Congratulations on your recent nuptials, do you feel like you have a new outlook on life?
Thank you! Yes I do, I was married for twenty years and then I wasn’t, I really didn’t know what to do when that happened so five years later I found the love of my life so we sealed the deal. It feels great to have something great happen apart from hurricanes, divorce and stuff like that. I’m very lucky and the luckiest man in the world. I’m bringing her to Sydney, Australia for our honeymoon.
The 18 and Live Tour is coming down under, it feels like it has been ages since you were last here?
I can’t remember the last year exactly but I do know that we did three separate tours around the album Angel Down then we put out Kicking & Screaming and didn’t tour there at all. Apparently it charted in Australia and was a popular record so that was unfortunate that we didn’t get to come on that album but it was awesome with Give ‘Em Hell I can come down there.
It feels like there is a bit of catching up to do?
Not that much because we played a lot on that Angel Down record so that tour we did with Guns ‘n Roses and Rose Tattoo we did every giant arena in Australia had to offer so that was quite an extensive tour. It is great to come back and headline now and after seven weeks in the States we are very rehearsed and tight as a band. Last weekend we got to play Irvine Meadows which is as big as Skid Row ever got in LA, it was where we opened up for Bon Jovi back in 1989. To play the same place in 2015 was astonishing, so incredible and great that I couldn’t even tell you. We’re on a high as a band and as individuals! We’re excited to come down there and party with you guys, rock ‘n roll, it will be a great time.
How was it playing with Kings Of Chaos in Sydney?
Yeah, yeah, it was awesome! I’ll go to my grave happy that I got to do a concert in my life opening up for Aerosmith and Van Halen in one show. That was amazing!
Will you do anything with Kings Of Chaos again?
I’m doing two more shows with those guys in October. We are playing in Windsor, Canada just outside of Toronto and I get to sing with Robin Zander of Cheap Trick who is without a doubt a top three or four influences of mine. It would be like old Van Halen, old Judas Priest, Kiss and Cheap Trick and I have to put Rush in there to. I liked Cheap Trick before Rush, Neil Peart’s time signature were too much for me as a kid but Robin Zander has always been one of my favourite singers. When I was a kid I wanted to look like him, sing like him and now I get to share the stage with one of my heroes. Plus, I’ve never met him which will be cool.
Is the Australia tour the tail end of this tour before taking a break and reset for 2016?
My biggest task at the moment is finishing my book for Harper Collins which is called 18 And Life On Skid Row. I’ve written three hundred or so pages but I’m still not done and I’m on deadline. Writing a book is a huge, huge, huge process and I don’t know how to even tell you but there is a lot of detail to make sure everything is perfect. It is a huge thing and that is what I’m trying to finish and after that I will do a new record. I’m always playing live, the industry now is really about the live show, that’s what it is. I’m constantly playing concerts, always, that’s the way it is now. Back in the eighties we would go on the road for a year then take a year off then make a record for a year then go back on the road for a year. It is completely not the way it is now, it is a celebrity driven industry. It’s about meet and greet, VIP, doing pictures for people’s Facebook profiles and this is the world we live in. That’s what it is about!
A photo with yourself would be awesome!
I’m not complaining at all I’m just saying to some fans it is just as important to meet the band and get pictures with the band than the show is. When we started in Skid Row we never thought about meeting the band, we just went to the show and got the fuck out of there. It is a different world!
It is a different now that people don’t pay for music.
People know the music because even if they don’t buy it when I put out a video like All My Friends Are Dead or Temptation or Kicking & Screaming gets a million plays on YouTube. That’s still a million plays and when I do these songs at concerts people know them. Everyone has these phones with these high, intense cameras so everywhere I go even walking down the street it’s always a photo opportunity. It’s endless!
Is writing the book a cleansing process of sorts?
It is, people love to reminisce about the early days of Skid Row and that’s where I think about that. So that’s where I tell the stories of all those tours with Motley Crue, Guns ‘n Roses, Pantera, Bon Jovi, Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden. All those tours that we did are all detailed in the book. I don’t walk around thinking about two or three decades ago but when I’m writing the book I know what people are interested in reading about so that’s when I really get in to the detail about things that happened a really long time ago that no knows other than me and the four guys in Skid Row. They are not interested in even acknowledging those days. It looks like it’s up to me really! No one else is going to read a book about it.
Did you have a vision about how Give ‘Em Hell was going to pan out?
All you can do is make music that you like yourself and that you want to listen to over and over again. That’s how I do it! How I get to that point, I can say to you that I’m going to make a more melodic album this time or this or that but if I hear some deadly heavy metal riff I’m not, not going to do it because I have this plan. I’ll do the best music that I can that is interesting and that I want to sing over. However I get to that point is kind of like some weird magic. I really am proud of every record, ninety nine percent of the records I love so I love Angel Down, Kicking & Screaming and Give ‘Em Hell, Slave To The Grind, Subhuman Race, the first Skid Row album I’m proud of them all.
Working with Duff McKagan, Steve Stevens and John 5 must have been a great experience?
I’m very lucky, I kind of wished that the record company that put the album out understood that I had Duff McKagan, Steve Stevens and John 5 and I can’t get better musicians than that. Who’s better than that? Nobody! I really can’t deliver a more top notch record, I’m going to try! When I put that on it is like Jesus Christ this fucking kicks arse.
Did you feel challenged with this album?
How do I answer that politically correct! I’m always in trouble dude and I’m like fuck it, just do what I want. It just seems to me, I need to get this off my chest, when I make a record I spend two years on it every single day torturing myself to make it stand up to the other records I put out. It is very challenging and it is all on my shoulders. Every day I am reminded by the deadline via email that you got to give it to us by this date and if you don’t you’re going to be in trouble. It is like I work for a year or two on something then the last day I have control over it is when I deliver it. Once I deliver it I don’t have any control over. Every one of my records sells exactly the same amount of copies, it is like six or seven thousand in the first week out in the States and I always seem to chart at either sixty nine, seventy or seventy one. The day I give that record away I don’t hear from anybody because it is gone and that’s that. There’s no radio, it would be nice to have a plan after I deliver it that is what I would say to you. It kind of makes me weary when I say here we go again to give two years of myself to a project then once I put it out it is kind of done. It would be cool to have a radio station get in to it or something. That’s the way it is now, in the old days we would do interviews, radio, magazines and stuff like that but it is a different world now.
Are you still looking to pursue more in TV and Broadway?
There’s a show here in the States called Breaking Band and there is a band called Santa Cruz from Finland, we shot the show, they came over and I’m like their rock ‘n roll mentor then I jam with them and help them out. That’s coming out here next month in the States but I don’t know about Australia. It’s fun! They’re a really good band by the way…
Are you going to bring them out on your tour?
I ain’t flying anyone to Australia except my band! It’s some expensive flights!