Joup Confessions…

Skid Row FrontOkay, this is a big one.

First, I completely agree with Tommy from last week’s inaugural Joup Confessions… column when he said he doesn’t enjoy things ironically. To quote Mike Patton and the Dillinger Escape Plan, irony is a dead scene. You own it or you toss it, one or the other. And with that said it should be clear that when I say when the time is right I enjoy me the HELL out of Skid Row’s eponymous debut album from 1989 I fuckin’ mean it!




I will tell you that the time is not often right for this record, but it does come around about once a year or so. My re-connecting with Skid Row began a few years ago on a trip home to my folks place in Chicago, where tucked away in the apartment above their garage is the dubbed copy of it I made back in 1989. Since then, every year when I go home in October I find some time to head up to that one room storage chamber that the local racoons just can’t seem to get enough of and I rummage through my old tape boxes until I find that sucker, dubbed onto one of those pink and yellow Memorex* cassette tapes that were so ubiquitous at the time. When I find it – and I always do –  I put it on, open a beer or maybe roast a doob and start a little trip that begins with the hard-hitting Big Guns:


Good god that’s bad, but in the context of the 80’s and its hair metal scene, it’s not that bad. And yeah, I dig it, so what?! (delivered with full 18 and Life, long-hair bad boy bravado)

Skid Row was a motivating force in my pre-Seattle teenage angst – a motivation to hang out at the mall with my friend Zak, swipe bottles of Cutty Sark from whoever’s parents we could and wander around unincorporated Tinley Park, breaking windows in half-completed subdivisions and just generally being all-around douche bags because, hey, that’s what music like this made us do. Not that I was ever under the impression that music “made me do” anything; rock like this, at that time and specifically at my age at that time, it excited the frustrated man-child hatching inside the exploding hormones, long hair and erupting acne. I was pissed because I wasn’t a kid anymore and didn’t know how to be a man, and Sebastian Bach and crew helped ignite the sinister urge in me that vented that frustration in crude, brattish but mostly harmless and inconsequential ways. And unlike a lot of the other bad music I liked at that time that would eventually fall away as transient embarrassment – Warrant, Scorpions and Slaughter to name a few** Skid Row may have spent about a decade being untouchable, but something about this record came back around for me. Maybe it was the fact that during the brief time I follow the band they never fully succumbed to the sappery of the power ballad; okay I Remember You is pretty freakin’ sappy and it’s definitely a power ballad, but it also seemed to make them recoil and move the opposite direction, as their follow-up record Slave to the Grind came out the same summer as Metallica’s Black album and I’ll be damned if Skid Row’s record wasn’t very obviously heavier. That might seem trite today, but in those days, coming off the heels of ...And Justice For All, what I just said was pure insanity. So I suppose because of that Skid Row has always retained a certain level of credibility that I was unable to afford any of their peers. And honestly, to this day if you ask me, trumping ‘tallica earned it.Skid Row Back

But I’m off track because that’s the second record, and despite the fact that it’s markedly better than the first it is that eponymous debut that I whisper to you now, in the still of the night, through the slated screen of the Joup confessional chamber. I know… it’s a hard pill to swallow, but I don’t care. And I have to tell you – in two weeks I’ll be home again and there will absolutely be a night where I sit up in that back building at my folks’ place, a beer in one hand, Skid Row – Skid Row on the tape deck and a strange feeling of youthful revitalization wafting through the air…

What’s up Zak?

Joe Grez – throw thine self on the coals and give us a confession!









** For the record there was plenty of good stuff that I still listened to at this time, chief among them and almost certainly an ancestor of all that  like Led Zeppelin! And despite what you may think about my confessional I can live with it because the truth of the matter is I never liked Poison!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

2 Responses to Joup Confessions…
  1. […] so quintessentially adolescent about the record that it’s kind of a comfort to me (see also here)....
  2. Tommy Reply

    Fuck yes!

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