record to debut at #1 on Billboard" (laughs). It's cool.

 

 

I remember watching the Moscow Music Peace Festival way back in 1989 on pay-per-view. Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, The Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne and yourselves…quite a bill! That was before the Iron Curtain came down and it was the first time that western bands were allowed into the Soviet Union. Is that another one of your musical highlights?

No…it's not, actually. It was cool, but I mean there were 70,000 people there and not one of them knew Skid Row! Not one of them knew Bon Jovi. Not one of them knew Motley Crue. It was still communist at the time. All they knew was The Scorpions because they had played Russia before and they knew Ozzy because he was so huge on the black market with Black Sabbath.

Don't forget Gorky Park (laughs)!

Yeah, they were a Russian super group or something (laughs).

 

During the show, I can remember the people just going INSANE while the Russian police stood there all serious and it was like all this emotion was just being let out!

But it was funny because after every band played a song, all they chanted was "OZZY…OZZY" (laughs). It was really strange but it was a cool experience. I think the highlight for me is a lot of the KISS shows.

 

 

Will any of your old videos-OH SAY CAN YOU SCREAM, NO FRILLS VIDEO, ROADKILL-ever get released on DVD?

You know, I've been trying to talk Atlantic into it and we're still working on it. I think it would be a really cool thing but there are no plans as of right now for it.

 

 

This is kind of a strange question but here goes…I know a guy who went out and got a nose ring with a chain like you had when the first Skid Row album came out. He wanted me to ask if you ever got the chain caught on anything or had it ripped it out (laughs)?

(Laughs) Yeah, I've caught it on a couple things. I caught it on the tuners on my bass one time…a couple times actually. The earring broke out of my nose. Thankfully it opened up but man it hurts when it does that…WOOO (laughs)!! It's pretty bad. It's like your face just goes numb for awhile and then the pain really sets in and it feels like you're getting teeth pulled or you got punched in the face. It's so funny because it's such a tiny hole (laughs).

 

 

You have another thing going in your free time: Rachel Bolan Motorsports. I checked out the website (www.rachelbolanmotorsports.com) and saw that you raced a couple of days ago. How did that go?

It went really well. What started out to be kind of a crappy day ended up being a really good day. We started way in the back of the fuel, I think 20th, because we had a bad qualifying heat and I managed to get up to 7th before it was all done. It's a short track and only 20 laps so you gotta get on it! I love racing and I got one more this month and possibly 4 more in January and depending on if we leave on tour, I may have one in February also. It's something I really love to do. I love the concentration, the focus, and the competition of it all. It's weird because I walk away from the track and I start applying it to different things in life. When you're on the track, you become very territorial and that's the way I am with Skid Row, as well. I guard it with all my energy.

 

I've never seen a car that small before!

Yeah it's only about 10½ feet long.

Is it a popular form of racing? I'm a regular Canadian guy who drives a Volkswagen so I've never heard of it or seen anything like that before (laughs)!

In the southern States, it's really big. It's in Europe and Canada, too. They made 4,000 of those cars so they're everywhere. It's kind of a start-up thing still. Guys move out of that into bigger cars.

 

Well I know we've gone WAY over the scheduled time I was given so I'd better let you get to your other interviews (laughs). Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, Rachel. I've been a big fan for a long time and it was really great to get a chance to talk to you.

Hey man, I appreciate it! Take care.


Skid Row Official Page
www.skidrow.com