Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Park Avenue leads to SKID ROW!

I'll admit it to anyone, regardless if they ask or not. I'm not ashamed of it. I love hair bands. I love the music, the hair, the make-up...most of all I love the guys. When I was in 10th grade, Ratt was my favorite. They were all over my walls - much to my mother's dismay. Then Poison moved in, followed by Cinderella. And then...SKID ROW!! I saw MTV's premiere broadcast of the "Youth Gone Wild" video and instantly fell in love with Sebastian Bach. He was perfect: tall, long blonde hair, pouty lips and pipes of steel. I talked my cousin into lending me money to buy their tape (It was $12, I had something like $6 or $7) and then I kept it. I don't think I ever paid her back or even made her a copy of the tape. Oops. Regardless of my selfishness, I wore the thing out. I bought every metal magazine out there of there was even the smallest picture of Skid Row in it.

After a while, I moved away from Sebastian and started to focus on Snake. Dave "Snake" Sabo was one half of their guitar tandem. Now HE was perfect...it's hard to explain why I thought he was my perfect guy. He's not that tall (only 5'10" or so),his hair was crazy...all over the place, thick and brown with uneven blonde streaks...he always looked dirty...but he had great eyes, really sexy lips and the guy could play the guitar! It was so fun watching him play. While he played great, he had no body rhythm. He would bounce around like he was on springs.

Their second album came out and it was huge for a while. It was the first "metal" album to debut at #1 on Billboard. Skid Row was everywhere: MTV, Saturday Night Live...I soaked it all in. And then something happened. I'm not sure what but they just kinda faded away. I bought an EP of theirs and their 3rd CD at Recycle Records, listened to them once and put them away. Over the next few years I would hear "18 & Life" or "I Remember You" and think, "Man...I REALLY liked them. I wonder what happened to them."

One day in 2000, a friend of mine, Christina, asked me if I wanted to go see the Kiss Farewell concert with her and her sister & brother. I wasn't stupid. Of course I said yes. The show was at Fiddler's Green and Ted Nugent & Skid Row were slated to be the opening acts. Skid Row? Hmmm, I thought. It would be fun to see them since I missed them during their heyday. I knew that Sebastian Bach and Rob Affuso (drums) were no longer with the band so I wasn't putting much stock in how they'd sound. I mean, who could compete with Bas?

My friend's brother has a twisted sense of humor. All afternoon as we circled Fiddler's looking for any member of Kiss, we came across a ton of scummy looking roadies. Each one we passed, Tony would tell me that THAT was my boyfriend. I always agreed in my sarcastic tone. Until we pulled into the parking lot of Long's Drugs. There was a white passenger van stopped in the lot that we had to wait for as people unloaded. The first one out was a kinda tall, dirty looking guy with shoulder-length brown hair, the crown colored fire engine red. With all four windows all the way down, Tony says, "Now THERE'S your boyfriend, Heather."

"Nooo....that guy's actually kinda cute... HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!! THAT'S SNAKE FROM SKID ROW!!!!!!!" He looked over as I screamed this and without batting an eye, walked into Long's Drugs. Right behind him was the bass player Rachel Bolan and the new singer, Johnny Solinger. We weren't stupid...we ran into the store and found Rachel & Johnny who were very personable and glad to take a picture with the girls of our party. We never found Snake...I was too scared to after the way I freaked.

After the Kiss show, I was completely & totally back into Skid Row. (Johnny Solinger, by the way, blew Sebastian out of the water!) It was like high school revisited. Being into them got me back into bands like Poison, Cinderella, L.A. Guns and Motley Crue. Christina & I found a store in Denver that specialized in old magazines and posters and we stocked up on old Metal Edge's, Circus, Hit Parader & Guitar Magazines. I dragged out all their CD's and realized that everything they ever did was GREAT!! The third CD "Subhuman Race" was their best ever.

And then, in 2002, the Rock Never Stops tour was announced. Skid Row, Tesla, Jackyl & Vince Neil. Not only were they playing Denver at the beginning of August but they were playing the State Fair in Pueblo the last week of August. Christina and I bought tix to both shows ASAP. I actually started my diet because of these shows...weird motivation but it worked! Anyway...

The first show in Denver was amazing...it was general admission and it seemed like everyone there was there for Tesla and could care less that Skid Row was getting ready to play. Christina & I got places right against the stage and lucky for me I ended up on Snake's side of the stage. He gave me a pick while he wailed on "Mudkicker." After their set they did a meet & greet. I GOT TO MEET THEM!! I was so stoked! Snake gave me a hug and posed for a really cute picture with Phil Varone, their new drummer. Scotti Hill, the other guitarist, was incredibly friendly as were Johnny & Rachel. They treated us like friends, not fans.

The state fair show FINALLY rolled around and Christina & I got there early. Skid Row's big ol' yellow tour bus was parked already by the arena so we hung around, waiting for a glimpse. One of the security guards was super sweet and told us that he didn't mind if we walked right up to the bus...he trusted us! Can you believe that? I couldn't, especially after Rachel & Scotti walked out and just started talking to us. We took pictures with them...while that was happening, Snake came out. His birthday was in two weeks so I had brought him a card. He posed for a picture with me, took the card and went back on the bus to drink more beer.

While we were waiting for the show to start, we went and rode some rides and played some games. I actually won a giant stuffed snake! If that's not a sign, I don't know what is! Once again, after Skid Row's set, they did the meet & greet. This one was set up so that we had to come around a corner before we could see them. When I got around so that I could see the band, Snake saw me. He waved and smiled! I almost fell down.

I had bought an 8x10 of the band for them to sign. Snake was the first guy to sign and without me saying a word, he writes "Heather, thanks for the birthday card. Snake." HE REMEMBERED MY NAME! Now my knees were really weak! I asked him if he would mind signing my snake, using his catch phrase. He didn't mind. He wrote "Fuckin' Right! Snake 2002." I'm in heaven, right? I look up to thank him and HE KISSED ME!! Just leaned right over the counter and planted a big fat kiss on me! I don't remember anything after that until hearing Phil Varone tell me that his birthday was coming up and he wanted a present from me! UH!

After the meet & greet, we decided that we didn't care about seeing the other bands - nothing could top what had just happened! So, we went back to the buses and stood there, watching for any Skid Row boys. While we were standing there, Snake walked by, waved at me and said "Thanks again for the card, Heather." Gunh! After a while, Christina's man, bassist Rachel Bolan came out, talked with her for a while and gave her a hug before going off in search of a funnel cake.

It was a great experience! I told Collin's daughter, Jordyn, abouut it one day after she found the pick in my purse and wanted to know who it came from. When I told her that he kissed me she very seriously said, "Wow. Impressive." I think that was, by far, the best reaction yet!

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