Bon Jovi and KISS framed Skid Row's existence. The group formed in '86 with Bon Jovi's former guitarist Dave "The Snake" Sabo and bassist Rachel Bolan. Drummer Rob Affuso, guitarist Scotti Hill and vocalist Sebastian Bach joined a year later.
First, Sabo got Skid Row an opening slot on a Bon Jovi tour. Next he worked on Jon Bon Jovi to help get Skid Row a record deal. Bon Jovi obliged and Skid Row signed with Mercury Records. Their self-titled debut rolled out in '89 containing a slew of MTV/radio friendly hits including "18 and Life," "I Remember You" and "Youth Gone Wild." Their success landed them on a Guns 'N' Roses tour where they hit a few bumps. First, Bach got slammed for publicly wearing a T-shirt with "AIDS KILLS FAGS DEAD" (a play on the Raid insect killer slogan). Then there was the lawsuit filed by an audience member injured when Bach threw a glass bottle into a concert crowd. While these incidents got press and wasted time, they didn't have any long-term impact.
The commercially successful "Slave To The Grind" appeared in '91 but that success was short-lived. As Grunge rose in the early '90s, Skid Row's pop-metal/hair band appeal faded. Disputes kept the group inactive for the next couple of years.
While touring in support of their '95 release, "Subhuman Race," internal tensions finally blew the group apart. Bach briefly teamed with Smashing Pumpkin's drummer Jimmy Chamberlin in The Last Hard Men, who managed, before unraveling, to contribute a cover of Alice Cooper's "School's Out" for the "Scream" soundtrack. After that, Bach went solo and found his niche playing the title characters in the Broadway musical "Jeckyll and Hyde." As for the rest of the group, they re-formed in '99 with Johnny Solinger handling vocals. They were an opening act on the KISS Farewell Tour (which wasn't their last trek).
Bach was on a comeback trail of sorts in '08 when he entered CMT's Gone Country 2 celebrity competition. Yeah, like a Hair Metal wailer turned Broadway belter could do even passable Country. Amazingly, Bach won the damn thing. He impressed the judges by performing an original song titled "Battle With The Bottle."
Skid Row released their first new material in seven years when the EP "United World Rebellion Chapter One" was released in '13. "When we put the band back together, we needed to reintroduce Skid Row as relevant without relying too much on past success," said Bolan.
But Solinger was not onboard. He announced in '15 that he'd left Skid Row after 15 years so he could focus on his solo career. However, Bolan stated Solinger was actually let go. TNT frontman Tony Harnell took over on vocals.
But Harnell wasn't the answer. He used a social media post late in the year to announce that he had parted ways with Skid Row. "I'm sorry to inform everyone that I'm no longer the lead singer for Skid Row. I thank the fans for their love and support!," wrote Harnell.
The following day, the group issued their own statement. "We found out about his (Harnell's) decision the same way all of you did. He had posted that he was no longer in the band before informing the band personally."
A few weeks earlier, Harnell was in the hospital to receive treatment for 'bronchitis with asthmatic symptoms' forcing the cancelation of a Chicago show.
"We are all moving forward and wish Tony the best in his future endeavors," added Skid Row.
Bolan told fans in '17 that they officially hired ZP Theart as their singer. The band recruited the former DragonForce vocalist at the end of '15.
1989 Skid Row
1991 Slave To The Grind
1995 Subhuman Race
2006 Revolutions Per Minute
Skid Row's first album was their best and their last album was their worst. The albums in between chart the rapid decline. "Skid Row" ('89) contains the group's most-remembered songs. Hardly brilliant, creative or all that compelling, it tops the short list. Skid Row relies on simplistic themes and '80s Metal formulas to make things work. "Slave To The Grind" ('91) and the fairly entertaining EP "B-Sides Ourselves" ('92) are next. "Grind" comes off as a pale re-working of the debut indicating the group is already running on fumes. Skid Row cuts themselves a little slack with "B-Sides Ourselves." They cover the Ramones and Jimi Hendrix but aside from hearing yet another version of "Psycho Therapy" or "Little Wing" there isn't much to recommend except that it is far better than "Subhuman Race" ('95).