Sebastian Bach Celebrates “Slave to the Grind” Anniversary (INTERVIEW)

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The last time I talked to you was when you played the Bottom of the Hill in 2018, which feels like a decade ago, right? I mean, after all this COVID stuff.

I know. We’ve been on the road for almost three months now. And you know, basically, if sports teams can fill up stadiums with 75,000 people, I mean, we can have a rock show. [laugh]

Exactly, right? How’s it any different.

I already had COVID. And you know, we’re all triple vaccinated. I also like to call it the “Bach of the Bubble” Tour [laugh] There’s no Meet and Greets, and there’s no hanging out after the show, which we love to do. We just do the show, and then go to the bus or go to the hotel and try to not meet or mingle with people. It’s frustrating. And it’s confusing. It’s really a drag when people want me to autograph stuff, but I can’t, I don’t want to touch their pen. And I don’t want to touch their stuff. And so it’s, it’s awkward.

But we’re just trying to get the tour done. And we have six more shows. So knock on wood, I think we’re gonna be able to say “mission accomplished.” I hope. I don’t want to jinx anything. But the last show is on the 17th in San Diego, and tomorrow night is August Hall in San Francisco. And it’s gonna be fun. We’ve had some incredible shows. Some parts of the country seem to be more open than other parts of the country but we’ve had some great shows like two nights ago in Portland it was incredible. We hope to bring some of that to San Francisco.

What was so incredible about the show?

The attendance, the passion, and how excited everybody is to get out of their house. People are very excited to come to a rock show. And there’s not many of them going around the country right now. So we consider ourselves extremely lucky to be able to be doing this.

What was your motivation for this 30th-anniversary tour of Slave to the Grind?

Well, you only really get so many 30 year anniversaries. You only get a couple of those [laugh] So basically, we did a tour in 2019, which was the 30th anniversary of the first album and it was a very successful tour. So I said, “Fuck it, let’s do it again for Grind.” And people, the fans that like that record, really dig the novelty of coming to hear every song played.

You know, because when you put out a record when it first comes out, the attention is on the singles. In this case, “Monkey Business,” “Wasted Time,” “In a Darkened Room,” and the title cut, “Slave to the Grind.” But then over the course of 30 years of people listening to the album in their cars, then like every song becomes a hit over that amount of time. Like the song “Mudkicker,” which is a very deep cut, but Eddie trunk talks about it all the time on Sirius XM. And he always talks about it and it’s got a life of its own now so it’s like when we do that people freak out.

What’s your favorite song to play from the album right now?

“Creepshow.” Great riff and I love the cowbell. “I got a disease and there’s only one thing that’s gonna cure it and that’s more cowbell!” [laugh]

There’s so much of it on albums like Appetite for Destruction by Guns’ n’ Roses. I love it too!

That instrument, I don’t know why it rocks so much. “Creepshow” is so fun like that and the riff kicks ass. It’s the only word I could think of. I guess that’s two words. But that song’s fun, man. It really is a fun jam. I look forward to that.

I hear that you have a new drummer playing this time around.

Jeremy Colson, whom I’m borrowing from the Steve Vai band, and he also played with Billy Idol. He’s an incredible drummer. And Bobby Jarzombek my other drummer is busy playing arenas with George Strait. He’s from Texas so it’s like being from Liverpool and joining the Beatles [laugh]

Very cool. And then it’s the same guys that complete the band.

Yeah, Brent woods and Rob DeLuca. Yep, same.

How’s Brent’s health? I read somewhere that he had health issues at some point.

Yeah, he’s beat Leukemia. I don’t want to jinx anything but he’s been through it. And he’s healthy. And rockin’ every single night.

That’s awesome. Yeah, good for him. So getting back to Slave to the Grind, then what do you have any memories from the recording that stands out in your mind?

Yeah, we recorded it in New River Studios in Florida, which was Gloria Estefan’s studio. I don’t know if she still owns it, or I don’t even know if it’s still there. But that’s where we recorded the album and a lot of fans would show up at the studio. They would sit in the parking lot and wait to see us come in and out of the studio. And one day there were like 40 kids out there. Like the whole parking lot was packed. I decided to order five giant pizzas for all of them. And I walked out and I sat down with them and gave them all pizza. That’s a great memory I only did it once because after that more kids came out the next day because they had heard about it! [laugh]

The recording process must have been much different back then than I imagine.

It was 100% different. We were recording to tape and I remember the tape machine in the control room where they would do the cut and paste but it was really cut and paste. Like there was a machine and an Exacto knife kind of thing. And you know to do an edit in a song you would literally cut the tape and then re-tape it back up and it was totally different than now. You had to figure out how to make those sounds come out of your body, not your laptop. Yeah, totally. Very, very different.

I mean, you can hear the difference so much.

So much. Like there was no such thing as Pro Tools. I mean you could fix things a little bit but not like take a complete garbage vocal take and then fix it to make it sound good on your laptop. There was no such thing as that.

Did you guys ever release a vinyl version of Slave to the Grind?

Yeah, in ’91 We did. There have been other rereleases recently, but that has nothing to do with the band at all. It’s a record company thing. But the original version of the vinyl from ’91 is the one you want to hear.

And I’ve always loved the cover which was painted by your father. Did he ever explain to you what kind of symbolism is in the painting?

It was inspired by a painter called Caravaggio who used to paint these, like scenes of hell and stuff. But my dad basically listened to the music and tried to paint the lyrics into the painting. And one thing that freaks me out, there’s a song called “Beggars Day,” which is technically a bonus track. That was on half of the copies of the record. And I think it’s one of the best songs on the record. I think it should have been on all the copies. But the lyrics go:

“Suzi got an Uzi what a beautiful bride
That’s where the trouble began
Will there be any objection or a bloody resurrection?
It’s only up to Suzanne
A load of ammunition in her hand, yeah now”

And that was written in 1990. And then in 2015, I married a beautiful bride named Suzanne. Then there was an insurrection. That’s weird. That’s my wife’s name and then there’s an insurrection. And my dad actually painted it in the painting.

Wow, that’s incredible.

Like that’s pretty crazy. She’s right there. In a wedding gown opening the gun. That’s very haunting, very heavy. Art is heavy.

Oh, for sure. And you have the original painting, right?

I do yeah. Which is very cool. That painting’s been through a lot. It was painted in Canada, then driven to New Jersey, where I lived, and put on my wall. And then that house got destroyed in a hurricane but the water only came like an inch underneath the painting. You could see the waterline but it did not touch the painting. By just like an inch. I swear to God, like, you gotta be fucking kidding me, man. Like it almost got wrecked. So we got the painting off the wall in Jersey drove it all the way to California where I moved. Then, you know, we got evacuated twice for fires. And it was gonna get wrecked again. But it didn’t. It’s fine. And now I live in Las Vegas and it’s on my wall here.

It was meant to stay with you and survive. I was actually gonna ask you about your move to Las Vegas and what made you want to move from LA?

Well, there’s a business opportunity in Vegas that has not happened yet. It was offered to me and it could happen in the future. But I can’t tell you what that is right now. But the main reason is really the tax situation in California which was crazy. It’s why Gene Simmons moved out of there it was killing me too, so I’m trying the Vegas thing now. To be honest, I’m really never home. I’m always on the road. Like right now I’m right outside San Francisco.

But Vegas is cool. The nighttime in Vegas is really beautiful. Of course, it gets ridiculously hot parts of the year but then there are parts of the year where it’s like the 70s. I mean, it gets too hot in California too! And there are a lot of fires! and shit. I got one house destroyed in a hurricane and then I moved to where there are fires all the time. So far, Vegas feels like the safest place I’ve been! [laugh]

Well, the last question I had for you was what happened to your reality series Keeping Up With The Sebastians? I asked you this the last time we spoke, and I actually had to ask you about the drum hut and I was wondering if you were going to try to reconstruct it in Vegas?

That’s funny. It reminds me of this fan that came to a Meet and Greets. Back when we used to do Meet and Greets. He got all mad at Brent. “Why are you being so sour about the drum hut?” he said. I can’t believe people really watched that. I just like making stuff. Like, you know, making albums, designing a t-shirt, you know, writing my book. I was kind of bored and I just filmed that for YouTube. I just thought it was pretty silly.

Well, my wife and I enjoyed watching them. I mean, if people are gonna watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians, I think the life of a rock star is a little bit more interesting.

Totally. I need a camera crew following me around. If they filled the road that would be an incredible show. I wish I could film goes on out on the road because that’s an extreme lifestyle. Traveling everywhere. You never know where the fuck you are. It’s nuts! I’m glad you like it. It blows me away that people watch that because it’s just funny. I like making cameos too. I went overboard making cameos but I was locked in my house, and I couldn’t do anything for the pandemic. So I just got really creative. And it was like a job. I could do these cameos and it was like work.

Alright, well I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I can’t wait for the show tomorrow. I will definitely be there.

Check out the opening band, they’re called Kaleido. They’re really good. The singer is a great vocalist.

Cool. Yeah, we’ll definitely get there early then.

Right on man. Good talking to you. Take care.

August Hall Presents Sebastian Bach, Kaleido // 7:30 pm | Doors: 6:30 pm All Ages || $35.00

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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