By age 21, singer Sebastian Bach fronted the hair-metal band Skid Row, sold millions of albums and enjoyed ample fame, debauchery and money.
Skid Row’s success was quickly crushed by grunge rock, but the band continued – though it parted ways with Bach, now 40, whose angelic looks and soaring vocals gave him a broad-based solo career. Bach made it to Broadway, did TV, including a recurring character on “Gilmore Girls” and many cringe-inducing cable specials and reality shows, and kept rocking.
The party doesn’t end.
Or so it seems. The guy who sang “Youth Gone Wild” and “18 and Life” has the perspective of age, but the heart of a rock animal. He’s wildly enthusiastic about opening Poison’s summer tour, which stops at the Alliant Energy Center’s Willow Island on Saturday.
And during a recent interview, I have never been called “dude” so much.
Bach, who is 6-foot-5, loves a big stage and the Poison tour pulls him from the casino/fair/club circuit back to the arenas and outdoor fests he played in Skid Row’s heyday. He can’t wait to perform.
“You don’t feel any pain even if you’re tired from the bus,” Bach says, “or banged up from the night before.”
He gives a conspiratorial laugh to emphasize the latter comment. (Dude, I get it.)
He continues: “Once the lights go down, dude, that’s probably my favorite feeling in the world – or in the top two.” There’s another explosive laugh. Nudge, wink.
Just when I figure this conversation will spiral along at Beavis and Butt-head level, Bach turns reflective. He offers thoughtful respect for Robert Plant to record and tour with Alison Krauss. He apologizes for two-decade-old mischief, including having once worn a homophobic T-shirt during Skid Row’s peak. (“When I watch myself from that time period, it’s like somebody else,” he says.) And he wants so badly to have fans listen to music from his new album, “Angel Down.”
“I’m doing the big hits. I love singing ’em, dude,” he says. “But being a musician, I don’t think it’s healthy to just do songs from 20 years ago. That doesn’t make sense. What’s the next stop: Branson, Missouri?”
He raves about his Broadway experiences, having starred in “Jekyll & Hyde,” and hints at more theatrical roles. He praises Guitar Hero for helping bring Skid Row hits to a new generation. And he marvels that country star Carrie Underwood covered Skid Row’s biggest hit, “I Remember You,” in concert throughout 2007.
“It’s on YouTube. You gotta see it, dude. It’s incredible,” he says. “She’s perfect.”
(He’s right. It’s fascinating. Underwood handles the rock ballad almost identically to Skid Row’s version.) For now, he’s eager to perform.
“I’m a lucky guy. I never take it for granted,” Bach says. “I love nothing more than getting on a tour bus and doing 45 shows. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than that – well, maybe one thing.”