Festival report of Fall of Summer 2016

Festival report of Fall of Summer 2016  Torcy, France; 2-3rd of September 2016

Report by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 7th of Januar 2017

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In the beginning of September 2016 I visited the Fall of Summer festival near Paris, France. Because of the exquisite lineup and also because of paying a fortune for the whole trip regarding that it out of many reasons turned out to be a last-minute decision for me, I had high expectations towards the bands expectations that, as luck would have it, proved themselves true on the whole.

Even though the fest is called ‘Fall of Summer’, personally it belongs among my most “summery” experiences last year due to the stunning location on a sunny beach right next to a lake and with sand below our feet at one of the 2 stages. Fall of Summer in France is thus not a festival one should miss who has an affection for dreamlike places with the comical twist of being able to see a large number of appealing bands from the most various genres of metal on the spot.

The band that I first got to see from the incredible lineup right as I arrived to the venue were the old French heavy/speed heroes, ADX. Even though one can and should still appreciate the enthusiasm they themselves still possess and gladly show to the fans on stage, it does unfortunately already show that we are not writing 1985-86 anymore. The two new songs from their newest album they started their set with (‘La Mort en Face’ and ‘La Complainte du Demeter’) did not manage to establish the mood and feeling one needs to hold at an ADX gig, and unfortunately I had the feeling they were not able to do that afterwards with their old classic songs either. The passion would still be there, however, the physical part the voice and the speed are not able to support the mental section anymore.

Manilla Road, on the other hand, did not disappoint this time either: they brought us the expected level even despite the little ragged beginning which was the effect of the absurd heat and the band being anyways somewhat tired. After getting even more heated up and getting to the ‘feel’ through the interest of the fans they with no doubt always call forth; with the classic Crystal Logic songs Manilla Road permanently managed to focus on the mood that actually they themselves created and so the band’s and the fans’ energies moved along hand in hand afterwards, complementing and expanding each other.

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Manilla Road – Photo: Estelle


Mark “The Shark” Shelton’s solos are still just as sharp-edged and beautiful sounding as ever, and as expected he took over the microphone for a few parts this time on stage as well. Despite the years’ strong effect on the 58-year-old founder & guitarist and his voice; we can still recognize the incredible high-level commitment, engagement and “let’s-do-it”-attitude on his face paired with his tender yet majestic glance which shadows it out how important Manilla Road and the fans for him are, and which makes him an uncommonly lovable and honourable musician.

After Manilla Road Polish death metal band Vader started literally in 5 minutes on the Blackwaters stage and showed us they are still after so many years right on track and ripped our heads off with some real death metal tunes.
Their setlist was particularly mixed: they presented us a group songs from their early era like “Dark Age” from the classic The Ultimate Incantation and songs from the following De Profundis, giving us the strong old school core of their performance. They didn’t leave neither the popular Litany nor the 1997 record Back to the Blind out, and picked songs from their newer releases Impressions in Blood (2006), Welcome to the Morbid Reich (2011) and Tibi Et Igni (2014) as well. We also had the chance to already hear the two newest songs from their album The Empire released in November 2016, ‘Prayer to the God of War’ and ‘Parabellum’.
They still have the dynamism and are in control of themselves on stage; I did not expect much at first but was positively surprised by Vader’s performance.

We once again did not have any chance to recover as my personal largest surprise of the festival, the impressive Riot V kicked off at the big Sanctuary stage. They presented us in honour of the passed away guitarist & main songwriter founding member of the band, Mark Reale a perfect oldschool setlist with each one of the classic songs one is eager to hear on a Riot (V) concert, including a lot from their evergreen record Thundersteel. Even though the two elderly members, bassist Don Van Stavern and guitarist Mike Flyntz just hit 51 & 53, completed with “girls-dreams” vocalist Todd Michael Hall the guys showed how astonishingly fresh, youthful, catchy and tight they are just as much on their newest neat 2014 album ‘Unleash the Fire’ as live. They simply know what the fans want and also give that to them without a hint of artificialness; being committed and respectful towards the old lineup of Riot and towards the crowd the whole time and also representing that by not wanting to shove the new record down our throats but instead concentrating on what people from Riot actually want to hear. Admirable.

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Riot V – Photo: Estelle


Riot V’s setlist on the 2nd of September 2016, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Narita
  2. Ride Hard Live Free
  3. Fight or Fall
  4. Johnny’s Back
  5. Bloodstreets
  6. Angel Eyes
  7. Flight of the Warrior
  8. Metal Warrior
  9. Road Racin’
  10. Warrior
  11. Swords and Tequila
  12. Thundersteel

A complete turnabout and a full switch of genres: Samael came onto stage. I would rather describe the Switzerland black metal band’s performance as interesting instead of good as they even brought the electronic instruments into their older black metal songs. They had a flawless oldschool setlist though consisting of songs picked only from their first 3 albums, what the fans also welcomed and appreciated on the gig.

As the last act of the night again from a contrasting genre, American thrash group Whiplash were about to pound us with aggressivity into the ground. If they succeeded?
The guys possessed the right amount of energy & raw aggressivity as well as a perfect sound for a thrash gig and still, maybe because of the lack of communication between the band and the crowd both regarding talking/encouraging between the songs and the way of behaving on stage, or maybe the formal conventionality of their way of playing, Whiplash’s gig did not come through perfectly as expected. One (as I would usually expect it) could not lose his/her mind completely over the few tight and thrashy best-of songs they could scrape together from Whiplash as the band simply played them casually, routine-like with the rightly measured amount of energy, which unfortunately took a little bit away from the experience.

Compensating that as well as deducting the stress of having to see such an amount of bands on one day (poor us), we went and showed the French how to drink.

– – –

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Grim Reaper – Photo: Estelle

The second day started for me with a sunny Grim Reaper. I could have barely imagined the amount of energy Steve Grimmett and the whole band of his actually still have and similarly could I have barely imagine a more classic setlist including really every classic track from the early albums one is eager to hear on a Grim Reaper gig. Even in spite of the somewhat unnecessary Dio-cover (‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’) that they apparently can never leave out, and even in spite of the exaggerated encouragement of the crowd that occasionally did get a smile onto our faces, I can say I was positively surprised on account of Grim Reaper’s live performance. Steve has tons of experience, he knows how to handle the fans and last but not least: finally a veteran group where we cannot complain about the lack of vitality when it comes to playing as speedy as they should!

Grim Reaper’s setlist on the 3rd of September, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Rock You to Hell
  2. Night of the Vampire
  3. Lust for Freedom
  4. Wrath of the Ripper
  5. Fear No Evil
  6. Liar
  7. Rock Me ’till I Die
  8. Don’t Talk to Strangers (Dio cover)
  9. Waysted Love
  10. See You in Hell
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Nifelheim – Photo: Estelle

No rest for the wicked – here comes Nifelheim. If I say they were the only band by whom I indeed entirely forgot about the fact that I am standing on a beach with sand gently tickling my feet, instead at some point simply realised getting lost in the tremendous, menacing obscure spirit that they created and that we all so craved on this shiny bright day…; I said enough. Terrific, pounding and shredding black/thrash brutality streaming right at our bodies without any break just how a Nifelheim gig shall be happening right from the moment the band gets on stage and plays the first note.

After this giant hit of cruelty I was still able to get myself together to curiously walk over to the big stage where Karl Willetts’ (singer of Bolt Thrower) newly founded death metal band, Memoriam gave their third concert ever. Thanks to Karl, ex-Bolt Thrower-drummer (1986-94) Andrew Whale, Benediction bassist (1991-present) Frank Healy and Benediction guitarist (2015-present) Scott Fairfax, they sound prominent and besides presenting us some good old BT-riffs and drum samples in the new tracks (along with 2 Bolt Thrower cover songs ‘Spearhead’ and ‘Powder Burns’), they assure us about having some new, catchy own ideas up their sleeves as well.
Karl still appears completely drunk on stage and still does not care about it, he does however very much care about the crowd and sings (growls) enthusiastically with love and respect towards the people who are curious about them.

During the following Dead Congregation I decided to take a little break finally as we still had Exciter, Unleashed and Tankard left for the day, but I still was listening while getting something to eat in the festival area: They played as always energetically and tightly with a few real catchy modern death metal riffs.

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Estelle doesn’t like waiting if it comes to Exciter

And now again with full-on power I was ready to cordially welcome the moment for which I was waiting and by reason of I decided at all taking the risk and travelling to the festival: Exciter was willing to tear my head off with nothing else but their over-the-top classic setlist from the ‘80s.
Incredible how physically fit vocalist-drummer Dan Beehler still is. I have always admired yet could never fully understand how one can have such a level of concentration and attitude to play the drums and keep his head straight while singing the ripping fast top-notch speed metal songs at the same time; however, Beehler manages that even after 37 years of playing without any problem. Only his voice started to give up and fade sometimes, especially for the end of the gig at the high-pitched notes, which for me personally still did not take from the experience of seeing the genre-creating speed metal gods playing with such dynamism, love and respect towards the people, towards each other and the whole industry live. Guitarist John Ricci and bassist Alan Johnson are similarly still particularly ‘on-track’, keen on playing while not being able to wipe the smile off their faces.

The most classic lineup and the most classic setlist ever matched with a huge amount of energy, enthusiasm and SPEED: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what we expect to see from Exciter.

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Exciter – Photo: Estelle


Exciter’s setlist on the 3rd of September, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. I Am the Beast
  2. Rain of Terror
  3. Stand Up and Fight
  4. Iron Dogs
  5. Heavy Metal Maniac
  6. Pounding Metal
  7. Violence & Force
  8. Beyond the Gates of Doom
  9. Long Live the Loud
  10. Under Attack

After going into ecstasy over another band came the Swedish death metallers Unleashed. They, similarly to Vader, had an absolutely mixed setlist with a high level of variation and presented us songs from almost every album of theirs from the first until the very last 2015 one. Just as on Brutal Assault 2014, the gig was absolutely energetic again reaching its top with the two powerful ending songs, ‘Hammer Battalion’ and the obvious ‘Before the Creation of Time’.

As the closing act of the incredibly intense festival where I sometimes had the feeling with so many engaging bands we never get a real break, I went to see the old German thrashers Tankard. The crowd expectedly went crazy and started singing along and moshing right away to their classic opening track ‘Zombie Attack’ and did not finish until the band walked off stage. Vocalist Gerre showed great energies by running up and down the whole time, maintaining a pleasant vibe and topping that, later facetiously showing his (beer-)belly. The German beer-lovers kept going on with songs like ‘The Morning After’, ‘Chemical Invasion’ or ‘A Girl Called Cerveza’; they let us hear a bit from their newest album R.I.B. from 2014 and, giving a frame to their gig, they closed the show as well as the event decently with the strong ‘(Empty) Tankard’ from Zombie Attack.


And now, to sum up…

Strongest standout bands: Manilla Road, Riot V, Nifelheim, Exciter

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Blackwaters stage


Main impressions:
+ excellent location; prominent lineup; decent sound; a great variety of genres; open-mindedness
– pricey and not-that-tasty beer; location hard to find for French taxi companies in case you want to be at the airport by 5 am

Recommendations: Go!

Find more information at: http://fallofsummer.fr/
Photos were used by ‘Estelle’.

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“I never felt myself forced just to write about the pirate stuff as it could be too limitating musically”

Interview with Rolf Kasparek from Running Wild

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on the 26th of August 2016


Hi Rolf, first of all thanks a lot for taking the time and doing the interview with me for Metalegion Magazine, much appreciated!

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Death or Glory (1989)

Which album of Running Wild do you think was the most crucial or significant one in your personal career and/or in the fans’ opinion?

I would say Death or Glory – we had a lot better conditions concerning distribution, that was the next step for us as we sold pretty much more than we ever sold before. It was a very big step forward for Running Wild. And Blazon Stoned was the next step, it was the best sold album of my career. It was a truly important album that made the status of Running Wild.

Rolf, you are the only so to say “old” member in the current lineup of Running Wild. To what degree does this affect the songwriting process for the newer albums?

This time we had pretty much more time to write and to collect the ideas than I had for the albums before. It happened not intentionally, I just broke my shoulder so I was “knocked out” from the world for one year and that is why I could really make up my mind about the cover and the lyrics; I really could collect everything that was coming up to me.

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Rolf Kasparek (1989)

When I was doing the record and writing the songs back then when my shoulder was again moveable and I could finally play guitar, it turned out to be a great situation because I could pick out 11 songs from all these ideas (I had about 30-35 basic song ideas) which are still all different from each other. Every song should gain something to the album that the others couldn’t, in order to have a wide range of style. I had the time to work on the small bits of pieces and the arrangement of the songs.

Rapid Foray is more complex in a way than the earlier albums by reason of the basic ideas. Also, I haven’t used studio before we started out with the record. It was a pretty much relaxed working situation even if it was hard work to achieve all that we finally did with the album. But it was a great situation for me to have the time to work out the bits of pieces, the details of the songs.

You mentioned that you broke your shoulder in the beginning of 2014. As far as I know you also needed surgery in Germany from one of the best doctors to repair it – During that period, have it ever crossed your mind that your career as a guitarist could be in danger?

No, because it was totally cured as I reached to the point back then to play guitar in the proper way again. In the first place it was the best doctor that I could get. It was just a coincidence that I landed there in this hospital but he was the best doctor to work on a shoulder in whole Germany (laughs). And I just told him that I’m a guitar player, I’m a musician and I need to use my shoulder. And he did a really great job then, the operation went well.

It took me about half a year just to get to working on Rapid Foray again because of having to have a second operation half a year later. I could already play guitar but not in a proper way, I couldn’t work for hours: 3-4 hours a day was not possible, in the beginning it was like half an hour here and there… I simply worked on the ideas and was picking out songs for the record.

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Rapid Foray (2016)

ROLF UNVEILS… RAPID FORAY

This section of our magazine would basically mean a song by song explanation or just an explanation of one song, focusing more on the lyrical and instrumental side of the song(s).
Could you share your vision of a song, explain the lyrics, refer to some instrumental passages or tell how the song was created…? It’s up to you.

I was interested in doing the last song on the record, the Last of the Mohicans. It was a really important one mainly because of the idea of doing a song about the novel from James Fenimore Cooper. I already had the idea in 2000 while writing the Victory album but it was not coming down, it was not the quality I wanted to have and that’s why I put it down again and again. And when I started out with the Shadowmaker from 2012 I had the idea to the song again, but on the other hand I had another song called Dracula which finally made it onto the album. On Resilient from 2013 it happened in the same way, I had the idea to write the Last of the Mohicans but there, as the last song, Bloody Island made it onto the album.

While writing Rapid Foray I finally did have the time to do the song, I figured out very early a lot of ideas for it concerning my working situation because of my shoulder.

And the story it tells – I know the story since I was a kid, had to see it in Germany, we had this kind of tradition in the 60s and early 70s. Before Christmas we had these 4-piece movies about a certain adventure topic that was sold by German TV to French TV, so different TV stations got this together. There was one film called the Hawkeye Movie and another one was the Last of the Mohicans, which is one of the stories of this book.

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James Fenimore Cooper – The Last of the Mohicans (1826)

I was really impressed by the story because it was a battle on the one hand, and on the other hand it’s a very adventurous case. I must have been around 9-10 years old when I saw it for the first time and I was simply impressed. There were a lot of movies coming up with the story but telling it from a different kind of view, a different kind of perspective.

I wanted to do this song and I figured out that the story is too complex to tell it in just in 5 verses or so. I just had to figure out what was the main point to me from the story and this is the loss of Chingachgook [one of the three frontiersmen, among the main figures of the film – ed.]. He not only lost his son but he lost his culture, he lost his present, he lost his future, he lost everything. His pride… Everything that was important to him that made up his life so far; he had to start at a new point from then on.

And that was the point I had my focus on while writing the lyrics and telling the story. I also had to tell it musically and that’s why it turned to be such a long song because it’s such a complex story.

Now it’s understandable why it is the largest song on the album with a running time of around 11 minutes. The song, as you also mentioned, was clearly influenced by the 19th century novel written by James Fenimore Cooper. What lead you to adapt this particular novel into a Running Wild song and also, do you think it fits entirely into the Running Wild pirate image you built up over the years?

rw5I always brought in different kinds of ideas on the albums because I never felt myself forced just to write about the pirate stuff as it could be too limitating musically. Also, if you only write about that kind of certain topic just have certain melodies in your head and certain musical ideas. Back on Death or Glory we had a song called Battle Waterloo which also was a part of history. From time to time I’m just doing different stuff because there were also some songs on the album just like Victory of Guns which is just a normal rock ‘n’ roll song. So I never felt myself forced to just go ahead for this kind of image stuff.

The story of the Last of the Mohicans takes place in the 18th century, but the pirate stuff did too. So it fits in that case as it is a part of the story and so it is a part of what happened then. The indians were pretty much in the same kind of situation as the pirates were. They had to fight for their lives and for the right and had to see how they pull through this. The first place there was a war between England and France about North America, they just wanted to keep their hand on that, so that was the basic story back then.

We can notice that the lyrics after your 1987 album Under Jolly Roger were intensely researched. Where did you get the inspiration and especially the information for the lyrics?
What does the whole pirate image mean to you and how did you get yourself into it?

Everything started with the song Under Jolly Roger. I was watching TV when I came around with the idea of the song, there was this advertisement for the movie called Pirates (1986) written by Roman Polanski. And there was this scene where the flag was rising up and I found it beautiful. “Wow Under Jolly Roger, a great title for a track!” – It started with that. I became especially interested in this stuff when I was writing for Port Royal. And I just love books about that. Totally different kinds of books about different pirates, about history, about theories, about shit, about everything that had something to do with the life in the 18th century. It was all about that pirate stuff on the Caribbian. And I had a lot of books where I could pick the stories from, stories that all come from reality. Just as our song called Calico Jack.

rw-jollyrogerAnd sometimes our songs are coming up with imagination about the topic. If you have a look on the new album a song like Black Skies, Red Flag has nothing to do in the first case with the reality, just has this kind of red flag as a symbol for the pirates that they will show no mercy at all. We have the real pirate flag in our minds with a skull and crossbones. But actually every pirate had his own flag back then.

So there’s totally different stuff that comes from that. And sometimes I’m coming back to that, I had all the ideas for the new album and one of them turned out into a song called Black Bart, which is a song about Bartholomew Roberts who was the most famous and the most successful pirate of all time. He was mentioned in the story of Treasure Island and he was real. It was not just imagination, he actually existed and was a very strong character; there were a lot of different things in his character that were not at all usual for that time. He was never drinking alcohol – what a weird situation for a pirate (laughs)! He was always sober, all the time. And he was gay, for the 18th century he was gay! He was very very open, he didn’t hide it, he was never hiding. And it was very strange for the 18th century to do that. The crew was really onto him, he was also relentless, a really tough guy. And so that was the story I was coming back to, I was just going for the books again and I found a story about which I haven’t had a song written yet, I figured he would be a great character to do a song about.

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Running Wild (Death or Glory era)

Rapid Foray also brings back some of the memories from the classic Running Wild period. Your previous two albums (Resilient, but especially Shadowmaker) didn’t convince entirely many older fans of yours. Was this something you were looking for this time, to make peace with the older fans?

No, not really. When I was going through all the ideas I had for the album, I figured out that there were some parts that had some more trademarks from the late eighties-early nineties. But I was not heading down when I was writing the songs, when I was collecting the ideas. I never said to myself “you have to write songs like back then” – that simply wouldn’t work. If you try to do a copy of a song from 25 years ago, there would not be coming any good song from that. If I got a great idea that sounds like that and I got this feeling and I got this kind of spiritual thing going around what you feel about the pirate stuff or the metal that you consider to be classic for Running Wild… It’s great when it’s there. You really can rock on that and you can go and work on the bits of pieces to make it to be a great track. And that’s what I did. But I never said to myself that I had to write songs like that. I don’t think that would really be ending up as a great record. The record was just the way I was feeling when I was writing and collecting the ideas and when I was picking the songs for the album. I figured out very early when I was working on the tracks themselves that a lot of songs had trademarks from the classic stuff.

I agree with you on that that you couldn’t simply copy a song from back then because it wouldn’t work out the same way.
As you also mentioned earlier, you had more than 30 songs completed for Rapid Foray. If I can ask do you sometimes use portions or complete songs that were not featured on the previous album(s)?

This was the first time that I had so many ideas for an album. If you have a look back into the early days Death or Glory etc. – those were really the songs I had that I put on the album. I couldn’t pick from such a big “pool” from which I have the possibility to do that today. There were a lot of ideas I had to put down because they didn’t fit to these 11 songs. But that doesn’t mean they are not great songs. Meanwhile I was writing the material and was working on the production itself, I had a lot more ideas for the next album that I had to put down and force myself to forget them. This is a kind of pool of creativity I have in the last 2-3 years which I never had before in my life. There are a lot of things going on, a lot of ideas are just coming and I really can’t stop it (laughs). It’s totally different because before, I put down Running Wild as it was really hard for me to write the songs and get the proper ideas for a good track. It was really hard work, but today it’s just coming like a river.

That’s for sure great for us fans to hear!

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Running Wild at Wacken Open Air 2015 [Photo: apesmetal.com]

About “putting down” Running Wild as you said, the last time you played live was on Wacken Open Air in 2015. Was it because your last show in 2009 also happened to be on Wacken? Also, do you plan to give concerts anywhere else seeing that so many fans are kind of dying for you?

I was just starting out working on the new album and we got the idea from the Wacken guys to do a show there in 2015, festival headlining. We felt like it was a great idea to do that but we had to find 2 new members for the band as it was just P.J. [Peter Jordan guitarist – ed.] and me at the time. We figured it out but after that I had to go back to the album to finish the recording.

About concerts, we are not doing touring but we will play on a lot of festivals the next year. So we just get all the offers and we sit down and consider all of them and see what we can do, what festival is suitable for us concerning the fees and the possibilities. We plan to bring a full set from Running Wild on the stage. This is all planned for the next year. It is also the plan maybe to do 2-3 shows around the next Christmas, 2017. This is the next plan and now we are working on that. Now we are pretty much involved in interviews and the promotion for the new album. We will just sit down and see what we can do about 20 different offers from festivals all over Europe.

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 A fan’s Running Wild-themed leather vest

That’s awesome to hear that there is a chance of seeing you!

You guys are also really active on your Facebook-site when it comes to marketing, for example you have an album where you upload fans’ pictures with their Running Wild tattoos and reliquia. What was the most surprising way of a fan showing his respect towards Running Wild that you’ve experienced?

The fans are so loyal to Running Wild, even if we talk about 32 years now because it was in 1984 the first album which was revealed for the public. I see so many people getting tattoos from Running Wild, some of them even more than a dozen. It’s a statement that Running Wild means a lot to them and it is a big part of their lives and makes me proud. Also if you take a look at how many musicians claim to be influenced by Running Wild, even if they are fans you never came across with because they are doing different music themselves. In Flames for example, they have grown up with my music – they are making totally different music themselves but are saying “you were a milestone for us because you’re the reason we started out making music”. It makes me proud to see the next generation rising. Or Sabaton, they also claim to be great Running Wild fans and have grown up with my music. Handing over the fire to the next generation – I am really proud of that.

rw6About fans and about being proud of fans being so loyal: Do you feel like you ever disappointed either your fans or yourself with any of Running Wild’s records?

You know the fans are a big part of Running Wild, we would be nothing without them. That is for sure: they bought the records, they bought the tickets… They made the band great and this is what it’s all about. You always have to have the focus on that these people were loyal to the band through the good and though the bad times, and it makes me proud to be a part of their lives. For example once we got a letter from an American soldier who was fighting in Iraq and he said what brought him through all these evil things going on there was to listen to Running Wild all day long. And this means a lot to me to be the help for people through situations, to feel better, to make it through.

All time highlights…

For the end could you select up to 3 albums that you consider your all-time favorites and tell me something about each one? (For instance when you have heard it for the first time, why you consider it a highlight or some sort of memories when hearing it.)

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Judas Priest – Unleashed in the East (1979)

Firstly Unleashed in the East from Judas Priest: Priest is a starting point for me for heavy metal in the reality. When this album came out, everything started and one year after that all the NWOBHM started. We are called since then a heavy metal band because we were called before some kind of a hard rock band. Listening to KISS and AC/DC…

What also was really important for me is British Steel. It’s an all-time classic for me, THE most heavy metal album of all time. It just sums up everything that heavy metal means to me.

Thank you very much for all the interesting things you told me Rolf, all the best to you in the future and looking forward to seeing you sometime in 2017!

Thanks for the support. Have a nice day!