Johnny Solinger, Ex-Singer With Skid Row, Dies at 55

Johnny Solinger
Pau Marcenaro

Johnny Solinger, former frontman for chart-topping metal band Skid Row, died Saturday (June 26) after a brief battle with liver disease. He was 55.

Raised in Dallas, Texas, Solinger led the hard rockers from 1999 to 2015, and is recognized as the longest serving member of the band, eclipsing Sebastian Bach who took singing duties for nearly 10 years, until 1996.

“It is with a heavy heart I must let everyone know what’s going on with me and my health. I have been hospitalised for over the last month,” Solinger wrote in a Facebook post on May 8.
“I have been diagnosed with liver failure. And prognosis is not so good. As with most musicians I do not have health insurance and it’s very difficult to get proper care without it.”

Solinger’s death was confirmed in a statement posted on the band’s official social pages. “We are saddened to hear the news of our brother Johnny Solinger,” the message reads. “Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans. Godspeed Singo. Say hello to Scrappy for us.”

With Skid Row, Solinger cut four albums, including 2003’s Thickskin and 2006’s Revolutions Per Minute, and he released a handful of solo albums in the noughts, including 2008’s Johnny Solinger.

In 2014, Solinger revisited his country roots on Scrappy Smith, an album that pays tribute to his grandfather Willard Jesse "Scrappy" Smith who introduced the young rocker to many of the classic sounds in country music. "I was born in Russellville, Arkansas, which is right off of Crow Mountain," Solinger told Billboard ahead of its release. "I spent a lot of my time fishing on the Little Red River. Country music was all people listened to in Arkansas".

Prior to Solinger’s stint with the band, Skid Row hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 1991’s Slave to the Grind, one of four albums to impact the chart.

The group has cracked the Billboard Hot 100 on four occasions, with a best of No. 4 for 1989’s “18 And Life,” one of two Top 10 hits.

Former bandmates and the wider rock community reached out and remembered Solinger with tributes on social media.

"Rest in peace Johnny Solinger, the singer that held the 16 year tenure as the 'new guy' who replaced Sebastian Bach in Skid Row," wrote Jeff Scott Soto of SOTO, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and other acts. "He held his head up high and owned the position until he departed, condolences to his fans, friends and family..."

A separate message from bandmate Dave "Snake" Sabo reads, “A good man with a good soul taken way too soon. Thank you Johnny for everything you gave us. God bless you and your family.”