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Sebastian Bach: Won’t Be the One Left Behind

I’d like to talk to you today about someone who is very shy, quiet, and timid. . .

Just kidding.

As soon as he hit the scene in 1989, Sebastian Bach was subjected to scorn, resentment, love, admiration, envy, and lust from various aspects of the audience. Everyon e had an opinion about Sebastian Bach – – no one was indifferent.

That’s still the case today.

His career is the stuff of destiny: Sebastian Bierk was born in the tropics, grew up in Canada. In 1987, Bon Jovi’s parents heard him singing at photographer Mark Weiss’s wedding. Two years later, he was the lead vocalist/frontman during Skid Row’s thousand megaton impact. Sebastian Bach just strode into the center of the spotlight and never left.

He carried his brand of brash, cocksure lead singer swagger to the mic, but he also brought a generational vocal talent, with incredible range, grit, drama, personality, and power. It’s like he was constructed in a lab, with the goal of creating the ultimate Rock God. Seriously, how is it possible to be that good-looking? What chance did the rest of us have with that guy hanging around? And his voice is Metal perfection. Sebastian is always in the mix when discussing the best vocalists of the 90s – – or he should be. He feared no octave, no scream, no tone, no emotion. Need a Halford-esque Metal howl? He’ll deliver. A light touch on a sensitive ballad? He’s got you covered. A gritty, tough-as-nails roar? No problem. Showtunes? You know he’s performed on Broadway?

His career has been punctuated with platinum successes, controversies, conflicts, surprises, tabloids, rumors, struggles, and triumphs, from Rock God superstardom to high-profile stage and screen gigs to on-air hosting roles in TV, video, radio, and podcast. Sebastian’s been explosive, unpredictable, but never ever boring.

In full disclosure, as a young, denim-clad man from the TRVE Metal mentality, I was part of the crowd that initially dismissed him. Why? Mainly because he and his peers were MTV darlings with catchy songs.* I wouldn’t deny “Piece of Me,” but otherwise, I kept my distance.

The thing to turn me around was the title track from Skid Row’s sophomore album, “Slave to the Grind.” I still have a black eye from the first time I heard it. No one was prepared for anything this heavy and hard-hitting from this band. The riff and structure are fairly straightforward;  it just rocks and grooves and rattles – – like your seats when the car hits 185. The song’s greatness comes from the earnest delivery and the incredible performances on record. All credit to everyone in Skid Row for their incredible performances, but Sebastian’s vocals here are the stuff of legend. This song should have shut up every doubter. It certainly silenced this one.

Over the ensuing years, I came to appreciate what he’s all about. He can present “fuck you” attitude, and he’s had some well-publicized dust-ups over the years, but that’s not what most of us think of when you mention Sebastian Bach. We see him now as a whole-package rock superstar, whose talent has remained at peak levels across the decades. He doesn’t (seem to) want to write a twenty-five minute weird-time signature Prog odyssey that ponders the mysteries of existence.** More Spinal Tap than King Crimson, he tends to sing in 4/4 about Rock n’ Roll, girls, fun, sticking it to the system, being a badass, and being king of the world. If I’m reading him right, at heart, he just wants to have a good time, and he wants you to have a good time too.

“If I ever grow up, I don’t want to be around for it.” – Sebastian Bach

Through his hosting gigs on VH1 and elsewhere, and the ways he’s stuck up for his brothers and sisters in the Metal community, he’s proven to be one of the greatest ambassadors for the genre. And he isn’t done yet. Congratulations to Sebastian Bach on an incredible career, and to his inclusion in the Metal Hall of Fame class of 2024.

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Jack Mangan is best known in the Metal world as lead author/project runner for the “Am I Evil?” graphic novel, as a journalist with MetalAsylum.net and the official Metal Hall of Fame. and also as co-host of the popular (sporadic these days) Metal Hall of Fame and MetalAsylum.net livestreams with Rich Catino. He’s made a few guest appearances as a panelist on The Metal Voice. In an adjacent life, he was a podcast pioneer, with numerous appearances on Technorama, Dragon Page, Escape Pod/Pseudopod, and many others, including his own productions: Jack Mangan’s Deadpan, and the Podcast novel, “Spherical Tomi.” Friend him on Facebook if you can find him, but be warned: he’s not great about checking Facebook Messenger.

* I didn’t say anyone had a valid reason.

** Calm down, Dream Theater fans. I love heady Prog Metal epics too.

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