When Sebastian Bach opens his mouth, one of two things happens: Either a flood of high-pitched melodies pour out to accompany one of his uncompromisingly multifaceted metal tunes, new or old; or else he says something that inevitably makes someone angry.
"I can’t help it," the 45-year-old solo artist and former Skid Row frontman tells Yahoo Music. "I don't censor what I say and I always end up in trouble, but I don't f---ing care. I go on my Twitter feed and I read things like [January 24] was the 25th anniversary of the release date of the first Skid Row album, and Skid Row doesn't give a f---. I would love to do something to celebrate it, and my former bandmates are like, 'Nah, we’re playing a bowling alley. We're happy. We don’t care.'"
Eighteen years after Bach left Skid Row due to musical and personal differences, not being able to reunite and reignite the band's engine is still a thorn in his side. Not only is the band, which has featured vocalist Johnny Solinger for the last 14 years, uninterested in celebrating its beginnings, but the members are determined not to work with Bach onstage, for a boxed set or on a collection of previously unreleased material.
In a recent interview with Spotlight Report, Skid Row bassist Rachel Bolan told a journalist that answering questions about the possibility of working with Bach again is "a waste of time."
"There’s a lot of unreleased material sitting around collecting dust," Bach gripes. "The fans would love it, but I guess my band is allergic to cash. They’re happy not being big. It’s such an insult to the millions of people who dug our albums. It’s like saying, 'We were just joking [back then]. Happy anniversary!'"
In the absence of a Skid Row reunion, fans of melodic, aggressive metal should be happy with Bach's third solo album, "Give 'Em Hell" (out April 22), his most energized and musically cohesive release since leaving the Skids.
“When I press play and listen to 'Give 'Em Hell,' it kicks my f---in' a--!” he says in a hyperbolic way that only he can pull off without sounding silly. “All I want to do is give the fans more of what they want and what they expect. I don’t see how a fan could dig [Skid Row’s] 'Slave to the Grind' and not like the album I've just made.”
Unlike some of his past work, "Give 'Em Hell" was truly a collaborative effort. Instead of recruiting a bunch of musicians to play songs he wrote, Bach invited Duff McKagan (ex-Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver) John 5 (Rob Zombie, ex-Marilyn Manson), and Steve Stevens (The Cult, ex-Billy Idol) to construct the tunes with him. McKagan was the first to accept the invitation when Bach approached him at a festival in Australia. "I said to Duff, 'Do you want to do some songs with me?'" recalls Bach. "He said, 'What kind of songs?' And I said, 'Rude. Just f---in’ rude.' And he goes, 'Baz, I can do dirty!' Then we both started laughing. He gave me the song 'Harmony,' and I couldn't believe how cool those riffs are. It sounds like Guns N' Roses meets Skid Row, because that’s what it is!"
Another highlight of "Give 'Em Hell" is "Temptation," which John 5 submitted along with three other songs. The track features dive-bombing guitars, a pulsing beat, and vocals that see-saw between shrill and seductive.
"That’s mostly about sex and lust," Bach says. "When I listen to it, I can feel the sexuality of the melody line and the lyrics and the harmonies and the drum groove. I am addicted to sex. My brain is dominated by it 24/7. And fortunately, I am extremely attracted to my girl. But that song's also about alcohol a little bit. That's a temptation, and sex and alcohol are two things I have really enjoyed over my life."
Bach has never made it a habit of recording or playing hammered, but it's no secret that he used to drink heavily at home, after recording sessions and following shows. In fact, "Give 'Em Hell" is the first album he wrote and tracked sober. He stopped drinking in spring 2013 when his fiancée Minnie Gupta gave him an ultimatum that he either give up the bottle or lose her for good.
"I had a little slip-up this Christmas," he revealed. "That’s a hard time for me to not drink, but that was it. When I'd get in a fight with her I used to set it up as a reward. I'd say, 'Oh yeah, well f--- you! I’m gonna get f---in' drunk!' Then I would find myself halfway through the bottle not having a good time, saying, 'What the f--- is wrong with me? I’m choosing alcohol over, literally, the hottest chick I’ve ever seen in my life.' It doesn't take any talent to drink, so it’s not as important to me to be a drunk as having a quality relationship."
Since Bach recorded his last solo album, 2011's "Kicking & Screaming," the singer has been plagued with misfortune. He lost his New Jersey home to Hurricane Irene in August, 2011, he got divorced and "lost" his three children – sons London and Paris and daughter Sebastiana – and many of his friends have passed away from drugs and alcohol.
"We just shot a video for the song 'All My Friends Are Dead,'" Bach says. "It’s all about that. Literally, it’s been one after another. [Slayer] guitarist Jeff Hanneman died so suddenly and unexpectedly. We weren't great friends or anything, but that was a real shock. On top of that, one of my best friends, drummer Mark McConnoll, who was in my band Madam X when I was a teenager, and who played on my first solo record 'Bring 'Em Bach Alive' [in 1999], died of alcohol a year ago. He called me two days before he died. Then all his organs gave out. Blood was coming out of all of his orifices and he died."
Just as strange for Bach was losing his former Kung Fu instructor Damian Cordisco, who died in October 2013. “He was Rachel Bolan's best friend growing up and he was on my show, 'Forever Wild,' giving me a Kung Fu lesson," Bach says. "He died of a heroin overdose about four months ago. That was crazy! This guy taught Kung Fu. What’s he doing with heroin?"
Bach pauses for a moment and, for the first time during the interview, doesn't burst into a joyous cackle for at least a minute. "All my friends are dead, man. It's really weird and unsettling. When I listen to Black Sabbath '13,' I hear Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, and Geezer Butler at the age of 70 sounding to me the way that they always did. I'm just blown away. I have been blessed with this set of pipes, so I can conceivably be doing the same thing – making Sebastian records at the age of 65. I definitely don’t want to end up a rock'n'and roll casualty. I want to kick as much a-- as I can before I die."