From Spandex to Savior
Ahh, show biz! One minute you're wearing long hair and skintight Spandex onstage; the next minute you're wearing long hair and flowing robes onstage. Blond-locked Sebastian Bach, onetime wild frontman for popular metal band Skid Row (1987-1996) and more recently leader of the supergroup the Last Hard Men, can relate. In his third musical theater outing -- a revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's first collaboration, Jesus Christ Superstar -- he walks in the sandals and wears the loincloth of the big guy, Jesus Christ. (He has also starred in Jekyll & Hyde and The Rocky Horror Show.) Admittedly not an ardent fan of show tunes, Bach, slightly more sedate now, would rather rock. But when theatrical producers sought him out in an effort to attract that elusive younger audience, the singer couldn't resist an opportunity to flex his musical muscles. On the road in San Diego, Bach discussed this latest phase of his career.
New Times: Would you ever imagine you'd be doing musicals?
Sebastian Bach: No. No. Never. None of my fans would either! The Lord works in mysterious ways!
What made you want to do Jesus Christ Superstar?
Basically my dad. He was only 58 when he died [of cancer this past August] and we were really, really close. It was just a good way to send him off. If I didn't have this play, and I was just sitting around in my house, I really don't want to think what I'd be doing.
What's harder -- performing eight shows a week in a musical or singing the same songs repeatedly as a rock star?
When you have a song like Skid Row's "Youth Gone Wild," it does feel pretty stupid singing it when you're 34! It doesn't have quite the same meaning as when you were nineteen. Doing it [a show] eight times a week is a challenge to keep it fresh, but theater in and of itself is fresh each time you step on the stage.
Are you particularly religious?
Not particularly. But I do believe in God. I was the lead soprano in my church choir when I was nine and ten years old. I was into the church music before I was into rock and roll.
What's the best part of being Jesus?
Singing music and portraying a role that has meaning to me as an actor and a singer. I can relate to being in style and then out of style, which is really Jesus's thing in this play. Everybody loves him, and then everybody hates him. And he's pleading with his dad in heaven to understand why this is happening to him. I can relate to that on a personal level.
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