Tony Harnell says that he “had a great time” singing for SKID ROW, despite the fact that he lasted less than a year as the frontman of the formerly New Jersey-based outfit.
Harnell joined SKID ROW in April 2015 as the replacement for Johnny Solinger, who was the band’s frontman for fifteen years. Tony quit the group only eight months later, explaining in a Facebook post that “being ignored and disrespected isn’t my thing.”
In a recent interview with the “Unphiltered” radio show hosted by former SKID ROW and SAIGON KICK drummer Phil Varone, Harnell said that he had no regrets about the time he spent with SKID ROW.
“I had a great time, I actually did have a really good time with SKID ROW,” he said (hear audio below). “It was a good experience for me. I’m glad I did it. It just wasn’t the best match, I would say, both musically and personality-wise. But I think very highly of them, and I had a good time doing it.”
Harnell added that he spent “probably about 10 months” as SKID ROW‘s vocalist. “We did a decent amount of shows,” he said. “By the end of my stint, I started to finally feel somewhat comfortable with the material, but there were some things happening that I wanted differently. But it was all good.”
Last October, Harnell once again split with Norwegian rockers TNT, less than a year and a half after he rejoined the group. During the “Unphiltered” interview, Harnell described his relationship with TNT as “a very long marriage. I’m here [in New York], they’re there [in Norway] — they’re across the pond really far away. It’s a very difficult situation to be in without having a very unified business organization, and no matter what I did, I could not get the thing unified. We were just on two totally separate not only continents physically, but mentally, psychologically, we were on two different continents as well.”
According to Harnell, he “really, really wanted” his latest collaboration with TNT to work out. “In my opinion, this was gonna be it — we were gonna stay together until I didn’t feel like singing anymore,” he said. ‘I was gonna do other things and do other projects and so forth, but my goal was that TNT woud be my band for at least another five years, maybe 10 years or whatever, until it ran its course. So this was kind of an unexpected thing.”
One thing that Harnell wants “to make clear” is that he “did not quit” TNT “this time. I really haven’t quit the band as many times as other people in the band have said and also the press has said,” he explained. “Most of the time, it’s been either a mutual parting of ways or a break. We’ve taken several breaks that were just not even talked about — we just didn’t record or work [together] for a couple of years and then just started working again. The only time I legitimately actually quit the band was 2006. And then this [latest split] was just sort of a, ‘This isn’t working.’ It was kind of a mutual thing. It [was] working on stage really well — actually, some of the best shows we have ever done were this year. And I was actually really happy. In August, I thought we did some of the best shows we’ve ever done, and then at the same time, we could not get the business stuff together. And at our age, the business really does have to be organized.”
The singer went on to suggest that some of the individuals closely associated with TNT were to blame for his most recent exit from the group. “There are people that often are maybe well-meaning, but there, unfortunately, were people around the band that were, instead of trying to bring the main characters in the band together, they were more… maybe inadvertently — I don’t think they were on purpose trying to do this — but they ultimately drove a wedge between the two most important members of the band, and that was ultimately the thing that I think caused this last thing to fall apart,” he said.
At the end of the day, Harnell says that he feels “really, really bad” for the TNT fans who were hoping to catch the band live again. “I feel bad about it for myself, because I really wanted this to work so badly. I was having a great time. In fact, I posted three videos, I think, on my page after the last shows that we did because I was so proud of the band for how well I thought we were playing. So, ultimately, I feel very, very bad for all the fans that never got to see the band, ’cause I was really looking forward to coming to America. We were starting to get some really good offers for some really good festivals in the U.S., and I was excited about it. And a lot of other countries and a lot of other things were coming together, and then, all of a sudden, it was done.”
Harnell added that was aware of the fact that he was being blamed by many of the TNT fans for his latest departure from the group. “I don’t read Blabbermouth — I don’t,” he said. “I mean, I read the stories, but I don’t read the comments under the stories, because those are dangerous to read. But I know just from peeking at my page and having to delete a few things here and there, and over at the TNT page, and then hearing from a few friends some things that the people were saying some not-such-nice things. But, honestly, at the end of the day, I don’t really hold it against them, because they don’t know. They weren’t there, and anything they’re hearing is either second-hand or third-hand [information].”
SKID ROW guitarist Dave “Snake” Sabo told the “Trunk Nation” show last November that things fell apart so quickly with Harnell because “some things just aren’t meant to work… they just don’t work together. Knowing him before and then working with him, it was two separate… it really was two different things,” he explained. “A lot of conflict, a lot of butting heads, and it just… it never meshed, it was never right. We knew him for a long time, [but we] never worked with him — never worked in a band situation, in a band environment with him. And you know what — for better or for worse, this is our band; it belongs to us. And so if someone is gonna come in and work with us, we have a certain way that we do things, and that may not work for some people. It didn’t work for him. Look, [he’s] a talented guy; it just wasn’t right for us.”
Harnell was replaced in SKID ROW by South African-born, British-based singer ZP Theart, who previously fronted DRAGONFORCE, TANK and I AM I.
Last November, TNT recruited Baol Bardot Bulsara as the band’s new singer. The Spanish vocalist made his live debut with TNT on November 22 at the Oslo Spektrum on Oslo, Norway, where the group performed as the support act for the SCORPIONS.