They’ve sold over 20 million albums worldwide and now Skid Row are working on the final installment of the United World Rebellion trilogy, and will be heading out to tour Australia this October. The New Jersey heavy metal band has had numerous lineup changes, but founding members, bassist Rachel Bolan and guitarists Dave Sabo and Scotti Hill still remain, now with drummer Rob Hammersmith and frontman (former DragonForce vocalist) ZP Theart. TEO had a chat with Dave ‘Snake’ Sabo about all things in this ‘Monkey Business’ we call music and whether he really is a ‘Slave To The Grind.’

TEO: Skid Row will be here in October, what are you most looking forward to?
The people! Ever since we were first there in 1990, regardless of which venue we play, the attitude and culture down there is right in our wheelhouse. They have a zest for life, it’s not about working 12 hours and getting lost—you guys live life. That’s the way it should be.

Will the show be a combination of old and new songs?
Yeah, we know where we come from [and] we are proud of that. I still love playing ‘Youth Gone Wild,’ ‘18 & Life’ and ‘Monkey Business.’ I love them. We all do! People do too. We want people walking away going: ‘we got our money’s worth, that’s awesome.’

You’d sold over 20 million albums by the time 1995’s Subhuman Race came out. Was grunge the reason for the downturn in band fortunes?
It’s difficult to be objective about your own stuff. Music turns on itself every 10 years—what people loved a year ago they can’t stand now, so it needs to reinvent itself or it gets self-indulgent. The Nirvanas of the world came along and music needed that. Did it affect us? Yeah—we’re not that type of band. We were out having fun and a great time. I don’t begrudge any of that. I like that record a lot…it just didn’t connect [and] that’s okay, that’s life.

When I look back at that record, there was a lot of conflict and we were busting apart. Maybe the lack of success of that record helped us drift further apart. Maybe us drifting further apart is a reason that record didn’t connect.

How does the industry treat you differently now from back then?
It’s completely different! 25 years ago, you snap your fingers and you get what you want, you’re selling records! Same as any industry, once you stop making money, people look elsewhere. I wasn’t devastated by it. Sort of surprised that different people didn’t stick around. By and large, I wasn’t super shocked though. When you’re everyone’s favourite son, you’re the favourite son. When you’re not, they find someone else.

You also work on the other side though, as manager of Down.
That’s one of the reasons I got into it. I’d seen every aspect of the business, the highs and lows. I wanna make sure that the people I work with, my friends, I want to protect them. At the very least, the artists I work with would know I have their back, fighting on their behalf.

How tired do you get of people asking for ex-band members to re-join the band?
[Laughs] two words: next question!


Thursday 18 October – BRISBANE, Eatons Hill Hotel

Friday 19 October – MELBOURNE, Prince Bandroom

Saturday 20 October – SYDNEY, Manning Bar

Sunday 21 October – PERTH, Astor Theatre

Tuesday 23 October – ADELAIDE, The Gov

Wednesday 24 October – AUCKLAND, The Studio

Available here.

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Photo: supplied