Skid Row Skid Row
How does Rush, Led Zeppelin and Bon Jovi lead to one of the greatest albums of the 80’s? The culmination of Skid Row starts in the happy little burbs of Toms River, NJ with a couple tribute bands and an epic childhood friendship.
Skid Row's Self-Titled Debut Album is a masterpiece of rock and hair metal, pumping out bitchin' hits, 18 and Life, I Remember You, and Youth Gone Wild. Snake Sabo = EPIC rock name!
While drummer Rob Affuso was busy nailing Neil Peart fills in a Rush tribute band, you could find Sebastian Bach crushing some Led Zeppelin tunes - aka - Cock Rock. Meanwhile, down the road, Dave "Snake" Sabo and Mr Jon Bon Jovi (also from New Jersey, clearly) were crushing beers, trying on leotards and discussing Sabo’s upcoming project - Skid Row.
Sabo, having introduced Jon to Richie Sambora - was owed a big solid so Jon helped jumpstart the band as the final lineup came together and a demo tape that instantly garnered the attention of local metalheads while heading out on tour in support of Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet tour and Aerosmith.
They signed with Atlantic, hit the studio and produced one of the great metal albums of the 80’s - the Self-titled "Skid Row" (come on guys, any of your song titles would have made an epic album title...except, ’Sweet Little Sister’. That would have been creepy).
Following the formula of their spandexed predecessors, they came out swinging with the single "Youth Gone Wild" before getting deep with "18 and Life", slowing things down with "I Remember You" and then ramping back up with the bitching "Piece of Me".
Totally bitchin' hair metal album that was almost entirely written by Sabo & Bolan.
Skid Row notes
Update from Fizz: Sebastian Bach could belt it out. Really. Dude had OUTRAGEOUS vocals to match the attitude. Don't believe me? Listen to Wasted Time on Slave to the Grind. You're welcome.
Oh shit, let’s kick this party off with a big ol open G chord from the Snake! Couple hammer-off’s and some bends and we know we’re in for a good time. This is the perfect opener to this album that feels 5 years too late but is still fully in its prime. This song never slows down and we’re gonna take this cheesy metaphor for boobs as far as we can take it!
Rob Affuso and Scotti Hill snag a songwriting credit on Big Guns. Love it.
Sweet Little Sister
The "Ballerina from the subway train" from Big Guns has grown up and and is now the "Subway Queen" whose turned from tricks to a badass Mona Lisa with a new tattoo who knows how to squeeze the streets while keeping the veneer of an angelic princess at home. Wait...is this album a full-on concept album? Whether or not this is Skid Row’s Magna Opus, this song does pretty much what Track 1 did: kick ass and never slow down.
Can’t Stand the Heartache
You’d probably saw the title and assumed it was time to slow things down a little. I know a couple guys names Snake and Scotti that would tell you to go fuck yourself. With that said….holy shit this IS a concept album! This song tells the story from the perspective of our little Subway Queen’s "John’s" that made the mistake of actually falling in love. "That’ll be $200" has never sounded more romantic then it did in the 80’s. I miss the 80’s.
Piece of Me
The 4th and final single of their 5x Platinum album might be best know for the song that was playing when Bach go hit in the face with a bottle during a performance in Springfield MA when they were on tour supporting Aerosmith. Like any rational lead singer, he flung the bottle back, missing and hitting a girl instead, and then jumped into the audience to fight real bottle thrower while of course subsequently kicking another fan in the face (all the while, the band played on).
He was basically Ron Artest before Ron Artest was even cool. Oh yeah, this song kicks ass. Meanwhile, our "John" has taken to the streets as a transvestite prostitute.
18 and Life
The ultimate Skid Row track goes off script and gives us a power ballad about a child blowing another child away. This song put them on top of the metal charts and began a short but strong run of Skid Row being the biggest metal act on the planet. Wait, maybe they didnt go off script. What if Ricky was the boyfriend of Subway Queen only to discover her secret life and he fell off the rails one night?
What is it with "Rattlesnake Shake"? First Fleetwood Mac and then Motley Crue. As far as my advanced googling research shows, this is appears to be pure happenstance. Anyway, we’re back on the same streets that Subway Queen and John now work their magic but things aren’t as good for Tricky Little Vicky and Juicy Miss Lucy. Epic riffs and bitching solos ensue.
Youth Gone Wild
the first ever single from Skid Row is as good as any other song you’ve ever heard. Yeah I said it. In typical Skid Row, they tease you for a couple seconds before slapping you in the face with another badass riff. There’s not much to say here - this song kicks ass and you should be listening to it right now.
Here I Am
Best riff on this album. Whispers in your ear ever so subtly "we’re gonna melt your fucking face off". Subway Queen is leaving the life and finds herself at the 2nd Ave bus waiting to get out of town when, low and goddamn behold, there’s John getting in the same bus to escape the travesty of a life he’s left behind. This story is coming full circle! Anyway, this song keeps the formula working strong despite being the 8th iteration.
Makin’ a Mess
Harkens back to childhood playgrounds to bust out the 1-2 call and response story of T-Bone Billy catching his woman cheating, committing some domestic violence and kicking her out into the world to fend for herself while he returns to his original love of playing guitar. But random blogger guy, what's this got to do with Subway Queen and John? Well dearest readers...not a goddamn thing. Just a kick-ass tune that belonged on this record.
Interestingly enough, the only songwriting credit Bach receives on the entire album.
I Remember You
wait...was that a fucking bridge? You might not have noticed but Skid Row don’t do no damn bridges. The timeless ‘intro-verse-chorus-versus-chorus-bridge-solo-chorus-outro’ structure got thrown right out the damn window when it came time for Bolan to write a new tune despite the fact that bridges have been around since the original Yohann Sebastian Bach first defined the ‘bridge’ in Orchestral Suite #3’s 2nd act: "Air on a G string". With that title he also paved the way for every sexy 80’s power ballads as we know them today. Godspeed Mr Yohhan! Keeping with the story: this is Ricky rotting away in jail remembering his first and only love.
wish they had just called this "midnight tornado" as it’s a kick-ass title and doesn’t set up you for the disappointment of thinking you’re about to get 2 songs when, in reality, Tornado is just a little outro piece.
With that said, it’s time to complete our Opus concept album. Subway Queen and John and found their version of nihilistic love and are tag-teaming society with their "prowl of love". The hooker-lonely gent-anarchy love triangle comes full circle in this Bolan penned tale of pentatonic passion and lawless lust. Holy shit, now that would be an album title!
More Skid Row Details
|Release Date||January 24th, 1989|
|Record Label||Atlantic | Atlantic|