Dear Chester, I only realised a few days ago that it’s nearly been a year …
Skid Row + Aussie tour = Excitement. Everybody wants to talk to Rachel Bolan, bassist and original member of the rock ‘n’ roll legends.
“It’s pretty overwhelming,” he says, “but I’ll take it, it’s awesome–the reaction has been positive. It’s nice, it’s really nice.”
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Bolan seems a bit taken aback by the response to the tour announcement made last month. Though Skid Row have been rocking and a-rolling these last 32 years, they’re just as loved and just as admired as they were at the peak of their success–so naturally, Bolan still has, shall we say, a what-the-fuck moment from time to time. “Yeah, those what-the-fuck moments happen a lot! My whole plan was to retire when I was 40–14 years later I’m still doing this,” he laughs. “And I’m loving every second of it!
“Sometimes we’ll be on stage, we’ll play a song, and I’ll look around at the guys in the band and they’ll be so in it, so in the moment. I’ll look at the crowd, the crowd’s so in the moment and I’m like, ‘What the fuck?! This is awesome, it’s so great!’ It never gets old, it really, honestly, it never gets old.”
He admits though, the rigours of the road were easier when they were 23 years old, but that’s not stopping them, Bolan saying, “It’s no reason to complain because we still have those moments of, like, ‘shit, I’m so glad I chose to do this.’”
The question that everybody is asking is how vocalist ZP Theart, of Dragonforce fame, is fitting into the mix. Without digging up old dirt, Skid Row have had their fair share of lead singers fronting the band in their time, but in the 18 months he’s been an official member, Theart is making an impact on the lineup such as Bolan could never have dreamed. “Our audience is just absolutely flipping the fuck out about him. He’s such a team player … but first of all, his talent! He came here and it was effortless for him. He sang and we were like, ‘what the hell?!’
“I have a lot of friends who are lead singers but he doesn’t have that lead singer gene–‘Here’s me and the rest of the world revolves around me’–nothing like that in this band, with any of us. He brought in this positive energy and positive way of looking at things and that to go with an amazing voice and being an all-round good guy has turned this band into something else.
We’re just Skid Row, we have a way of going out [on tour] and looking like our lives depend on it, so that’s what we’re gonna do in Australia.
[ Rachel Bolan ]
Did Bolan just throw a little shade at a member of old? Probably, but Skid Row, drama or no, have always held onto a strong sense of unity between themselves and in the way they embrace their fans into their music, their performance, and their journey. Now they’re the perfect family. “I feel like it has been a journey,” Bolan agrees. “Everyone that’s been with us all these years, through lean times and good times, we get to take them with us–if we had a tour bus big enough we’d stuff them all inside and take them with us!” That kind of awesome idea is probably why we love them so much. “We’re just Skid Row,” says Bolan. “We have a way of going out [on tour] and looking like our lives depend on it, so that’s what we’re gonna do in Australia.”
“We’ll probably pull out some deep tracks, we’ve got a long plane ride to think about it. I know somebody’s gonna go ‘Ooo why don’t we play this?’ and then we’ll go ‘Yeah let’s do that and let’s do this,’ then by the time we’ll get there we’ll have a whole different set list.”
Though he once wanted early retirement, though he plays today like his life depends on it, Bolan doesn’t literally depend on his playing, but it is his life’s blood. “To play, to write, to create, that’s me, that’s what I’m wired to do.”
And just like blood courses through our veins, so new music courses through Skid Row–don’t forget, there’s a new album on the way. “It’ll be out next year,” he says, “and it’ll be the third instalment of the United World Rebellion series.”
As this humble writer fishes for special treatment for her countrymen, probing Bolan as to whether Skid Row’s Aussie fans can expect a sample of the new material when they take to our stages, Bolan um’s and ah’s, giggling as he goes–he is the ultimate tease, a fact he finds hilarious. “The art of being vague!” he laughs heartily.
SKID ROW are touring Australia & New Zealand this October:
Thursday 18 October // Eatons Hill Hotel // Brisbane
Friday 19 October // Prince Bandroom // Melbourne
Saturday 20 October // Manning Bar // Sydney
Sunday 21 October // Astor Theatre // Perth
Tuesday 23 October // The gov // Adelaide
Wednesday 24 October // The Studio // Auckland