SKID ROW released their debut studio album Skid Row on January 24, 1989, through Atlantic Records. Skid Row formed in 1986 in Toms River, New Jersey when guitarist Dave Sabo met bassist Rachel Bolan at a local guitar shop where Sabo worked.

They both shared similar musical influences and soon began rehearsing in Bolan’s family garage. Guitarist Scotti Hill came from Bolan’s former club band, and Sabo’s acquaintance Rob Affuso played drums in the Rush tribute band. Once the band was formed, Skid Row began performing in nightclubs across the eastern US and quickly gained a small following.

Sabo was a childhood friend of Jon Bon Jovi and they agreed that if one of them found success in the music business, he would help the other. Skid Row got the attention of Bon Jovi’s manager Doc McGhee while opening for Bon Jovi on his 1987 Slippery When Wet Tour.

McGhee advised the band to replace original singer Matt Fallon due to his lack of support for the other band members’ abilities. To avoid copyright legal issues, the group’s management paid guitarist Gary Moore $35,000 for the name rights of Moore’s band.

Sebastian Bach was introduced to Skid Row by Dave Feld, a friend of the band, who saw Bach singing Led Zeppelin songs at rock photographer Mark Weiss’ wedding. After completing the line-up, the group signed with Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi’s publishing company Underground, which unknowingly gave them the lion’s share of the group’s royalties.

Skid Row later regained Sambora’s share of the royalties, but Bon Jovi kept his, which led to infighting between Bon Jovi and Bach. After negotiating with a number of labels such as Geffen, Atlantic and A&M, Skid Row signed with Atlantic in 1988.

The band entered Royal Recorders in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with producer Michael Wagener to record its debut. The studio was located behind the hotel where the band was staying. Skid Row worked according to the schedule created by Wagener and stayed throughout the recording.

The recording went smoothly as the band had already been performing the songs for a year. The label initially printed 150,000 copies of the album and gave the band a spot on Bon Jovi’s 1988-1989 New Jersey Syndicate Tour.

The band promoted Skid Row as the opening band on world tours by Bon Jovi and Aerosmith in 1989-1990. The album reached number six on the Billboard 200 and was certified 5x platinum by the RIAA in 1995 for selling five million in the US alone.

The album spawned three singles: “Youth Gone Wild” released in January 1989, “18 and Life” released on June 16, 1989 and “I Remember You” released on November 18, 1989. All three singles were made into music videos and received regular airplay on MTV. Commercial and critical success made Skid Row a regular feature in rock magazines and brought the group to widespread prominence.

Skid Row received positive feedback from music critics: Allmusic and Sputnikmusik gave 4 out of 5 stars and Q magazine gave 3 out of 5 stars.

Song List: 1. Big Guns, 2. Sweet Little Sister, 3. Can’t Stand the Heartache, 4. Piece of Me, 5. 18 and Life, 6. Rattlesnake Shake, 7. 18 and Life, 8. Youth Gone Wild, 9. Here I Am, 10. Makin’ A Mess, 11. I Remember You, 12. Midnight/Tornado.

Personnel: – Sebastian Bach – lead vocals, Rachel Bolan – bass guitar, backing vocals, Scotti Hill – guitar, backing vocals, Dave Sabo – guitar, backing vocals, Rob Affuso – drums, percussion. [sources/photo special]