Gut reaction, Herman Frank Speaks out about the new CD.
Herman Frank is a name that most of you will be familiar with, let's just say 2 bands that could make you remember, 'Accept' or 'Victory'? Has that jogged you're memory now? Herman has been on and off with Accept since 82 when he was featured on their finest album 'Restless & Wild', their heaviest album to date, he also recorded 'Balls to the Wall' and when the band reformed back in 2009 'Blood of the Nation' 2010 and now the new album 'Stalingrad' 2012. He has also done other projects like Hazzard, Sinner, and of course his own band 'Victory', Moon Doc. Now with the release of 'Loyal to None' and 'Right in the Guts' in 2012 this is a fantastic album indeed. I managed to have a chat with Frank about his new solo album, as well as his previous projects and a little bit about Accept. Here is what he had to say.
Great speaking to you Frank, it was a pleasure meeting you last year with Accept in Sheffield. I'd like to ask you firstly if Accept are doing any UK dates for the new album? If so where will they be held?
"Well it was good meeting you too, as for Accept UK dates, we have nothing planned yet but I think there could be as we have more dates coming up. All I know is that we start on the 5th of September in the U.S.. (Ed: Do you remember the show in Sheffield?) Yes I think so, it was a great show."
Looking back at Accept's albums, which album would you say appeals to you the most and why?
"That is hard to tell really, I didn't play on every Accept album but for me 'Balls to the Wall' is the most important album for me because there are so many classic songs on this album and there nice to sing along too live & I think there are songs on other albums which are great to sing along too as well."
For me Frank it has to be 'Restless & Wild' it's just a classic and the song 'Fast as a Shark', holy fuck this is the heaviest song of all time, 20yrs ahead of it's time. I remember the beginning of the album with the old style German singing and then the scratch on the record which cuts into 'Fast as a Shark', at 1st I thought my album was fucked haha!
"Well thank you, I guess it is a hymn and maybe it is ahead of its time. (Laughing) yeah a lot of people thought their record was broken like the record needle had snapped off. I think it was the best idea ever!! It was UDO that came up with that idea and nobody ever did it and has ever since we did that".
What did you think of the production on the 'Blood of the Nation' album? Also what were you're thoughts on the whole record?
"It is one of the best, everybody was impressed with it and if you look back it is a fantastic album. Since the reunion had started we have had more success and even more success and we do 3 and half months of touring."
How do you compare the latest Accept album to that of the last one? Did you receive some great reviews for that album?
"Well it is a following album of the last one, it has the same power but you can't write the same album twice. The reviews have been great for this album so I am very happy."
Let's move on and talk about the days of your own band 'Victory', which album would you say is your favourite album and why?
"Well I think it would have to be 'Culture killed the Native' back in 89, at 1st I loved the producer and it was one of the best production I had ever done in my life. The touring was a great success and we toured the whole of Europe and we were in the charts in the U.S. and I still like the songs."
Are you still doing the Victory band?
"I don't think so, Peter & Tommy I think are getting too old and we did our last album 2011 and then our label SPV went under and the album was released last summer 2011 with a little company."
What fond memories do you have with Victory? Would you ever consider finding new members to carry on with the band?
"Great ones indeed, I just wish we could go on.. besides Accept and I have a few months to do something so doing Victory would be great!! I am not sure if I will carry on with Victory, right now I am concentrating on my solo career before the tour with Accept."
Moving on you did the project with your wife Poison Sun with the album 'Virtual Sun', how successful was that album for the 2 of you?
"We had some of the best reviews so far, better than ever. The 1st album was good and with my new album it's made me a lot of money."
So why did you decide to do your solo album 'Loyal To None'?
"Well it was because I was tired of waiting for people to get their acts together and I wanted somebody who would be fast to record albums with me. I love to write songs and I wrote all the songs by myself and recorded them by myself & produced and engineered it by myself. I this case I don't have to ask drummers of bass players if they like the songs? I can do whatever I want you know. (Ed: Was the debut album a success for you then?) Oh yes it was, the label was satisfied so they asked for a 2nd one)."
So how did you hook up with your label 'Metal Heaven'? What other labels did you approach?
"Well I shipped it to a couple of labels & and some said you are too old which I said fine that's ok and the president/ A&R at Metal Heaven called me up and said he had been listening to the album for 3 days and I really like it and I want to release it. It sold well."
From the debut solo album which songs stand out for you and why?
"That is a tough question to answer, it's like saying which is your favourite child? I would say 'Kill the King', (Ed: That's the Rainbow song, why is it that every band covers this song by rainbow?) I really don't know? I also like 'Moon II' and '7 Stars', their great songs or 'Hero' which is a drop D and I really love that song. I also like 'Heal Me', the ballad."
So who did the artwork for the album 'Loyal to None'? Was there any other covers in mind? Looking at the cover it's like your interpretation of Iron Maiden's 'Eddie'.
"Well it was done by a friend of mine who is from Hanover who also does photography and he was also doing covers for Saxon who's name is Kai Swillus and the idea's for the cover came from me. I told him the concept for the artwork and he did the artwork for me in which he sent me back some ideas and the full thing developed with ideas been sent back and forth. (laughing) I had no idea my mascot was anything like Eddie and everybody is asking me is it Eddie? I'm like saying 'No its not!!' It is Tommy (laughing). The title of the album comes from the old Pirates 'Loyal no None'. (Ed: The cover reminds me a little bit of the German band 'Running Wild') Well that is the other thing people ask me is it anything to do with Running Wild? I never was a fan of that band but I respect them but I never followed their career. I know have Tommy from Running Wild in my band and I'm getting tired of this (laughing)."
So why the title for this album?
"Well I was tired of been loyal to somebody and in your musical life I was sick of waiting for people to turn up in the studio or anything so in the end I decided to do it alone and be loyal to myself. (Ed For those who don't know who actually played on the debut solo album?) Well I had Jioti Parcharidis from Victory on vocals but right now he has problems with his health and the drummer was Stefan who is now with Accept, Peter Pichl (ex Running Wild)."
Moving on lets talk about the new album 'Right in the Guts', which is a fantastic real metal album, this album features Rick Altzi (ex Frequency) now with At Vance, how did you hook up with Rick? Also what other singers did you have in mind for the new album? Did you ever hear Frequency and what did you think of them?
"No I have never heard that band, I had never heard of Rick before so when Jioti couldn't sing on the new album so I knew I had to find a new singer so I called a friend in Canada who recommended Rick to me his name is David Bane who is a singer in a band. So I heard his voice on Facebook and then I contacted Rick who sent me a couple of Mp3's of At Vance and some other stuff. So I then sent him 2 songs from the new album which were 'The Ballad', & 'Right in your Guts', and the next day they came back with perfect vocals and I was so happy I knew I had the right man for the job. I didn't need to look any further as I knew Rick was the one for the job. I was thinking of using Mike from Messiah's Kiss but he is living in New York and it's too far."
Did you ever think of using Rick to do the vocals on the debut album as re worked vocals?
"No not at all, I liked Jioti's voice very much it was just a shame he couldn't do the new album that is why I found Rick."
So why the title for this album?
"Well I think most of the songs on the new album really do hit you in you're guts, so I thought the title was suited to the style of music I was creating."
So why did you decide to have Tommy coming through a brick wall as the artwork for this album?
"Well that was Kai's idea, I really cant say why, it just jumps out of the wall into your face so the title could also mean moving forward."
You recorded the album yourself would you like to work with anybody else to take the pressure from you?
"Yes I would if I could, maybe work with Andy Sneap again but he is busy and so am I so I really can't wait for him or any other producer to come forward if they are busy, my work needs recording asap. I am happy with the way the album has turned out."
This album has all the elements of the 80's the fist in the air, punchy songs, great melody hooks what more can I say?
"Yeah it does, I really don't care if it is 80/90's or 2000 a song is a song and if I record a solo album I just want to record songs that I like. I don't care if anybody likes my music or not but now that people like it I now love the album. I took a while to record, the mixing is always the hardest part and doing the solo is hard and I lay down some rough ideas and then go back to them and rework them later. I started with Rick in late August in 2011 and it was finished by the end of the year. Rick wrote all the lyrics and I gave him a couple of ideas and so he writes the stuff from there."
So from the new album which songs stand out for you and why?
"It's a very good question I love it, I really love 'Vengeance' because it is so wild and it has pure power. I also like the title track 'Right in the Guts', as it is so heavy and I love this type of groove and 'Roaring Thunder' as well as 'Waiting'. (Ed: Will you be doing a promo video for this album if so which song?) No we won't be nobody can afford it. I don't like You Tube that much because everybody is listening too your album in You Tube and you can't sell albums anymore because of it. Everything is free these days which doesn't help the artists, and at concerts you don't see people don't raise their fist it's more raising their arms to film the show on their mobile phones."
So will there be a tour at all after the Accept tour has finished?
"I am right now booking some and looking for some gigs to play in different countries but I don't have any news yet but if somebody wants to spend some money on me touring I will come and play a show for them. Maybe February, March & April of 2013."
As a guitar play who has inspired you to play the guitar?
"Well because I am not that young it was Ted Nugent then Richie Blackmore and Eddie Van Halen and Uli Jon Roth. Now it's Steve Vai who is just amazing!!"
Well frank thanks for taking your time out, best of luck with Accept tour and the album sales, do you have anything to ad before we come to a close?
"Yes thanks to the fans who support my albums and Accept, I hope you like the albums and I hope to see you on tour soon."
Thanx to Mike Exley and Frank for the Interview.