Though Wednesday night line dancing is still a staple at Wild Bill's, this Gwinnett cowboy bar has long since shed its redneck reputation with dance nights, mixed martial arts fights and other events that cater to many demographics. And over the past two summers, the Wild Bill's Summer Rock Series has become a popular new addition to the club by bringing '80s and '90s bands such as Cinderella, Dokken and Rehab to the Atlanta area in a large, yet somewhat intimate, setting. The Summer Rock Series kicks off again this Saturday with Skid Row, a band that has been part of the previous two series. With bassist Rachel Bolan and drummer Rob Hammersmith both living in the Atlanta area, Skid Row's annual Wild Bill's performances have become a homecoming of sorts for the band. As he prepares to take the stage with local hard rock favorites Bigfoot and The Dreaded Marco, Bolan takes a moment to talk about this tour, the band's new album and his other extracurricular endeavors.
You're starting your tour on Friday and playing at Wild Bill's on Saturday. What can we expect from that show?
Rachel Bolan: We're going to do all the stuff that people expect us to do, but we'll probably throw in some obscure things. We have a new album we're working on, so we'll probably play some stuff off that that has yet to be released, which will be fun. We always like doing that kind of stuff and watching the blank look on people's faces.
Even though they always want to hear the hits from the '80s and '90s, I'm sure they also want to hear something new from time to time.
Yeah, absolutely. We love playing it and it's cool that it sends the message that we're still making new music and not just sitting around dwelling in the past.
You have a somewhat different lineup than you had on your last record. How has the creative process on the new album compared to previous records?
The way it's always been, even from the start, is Snake [Sabo, guitarist] and I have been the core songwriters. We kind of formed the band around that. But if someone comes up with something that everyone else digs, then we work with that as well. That's still the way we're doing it.
You and Rob Hammersmith live in Atlanta. So you are two-fifths a local band.
Yeah. Rob and I live here, Scotti [Hill, guitarist] lives in Florida, Johnny [Solinger, singer] is in Texas and Snake is now in New York. He was in L.A., but he's an East Coast guy again.
How does having you guys all spread out like that effect the creative process and rehearsing and things like that?
Sometimes it's a pain in the ass. When Snake was on the West Coast, I'd fly out there for a couple of days or he'd fly here for a few days and we'd just throw ideas at each other. Sometimes we make each other familiar with the idea through email and whatnot, then we just get together in a room, shut off the cell phones and write. Once we have some songs built up, we fly all the guys who don't live here into town and I have a rehearsal room in my house, so we just get together and rehearse and take it from there.
When you're not rocking, you also have a racing hobby. Are you still actively racing?
I love racing at Lanier Speedway. I haven't raced there in a while, but when I race my legends car at Lanier I always have fun. I haven't raced in a while because I had a herniated disc in my neck and my doctor wouldn't clear me to race. But once it got better and I was cleared to race, then we just got really busy and we're usually gone on the weekends. So I really haven't had a chance to. But it's funny you asked because I was just tinkering around on my go-kart and was like, "Man, I've got to get up to the track."
Bigfoot, a band you've worked with in the studio, is opening for you again this Saturday. The Dreaded Marco is the other opening act. Have you ever worked with that band?
No, but The Dreaded Marco are friends of mine and they're a great band. I've known the drummer, Mike Froedge, for some time now and he's a great guy and all the guys in the band are really cool. They're a really solid band and I think it's going to be a really solid bill, so I'm excited about it.
Following the Wild Bill's show, you're playing a lot of other shows all over the country over the next few months.
Yeah, a lot of it's on weekends. Some are four and five day weekends. We're still doing fly dates, but once we release the record we'll probably get back in a bus at some point.
When are you planning on releasing the record?
I was hoping for this summer, but at this point it doesn't look like that's going to happen. We're still working on numbers with the label we plan on working with and as soon as that's done we're going to get right in the studio and do it. I just finished playing bass on the new Stone Sour record that's coming out in October, which is cool. So now it's all Skid Row for the next few months.
Will you also be touring with Stone Sour?
I don't know. I've got to see what's up with Skid Row's schedule and just see what Stone Sour's schedule's going to be like. I may or may not. I'm really not sure yet.
How did you end up playing with Stone Sour?
I very briefly met Corey Taylor in North Carolina and we talked for about five minutes. About a year later I got a phone call from him and he said, "Hey, man. Would you like to play bass on the next Stone Sour record?" I was like, "Shit, yeah!" So we did the whole record in about a month and a half. They sent me the demos of the songs, I learned them as best I could and went up there and played it over the past couple of weeks. It was a lot of fun. They're good guys and they're super talented and I had a lot of fun. It was a great experience.
What label are you working with for the new Skid Row album?
It looks like we're going to go with Megaforce. They just released the new Anthrax record, Bad Brains, Mushroomhead. They're doing such a great job with them and they understand what we want to do. Growing up, Megaforce was the place you went for EPs. We're going to put our new record out in three installments and it seems like a perfect fit with us and Megaforce. They did such a great job with Anthrax and we've known Missy [Callazzo], who is now the owner of Megaforce, for some time now and she's just an amazing smart person. We feel really comfortable there, but right now we're just working out the details. Hopefully I didn't just jinx it.
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