SKID ROW guitarist Dave “Snake” Sabo recently spoke with Australia’s Heavy magazine.
On the group’s extensive international tour schedule:
Snake: “One of the things about SKID ROW is that we’ve always been travelers. We started touring the world in 1989 and pretty much never stopped. We’ve always believed in the work ethic of, you’ve got to get out there and you’ve got to play live. That’s what’s going to make your bread and butter as far as hopefully winning people over. You’ve got to earn their respect through playing live, so that was an ethos that we’ve had since the inception of this band. Luckily, we’ve been able to make our way around the world and continue to do so thirty years after the band started.”
On whether he still gets a “rush” when he takes the stage:
Snake: “You know what? Yeah. What’s very interesting is that, and I can’t even believe it, but I still get really nervous. I think I get more nervous now than I used to, and I don’t know why that is… Nervousness and excitement are basically the same physical feeling. You want to get out there and have that interaction with the audience, that communication. You’re sharing in something for the couple hours that you’re there together — the joy of music and how that music makes you feel, both as the person who’s playing it and the people who are in the audience, the back-and-forth response that you get. It’s just an incredible feeling, and you can’t describe it to anybody — they have to experience it. After all this time, we are more aware now than maybe we ever have been, or at least just as much, of how lucky we are to be able to do this for a living — to go out and have people want to see you play and want to hear songs that you helped to create. It’s amazing — it’s a very humbling gift that we’ve been given, being able to go out and perform and to have a chance to create music and record and share that music with as many people that want to listen. Our viewpoint is not one of entitlement, but one of humility.”
On how he deals with his pre-show nerves:
Snake: “Couple beers, couple shots, and just hanging around with the guys in the room. There’s such a camaraderie and familiarity, especially with Rachel [Bolan], Scotti [Hill] and myself. We’ve been playing together for 32 years. Rob Hammersmith, our drummer, has been in the band nearly 10 [years]. [New vocalist ZP Theart], he’s been with us the shortest — only a few years, but he’s a person that when you get to know him, you feel like you’ve known him your whole life. Very unselfish individual, and it’s great to be around people like that who are all about the group as opposed to any sort of individualistic desires or anything like that. Everybody in that room is on the same page. We know that we have something really important that we’re getting ready to go out and do, which is to perform at the highest level that we’re capable of and to put on a great show for the people, and be extremely respectful of not only our history as a band, but who we are right now, and most importantly, the audience. They don’t have to be there. They’re choosing to be there. That’s awesome — they’re putting out their hard-earned money, buying tickets, take time away from their lives to come and see us. We take that very, very seriously, and we hold that in high regard. All our performances are predicated on that fact.”
Snake: “It’s been nothing short of pretty fucking great. Me personally, I was very guarded at the very beginning and not really accepting of how good it was, just because I was jaded. We had gone through a few singers, so I was not fed up with the process, but I was really, really aggravated going into it, considering everything that happened previously. When he first came in to jam, he knew so many more songs — he was, like, ‘I can play whatever you guys want to play. I know this stuff inside and out.’ Number one, it showed that he was a worker, that he would put in the work and that he respected the material and the history of the band enough to put in that work, to learn whatever it is that he needed in order to get the gig. You could tell that he really, really wanted it, not because of what it could do for him as an individual, and more about just loving the band and wanting to be a part of SKID ROW. That was really important. It wasn’t about how being in SKID ROW [would] springboard him and his individuality into being a bigger star – it was about how, if he’s part of SKID ROW, can he help to make this band better than it is and be as good as we possibly could be. It wasn’t contrived, and still is not — it was extremely genuine. Once I personally dropped my guard a little bit and realized this is really the real deal, it’s been awesome. There’s no hidden agendas, and he’s just a positive person. He sees things from that perspective. Any negativity that we may run into, he seems to find a positive lining to it. In this day and age, that’s not easy. There’s a lot of negativity in the world; there’s a lot of polarization; there’s a lot of separatism; there’s a lot of opposing factors in every facet in our lives, more pronounced now than ever in the history of my life. To have a situation that we have with the band where it is about us as a whole, it is about the group, it is about moving forward in a positive way… you want to put a smile on people’s faces, and you want to enjoy what you’re doing, and you want to enjoy and love the people you’re doing it with. That’s where we’re at, and we’re very, very lucky.”
SKID ROW has collaborated with several other artists, including members of SLIPKNOT and HALESTORM, on the songwriting process for the forthcoming final installment of the band’s “United World Rebellion” trilogy. The follow-up to 2014’s “Rise Of The Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two” and 2013’s “United World Rebellion: Chapter One” will mark the band’s first release with the South African-born, British-based Theart (DRAGONFORCE, TANK, I AM I), who officially joined SKID ROW last year.