On the occasion of the 20 years Anniversary of the release of the album “Black In Mind” and the upcoming concert by the Germans to our country, we spoke to the mastermind behind Rage, Peavy Wagner.
Hi Peavey! Thanks for this interview and congratulations for “Black In Mind’s” 20th anniversary. Is this Rage’s best album or this was just a good opportunity for touring before releasing new material in 2016?
BIM is one of the most successful albums of the band and the fans have applied over and over to us to bring it back on stage. After all this time, now with our new crew on board we are ready and willing to deliver it!
In “Black In Mind” some may not know that you had even Lovecraft references in your lyrics, something that I really liked as a fan. Do you believe that newest fans care for lyrics anymore or they don’t pay so much attention to details like that?
I´m sure there´s still a lot of fans who care for the song lyrics. Metal fans are mostly really dedicated to the bands they love and I realized that most of our fans are deep into our music. And yes, I agree, there´s some real nice lyrics on that album!
I always wanted to ask you this. “Black In Mind” has 14 tracks and all your releases have many tracks too -more than the average band has in its albums-. You always felt so over productive or was the label that forced you into writing so much material?
No, this has nothing to do with the record companies. In most cases we had simply written more songs than we actually needed, so we used some as bonus material, for example. In the 90´s it was also common to do a bit longer albums…
Do you remember any weird story during the recording sessions of “Black In Mind” or from the tour that followed?
When we recorded the ballad “All this time” for BIM we wanted to get some strings for it. So we hired some classical musicians and tried to record something with them. Back then we were completely unexperienced with this topic, so we thought it would work if we´d just jam with the musicians to find the right melody lines and arrangements. We quickly found out that classical musicians are not working like rock musicians, without a real score, written down in notes for each instrument, nothing goes in such a case. Now, what can we do? We had a guy in the studio that was working there as an assistant to the engineer that recorded us. All he had done by then was to cook us coffee every day and to plug some wires for the recording console and stuff like this. Now, in this moment, he came saying: Hey boys, I see you have problems with your classical strings, well, I could help you! We learned that he was studying classical composition at the Folkwang Music School in Essen, Germany next to his Assistant job. He wrote us an excellent score for the song and conducted the musicians, the result you can hear on the final version of “All this time”. This man was Christian Wolff, the guy that later did with us “Lingua mortis” “XIII” and “Ghosts”, together with the “Lingua Mortis Orchestra” …
Yes, in fact “My way” is a song from our upcoming album. The whole album goes back in a more direct, thrashy and faster Power Metal direction like the band sounded in the middle nineties. The focus is on the melodies and the riffs, the songs come directly to the point. Also the sound is a bit rougher and heavier!
I can understand that you re-record “Black In Mind” and “Sent By The Devil” -probably in order to introduce Marcos Rodriguez (guitars) and Vassilios Maniatopoulos (drums) to your fans-. But how did you decide to record “Apuesto A Ganar” (the Spanish version of “My Way”)?
This was a quite spontaneous decision. We had played a show in Spain with the Spanish band “Sôber”, which is very popular over there. We realized that the Spanish Fans like a lot songs in their mother language. Later we recorded “My way” and just for fun Marcos was singing some Spanish Lyrics on the track (I´ve recorded my vocals together with Marcos, he´s also an excellent Studio engineer). I liked it, it sounded great for me, so for our fun we recorded a track in Spanish. As it was really cool, we decided to use this version as bonus track for the new album, so in the end it was used for the EP. By the way: we recorded a lot more bonus material. There´ll be a luxury edition of the new album that will include an extra CD with all that bonus songs. Besides some extra new songs we also did some cool Cover Versions …
Can you tell us your plans about Refuge? Will it be any recording or album ? Tell us more about it, because many seem a little confused about this name and what exactly is.
Well, there’s nothing to be confused. When we decided already last year that we wanted to play together again (Manni, Christos & me), it was clear from the beginning that this would be a completely non-professional band. As both of them have their regular jobs and their families who demand most of their time plus I have my professional band Rage that demands most of my time, we can only do our little fun band like an extended hobby. Although we were Rage once long ago, The band Rage still existed very successful over all this years, so we couldn’t use the same name for our new (old) band, so we decided to call us “Refuge” after one of our most successful songs from our old times. Manni, Christos & me will continue doing our band for the future for our personal pleasure, not to become rich & famous 😉 This will include some festival appearances here and there or some special live shows wherever we feel good about it and it may also include some new recordings sooner or later. This will take its time, of course, as we don´t have that much time to work on new songs, so we can´t really plan something certain right now.
How much were you involved in the limited CD-collector’s box under the name of Refuge? (excellent choice to use the previously unreleased original cover artwork for “Secrets In A Weird World” by the way… )
I was completely involved, like the others of our brotherhood, the boys from Refuge and Rage and our management Luckybob, as the box and all other re-releases from Rage will come out on my own new Label “Dr. Bones”. We will re-release all of our back catalogue by the next year in luxury versions with extra bonus cd´s including rare and so far unreleased extra material related to the albums, both in CD and Vinyl.
Any message for your Greek fans that you’ll meet in less than a week? Can we expect any surprise…?
A big hello and thank you to everyone for your support, we hope to see you very soon! You can expect a very special show from us where you will hear exclusively all the BIM material plus lots of other highlights from three decades of Rage, that you haven´t got since ages. We have with Emerald sun some excellent guests with us, so don´t miss it! Stin Metal mas !!