Skid Row’s summer tour hits Dayton
By Allyson B. Crawford
Photo: Guitarist Dave “Snake” Sabo on stage with Skid Row; photo credit:Charles Shanks
“Music keeps you young. I’ve always believed that. It gives you energy that doesn’t exist in other arenas in life,” Skid Row guitarist Dave “Snake” Sabo told Dayton City Paper. “The essence of me is a 16-year-old kid standing in front of mirror with a guitar, pretending to be Ace Frehley [of KISS] or Joe Perry [of Aerosmith] or Eddie Van Halen [of Van Halen]. Everything else has sprouted from that. When you get to my core, that’s who I am. That essence hasn’t been jaded.”
Skid Row is coming to Dayton next month, stopping at McGuffy’s House of Rock on Friday, July 12. It’s been a wild ride for the band over the past 27 years and for fans that have lost touch with the band since its late ‘80s and early ‘90s heyday may be surprised at the lineup: larger than life sex-god Sebastian Bach is gone. Country-boy-cum-rocker Johnny Solinger is in. Solinger, who packs an amazing range and can hit all the famous high notes, has been with the Skids for 14 years now, meaning the band has had plenty of time to gel as a new unit. There will always be those die-hards screaming for a classic Skid Row reunion with Bach, but that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon – if ever. And it isn’t as if the guys in the band are worrying about it.
Instead, Skid Row is pushing full steam ahead with writing, recording and touring. Skid Row will hit the cobblestones in Europe in the fall, touring with Ugly Kid Joe, another early ‘90s metal favorite. It will be the first time the two bands have traveled together and Sabo is looking forward to it. But for now, it is summer and that means touring America on the back of the newest Skid Row release, United World Rebellion: Chapter One. Skid Row released the mini-album back in April via Megaforce and will release two more mini-albums over the course of the next 18 months or so. For Sabo, the change in the way music is released is both straight business and amazingly creative: constant writing is good for the chops and having new albums to promote means booking a lot of gigs.
“I think [the music industry today] forces you to be creative and come up with new ways of thinking and to develop new revenue streams that favor both the artist and consumer,” Sabo explained. “I never thought the world owed me anything, so anything that came to us was a gift. I still look at it that way. Because I never thought I was owed anything, I was never overly devastated or overly affected by any of the successes or failures we may have endured. As with anything in life, you have your mountains and your valleys. The whole key is to be able to go through all of those with the same determination and will and to come out on the other end as the same person.”
For Sabo and the rest of the guys in Skid Row, every gig is exciting, whether they perform before a handful of people – like the band’s very first show before they were signed – or in front of hundreds of thousands – like during the 1989 Moscow Music Peace Festival. This means the show at McGuffy’s is guaranteed to be high-energy, with a mix of old and new tracks spanning the band’s career seven commercial album releases. You’ll also likely see a bunch of guys on stage acting more like the jam band down the street than seasoned award-winning professionals. Skid Row is a very close-knit band as a whole and Sabo admits that he and bassist Rachel Bolan share a very tight bond.
“Rachel and I have gotten so much closer as friends,” Sabo admitted candidly. “I guess that comes with getting older and realizing some of the more important things in life. So with that, there’s ego that comes with writing songs. With this whole process, we got back to the core of why we starting writing music in the first place. Why did we start writing songs? Because we needed to express ourselves.”
Rock musicians face a lot of stereotypes, and being introspective isn’t usually one of them. For Sabo, a life of music has made him think more globally about the world around him and look inside himself for peace and happiness. That happiness is directly tied to being in Skid Row and playing live music.
“I’m really happy we’re able to go out and play our music in front of people. I think people in other bands may take that for granted. We never have – I certainly don’t,” Sabo concluded. “I’m humbled by the fact that 27 years after Rachel and I started this band, we’re still able to go out and play our music. It’s truly humbling and an amazing feeling to be able to do that.”
Skid Row will perform on Friday, July 12 at McGuffys House of Rock, 5418 Burkhardt Road. Crosley Court and Heroes of Time will open. Admission is $25 for 18+ with a valid ID. Show starts at 8 p.m. For more information, visit skidrow.com.
Allyson B. Crawford lives in Kettering and writes about ‘80s metal bands on her daily blog bringbackglam.com. You can usually find her at all sorts of metal shows around Ohio and across the country.
Reach Allyson at AllysonCrawford@DaytonCityPaper.com.