As one part of Skid Row’s fierce guitar duo (the other half being Dave ‘Snake’ Sabo), New Jersey native Scotti Hill knows a thing or two about rock ‘n’ roll riffage. Skid Row is riding high these days, having released a scintillating comeback record, The Gang’s All Here, in the fall of 2022. Indeed, the mighty tri-state area masters are again in fine form, delivering razor’s edge-laden cuts akin to their earliest hours in hair metal’s heyday.
When he’s not blowing the audience’s minds with his distinctive brand of glam metal badassery, Hill, like most guitarists, keeps his chops in shape by returning to the tried-and-true records that shaped him as an aspiring six-stringer.
To that end, Skid Row’s Scotti Hill dialed in with ClassicRockHistory.com in running through ten albums that changed his life.
# 10 – Boston – Boston
One of my all-time favorite albums is the first Boston record. It’s just an amazing, timeless piece of work. It’s just incredible. I still listen to it occasionally, and it never ages. It always sounds fresh, and the songs are just unbelievable. Everything about it excites me. I totally love it.
# 9 – KISS – Alive!
I have to include KISS’s Alive! That was an air guitar record for me before I started playing guitar for real. I had the old tennis racket in the bedroom, and I’d jump around playing alone like Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley. [Laughs]. It’s funny because when Skid Row is on the road, we still use some old Paul Stanley raps and comedy bits he used on Alive! We’ve got all those memorized, so that was a big deal for all of us. I remember my mom picked it up for me while I was at school, and I got home from school that day, found it, put it on, and was blown away.
# 8 – KISS – Destroyer
Since we’re on the subject of KISS, I would say Destroyer is one of my top albums. It has a unique sound, and the overall product has a nice theme that takes you back to a specific time and place. I would say the whole mid-70s era of KISS is my favorite era of the band. I loved that lineup, and the sound of the band was incredible. Peter Criss showed me what drums are supposed to sound like, and Ace, man, that guy all but invented rock ‘n’ roll guitar for me. But Destroyer was special because it was cinematic, which made it stand out.
# 7 – Pink Floyd – The Wall
I love a number of Pink Floyd albums, but The Wall was the breakthrough album for me. It’s just one of those albums you put on and let play all through with no skips. I like to throw it on in the afternoon when I’m doing things, which puts me in a chill mood. It inspires me and gets me in the headspace to write music and play guitar.
# 6 – Jeff Beck – Wired
I have to include Jeff Beck, who recently lost. Honestly, Jeff Beck was my most considerable guitar influence. There are a lot of other guys who influence me, but Jeff Beck is number one. Many guys shape styles, but few did so, like Jeff Beck. In my opinion, his style is the most unique ever, and so many guitarists were affected by that. If you look at Blow by Blow and Wired being released back-to-back, we’ll never hear anything like that again. It’s still hard to believe how great those records are. The Skid Row song “18 and Life” was directly influenced by how Jeff Beck used volume swells, so that was our tip of the hat to him. Just thinking about it gives me chills.
# 5 – Van Halen – Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen blew my mind when I first heard him play when I was 14, and the feeling I had in that moment is something I will never forget. I used to hang out with my buddies, and we’d blast music, and one day, my friend Greg brought this record over, and everything, as it relates to guitar, blew wide open for me. The whole way Eddie attacked the guitar was like nothing I had ever heard before in my life. It changed literally everything.
# 4 – KISS – Rock and Roll Over
I mentioned before that the mid-70s was my favorite era of KISS, and that’s because the songs were so good. Moreover, the band’s vibe was cool as shit, and the sounds they created were just so fu*king good. Destroyer was like a movie, totally different from what they’d done before. But Rock and Roll Over is probably one of their best-sounding albums. It’s raw and loaded with great songs, awesome drums, and incredibly memorable guitar licks.
# 3 – Van Halen, Fair Warning
I remember hanging out after school listening to Van Halen all through my teens, but one record sticks out the most, and that’s Fair Warning. The dark production, the reverbs, the inventive riffing, all of that blew my fu*king mind. Everything on this record, from beginning to end, is perfect. Just put it on and let it go. There’s no filler; it’s so brilliant. The guitar tones are super raw and dangerous sounding. I think rock ‘n’ roll needs to be dangerous. And that is a dangerous record.
# 2 – Neil Young – Harvest
I know this list is kind of all over the place, but that’s where my musical influences come from. Neil Young’s Harvest was a big record for me. I had three older sisters who were listening to a lot of Beatles, Stones, and all that, and one day, they brought Harvest home. The album is great and brings back a lot of memories of that time for me. Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” was the first song I ever learned to play on guitar, making it special, too.
# 1 -The Beatles – Revolver
I have to include a Beatles record, which will have to be Revolver – my favorite Beatles album. I mean, God, you’ve got so many great songs there. All four of them showed up, but I love the George Harrison tracks, and his guitar playing is great on that record. I love the songwriting and tone that he was able to achieve. To this day, Revolver is one of my go-to albums. When I go off for a long walk or need to unwind, I like to put Revolver on and just let it go. Again, I love the sound of Harrison’s guitar; man, it greatly influenced me.
Scotti Hill of Skid Row Interview: 10 Albums That Changed My Life article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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