News Segment


September 19, 2006

The world would lack many a positive surprise if rock groups were to give up whenever an important band member leaves the fold. During the Nineties, Skid Row the band, were considered by some to be the medium of their frontman of that time. When they parted ways, many experts predicted the end of a superb act. Now, over ten years later, it is clear that this band always contained an inner substance characterized much more by its songs and guitarists, Scotti Hill and Dave ‘Snake’ Sabo, and bassist Rachel Bolan than even insiders had realized. Together with their current vocalist, Johnny Solinger, and new addition, Dave Gara (drums), Hill, Sabo and Bolan make up a tight unit, continuously refining their typical style without denying their roots. Their latest album, Revolutions Per Minute, presents Skid Row as a highly topical act who expertly present their typical trademarks, allowing for new influences at the same time. Revolutions Per Minute is sheer, concentrated power – pure energy – and the perfect example of dynamic songs, driven by wild guitar attacks at the interface of hard rock and heavy metal. While fans all over Europe are eagerly awaiting the new material, Skid Row will be demonstrating their fierce determination night after night during their American tour. These guys have never led a life of leisure.

The twelve new songs on Revolutions Per Minute see Skid Row pull out all the stops. Bolan, Hill and Sabo play their guitars with a vengeance, firing off power chords by the second, turning their amps to the max and apparently knowing but one direction: straight ahead! Whether on the hook-oriented opener, ‘Disease’, the aggressive ‘Another Dick In The System’, the catchy ‘White Trash’ or the programmatic ‘Shut Up Baby, I Love You’ – their unadulterated vitality seems to practically jump out at the listener. The three string magicians expertly throw the bait to vocalist Johnny Solinger, who skillfully elaborates on the theme, refining the material further. Solinger pulls all the compositional strings, the material is constructed around him, he is at the epicenter of a soundquake that shakes the audience with full force. It is the power of a track named ‘Strength’ that marks Skid Row in general and Revolutions Per Minute in particular. And it is the close attachment of the five band members to their home country that continues to shine through and that Skid Row express on their country rock number, ‘You Lie’.

Skid Row were founded in 1987 in a garage in Toms River, New Jersey – the band name referring to American inner city Ghettos and symbolizing the closeness of the musicians to the roots of heavy metal. Having been discovered by Jon Bon Jovi, Skid Row signed a management contract with McGhee Entertainment and a recording deal with Atlantic Records. Autumn 1988 saw the band ensconce themselves in the studio for the first time to record their debut album with the support of renowned producer, Michael Wagener. Skid Row arrived at the stores in 1989, immediately selling over five million copies in the U.S. alone, accompanied by a celebrated tour around the globe. Their second album, Slave To The Grind, came out in 1992, making it to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Skid Row were the first metal act ever to achieve this feat. Slave To The Grind also sold several million copies, followed by another worldwide tour. Although there were a number of internal problems by 1995, the group returned to the recording studio to produce their album, Subhuman Race, which had the press suspect that it would be the last in Skid Row’s career as the vocalist position was emptied, calling for an organizational restructuring phase.

In 1999, founder members Rachel Bolan, Scotti Hill and Snake Sabo decided to infuse Skid Row with new energy, refusing to have their band drift off into the land of rock memorabilia. Vocalist Johnny Solinger from Texas was suggested by a good friend of the band. The musicians visited Solinger’s website and were immediately interested in what they heard. A few e-mails later, the vocalist found himself on a plane to New Jersey. “As soon as he walked through the door, he came across as confident and pleasantly low-key at the same time,” Snake remembers. Rachel adds: “We knew after the first half of a song during that rehearsal that Johnny was our man. Great voice, amazing presence, and he knew exactly what this band is about.”

In 2000, Skid Row scored the sought-after opening slot for Kiss’ Farewell Tour – the mother of all tours, which brought Skid Row’s music back to the starving masses. Since then, they have traveled thousands of kilometres on tour buses, played well over 400 shows and released their comeback album Thickskin. Revolutions Per Minute is another highlight in Skid Row’s career. Who would have thought so ten years ago?


SKID ROW (1989)

Courtesy of