Why a Skid Row Reunion Would Be Better Than the Guns N’ Roses Reunion

  • Axl Rosenberg

I’ve been listening to a lot Skid Row recently. Why? I dunno. The band is just in the atmosphere right now. They recently parted ways their third singer, T.N.T.’s Tony Harnell, after just eight months; Sebastian Bach and Slave to the Grind are featured prominently in Decibel‘s (incredibly awesome, not to be missed) 1991 Yearbook issue, and the whole band is on the cover (in-between Megadeth and Carcass, of all bands!); and Axl Rose and Slash kissed and made-up, which a) proves that everyone reunites eventually and b) also conjures memories of The Skids, who have historically been closely linked with GN’R in a number of ways (touring together, appearing on one another’s albums, writing songs about each other, almost being in bands together, also being on the Decibel ’91 cover, etc.). So, for whatever reason, I’ve had Skid Row on the brain as of late… and, clearly, I’m not the only one.

Which got me thinking: Skid Row should reunite with Baz already (which is obviously a no-brainer), and if they do, they could very well show up the GN’R reunion — at least in terms of quality, if not in terms of cash (although, clearly, they stand to make a lot of money from such a reunion).

To many of you, the idea of Skid Row doing anything better than Guns N’ Roses will seem insane. There is no doubt that, in their heyday, GN’R were not just the more successful band, but the better band. In the years since they dissolved, their legend has only grown and grown, so even people who weren’t yet alive when they were at their peak know about them; meanwhile, public longing for a Skid Row reunion is mostly your more garden variety nostalgia. In movie terms, the Guns reunion is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, while the Skid Row reunion would be more Live Free or Die Hard. The audience is there, but it probably won’t break any box office records.

Except, the GN’R reunion will probably end up being more Jurassic World — it will make a ton of money despite being horrendous. It pains me to say, but The Elitist is correct — the Guns N’ Roses reunion will probably suck. Axl Rose and Slash are both twenty years past their respective primes; Rose’s vocal performances are very hit or miss these days, and Slash’s ability to run around the stage and be all Slash-y is limited by the fact that he has a goddamned pacemaker. Fans (myself included) will definitely turn out in droves to see these guys play together again, but briefly satisfying some sense of yearning for when were young is the only thing it will deliver.

And this is why Skid Row have the upper hand: like Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate, no one will really see them coming.

A Skid Row reunion will not arrive with the same set of unrealistic expectations as the Guns reunion. Are the members of Skid Row as much fun to watch now as they were way back then? Are any of them limited by a physical handicap? I have no fucking idea, because I haven’t given them much thought since Subhuman Race in 1995. Snake Sabo’s autobiography is not a New York Times best seller; Rachel Bolan didn’t spend tens of decades and tens of millions of dollars making a legendary flop of a record; Scotti Hill was never in a second band that was almost as famous as his first. If they get on stage, bang their heads, and play “Youth Gone Wild” without fucking it up too badly, fans will have had a great time. The GN’R reunion, on the other hand, pretty much has to be life changing to live up to its hype.

Even more advantageous to Skid Row than reasonable expectations is this: Sebastian Bach is forty-seven years old, and his voice still sounds great. Really: here’s Axl Rose singing “You Could Be Mine” in 2014…

…and here’s Baz singing “Big Guns” in 2012:

Baz is using an echo effect, which I’m sure some fans would consider cheating (even though it’s the oldest trick in the book), but even so, there’s no denying that the dude sounds good… and that Rose does not.

And final reason a Skid Row reunion would be better than the GN’R reunion is this: it would presumably play far smaller venues, and it’s almost always more fun to see bands in a smaller venue than it is to see them in a larger one. Okay, so an arena or stadium show will offer high production values, but that only matters when the production values are complimenting the performance, not overshadowing them. Tool would be fun to watch even if they didn’t have lasers; the second KISS stop using pyro, people stop giving a fuck. In other words: the production values of the GN’R reunion will very likely be the most entertaining aspect of that show.

Skid Row said just last month that they have no plans to reunite with Bach, and there’s a rumor going around that former Dragonheart vocalist Zippy Theart will be their new vocalist. But that would be a shame. Now is the time for Skid Row to strike. The iron has never been hotter, and for once, they’re in a position to be the smartest kid in the slow class, the one who looks like Einstein compared to his peers. C’mon dudes. Just do it already.

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