Once again I conducted an interview hidden in a stairwell at work. Good news is it was the last day at that stupid job. I was lucky enough to get some time on the phone with none other than Snake Sabo, guitarist and principal member of SKID ROW. The band has an EP coming out August 5 via Megaforce Records, Rise of the Damnation Army: United World Rebellion – Chapter Two and it is a seven-song firecracker! It was really something to spend some time with a guy from one of my favorite bands that I got to see for the first time as that 15-year old kid Snake talks about later in the conversation, back in 1989. All these years later the band is still going strong. Come on, join us:
Amps: The EP comes out August 5. You ready for this thing to hit the masses, or what??
Snake: Yeah, we’ve been ready for a while! The thing has been done for a few months now. It just wasn’t working out with both of our labels, so we pushed it back. We originally were gonna have it out in June, so yeah, we’ve been chomping at the bit to get this one out. It’s pretty strange because the record almost feels old to us already (laughs), but as we get closer to the date it’s pretty exciting. And the response has been really good so far which has been great, so we’ll see. Ultimately the public has the final say on how it is but it was one of those things that for me personally, it HAD to be a SKID ROW record. After making records with the band for 25 years I can say it was just an awesome, awesome experience. We just seemed…everything seemed to be aligned. We were all very much on the same page and we felt that our visions were really spot-on with one another. And that’s not an easy thing to have happen, and luckily we were able to accomplish that.
Amps: How was it writing for two EPs in a year as opposed to one big record? How do they compare?
Snake: From the standpoint of writing, recording, and mixing it was top to bottom a great experience. And that’s the great thing about doing EPs as well; you don’t find yourself stuck in the studio for months on end. We were in and out in two weeks. We were only working on seven songs so there was an excitement there without overdoing it. This seems to work really well for us. Plus it’s cost effective for us and the listener. And not having to come up with so many songs for a full-length and then go tour for a year and a half, two years really frees us up to get it done and keep it fresh, and not get too much in our own heads with it. It allows us to continually be in the moment with it, and I think it comes across in the writing. I’ve listened back to it a bunch of times, which is weird ’cause pretty much every record we’ve ever done once we were finished I’d maybe listen a couple times after mastering and that was it. It was time to move on. But with this I enjoy every song, and I think everybody played really well. It’s a great feeling. We really connected. After all this time of working together, being buddies, to still be able to do that, we’re very thankful that we get to do this for a living. It’s the most incredible thing in the world, and we’re all very keenly aware of that.
Amps: As good as UWB – Chapter One was, and don’t think I didn’t like it, I feel Chapter Two blows it out of the water. How do you feel about them and was the decision always to have them as separate entities?
Snake: I actually think so, too. Part of the process of the first EP was to get to this place. But yeah, I agree, and I don’t take that the wrong way at all. The plan was to have them come out much closer together and it would have been quicker but because of the logistics of coordinating with both labels at the time it turned out to be a year.
Amps: OK. I missed you guys in May because I was committed to another show already. PLEASE tell me you’re doing another cycle and hitting Dallas again. Because I was pissed!
Snake: (Laughing) yeah that’s the plan. It’s all good, we’re gonna be touring for quite some time, man.
Amps: What’s next for SKID ROW?
Snake: Same thing, man. We’re gonna go in and start working on a third EP and hopefully be able to maintain the mindset that we had for this one.
Amps: Speaking of mindsets…What’s the writing process in the band?
Snake: It usually starts out with us sitting down and we’ll have a couple beers and have a conversation about life and what’s been affecting us as individuals personally and whether it’s family stuff, friends, whatever. Stuff that’s been affecting us, we take that and start building a conversation and getting to the meat of what we’re going to be writing about. At the end of the day our songs are the end product of how we communicate our emotions on a grand level. When we get to the\at point where we’re all on the same page of what we need to write about then we move forward. Then it’s “Why don’t we do this? Or this?” and it really comes down to the soul and the spirit of it all is that 15-year old kid in front of the mirror pretending to be Ace Frehley, or Joe Perry, or Gene Simmons.
You’re that kid, and with that you sort of remember all the stuff that you went through as a kid. As musicians we started writing songs because it was a way that we could express ourselves. A lot of us weren’t great socially at that time in our lives so music was a great communicator for us. Our release was through music. And I feel like we’ve gotten back to that spirit, and as a result the music just started clicking. Once we got to that place we shut off the phones, locked the doors, got the beers and guitars and started writing about the things that affect us. It’s a great, great process.
Amps: What do you want to say to all the SKID ROW fans old and new?
Snake: In all honesty, just thank you. The gratitude that we have collectively as a band for all the people from the beginning, or those who rediscovered us, or the first-timers is just…thank you. I can’t even say anything else. We are so thankful that these people allow us to do what we do for a living. It’s one of the greatest gifts we could ever hope for.
And there it is. The more I do this the more I see that guys like Snake Sabo truly are the majority in this crazy world of rock and metal. Guys like Snake are the reasons we buy the tickets, the t-shirts, and the CDs. These are the guys who get it, get US, the fans, and never take that for granted. Pick up United World Rebellion – Chapter Two. You will NOT be disappointed. And look for the A&GS review coming soon!