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First of all congrats on your new CD, I think it's great in every way: the songwriting and the musicianship as well as the production.
Oh, thank you!
I don't know the first one well, how would you compare "Diary In Black" to the debut album?
Alright, you know, "Diary In Black" is one step forward for me, for the compositions, for the sound, it sounds more… serious, haha, much more serious.
More mature probably also..
Yeah, the first album was just writing you know. There was no reason for me to write songs that sound like Queensryche, like Judas Priest or stuff like that because it was a new thing, a new band and I just try to play music I like very much that comes from the heart.
No pressure whatsoever.
Absolutely, no pressure and no influence at all. When we were on tour with Annihilator and Nevermore and bands like Saxon and with all this long touring we did, we had so many influences. That's the big reason why "Diary In Black" sounds a little bit more hmmm, yeah, more serious, hehehe.
It's at least a relief to hear a German band playing US style metal, not the happy metal stuff that's been flooding the scene lately. It reminds me a lot of Vicious Rumors, Bruce and therefore Brainstorm, one of the few other non-German sounding German bands.
Yeah, those are my roots, the 80's, all these years and the metal bands, I love them, like Vicious Rumors, bands like Mötley Crue or some posing bands or hard bands like Metal Church, that was my youth you know, my roots. And in my first band Glenmore we were compromising because there were three songwriters and every guy of that band loved another style, so it was a mixture and now in Rawhead Rexx I wrote 80% of all these songs and I think it was more my kind of playing music, of loving music and it were MY roots, so I think that's the reason why it sounds like these US bands from the 80's, I love that music!
Me too! We have the same kind of roots, maybe I was more into thrash at the time.
Yeah I was a little bit more poser, hahaha! It's not the big truth you know, this kind of music, it's more show. I like this old Vicious Rumors thing, that's the best thing I've ever heard. And for me I'm very proud to have met Geoff Thorpe, because for me it was a big honor to stand on a stage with him.
You steel my questions, haha! No, go on, go on, I was gonna ask it must've been a dream come true to have Geoff Thorpe on stage and play with you on the album.
That's right haha, a dream came true, yeah. For me it wasn't until a year ago that we met him at Wacken Open Air and our manager, Horst, he knew him and he said "Hey Geoff what about playing with Rawhead Rexx on the Bang Your Head festival next year?" and he said "Yeah why not, why not, I'd love it!" so a year later we met up on stage and for me it was.. woaah! And after that we took him to the studio and he played two solos on the album and that was a big thing, but the biggest thing was when we were playing "Children" acoustic in the studio, he played the guitar and I sang and that was a big moment for me! And for him too, he just wanted to enter the band, haha!
Really?? Don't let the other guys hear that, the ones from Vicious Rumors most of all hehe..
Yeah that's right, haha. We had a lot of fun with him, he's a kind guy, absolutely. We're still in touch over email and perhaps we'll tour some day, who knows.
In general you guys all seem to have pretty traditional influences, am I right?
Yeah, most of us. Face, the bassplayer is coming more from this funky metal stuff from the 90's, his band Erotic Jesus put out two albums, they were very very American funky metal style but the rest of the guys came from this traditional hardrock.
You can hear it in the basis somehow. It's not that it completely sounds like it, what you do now is much more exciting.
Danny is a very traditional heavy metal double-bass drummer, he loves that kind of music and I think that's the basic thing, you just hear it but with all the overdubs and all the little things we put in the background of the songs, it's more interesting. I just want to make music that is very simple and very easy and very interesting for the people, but not too progressive. For me it should be a good time on stage, the people should have much fun at the show because with bands like Dream Theater it's good to listen to this kind of music when you're sitting with a glass of wine at home and you have a lot of time to listen to all the little things they do in the background. But I just want to make heavy metal, pure heavy metal music and I think that's ok. And a little bit interesting with some stories, arrangements, good melodies, good solos and stuff like that.
But at the same time there is a lot going on. It's not that it's very simple music. There's still a lot of detail and very versatile.
We splitted it a little bit. The songs I wrote are more pure metal and the songs that Rudy wrote have a more progressive touch, it's a good mix. I love his songs more than mine, and he loves mine haha.
Haha, so you're each other's biggest fans?
That's right, that's right, hehe!
You and Rudy produced your album yourself and Charlie Bauernfeind mixed it at Tenerife..
Rudy got his own studio and we got a lot of time to produce our album, to write songs sometimes and Charlie is an old friend, I knew him from when he did the first demo tape for Glenmore in 1989 I think, so has exactly my sound in his mind, we were lucky to go to Tenerife, to Andy Deris' studio, to do the mix there for this album, you know it's just easy to give the job to a man who you know everything about, so it worked very good.
So he didn't add or change a whole lot in the sound?
No, no, just some refinements. We had more time to produce the songs, first of all, and the other thing was we recorded the drums in a bigger drum-studio so the basic sound was much better than from the first album, but the other thing is, the mix was done I think in one week, it sounded very good the first time, we didn't change anything. We still have no keyboarder on this album, that's the main thing, haha.
You don't need it..
No, we don't want to have a keyboarder hehe..
But it doesn't always have to be a bad thing, if I think about Brainstorm it's never bothering me, it's just coloring in.
It makes everything a little bit interesting when you put it in the right position. I just wanna be a heavy metal guitar band, maybe on the 4th, 5th or 6th album, I don't know, you never know…somewhere in time.
Where did you find the bandname and can you tell me more about the conceptional story in the lyrics? I assume we are supposed to read the chapters in the right order to get the story on this record?
Haha, right. That's a long story, the history of the band, the thing with the lyrics. The name is coming from a low-budget horror movie from England, from the 70's, a very stupid, bad movie about a horrible monster who was killing all the people in the village there. Very stupid, but a friend of mine is a big horror fan too and he said "hey, look at this, this sounds like a very good name for a band". First I said "oh no, it's horrible", nobody can spell it you know, Rawhead Rexx, but after all I told some guys and they could remember the name weeks later so that was very interesting for me. You hear it one time and you remember it. After that, Rawhead Rexx was cool. That was the beginning of Rawhead Rexx and I'm still a very big fan of Stephen King and all this horror stuff and so it fits you know. I just put all these horror scenes into the Rawhead Rexx music and yeah, it still fits. The second album "Diary In Black", most of it is Vlad Tepez, this real Dracula, not this Hollywood fiction. Still the real Vlad Tepez is of the Wallachia in the 15th century. I read a lot of books about that guy, it was a horrible, horrible guy. He loved the rush of the blood so I wrote 8 or 9 songs about the dracul. Not all, because there are songs like "The Machine", about a robot, you know that story? It's always some kind of story from movies and I try to write interesting lyrics about it.
So Rawhead Rexx is not a character in that concept?
Not at all, but he's still a character in the cover, you see. I just wanna put the character Rawhead Rexx into the story of Vlad Tepez and Rawhead Rexx is still one and the same person on the album. That's the only idea, just a little bit of a mixture of Vlad Tepez and Rawhead Rexx, all these stories and stuff like that.
I see. To go back in the history a little bit: when did Glenmore disband and did you form Rawhead Rexx right after that? How popular was Glenmore anyway? I knew the albums back then but I can't remember reading about the band much.
We brought out two albums in the 90's, 1996 I think.
"Materialized" is from 1993.
1993? Oh. We're getting old, haha! I think the second album was 1995 or 1996 and after that we lost the deal with Polydor and we got a little trouble in the band, the two main songwriters quit the band and after that I tried to keep Glenmore alive with new guys until 1998 I think. I did some demotapes and I didn't get a deal and after that I finished the band. My manager and friend Horst said, "come on guy, make a new thing". Then I put Rawhead Rexx together, it was 1999/2000 we got a deal with AFM.
That went pretty fast.
Yeah it was funny because we just brought out "The Scream" on the RockHard "Unerhört" sampler and the boss Andy Allendorfer called me up at home and said "great band, I just wanna sign you". I think it happened in two weeks and we're still happy with the label, they do a very good job, we can record very good albums, we can go on tour, so we're a happy band.
Yeah, I can imagine! About tours, I saw you guys on that awesome tour with Soilwork, Annihilator and Nevermore, how was that for you. Were you treated well by the headliners?
Yeah, they were all very kind people and didn't have a problem giving five minutes more playing, more sound, more light - it was a very, very interesting tour, we had a lot of fun, and I can't say a bad thing about the bands because they were all kind, very good.
You don't hear that a whole lot. Lots of opening bands get a bad sound and all.
Oh yeah, you know, we didn't have the light like the headliners but it was enough for us, we just wanna make music, I don't need thousands of light and better sound than the headliners, it's very good when you're playing festivals like BYH and you have the production to do all of that because it is a good feeling when you can fire some pyros and have a good sound. But if you're on stage and you're the support band you have to work with the things you get. That's all. I'm still proud to go on stage and go on tour with bands like Annihilator and Nevermore.
Oh definitely, they are two of my favourite bands!
What's the funniest story you remember from that tour?
Oh, there were so many funny stories. One stupid thing was when we were at the aftershow party in Italy, in a horror bar.
That must have been in Milano...
Yeah, yeah, right, Milano! It was a very funny thing, there were big spiders everywhere, we sat at a big table and the waitress came with a big snake, it was horribly frightening and funny at the same time. Some funny guys there. But all the backstage aftershow parties were fun.
As long as you get the right bands together, I bet they are.
Haha, oh yeah. That's right. Like Jim Sheppard, he's a party animal. And Jeff Waters, one time he came totally naked into the bus, scouting and running through the bus and phew, he was gone and that was all.
I don't know what happened…
Someone stole his clothes maybe.
Maybe hehe, strange but it was funny.
Last year you played Rock Machina, right? How was that?
Very nice experience. Because we were one of the support bands, we had to play at 2 pm I think, but we played at 5 o'clock. It was absolutely funny because I said, "where are the people, why is there no light on stage and why is there no amplification..."
"No problem, no problem..."
Yeah! "No problem, no problem, mañana, mañana". Afterwards we were happy because when we went on stage it was packed! The whole fucking place was packed. There were 15000 people at 5 o'clock when we entered the stage so we were happy that the people said "no problem, no problem, mañana, mañana", hehe. And the Spanish metal freaks are like the metalfreaks in the 80's in Germany, they love this kind of music and they show you that they love the music, they cry and jump around.
So the atmosphere was different from our north-western festivals?
Absolutely. You know that's the thing, they're more temperamental and I love it. I love to play there in Spain, it's great, absolutely. But I love it to play in Holland, there are many cool places. It's kinda different but it's cool too. When you get the people it's a good feeling. Before you get the people it's hard work, haha.
Personally I prefer to go to Germany for gigs. I like the German fans better usually.
It's very different, too. When we play in Hannover e.g. it's a very good crowd there, better than in the middle of Germany, like Frankfurt. Stuttgart is a very good audience, the Swabian metal fans, haha! Bavarians like "Blasmusik" more, hehe. They don't like heavy metal at all. It's very different but playing the north is very good, e.g Hamburg is a good place for heavy metal music and Hannover too, Hannover rock city, hehe.
I never knew there was so much difference within the country. And next up there is a short tour with Doro in the works?
Yes, two weeks on tour with Doro, that'll be good. We try to play more shows but I don't know, just wait and see what happens.
So nothing specific.
No, we will play Wacken again this year and we have some gigs with Y&T in June. They're coming over for BYH and got 4 or 5 shows here in Germany. We're playing with them in Zürich, Switzerland, and that's cool. Meniketti is great, aah, one of my favourite bands from the 80's. So there's not much planned at all but we want to go with Savatage because we met them at Rock Machina and they didn't come on tour in spring. We'll just wait and see what happens. We wanna play with them, we love to play.
I'm sure, I'll keep an eye on it. Is there anything you want to add for our readers?
I just want to say, I think just like every heavy metal musician: see you on tour! Haha! Just enjoy "Diary In Black", I hope you'll all love it and keep an eye on the tour! I wanna go hit the road again. Thanks all!
Thank you very much, Jürgen!
Thank you, Marlies.
submitted by Marlies 10.05.2003