Interview with Cannon vocalist Mat Rein Jaehnke - 10.21.2005 by EC

For those of you unaware, German hard rock legends Cannon have reunited and returned with a brand new album, "Back In Business", available now through Point Music. This is the first recording from the band in six years, and only the group's third full length release in their nineteen year history. "Back In Business" is a fantastic metal record, and a solid effort that puts Cannon back into the hearts and minds of rock fans worldwide.

Maximum Metal's EC had the opportunity to chat with vocalist Mat Rein Jaehnke about the band's beginnings and the decision to reunite once again for the release of the new album.

Well Mat, did you ever think that you would be sitting here in 2005 talking about the brand new Cannon album?

MJ - No, not really. It's great to be back and be able to rock the people again.

As many fans know, hard rock music has really had a roller coaster ride, from the early 90s glam era through the basic termination of the genre due to grunge in the mid to late 90s. Cannon cut their teeth in the 80s, creating a rock and roll vision that is equal to the likes of Scorpions, Def Leppard, and Accept. Why did you and the rest of the members decide that 2005 would be the year to return to the metal community?

MJ - It was not planned. After we got the offer in 2004 for the release of "The History" from Point-Music it was clear for all of us that we want to record new songs and release a new album as soon as possible.

The band has been really busy the last two years. For starters Point Music, the band's label, released "The History" in 2004. That compilation featured the band's first album "Thunder & Lightning" as well as the previously unreleased album from '91 called "Timeriders". Now in 2005 "Back In Business" has been released. Do you feel that this new album is in the same style as the previous two efforts?

MJ - Yes, I think so. Listen to songs like "Back in Business", "Stand up and fight" or "Hellfire". These are all songs which could be also included on the previous albums.

For the most part this is a "feel good" record that really brings back that glory of the 80s. What sort of mindset was the band in when writing this new album?

MJ - You got it. "Feeling good - having fun", that is our reason for making music and it's also our mindset. Don't understand me wrong. We don't still live in the 80s. We all are living in the here and now but we love the spirit and musical style of this time period.

What has been the fan response to the record? Do they enjoy this release more than the band's treasured debut "Thunder & Lightning"?

MJ - I don't know if the fans like the new CD more than our older stuff. The fan reactions for BIB are great. We got mails from fans all over the world. They really like the album and they want to get more CANNON CDs in the future.

Point Music has always been involved in fantastic hard rock and metal releases, in the past releasing gems from the likes of Unrest, Front Tears, etc. How did Cannon come to an agreement with the label and has the label done a proper job with promoting the band and releases?

MJ - We got the Point deal by dint of Georg Siegl from AOR Heaven. He transferred our old stuff to Point and they gave us the offer to release "The History". Yes, Point has done a proper job. They gave us all the rights to do what we want. They made it possible to release "The History" the and BIB with great cover artwork and a special digipack version for BIB.

Did you get a chance to play any festivals over the summer in support of the record?

MJ - No, at this time there are no plans for playing live. The first reason is that CANNON has no regular drummer at this time. Walter plays drums in the studio and for live activities we need a session drummer. That's expensive and need's a lot of time. The second reason is that the actual status of the band is not high enough to get good festival gigs or a tour support.

Let's go back to the band's beginnings for a moment. Tell me, what were you doing prior to Cannon? Were you singing in another group before founding Cannon?

MJ - I was singing in several local bands in my hometown (Peine near Hanover) before we founded CANNON in 1986.

How did the band members originally meet and how did the name Cannon get chosen as the group's name?

MJ - The other guys played in and around Hanover in several local bands in the early 80s. I first met the other guys in July 1986. There was no special reason for our group name. We liked the word and we thought it is the right word to describe our music short and directly...

In 1987 the group recorded the debut "Thunder & Lightning". What was the goals of the band early on and what sort of influences did the band have when writing and recording the first record?

MJ - The goals were to become a professional musician, to earn money with the music and (last but not least) to get famous. This are the same goals that always young musicians have. Our influences: Scorpions, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Dokken, Icon. We liked the American way of life and the music from L.A. and California at this time. We didn't wanted to sound like typical german bands.

Also in 1987 Cannon appeared on radio for the first time, a live feed through NDR 2 in Germany. What sort of reaction did you get after the radio appearance?

MJ - Oh, that was great. The radio show was short before New Years eve 1987 and NDR 2 was a very popular station in northern Germany at this time. The situation was crazy because the album wasn't released and it was our first radio show. And this show was LIVE. The reactions were great and we got some other radio shows in 1988 in whole Germany because the people knew the band name CANNON and because of this show.

What bands do you remember playing with on the road then?

MJ - We played Festivals with Sweet, Lawdy, Bonfire, The Lords, Extrabreit, Victory and we toured with many local bands in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium and France. I think you won't know the most of the bands names.

In early '88 the band made another public appearance in the media, this time on a TV special. Let me ask you, do you still have a tape of that television appearance? I would love to see that or see someone convert that to a DVD release!

MJ - Yes we've got the tape, but it wasn't mixed and the sound needs refreshment. We'll see - when we have time we'll convert the tape to a DVD. But I don't think that we'll release this DVD official maybe via our website.

"We don't still live in the 80s. We all are living in the here and now but we love the spirit and musical style of this time period."
Tragedy struck the band in 1991, with someone stealing the band's recordings for their second album. Let me ask you, was that recording ever recovered?

MJ - No, they never catch the thieves and recordings were never recovered. That's the reason for the demo versions of the songs on the "Timerides" part on "The History" CD.

In 1992 original drummer Mats Toralf quits the band. What was the reason behind his departure and why didn't he join in for the recording of the new album "Back In Business"?

MJ - Mats departed 1992 for the first time and in May 1994 for the second and last time. The reason for both departures is the same - musical differences. A further reason might be that he wanted to play gigs with cover songs like a cover band (to get better gigs) and we didn't want to play only songs of other musicians. We wanted to play our own stuff. But it was difficult as this time, because the grunge music was everywhere and a melodic metal band like CANNON couldn't get good gigs. The reason that he isn't a part of the band reunion is very simple. He doesn't play drums anymore. He worked as a technician with his own company and is very busy.

The band had numerous problems in the early to mid 90s, from losing the drummer, having the second recording stolen, and eventually having you quit the band. What was the status of the band by 1996? Had everyone just given up and accepted that the band had too much misfortune to continue?

MJ - The status of the band in 1996 was not so good. We tried to find a drummer. We worked with numerous musicians but it was very difficult to find a drummer with the "right standard". Don't forget, we played together for 10 years.

Tell me Mat, why did you leave the band and decide to quit singing?

MJ - I left the band for professional reasons. I worked (and I am still working) for the Volkswagen Bank in the IT-departure and the job was extremely busy for me at this time. At this time I didn't want to sing in another band and over the years there were no interesting bands in my region.

Explain to us the events that led to Cannon becoming active again musically in 2003?

MJ - The first time we spoke about a reunion was in September 2003. Three months earlier I met my old band mate Steve at the Whitesnake concert in Hanover for the first time after 7 years. As I said before, then we got the offer for "The History" release and bang! - we were back in business...

Now the band is back together, with the previous two albums out as a reissue, a new record out, and basically a whole new beginning. Do you see the band recording another album and continuing on or this just a one time thing?

MJ - Yes, this is a whole new beginning. I would say CANNON Part 2. There will be a new CANNON album in 2006. We're just recording the pre-production for the next CD. All I can say: if you think BIB rocks than you will love the new one.

Well Mat, wrapping this up, let's do a quick little word game. I will list an artist, band, movie, song, album, or whatever else I can think of and you quickly must list the first few words that come to mind. Don't spend more than 5 seconds on each one. Here goes....

MJ - Great german metal, classic sound

David Lee Roth
MJ - More showman than a good singer, but that was Van Halen Part 1

Bugs Bunny
MJ - I loved to watch him on TV when I was a child

MJ - Same hometown, Walter learned playing drums by Herman Rarebell

Britney Spears
MJ - Pop plastic

H.P. Lovecraft
MJ - ???

Def Leppard
MJ - Great hardrock from 1979 to 1981, today good poprock with their own style

Heaven Or Hell
MJ - Die young, one of the greatest Metal CDs ever

Bruce Dickinson
MJ - Great singer but he was never better than at the first Iron Maiden tour 1982

MJ - Great event but never seen in Germany

Ronnie James Dio
MJ - One of my favorite singers

MJ - Hey I'm coming from Germany!!! I know what beer has to taste like!

MJ - I never smoke

Thin Lizzy
MJ - Great band; Phil Lynott died to early - it's a shame

MJ - Who the F..K is that?

President George Bush
MJ - No comment

MJ - Not my kind of living

Pro Wrestling
MJ - Hulk Hogan

Old Age
MJ - Everybody is so young he likes to be..

Okay Mat, we thank you for your time and we wish Cannon the absolute best of luck in the future! It is great to have the band back together and releasing a killer record like "Back In Business". Thanks for reuniting and thanks for taking the time to talk to us!


Mat Rein JaehnkeEric Compton12/29/2005

Back In Business
Eric Compton11/29/2005
The History
Eric Compton9/15/2005
Thunder & Lightning
Eric Compton9/16/2005

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