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| 13 September 2015 | 4 Replies

By Shane Pinnegar

Former Skid Row singer and acclaimed solo star Sebastian Bach brings his 18 and Life tour to Australia and New Zealand this month for a series of shows that promise to be as raucous as any we’ve recently encountered.

Friday 18th September – CHRISTCHURCH – The Bedford
Saturday 19th September – AUCKLAND – The Studio
Tuesday 22nd September – BRISBANE – Eatons Hill
Wednesday 23rd September – SYDNEY – Metro Theatre
Friday 25th September – MELBOURNE – Forum Theatre
Saturday 26th September– ADELAIDE – The Gov
Sunday 27th September – PERTH – Astor Theatre

Sebastian Bach 01

I barely have time to introduce myself down the phone line to California before Bach launches into a story about Perth expat Cheryl Rixon, who most men of our generation will remember as 1981’s Penthouse Pet Of The Year…

“I can’t wait to come back to Perth,” he starts, already over-excited, “I’ve been living in California for a while. It’s funny that we’re talking about Perth, because I must mention that for a couple years I lived at the home of Cheryl Rixon, who is [also] from Perth, Australia, and she was Penthouse Pet’s Model of the Year 1979.”

She certainly was, I agree. And she was beautiful. I even had that issue of Penthouse, actually, under my bed.

“Let me tell you the story! Let me tell you the story! Yeah – me too, I know what you’re saying. Anyways, I got divorced, like, five years ago, and I lost my home in a hurricane. I went out to California looking for a new place, with no luck, because I’m kind of particular. I was at the Rainbow one night and I met Cheryl Rixon, and her husband, Art. We sat down and had a great evening. I said, ‘yeah, I’m looking for a place.’ She’s like, ‘you could live with us.’ I thought she was joking, and they go, ‘no, come on over, maybe we can help you out.’ I was like, I didn’t even hardly know them…

Sebastian Bach with Cheryl Rixon & husband Art Davis

“I didn’t realise that Cheryl owns 80 jewellery stores in Japan, called Royal Order. She’s a very successful person, and I had nowhere to live or anything. I go to their house, and it’s an insane mansion in Beverly Hills, California. I go, ‘are you kidding me?’ I’m like, ‘yeah, I could live here. no problem!’ I ended up living with Cheryl for, like, two years.

“I have my own house now, here, but she really helped me out in a time that I really needed it. Her story is that her dad, and her grandpa, was up in the Outback. She’s from the Outback, north of Perth is where she lived. Her grandpa, at one time, was the police officer of the whole Outback. At the time, he was the police officer of the largest land area of any police officer in the whole world.

“I think it’s amazing that she can come from the outback of Australia, to Perth, and then to Beverly Hills, and create this whole jewellery empire. She’s also the Creem magazine Judas Priest girl, with Rob Halford. I don’t know if you remember that picture… the black leather motorcycle photo session with Judas Priest. That’s how I knew who she was.

“That’s my Perth connection!” he concludes.

I have to admit, that is a pretty cool story, but what we’re really here for is to find out what Bach has up his sleeve for his Australian tour.

“We’ve been on the road for seven weeks here in America,” he says, “we just played Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, like, two weeks ago. We’re very tight as a band, it’s not like I’m just hiring some fucking dudes to play the old tunes. This is a real band. It’s the same drummer I brought to Australia [last time], Bobby Jarzombek, and Rob De Luca on bass, Brent Woods on guitar. We’re just very well rehearsed. You can go read the reviews of the Cathouse Live festival, and they’re all pretty accurate.”

Sebastian Bach 04

With so much material to choose from between his three studio albums with his former band and three solo records, it’s no surprise that Bach plays a different set list most nights.

“There’s five songs or maybe six that I have to do every show, that the fans expect,” he explains. “It’s my hit songs, so I play all the hit songs. Other than that, whatever songs we play depend on the venue that we’re playing in, the temperature and how hot it is, how long our set is. Those three factors factor in.

“Even those five songs, we do change, because we play so many shows that it’s boring to do the same thing every night. We need to keep it interesting.”

Sebastian Bach 03

Bach slows down for one thoughtful moment when I enquire if he has a favourite song from his repertoire which he hasn’t been able to make work in the live arena.

“Let me think about that. I know the song Quicksand Jesus is a beautiful studio recording. That song is very sonically interesting to listen to on the Slave To The Grind record, but live, when I try to do that, it’s so… it’s kind of like, it doesn’t translate live as much as I would like it to, so maybe I would say Quicksand Jesus.

“When I tried it live, it’s kind of slow and plodding. When I do In A Darkened Room, it’s more of a… I don’t know how to describe it, [but] it comes across better live.”

Just like Guns n’ Roses, Skid Row are constantly badgered by the media as to when their original line-up will reform. I ask Bach why people are so obsessed with getting these bands back together instead of just enjoying their respective solo work? It’s a really unhealthy obsession, in my mind.

“I would agree with you on one hand,” he says, pausing, “but on the other hand, as a fan, I can totally understand where a fan is coming from, that would be excited to see their favourite band reunite after decades. Like when Kiss did that in 1996, that was completely insane. I look back, through all of rock n’ roll, I think that when Kiss reunited in ’96, it was one of the most incredible things that ever happened in rock n’ roll. When people say, ‘are Skid Row going to get back together?’ I understand that question.

“[But] I haven’t been in the same room as Rachel Bolan since ’96. It’s coming up on 20 years. If we ever were to reunite on a stage – that’s almost 20 years of getting over whatever the hell it is he’s mad about, because I’m not mad at all. The fact that the five guys in Guns N’ Roses are still alive, and the five guys in Skid Row, we’re all still alive: that’s a miracle. It’s almost like, if you have the chance to do something that epic, and you don’t do it, it’s kind of like selfish, to me, really.”

Far from decrying the pestering for something that finished twenty years ago, it sounds very much like Bach is saying ‘never say never’…

“It’s very easy for me to walk on the stage and sing the same songs that I already sing every night,” he says by way of explanation. “It’s not hard, so I don’t understand what the hold up is. You’d have to ask them.”

While we’re talking about Skid Row, lots of Bach’s stories are likely to be spilt in a new autobiography he has written for March 2016 release, to be titled 18 And Life On Skid Row. Bach promises to get down to the nitty gritty in the book, promising it will be, “pretty heavy on the sex, pretty heavy on the drugs, and very heavy on the rock n’ roll.

“When you’re writing 400 or 500 pages, it’s an immense project. It’s a huge project. I don’t really know if I should tell the dirtiest things that I could, because I’m still wrestling with [the fact that] I have kids, and I don’t want my daughter reading something that I haven’t told her that I actually did. There’s kids to think about, here.

“It’s a wild book, it starts out pretty wild. I don’t want to give any spoiler alerts away, but… I’d say the photos are going to be cool, [they’re from] my own personal scrapbook: the Bon Jovi New Jersey tour, Aerosmith’s Pump tour, Motley Crue Dr. Feelgood, Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion, we opened up all those tours. There’s a lot of pictures that you’ve never seen before from my own personal collection.”

Sebastian Bach 02

With Bach being such a larger than life dude, one thing is plainly obvious: they just don’t make rock stars like him any more, and he’s as unimpressed with the current raft of lily-livered, so-called ‘rock stars’ as the rest of us.

“I don’t know. Man, there’s a whole industry that I would not have been Sebastian Bach without, you know?” he states. “We had Atlantic Records, and Doc McGhee, Premier Talent, we had the biggest industry people in the world making Sebastian Bach and Skid Row big. They got paid for it, too. They all did good [out of it]. Now, there literally is NO music industry. In America, they have this channel, VH1 Classic. It’s a TV channel, and 24/7 they just play the old videos, and it’s crazy, but there are no places for the music videos to play except for YouTube. There was a whole industry. I don’t even think, that exists anymore, you know? I don’t know how to answer that, but it doesn’t seem like there’s the same infrastructure that makes a guy like me.”

We finally get around to congratulating Bach on his wedding the previous week to Suzanne Le, and even such a lovely occasion managed to get sucked into controversy, with Bach accused of selling US$300 tickets to attend the ceremony.

“Thankyou, I am very lucky,” Bach replies, “extremely, extremely lucky to have found someone so cool, and nice, and hot, all at the same time, [but] I don’t know where people get their stories. It was a media circus, saying that we were charging people $300 to come to our wedding. That never, ever happened. I never once, in my life, ever thought to myself, ‘I’m going to charge $300 for them to come to my …’

Sebastian Bach and Suzanne Lee 01

“I don’t know where that came from. I just looked at my fiancé and laughed, because I have a website –, I have a million followers on my Facebook page, I have a half a million on my Twitter. You can go scroll through that, there’s never been, there was never any announcements, ever, of that from me. I don’t know who said that, and why people would listen to somebody other than me about my wedding, that nobody knows who this was, or whatever, but you just have to laugh.

“You really have to laugh. There’s an article on, Bill Maher’s channel, that sent a spy to our wedding. It’s really a funny article, it’s very accurate, and I read it in my backyard and was laughing so hard. If you want to know about the wedding, go read that article. It’s very, very accurate.”

With our time up, Bach stresses once again that the Cheryl Rixon story – and photos of her from Penthouse – will attract readers like moths to a flame.

“…and you know what? If you can spell Cheryl Rixon’s name right, and express in that article how much I love her, and everything she did for me, that would mean a lot to me, in her hometown.”

Here’s Cheryl’s Penthouse cover feature from 1979. Don’t miss Sebastian Bach live in Australia this month.

Cheryl Rixon Penthouse


An edited version of this story was first published in X-Press Magazine’s 9 September, 2015 issue.

Category: Interviews

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