In the new issue of Metal Hammer magazine that hits U.K. newsstands today (June 20), SKID ROW guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo, former vocalist Sebastian Bach and producer Michael Wagener reflect on the making of the group's quintuple-platinum 1989 self-titled debut album.
Recorded in the resort town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin during the summer of 1988, "Skid Row" was recalled fondly by Wagener, a German producer who had previously worked alongside METALLICA and MÖTLEY CRÜE. "To this day, it's still my favorite record that I recorded," he said. (Wagener would later produce SKID ROW's 1991 chart-topping sophomore effort "Slave To The Grind" and their 2006 album "Revolutions Per Minute", as well as Bach's 1999 release "Bring 'Em Bach Alive!".)
Sabo credited Wagener for his role in shaping the album. "He was the dad overseeing a bunch of kids running around in the sandbox, making order out of chaos," Sabo said. "He was a huge factor in that record being what it is, because he extracted those performances out of us. They didn't just happen — they were pulled out of us by Michael."
Bach, meanwhile, said that the album's gritty cover art — which featured a black-and-white band photo that contrasted sharply with the bright illustrations and glammed-up group shots of their peers — helped to distinguish the group from other '80s hard rock acts. "Everybody else was like the VINNIE VINCENT INVASION — glitter and the biggest hair and makeup and color, and 'Skid Row' came out black-and-white," Bach said. "I go, 'It looks like a mistake — you can't even see us. It's just shadows.' But it was absolutely perfect."
Despite the fact that SKID ROW parted ways with Bach in 1996 and the two camps remain estranged today, Sabo said he has "so many great, amazing memories" of making "Skid Row", an album that yielded four hit singles — "Piece Of Me", "Youth Gone Wild", "18 And Life" and "I Remember You".
"Things turn out the way they turn out, but you cannot take away what existed and what we've all been through together," Sabo said. "You have to embrace the history of it, regardless of where we all are as individuals separately and collectively."
Read more in the new issue of Metal Hammer, on sale now.
SKID ROW continues to work on its Wagener-produced new album, which will mark the completion of the band's "United World Rebellion" trilogy. It will also be the group's first release with vocalist ZP Theart (DRAGONFORCE, I AM I), who officially joined the band in 2017.
Bach recently announced that he will celebrate the 30th anniversary of "Skid Row" by performing the album in its entirety during a North American tour that kicks off August 29 in Nashville, Tennessee.