Former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach and bassist Rachel Bolan looked back on their rapid rise to fame that followed the release of their debut album in January 1989.
Bach remembered the terror of opening for Bon Jovi that same month. “I was so nervous that the first show we did, I had my eyes shut the whole set,” he said. “I’m not exaggerating, I couldn’t open my fu–ing eyes. I couldn’t believe that I was on an arena stage doing a show. I went up there and just shut my eyes and sang. I didn’t open my eyes till the second show.”
He added that he “wasn’t getting used to getting my ass kicked onstage. I was used to being in the clubs ruling the night. Then I’d watch Bon Jovi and go, ‘I don’t know what the f–k I’m doing.’ It was like going to school. It was an amazing education.”
Bolan admitted he “never, ever felt comfortable with celebrity” during the band’s peak era. “To this day, before I step out on that stage, I think, ‘This is an awesome life that I’ve been given,”” he said.“Back then, things got crazy. I would do stuff that I wouldn’t even attempt to do today, wouldn’t even think about doing.”
He was pleased that, on the whole, he’d kept a lid on his partying. “I saw the bigger picture, and I loved living in the moment,” he noted. “I still do, but I also don’t want to do something so stupid that’s gonna get me killed or get me sued. I like keeping stuff private. I’d rather go out and drive a race car then snort a bunch of blow. That was just never my thing. I kept things pretty chill for the most part, but I remember a few times maybe drinking a little too much – or a lot too much and possibly causing a fight.”
Asked what message he’d send to his younger self, Bach replied, “I was famous for a long time for twirling my microphone, but it’s dangerous. I’ve taken that out of my repertoire because I’m not here to hurt anyone. It’s flown off the end of the cord a couple times, and I don’t want to smash anybody’s teeth in.”
He recalled he “used to kick water bottles in the arena all the way past the soundboard. I used to climb to the top of the P.A. on the side wearing boots and jump off and do a somersault and f–k up my ankles and f–k up my wrist. I would tell the younger guy, ‘Don’t hurt yourself or others.'”
Bolan admitted he regretted some of the lyrics he’d written as a younger man. “There was a hedonistic or chauvinistic mindset [to some of them], and it was cool for back then,” he said. “I think about it now and I’m just like, ‘Man, that was really uncool to say. I have a mother, sisters, aunts and cousins.’”