SKID RANK bass player Rachel Bolan paid tribute to the group’s late singer Johnny Solinger died in June 2021 at the age of 55. His death came just over a month after it was announced he was suffering from liver failure.
In a new interview with On the road to rock, Rachel said about solinger (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “We had a lot of fun – we had a lot of fun together. we all became very bonded and we had a lot of fun and we did a lot of shows together. EMBRACE tour thinking we were only going to be on one leg and they asked us to stay and stay. And that was really cool, man. We [made some great] music together, and unfortunately, towards the end [of his time with the band], some temptations somehow prevailed. Without going into too much detail, for a while it started to really get in the way of things. And I don’t say that in a cold, insensitive way; I mean, he was getting in his own way. And it was a shame. And we tried and pointed things out to him, and then finally we just had to make a move. And from what I heard, he was fine for a while, then he wasn’t. And unfortunately, it passed. I think about him all the time, and miss him – all guys do. Because we have been through a lot together and we have innovated together. And it’s sad that he’s gone. It wasn’t completely unexpected, but nevertheless it was great… very, very sad. Very sad.”
Last December, SKID RANK guitarist Dave “Snake” Sabo reflected on solingerdeath during an appearance on SiriusXMit is “Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk”saying, “It’s a terrible, terrible tragedy. It’s a very big loss. It was really hard when we heard about it. We heard he was sick. We didn’t understand how badly. But we reached out to him and had some communication with him.
“Johnny was one of those guys – he just had a sweet, gentle soul about him”, Snake continued. “[He was] never mean, always benevolent, always with a smile on your face. And he was a good guy. I mean, we were together almost 15 years and we were friends all the way through. Our separation from the band and him was just because it just didn’t work anymore, just from the standpoint of where we were heading as a band and where he was sort of heading as a vocalist. But there was no hatred there; to be honest with you, [we had] nothing but love for the guy. And I’m not saying that because he’s passed away; I said it when we broke up. I mean, there was absolutely no animosity. And he will be missed, because he is part of the history of this band – a big part. And I’m grateful to him for his time and allowing us to make records with him and together. And I love those records — I love the EPs and ‘Thick skin’ and ‘Revolutions per minute’. It’s a big part of our history that has helped us get to where we are now. So I will always be grateful to him and I will always miss him. And I appreciate you talking about it, because we need to talk about him more often. I feel like he’s getting lost in the sauce a bit, and it’s not fair to him or his memory.”
solingerwho was a member of SKID RANK from 1999 to 2015, appearing on the “Thick Skin” and “Revolutions Per Minute” albums, as well as “United World Rebellion” and “The Rise of the Army of Damnation” EPs, revealed his diagnosis in a social media update on May 8, 2021. He wrote, “It is with a heavy heart that I have to let everyone know what is happening with me and my health . I have been hospitalized for the past month. I have been diagnosed with liver failure and the prognosis is not very good. Like most musicians, I do not have health insurance and it is very difficult to get proper care without it.
“I am currently on at least seven different medications and need my abdomen flushed of fluid which is building up every other day. I have lost a lot of strength and will also need physical therapy.
“At this time I am considering setting up some kind of fundraiser to help pay for the medical bills and palliative care I will need in the coming months. I kindly ask those of you who could help set this up moving forward I wouldn’t ask you all of this if I didn’t really need your help, but sadly here I am.
“I appreciate and want you all to keep me in your thoughts and send me all the healing vibes you can, but I get burnt out easily so I will ask you not to call me or not texting unless absolutely necessary. But please if you can help out at this difficult time I would greatly appreciate it.
“I love you all. I will be posting a link very soon where you can donate, but I wanted to update you on my condition.”
solinger was fired by SKID RANK in April 2015 and replaced by DTT singer Tony Harnell. Tony left the band just eight months later and was replaced by the South African-born British singer PZ Theartwho previously led DRAGON FORCE, TANK and I am I. Art was fired from SKID RANK in February and was replaced by Erik Grönwallwho was previously a member of the Swedish hard rock band HEAT
Bolan later confirmed that solinger was kicked out of the band, contradicting the singer’s claim that he “decided to leave SKID RANK to chase [his] solo career.”
asked what led to solingerthe departure of SKID RANK, Rachel said: “It was obvious. There were some things that happened on the road that made us think…Things had been going on for a little while. And, you know, I’m not here to say bad things about the guy .
“At times it just feels like someone isn’t 100 percent invested in things,” he added. “And SKID RANK is very important to the rest of us. And we wanted to continue with quality performances and songs, so we decided to change.”
They were asked if there had ever been a time when they felt like things “clicked” and “100% right” between solinger and the rest of the group, Rachel Told “Eddie Trunk Live”: “We clicked a lot. I thought we made a lot of good music together. And even with [the series of] EPs, when we were in the studio, we were making great music. Snake [guitarist Dave Sabo] and I was writing, and everyone was coming in and really sinking. I think it was when we were in the studio that it really became apparent that we didn’t all have the same heart and soul… We didn’t all put the same heart and soul into her. And it’s just one of those things, man. It’s difficult to make such a decision, but we did it.”
Added Snake“It has nothing to do with Johnny not being a good person; he’s a really good guy, and we all got along well. There is no animosity on our side. And those are terrible decisions to make, man. They are horrible. The guy has been with us for fifteen years, and we’ve traveled a lot of miles together, and I feel extremely lucky to have spent that time in a band with him. And he’s a great singer and he’ll be fine. He’s going to pursue his solo stuff, I guess, and that’s what he should do.”
On the subject of how solinger reacted after being fired from SKID RANK, Snake said, “There was no shouting or shouting. We were both very respectful of each other. And we should be. I mean, like I said, we We’ve traveled a lot of miles together, and it’s not something easy anyway, but yet it’s something that was necessary.”
Asked how to part with solinger was different from the split with Sebastian Bach in 1996, Rachel said, “It was a completely different situation. There was a lot of bad blood there, and… Yeah, it was a completely different situation. It’s something, like Snake said, there is no animosity. It’s just that… We didn’t all have our eyes on the same prize at this point, and that interfered. This prevented progress. And that’s why we made a change.”
End of 2019, solinger was injured in a car accident and was forced to postpone some of his personal exhibitions.