Gonna Rise Some Hell - Interview with Marc Storace
Krokus have been around since the early 80's and have had success with a number of albums under their belt. This Swizz metal act are lead by front man Marc Storace, and have been on many awesome tours throughout their career & 22 albums under their belt does say a lot for the band. The current line-up now is: Mandy Meyer (guitar), Stefen Schwarzmann (drums), Tony Castell (bass) & Dominique Favez (guitar). With the band currently signed to AFM Records in Germany, the band have released their awesome latest release titled 'Hellraiser'. I managed to chat with front man Marc about the bands history and the new album and the current line-up. If you're a fan of AC/DC, Gotthard, and many other cool hard rocking rock/ metal acts then this band is surely for you. Here is what Marc had to say to the following questions. I started by asking him about a UK T.V show from the 80's titled 'Tiswaz', which featured Krokus on this kids program. Here is what Marc had to say to this question and many more.
Ok Marc, first of all I'd like to thank you for taking your time out and for doing this interview. Do you remember that kids program that featured Krokus back in the earl 80's on UK T.V.?
"Thanx for the interview, yeah I do remember that program, it was the program that featured the guy dress in a black suit and was throwing custard pies at people in the audience, that was funny. God that was some time ago, and you remember that Jason? Damn!!!"
As this is the 1st time I have interviewed the band, could you tell me when the band actually formed please, I don't want to sound stupid but I am interested to know.
"That's OK, we formed in 1974 and the first time I got to know about the band was in 76 when I joined the band. At that time I was in a band called 'Tea' which was my 1st professional experience and we did 3 albums with The Scorpions producer Deta, and we were the 1st Switz band to break out of Switzland and to play such places as Hamburg, Scotland and Wales. We started out as a 3 piece and later on we found a keyboard player to the band. We were very Progressive and were influenced by Deep Purple, Led Zepplin, and it was a very good band at that time. We were signed to Phonogram/ Vertigo Records. We had a lot of fun and we opened up for Queen back then in Germany."
What does the name Krokus actually mean?
"Well it is actually a flower. It is a flower that can be seen right now in most places. It is the first flower to break through the ice, so it is symbolic statement to Progressive Rock in Switzland."
Why do you get compared to the likes of Bon Scott who was the original singer for AC/DC? Does that bother you?
"Not really to be honest. If you listen to 'Tea' back in the 70's then you will hear similarities to that of Bon and myself. We just grew up around the same time, its just the way it happened in the same era and the same influences and textures within the voice. I think I cover more of a spectrum within my voice than he did. He stood to one style of voice, whereas I tried to change my voice from time to time. When I was younger I use to get pissed off when people would say I sound like Bon Scott, but nowadays it doesn't bother me and now I take it as a compliment. I have to say I never met him, which would of been nice."
What is the difference in influences with 'Tea' & 'Krokus'?
"I do think there are some similar influences but there are no keyboards in Krokus, whereas there were in Tea. So the sound is rather different and the way the songs are composed are a different approach. Now that Mandy is playing lead guitar in Krokus, he actually listened to a lot of Tea, so he is a big fan of that band."
What is you're favourite past album by Krokus and why?
"My debut album with the band was 'Metal Rendezvous', which is very close to my heart. I also like 'One Vice At A Time' and also 'Head Hunter' and now it has to be the new album 'Hell Raiser'.
I was hoping that you might of played the ballad from the new album tonight, titled 'So Long' that song is awesome, why didn't you play that song?
"I think even if we had head lined tonight instead of Hammerfall we would not play 2 ballads in 1 set, and 'So Long' is still new and not everybody has the album yet. Whereas, 'Screaming In The Night' is our biggest hit which came from the album 'Head Hunter' which was in the U.S. billboard charts back in 1983. We did the biggest world tour back then, so I guess it had to be played tonight. It is hard to pick the right songs when you playing live, so we had to pick the right songs which the fans would recognize the most. That is when you have a great atmosphere live for the band and the fans."
Just how many successful tours has the band done throughout you're career?
"We have played tones of tours, we played in the U.S. with Sammy Hagar, which was fantastic. We got to see a U.S. audience for the first time. We also played with Ted Nugent, Rush, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and many more... Judas Priest were one of the best bands we could of ever toured with, they were very nice to us. Rob came to see us when we were recording the album 'Head Hunter' and Tom Allen was there, so there was no problem bring Rob inot the studio to do backing vocals on a couple of songs. One of the is called 'Ready To Burn' which is awesome!!"
band have only been together over the last few years as a reformation, how did
you all get back together and what was the reason behind that?
"Well I just saw the rise of Rock once again in the old school again. I had a bunch of songs that I had been working on for a about 2 yrs and I was ready to record a new solo album. In the meantime I was checking and surfing the internet to see who was reforming and doing what. So I realized this was the time to reform Krokus."
Do you think if you had of released a solo CD that the music would of been the same as it would of been with Krokus?
"Well there are 3 songs on the new album which I would of used on my solo album. They are 'Justice', Midnight Fantasy', 'Walking In The Spirit', which is on the Japanese CD."
What other labels Marc approached you besides AFM Records for the new album? Also why did you sign with AFM?
"We had a few offers, firstly Nuclear Blast showed interest amongst a few more. Well we played the 'Bang Your Head' festival in Germany, and Sandra from AFM was the A&R girl and was doing press for the label. We knew each other and soon after that our manager said it was a good deal that AFM were offering us. We wanted a label that was smaller and who would offer us a lot of promotion and backing. They said they would offer us a good deal that would give us more priority, so we were happy with the label and decided to go with them. We had 2 weeks of promotion and the rest is history. There are a couple of things that we need to perfect the relationship with us and the label, but other than that I'm happy. Are dissatisfied with things in the U.S., because they appointed us a label to take care of us, and we are not happy with the label. You see we were big in the USA and we need a label that can bring us back to the way we use to be when we first started. We need that push again. We have a manager in the USA, who use to manage 'Tea' and we are happy with him, and we have an agent 'Paradise Artist' who have Queen and Paul Rogers, on their roster. AFM in Europe are doing a great job for us, we are very happy with them."
Has the line-up pretty much been the same for the band since you reformed?
"We had a different line-up for 'Rock The Block', that was the 1st release we did with Fanando, who left the band because he could not face doing long tours any more as he had a case of cancer in the early 90's and he survived, which I am so happy for him. I don't think we would of done the U.S. or the Hammerfall tour, I think he would of freaked out been on a tour bus with 2 bands. Everybody who has played on the new album wants to contribute within the band."
Moving on Marc, so why did you call the new album 'Hellraiser'? Was there any other names that you may of considered for this album?
"Well before we finished all the songs our manager came to us with a proposal to get in touch with a guy called Marco who is a Switz comedian who is also well known in Germany and Austria, and he loves Rock music. He wanted to use a Krokus song for his new film and to out on the sound track and even have the band in the film for a couple of minutes. So we recorded the song 'Hellraiser' for him and we tried out Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) as producer for this song and it turned out great!! The album came later and right straight into the charts over here in Switzland at number #1. So we decided to call the album 'Hellrasier', as we knew it would be the perfect title for the album as that 1 song made us so successful once again. It's a great title and its just tongue and cheek and we won't be bring the devil to you're house, hehe!!"
Lets talk about the album cover, who designed it and what does it symbolize?
"Well I have this acoustic trio which I go around with in parts of Germany and Switzland just for fun playing some of my favourite songs from the past, and we played this place were the owner was having a birthday party of the factory. The factory is a textile factory which is over 100yrs old which was the heart of the industry, and this machine has this belt that turns the machinery and the parts for this machine were made at the same place where the Titanic was made. I walked into this room and I was so impressed and it his his pride and joy and the guys played instrumental stuff whilst people walked in and out of the party. I thought that it was total metal and it impressed me and there is a story behind it. They art direction & deisgn came from Tom Jermann."
So are the songs wrote as a team effort?
"Well yes it is in a way, Tony and Dominic brought me the ideas musically and I had to figure out were to put the choruses and melodies and lyrics to them. I am the main guy who write the lyrics and like Is aid Dominic and Tony and Mandy write the music."
So are there any songs on the album that you like and dislike and why? Also what sort of press reviews have you been getting so far?
"Well I like them all, it depends on what purpose at that time. Like live we can only choose a certain amount of songs for the live set. As far as reviews for the album goes, we have been getting very good reviews internationally from all the press. We have more musicians now contributing to the music, whereas before we only had me and another member of the band helping out."
What about the tour with The Poodles & Hammerfall, how well has that tour been going for you?
"It has been great so far, from a musical point of view it has been fantastic!! I think it is a great package, 3 types of Metal music on the bill. I think the tour has been a great success for all 3 bands and we have been see in new kids coming and listening to our music, which is great for us!! I think they will come back and see us when we are headlining a tour."
Will the band be recording a live DVD in the near future?
"Well we are always filming some of the gigs and on the tour bus. We filmed a show in Malta, I was actually born there and we have never played there before, so it was a great show!! We filmed that professionally which we are waiting to edit it. If we take all the pieces from the tour we could make a great package."
Ok Marc I want to thank you for doing this interview, it's been a pleasure meeting & speaking to you. Before we end this interview do you have anything to ad?
"Yes thanks to our fans for their support, we really do appreciate it, and we hope you like the latest album. We hope to see you on tour in the near future. Thanks for the interview and good luck with the webzine.
Thank's to (Metal) Mike Exley for setting the interview up