SKID ROW - REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE - SPV
This was an interview that was originally scheduled for Sheila on Thursday the 12th. When Tara at SPV, who is representing the band, asked for a one-day postponement because "something came up last minute for Rachel" the chat was re-assigned to Ali "The Metallian" who, with Sheila's questions in hand, chitchatted with SKID ROW bassist and founder Bolan on the heels of the release of the 2006 album Revolutions Per Minute. - 13.10.2006
METALLIAN: Rachel, thanks for your time and for calling into Metallian Towers. What is the story behind the new album and its title, Revolutions Per Minute?
RACHEL: The name Revolutions Per Minute has a double meaning. It has to do with speed, power and how fast a car is going and that is where we were at when we were writing the songs. I am sure you have noticed how there aren't any ballads on the album. We just wanted to write a hard rock album and not have ballads. We wanted to throw convention aside. We also took a couple of chances and gave the album a couple of twists, which is where the second meaning comes in. Revolution is change in society, politics or whatever and there are a couple of abrupt changes on the album.
METALLIAN: That is my cue to enquire about the concept and the venom on it. Is there a theme running through the album?
RACHEL: I wrote most of the lyrics and there is a lot of anger on it. This was brought up to me, and I didn't notice until people said it, that the album talks a lot about human interaction whether it's with friends, a girl or an enemy. The songs deal with taking people for what they are, otherwise 'fuck you.' That is the theme through the album. I don't want to come across as being all-angry, but paying attention a lot to what people say and their conversations it seems that mood was around when we were writing the album. It stuck in my head because people were going through a lot of bad relationships like divorces and stuff.
METALLIAN: The album begins with the one-two punch of Disease and Another Dick In The System. Did you have something to prove?
RACHEL: Obviously we put those two songs at the beginning because the flow was good. We wanted to make an impact. When Johnny comes out with his scream at the beginning of it, bam, it just hits you. What a way to introduce a record. It says this is what Johnny's all about. Everything was put together as if we were playing live and how the set would flow. We usually do that.
METALLIAN: The song White Trash sounds like a hardcore track Suicidal Tendencies would put out.
RACHEL: Awesome, thank you! I totally take that as a compliment. I love Suicidal Tendencies, man.
METALLIAN: The weakest song on the album is Nothing. Would you agree that it sounds like a Green Day track?
RACHEL: Given its tuning, it actually reminds me of something poppy Van Halen would do. My bass is tuned so low on that. That is the great thing about music. Everything hits everyone differently. That is why when people ask me about lyrics I don't like to completely tell them what I was thinking because music is like a canvass and everyone hears it a bit differently. So if you heard it that way, like Green Day, that is cool too because I love Green Day. I am a music lover, man. There is not much that I don't like. I have no problem with it when we get compared to one my favourite bands.
METALLIAN: What about the 'white trash' theme or motif?
RACHEL: It is just that you get aggravated when you work hard at something and then you hear people complain about having to work hard to be successful. That is where the phrase comes from. White trash in American culture is a chronicle of people and a commentary on people who will not do anything to help themselves. It satirizes what these people do.
METALLIAN: Musically, Skid Row has come down on the hard rock side of things. You aren't exactly trying to sound modern or get into newer sounds.
RACHEL: Yeah, I think for the most part that is correct. We are a hard rock band and that is what we have always claimed to be. We have punk influences and we have metal influences and there are tracks on this album, such as White Trash, When God Can't Wait or You Lie that just come out of nowhere. We threw convention aside and said let us not write ballads and instead do a rock record, but if something else comes in there that we like then we will put it in there. That is how Revolutions Per Minute came about. If you had to put a label on Skid Row then it would be a hard rock band.
METALLIAN (laughingly): Are you sure the song Shut Up Baby, I Love You is not a ballad?
RACHEL: It is just about frustration in a relationship. You can tell someone how much you care about them to the point of going crazy and they are not getting it. That is what that song is about.
METALLIAN: Elsewhere, drummer Phil Varone was in and out of the band a couple of times in recent years. What is the situation there?
RACHEL: Well, Dave Gara is our new drummer. He has been in the band two years now. It was one of those things with Phil. The rock 'n roll life-style was taking a toll on Phil. He lived it to the hilt. He took advantage of the pleasures of the rock 'n roll lifestyle and it was better for he and his family that he didn't do it anymore. It is something that I don't choose to do. I like some beer, but I don't dabble in the other stuff that slows you down. When he left it was good for him and probably good for us. Dave is a friend of mine and one of the first people I met when I moved to Atlanta. He was playing with a band called Betty Blowtorch at the time. We became friends quickly and when Phil left it was natural for Dave to walk in. He had drum sticks, he had a drums set and had tattoo so he fit in.
METALLIAN: Is the door open for Phil to come back as he has in the past?
RACHEL: No, no, Phil is gone. Dave is the drummer for Skid Row.
METALLIAN: In your opinion, will Revolutions Per Minute put to bed the nostalgia and comparisons to the band with previous singer Sebastian Bach?
RACHEL: You know, we are proud of what we did in the past and we will always play those songs, but with 2003's Thickskin we set out to tell everyone Johnny is in the band, he is our singer and will always be our singer. This album puts everything to rest and let's everyone know that this is serious, that Johnny has the goods and he is the singer. He is as much Skid Row as I am.
METALLIAN: What do you think of the fans' reminisce of Sebastian Bach and also his performing Skid Row songs on TV recently?
RACHEL: That, well, there is some stuff that is about to go down about that because he never got clearance from us to do that - the TV thing. You know, it's weird, I couldn't go out and do other people's songs. That is me though. I mean Snake and I own the name, we started the band and we write the songs. The rumours are ridiculous, but they are what they are. Johnny has been in the band longer than Sebastian has - or was! He has been in the band for seven years!
METALLIAN: What is next for the band and what is new with you, Rachel?
RACHEL: We are now on SPV Records worldwide. They took care of Thickskin in Europe and did such an amazing job that we figured we pair up and partner for this album for the whole world. They are an amazing, amazing label to work with. They are so easy to deal with. They are hard working and they understand the band. I have a side-project, but Skid Row is my absolute priority. Skid Row has been really good to me. My side-project is for when I get 15 minutes. I also produce bands. I just produced a band called Rockets To Ruin. They are a cool band out of Atlanta. They have a trashy cock rock sound like LA Guns. I have a studio and get local bands in. I can't stay still.
Skid Row is going on a tour of North America. The first leg begins on the 29th of this month and it ends on the fifteenth of December. We are taking King's X and Nashville Pussy to open. Then we will start again in February and March. From there we will hit Europe and from there hit Australia and Japan. We will just keep going, do it like we used to. VH1 Classic is presenting the tour and Gibson Guitars is sponsoring it. Good things are happening. We also hope to cover a lot of Canada. We are also starting to think about the next record. We will just keep going.
METALLIAN: One last question before you take off. Where does your name come from?
RACHEL: Rachel Bolan has been my name longer than it hasn't! When I was a kid I came up with the name and people have been calling me Rachel since I was probably 15. I was also a big Mark Bolan fan and I took his last name. It has been my legal name since I was fifteen years old.
The time is up and Rachel has to run along, but not before explaining why people need to get Revolutions Per Minute. "If you like exciting, energetic rock and roll and you feel like pumping your fist in the air then you go buy Revolutions Per Minute."
Singer Johnny Solinger, guitarists Dave "Snake" Sabo and Scotti Hill, Rachel and drummer Dave Gara are out and about, yet one can find more information at http://www.skidrow.com.
If you enjoyed this, read Poison