Sebastian Bach Gets His ‘70s Groove Back On With New Effort

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If you want to get a good impression of what speaks to Sebastian Bach, ask him about his record collection. An avid record collector, Bach has “not boxes of vinyl, but rooms of vinyl.” It’s an important factoid because it informed the creation of the recently released Child Within the Man, the fifth studio outing by the former Skid Row front man and first since 2014’s Give ‘Em Hell.

Sebastian Bach
(Photo by Jim Louvau)


“My favorite records to collect are from the ‘70s and I suppose that’s because that’s when I was a kid and when I fell in love with rock at a young age,” Bach explained. “But other than that, I just love the way those albums sound—the way they’re produced, the way they’re mastered—everything about them. Rush, Aerosmith, Kiss, Cheap Trick—the list goes on and on. So I said to myself, ‘Sebastian, for your next record, why don’t you try to create a record that could have come from 1978 in 2024?’ Now I know that’s impossible, but it’s my album and my band. I set out on a mission to make my favorite records be my own record.”

Having spent a number of years pulling material together, Bach kicked the process off by going with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette (Mammoth WVH, Alter Bridge), who offered up his Orlando-based Studio Barbarosa. It’s where the hard rock vocalist moved in with guitarist Devin Bronson, bassist Todd Kerns and drummer Jeremy Colson for a month at the end of 2021. It was a unique and welcoming environment for Bach to go into.

“It’s the first time in my 35-year recording career in which that’s ever occurred,” Bach admitted. “The closest I would say was when we did the first Skid Row record, we did live in the same resort in Lake Geneva, WI, but we didn’t live in the same house. We lived in Elvis’ studio in literally Orlando, FL. It’s a place called Studio Barbarosa and that’s where Wolfgang Van Halen, Alter Bridge, Myles Kennedy and Slash all recorded. It was an unbelievable experience—waking up and having lunch and/or coffee and then rocking all day. And then going swimming at night, listening to the radio and having fun. It was a glorious experience.”

Coming out of the pandemic, all that pent-up creative energy also led to Bach plugging into a number of outside collaborators, a number of whom he’s worked with before including Mötley Crüe guitarist John 5 (“Freedom”) and Steve Stevens (“F.U.”). Also popping up is Australian six-string guitar goddess Orianthi, whose welcome involvement came via his spouse.

“My wife is very good friends with her and it was all as simple as Suzanne saying to Orianthi that Sebastian is working on new music and if she had any new riffs,” Bach recalled with a laugh. “She sent me that riff and I turned it into a song and I love that song. The lead section of ‘Future of Youth’ has such a groove to it that is just kick ass. I would love to do a video with Orianthi letting her be the most metal she’s ever been—black leather, teased hair, boots and shit. And she said we should do it, so that might happen.”

Tying the entire ‘70s vibe into a neat bow was Bach enlisting storied engineer Bob Ludwig to master this collection of songs. Ludwig, whose Grammy-winning work has led to his involvement with a mind-boggling list of artists that include Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana, Metallica, Rush, David Bowie and Paul McCartney, was still available for hire. It came as a surprise Bach when Tool’s Adam Jones, a former neighbor of his when he lived in Studio City, CA, revealed that Ludwig remastered 2019’s Fear Inoculum.

 

“Adam brought over the new Tool record and I turned it and it said, ‘Mastered by Robert Ludwig,’” Bach said. “I asked if it was the same Robert Ludwig that mastered Led Zeppelin II with too much bass and now it’s one of the most collectible albums in the world that everybody wants. And was it the same guy that mastered Jimi Hendrix Cry of Love, Zeppelin II and Kiss Alive!? Sure enough, it was. I told my record company that if they really wanted to make me happy, to send this to him to master and they did. Since this record was done, Bob Ludwig is retired and he is not mastering records.”

Making it all come full circle was Bach’s decision to combine two paintings by his late father David Bierk. Bach’s father, who previously had done artwork for Skid Row’s Slave To the Grind and Subhuman Race, had created a 1978 painting that depicted his then-10-year-old son running next to a broken-down car in a field as Jesus ascends to heaven in the background. The second work is from 1989 and reimagines Bach on stage at Giants Stadium when he was with Skid Row. To fuse the two paintings together, Bach enlisted Michael Godard and Christian O’Mahoney from Wentworth Galleries to juxtapose both images with the idea of Bach appearing to run into himself on stage and “…reflect the spirit of being young and having fun.”

“It looks very much to me when somebody passes away in Latin America, they’ll do graffiti of their face with a tribute—Rest in Peace,” Bach said. “It’s pretty beautiful—to bring back artwork that my deceased father did in the ‘70s and having it appear on Spotify, iTunes and Instagram—it’s just mind-blowing to me. That’s what art can be. It’s like he’s alive again. That’s what it feels like because he’s got a new album out too.”

With the album fresh on the market, Bach is back prowling the stage. Having recently played as a solo artist before his largest crowd at Jacksonville, FLA’s four-day Welcome to Rockville festival, the Canadian performer is weaving in new material while also celebrating a significant milestone.

“We’re currently doing as many of the new songs as we are ready to play, which is two,” he said with a chuckle. “It takes rehearsing to learn how to play new songs and we’ve been playing every night, shooting videos and doing interviews, so right now we know how to play two of them. But it’s also the 35th anniversary of the first Skid Row record so we are doing a lot of songs from it because of the 35th anniversary and people really like that.”

Sebastian Bach rubbing elbows with his fans
(Photo by Hannah Verbeuren)

One of the by-products of Bach re-emerging with this record are rumblings of a possible reunion with his old Skid Row bandmates the vocalist referred to when he was on radio personality/music historian Eddie Trunk’s show. And while band founder Dave “Snake” Sabo went as far as recently dismissing any talk of reunifying with his old singer, the 56-year-old vocalist remains optimistic, despite it not being front of mind.

‘Every time I read that it’s kind of silly because it’s not up to me if there’s a reunion,” he said. “All I’m saying is that there has been a miscommunication on my part. They think something was said, but it wasn’t said by me. But it’s been a lost in translation kind of thing. In the meantime, the first single, ‘What Do I Got To Lose?,’ got my voice back on the radio in 2024 and I didn’t know that was still possible. With this tour, I’m not really working on an email to reach out right now. But I will at some point.”

Sebastian Bach will be appearing on May 16 at The Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 E. Main St., Patchogue. For more information, visit www.patchoguetheatre.com or call 631-207-1313.

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