2011. július 11., hétfő

Stormwitch - Andy Mück

A little chat about the 25th anniversary of the third album Stronger Than Heaven, of the legendary German heavy/speed act Stormwitch. The answers were given by singer Andy Aldrian.

So Andy, let we start with the past, while the NWOBHM was ruling the world, in Germany things were a bit different, many bands with a special „teutonic” sound were coming out, most of them soon to disappear in the early eighties. Bands like Gravestone, Noisehunter, Veto, High Tension, Tyrant, Running Wild, Steeler, Grave Digger...and of course Stormwitch (earlier Lemon Sylvan), do you still remember how the band got together exactly? What about your musical backgrounds, experiences? Was Lemony Sylvan the very first band for all of you?
We were friends at school and liked the same kind of music. Our school was very depressing and the small town from where we came from was very boring nothing for young males who wanted to see the world and make experiences.We were keen to have adventures to make our own band was our ticket for a new life. When we started there where no Heavy - Metal scene. There were Hard Rock. Hard Rock was bands like: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple. Hard Rock was more intellectual more poetic so we nomed our first band Lemon Sylvan. But we wanted a concept that was harder, crueler and darker and as we heard the first Iron Maiden album with songs like Phantom Of The Opera or Transylvania it was an manifestation.
Who came up with the name Stormwitch? Did it sound more metallic, than Lemon Sylvan?
In 1983 we named our band Stormwitch. Storm for the music and witch for dark and mystic lyrics.
In 1984 they released your debut „Walpurgis Night” album through Gama Records, do you think, that your career was on the way?
Gama Records was no big deal but it was a good opportunity to stay independent. We could create our own cover, choose our own photographer we could wear the clothes that we wanted and could play our music in the way that we liked it.
A year later came out „Tales Of Terror” and if I remember correctly, you had some troubles during the recording sessions, the studio and the tapes were burnt, right?
Yeah, we had a lot of bad luck during the recording of Tales Of Terror. But also a lot of fun. Nearby the studio was a well known place called the Rock Fabrik where they played Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. It was a good place for drinking beer. We made our first experiences with girls there I saw important bands of the Metal scene there in their younger years, Manowar, Slayer for example.
Were you aware of Hallow’s Eve also released an album (their debut) with the title „Tales Of Terror” in 1985?
No, we had the idea for the album title from The Alan Parsons Project album, Tales Of Mystery And Imagination.
At which point did you start writing the material for your third album, that became „Stronger Than Heaven”? How did the song composing go as a whole? Is it true, that Stefan Kauffman (Steve Merchant) and Harald Spengler (Lee Tarot) composed the whole material in 14 days? Why did you have to hurry at all?
Two weeks before we went to the studio Lee Tarot and Stefan Kaufmann closed themselves up in a room and came back after 14 days with the whole material, stinking hungry and tired. We had to fulfill the contract with Gama: Every year an album.
What about the recordings sessions? Did you have a decent budget to record the material?
No. Independent always means: you start with nothing and later on you have debts.
How do you view, that with this album Stormwitch became more original with the image you started wearing old costumes from the baroque era of the 17th and 18th centuries?
At that time the ideas came from Lee and Steve also to wear baroque costumes contrary to all expectations it was very satisfying for me personally. The outfit fit me very well and my adventures with women of all kind increased.
Instead of spikes and leather you changed your outfit to baroque costumes, was your goal to take distance and different yourselves from all those speed-/thrash-/black metal bands, that were appearing or existing at this point?
Lee Tarot always hated Speed, Thrash, Black, Death Metal - he always loved melodic songs Eye Of The Storm is mainly his album. I myself was at that time just the singer in the band. I never was so distant to such bands. I loved Venom, the best live show I ever saw was King Diamond from Mercyful Fate. Like everybody I love Reign In Blood from Slayer and Metallica’s Kill'em All for me is their best album. Kill'em All what a statement !
You named yourselves as the Masters of the black romantic, that became an inherent part of the band, how do you explain this?
Black Romantic was a period in the English literature, it is also called Gothic novels: H. Walpole The Castle Of Otranto, Ann Radcliffe The Mysteries Of Udolpho, The Monk from M. G. Lewis for example. The scenes of this novels were always old castles or monasteries. We always loved the atmosphere of such places and in our phantasy we lived inside these thrilling stories. Many people have longings for such places and stories.
Do you agree with, that the incredible quality of this album obviously helped the band a lot to move another step forward?
Yes, hear it. I love you for those sentences you bastard. Correct. Yes, yeah we all liked it. The sound is terrible.
Is Stronger than Heaven certainly an album, that any trad metal fan will enjoy from the first spin?
What do you think about, that the result is a top notch record of speedy metal influenced by Running Wild/Helloween, but also with a perfectly clear personal character, thanks to the ever present new wave touches, the melodic guitar leads, your characteristic vocal and of course the occult lyrics and atmosphere (trademark of the band)?
In 1987 Stormwitch was a bunch of high motivated, very creative musical amateurs. No, but the ideas on this album are absolutely great, like on every Stormwitch album. I say that very humble.
In 1986 Stormwitch did their first and only German tour supported by Stranger and Killer, how did the whole tour go? Can you tell us more about it?
The singer from Stranger lost his voice after the first half of the tour because he was constantly drunked and didn't slept an hour. Killer had these L.A.Rocker poser image and when we played in Casrtop - Rauxel they had a gang bang with one of the groupies. That is not my cop of coffee. I myself had same special affairs very erotic, very special.
Strangely, the band was way more popular in Eastern Europe and spent more time touring and promoting there for example in Hungary (Budapest), what do you recall of those Hungarian shows? You had a lot of followers and die hard fans in Hungary…
In Hungary I had the best days of my life and I am happy that we play at the Metal - Fest in Budapest in June. I always loved the warm and sincere way that the Hungarian fans loved us.
Is it correct, that even a fan club was created, under the name of Witch Attack, that stayed with the band until the very end, but somehow the magazines and general media kept on ignoring the band, giving much more support to Helloween, Running Wild or Rage?
Yes, it is correct, but I have no problem with that.
Why did you never really achieve that kind of popularity?
You have to be at the right place at the right time. We were never at the right place at the right time without Hungary - that was always a great time.
Thanks to Hammerfall (who covered your classic „Ravenlord”), Stormwitch fortunately became known by the younger generations, right?
Yes, very special thanks to Hammerfall.
Did they help taking the band’s name, the legend alive?
Yes. You are right since that Stormwitch is a legend.
Andy, thanks a lot for the interview, anything to add, that I forgot to ask?
I’m glad to see you all in Budapest !

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