Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

h1

Doro Pesch! 25 Years of the Warlock

November 4, 2010

Not that I like to brag, but Doro Pesch called me this afternoon. I’d missed her at Bloodstock because my phone decided it had better things to do other than work. Nevertheless, here we are on a gloomy November afternoon to have a chat.

“We’ve been going 27 years and it’s the first time you’ve seen us?” asks Doro, as we get straight down to business and talk about the tour. I probably shouldn’t mention the fact that I was born in 1986. “We’ve just come back from Japan, we had an amazing time and it’s such a great place to go and visit. We’ll be about again around Christmas time with Motorhead in Europe, but not England sadly”

The 25th Anniversary show took place in December 2008, in Dusseldorf. The new DVD, 25 Years in Rock hits shelves at the end of the month which includes a three hour concert with guest appearances from someone of the many high-fliers Doro has worked with over the years; “There are so  many of my friends on there who made this night very special for me! I asked Klaus Meine (of Scorpions) if he could do it and he said he’d look in his schedule but I didn’t hear back so I assumed he couldn’t do it. But I was so happy when he said he could! There are so many other great people too, Tarja Turunen, Bobbi Blitz, Warrel Dane. We met him when we toured with Megadeth and Sanctuary in the US back in the 1980s”.

Admitting to having sixteen records over four decades, there is a wealth of material to draw on for live shows, including the experimental albums in the 90s, foraying into experimental and rockier territory. “When we only have a sixty minute festival show, it’s really hard to sometimes pick the ones you want to do, so we go for the really big songs like All We Are and Burning The Witches. We love playing these songs so much, even when we came to England in 1986 on the True As Steel tour and played Castle Donington, we never get tired of playing these songs. And the newer stuff is a lot heavier so we can play that. It’s what most fans want to hear, and we do it for them!” Mentioning the eighties, I bring up the jump of model career to being a metal queen. “That never happened! People keep saying this and it’s on the DVD cover I think too, but I was never a model. No, I started singing when I was three years old and I loved it! I eventually got into a band called Snakebite in 1980 and then I eventually joined Warlock and we got a deal with a Belgian record label to release Burning The Witches. It was very strange, there was no metal press in Germany really. The UK had Kerrang, but the only real thing in Germany was stuff that people were photocopying and handwriting, and it wasn’t until a few years later when in 1986 we suddenly had a succesful album. I was a graphic artist, and told my boss I was quitting and he said I was mad! But that year we went on tour with my favourite band, Judas Priest. It’s all I’ve ever want to do, since I was three!”

“When I first began singing in metal, there was already many women singing in rock and metal bands at the time. My absolute favourite was Jody Turner from Rock Goddess, if you remember them?” Well, I was born in 1986. “Haha, but yes they were great and many others, Lita Ford and Joan Jett. And these days there are many others doing different things like Tarja and Sabina Classen, so it wasn’t really that very different. And obviously Girlschool as well, they came and played at the 25 years show”. Interestingly, Motorhead, who are taking Doro on tour, were the only band that’d take Girlschool on tour, on account of others refusing because of the all-girl lineup. “I’m really looking forward to the tour, really sorry we’re not coming to England! I love the English fans so much and we were here last year with Saxon and we had so much fun. But no, after that we’re going to South America for a tour”.  Any news on a follow-up album? “Well, we’ve started thinking about it. We have a couple of ideas that are floating around and we know what we want…some really heavy songs, then some dark gothic ballads, like what we’ve done before.”

But as for current events, it’s no secret that First Lady of heavy metal is thrilled about her upcoming release. “It’s out November 26th and it has so many great things on. We played for three hours and then there’s a documentary and interviews with some of my great friends saying so many wonderful things. Have you seen it yet? No? Well, you should because it’s really great. I love the artwork as well, it’s by an Englishman who lives in France called [someone tell me his name, I didn’t catch it!] and he did this great artwork for the music. When we did the orchestral album we had a very simple black and white photo that was really suited to the music, but this new cover is just what the music needs!”

So, there we have it folks. Doro Pesch, the undisputed queen of metal is still going strong after nearly thirty years. Look at it this way, you can tour the world and make awesome albums, but a door to door salesman will still come and interrupt your interviews.

Twaddlefish

Advertisements
h1

Markus Grosskopf of Helloween

October 18, 2010

Markus has been playing bass with Helloween since 1984, and after twenty six years, their latest album Seven Sinners is just about to come out.

“I’ve been expecting you” says the bass player, almost like a cliched Bond villian. Nevertheless, he’s an amicable sort of chap who like all bass players, loves talking about playing bass. “Well, Edguy’s bass player’s wife was having a baby so they asked me to fill in just for the one show. I was there at Wacken just in case waiting, but I decided to come on and do a few songs anyway!”

Seven Sinners is released at the end of the month, but as we’ve not had a chat in a while, I thought it’d be best to ask about the previous best-of with a non-metal twist, Unarmed.  “The reviews were very mixed. Some thought it was good, a lot of people said it was crap because it wasn’t metal. But it was for us, it was a way to keep the songs fresh and it’s something that we wanted to do. We didn’t really do any of it live, a few acoustic shows here in Germany maybe. But the main focus was getting back onto what Helloween are, and making a metal album”

So, was it a conscious decision to take the sound to almost the other extreme? Seven Sinners is one of, if not the, heaviest album the band has ever produced. “Well, it was a very natural process. We all knew what we wanted to do and how Helloween should sound after all these years”. It’s good to see that there’s a decent spread of credits across the album, with Herr Grosskopf penning two numbers, including album highlight If A Mountain Could Talk. “Well, when I first started playing I couldn’t write a note. I was having fun drinking beer and going to all the parties and bars. I still have fun doing that, but I got interested in the theory of songwriting, so I started sitting down with my four track and just began writing”. As usual, there are nods and hints to older songs, Who Is Mr Madman? in particular; “That was Andi! It’s been 16 years or something since Perfect Gentleman so we thought we’d bring him back a bit. We feel we can do that with Helloween, we have these little bits and pieces like the pumpkin and the Keeper, so we can have fun with it and put it into our newer stuff as a reference”. And what of the flute solos? “That was crazy Weiki’s idea! He always wants to do something that’s a little bit strange, and we eventually found a guy who’d do it because we couldn’t get who we originally wanted. Again, it’s something that we like putting in just to make it a bit different. I’m not sure how we’ll do it live though!”

Well, if Helloween’s long-term bass player doesn’t make it easy for me to make this flow. Helloween hit the road at the end of November with Stratovarius tagging along for the ride. “I’m leaving Friday to start practicing with Dani [Loeble, drummer]. It’s a bit tricky as we all live away from each other. Two are in the south of Germany, I’m in the very north and two are in Spain. What happens is I practice with Dani and to get the bass and the drums right, and then bring in the others once we have our stuff done. It’s just easier that way, and better for me. When the guitarists get here they spend hours going over notes in songs to get right, and I can be there for ages not doing anything. When the basics are down, we bring it all together. We’re off at Christmas until the 10th January, and then we’re doing the second leg of the European tour. After that we’re off to South America, possibly North America, then Indonesia. Places like Malaysia, Singapore, Japan…and then possibly to Australia too. We’ll see!” Helloween are an internationally acclaimed band, but Markus admits he does prefer the European version of going on tour. “I like the bus. When you’re on you can sleep and go back to it after a show. We can go to a bar after a gig with all of the family and the crew and then the next day we can be stood on the stage in a different town. It’s a lot different when you’re on planes. Lots of waiting in airports for flights, for missed flights…it’s a bit more lively when long distance isn’t involved”.

What’s evident about Helloween is that they’ve made a remarkable comeback. From playing arenas in the 80s to being demoted to small clubs in the early 90s, an unfortunate combination of lineup changes, poorly received albums and metal taking a turn for the worse. “Yeah, it was difficult in the 90s because no one was playing anything like this, so we struggled. Everyone was saying metal was crap so we’re quite proud we came out the other side and now people are playing it again. It’s good because we’ve managed to come through it and still be here alongside all these new bands that are playing classic metal again”.

Ever to add the personal touch, we finish up with a quick bit about Markus’ own sideproject, the wonderfully titled Bass Invaders. “We just don’t have time! It’s getting everyone’s schedule to meet. It was great recording though, with Billy Sheehan, Tom from Sodom and Schmier from Destruction [among others]. The problem is that record companies aren’t willing to support a project like that at the moment. In fact, it took more time to schedule everybody together than it took to record!”

Good to see that get every bass player together, and they still can’t organise a record in a studio, as the old saying goes. With that, I left Markus to go and have another listen to his new album.Seven Sinners is out October 31st on Spinefarm Records.

Twaddlefish

h1

Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kurch pops down to RC Towers for a chat!

July 12, 2010

I talked to Hansi Kurch of Blind Guardian in June 2010. This was a biggie, so I tried to keep my rampant fanboyisms to myself and maintain my ever present professional veneer. In keeping with that I found out about the interview at 7am, did a full day’s work, and then interviewed him an hour after I got home. Talk about not having time to put the kettle on!

“Hello!” says Hansi, sounding in good spirits. Which makes a change from how most people sound after a night at the Travel Lodge, doing promotion. “We ended the album some weeks ago, so we try to set up something so we can talk to people. Luckily this time, we’ve been able to come to London for the day”. At the time, I’d not yet heard the album I was supposed to be quizzing our fine German friend about, which he thought was quite amusing.

However, having heard the lead single Voice In The Dark, it seems like as good a starting point as any  to wrangle out details of the new album. “Well, musically we’ve pretty much followed the traditions of Blind Guardian, and somehow tried to maintain an album which delivers the qualities that we’ve achieved and improved on over the last 25 years. So, there’s a little bit of our very early era, let’s say from the Follow the Blind stuff. There’s also a lot of the orchestral approach that we’ve worked with during the last 10 years. There’s also a good amount of 90′s orientated stuff, which means…very bombastic Celtic elements in there as well. It’s a little bit of everything and it more or less came up naturally, we’d not really thought about doing something like that. We started writing right after finishing touring for A Twist In The Myth. We had a pretty good flow, even though it took us another 18 months to complete song writing from the end of 2007.”

As we all know, Blind Guardian are a tad nerdy. Andre Olbrich plays World of Warcraft and it’s rumoured that Hansi has the entirety of The Silmarillion tattooed on his body.  Nightfall in Middle Earth has a very obvious Tolkien slant to it, but At The Edge of Time has a few different literary influences: “Lyrically, since the music seemed to speak a certain…narrating, mythological, fantasy inspired language…this was what I was referring to in terms of lyrics as well. I went back and dipped back into some of my favourite fantasy literature, for example Michael Moorcock and Robert Jordan, and came up with stuff relating to their stories. It’s very inspiring, I think. The title, At The Edge of Time, came in at the very last moment. It’s related to the lyrics, of course. Time is a very constant issue in most of the lyrics, so it was natural for us to involve that in the album title, as well [the phrase] At The Edge of Time is open to interpretation. We’re always scratching the edge of time, whenever things try and change, one can talk about the edge of time. It not naturally meant to be the end of the world, but…something right before a new beginning. In our case, it’s the new album, new touring. The for the world…it’s just new situations”.

Those Blind Guardian bods amongst us will recognise the album’s title is an echo of a line from And The Story Ends,the final track on Blind Guardian’s 1995 album, Imaginations From The Other Side. “When I offered that title to the other guys, Marcus was about to suggest that title, or something very close. We immediately agreed, but we’d had a big discussion prior to that. It was Frederike, strangely enough,  who pointed that out that these were the lines fromAnd The Story End. I really did not recognise it, and even then I had to go back and recheck…’Am I singing it?’ and performing the song in my mind. Then I found that line and thought that was perfect because it’s the line used by Michael Moorcock in some of his stories relating to Elric of Melnibone. That was more in my mind than in And The Story Ends, but since there is such a connection, it’s even more suitable”.

Sacred was made for an RPG called Sacred 2. Unfortunately, none of us have been able to get a legitimate copy of it as a song in it’s own right. Until now. Hansi tells me about the opening track on the album, Sacred Worlds. “The core song is pretty much the same, but we extended it with two additional parts. The orchestration has evolved, but other than, the introduction is about two minutes long and the outro is about ninety seconds of an opera sequence. It’s pure orchestration, so it turns into more of a soundtrack.”

So, onto the tour. We get one date in the UK in September. Only London, says Hansi. “All in all, it will take more than 14 months. We start in Europe for six weeks, in the Netherlands and finish the first leg in November. We’ll take a break and go to North America, from Mid-November. That’ll be to the end of the year. Then we’ll be onto Japan, then back to Europe, especially the countries we’ve not been to at that point. Then it will be the summer festivals, after that probably South America, back to North America and hopefully some Australian gigs as well. That’ll take to about October 2011.”

Making mention of some of the fine metal legions down under, it appears it’s not just the Australians who like Australia. “During our last tour, the off days in Melbourne were quite amusing. I’d love to go there again, have a great day in the Hinterlands. We went to two or three wineries, a cheese factories and then a few bars and pubs. It was a real Australian day, and enjoyed it more than the rest of the tour, there was so much to see. The people there, they provided us with two great shows, and we’d love to go back and do some more. The promoter, he was actually trying to get us over for a New Year’s show but we couldn’t do it because of our schedule, the composing and producing.” Being on the road for over a year is tough work, especially as all of Blind Guardian now have little bards of their own. “It’s difficult for us, but for them it’s far more difficult. They feel it more often, things are so stressful when you’re on the road, you really just rush through and you wonder where four or six weeks has gone. It’s different for all our families, and we all suffer through it. Luckily, technology has made some great progressions like Skype, so we can talk on the phone and see each other on screen. My son, he’s eight years old now, this will be the first tour he’s experienced. He’s sad already, and I’ve only been gone two or three weeks”.

The most important question of all, does Hansi’s son approve of Blind Guardian? “He listens to it, but he’s more into rock music. His favourite band at the moment is Kiss, but I have no idea why! We’re not his favourite band, but it’s too early for him probably. Give him another three years to make a judgement. He prefers me being Daddy than the vocalist of a metal band!”

Now, onto the other stuff. There’s been a rumour about the orchestral Lord of the Rings project that Hansi and Andre Olbrich have been working on. “There’s a bit of truth. We started that about twelve years ago. We keep working when we have the time, somewhere between songwriting on touring. What’s happened so far? We have ten songs. Listen to Sacred Worlds and Wheel of Time, but ignore the band arrangement in it. We’ve recorded three songs with the orchestra so far. We’re doing three songs with an orchestra in August, and then find time in between to do final orchestration and the vocal performances. We’d love to do something connected to Tolkein’s work, this music is predestined to be transferred to higher stages, and we need a really cool storyboard and storyline and make it fit into ninety minutes.”

Despite being insanely busy, we were told by Jon Schaffer that there could be a third Demons & Wizards album later this year. Y’know, because Demons & Wizards are awesome. “I’ve been too busy. We were supposed to do some songwriting in December, but had to kick that to work on production. It’ll be at least the end of 2011 before we have time to work on that stuff. I’d be happy to have an album out at the end of 2012, beginning of 2013.”

With that, I said good bye to Hansi. “It’s been fun! You check out the album, I think you’ll like it. I have a good feeling for you about it”. Is it any good? well, check out my review here: http://twaddlefish.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/blind-guardian-at-the-edge-of-time/. With that, I left the vocalist of Blind Guardian to one of the sunnier evenings we’ve had this year, along with shitty tea and a lumpy pillow from one of Britain’s finest roadside doss houses. I’m down in London in September, so I’ll be checking out Blind Guardian in action. They’ll be good. My invisible hobbit says so.

Twaddlefish

h1

Chris Jericho Video Interview Part 2!

June 19, 2010

Hey guys, I was waiting for a tech up of the video but didnt wanna delay this any longer than needed, hope you all like the second half, and if you didn’t already see the first, catch up!

This is the true spirit of ReverseCurrent, unedited, raw and no bullshit to make us look great, just a natural interview!  Language and all!

TheIronEagle

h1

Chris Jericho Video Interview

June 7, 2010

As a follow up to the recent phoner we did, we got to meet the big man face to face… And I do mean big, he was huge! Like a HUGE ROCK STAR – Yeah, I know, I Rock! Enjoy the 2 parter, your friends at cock suckers radio!… erm, I mean reversecurrent.com!

Also – have a good time knowing that there is zero editing on this, so its fully raw, mistakes and all 🙂 (Oh, shy of brightening it and adding credits, that technically counts as editing I guess.)

Check back soon for part 2

TheIronEagle

h1

Reverse Current TV!

May 5, 2010

Well I’ve been pestering people, running all about the place with a video camera and interviewing the shit out of bands pre show. To bring RCTV this is the pilot episodes with Gosport based band Bloodworks, who graciously gave me a photo pass in exchange for a semi good interview, so the first point I would like to make is brief thank you to Bloodworks.

The actual interview was a shamble considering I was in a rush to meet the band I failed to get my questions written down and as I barely know where the fuck I am half the time this was a somewhat of spanner in the works, so my next thanks goes to the magic of editing, ALL PRAISES TO THE EDIT SUITE!

As this is only the pilot I’m planning on making to the next episode changes see (note to self, add a New York Gangster voice for that sentence). Firstly I’m hoping to get a presenter as I was planning on presenting myself, but as I was born with a charisma deficiency being competent in front of the camera is somewhat of an effort, also any changes you would like to see in the following video then by all means write them down in your comments (I’ll promise I’ll only resent your criticism a little bit).

I should also give a little explanation as to who Bloodworks are, well the interviewees are Truk (bassist) and Keiran (vocals/guitar), but I suppose it isn’t fair leaving the other two members out of the spot light so the guy sweep picking with the fabulous and lustrous black locks of hair that swayed so delicately in the wind is Lewis (Lead Guitarist and a fucking good one at that) and the adorable little sweety pie behind the drum kit is Liam of drummer a metal band at the tender age of five! (that’s a straight up lies he’s like fourteen or something , but I bet you believe it for a brief second there). So I encourage you to check them out on their MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodworksofficial

Now to wrap this up I’m with some kind of whimsical statement,I hope you enjoy it and thanks you for watching.

PterryPtez

h1

Mark Hunter chats to Mr Bogle

April 8, 2010

On the same day as chatting to Whitechapel’s Alex Wade (see yesterdays post) I was also able to catch-up with Chimaira’s Mark Hunter. Despite all the shit and rumours surrounding Chimaira’s actual existence among some of my peers (no that’s not a joke for once) Mark is as chatty and enthusiastic as ever, a true pleasure to chat to as ever hopefully this is as much fun listening as it was making. Check the gig review for the verdict on what was a truly stunning performance. All I can say is, roll on the headline tour!

Check it here! (It’ll play in your default media player)

Mr Bogle

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine