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Today I am wearing one of my oldest and most precious treasures from my band shirt collection, to honour the fact that on this day it’s been… well, a helluva lot of years since I attended my first Skid Row gig, with LA Guns (another great band!) as the opening act, in Gothenburg. This also happened to be my very first metal gig, in another time when the most dangerous thing that could happen at a gig was blowing up one’s ears (if you went without earplugs) or getting mashed by the crowd in front of the stage. (I almost managed to do both things this time, but it was worth it!) skid row tour 1991

And by the way, yes I did fancy Sebastian Bach and I am not ashamed to admit it (even though my bullies at school loved to tease me about it and – knowing all to well my preference for longhaired guys – even told me made up rumours about him cutting his hair off, for instance). I was far from the only one who did! But it was the voice that came out of that pretty face, a voice filled with such incredible power and emotion, that completed my image of him as the very embodiment of male beauty to me – the Apollo of heavy metal. The image of this man introduced me to the concept of beauty, something that I still seek to pursue as a classical painter and artist, even though he may no longer be the same smooth-faced young boy that I saw onstage so many years ago. And even though the few of his more recent songs that I have heard after his departure from Skid Row have failed to touch me as deeply as Wasted Time, for example.

(And please, for God’s sake, don’t call Skid Row a ”hair metal” band! Glam bands like Poison might deserve that epithet, but NOT Skid Row who started out as a hard rock band and evolved into heavy metal on their second album. Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system!)