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Touring ’80s rockers a ‘nonstop machine’

More than 25 years after forming, Skid Row is still making music and touring.
More than 25 years after forming, Skid Row is still making music and touring.
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For Dave “Snake” Sabo, it’s all about positivity.

Sabo is the guitarist for heavy metal band Skid Row and he says the band is better than ever now.

“We feel good,” he says during a recent phone interview. “I feel like I’m that 16-year-old kid again and that’s what excites me. We’re back to the reason we started doing this in the first place and that’s to make good music. We’re leaving all the other stuff at the door and just expressing ourselves.”

Sabo and Skid Row are basking in their lastest EP, “United World Rebellion.” After a nearly three-year absence from making music, Sabo says the album has been welcomed by fans.

“There are fans who forgot about us because we hadn’t put out music,” he says. “With this album, we’re showing them that Skid Row is still around and making the rounds on tour.”

In fact, even when Skid Row wasn’t making new music, it did about 150 dates a year on tour.

“We’ve been a nonstop machine,” he says. “We hit the road just like we used to back in the day when we were on top in the game. Then things changed and we had to adapt to this new world in music.”

Skid Row formed in 1986 in Toms River, N.J. The band found success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with its first three albums, all of which sold more than 1 million copies. Its singles “Youth Gone Wild,” “18 and Life” and “I Remember You” solidified the band as a force in rock music.

Original lead singer Sebastian Bach left the band in 1996. In 1999, the band re-formed with lead vocalist Johnny Solinger. The current lineup consists of Sabo, Solinger, Rachel Bolan, Scotti Hill and Rob Hammersmith.

“We’ve got a line up that gets along and that is on the same page,” Sabo explains. “We’ve found the spark again. We lost our direction for a bit, but we’ve come back together stronger than we’ve ever been.”

Sabo says the camaraderie is in part due to the fact that the band does everything on its own.

“If there’s anyone in charge, it’s us,” he says. “Now if things go wrong, we can blame ourselves.”

Sabo says that it took nearly two years to complete the EP and he often spent time with Bolan writing.

“Rachel and I went into a room together with guitars and just passed ideas back and forth,” he says. “We would build on a musical idea or lyric and that’s pretty much the way it happened. We found time in between touring to write and as you can see, when we do more than 100 dates a year, we don’t have a lot of down time.”

Sabo says putting out the EP was a great move for Skid Row because the band was able to concentrate on the six songs.

“I think the industry is going this way and we’re following suit,” he says. “In the past, we’ve had songs that have gotten lost in the shuffle with a 12- or 14-song album. With the EP, we were able to focus on the six best songs and make them all potential singles.”

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