Dave “Snake” Sabo feels Skid Row’s success helped him hide the mental health issues he was dealing with

Dave “Snake” Sabo feels Skid Row’s success helped him hide the mental health issues he was dealing with

Skid Row co-founder and guitarist Dave “Snake” Sabo was recently interviewed by Andrew Daly for Metal Edge Mag. Sabo spoke quite a bit about the mental health issues that he has been struggling with all his life and that he opened up about in the docuseries I Wanna Rock: The ’80s Metal Dream.

In terms of being very open about his mental health issues in I Wanna Rock: The ’80s Metal Dream, Sabo stated: “As far back as high school, it was clear that I had some mental health issues. I had seen psychologists and got some hope, but there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot of answers. And back in the ’80s, there wasn’t a lot of research done, and it wasn’t something that wasn’t talked about. It was looked down upon and was considered a family secret.

It was always like, “Oh, you don’t talk about crazy Uncle Snake,” you know? I didn’t have those conversations with my family because that generation of World War II-era men were the types who thought that there was no such thing as PTSD and trauma. They didn’t want to admit that being manic or bipolar disorder was real or a cause of things.”

With respect to how difficult it was navigating through those struggles with the spotlight constantly shining on him, Sabo indicated: “It was tough. Back then, there wasn’t a clear definition of what any of that was or what the cause of it might be. And if there was, no one wanted to admit it, let alone talk about it. The understanding of why those things occurred to me only came fairly recently. So, back then, it was always a roller coaster when I would have my personal episodes. And because of the way it was looked down upon by society, to be honest, I just faked my way through it all. I always put on a happy face, made jokes and worked hard to take the focus off what might have been wrong with me. I worked hard to hide everything I was going through because I didn’t want people to know. I kept it a secret for as long as I could until my body and mind broke down, and I couldn’t anymore.”

On whether Skid Row‘s rise helped or hindered him to deal with his mental health issues, Sabo opined: “I always had an ego, so accepting that I had these issues was not easy. But all the while, I’d be in a dark room at four o’clock in the morning, thinking of ways not to wake up tomorrow. But thank God I woke up the next day, only to go through the same process. And sometimes, it’s more extreme and excessive, and sometimes it passes. But that’s part of what I have gone through and still go through.

But it’s much more manageable now than it was then. And like you said, success can be a great medicine. Having success, accolades and adulation probably helped me hide what I was going through. But thankfully, I also knew that success was not a birthright; it was an amazing gift. And when that success began to wane, thankfully, it didn’t destroy me. It didn’t make whatever mental wellness issues I had didn’t take a nosedive into a bottomless pit. I was able to handle that.”

You can read the rest of the interview with Dave “Snake” Sabo via Metal Edge Mag‘s website.