Interview: Skid Row Guitarist Snake Sabo Talks New EP, the Fans, and 30 Years of Hard Rock
By Natalie Perez
Hard-rock veterans Skid Row has been around for almost 30 years, and they're still going strong, having just launched a series of EPs with United World Rebellion Chapter 1. Guitarist and backing vocalist Dave "Snake" Sabo took some time to discuss the new release and just how much the band has meant to him through the years.
REVOLVER You guys have been a band for almost 30 years. What comes to mind when you look back on your career thus far?
SNAKE SABO 30 years? I had no clue in all honesty. When Rachel and I first started the band in 1986, we had always felt that we'd still be playing, writing, and be friends together for as long as possible, if not since the first time we could pick up a guitar and bass. It's just been an incredible reaction and feeling. Hopefully, the fans will react well to the new songs as they have to the old ones. It's been such a long time--24 years since our first album was released--I just look back at it all with such respect.
How did you guys come up with your band name?
In all honesty, it was one of the hardest things to come up with. At the time, we were driving down the road and trying to avoid an accident skidding the road, and I said, "Let's call the band Skids or Skid Mark," jokingly then I said, "Let's call it Skid Row." We were laughing at it, then knew 10 minutes later that was the name for the band.
What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?
I think that a lot of what we approach and talk about is individuality and community. It's not about the band, the barrier, and then the audience when we play shows. It's more about community and being in concert with one another. We've always been underdogs as far as the band goes and we base our rep on our shows, so no matter the venue or where we're playing, we always give it all we got to the audience. They have always sensed that about us and have adopted us as their band, so it's very humble so all of our messages is positive and always will be.
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
I think we're a pretty aggressive hard-rock band with some heavy metal involved. There have been so many influences brought in a lot of things in common as well, like KISS, Van Halen, Ozzy, Black Sabbath, The Ramones, even influenced by Motown, old R&B and Soul records. It goes all across the board for us.
Was your songwriting and recording process any different than usual for this EP?
Yeah, there was a lot less pressure and it was different for us to do. It was one of those things of where we took that pressure off and wanted to do an idea of having the music be a constant flow so, with these EPs, we're able to keep someone's attention span there because, in this day and age, it's hard to do that. If we had gone into the studio to record a album with 12 to 14 songs on it, you're stuck with that recording while you tour, so we had thought of releasing EPs instead with five to six songs, then tour, and go back into the studio, record, and release another one, and tour again. You're keeping contact with the people out there, keeping their interest and making that attention span last a bit longer. So far, it has kept the price down on buying records and working in the studio, as well as give us a lot of flexibility. It seemed like the right thing to do and allow us to have a lot of different angles to work with.
This is of course the first chapter in this EP series, but how many EPs plan to be in this series? When the series is completed, do you plan to release everything together?
There are going to be three in this series. In five months, the second one will come out, and then in another five months or so, the third one. From there, we will see how far the series can go. Eventually, it's open to a lot of different things: box set, vinyl, picture disc, who knows, maybe some DVD. It will be something special and different to go with the EPs.
How has the band’s sound evolved from Revolutions per Minute to United World Rebellion?
Oh my gosh! I think what happened was that we had taken that pressure off and reacted to each other in a natural way of tossing ideas around. So that essence of the band went back to how things were when we had done our Slaves to the Grind release.
What are your plans for this year?
We're just going to be touring and recording just keeping our fan base interested in us and gain some new fans along the way as well so that's pretty much it.
Anything else you'd like to say to your fans out there?
Just the fact that we're very humble that people still come out to see us and sing along with the songs. I just can't imagine a life without all of that support. Our first EP in this series is out now and we hope people enjoy it.