Former Skid Row singer Johnny Solinger has died at the age of 55.
The news was confirmed in a social media post by Solinger’s wife, the actress Paula Marcenaro, who wrote, “Johnny has passed. I was holding his hand. He went in peace. Thank you all. I will take a break from everything but please know I am forever grateful for your love.”
The news was also shared by Skid Row, who posted, “We are saddened to hear the news of our brother Johnny Solinger. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans. Godspeed Singo. Say hello to Scrappy for us.”
Solinger’s passing comes a month after he revealed he was suffering was liver disease. In a Facebook post, Solinger revealed that he had been hospitalised, and the the prognosis was not favourable.
“As with most musicians I do not have health insurance and it’s very difficult to get proper care without it,” Solinger wrote. “I am currently under at least seven different medications and I need to have my abdomen drained off fluid that gets accumulated every couple of days. I have lost a lot of strength and will require physical therapy as well.”
Solinger was hired to replace original Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach in 1999, after bassist Rachel Bolan discovered him via the internet. He appeared on two of the band’s album – Thickskin and Revolutions Per Minute – as well as two EPs: United World Rebellion: Chapter One and Rise of the Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two.
“His voice blew us away,” said Bolan. “And we knew right away we were gonna take him, but we didn’t actually tell him for three days. Six weeks later we were on the road with Kiss.”
“The band had balls of steel to take on a frontman like me,” Solinger told Classic Rock. “I don’t look or sing anything like Sebastian, and I don’t swing my head around half as much – do that these days and you’ll get laughed off a stage.”
Solinger left Skid Row after 14 years in 2015, saying he was ready to pursue a solo career. The band quickly replaced him with former TNT vocalist Tony Harnell, and insisted it was their decision to let him go.
Bolan told One On One With Mitch Lafon: “We released him. The statement he made wasn’t really the right thing to say on his part.”
He went on to say that the band had noticed problems with Solinger while on tour, adding: “At certain times you just get the feeling someone isn’t putting 100% into things. And Skid Row is very important to the rest of us. And we wanted to carry on with quality performances and quality songs, so we decided to make a change.”
A year later Sebastian Bach revealed that there had been discussions about reuniting the band’s classic lineup, saying he wanted to “bury the 20-year hatchet” with his former colleagues.
The band had repeatedly shouted down the idea – even declining $500,000 for two reunion shows. And in 2017 guitarist Scotti Hill quashed the rumours, saying, “That door is closed. There was talk about it, the two camps went back and forth, and it was not to happen, so that door in now shut.”