Sebastian Bach Talks Vocal Style And More
Mark Carras of Rock My Monkey recently conducted an interview with former SKID ROW vocalist Sebastian Bach. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Rock My Monkey: One thing that I did notice on this CD ["Angel Down"] is that you're using your higher octaves more than you have in a long time.
Sebastian Bach: Yeah. That's true.
Rock My Monkey: What was the reason behind that?
Sebastian Bach: That's very, very true. One thing, I did a play, "Jesus Christ Superstar" in 2002 that really got me screaming high again. It felt so good that I really said to myself "I'm always going to sing like this, only because I can.' You know what I mean? (laughs) And why not? So I said, "My next record, man, I'm going to scream like 'Slave To The Grind'. I'm going to try to sing like that first SKID ROW album, that really high style." And a lot of singers came out that were singing in that style that are starting to make it cool again. One guy is AFI, Davey Chaos, and-there's a lot-is that his name? Davey Havok, sorry. (both laugh)
Rock My Monkey: Havoc, chaos.
Sebastian Bach: (laughs) A lot of these high singers were coming out. The thing is when I recorded most of the vocals for "Angel Down", I was coming right off the GUNS N' ROSES tour. We did a couple weeks of shows with GUNS N' ROSES in Europe and then flew, we flew straight from Vienna, Austria. We did a festival with TOOL and GUNS N' ROSES all in the same day. It was an amazing festival. Then I got right on a plane and we flew right to L.A. from Vienna, and started recording right when we got there. And so my voice on the record is really high on the record on some of the songs because I was screaming with Axl Rose every night, and doing my set, and then doing my set and then "My Michelle". And I can remember coming in to do the vocals for "Angel Down", and my voice was so fucking high. Like really high! And it was hard to get it to go low. Like the last song, "Falling Into You", is quite low, the verses, and I was so used to singing high that that was one of the hardest ones for me to nail, because my voice was really, really, really high when I was singing the album. And "You Don't Understand" — I'm glad you mentioned that one. Because one thing I definitely concentrated on that song was to do it clean, and that's very challenging to sing really clean and pure for a guy my age. (laughs) So I really concentrated on that song, making it really pure and clean, and I love how it turned out. I love that song, too. I'm glad you dig it.
Rock My Monkey: Other than getting you to do "Back In The Saddle", what do you think Roy Z's brought to the CD as a producer that would not have been there otherwise?
Sebastian Bach: He brought one thing that was totally essential, and he really made the album a better album. And I'll tell you why. Because as you said, my band is a great metal band, but they are real metal players. Like, Steve DiGiorgio plays bass on the record. He plays a fretless bass throughout the whole record, and he's one of the world's best heavy metal bass players. And to have him on my record is such an honor, and he did such a great job. Blows me away. But here's the deal. We had songs like "Negative Light". I wrote that with Steve. "Take It Down With Me", I wrote that with Steve. Metal Mike, I had "American Metalhead". Johnny had "Stuck Inside". We had "Angel Down", because I had that from Adam Albright. What I'm trying to say, all the songs I'm mentioning are fucking all super-metal songs. And Roy said, "Dude, this is great, but you know what you need?" I go, "What?" He says, "You need straight-up rock." And I didn't really know what he meant, because I'm the artist. That's why you get a producer. So he's like, "Let me fucking show you some shit." Then he plays me the riff to "Love Is A Bitchslap", which is (imitates guitar riff). It's just fun. It's not like "Negative Light", which is so metal. So what he did was he made the record more balanced. He balanced it out, which was very important. It was his idea to do "Back In The Saddle", which I never would have thought of. It was his idea to add more straight-up rock like "Love Is A Bitchslap", which is actually the first single. Rock and roll should always be fun, you know? And that's what he brought to the table. A real fun, straight-up rock vibe. That's what he did.
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