Skid Row have decided to rerecord their classic 18 & Life with new singer Tony Harnell, no doubt this was done to showcase Tony’s talent and let people know that he can sing a lot like Sebastian Bach. They’re trying to get the point across that like Miller Lite it is the same great taste, but less filling. In other words, you’re going to hear the songs a lot closer to how they were originally sung, without the band members having to deal with a collective hemorrhoid behind the scenes. How will this pan out for the band? I haven’t read any comments online regarding this issue, but I’m sure the fans will still be torn between Tony is great, and bring Sebastian back. Again, move on in your relationship, or bring back that ex-wife of yours.
A lot of bands go through personnel issues, it always baffles me that people don’t realize that human nature applies to everyone. If something happens at your job, it can be applied to a band as well. Case in point the bickering going on between Ozzy and Bill Ward. I have sided with Ozzy and Black Sabbath on this issue for years. Being a drummer I understand how physical it can be to play, and if you don’t take care of yourself, or practice when you’re away from consistent playing, most lose their ability to play like they once did. Also, there is a big difference between being coked up early on in life, having your heart pump a million miles a minute, while you’re recording or on stage, and everything is a blur, as opposed to being close to 70 with health issues creeping up continuously. The debauchery they lived catches up to most, Keith Richards maybe being the only exception. But look, if someone can’t perform a job, they are let go, it’s that simple. People have this utopian idea that Bill needs to be in the band for there to be some sort of closure, I don’t subscribe to that as he hasn’t even played drums on the majority of his solo work! So if he leaves the drumming on his albums to others, why shouldn’t Sabbath do the same? I am a huge Bill Ward fan, and have often argued that he is as influential as John Bonham. Although I have to say, most stoner bands actually copy Vinny Appice’s playing and not Bill’s. Dispute it all you want, but the Vinny’s calling card is his use of the ride, it is synonymous with his playing, this is what most bands emulate.
Getting back to the redo scenario, most bands rerecord their hits to get them on movie or video game soundtracks. You name it, Guns N Roses, Kiss, Def Leppard have all done this for various reasons, usually it is because the label that owns the original recording is asking an arm and a leg for a track, and the band is receiving only a fraction of what the label is receiving. Guns N Roses however did this to cut former band members out so they had little to no claim to royalties for tracks used during a movie. Then you have the case of L.A. Guns who has redone their hits multiple times, and their biggest selling album. I have a strange feeling that there aren’t too many film makers begging for The Ballad Of Jane. Similar to GNR, the constant infighting within Ratt made Stephen Pearcy rerecord all of the Ratt material you hear during the acclaimed movie The Wrestler. Wait you thought that was Ratt? Well no, that’s Stephen and his solo band. After years of disputes over royalties, Ozzy (Sharon) famously rerecorded Blizzard Of Oz and Diary Of A Madman with then Ozzy band members Robert Trujillo (Metallica) and Mike Borden (Faith No More), just to cut Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake out. Years later the original recordings were restored and offered via the boxed set commemorating both albums releases.
Is this fair to fans? Especially when you may have to purchase an import to complete your collection in order to get your hands on redone material? Is there ever a case where the redone track is played on a station more than once? Wouldn’t it make more sense to release a live rendition of a track with your current line up? Oh wait, that live album was probably recorded in the studio anyway. At least Skid Row is offering 18 & Life as a free download, below you can stream or download the track. Check it out and let us know what you think on our Facebook page.