The Melvin Zoopers YouTube channel has uploaded video of Sebastian Bach‘s August 25 concert at the Sideouts Sports Tavern in Island Lake, Illinois. Check out the clips below.
Prior to launching into the SKID ROW classic “18 And Life”, the former SKID ROW frontman told the crowd: Everything I say, people put words into my mouth. They say, ‘Well, Sebastian said this about this guy, said this about this guy.’ And then I never said nothing about no guy.
“I think these ‘American Idol’ shows fucking suck, because America picked this fucking idol, not some bullshit TV show,” he continued. “I’m not just putting one person down; I’m putting them all fucking down. Carrie Underwood‘s pretty good. So who else is from that? I’m waiting.” When one person shouted out Kelly Clarkson‘s name, Bach said: “Kelly Clarkson? Is it that amazing? Anyways, you can sing this [song] on your ‘American Idol’ show all you want. This song was picked by America, by you people. Thank you so much for 35 years of rock and roll. This song is for you. This is called ’18 And Life’.”
At some of his recent shows, Sebastian had seemingly been taking lighthearted jabs at his former SKID ROW bandmates. The 55-year-old rocker, who hasn’t played with SKID ROW for more than two and a half decades, made a thinly veiled reference to the group’s new singer Erik Grönwall before performing “18 And Life” at his July 21 concert at Northern Lights Music Fest in Escanaba, Michigan.
“This next song started it all for me,” Sebastian told the audience. “When I sang it on Swedish ‘American Idol’, my whole life changed immediately. All right, man. This is a song called ’18 And Life’, mothertruckers.”
Sebastian previously made the same joke about SKID ROW during his October 31, 2022 set aboard last year’s “Kiss Kruise”. Prior to performing “18 And Life” during the “All Hands On Deck Super Jam” with bassist Todd Kerns, guitarist Brent Woods and drummer Brent Fitz, Sebastian said: “This is the song that started it all for me, like two years ago, on Swedish ‘American Idol’. This is a song… I want you to sing along the words. This is called ’18 And Life’.”
The Swedish-born Grönwall went from auditioning for the competition show “Swedish Idol” back in 2009 by singing a cover of “18 And Life” to being asked to front SKID ROW last year.
Bach was the lead singer of SKID ROW until 1996, when he was fired. Instead of throwing in the towel, the remaining members took a hiatus and went on to play briefly in a band called OZONE MONDAY. In 1999, SKID ROW reformed and, after a bit of shuffling over the years, featured a lineup consisting of bassist Rachel Bolan, guitarists Dave “Snake” Sabo and Scotti Hill, alongside drummer Rob Hammersmith and singer Johnny Solinger. SKID ROW fired Solinger over the phone in April 2015, a few hours before announcing ex-TNT vocalist Tony Harnell as his replacement. Eight months later, Harnell exited the band and was replaced by South African-born, British-based singer ZP Theart, who previously fronted DRAGONFORCE, TANK and I AM I. Theart was fired from SKID ROW in February 2022 and was replaced by Grönwall, who was previously a member of the Swedish hard rock band H.E.A.T.
In March 2022, Sabo was asked by Scott Penfold of Loaded Radio how he feels about people still calling for a reunion with Bach. He said: “Well, it’s been 23 years [since SKID ROW reformed], so to say that I’m over it would be an understatement. We attempted [a reunion] slightly [back in 2016]. We dipped our toes in the water and realized that it didn’t feel so good. It’s just one of those things where we still could not see eye to eye; we couldn’t even get past the point of simple texting.
“I am really, really happy where we are,” Snake continued. “I’m very proud of our past, and all due credit to everybody who’s been involved in every aspect of our career, whoever that may be, ’cause it all led to where we are now.
“I’ve been asked a thousand times: ‘What about the payday [of a reunion with Sebastian]?’ And that’s all well and good, but if that’s why I did this — if that’s why we did this; I can speak for everybody — we probably wouldn’t be doing it,” Sabo explained. “I wanna be happy, and I am very, very happy. And so are the guys; everybody’s really happy.
“The music climate is what it is, and we’re a classic rock band, and I’m proud of that. And we’re still able to make music. I mean, Jeez — I live a very, very blessed life, man,” Snake added. “I have nothing but gratitude and humility for what we have achieved and for what we’re able to continue to do. So while there may be people out there who are flashing dollar signs with a lot of zeroes, I still have to be happy doing it, and I am. And that’s what’s most important. I need to be happy being in a band with the people I’m in a band with. A lot of other bands can go out and they don’t see each other till they’re on stage and travel on separate buses and all that stuff, and that’s all well and good, but I don’t wanna live my life like that. I don’t wanna be up onstage and kind of living a lie; it just doesn’t feel good. So, while I’m thankful for people’s interest and whatnot, I’m even more thankful that we still get to play music for a living under our terms.”
In September 2021, Bach told Florida’s 98.7 The Gater radio station that “there’s no reason” for the classic SKID ROW not to reunite. “When those guys [in SKID ROW] try to say [about me], ‘He’s difficult to work with,’ let me just say this one more time. We have not been in the same room together since the year 1996,” he said. “Shut the eff up about you thinking you know what I’m like. You don’t know anything about what I’m like. And the ‘Gilmore Girls’ think I’m okay to work with; Broadway thinks I’m okay to work with; the ‘Trailer Park Boys’ think I’m okay; GUNS N’ ROSES think I’m pretty cool. We’re not getting any younger.”
Sebastian went on to say that a SKID ROW reunion “should” happen “for the fans. And we are absolutely running out of bands — bands that can play in sheds,” he said. “The fact that we are all still alive and we are all in our 50s — some closer to 60 than others — but that, to me, is selfish that we’re not together.
“I can play with anyone. I do play with everyone [laughs] — except for them.”
Erik, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March 2021, reflected on his journey in a summer 2022 interview with 80’s Metal Recycle Bin. He said: “I wouldn’t call myself a religious man [laughs], but I would call myself… After all of this, I’m way more spiritual. I’m, like, ‘Okay, who planned this?’ I was on my way to a completely different life [before my diagnosis], but it was kind of like someone just nudged me.
“I was scrolling on Instagram a couple of days ago and I just saw a post, and it was a text saying, ‘I’m sorry I had to make you uncomfortable, but I had to make you move. God.’ And I was, like, ‘Oh, fuck, man.’ [Laughs] That’s what it feels like.
“I’m not sure if everything happens for a reason, but that’s the only way I can explain this — getting leukemia, then ending up in my favorite band,” he continued.
“When I was on stage in [Las] Vegas [with SKID ROW in March and April of 2022], I was interacting with the audience, and I told them that, ‘Do you know how amazing it feels to be here singing the song that started your career?’ ‘Cause ’18 And Life’ was the song I auditioned with for the ‘Idol’ show; that’s what got me on ‘Idol’. And I told them, ‘Do you know how it feels to be here on stage with your favorite band of all time singing the song that started your career?’ And someone commented on it, and it was, like, ‘Did he just quote the ‘Rock Star’ movie script?’ And I was, like, ‘Yeah, I didn’t even think about that, but it’s that movie,” he said, referencing the film in which an average kid from Pittsburgh gets tapped to be the new lead singer for his favorite heavy metal band. “So it’s kind of like a movie script.
“It’s just incredible,” Erik added. “I’m still trying to process it. It feels like I’ve been in the band for two years. It’s been four months. We’ve done, like, 30 shows in four months. We recorded an album. We started working on a new album. We recorded a music video. Everything has been happening so fast. It’s overwhelming in so many ways.”
Erik also credited his wife with providing him with the emotional strength and support that he needed through his ordeal.
“I wanna say my wife has been incredible this whole journey, especially during the treatments, ’cause when I was ready to give up, she was, like, ‘Hey, you’re not giving up now. You’ve got so many people that love you and need you in their lives.’ She was tough,” he recalled. “And I needed that. So I was, like, ‘Yeah, I know.’ And I can mention I also have a two-and-a-half-year-old son at home. So that was really, really tough — coming back from the hospital and seeing him. That was my weak spot. She really helped me a lot, and she’s very understanding. And obviously, when you have this kind of lifestyle, you need someone who really understands that lifestyle and supports it. And it’s kind of a selfish lifestyle in many ways. But she totally gets it, and she’s got my back.”
Grönwall, who was a member of the Swedish hard rock band H.E.A.T. for nearly a decade before exiting the group in October 2020, announced in September 2021 that he was cancer free after receiving a bone marrow transplant one month earlier.
“There’s been a lot of tears, and I still get emotional now talking about this,” Erik said. “I think I’m done with the crying [laughs] — I think — but somehow I feel grateful that I went through all of this, ’cause it gave me a lot of perspective. I’m 34, and I just feel like I’ve gotten a lot of perspective on things.
“Being in this business, you see a lot of comments, and you’ve gotta be tough in many ways,” he explained. “And back in the H.E.A.T. days, negative comments could really get to me. Now I’m just, like, ‘Dude, I don’t care.’
“I’m so happy to wake up every day above ground. It’s, like, ‘Shit, I get another day? What am I gonna do with this day?’
“I was happy before SKID ROW,” Erik added. “I am very happy in SKID ROW. Everything is temporary. I will be happy after SKID ROW. I’m just happy. I’ve got perspective, and I’m just happy to be alive. And I’m gonna keep singing until this voice can’t sing anymore.”
Grönwall sang on four H.E.A.T. studio albums — “Address The Nation” (2012),“Tearing Down The Walls” (2014),“Into The Great Unknown” (2017) and “H.E.A.T II” (2020).
In September 2021, Grönwall released his new cover version of “18 And Life” via all streaming platforms.
In 2018, Grönwall debuted in the U.S. for 10 million viewers in NBC‘s live broadcast of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s and Tim Rice‘s musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Along with John Legend, Alice Cooper, Sara Bareilles and others, Erik played the key role of Simon Zealotes.
In January 2022, Grönwall told Headbangers Lifestyle about beating cancer: “Some anonymous wonderful human being somewhere in the world donated his/her blood cells so that I could get a second chance at life. Sometimes I can just get tears in my eyes when I think about it. It’s so beautiful that one person who is not connected to me in any way wanted to do that for me. He/she doesn’t know that the blood cells were for me. It’s completely anonymous.”
In late March 2022, SKID ROW released its first single with Grönwall, “The Gang’s All Here”. The song is the title track of the band’s latest album, which arrived last October via earMUSIC.
SKID ROW played its first show with Grönwall on March 26, 2022 at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada as the support act on the rescheduled dates for SCORPIONS‘ “Sin City Nights” residency.
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