Jens Becker bass player for Grave Digger by EC - 02.07.03 --NEW

Jens Becker Discography
Running Wild-Under Jolly Roger
Running Wild-Ready For Boarding
Running Wild-Port Royal
Running Wild-Death Or Glory
Running Wild-Blazon Stone
X-Wild-So What
X-Wild-Monster Effect
Grave Digger-Knights Of The Cross
Grave Digger-Excalibur
Grave Digger-The Grave Digger
Grave Digger-Tunes Of Wacken
Grave Digger-Rheingold

Band Website
Nuclear Blast
Jens Becker

On behalf of everyone here at Maximum Metal, we are very grateful for you allowing us to do an interview. Its so hard for Americans to learn about German metal. It's fairly easy to get news and tourdates on certain bands, but not as easy to get info on the band members themselves. We are very excited about this opportunity. Lets start by getting a little insight for the fans on what you are doing these days. I know you have just finished recording the new Grave Digger album, "Rheingold". How did the recording session go and can you tell us a little bit about the album?

Yes, we've just finished mixing the new album last week, and we all like the end result very much. This album is called 'Rheingold' and its story is based on Richard Wagner's 'The Ring of the Nibelungs'. The music is a little bit more back to the older albums.

You are such a musical influence on so many bands. You are really a living legend when it comes to German power metal. You have been with great bands such as Running Wild, X-Wild, and Grave Digger. Looking back to the beginning, how did you first get involved with metal? What were some early influences that made you want to do this for a living?

Thank you for your compliments. I started playing bass at the age of 14, and my favorite influence was always AC/DC. Of course over the years, I liked a lot of bands and musicians, but AC/DC has been following me so far.

You played bass for Running Wild early on, recording some albums and did some touring, what led to your departure?

It was not my decision. Rolf simply didn't want to work with me anymore, but in fact I don't know the real reason, for he never told me. Anyway, this happened so long ago, that I don't care anymore. It was a nice time with Running Wild, and I recorded 5 albums with the band. This was a milestone for my career, and also my start into the professional music business. Anyway, I should say I'm much more happier now.

After Running Wild you recorded three albums for X-Wild, "So What","Monster Effect", and "Savageland". I really enjoyed those albums and thought the band was really on its way to huge success after "Savageland" was released. What happened to X-Wild and where did the band members go?

Well, this is a complex story. It's difficult to explain, but the main point was that we simply didn't sell enough albums to carry on. I also liked the music, but the fans didn't but it. I have no contact to the other members anymore. I only met Frank Knight once when I played in London with Grave Digger, and, last week, Stefan Schwarzmann called me. He's probably the new drummer of Helloween.

"...my favorite influence was always AC/DC."
Was there any backlash from Running Wild for using the name X-Wild?

No. Rolf probably didn't like the idea, but we had no problems at all.

I have read some articles where you mention working with bands Crossroads and Kingdom Come. What type of bands were they and what was your role with them?

I recorded one album for Crossroads called 'Hype'. They were a German heavy-metal band, and they knew me from Blazon Stone Tour where they opened for Running Wild. The other support band was Raven, also one of my favorite bands. For Kingdom Come, I only played one tour in 1997. Kingdom Come was a platinum selling band in the USA at the 80s. They were on Monsters of Rock Tour together with Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken, etc. Unfortunately, these times were already over when I did the tour. Haha!

Moving on to your current position now with Grave Digger, what led to joining that band? Had you done any touring with Grave Digger with your other bands?

Yes, we supported Grave Digger with X-Wild on their Heart of Darkness Tour in 1995. They know me from this tour, and in 1997 Uwe Lulis called me asking if I was interested in joining the band.

When metal fans think of German power/thrash, they think of Helloween, Rage, Grave Digger, Running Wild, Gamma Ray, Kreator, etc. Is there a type of brotherhood between these bands? Do the bands all get along with each other and try to help one another?

Well, of course we know all these bands, and when we meet it's always funny. However, I would not say that we help each other.

What are the current plans for Grave Digger this year? Can we expect any festival appearances?

The real Rheingold Tour will start only in January 2004. We have only some festivals this year, such as the Blind Guardian Open Air in June. And, this Saturday we'll be playing in Moscow, Russia.

I've just recently purchased the Grave Digger-Tunes Of Wacken DVD. Its amazing how great the Wacken performance really was. Seeing the band play great classics like "Knights Of The Cross", "Heavy Metal Breakdown", and "Circle Of Witches" was quite a spectacle. How hard was it to play that show live in front of that many people, and to play it live while it is being recorded for a video and cd?

It's always something special to play for so many people. However, after all these years, I'm not nervous anymore, even when a show is being recorded.

In 2001, metal pioneer U.D.O came to the states for two very successful tours. I got a chance to talk to him at a show in Virginia and I asked him who he would like to bring over for the next trip back to the states. He laughed and immediately said Grave Digger. What do you think the chances are for Grave Digger to play live in the US? I know at one point there was talk of you guys playing the Classic Metal Festival last year. Is there any hope for the future?

Haha! Good old UDO... Yeah, we would like to play in the USA of course! But, let's face it - I don't think there are enough Grave Digger fans in your country for a real tour. Maybe a festival some day.

Well in wrapping up, what are your thoughts for the future of metal? Any promising bands on the horizon? What are some of your favorite "new" heavy metal bands?

Metal will always exist. It's only divided into many different styles and trends nowadays, but I'll still open for everything. On the other hand, when I'm home listening to some CD's, I prefer my old heroes.

Is there anyone in the metal community that you would like to meet or work with that you haven't worked with previously?

I would like to play bass for AC/DC of course. Or Metallica, Haha! Ozzy's band would also be cool.

Anything you would like to say to your fans in America?

I hope there'll be a chance for me to play in the USA some day. I've been all over the world now, but never in North America. So...give 'Rheingold' a chance!

For a touch of humor before we finish up, which band can drink more beer at one sitting--Grave Digger or Running Wild? Also, how many pair of lederhosen do you own? HaHa!!

There's no doubt that Grave Digger would win. Haha! I own 4 pairs of Lederhosen.

Thank you very much for your time and if there is anything any of us here at Maximum Metal can do for you just let us know.

Eric Compton
Maximum Metal

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