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History & Biography


Skid Row is back with a new album and the immediate question logically would be how things are going musically given the tepid reaction to the band’s 2003 comeback album Thickskin. Safe to say this album with get loads of kudos for its generally heavy direction and strong songs. Then again, the album’s drawback is its inconsistency and several notable weaker songs. For whatever reason, commercial inclination or not, Skid Row hops into a couple of pop genres it has no business in. One doesn’t expect the band to sound like 1991’s Slave To The Grind (or look as hot with all the long hair) after 25 years - although nothing wrong with that - but The Offspring is not the future either. After seeing the band play the Hard Rock Café several years ago and being disappointed Revolutions Per Minute will go a long way in restoring my faith in these guys’ ability to deliver again.
Let’s take it from the top, shall we? Disease is a good start for the album. It is a hard song that proclaims the boys’ return. Another Dick In The System is even harder. It lashes and thrashes as it releases a lot of pent-up energy. Self-censorship is out of the door as the New Jersey boys throw caution to the wind. Pulling My Heart Out From Under is a disposable song though and the first of several weak tracks on Revolutions Per Minute. Still, the angry lyrics keep coming. Humanity doesn’t get treated too well on this disc! When God Can’t Wait is nothing but a teenage pop punk disappointment that one hopes Skid Row will never repeat. Right, moving on then. Shut Up Baby, I Love You is next and is the sweet sound of redemption. The tune tickles my Dokken Erase The Slate bone. The band’s bile poetry is on track and the music reminds this girl of Dokken’s Mad Hatter. Strength is the album’s longest track. The song is catchy to the point of reminding one of U2. Scratch that for hard rock fans will love the driving and enjoyable guitar and backing vocals. White Trash is all about that and, as my editor points out, has a whiff of the hardcore band Suicidal Tendencies. The inclusion of the harmonica is funny as the band unleashes upon the white trash American culture. You Lie has even more vitriol out of the box and goes back to the white trash theme. Hear singer Johnny Solinger go! Who made these guys so mad? It is all funny as hell, even after it goes into hardcore mode. Nothing is a good title for a song that wants to fit on a Green Day album/ Love Is Dead proves that the album is based on the lyricist’s battles in the love arena. Although one part of the song goes into November Rain territory this is still a weird cut on a Skid Row track. Let it Ride is a good song and leads to the polka punk version of You Lie. Did I mention that the band is mad as hell? - Sheila Wes Det

Looking back now it seems we here at Metallian were in a minority of people who liked the last two full-lengths from Skid Row. Those records, Thickskin and Revolutions Per Minute, were the sum total of Skid Row’s new output this century. They featured Johnny Solinger on vocals. Solinger died in 2021. A couple of musical chair-type project singers came and went before the band picked up current singer Erik Grönwall. Whatever the case and whoever the singer, many a fan’s and Sebastian Bach's dream of reuniting the 1990s’ line-up did not come true.
In the meantime, it is difficult to say whether some people genuinely did not appreciate the music of the last two albums or the band was constantly juxtaposed against its Bach-era output and never given a chance. Either way, years have passed and following the aforementioned comings and goings here is the gang with a new singer and a new album. Amazingly, the new singer battled cancer in 2021, followed by joining Skid Row and the pressure that brings. It must have been a whirlwind.
With that said, one cannot really imagine Skid Row doing much better and being more true to its sound than The Gang's All Here. Even more so when we take out the old abacus and notice that it has been more than 30 years since the first couple of albums.
Hell Or High Water immediately kicks off with a good sound representing the guitar-oriented headbanger. The singer screams his lungs out. He is not hitting the higher registers outside a couple of screams, but the combination of the powerful bellows, backing chants and hard guitars make this a successor to a song like Youth Gone Wild. The ripping solo is also indicative and, while it helps the song be even better, is all but too short. Liked Living On A Chaingang? You will like Hell Or High Water. The title track is next and shows off Rachel Bolan’s bass and a surprising sleazy riff straight out of a Faster Pussycat album from 1987. The vocal is energetic and catchy while holding the line on the heaviness front. It is another impressive vocal performance. The track’s ending is the type of powerful delivery that is easy to appreciate. The band is firing on all cylinders, the singer is screaming his heart out, the guitars are thick and the drummer is bashing away at his kit. Simple as that. A southern boogie touch and what sounds like slide guitars are up next and an inkling that the band is not ready to slow down yet. The singer’s higher pitches mix with his more typical delivery, all trading punches with the backing vocals. Kudos go to producer Nick Raskulinecz who has worked with both crap like Danzig and greats like Rush in the past. Raskulinecz has done a good job for Skid Row on this record. Time Bomb takes the foot off the pedal for a second. No matter, this is the good old '80s hard rock fans remember. This is Skid Row sticking to its gun and not selling out for the times or whatever excuse bands offer when they change their sound. The sound is thick and modern, but this is Skid Row being both authentically hard and hard rock. Tick tick tick tick tick tick.. Yeah! With Resurrected, it would be interesting to know how old the song is and whether the band chose the title deliberately to send a message about its new album. Or could the title be simply unrelated?. As mentioned, nothing Skid Row has done came across as contrived or unappealing, but it is clear the gang is energised and invigorated here. Heavy song by the way with vocals ridden with attitude.
Nowhere Fast has a heavier riff and distorted bass, but is not one of the disc’s better songs. Despite its title and phrases like "speed of sound" it also happens to be slower and simpler. Aggressive lead work though! Triumph had the lights go down. Skid Row has When The Lights Come On. Checking the lyrics, it does not make much sense either way. At least it is not a story about being horrified by the ugliness, tattoos and amount of cellulite on the groupie. The band goes for a more melodic lead guitar tone on this track. October Song is the obligatory slow song. The mention of “mother” and “father” make clear that this is not that kind of a love song. The music is melodic, the strings weave in the acoustic guitars and make for a track reminiscent of quicksand Jesus. Not a favourite. World On Fire… is, well, on fire. It is a heavy metal track prior that begins like a vintage George Lynch/Dokken song and quickly transitions to a melodic hard rocker with a socially conscious message. It probably contains the album's most soaring and aggressive guitars. The album ends as it began: hard.
Only complaint: two competent soloists in this band and yet the leads do not trade off and are shorter than desirable. It is still rock solid hard rock and heavy metal needing fans and non- fans alike to give it a chance. Don’t expect 18 And Life and it is good to go. - Ali “The Metallian”

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

If you enjoyed this, read Poison

Skid Row