Metal Mike Chlasciak
Charts & AWARDS
There was a time when James Brown wore the mantle of “the hardest working man in show biz.” Well, now that the Godfather of Soul is no longer with us he’s apparently handed over his title to the multitalented singer, songwriter, actor and entertainer Sebastian Bach.
While Bach may be best-known for selling some 20-million albums with his former band Skid Row, he has proven to be far more than a just a multi-Platinum rock star with great hair; over the past several years, he has broadened his career to include episodic television, stints on Broadway and national touring companies, and an ongoing relationship with MTV/VH1 that has included his own #1-rated television series and this past summer’s runaway hit, “Celebrity Rap Superstar.”
Sebastian said, “When I’m gone, I want to leave a significant body of work behind,” says the high-energy artist. “And I’m not talking about three or four albums. I’m talking about 20 records that I can be proud of.”
Chief among that memorable body of work will no doubt be Bach’s electrifying new recording Angel Down. Produced by Roy Z (Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Judas Priest), and recorded at Sound City Studios in Hollywood, Angel Down is the first Bach solo record since 1999, and, arguably—as we all know he’s made some classics already—his best. “As an artist you’re always hoping your latest work is your best,” he admits. “I’ve been involved with what have been called great records during my life and this is one that ranks up there with 18 and Life and Slave to the Grind.”
Joining Bach in the making of Angel Down were guitarists "Metal" Mike Chlasciak and Johnny Chromatic, and Bobby Jarzombek on drums, all long-time members of Bach's touring band, and Steve DiGiorgio on bass. Together, the band creates the kind of concrete heaviness Bach covets. “We were trying to beat Slave to the Grind,” he laughs, “which back in the Stone Age was a very heavy record. But I think we have something here to go along with that very nicely. These are songs that were written to get people through stuff, songs that will make you feel invincible.”
Nine of the 14 tracks on Angel Down—released via a joint-venture between Merovingian Music, Ltd. (MRV) and Bach's Get Off My Bach Productions, and distributed worldwide through Caroline/EMI Music Group—were written or co-written by Bach. Elsewhere, Bach teamed with Desmond Child for "Falling Into You,” and, at the urging of his producer, ripped into the Aerosmith chestnut "Back In The Saddle,” an appropriate sentiment given Bach’s return to fine form. “At first I was reluctant to cut it, but when we started getting into it and the pieces came together, it grew into this monster.”
And speaking of “Back in the Saddle,” one of the cameos on that tune came from none other than Axl Rose. In fact, Rose not only appears on the Aerosmith cover, but two other songs as well in what amounts to his first official recording debut in, well, how many years? “It’s Axl, man, and he’s singing his lungs out! I really can't believe I got to have him on a record. I felt like when we were making the record and he’s there with me in the studio that it was all a dream.”
Rose’s improbable appearance in Bach’s sessions sends an already sublime recording into the stratosphere. “You’ve got to hear it,” said Rose. “We’ve all been waiting for him to put out a new CD and his new one is Sebastian Bach’s Angel Down.” Bach and Rose go way back, to the prime time of GNR, when Bach’s Skid Row opened for the band on their Use Your Illusion tour in 1991. More recently, Bach opened for Axl on last year’s GNR world tour, and joined him on stage several times for a duet of “My Michelle.”
The idea of recording together came up last year, when Axl asked Bach to sing on “Sorry,” a since-shelved cut he was working on for Chinese Democracy. When Bach ratcheted up the production of his own album, he half-jokingly asked for Rose to return the favor. Bach texted him: “When you gonna help me make my record?” Axl’s response came swiftly: "When? Where? What time? Where is the studio? What time do you want me there?" Bach was stunned. “I was, like, "You've gotta be fucking kidding me! Pinch me! I must be dreaming!"
Beyond Angel Down’s star factor, the Rose appearances—on “(Love Is) A Bitchslap,” “Back In The Saddle,” and “Stuck Inside”—are just one cornerstone of a towering edifice of sound. The biographical "American Metalhead," for example, tells a personal story. “That one’s an anthem for me, straight from my heart,” he says. “It’s like a ‘Youth Gone Wild’ for today, and I’m all about anthems!” Bach is also all about big-time ballads, and he’s written what could be his very best in “By Your Side,” a heartfelt song about love and longing that pivots on one of Bach’s best ever vocal turns. “I’m just so blessed to have this voice, man,” he says. “My voice has brought me everything that has ever happened for me, and fortunately it can’t, or won’t, quit!”
The cover art for Angel Down is an original work by Bach's late father, the celebrated Canadian artist David Bierk. The 1990 painting, entitled "David Watching," was an emotional choice for Bach. His father, who also created the acclaimed cover for Skid Row's 1991 album Slave To The Grind, passed away in 2002.
Like his father, who left 100s of paintings behind when he died, Bach has plans to leave an immense musical legacy. “As much as TV is fun and great exposure and as incredible as performing on Broadway is, it’s all disposable; it’s nothing compared to recording amazing music.”