The Ultimate Jam Night Interviews with Scotti Hill of Skid Row
It was time for Ultimate Jam Night #72 at the world famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip, with the entire night being named Remakes & Remix. Included in the lineup for the show was none other than Scotti Hill, guitarist of the legendary Skid Row, lending his trademark axe work to songs such as Bennie And The Jets by Elton John, T.N.T. by AC/DC and Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy.
Prior to taking over the Whisky in this special edition of Ultimate Jam Night. we caught up with Scotti Hill backstage to discuss his experiences with the UJN, various Skid Row releases, their new lead vocalist ZP Theart from Dragonforce, and many other hard rockin’ topics! Read on…
How do you become involved in UJN and how many times have you participated?
I’ve been an acquaintance of Chuck Wright for some years through Quiet Riot, we did a lot of shows together so I’ve known Chuck for a long time. When I moved to LA I had heard about the UJN. It was at another venue and when they moved it here to The Whisky, Chuck invited me down and that’s how I got started. I think this is my third one.
I was at one you were at and you did Youth Gone Wild with Jacob Bunton from Lynam. That turned out really well, what did you think?
I love Jacob, man. He’s a bro from way back. It’s always fun to play with him. Somebody requested I come up and play that with him. Normally I would take the night off from the Skid Row song.
It was a real treat to see that. So what can one expect from your performance here on UJN tonight?
We’re doing some classics, man. We’re doing songs that I grew up on so I’m looking forward to it. Give them a fresh listen, fresh ears, ready to go.
How did ZP Theart from Dragonforce become involved with Skid Row?
His band opened for Skid Row a few years ago. We became friends and we found ourselves without a singer a while back and boom, there he was all of a sudden. He’s been a lifelong Skid Row fan. He’s really into it. He already knew the music. He went out and did his first show cold and was really great.
How nerve-wracking is it to do that first show with a new singer, is it more nerve wracking for you or him?
Nah, I don’t even think about it. Pressure is on him. I just go out and do the same old I always do, listening to what’s happening center stage.
Will there be a United War Rebellion chapter III?
I think so, yeah, I think it will. We’ve taken it slow this year, being with the changing personnel. We wanted to slowly reboot the machine. We’re out there playing this year, but next year is when we’re gonna kick in hard and go back to Europe and work on the EP.
What is the overall concept of the United War Rebellion?
It’s kind of a concept I think Rachel came up with that’s pretty self explanatory. It’s a theme, not a concept, it’s just a theme through the EPs. Even with the covers that we do, kind of fit into that theme.
In retrospect, what do you think of these later Skid Row releases? Let’s do Revolutions Per Minute.
RPM wasn’t an easy record for me to make because my mind was more into getting fucked up than making a great record. I think it turned out OK. It’s a cool record, but personally I could have done better. I enjoy the song “You Lie.” Got to play some lap steel guitar and a country solo, that was a lot of fun.
Let’s talk about Thickskin.
Love that record. It was done in multiple studios around 2000. It’s one of those records, it’s got some really cool stuff on it. Maybe it was 2002 when it came out, a lot of good memories with that record. New beginnings and it turned out really good.
Let’s talk about Subhuman Race. What do you think now?
That was the beginning in the end for Skid Row. It was a hard record to make, the band was in turmoil. People either love it or hate it. It’s a sleeper favorite for a lot of people. I’ve got mixed feelings on it. I learned how to snowboard while I was working on that record in Vancouver, that was fun. But it’s got some really good highlight tracks, “Breakin’ Down” is great. “My Enemy” is really cool. There’s a lot of cool stuff on there. I think for us, it was more of a difficult record to make. It’s pretty dark and you can hear that.
Do you still enjoy playing the old Skid Row songs after all this time?
Sure. I like to do them all. I like to play, but this (Ultimate Jam Night) is fun because I get to come up and play songs I’ve never played in front of people before. I come up and play Youth Gone Wild, it’s not very exciting for me at a jam night. If I’m doing it at a Skid Row show, I mean, I want to give people what they’re there to see. A spectacle.
The obligatory Sebastian Bach question, which I’m sure you’ve been asked. Would you ever want to do a reunion?
I would never say no. But right now it’s not in the cards. I’m up for anything, I want to play. We’ve got a great lineup with the band, it’s very strong right now. But I wouldn’t say no to anything, just right here, right now.
With so many Skid Row members coming and going throughout the years, what keeps you so passionate about the band after all this time?
It’s like our gang. We’ve been here from the beginning, the three of us. Actually all the guys that are currently in the band, very territorial about it. Been there a long time, more than half my life.
Are you involved with any other bands aside from Skid Row at this point?
SH: I do side things. I’ve done a little bit of studio work recently and I’m working on my solo stuff, again. There was a hiatus there, it was called vodka. I got that out of the way and now I’m back to work.
What is your solo material like?
I think it’s eclectic. It’s got heavy moments – some of it’s kind of funkish. Some of it’s kind of Americana, almost. I like to play acoustic guitars and sing about fucked up things that I’ve experienced. Great things, bad things. Maybe a little bluesy too.
What advice would you give a young musician today currently seeking a record deal?
I wouldn’t know where to begin, seriously. Everybody says I feel bad for these kids but like, is there a record company out there? Jesus. I don’t know where to being. Just love what you do and hope for the best, pound the pavement. Take what’s yours.
It’s a totally different world from when Skid Row started. I don’t think there was an internet.
There wasn’t. We used phone cards to make long distance calls.
What’s up next for you and Skid Row?
Finish up the year, a lot of shows out there this year. We’ll probably finish up in November and then regroup probably February or March. We usually take a few months off in the winter, slow time of the year…
Thank you to Lisa Woodard and Ultimate Jam Night for setting up this interview. Be sure to check out Ultimate Jam Night every Tuesday at the world famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip!
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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