BOOK REVIEW: 18 And Life On Skid Row by Sebastian Bach
Harper Collins Australia
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Anyone who has interviewed or talked with Sebastian Bach at a gig will tell you that he’s a garrulous sort of chap, never backwards in coming forwards, and this entertaining autobiography reads like he’s entertaining a room of friends with tales from his life – which, I guess, he kind’ve is.
The point being, it’s friendly, warm, honest in both his successes and failings (he opens his story with the 1989 concert where he stupidly threw a bottle at an idiot in the crowd, missed, and hit an innocent girl in the face – and yes, he is horrified that he could have done such a thing, and that’s not the only regret he describes in 18 And Life…), but it does tend to jump around a bit and some parts of the story are glossed over a bit – not that you can blame the guy for not wanting to go into the gory details of relationship breakups, and the still-raw demise of the original Skid Row line-up isn’t examined too closely because, as he honestly admits, a reunion sooner rather than later makes perfect sense (even if an original member or two might disagree).
There’s plenty of sex, drugs, rock n’ roll and more drugs, stories of his famous friends and acquaintances, and candid photos from his own archives – certainly enough to get a pretty good picture of the man behind the image: lover of old school album art, comics, rock n’ roll and especially KISS and family.
He even describes in great detail writing a song with idol Ace Frehley that later appeared on a Frehley solo album – without his songwriting credit.
It’s also worth noting that whilst selling 20 million records with Skid Row and a handful of pretty damn good solo records might be what most in the rock world know him for, he’s forged successful careers starring in Broadway musicals, and making TV appearances as well, and these parts of his life are given the appropriate amount of space.
Like all good stories, there has to be an evolution, and Bach is honest about his drug and booze habits, and equally honest about giving them up, taking up jogging, and getting healthier. Which is not to say he’s toned down or stopped having fun – he’s just older and wiser now. And that songwriting credit on the Space Ace song? He says he never pursued it with the former KISS guitarist: it’s enough for him to know he wrote a song with his hero. That’s a man reformed, right there.
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About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE