Skid Row is an American heavy metal band, formed in 1986 in Toms River, New Jersey. They are named after Phil Lynott and Gary Moore's first band. They were most successful in the late 1980s and early 1990s when their first two albums with lead singer Sebastian Bach and drummer Rob Affuso were multi-platinum successes. Their current line-up consists of Johnny Solinger (vocals), Dave "The Snake" Sabo (guitar), Scotti Hill (guitar), Rachel Bolan (bass) and Dave Gara (drums). As of the end of 1996 the band has sold over 20 million albums worldwide.
As of 2008, Skid Row has released five full-length albums, an EP, a compilation album, and a live album. For album and single sales information, see the Skid Row discography page. They became popular with their first two albums, Skid Row and Slave to the Grind, which are often considered their best-known works to date. Their last full-length studio album, Revolutions per Minute, came out on October 24, 2006.
They are often associated with glam metal, partly due to their image on their debut album, Skid Row, which spawned the hits "18 and Life", "Youth Gone Wild", and "I Remember You" for the band. They would eventually go on to foster an image base geared toward more traditional heavy metal and hard rock audiences.
Early years (1986-1988)
Skid Row was formed in Toms River, New Jersey, in 1986 by bassist Rachel Bolan and guitarist Dave "The Snake" Sabo. The pair added guitarist Steve Brotherton who was replaced with Kurtis Jackson and later by Scotti Hill, drummer Rob Affuso, and lead vocalist Sebastian Bach, who replaced original lead vocalist Matt Fallon, to the line-up by early 1987. The band began playing shows in clubs throughout the eastern United States. Thanks to the assistance of friend Jon Bon Jovi, who secured a record deal for Skid Row with Atlantic Records in 1988, they entered the studio with Michael Wagener (of Ozzy Osbourne, White Lion and Extreme fame) to record their first album.
Skid Row (1989-1990)
Skid Row, released in January 1989, was an instant success. The record went 5x platinum and produced the hit singles "18 and Life", "I Remember You", and "Youth Gone Wild". Despite this success there was a lot of bitterness, because in return for the helping hands of Jon Bon Jovi they had to enter a publishing deal with his newly established Underground Music Company in which they waived their rights to publishing royalties. All money was paid to Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. After a big public dispute Richie Sambora gave his share of the money back to Skid Row.
In what is referred to as "The Bottle Incident" by fans of the band, Bach was hit with a bottle thrown onstage from the crowd at a concert in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Skid Row was opening for Aerosmith on December 27, 1989. Bach threw the bottle back, hitting a girl (not the shooter), so he jumped on the crowd to beat the person who can be seen on a tour video released by Skid Row called Oh Say Can You Scream in 1990.
Shortly thereafter Bach put on, during a concert, a t-shirt proclaiming the anti-gay slogan "AIDS Kills Fags Dead". The shirt was thrown onstage by a fan, and Bach, without looking at it, put it on. After the concert Bach apologized, stating "My grandmother had recently died of cancer, I guess I would be pissed too if I saw someone wearing a 'Cancer Kills Grandmothers Dead' shirt". In later years Bach repeated his apology for wearing the shirt, and made a substantial donation to an AIDS charities and gay rights organizations.
Slave to the Grind (1991-1992)
Skid Row returned to the studio with Wagener in 1990, to record their second studio album. Slave to the Grind, released in June 1991, it debuted at Number 1 in the American charts, the first metal album to do so. Slave to the Grind became a major success, and Skid Row once again went out on a worldwide tour which lasted over a year, including a leg supporting Guns N' Roses in 1991 and an appearance at the Castle Donington festival in 1992. Slave to the Grind was a departure for the band; where Skid Row was an album that followed the typical hair band formula, Slave to the Grind had a heavier sound, even verging on thrash with the title track and grunge with the song "Mudkicker".
B-Side Ourselves, Subhuman Race, departure of Sebastian Bach and Hiatus (1993-1998)
Before a third album could be recorded, Skid Row took an extended hiatus in 1993, following the Slave to the Grind tour and the release of the EP, B-Side Ourselves, in September 1992.
For some time, Skid Row parted ways with Wagener, possibly due to their music taking a different direction for the follow-up to Slave to the Grind. In 1994, the band returned to the studio with Bob Rock (of Metallica, Mötley Crüe and The Offspring fame), to record their third studio album. Subhuman Race, released in March 1995, charted in the top 40. Although it did not achieve the success of Skid Row and Slave to the Grind, it generated a few hits, but at that point, their videos were rarely played on MTV, partly because of the rise in popularity of grunge and subsequent decline of many heavy metal styles and 1980s hard rock.
Eventually, Sebastian Bach was fired by the band in late 1996, just after an argument with Rachel Bolan over a chance to open up for KISS. Skid Row were called to open for KISS on New Year's Eve '96 and Bach was all for it as he has always been a huge fan of KISS. According to Bach, Rachel Bolan was more concerned with his punk band side project and did not want to play the show. Shortly after, drummer Rob Affuso left the band. Although the group never officially disbanded, the remaining members went on to play briefly in a band called Ozone Monday in mid 1998, which featured lead vocalist Sean McCabe.
The New Skid Row and Thickskin (1999-2004)
Skid Row re-formed in 1999 with new lead vocalist Johnny Solinger, formerly of Solinger, and drummer Charlie Mills. Mills soon left the band and was replaced with drummer Phil Varone, formerly of Saigon Kick. After re-forming, they opened for KISS on their farewell tour, and have also played with other 1980s metal bands such as Poison. They have been on tour every summer. In 2002 they were part of the Rock Never Stops Tour. The new lineup has shared the stage with such acts as Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Def Leppard, Sammy Hagar, as well as many others from their genre.
Skid Row released their fourth full-length studio album, Thickskin, in 2003, which was their first album to feature Solinger and Varone and their first studio album in 8 years. In early 2004, Timothy DiDuro replaced Varone, who had abruptly left the band, citing personal reasons. DiDuro also appeared in the Skid Row video "Ghost." Varone returned, but after wide reports of drug abuse, he again left the band and was replaced by current drummer Dave Gara.
Revolutions per Minute and recent activities (2005-present)
The fifth (and most recent) Skid Row album, Revolutions per Minute, was released on October 24, 2006 through SPV Records. Michael Wagener reunited with Skid Row and became their producer for this album.
In 2007, the band recorded Jingle Bells for a Monster Ballads Christmas album. At the end of January 2008 they played at MOTLEY CRUISE, a 4-day cruise in the Caribbean (Miami, Key West and Cozumel, MX) with Vince Neil, Ratt, Slaughter, Endeverafter, Lynam.
On February 20, 2008, the band played a private, invitation-only party for the Nordic Games Program group at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Keri Kelli filled in for an ailing Dave Sabo.