Sebastian Bach is setting the record straight on his fractured friendship with his onetime mentor Jon Bon Jovi. In his new tell-all book, 18 and Life on Skid Row, Bach writes about his early days as the lead singer of Skid Row and opening for Bon Jovi’s band. The New York Post posted an excerpt from Sebastian’s book in which he credits the Bon Jovi frontman for helping to kick off his career before a backstage brawl ended their friendship.
According to Bach, he was spotted by Jon’s parents at age 18 when he sang at the wedding of rock photographer Mark Weiss, and they ultimately referred him to their son’s friend, Dave “The Snake” Sabo, who was forming Skid Row at the time. Sebastian and Jon were so close in the late 1980s that Bach’s wife and son temporarily stayed at the Bon Jovi home. Jon even gave Sebastian some of his stage clothes.
“He literally gave me the shirt off his back,” Bach wrote.
But things took an ugly turn in 1989 when Skid Row concert merchandise began outselling the headlining band’s memorabilia during “The Jersey Syndicate Tour.” With Skid Row’s sudden success, Sebastian also became bitter about his band’s contract and the tension culminated when Jon reportedly chastised Bach for his foul language onstage.
“He stared me down and said the words, ‘I’ll f***ing own you,’” Sebastian revealed.
Bach also detailed touring pranks in which Bon Jovi’s crew poured a vat of “freezing cold ice milk” over his head just before he was supposed to go onstage. Sebastian later tossed eggs at his rival’s road crew and made fun of the band’s name by calling them “Bon Blow Me” before all heck broke loose after one particularly volatile show.
“We saw about 60 people coming toward us,” Sebastian wrote. “Leading the pack was Jon Bon Jovi himself. Flanking him, side to side, was his dad and his brother Tony. Behind them was the full Bon Jovi road crew.”
Sebastian revealed that punches were thrown and he was threatened by the other band’s team–including Jon’s dad.
“Bon Jovi Senior pointed in my face as I was held against the wall. He said, ‘I’ll f***ing kill you,’ or something like that,” Bach wrote.
Salt Lake City. I have vivid memories of your city. Playing with Bon Jovi and Guns N' Roses. Playing for some of the wildest crowds I had ever played for in my life. We are playing TONIGHT at the depot. Let's rock. This is our second last night OF THE TOUR W @santacruzbandofficial Let's fucking rock 'n roll #cruzbachtour2016 #cruzbach #throwbach
Sebastian also revealed that Bon Jovi’s band wasn’t as squeaky clean as they wanted fans to believe. According to the New York Daily News, Bach wrote that the Jersey rock band partied “as hard as, or harder than, the rest of these bands.”
“I know it’s crazy. But it’s true,” Sebastian wrote.
Bach detailed Richie Sambora’s rock star diet in which he allegedly boasted, “I’ll just get an eight-ball of blow and I’ll look great!”
In addition, Sebastian said he first tried speed with Bon Jovi keyboard player David Bryan.
While Jon and Sebastian’s rivalry played out in the press for years, Bach revealed that they made amends a decade ago when they ran into each other at a London hotel bar. According to Sebastian, the two hugged it out after an initial awkward encounter. Blabbermouth.net previously posted Sebastian’s description of what went down when he was at a London hotel with Guns ‘N Roses frontman Axl Rose in 2006. Bach told French outlet ArtSenics TV that after a waitress alerted him that Bon Jovi was across the room, he decided to go over and say hi because “we used to be great, great friends; I had Christmas dinner at his house and stuff.”
“We stood up and we hugged and then he came over to me and Axl’s table and we drank about 15 bottles of red wine, had a great time,” Sebastian said.
Tom Keifer, Dave The Snake Sabo, Jon Bon Jovi e Sebastian Bach pic.twitter.com/8pQEaJPxzM— Ana Valadares (@_Metaal_) February 5, 2014
In the same interview, Sebastian also explained that Skid Row signed a contract with Bon Jovi and Sambora early on, giving the older band ownership of Skid Row’s publishing rights. After Bach’s band’s debut album went five times platinum in 1989, Sebastian admitted he became bitter over the deal.
“Nobody thought that we would become a big band. That happens all the time in the music industry. Jon was like, ‘We’ll take you on tour, but if you guys make it big,’ then he gets a cut of it. So I was bitter about that for awhile,” Sebastian said.
Still, 30 years later, he remains grateful to his old friend.
“Jon took a chance on me and our band,” Bach wrote in his book. “I will always be indebted to him for that.”
Take look at the video below to see Jon Bon Jovi talking about Sebastian Bach and Skid Row.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]