Local drummer Jason “Shakes” West will travel overseas this week with ex-Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach. West (Cult to Follow, Pitbull Daycare) is filling in behind the kit for shows in Spain and the UK with Bach — the band will serve as direct support for Guns N’ Roses on several dates. This isn’t the first time West has played for Bach either (see "True West,"August 15, 2007). Below, West discusses the upcoming tour, highlights from the 2007 run, and meeting Axl Rose. Check out the entire tour schedule at Sebastian Bach's website.
Remind us how you ended up playing with Bach the first time around, in 2007?
My friend Johnny Chromatic called me up. I was at my singer Stephen Bishop’s house, and I actually got the call on Thanksgiving. I’d always been friends with Johnny, Bach’s guitar player, and he called to say that they needed me to fill in for a tour.
How much time did you have to prepare?
It was really short notice. The good thing is that I knew a lot of the Skid Row songs because I was a huge Skid Row fan! I listened to them all the time back in the day so that helped.
What were some of the highlights from the 2007 tour?
Japan was awesome, and it was crazy playing in front of 30,000 people. One of my favorite records ever is Unleashed in the East, Judas Priest’s first live album. It was recorded in Tokyo, Japan during the Hell Bent For Leather tour — we got to play at the venue where it was recorded. Sebastian told me it was that particular venue right before we went out on stage and I freaked out. To go out on stage knowing it was where Judas Priest had recorded that album is amazing. Crazy experience.
When did you get the call about filling in for this tour?
I actually got a Myspace message from Sebastian asking if I was available to do part of the tour. I rarely check Myspace these days either. Originally it was only gonna be a few days, like 10 dates or something. Of course I’m doing Cult to Follow as well, and some of the dates conflicted. It was stressful, because I’m committed to Cult to Follow, but I basically had to tell [CTF singer] Bryan Scott that I had to take the offer. I’m getting paid a lot of money for doing the [Bach] gig. I feel bad but they might have someone fill in for me if I miss a CTF show.
Why did Bach need you to fill in?
Sebastian’s regular drummer Bobby Jarzombek is going out with Rob Halford. Enough said, that’s badass!
Jarzombek is a San Antonio native who is well known for his work with Halford, Bach, and Riot.
Are you going to be direct support for Guns N’ Roses the entire time you’re out?
We have a couple headlining shows of our own too, but most of it is direct support for GN'R. We go to Spain, to the UK for a bit, then back to Spain. I’ll be gone for about three weeks.
Have you ever met Axl Rose before?
Absolutely! We were support for him on the 2007 tour, and he would always throw after parties. Right after I introduced myself to him, we ended up listening to some Cheap Trick, his suggestion. I know Bun E. Carlos and all the Cheap Trick guys because I’m from Rockford. So that was great, hanging out with Axl Rose night after night. He’s a really cool guy.
Is there any particular show you’re really excited about?
I’m really glad to go back to London. Even though the food in London is horrible, it’s always a great place to play. We’re playing two back to back dates at the O2 Arena there, and I’ve never played that venue before. I think there are already a couple sold out dates on the tour as well, one of the O2 shows for sure, so I’m excited about those huge crowds.
Below is a video montage of West playing drums with his San Antonio band, Cult to Follow. Video courtesy of Frank Viagran III and FV3 Video.