LOS ANGELES -- Sebastian Bach's stadium days with his former hard-
rock outfit Skid Row may be long gone, but the pretty-faced rocker with the long,
golden hair can still incite arena-like behavior from a mid-sized crowd.
He had just begun singing his second song Sunday night when a determined
female climbed up and gripped him by his sequined pants, vowing to never let
But Bach was unfazed, continuing to wail out the Skid Row tune "Piece of Me"
while a stage guy peeled the metal maiden from him.
In a surreal sort of time warp, Bach's nearly sold-out show at the Whisky a Go
Go -- part of the singer's ongoing, grass-roots tour with his four-man backup
band -- brought out lots of big hair, chains, makeup, spikes and leather, as well
as legendary, long-tongued bassist Gene Simmons of Kiss. "We just played 13
cities in 14 nights, and every place was packed with people who wanted to rock
all night," Bach said.
By all appearances at the Whisky show, reports of heavy metal's demise are a
Bach has been pretty much missing in action since Skid Row's early '90s
grunge-driven fall, save for his collaboration with the Breeders' Kelley Deal,
Frogs guitarist Jimmy Flemion and former Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy
Chamberlain as the Last Hard Men, whose cover of Alice Cooper's "School's
Out" was featured on the 1996 "Scream" soundtrack.
Now, in addition to touring with his own band, Bach has recorded five songs for
an upcoming solo album and has formed his own label, Get Off My Bach
Records, for which he recently attained distribution through Sony.
The remaining members of Skid Row, in the meantime, plan to record under a
different moniker with a new singer.
"I'm really proud of [Sebastian]," said Bach's cousin, Kevin Waite, 25, who was
selling merchandise at the show. "He's followed what he loves, and no matter
what happened, he didn't let it get him down."
Though Bach played a bundle of Skid Row tunes pulled from the group's three-
album career, he also delivered a few new hard-rockers, as well as covers of
Jeff Buckley's "Eternal Life," Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" and Kiss'
"Parasite," which he dedicated to Simmons.
"Do you all know Jeff Buckley?" Bach asked the crowd before playing a
metalized version of the Grace song. "This is for anyone who's lost
anyone. We're all too young to die."
Bach's new songs continue in the hard-rock vein of Skid Row.
"He sticks to what he loves," said Jacquie Ferger, who worked with Skid Row
during its heyday, after the show. "He has a lot of integrity and stays true to his
music and his fans."
The band behind the New Jersey-bred Bach (a.k.a. Sebastian Bierk, 30)
included Flemion, guitarist Richie Scarlet, bassist "Larry" and drummer Mark
"Bambam" McConnell -- who, according to Bach, "only knows how to play
drums and fuck."
Bach, Scarlet and Flemion had a glam look going, sporting makeup and
sequins (Flemion also was wearing huge wings and feathers), while Bambam
was the standard shirtless drummer and Larry was done up in Native American-
Indian paint. "Let's all thank Larry for letting us live in his country," Bach ordered
the crowd as he introduced the bassist.
Bach wore three different get-ups during the course of the hour-plus show: first,
a white sequined suit; second, a nearly identical yellow suit; and, finally, lace-up
rocker pants and a tight, black T. Each time, he provided more variety by going
shirtless after a few songs. "Call me Cindy Crawford," Bach said, "and that's
great; I can fuck myself."
Opening with "Slave to the Grind," the title track of Skid Row's sophomore 1991
album (which recently went double platinum), he proceeded with such Skid hits
as "18 and Life," "I Remember You" and "Youth Gone Wild" from the band's self-
titled, multi-platinum 1989 debut. "Nobody could stop Skid Row, not even Skid
Row," he told the crowd.
Before singing the ballad "I Remember You," he asked, "How many people
played this in the back seat of the car? How many people made love to this
song? How many people are going to sing along with me tonight?" With each
question, the crowd responded with a mixture of affirmatives.
"He knows how to communicate with his fans," said Gracia Gomes, 23. "You see
a lot of heavy-metal bands that just scream, but he has an excellent voice and
he's a great frontman, like the way he moves his hair around."
Bach hyped the finale, "Youth Gone Wild," by making the crowd read his tattoo
on his right arm, which spells out the title. During the rocker, the enthusiastic
singer took a misplaced stage dive and injured his leg, inducing a limp for the
remainder of the song.
"I pray to God he's not that hurt," said Stacey Ross, 25, afterward.
Bach heightened the nostalgia during the guitar intro to Skid Row's
breakthrough hit, "18 and Life." "Do you remember this song?" he asked. "Sing
along with me, Hollywood."
While many accompanied him, the lyric "your crime is time" prompted one
show-goer to crack up laughing. "How funny is that line now?" asked Ric
"It was a little dated, but he tried," agreed Bryan Dove, 28, who was visiting from
the Bay Area. "But there's a lot of heart in what he was doing -- he obviously
believes in it."