Rodney Holder of Australia's Music Business Facts recently conducted an interview with former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he has contracts with his backing musicians:
"Not a signed contract, but we agree to everything before we go on the road, so there's no surprises. I do all my business before I get involved. I also don't talk business with my bandmates. My manager, Rick Sales, and his people that work for him talk numbers. That clouds a musical relationship. If you're always talking about money and publishing, you're not gonna even like the guy. I don't talk about that stuff with my guys in my bands. We have a relationship that is only about music. And they talk to my manager, and my manager talks to me, and we get everything figured out. And that's how that works."
On how he splits songwriting credits with other people in a collaborative situation:
"There's a way that that's done. If you're doing it honestly, you give credit where credit's due. I don't have to have that discussion with my musicians, 'cause I don't rip them off and I don't steal their publishing, because I want them to want to work with me. [Laughs] So the way you do it, if somebody brings in the riffs, they obviously wrote the music.Then I will come up with a melody line to sing over that music. So I'm coming up with the vocal melody line. Then I'll put words to the melody line. And music is fifty percent of the song, and lyrics and melody is another fifty percent. So, usually, the band… You know, the guitar player, like Steve Stevens, who brought 'Push Away', gets a hundred percent of the music, which is fifty percent of the song. That's how we do it. Then, if somebody comes up with a lyrical idea — like, Axl Rose [GUNS N' ROSES]. We had a song on 'Angel Down', and he came in and improvised some lyrics just on the spot. But he added two lines to the song, so he got a lyric co-write. If you're not ripping anybody off, you don't have to have that conversation. The only reason you would have that conversation is the way some guys say, 'It's my band and it's called 'Sebastian Bach,' so I get more publishing that you.' But I'm not like that. I hate that. [Laughs] I think that sucks. Who would wanna work with somebody like that? I wouldn't."
On SKID ROW's record deal:
"SKID ROW was only signed by Atlantic, three of the members. Atlantic Records only signed three of the five members of SKID ROW: me, Rachel [Bolan, bass] and Snake [guitarist Dave Sabo]. And so, those agreements are done before you go into the studio. You have entertainment lawyers that speak to each other about what's happening and then you sign everything and then you go do it. And the ironic thing is, I haven't been in a room with Rachel Bolan in twenty years, but we are still in a business relationship together. We have the same accountant, and I get statements and we get… It's very strange, 'cause we are close together in a business sense — still, and forever — but I don't even have any relationship with the guy. So it's very strange and weird."
On whether he "did okay" financially as a member of SKID ROW:
"We all did okay. When you sell twenty million records, everybody does okay. I mean, that's how many albums we sold and videos, singles… But, you know, we signed a publishing deal with [Jon] Bon Jovi's company, which gave him an extremely large cut of the first album. And when that happened, none of us realized it, really, and we were very bitter when we found that out. But our next record debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart, so quit your fucking whining. [Laughs] It's, like, I look back… He took us on tour… Nobody thought we'd make it. There was a million bands. We could have been BANG TANGO or TIGERTAILZ or… We could have been… There's a billion bands. We could have been BABYLON A.D. … Anyway, so, the fact that we were one of the bands that did make it was like a needle in the haystack. So for Bon Jovi to put us on the road in front of his crowd every night, that's how we made it. So he deserved to get paid for that. He could have taken any other band. So we re-did all those deals after the first album — for 'Slave To The Grind' and 'Subhuman Race' and the best-of album. We re-did all those."
On whether he sees himself as a businessman:
"Definitely. I am the president of Get Off My Bach Productions, and I am the boss in my band. I have a crew, I have a guitar tech, drum tech, soundman, tour manager, monitor man, band members… So, yes, I am a businessman. It depends on what interview I'm doing, you know, how I'm gonna answer that, as I said before. But, of course I am… Here's one thing that I should tell you: I sign my own checks. If this is a business article about business, here's something I'll tell you: you be the person that signs your checks. And that took me years to figure out. I had, in SKID ROW, accountants that sometimes I didn't even really know that would handle all the money and sign my checks for me. And you know what? That's not cool. I would say one of the greatest feelings I have is I'm the guy that signs my checks for my company — nobody else has that power, and people have tried to get it. And I'm, like, 'No, I'm the guy that signs checks for Sebastian Bach.' And so that would be a piece of advice that I would say would be good to keep."
On whether it's true he charged people to attend his recent wedding reception:
"We didn't run the whole wedding or reception. We got married at a place called RockBar Theater in San Jose, California. We played a concert there — my band — and after the concert, we were hanging out with the owners of the venue, and we were saying, 'Oh, we're getting married in August. And we're so excited.' And the owners of the venue said, 'You should get married here.' And I looked at my fiancée and we were, like, 'We can't get married at a rock bar.' And then they led us to this beautiful room with this amazing chandelier. And it was a gorgeous setting. And we looked at each other. We [went], 'We could actually get married here.' [Laughs] So it was their idea to have rock bands playing. Every wedding has a wedding band. Ours was different, 'cause we had a KISS tribute wedding band. And we had a party at the reception, and fans were allowed to come in. And I sang for… I don't know… two hours the first night [and] two hours the second night, and they got a picture with us and got to hang out. So it was just like a meet-and-greet kind of thing… it was a hundred and fifty dollars to come to the reception. I do VIP meet-and-greet sessions at every concert I do for more than that. When I do a meet-and-greet for, like, two hundred dollars or something — you know, every day, I do, like, ten of them at concerts — that's my reality of who I am. Every time I walk out in public, I am doing photos and I am signing things. This is my life twenty-four hours a day, and the only time it doesn't happen is when I tie my hair back and put a hat on and disguise myself. And then it still happens, 'cause I'm tall and my voice is kind of identifiable. [Laughs] But, for me, my life is like one big VIP meet-and-greet. [Laughs] It semed like the most natural thing in the world. When they said, 'Do you wanna have fans come to the reception when the KISS tribute band's playing?' I was, like, 'Of course.' Why wouldn't I? I don't wanna jam with a KISS tribute band just for my mom and my wife. They've seen me before. [Laughs] They're used to this. So, to me, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. When we did catch shit about it is when the venue came up with the price without asking us. It was, like, a lot of money, and so we made it more reasonable. But… I mean, KISS sells coffins, for god's sake. We didn't make any money off our wedding. If people think we did… we didn't. We got married and we lived happily ever after. The end. [Laughs] The venue [got the money from the ticket sales]. They put on the wedding. They paid for everything — the food, the band — and so they charged for tickets. There's Elvis weddings in Las Vegas. For years, people go to Vegas. There's a KISS chapel in Las Vegas at the KISS store. I'm not the first guy to do this. You can go get married by an Elvis impersonator, and people think that's normal. [Laughs] So what the heck? [Laughs] I've heard of a lot of weird weddings. Mine's not that weird, really. [Laughs]"