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Skid Row were one of the very last hair metal bands to hit the mainstream before grunge took over in the early '90s. While the band's self-titled debut employed standard pop-metal riffs and generic lyrics (albeit to great commercial success), 1991's Slave to the Grind and 1995's Subhuman Race broke away from the pop-metal mold with uncharacteristically hard, thrashy guitars and unique songwriting techniques. Though personal differences and changing trends would eventually tear the core lineup apart by 1996, Skid Row showed tremendous promise during their short time in the spotlight.
Based in New Jersey, Skid Row were formed in 1986 by bassist Rachel Bolan and former Bon Jovi guitarist Dave "The Snake" Sabo. The pair added guitarist Scott Hill, drummer Rob Affuso, and a larger than life vocalist named Sebastian Bach to the lineup by early 1987, and the band spent the next year and a half playing a series of local clubs in the eastern U.S. Having remained in contact with Jon Bon Jovi, Sabo convinced the established rock star to land Skid Row a record deal with Atlantic Records. In 1989, the band released its first album, Skid Row, which went multi-platinum on the strength of the Top 40 singles "18 and Life" and "I Remember You." Success came with a backlash, however -- the bandmembers had naïvely signed away much of their royalties, and Sebastian Bach's wild, often childlike behavior landed the group in additional trouble. During the subsequent tour, Bach garnered harsh criticism for a T-shirt he publicly sported displaying the message "AIDS KILLS FAGS DEAD." Suits were also filed against Bach after a concert during the supporting tour, where the singer allegedly threw a glass bottle into the crowd and injured a young female fan.