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Album Review

When Skid Row reunited without Sebastian Bach in 2000 and hired Johnny Solinger as their new lead singer, many longtime fans were understandably skeptical. Some were hostile to the very idea, arguing that a Skid Row reunion without Bach would be like a Led Zeppelin reunion without Robert Plant, or a Nirvana reunion without the late Kurt Cobain — in other words, they saw Bach as irreplaceable and indispensable. Period. But Thickskin, Skid Row's first studio album with the expressive Solinger, is surprisingly good, although it should be stressed that this 2003 release is hardly a carbon copy of the band's Atlantic output of the late '80s and early- to mid-'90s. Instead, Skid Row updates their sound, offering a more modern approach (by early 2000s standards) that is obviously cognizant of alternative rock tastes. It isn't as dramatic a makeover as Tommy Lee gave himself after leaving Mötley Crüe and forming Methods of Mayhem, but it certainly isn't a dose of hair band nostalgia, either. Those who expect the Skid Row of 2003 to sound exactly like the old Bach-era Skid Row are bound to be disappointed; those who are open to a more alternative-friendly outlook will find a lot to like about this melodic yet hard-driving effort, which fuses elements of Slave to the Grind and Subhuman Race with an awareness of the sort of post-grunge sound one would expect from the Foo Fighters, Silverchair, Creed, or Default. It's an appealing combination, although some diehard Bach loyalists will inevitably insist that an alterna-rock version of Skid Row isn't really Skid Row. Regardless, this is a decent outing — one that falls short of essential, but is still a respectable demonstration of the band's ability to revamp their sound and carry on without Bach.

Customer Reviews

Thick is the Skin!

This album is a masterpiece! When they regrouped with Johnny Solinger, who’s previous band (Solinger) rocked the Dallas area in the ‘90s, and Phil Varone from Saigon Kick; they toured with KISS and Ted Nugent in 2000 in what was the most exciting tour of the year. They then went into the studio and recorded this album.

Though the lineup saw a change in the singer and drummer the edge of the band remains. The end result is the Skid Row we all remember with an evolved sound. The lyrics are smarter and edgier than their contemporaries thanks to the incredible writing skills of Rachel Bolan and Snake Sabo. Combined those lyrics with Sabo and Scotti Hill’s dueling guitar arsenal, as well as Bolan’s bone crushing bass and it is easy to hear the musical essence that defined Skid Row over the years remains intact. Varone’s snare and Johnny’s pipes complement the new material, and the mixing is spot on. The music is nice and heavy but clear enough for your ear to follow any instrument through each track. The radio friendly See You Around, Ghost, and Born a Beggar tell stories to the listener while Thick is the Skin, Lamb, and New Generation provide the hard riffs metal heads can’t get enough of. The group reprised the classic tune I Remember You as a punk version. The track One Light is a reflection on the 9/11 attacks and the loss of life that terrible day. Born a Begger is about a dog (Scotti Hill’s I believe) and the excitement when his owner comes home.

For me, Ghost has a double meaning. There is the metaphoric meaning they intended and then there is what I read into it. In the choirs when “To you that died” is repeated, to me this is the girl in the song has died – not what was intended but gives it another dimension.

I would put this on any short list of top albums of the 2000s.

A New Version of a Great Rock Band

I am a huge fan of Bach-era Skid Row. Their first 2 albums still rotate through my ipod in their entirety so I certainly understand fans being skeptical about SR continuing without Bach and modifying their sound. However, as a fan of the band its hard for me to discount them altogether because one member is gone. Yes Bach was/is a rock icon and his amazing set of pipes are undenieable but a singer is only as good as the song he sings and the guys who wrote those songs are still in the band. Not to mention, Johnny Solinger CAN sing and is a great frontman. I've seen this lineup live and he does the classic tunes justice and is a perfect fit for the bands new sound.
So if you are thinking of passing this album by because Bach isn't on it, I urge you to reconsider. At least check out some tracks...Thick is the Skin and Ghost particularly.


Formed: 1986 in New Jersey

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Skid Row were one of the very last hair metal bands to hit the mainstream before grunge took over in the early '90s. While the band's self-titled debut employed standard pop-metal riffs and generic lyrics (albeit to great commercial success), 1991's Slave to the Grind and 1995's Subhuman Race broke away from the pop-metal mold with uncharacteristically hard, thrashy guitars and unique songwriting techniques. Though personal differences and changing trends would eventually tear the core lineup apart...
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