Bret Michaels, Broadway, Dancing with the Stars, Dee Snider, Jeckyll and Hyde, Jesus Christ Superstar, Never Mind the Bollocks, popular music, rock and roll, Rock of Ages, Sebastian Bach, Sebastian Philip Bierk, Skid Row, Supergroup, Tom Cruise
With his larger than life personality, his herculean vocal range and his honest, in your face approach to music, Sebastian Bach (born Sebastian Philip Bierk in 1968) is the embodiment of rock. While he will forever be referred to as the “former lead singer of Skid Row,” Bach has transcended his time spent with Skid Row with successful runs on Broadway, becoming a reality TV staple and most importantly to him, his thriving solo music career. Bach sums it up best in his own words, “I’m just going to keep making kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll ‘til the day I die.”
What drew you to the theater?
Singing. Before I was into rock ’n’ roll when I was little boy, I was the lead soprano in my church choir and I would put on a gown and rehearse Tuesdays and Thursdays when I was eight. I’ve always loved singing, and if you love singing, Broadway is the place for you. If you don’t love it, get the fuck off, Jeremy Piven.
What’s been your favorite role?
Jeckyll and Hyde, without a doubt. It was fun. Jesus Christ Superstar was not fun. They’re super mean to old JC in that play. They let him have it. If it was a good show, we’d all be crying afterward. But I just wanted to have fun. Jeckyll and Hyde was more fun. It was like a comic book.
With Jesus Christ Superstar, you’d pull into town on a bus and see protestors that say Jesus is not a rock star. At one show, someone wanted to debate me on TV when I was in town. I said, “No. I’m not Jesus Christ. I’m just here playing this role. I’m not going to get into this religious discussion.” The director would say to me, “You’re Jesus.” I would say, “I’m not. I’m just this dude.” You show me a guy walking around thinking he’s Jesus Christ, and I’ll show you a real fucking asshole.
One of the most classic reviews I’ve ever gotten in my life was in New Orleans. The first paragraph said, “Just the fact alone that Sebastian Bach is playing the role of Jesus could be the first true sign of the oncoming apocalypse.” That’s one for framing. The floods came shortly thereafter. I’m sorry.
What is it with ’80s hard rockers like you and Bret Michaels and Dee Snider, that you’ve been able to carve out second careers on Broadway or TV, where a lot of the alternative rockers haven’t? Was it the over-the-top nature of the music that made it translate better?
I think with heavy metal it was a visually-oriented art form. We looked good in the videos and we knew how to front a band. A lot of the (alt) rockers were anti-stardom. Like when you have a label called “Kill Rock Stars.” How long are you going to be a rock star with that attitude? Bret Michaels and Dee Snider and I know how to step on a stage and front a band, and we’re not ashamed to. We’re not shoe gazers.
Were you really approached to play what would become Tom Cruise’s role in Rock of Ages?
Yeah, I was the first actor on Broadway to be asked to do that. They asked me many, many, many times to do it and I didn’t know if it was cool. I still don’t. I haven’t seen the movie. I’m in the movie, but I haven’t seen it.
Speaking of movies, and TV, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen you on TV. Do you see any new reality or sitcom adventures in your future, maybe a Dancing With the Stars stint?
I really hope not but people keep asking me when I’m going back to TV. TV is such a disposable art form, nobody cares. For example, the show Supergroup that I was on. People still listen to the music I made with Skid Row more than twenty years later but TV is so forgettable. I’ve done so many TV shows that I’ve literally forgotten about whole series that I’ve contributed to. I did one show called Never Mind the Bollocks and there was an article in Rolling Stone and they had a picture about the show and it said “VH1 Never Mind the Bollocks – Nobody Did.” Rock ‘n’ roll is what lasts. Once people get a hold of a song they love, they love it for their whole lives.
Has it been difficult to adjust to Twitter and the Internet – things that weren’t really around when you started out?
Yes, it’s been very difficult. It’s been most hard in personal relationships. When you find a girl you love or are interested in, and if you mention a name, fans around the world (will try to) just destroy this person. It’s kind of tough to be with somebody famous when you’re on the Internet all the time. It makes you a target.
You’ve ruled out a Skid Row reunion many times. Do you ever see yourself being a member of a band again or do you prefer solo work?
I definitely prefer the solo work. I only have one life and I’m not getting any younger. That’s why my new albums are released under the name Sebastian Bach. I want you to know what you’re getting. You know what you’re getting with me, and I’m not going to let you down.