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Biofile Dave “Snake”Sabo of Skid Row

By Scoop Malinowski

Status:  Guitarist/songwriter for Skid Row. Former manager of Down.

DOB: September 16, 1964  In: Sayreville, N.J.

Hobbies/Interests:  “I don’t have any hobbies anymore, I really don’t. Managing Down is basically taking up every waking moment of my day and night.”

Music Inspirations:  “Originally – I’m the youngest of five boys – so it was anything from Motown and Elvis to Hendrix to Sabbath to Jeff Beck and ZZ Top and Janis Joplin. And then I discovered KISS and it was all over [smiles]. Today – it’s strange. Maybe I’m a bit jaded, I think there’s so many bands out there that are so under the radar and nobody knows about them and they’re so talented. Bands that I really got turned onto from the guys in Down – bands like Witchcraft and Old Pentagram. Not to be biased – but I am – but I think the new Down record (‘Over The Under’) is one of the best I’ve heard in the last 10-15 years.”

Favorite Movies:  “The Exorcist, the first two Godfathers, Scarface, Barfly, Deer Hunter.”

Favorite TV Show:  “There was a show on Adult Swim called Assy McGee which was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. But they took it off. We would laugh our asses off.”

Last Book Read:  “It was a book written in ’95 I believe, about the evolution of Black Sabbath.”

Favorite Meal:  “Sushi.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  “Don’t really eat ice cream.”

First Job:  “My brother Rick worked as a cross country truck driver and before he was cross country he worked on the east coast. So in the summer I’d go on drives with him and help him unload trucks and stuff like that (age 10). My second job was working for the county – painting fire hydrants.”

First Car:  “Chevelle (beige).”

Current Car:  “Jaguar (black).”

First Music Memory:  “Hearing Motown music playing out of my brother’s bedrooms upstairs at my mom’s house, at a very young age, probably around five or six. Jackson Five, Four Tops, Temptations, Marvin Gaye. It really struck me.”

Greatest Career Moment:  “There’s been so many. I’m lucky, man. Playing Giants Stadium in 1989 in front of 75,000 people – in my home state, was one of the highlights. And most recently, to be quite honest, watching Down go on at the Download Festival in Donnington, England, unannounced, at 11 a.m. in the morning, and 50,000 people being there. Last summer. I played that Festival before with Skid Row and I was more proud at that moment with Down than I was with my own band.”

Most Painful Moment:  “Been a few of those. The business of music I always looked at it – the music first and the business second. And I was always prepared for whatever would come my way, where we had a great amount of success with Skid Row – I was very humbled by it. And didn’t expect it. And didn’t believe it was my birthright. And then when we didn’t have success no more, I was okay with it. Because, once again, your life comes at you and you deal with it in the best possible way. And the way I…you roll with it, man, and you make the most of your moments that you have. The painful moment for me is Dimebag’s murder. That’s the most painful moment, for me. Because you lost one of your own.”

Embarrassing Memory:  “Oh God, I have tons of those. I’ve fallen on stages, I’ve fallen off stages, I’ve cut my head open, I’ve cut my hear in half. From stupid stuff, from running around the stage like an idiot. The most embarrassing…the year 2000, first week on tour with KISS, their farewell tour. Skid Row’s opening up for KISS, the original members. And I’m beside myself. It was a childhood dream of mine. And I’m walking across the casino floor (Hard Rock in Las Vegas), and I slip on a bunch of puke and I turn my ankle completely backwards, break every bone in my ankle. And I’m in some form of a cast for six months. Nine screws in a plate.”

Finest Performance(s):  “I would say – where we really clicked – we’d opened up for Guns & Roses at Wembley Stadium in 1991. And it was one of those moments – everything crystallized that day for me on stage. Man, this is for real. We’re really doing something in this moment in time, this hour that we have is really something special. Oh, and I have two. In ’95 Donnington, England, which became the Download Festival, we opened up for Metallica. And everyone had written us off as a band. And we went out there, it was probably like our last hurrah as a band. But we went out fightin’. And everyone was like, Ah, they’re over and done with. And then we went out and performed and when we got off, everyone was like, Wow, you guys still have it. You still have that passion, you still have that fire, you still go after it, and you left everything out there. From the press and our peers were all just so wonderful in their compliments to us. And I think, for me, that was like the last great show that Skid Row had.”

Last Vacation:  “[Laughs]…probably in 1995, yeah, I went up to Vermont for like four days, snowboarding.”

Record or Song Most Proud Of:  “I’m most proud of ‘Slave To The Grind’, our second record. First heavy metal record to debut at #1. And it’s my favorite that we’ve ever done. My part of the writing I think, really, that was the highpoint of my writing.”

Strange Encounter With Fan:  “Christmas Eve at my house in New Jersey (Marlboro). This large, rotund woman shows up at my front door, unannounced, I didn’t know who she was. And right in the middle of like Christmas Eve dinner with my family, knocks on the door, and starts walking in as I open up the door. And I’m like, Are you out of your mind?! (She says) I got this for you. It was like some crazy bowl she made in like pottery class or something. I was like, Man, this is getting out of hand. My house was secluded too, you couldn’t see it from the road. She found it somehow and showed up on Christmas Eve. And there’s one more. There was a girl and her mom, in Minnesota. And the girl, who shall remain nameless, was turning 18. And her mom asks me to take her virginity for her birthday at age 18 [smiles]. I passed.”

People Qualities Most Admired:  “Character. Honesty. Humility. Compassion. Selflessness. Humor. And love.”

Residence: West Hollywood.

Skid Row “I Remember You” music video

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