Before he touches down on Aussie soil for his coming tour Sebastian Bach plans on getting the most out of a spot of fantasy camping in Hollywood.
The hard-rocking long-hair with the golden pipes will join four members of Judas Priest and a host of other special guest metal camp counsellors over the next few days for Hell Bent For Hollywood: Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp Volume III.
“For lack of a better word, rich businessmen pay to jam with Judas Priest and Sebastian Bach,” said Sebastian. “They've got money and they wanna play guitar with Rob Halford. It's a free country. I've done it before and I'll probably do it again.”
Still very much a music fan himself, Sebastian agreed that this time around he’d easily qualify as one of the campers.
“Any time somebody asks me to come jam with Judas Priest the answer will be ‘yes, I will be there and thankyou’,” he laughed.
To most rock fans, Canadian-born Sebastian Bach needs no introduction, having provided the vocal attack for American band Skid Row on their stellar 1989 debut release and following two longplayers, Slave to the Grind and Subhuman Race.
Sebastian and Skid Row were responsible for a healthy swag of rock anthems including Youth Gone Wild, 18 and Life, I Remember You, Monkey Business and Wasted Time.
After leaving the band in 1996, Sebastian worked his way to Broadway (appearing in various productions, including Jekyll & Hyde) and took on a number of small screen opportunities, ranging from roles in sitcoms to stints on reality programs.
Music has always remained a constant of course, and he has continued to churn out music for his loyal fans, the most recent release being 2014’s Give ‘Em Hell.
Joining Sebastian on that recording was Guns N’ Roses bass player Duff McKagan, and celebrated guitarists John 5 and Steve Stevens.
The connection with McKagan and Stevens was founded the previous year, when the trio were part of a supergroup named Kings of Chaos that played in Sydney as one of the supports for the Stone Fest, prior to appearances by Aerosmith and Van Halen.
"I asked Duff on the way to that soundcheck that day, 'do you wanna write some tunes' and he's like, 'sure, when, where' and I was like, 'wow, that was easy',” Sebastian said. “He hooked me up with Devin Bronson who wrote a bunch of stuff on Give ‘Em Hell and so that really worked out great.
“To be honest with you, people ask me, ‘where's your new record, why aren't you doing one right now’, and I am doing one, but after having Steve Stevens and John 5 and Duff McKagan on an album it's like hard to imagine topping that line-up, so I'm not in a great hurry, because those guys are the best. But I am working on it though.”
Sebastian’s Australian tour will start in Perth on October 21. His date at the Manning Bar in Sydney on October 27 has recently been declared “sold out”, a fact which pleases the multi-platinum selling artist.
He last toured the country with his solo band in 2015. This time around he’s keen to mix things up a little.
"I have played Australia many times and this time I'm going to do something different,” Sebastian said. “The last tour I did in America it was 50 cities and I was like, ‘damn, that's a big tour. That's like three months singing pretty much every night’. So I go, 'how am I gonna do this’, ‘well I can't do that many shows and do soundcheck every day because that's too much singing. I can't show up in the middle of the afternoon and sing and then go back to the hotel and then go back and then do the gig ... it’s just too much’. So I structured the set that I would warm up a little bit instead of come out at full blast. I get tired of doing the same thing over and over.
“Another thing is everybody films everything so the days of me just going completely nuts physically up there are coming to a close because people, when they watch that shit on their phones they're like note police ... I've got to just stand there and sing as much as I can. I hate to bum anybody out, but that's the reality.
“When I'm in the studio making my records I'm not running around the studio or jumping. My shows are more about the vocals than they used to be. In Skid Row when we started we were teenagers. We would just go up there and go crazy and it was fun, but those were different times.
“So I come out and I warm up for a little bit and I give the people the songs they want to hear and then once the sound sounds good and everybody's into it, then I put the hammer down. You get all the rock and roll and then songs like 18 and Life and I Remember You.”
Sebastian’s reputation for owning the stage is well-earned. As far as rock frontmen are concerned, few could boast the energy.
He detailed many of his early influences in the pages of his debut memoir 18 and Life on Skid Row.
“Kiss flipped me out when I was a little boy and I know Australians can totally relate to that because they were just as big down under as they were in Canada,” Sebastian said. “That blew my mind, but you can't really take much from Kiss ... I can't say, 'well I'm going to breathe fire and split blood or fly to the top of the arena’. The one thing I did take from Kiss is number one, rock ‘n’ roll should be fun.
“Some of these guys on the internet these days are so not fun. There's so much negativity. This guy says this about this guy and this guy says this about this guy - rock ‘n’ roll wasn't like that when I was a kid. There was nothing but, put on a great show and have fun and have a good time. It was like a communal vibe, but the internet is so negative all of the time it seems to have changed what rock is - punching out other band members or something. But that's how we get our rock n roll now. There's no more rock magazines - that's the way it is.”
Bringing the fun is still of foremost importance to Sebastian the rocker.
"When I come on the stage the fans see me as their excuse to smile and have fun,” he said. “When I walk out there every time, everybody's just like laughing and smiling, and I'm like, 'what, I didn't even do anything, I'm just standing here'. But that's the way it is. What ever it is that people see me for, they come to the shows and they're ready to party and have fun and that's what music should be about.
“And it always is great after long days of travel in the tour bus or in the airport or whatever, when I get out there and everyone is in such a great mood. It’s joyous it really is. It's one of the last things there is that's fun.”
Sebastian says while incorporating his newer material into his live sets is exciting, there will always be a place for the fan favourites from yesterday.
“I am starting to feel the urge to do more of the solo material but it's just very hard to complete in a live set with a song like 18 and Life - that's like an anthem - many songs have tried and many have failed,” he laughed.
Mixing it up it the key to keeping it fresh, says Sebastian.
"I opened with the song Slave to the Grind for a decade and just opening with that song after so many years it did at times start to feel like a job,” he said. “So I started opening with Big Guns and it’s still a heavy tune but with a totally different feel. It's more like AC/DC. You can change it.”
Sebastian’s Australian visits date back to his days with Skid Row. He said he felt very much at home when down under.
"I think I have a natural relationship with Australians because I'm from Canada and where I grew up a lot of the same foods, a lot of the same street names, a lot of the same chains that they don't have in America, but there's stores that I remember from my childhood in Canada that you do have which is mind-blowing.
“I think that we kind of grew up the same because both Australia and Canada are kind of like England meets ... in your case California. I've always thought that Australia is what England would be like if it was in California. And then Canada would be like if England was in France maybe because its bilingual.
“I think that's why I get along with people in Australia. Plus I like to party and so do you guys.”
For more details on where to party with Sebastian, visit the official tour site here.
Oh yeah, and by the way, what happens at fantasy camp, stays at fantasy camp.