Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

18 And Life

Once Sebastian Bach joined, a bidding war happened between Geffen Records and Atlantic. Geffen wanted a Bon Jovi act and Atlantic wanted a Guns N’ Roses act. And these two labels were in an East vs West Coast war. Geffen even brought in a producer who said that “18 and Life” and “Makin’ A Mess” should be kept and songs like “Youth Gone Wild” and “I Remember You” should be scrapped. Doc McGhee wanted them to go with Geffen. Everything pointed towards to Geffen except for the guys in the band especially Rachel Bolan.

Atlantic A&R guru Jason Flom had been following the band for a while and increased the Atlantic offer at the last minute.

Both labels saw “18 And Life” as a quality song. A serious subject matter, so far removed from the romantic vibes of “I Remember You” and the rebellious “stand your ground” anthem “Youth Gone Wild”.

The video dominated MTV in the US but not so much in Australia. The fans made this a cult favourite.  

The C#m arpeggios in the intro, moving to an A and B chord got me interested. If you’ve watched Skid Row live (the Bach led version that is), they extend this intro, with a pretty kicking lead break from Scotti Hill. Actually, Jorn did a cover of Don Henley’s “New York Minute” and the intro sounds like the live version of “18 And Life” that I remember.

And Skid Row is becoming forgotten.

When I googled “18 and Life lyrics” it came up with the lyrics for the song and the artist was listed as “Asking Alexandria”. So whatever issue, Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo have with Sebastian Bach, its leading their band into irrelevance and into the history pages of the internet. Because come on, one of their biggest songs doesn’t come up listed to them, but to a band who covered it.

Ricky was a young boy, he had a heart of stone
Lived nine to five and worked his fingers to the bone

It summed up most of the kids growing up in the 80’s and 90’s (when I started working). I remember getting my first wages and I felt like I was on top of the world. But at that time I was still living with my parents and social reality hadn’t hit me yet.  And I didn’t have a heart of stone. I cared for my family and friends. But I knew people who were just like Ricky.

Fought like a switchblade so no one could take him down

You all know how a blade just explodes out/pops out when a button is pushed. Well imagine a human just losing control like that. Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas” sums up this kind of action. I knew a few people like that, always getting into fights from out of nowhere. 

And he fought the world alone 

No one is alone. For every feeling a person has like this, remember there are people out there that feel like you and there are people out there that care for you. Talk to em.

Tequila in his heartbeat

His veins burned gasoline

It kept his motor runnin’

But he never kept it clean

You can interchange tequila with any other alcoholic beverage. Drinking whiskey makes me jump out of moving cars. I’m Superman.

He married trouble

Had a courtship with a gun

I don’t think I have met a person who doesn’t love adventure. But adventure which leads to mischief and trouble, could be cool while you are young, but as you grow up, it could be dangerous and deadly. And in Australia, we don’t have a law that gives us the right to bear arms to protect our property, so our courtship with a gun isn’t as strong as it is, in other countries.

He fired his six-shot to the wind

That child blew a child away

Accidents happen, but a life lost is a life lost. 

The lead break and that outro arpeggio riff (with the lead break as well) are my favourite pieces to play on the guitar, along with the intro guitar arpeggio riff.

Enjoy it.


15 thoughts on “18 And Life

  1. Henrik says:

    I took me years to realize what “life” stands for in this context. Figured out it is something like “Ricky is 18 yrs and the whole life ahead.” But the song is total opposite. Well, that was early 1990s.

  2. Henrik says:

    In relation to this and previous post about GNR. What must be one of my most missed gigs? GNR and Skid Row in Helsinki 1991. Back in the day I considered GNR was a bit outdated: bloated egos, no Steven, keyboards and other bells & whistles.

    Well, Mötley Crüe & Skid Row 1989 comes close. Missed that because I thought MC had seen better days. I should have stopped thinking these kinda things too much and just go to the gigs and rock like a hurricane (I was in MoR 1986 Stockholm to see Ozzy and left after a few Scorpions songs to catch a ferry back to Finland. Why? I thought Scorpions… okay you get the idea).

    • Lol. Too funny
      So many missed because they had seen better days, too bloated and just old. I have that same viewpoint right now. I’m looking at each act coming to Oz and I’m saying, the same exact same thing

  3. Bolan and Snake love playing bowling alleys so they are ok with it so good on them. No Bach I’m not interested.
    Why they are such Drama Kings about it is beyond me.

      • Sure does fall under that heading. Your right Bach probably unloaded on him and Snake. Bolan can’t let it go. They have squandered off a ton of good day paydays thats for sure because of it.

  4. Great song and I didn’t realize there was a cover of it, so I might add it to my Original vs Cover series. And I can’t believe their lyrics don’t come up first where you are, that is truly sad. I googled it here in the States by just typing 18 and Life lyrics and thankfully there’s comes up #1. Whew!!

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