Bach in the Spotlight


Hang on one second," Sebastian Bach says. "I'm gonna take my shirt off."

"Ahhh, all right," he exhales deeply and with great satisfaction moments later, sounding like a dude who's gone from a jail cell to an open bar in a matter of seconds. "I'm outside. It's beautiful out here."

"I couldn't be happier," he continues, sounding the part while basking in the glow of a sold-out show in Pittsburgh the night before. "This is one of the best summers of my life."

And with that, Bach lets loose with the first of many mischievous cackles that roll out of chest with the loud report of a drunken marching band.

The guy is skilled at cracking himself up -- it's as if the world is his whoopee cushion -- and he speaks with such volume and enthusiasm, he's like a heavy metal cheerleader with a megaphone for a larynx.

Basically, he sounds exactly like Sebastian Bach should.

The dude's a banshee-voiced hell-raiser who doesn't cut his hair, doesn't shut up and doesn't take himself too seriously -- as evidenced by his latest hit single, "(Love Is) A Bitchslap."

This summer, Bach's opening up for Poison, playing packed gigs and loving it, though once upon a time, making the rounds with Brett Michaels and Co. would have seemed abhorrent to a guy who hates being associated with the '80s hair metal scene after having initially came to fame fronting Jersey rockers Skid Row.

Since splitting with that group over a decade ago, Bach has hit the road with brutes like Pantera and borrowed half his band from Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's solo outfit.

Bach's latest disc, "Angel Down," is the hardest and heaviest thing he's ever done, a brash and snotty hard rock call-to-arms that's miles removed from the glam rock set.

"Ten years ago I wouldn't have done it," Bach says of touring with Poison, "because every interview I ever did it was, 'Nirvana's here, it's over for Poison and Skid Row.' I was having a tough enough time defending my band and myself, I didn't need to defend 100 other bands that I had nothing to do with.

"But that's a long time ago," he continues. "I'll tell you one thing, America loves Poison with Sebastian Bach. We are selling more tickets than the Monster Mayhem Tour with Slipknot and Disturbed. We're bigger."

Part of this is undoubtedly attributable to the fact that between Bach and Michaels, the two have done more reality TV shows than just about all of their well-coiffed peers.

Last year, Bach tried his hand at becoming a rapper on MTV's "Celebrity Rap Superstar," and more recently, he's taken part in "Gone Country II," which debuted on CMT Aug. 15.

"I moved into Barbara Mandrell's mansion in Nashville. My roommate is Jermaine Jackson of the Jackson Five -- I mean, how do they think this (expletive) up?" Bach snickers at the thought of the show's lineup, which also includes Lorenzo Lamas, Sean Young and others. "It's nuts. Lorenzo is really nice -- they're all nice. Sean Young is wild. She's just off her rocker. She's great TV, as they say. Dude, just wait til you see this."

According to Bach, the honky tonk set suits him a little better than the hip-hop ranks did.

"Country was easier," he booms. "The one thing about my voice is that I want to go up and down with it, and rap is like one note. That was just so frustrating for me. Why would I just one to sing one note in a row?"

Of course, in these parts, Bach is best known for his role on the VH1 series "SuperGroup," which paired him up with fellow rockers Ted Nugent, Scott Ian, Jason Bonham and Evan Seinfeld to form the new band Damnocracy. The show was filmed here in Vegas in early 2006, though Bach still isn't too fond of the way it turned out -- probably because he was largely portrayed as a drunken, self-centered prima donna.

"I loved living there. I loved being in Vegas. I wasn't totally happy with the show," he admits. "I didn't think it was very good. I didn't think it was about music. I don't know what they were trying to do. It was more fun to shoot the show than to watch the show."

Still, Bach never seems to tire of the limelight. He's a rock star who plays the part with all the relish of a teen boy raiding his father's stack of "Playboys."

So what if he occasionally gets a little sunburnt in the spotlight?

"When you ask why I do these shows, it's to promote my name for rock 'n' roll," Bach says. "I'm using those television shows to make the name Sebastian Bach as big as the name Skid Row. That's one of my biggest challenges in my career. Great rock 'n' roll names are so rare, like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest. And Skid Row is right up there with the best names ever.

"So, I own the name Sebastian Bach. I've got a trademark with the U.S. government," he chuckles. "My apologies to the classical pianist."

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.