Thanks very much for the opportunity to chat a bit with you Sammy. Everyone at Maximum Metal really appreciates your time. So lets start off with getting some details on the current happenings with the band. Are you getting ready to record the new album? Do you have a title for it yet?
First off I wanna thank you dudes for giving me the chance to talk to you about Wolfs Moon and for the support. Well we still work on the ten new songs for the new album number five. I needed 8 months to prepare the lyrics and 10 months for the riffs and song-foundations. Since November 2002 we work them out as a band in the rehearsing room to put the talents of all four members into the tracks. If you are wondering why we need so much time then I have to explain that we all have full-time jobs. Sometimes it`s difficult to find time for the band but we will never give up as long as we have die-hard-fans like you behind us. We plan to enter the studio early November 2003. Yes
and we do have a title for the album. It`s T.H. 5 Keep Metal Alive. I know it sounds a little bit strange so I will explain it. T.H. stands for timestream horrorsphere as a symbol for the lyrics. 5 stands for album number 5 and Keep Metal Alive stands for itself. I wanted a positive message in the title. No evil cruel stuff although the lyrics have a small horror touch within. You guys know the message from our last year`s T-Shirts and well
..everybody loves the cool message behind it. I think it`s time to make clear how important metal really is. After the release of the album I hope we will have a few live gigs to spread the message.
What sort of concept will this new album have? Are you going to continue the story of the Duke Of Damnation and can we expect the same artist for the album cover?
To answer the last question first : Yes. It`s still Claude Klein who will draw the new cover. You know his works from our Elysium Dreams and Black-Knight-Legacy. The concept behind the new album is looking for answers to eternal questions. I asked myself what makes you an evil or a good person? Your birth? Your religion? Your education? Or are we just victim of circumstances? What about powersurge? What is the fascination of power? All those questions are elements in the new Fantasy-Horror-Story. I don`t want to tell too much about the story-line. Only a few details: The reborn Duke Of Damnation seeks for the ultimate power. For that reason he wants to return to Elysium and starts a holy war between Angels and Vampires. The Duke uses renegade Angels to expel the Vampires from Elysium. So who's evil? The Vampires or the Angels ? The Nephilim Kayne - half Angel/half Vampire has to accept his role in this strange game. He is the Vampire Messiah . His mission is to free his people with the ancient Blood Grail. In my opinion a holy war is totally senseless so no one will win this battle. On the front cover you will see the Duke in the moment of greatest power and greatest disaster at the same time, it looks a little bit like the Elysium cover but with red as symbol for life as main color. On the back cover you will see Kayne with the Blood Grail with the Temple Of Eternity behind him. There is a song on the album that has nothing to do with the fantasy concept. It`s the song with the title I Still Believe In Metal. It`s more in the tradition of songs like Underdog and Lone Wolf. The track will close the circle to the album cover because I think I still believe in metal and Keep Metal Alive are the best words to express what it`s all about.
Some of the newer fans out there may not realize that you have actually penned lyrics for three albums, all of which tell the story of the Duke Of Damnation. Can you explain a little bit about the storyline of The Duke? Maybe catch some fans up on the tale thus far?
To be honest I never intended to write three concept albums in a row. Isn`t it funny? I don`t know any other band who does that. Anyway
it was more of a natural evolution. It all started with the chorus of Duke Of Damnation, "Twisted reality, twisted revelation, I'm the one who used to be the Duke Of Damnation. Thats all. No idea for a story. I only loved the sound of those words as in the song Damnation by AC/DC. After that I started with the lyrics of the Trilogy Of Agony which deals with a Vampire-lady who
seeks for revenge. Then I added 1 and 1 and began with lyrical links between the single tracks. Devil's Bite for example is about the axe of the Duke. Well yes, a few weeks later I loved the story about the collector of souls for myself. After contacting my artist Claude for the cover it all made sense. For the first time we had a real cover for one of our albums. The Duke knows very little about his origin. One of his victims-The Undead Vampire Lady-met him for a last battle in the Underworld only to understand that they are both puppets. On the Black Knight Legacy record I continued the story of the banished Duke, as his reincarnation Firehead, a figure from our Eternal Flame album. He was more an anti-here character. His legacy was to serve the Necronomicon against the evil Witch-Goddess. He had to fight against the Shadow Warriors with their leader Soul-Sorcerer. He made the ultimate sacrifice. He gave his life energy to destroy the evil reign of the Witch Goddess. That's where the new story begins. I really hope you like it.
What sort of influences gave you the idea for the Duke story? I know you are a huge comic book fan so I would guess that had a heavy effect on your writing.
Yes without a doubt you are right. Comic books like Spawn, Batman, and The Darkness were the main influences. Very important for their lyrics were and are the novels of a German series entitled Das Volk Der Nacht which means People Of The Night. Movies are influences too. In the new story line there are effects from motion pictures like Blade or God's Army, which is knows as the Prophecy trilogy with Christopher Walken in the US.
Looking back at the beginning of the band's career, the demo tape, "Dream Beyond A Dream" had Maxe on vocals. Why did he leave the band at that time and then come back?
Oh, he left after the second demo, Awake In Visions for personal reasons. He wanted to join another band which had a more hard rock style. The most important reason was that he had problems with our ex-keyboarder Christian. After the first CD our bassist Kanone and Christian left the band. So I asked him to come back, thats all. Kanone left because he had no more time because of his job. He is still a good friend. Christian left for musical reasons and started a career as a solo pop singer without success.
Keyboards played a huge role in the band's sound on the demo and on the first release, "Solitary Lunacy". Why did the band use keyboards then, and why were they disposed of after the first release? I hate keyboards so I'm glad you dropped that from your sound.
Funny to say but the reason was simple. We had no one around to play with us. Kanone and I bought instruments and were very happy to play the same chords at the same time. Andi on drums had a few experiences with other bands and Christian was a good musician. So we had the chance to start the band. I agree with you. I'm glad those times are over. I cannot say that I hate keyboards but after the second demo Christian only wanted to play piano and pop songs. So the ending was no surprise.
With the second album, "Eternal Flame", the band really came into its own. That album just simply blew me away. Like heavy Cathedral styled doom, Overkill, and Iced Earth. Did you get a big response from that album? Obviously it was a huge change in style, so did it confuse fans at all?
Another funny question. Our fans were shocked!!! They wanted Kanone and Christian back but I said sorry, No!!!! Eternal Flame was my vision how the band has to sound, 100% metal if they like it or not. I really thought that second album has to be our last album. I wanted to make the guy in the mirror very proud, and he still is. A few weeks later we got the first international reactions that made us happy. But it was always the same. Good reviews, less record sales. But we started to build a small die-hard fan foundation.
Up until this point in the band's career, how did the live gigs go? Were you being offered alot of shows at this time?
To tell the truth, no. It was and is only a question of money so we always played small self-organized shows in front of 100-200 fans. For Black Knight Legacy we played 11 shows. Sometimes we got no money for fuel or stuff like that so you cannot do that very often. The only thing I can tell is that I loved all shows although there weren't so much guys around. Before I forget, our last year's 10 Years Heavy birthday party with Bad Influence was great.
On "Elysium Dreams" , your sound stayed consistent with what "Eternal Flame" had offered...just heavy no holds barred heavy metal, the way it should be. With "Black Knight Legacy", I think the band improved on the chorus parts of the songs, and I really think the band has matured with each release. What do you think sets "Black Knight Legacy" apart from the "Eternal Flame" record?
Differences between the records? Well, that is a question I am not able to answer. You have to ask the other three guys. For me the attitude is always tthe same. To make the best possible songs. On Eternal Flame you hear most of the stuff I wanted to hear. Black Knight Legacy is more of a team record. The third album without a lineup change. I think Necronomicon is a good example of that. Cool song and yes, you are right, Eternal Flame is more a riff record. Black Knight is more about the songs and chorus parts. That is my intention with T.H. 5 Keep Metal Alive. To reach a new level with our own style. Heavier music with even more catchy tunes. On Black Knight Legacy you find a few special songs. The next record is more about the idea of 10 songs on the same level. I hope we will make it. But I'm really glad with the outcome. I love all 10 new tracks.
With the "Black Knight Legacy" release, the band got some distribution through Metal Merchant in Germany. How did that go? Did it help the band get alot of
No. At the start it didn't look bad at all. But nothing happened. We don't even sell enough records to pay all the production bills for Black Knight Legacy. But that was no surprise because the situation for the CD market is not so good at all.
Any record label interest thus far for the new album?
No. So I talked to my label W-Music again to work together for the next time. Well, they want to keep metal alive too. We will have to pay most of the production costs but thats okay. We think the next album is a record for the band and our die-hard fans. I'm glad to have fans like you. That's more than I can ask for.
Do you think the band will continue without any label support?
Yes. It was never a question of label support. If we still find the time for the band and if we still have fun with the music and if we still have die-hard fans we have no reason to give up. The situation never changed. We never had money or label support. To answer
We have talked about comics earlier and I'm a big comics fan myself. I like Spiderman, Daredevil, and X-Men. What were your thoughts on those comics being brought to Hollywood for the big screen. I personally didn't care for the Spiderman movie at all. Green Goblin looked robotic...hahahaha!!
I'm totally happy about that! Good times for comic and movie fans. Its like I'm a small child again. All the miracles and heroes in this dark world. For me its like a gift. Because I'll never deny the child in me with all the fantasy and imagination. X-Men 2 is one of the best films ever although I love X-Men one too. The dark touch of Daredevil was great. Well...the robotic Green Goblin was a little bit strange but the movie was great too. I'm looking for Hulk. Green rules.
Any new comics out there that you would suggest picking up?
Interesting question. I read and collect all kinds of comic books. There is only one comic book I still read as US original: The Darkness because I cannot await a German release. What else? Well I still pick up X-Men/Wolverine/Spider-Man/Thor from Marvel, Batman/Green Lantern/Flash from DC. Spawn/Witchblade/The Darkness from Image and Scion/Mystic/Sojourn/Ruse from Cross-Gen comics. Much cool stuff.
If you could do a special "one night only" guest spot for a band, what band would it be?
Without question the one and only Overkill from New Jersey. Still the best. As you might know I'm a member of German's Skullkrusher. We try to meet again at BYH 2003 in Balingen as last year. Great fun.
Any newer metal bands in Germany right now that you would recommend to the US fans?
Yes, Bad Influence from Hamburg. Cool music and great human beings. Join them. Their link is on our homepage. And well....a link to Skullkrushers Germany too.
Well, Sammy, I guess that about wraps it up. We really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you and we wish Wolf's Moon the best of luck. You will always have your American Wolfpack for support...hahaha! Good luck on the new album and please share all the news with us!!
Again...thank you very much for this occasion and your undying support. Without you we are nothing. All the best and keep metal alive.