Skid Row was/is a cruelly underrated band. In point of fact they were every bit the equal of many of the “heavier” bands that were active in the late 1980s, but because they couldn’t be pigeonholed as thrash metal, death metal, or even NWOBHM (they’re Americans)–and because of lead singer Sebastian Bach’s devastating hair–Skid Row was usually classified as “glam metal” or the derisive synonym for that term, “hair metal.” But they were not cut from the same cloth as Warrant, Trixter or Poison, and they had very little in common with bands like that, except being popular in 1989–and, of course, the hair.
“18 And Life” is a perfect example of the kind of band Skid Row could be. This terrific song from their self-titled debut album is a classic of late 80s metal, and rightfully so. It’s melodic, the guitar work is surprisingly good, and its lyrical themes–about a boy who commits a pointless crime of passion and faces a very long wasted life in prison–is pretty far from the sort of girls, booze and “party metal” themes that people usually stereotype glam metal as being about (case in point, today’s joke band Steel Panther). Watch this video from 1989, and then imagine how Skid Row might have gone down in metal history if they all had shaved heads and wore wifebeaters and camo pants instead of tight jeans and long, flowing locks. Anyone who doubts Skid Row shouldn’t be classified as glam metal should hear their 1991 follow-up, Slave to the Grind, which is classic thrash.
But you have to admit the hair is awesome! Have a great weekend, Shabbat Shalom! \m/