Skid Row’s Dave ‘Snake’ Sabo Says Grunge Didn’t Kill Hair Metal, Reveals What Did
Grunge certainly left its mark on the music world, arguably overturning the whole music scene in one fell swoop in 1991 and 1992. But did grunge "kill" hair metal? It's a topic that's often been discussed, and you can count Skid Row guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo as one of the musicians who believes it's didn't and that other factors brought down the late '80s dominant sound.
Sabo told Metal Edge, "I don't recall blaming the grunge music or movement for ruining things. I remember that one minute we were touring with Bon Jovi and the next, it was with Pantera and Soundgarden. So, we were lucky enough to cross into different territories with the bands we were able to tour with. So, I didn't see that as killing it; I just think that, as with any genre of music, it'll run its course and will have to be reinvented."
He continued, offering more of an explanation as to why that hair metal era tapered off, stating, "That happens with every musical style that has existed for any number of years. It's going to reach critical mass, and the audience will tire of it. It was too many similar-sounding artists being signed, and things got oversaturated. It's human nature to want something new when you get too much of something. The grunge guys provided new voices and presented as something different from us, so it made perfect sense."
That said, Sabo admits his admiration for grunge, explaining, "It was cool. Like I said, we had Soundgarden out with us, and we loved them. I still love them now. We looked at Nirvana or anybody else and blamed them for our type of music taking a backseat and losing popularity. That's just the nature of the music business, and life, in general. And the truth is that so many great bands from that era got lumped in with the 'grunge movement,' which isn't much different than bands getting lumped in with 'hair metal.' A lot of cool bands, rightfully or wrongly, get lumped into one barrel. I think that happened to a lot of bands in the grunge scene as well as our scene."
While Skid Row's popularity took a hit once grunge took over, the band persevered through the period. Sabo says, "We were never willing to give up. And that goes back to the work ethic and how we were raised. From day one, we instilled that in this band. We love this music and playing it, so giving up was not an option for us. That's probably why we've maintained some sort of audience over the years."
He adds, "Sometimes it's bigger, and sometimes smaller, but we've always been able to go out and play. The proof is we released a record last year [The Gang's All Here], and people paid attention to us in ways they hadn't in almost 30 years. That's incredible, and it proves that people are paying attention."
Sabo is sharing more of his thoughts on the music era he was a part of in the current Paramount+ docuseries I Wanna Rock: The '80s Metal Dream. Skid Row will return to the road in support of The Gang's All Here later this month. See their dates here.