KROKUS (Eng.)

– First of all is an honour and a pleasure for me having the chance of interviewing one of my favourite bands. How are you guys doing right now?

Marc: We`re busy gearing up to play the Summer Festivals right now, starting with Swedenrock Festival on the 7th.June.

– You are back on track with a new album entitled «Dirty Dynamite». Tell us a bit did this opus born.

Marc: After the success of HOODOO we took our time to write and record the new songs without any time-pressures. Our goal was to put a great sounding blues rock album together with a lot of character in each and every song. I finally re-sang all my vocals in the legendary Abbey Road Studios, London. The Beatles made the place famous back in the 60`s but Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones recorded there too. I could feel their strong vibes coming out of the walls whilst singing in Studio 2, and finished the whole album in just 3 days…a dream come true!

 

– Tell us why the smoking dog on the cover artwork, just by giving it a look it gives the feeling there’s going to be lots of Rock n’ Roll on the album. How did you choose it or how did you come up with it?

Marc: A girlfriend of the band owns a dog like this and he simply looks so cool and amusing, so we decided to put him on the cover! Bulldogs exude tons of coolness but look mischievous too!

 

– The record is basically a Rock n’ Roll and feeling display. Has the final outcome been as you expected?

Marc: I must admit that for a short while it felt strange going away from the bombastic approach I expected, like on Longstick Goes Boom and Eat The Rich. Our musical creativity evolved a step further. The big picture unfolded as more demo-songs were produced. The whole thing looked bluesier than anything we`ve ever released before, and this laidback attitude allowed us to put more feeling in the playing and singing.

 

– It’s obvious throughout your career you have been compared to AC/DC, and we can notice that on your albums, but for the ones that we do listen and love both bands, see the difference. Now I would like you to tell me what does KROKUS have that atracts that much; a lot of people, since late 80’s, has been saying if the albums by KROKUS were released by AC/DC they would be true smash hits.

Marc: The way I see it, the Young brothers were lucky to come from a successful musical-family and afford to have top professional people around them all the time. Of course they always had the talent and the musical know-how to start with, without which no amount of outside help was ever going to make them big. On the other hand, Krokus, although growing up in a country full of passionate music-lovers and big music festivals, had to fight very hard in order to achieve recognition. Through thick and thin we finally broke through the ice and extremely enjoyed the glorious rocking 80`s in Europe, Canada and the USA. Our hard rock music, because of it being based on cool riffs, blues and boogie, automatically got compared to AC/DC, and then there was my voice and Bon`s. the inevitable comparison. Yet our albums always offered more variety…a wider spectrum of songs…and that`s the big difference…maybe that`s been the winning streak that helped us survive for so long?! Yes, and we even wrote songs that some journalists describe as being “the songs AC/DC never wrote”. A great compliment indeed…I`m sure that has helped us too (smile)

 

– Stinging together the previous question, I notice since the «Rock the Block» album (2003) until now, the last 4 albums you have published still have the live and Rock ‘n’ Roll sound. Has KROKUS reached a moment where this kind of albums are the ones that better represent the band?

Marc: I think it`s all a question of energy. Some of our albums have a different energy than others. I think that you will see this trait with bands that have survived for such a long time. Musicians are like other people too, we cannot possibly go through life exuding the same energy every day, and this affects our songwriting of course. Since “Rock The Block” the band became more live-oriented again. One must listen to our Double-Live Album “Fire & Gasoline” to see what I mean. We were steaming through one country to another “kickin`ass and takin`names” as the old American saying goes (smile). The rock`n`roll spirit is at it`s best during those ecstatic magical moments when the adrenalin filled band is drenched in sweat, playing live on a smoky stage to a hot pulsating audience!!!

 

– As I have the shot of interviewing you, I would like to review a little bit the history of the band if you don’t Mind. Yourself, Mark, joined the band in 1980 with «Metal Rendez-vous». Did you know the band before joining them? And how was your «entrance» in the band and the release of that album?

I first met the band during a soundcheck they were doing prior to opening for my previous band TEA. We took Krokus on the road with us in support of our “Tax Exile” Tour. It was the third and last studio album from TEA. The band had been writing, recording and touring for over six years and we were pretty popular all over Europe because of our special brand of progressive hard rock music. Our three albums were produced by Dieter Dierks, the man who was behind the early Scorpions. I was living back in London when one day my phone rang and Chris, the bass-player, asked me over for a jam. After a weekend in Solothurn there was no turning back! Pretty soon we were touring through Europe and then recorded “Metalrendez-vous”. I`ll never forget the hilarious times I had with Tommy Kiefer, our lead guitarist. The man was incredibly talented…also very sensitive and deeply bluesy too. His outstanding solos on that album will go down in everlasting rock history. Rest In Peace dear Thomas. All hell broke loose after the release of my debut album! Our manager received offers from all over Europe and pretty soon from the USA too! Wow! We finally got to fly over and entertain our new fans over the big pond…a dream come true!

 

– From 1980 to 1983, between «Metal Rendez-vous» and «Headhunter» there’s an evolution from Hard Rock to Heavy, with elements from the so-called Hard and Heavy. How were those years like? KROKUS knew quite good how to fit into the 80’s Heavy Metal. What are your memories from that period?

Marc: Old school muscians like me will tell you that although it was called “Metal Rendez-vous” our album was far from being anything close to metal. In fact it was a very melodic hard rock album. “Hardware” and an even harder “One Vice At A Time” evolved towards the metal direction. Then came the final turning point…“Headhunter”! That was THE most heavy metal album we ever released. Together with Judas Priest producer Tom Allom at the helm, we steered into darker more dangerous metallic waters and won the battle! Rob Halford and Jimi jamieson joined forces to do some backing-vocals. Steve Pace drummed like his life depended on it.The stage was set..we gave it our all!!! Rewarded with USA Platinum, the “Headhunter” Album is still our best-selling album to date, with the epic ballad “Screaming In The Night” still filling rock airwaves throughout the world. Even our two most outstanding videos of that era, “Screaming In The Night” and “Eat the Rich” still adorn youtube to set you back in time during the glorious days when MTV was still a Video-Channel playing serious rock clips and Record Companies could still afford to pay bands` tour-supports (smile). One or two real metal songs found their way into our repertoire since then but as our new release “Dirty Dynamite” shows, we are sailing through less troubled waters today.

 

– Your first period in the band ended with «Heart Attack», a furious Heavy Metal album that could have perfectly been done on the «Headhunter» period. For several people is a really good Heavy Metal album; how did you come up, again, with a so heavy record?

After “Headhunter” and a huge USA Arena-Tour we experienced more musician changes. The record company, our booking agent and management all got on Fern`s and my back, steering us away from heavy metal and back to melodic hard rock. It became a do or die situation! So we came up with “The Blitz” followed by “Change Of Address”. Both decent albums but lacking that edge.That`s why we then changed Record Company and wrote “Heart Attack”, an album with the sound our fans wished to hear.

 

– You didn’t record with KROKUS from 1988 to 2003, except for 1995, with «To Rock or not to Be». Why did not flourish this reunion? Or was it just something puntual?

Marc: Hard Rock was generally going through hard times. Fernando got problems with his health. I was raising our child together with my dear wife. It was fun being back together in `94 and `95. We wrote and recorded again and our two Swiss Tours went down awesomely well…it was great to be back! However the reality facing us across the rest of Europe meant we would have to tour below our economic needs. Noone wanted to go through a second burnout! So that`s when I decided to take a break and live to fight another day.

 

– Something else I would like to know is about your success in America. There you have always been a really big band. What do you think is the main reason behind this?

Marc: There simply was no other band that sounded or looked like Krokus in America. We toured up to nine months a year non-stop! We loved being on the road and worked our way up from supporting-act to Special-Guests to Headliner in 3 years! Not bad for a band from little Switzerland with a singer from tiny Malta…(smile)

 

– And coming back to the present; what does the future hold for KROKUS? What are your future plans?

Marc: We are pretty flexible and taking life as it comes. We have just finished doing our “Sold-Out” Swiss tour-dates which we called “The Close Contact Dög Tour”.

Our new studio album “DIRTY DYNAMITE” went from gold to platinum, and now we are preparing to play some European Summer Festivals like “Swedenrock Festival” and “Hellfest” and back home for the “Moon an Stars” etc. In the meantime our management and bookers are sorting out further requests. We could be playing as far as South America and Asia. Japan is certainly on my personal-favourites list! The USA and Canada are calling too. It`s a pity we haven`t returned to Spain since our “Hellraiser” Tour with “Hammerfall”. I also hope very much that the requests will come in and that all works out well so we can come and Rock You once again! For Tour-Updates and Band-Infos please go to: www.krokusonline.com

 

– And a curiosity; do you know why did your mates called the band «Krokus»?

Thomas and Chris were once walking through the woods smoking a joint and Thomas said “K-rrrok-us” (smile)

 

– That’s all from our side, it has been a pleasure for me having the chance of interviewing you., I have always said there are bands that you dig and some you don’t simply dig, but are touching, and for me KROKUS is one of them. Lots of thanks.

It was my pleasure too! I`m glad you find our music touching…must be that blues element my friend.

Rock On!

Marc Storace www.facebook.com/marcstorace

 

Paco Gómez

paco@queensofsteel.com

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