Running Wild are going to release in some days from now, their new album ‘Rapid Foray’. We interrogated Rock ‘n’ Rolf, so to learn more about Running Wild. But, wait, to interrogate someone, first you got to capture him. Pirates like Mr. Kasparek can never be captured…
Hi Rolf, I’m Giorgos from Metal Invader Greece. It has been 3 years since the last Running Wild album and I’m really thrilled with Rapid Foray. But before we talk about the new album tell me how do you feel after the return of Running Wild and the recording of three albums? Would you change anything on ‘Shadowmaker’ or ‘Resilient’?
No, because these two albums are two steps on the way of getting back to what Running Wild is all about. If you have a look on the new album of Running Wild on 2016, ‘Rapid Foray’, and these two albums before that, you’ll realize that these two just led me to what ended up in ‘Rapid Foray’.
Personally speaking, I liked them both and I believe that if the sound of the guitars on ‘Shadowmaker’ would be more ‘lifted’ and if the general production would be more heavy, most of the disappointed fans would be satisfied.
When we did the ‘Shadowmaker’ it was nothing planned, we just did it. We called some bonus tracks for a plan we had to record all the stuff back from Modern Music. We wanted to do a 2 CD set of 20 songs from the first records, we tried out to get some bonus material for that and they ended up to ‘Shadowmaker’, because the songs were way to strong to waste them as bonus tracks. We just wanted to do that, we did it and it was a new start for Running Wild.
‘Rapid Foray’ seems like an album that has been worked really hard. I mean it looks like your ideas in the compositions have grown before you enter the studios, you had more available time to work on the new material. Am I right?
Absolutely! There was about three years after finishing the last album, when I started pretty much working on new ideas. Sadly, I had to take off just one year because I harmed my shoulder (in the beginning of 2014). For six months I couldn’t work at all with the guitar and the next six months I was just busy collecting ideas and practicing on the guitar a bit. The truth is that I really had more time than before to work properly on the album. I had about 30 to 35 basic song ideas for the album and I really could pick up the 10 best songs from that, different from each other, pretty much more than the two albums before that. I’ve added an instrumental, which was a pretty spontaneous idea I had, in the middle of the album. Even, in the production itself, when I did the final mix, I had about 4-5 days per song to work on the sound and in the end I had 4-5 days to work on the general production. So, it was a totally different situation there compared to the past.
As it seems and compared to the last two albums, in the new album, there are more anthemic songs and songs made for your live appearances. Was the Wacken experience helped you compose these?
That is a true fact, because Wacken was right between the works of the album. There was a break, because it was really hard, working on new ideas and in a parallel way doing auditions and preparing for Wacken. But the whole thing worked pretty well for us. Our appearance was great and the fans were pretty enthusiastic. So, we have plans to play to some festivals next year and to do some event shows in Germany at the end of this year. I am working together with ICS from Wacken as an agency so that they gain control of this kind of offers we get for festivals.
Do you believe that are there any songs from Rapid Foray that could be in any past album, and I’m talking about the classic era of Running Wild.
Definitely. The song ‘Into The West’ could be easy on ‘Blazon Stone’, the title track ‘Rapid Foray’ could be easy on ‘Pile Of Skulls’. There is a classic influence in the songs, but i didn’t try to copy the past, it wouldn’t work. When I was writing some pieces, working on the songs and on the arrangement of the ideas, I figured out that some of the songs had some feelings and spirit of the ‘80s and the ‘90s, the classic Running Wild stuff, but there was not a mere copy of that.
You seem to be enjoying classic literature or classic cinema or historic persons and have written several lyrics inspired by themes like that. On Rapid Foray you have a song about Last of The Mohicans which is just awesome. Would you be fascinated on working a whole concept album, and not just a single song?
No, not really. I tried this on Black Hand Inn, that was not a complete concept album, but it was musically limiting. So, I’d never do a full record based on one topic, one theme. In a concept album about pirates you always think about certain melodies, you think about creating some moods for the songs that could be limiting. A song like ‘Stick To Your Guns’ it would never had a place in a concept album, it would never work. Writing a concept song like ‘Last Of The Mohicans’ or ‘Treasure Island’, it’s a pretty much hard work to get a whole complex story in just one song. It’s much more than just telling a story. You have to tell the parts of the story in a musical way. So, in a concept album, the music, the melodies, the arrangements and the moods you are going through a song are pretty limited concerning the ideas you could use.
Talking about lyrics, you have written a song, in ‘Black Hand Inn’ album, against fascism and nazism. You are an icon in heavy metal universe and now that in Europe and in Greece, the far right wing parties are rising, do you believe that a statement of yours, in a song’s lyrics, could make some noise? Do you feel that you could write a song against these rising shit?
Well, I’ve done several songs about that, not only ‘Fight the Fire of Hate’. Today is pretty much a different problem, because a lot of people are pronounced nazis but they are not. There are a lot of nazis and assholes outside, that’s for sure, and I always say what I have to say to them. But there is a lot of people too that don’t know how the problems should be solved. This is a wider problem than just saying that this is right wing or this is left wing.
Back to the album, who is responsible for the brilliant solos of the album? Is it only you?
Some solos are from me and a lot of solos come from PJ (Peter Jordan). It is the first Running Wild album that has so many solos, the earlier releases contained songs that usually had only one solo. Here most of the songs have 2 or 3 guitar solos played by PJ and me.
About the writing procedure, is this a one man job or did the other members contribute to the compositions (lyrics or music)?
The songs have been written by me. PJ is playing his parts of solos and he is also involved in the writing process of the drums, he is the drum engineer. Michael also played some parts of the drumming for the album and altogether with Ole were part of the choir. It has a meaning of a solo project in the studio, but in the gigs the four guys hit the stage and are all working as a band. Everybody has his part in the show and everybody puts its identity in the show.
Why do you get so angry when someone says that you are using a drum machine? I know that you don’t use a drum machine, but why this entire rumor?
I never was angry when people told this; I was getting angry when they said Angelo was no person, because my friend Angelo died back on 2007 on a very serious heart attack when he was on holidays in Spain. His family was in a terrible situation having problems returning in Germany. Some people said I made all this up and I named the computer Angelo. Angelo was my friend, was a human person and he died and I’m really getting angry when someone makes fun of this fact.
The cover artwork includes some pirate objects in a photo, but most of your fans prefer Adrian on your cover artwork. Why don’t you use a painter’s work like you did in your earlier classic releases?
You know, it’s not a photo! I took the photo myself and Jens Reinhold, who did all the cardboard stuff for me, had the idea to make it look like an oil painting. There are a lot of covers coming out today and I wanted something unique. All the Running Wild covers look different and are unique. The cover artwork looks like an abandoned, oil painting from an ancient century. If you talk about Running Wild, you talk about pirates. If you talk about pirates in heavy metal, you talk about Running Wild.
The ‘Resilient’ front cover is like being made for a ‘Best of’ compilation …
We did that on purpose, we wanted Adrian to be on the front cover and nothing else just change the background colors. That’s why we used this one on a different way on this album.
Now that the social media are playing a big role in the music industry, why don’t you try on shooting a videoclip? Even a lyric video by you would hit millions of views. (the interview took part 10 days ago)
It’s coming at the end of the week or next week. We just finished it today and it would be a lyric video for the song ‘Black Bart’.
You have scheduled to release a split 7” with Sodom for Rock Hard Germany; is there any chance of seeing you touring together?
No, I don’t think so. We just made this kind of promotion together because we figured out that it could reach more different people if we do it that way. It’s pretty much one for all and all for one, it’s a kind of case of what heavy metal is all about. Sodom and Running Wild are so different musically. I know Tom since the late ‘80s, there is no problems between us, both bands are big, both have grown their own way and that’s why we are doing these together. He has a guy with a gun, we have Adrian. So the two guys together as a kind of unification can have great promotion results.
We made for this month’s facebook cover a face consisting of Running Wild’s Adrian and Sodom’s Knarrenheinz, you are talking about. Some of our readers asked to do a poster of it and send it to them.
I’ve seen it and it’s really really great.
Have you heard the new Sodom album?
No, not yet.
It’s been almost 25 years since the last time you visited Greece. Is there any chance to see you play live here?
I really can’t tell you now. We are just looking at the offers. We can’t talk about a festival until the contract is signed. We just started out collecting and checking through all the offers and it will take almost two months to take our decisions. So after that it will be safe for the public to know where we are going to play.
We are the second generation of Metal Invader and we may have tattoos of Adrian and stuff but besides the age thing what separates us from the first one is that they have seen Running Wild playing live in Greece and we are not! So make it happen man! The closing is yours. A statement for your Greek fans
I really hope all the Greek fans like the new album the same way I do it, because I am very proud of it. Hope to see you soon!