With the death toll from Hurricane Irene rising to 40, five million homes in the dark as of Monday and towns up and down the East Coast still struggling to hold back floodwaters, the cleanup from the storm is expected to take weeks, if not months.
One of the people who will have to put the pieces back together is Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach, whose New Jersey home was destroyed by flooding from the hurricane. The 43-year-old hair-metal vocalist lamented the loss in a lengthy Facebook post, in which he said that not only was the dwelling destroyed, but also that the storm had taken away some one-of-a-kind rock artifacts.
"I am numb, in shock, & devastated to report that my home of 21 years, my house featured on 'MTV Cribs,' has been destroyed, condemned, & deemed uninhabitable due to the extreme flooding courtesy of Hurricane Irene," Bach wrote. "In the 2 decades I have lived in this home, there has never been a single drop of water in the basement or anywhere else in the structure. Now Irene has overflowed the reservoir adjacent to my house. The surging waters have snapped the bridge in half next to my house & sent the bridge straight into my garage, knocking the house off of its foundation."
Bach said he was told he could not pump the water out due to fears of electrocution. Among the "irreplaceable" items lost: KISS Gargoyles from the 1979 tour, a KISS pinball machine, Skid Row master tapes, master tapes from Oh Say Can You Scream and "boxes & boxes" of original Skid Row memorabilia, from the band's first tour to their most recent, which Bach said no one else had.
"I had a library in the basement with every single magazine that had Skid Row on the cover," he lamented. "This library took up a big part of the basement. All of this is lost now. We will salvage what we can of course. But how I wish there was a reason to do a box set or something before Hurricane Irene hit. Nobody cared. Now it's too late. Don't know what you got till it's gone, indeed."
Some of his other treasures, such as his father's artwork — including a 16-foot-tall mural from the band's Slave to the Grind album — were safe after being moved upstairs, but Bach said he hasn't been allowed back in the house yet to assess the damage because the foundation had "crumbled" and the structure could collapse at any time.
"This has really taught me that the best things in life are indeed 'free,' " he concluded. "What makes me happy is that my children & ex wife are safe. My dad's art is unharmed. No one got hurt. My scrapbooks of memories of my life are dry & safe."
And, after 25 years of calling New Jersey home, Bach said he's packing it in and permanently moving West. "I will always love New Jersey, but now there is literally nothing left for me here except memories of a past life," he said. "Hello, Los Angeles. Hello, New Life. Here I am. It's time for a new start. Like I have a choice."