Skid Row: Skid Row (2021 Reissue)

Part 1 of the The Atlantic Years (1989-1996)

REWIND 1989…

It was early January of that year and a few months earlier (late ’88) I had read in “Music Express” (Canadian Magazine) about this band from New Jersey named “Skid Row” that was about to release there self titled debut in January(89) thats features a Canuck at the mic.

Sebastian Bach was his name and I was familiar with Bach as he was in a Toronto band in the mid ’80s called Kid Wicked that was featured in another Canadian mag at the time (“Metallion”) that had featured Bach.

I knew of him but had not heard him sing.

I was already invested at getting the debut Skid Row when it came out and by the end of January ’89 the album hit the streets here in Tbay, I scored it on cassette tape ( at the time I could not find it on CD) and for a debut its a pretty decent one at that.

Eleven songs make up the debut. “Big Guns” leads off and it takes you the listener about 30 seconds to realize that Bach when he opens his mouth to sing you know this cat means business.

What becomes pretty evident quickly is that Bassist Rachel Bolan and Guitarist Dave ‘Snake’ Sabo could write great hooky hard rock ditties and this debut is filled throughout with these kind of tunes.

“Sweet Little Sister”, “Rattlesnake Shake”, “Makin A Mess” the list goes on.

Bolan brought in his punk rock roots which you can hear in the track like “Piece of Me” yet Rachel had a knack for writing a decent hard rock track like “Can’t Stand The Heartache”.

The albums three biggest singles “Youth Gone Wild”, “I Remember You” and “18 & Life” are all Sabo/Bolan compositions as those three tracks pushed the album well past triple platinum in Canada.

The main thing for me personally was these guys were all good musicians, Drummer Rob Affuso could stay in the pocket yet he could unleash some cool double bass drumming at times but not taking it too far. Guitarist Scotti Hill together with Sabo formed a great guitar team as they held their own with all the other hot shot guitar duos at the time.

Video play and touring as well also played a huge part in Skid Rows success back in 1989-90. They went everywhere.

Personally, I caught Skid Row three times as openers on the debut album.

Once with Bon Jovi (Winnipeg Canada-August 1989) and twice with Aerosmith (Toronto Canada-January 1990 and Winnipeg- March 1990). They delivered it live with a ton of energy and cussing to say the least.

Course having the managerial muscle of Doc McGhee as well as Sabo’s connection with Jon Bon Jovi helped.

The return for all this good fortune was that Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora owned a piece of Skid Rows publishing (which became a huge thorn in Bach’s side) as when the album took off and sold like gangbusters both Richie and Jon’s pockets got even more filled with cash as Bon Jovi was huge business back in 89 in there own right.

But you have to take the good with the bad as Skid Row skipped the bar circuit plugging this album and instead went straight to the arenas as an opener playing to packed houses.

All three times I seen Skid Row as openers the place was always filled for them. Thats saying something.

Overall the debut is a pretty solid listen even now in 2021 on vinyl where the tracks are big and beefy and Micheal Wagners production still holds up rather well.

deKe’s 2022 score of Skid Row: Skid Row: 8/10



21 thoughts on “Skid Row: Skid Row (2021 Reissue)”

  1. I love “Piece of Me”!!! That’s my favorite song on the album. I didn’t score this album as high as I would’ve liked to when I reviewed it, but overall, it was decent. Great review, Deke!


  2. Great start to the album reviews. This is a favorite of mine (along with the next one). I think your score is fair and accurate as I would rate it as high. They were hungry and talented…too bad it didn’t last too long.


  3. They really came out on fire with their debut. Sure they had help in high places but the band had a quality that stood out from their peers. Like you said, everyone in the band added something to the songs, no one was just there to keep time or flesh out the mix.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That was quick…I got 5 records coming from Resolute Records in Toronto. Should be here next week. Would have bought from Encore but they didn’t have the five I wanted lol

        Liked by 1 person

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