2013. március 14.

Helloween 2013 – Michael Weikath

The german heavy/power metal band, Helloween just released it’s 11th studio album in January, and a few weeks later went on tour that got the name Hellish Rock part II. On their side with Gamma Ray again they travel around Europe and approaching several eastern cities. More and more reason I got for an interview, so I didn’t hesitate when got the chance to ask the guitarist and former member Michael Weikath about the new record, some news and interesting things connected to him. He answered more than enough, as we had a nice and friendly conversations.

Szapy: “Straight Out Of Hell” has just hit #4 in Germany and scored the highest position in band history! And became 2nd in Japan. What could you tell about this, or how you feel?
M.Weikath: Yes, on the international charts, but eleven on the national Japanese charts, which isn’t bad either. That’s a great result, that’s a great outcome. Actually it makes you excited  of think about it of what’s going  to happen next and after that. But it already shows, that it  has a really great impact that shows that ’s nobody will ’worse’ expecting it. And it’s looking very good., and you get a feeling of pride. And then you think, you’gotta do some extra efforts, to do things good. 

Szapy: As I saw, Andy had this sentence: „We will all survive the year 2012 and face an even more positive and energetic future.” Well, you made it.
M. Weikath: Yeah, yeah, depends on when he said that :) But for right now, it’s looking good now, we just ’need to ecexute everything properly and then things could be running quite good.  But, ’ you know’ there’s been so many situatuons in the past, when you were thinking that you had everything in your hand and then everything  changed. And it wasn’t as you would it expected and so on. We’re always on the careful side. Being a bit cautios about predictioncs  of what’s going to happen. But what’s just happening right now is a very-very interesting time.

Yosha: This is the third record with the same group, without any changes, seems to me that the band has been complete for these years.
M.Weikath: It could… maybe even be more, if you count the ’Unarmed’ and the other things, the Life Record that has been the collaboration. Anyway, it’s been almost ten years now. And that’s a very good impact also for the fan, for the listener. This new album have been done by people who have been working like this for ten years already, and who seem to get along quite well. And that’s another positive impact, you know. It’s the manifestation of how many in between the band members or that they’re having a good time or the things are working out in between them. And that’s really good that something I would really like to keep, everybody would like to keep. Anything else just would be another nightmare. But this aspect I think it’s also adding to the general positive impact and effects that you get listening to the new album. And the other one that has been done, have been done by the same people and it’s really great and retrospect.

Yosha: We heard about plans like a Reunion Tour, but in this case, maybe it wouldn’t be so great for the current band.
M.Weikath: No, not at all. And that’s what I say. Michael Kiske recently posted some things on his website and his forum, where he said like ’he will not do anything like a reunion, but somebody is dreaming about in the open interviews’. And I must correct that I wasn’t dreaming about anything, just answering questions that people ask me. I either reunion as little as anyone else. Or him. And that’s something that maybe he didn’t understand. Maybe it was put forward to him in a different way, not like this. Not like somebody said: ’Ah, that you know, Mike was dreaming about a reunion again, what you say about that?’ If it was brought to him that way, it’s understandable what he said on his page. And I can only answer, if a management wants to do particular things at all, it depends on him, if he would be willing to do things like that. People asked, because you know the rumour of reunion in 2014 or whatever. And these have only been the questions that I answered when that came up in other interviews before. And there are possibilities, because we have a great management. A great management could organize a reunion like that. And it wouldn’t be much of a problem, they would do it. And it’s quite possible, it’s just dependig on all the people who would be involved. And if he doesn’t wanna do anything like that, well, I also don’t wanna do anything like that. I have no time for stuff like that actually. We have lots of good things to do with this Helloween line-up. That’s always like kind of a sad point, and the daily conversation when you find that there are so much ’entire position’ and they’re still a bit of misunderstanding. And everything that goes with it. So like maybe he misunderstood my position or the other way around or people have read it, heard it… Lot’s of misunderstandings. And we had so much of that in the past. Sometimes you want to have sincerity and you want to know what you’re doing. That odds to a good feel. And with this album we have a great chance to have something like that. And we actually have the Hellish Rock part II with Gamma Ray. And so that’s a bit of that thing, where there shouldn’t be any difficulties actually because it’s been proven that the first tour went on quite well and we all had a great and funny time. It was quite entertaining. And you know, when you all have those things, uhhh, problems, misunderstanding. I never liked that.

Szapy:  By introducing the new album, you mentioned, that it’s a consequent development of the two earlier ones (7 sinners and Gambling with the devil). What do you mean under this?
M.Weikath: Well, they’re combined, because they were done by the same band and also they were done with the same fashion of producing. Beacuse we sent demos on the internet server, where everybody could download it, so we could say, all done the  same way. Which you couldn’t possibly say about the Keeper’s Legacy, where we spent time int he rehersal room and exchanged ideas live between the members. It takes a lot of time and whatever. Sometimes it not even as effect if someone sits down and does a proper demo for everyone to listen to with all the supposed ideas in there already. Then you can easily go and do a great records, provide that you have a good stuff. And that’s what I meant. These albums are not so different from each other. They’re kind on interchangeable, that’s what I would say. You can put 7 Sinners, you can put the Gambling with the devil, and Straight out of hell, you can make a big sampler out of it. And you would sense, ok, these’re the same people. You would have a big ball of all the tracks on these albums collected, and you could shuffle them actually. And then you have your dislikes and your preferences naturally.  

Szapy: As I checked the lyrics, is there maybe a little bit of criticising on people/society in the song Asshole and Nabatea?
M.Weikath: Asshole is just directed, towards who are people, who are actually assholes, who steal your energy, who give you bad time, who you don’t enjoy being with beacuse they give you some negative tension. And they steal your energy as I said before, which is never good. And there’s nobody in particular or being addressed by that song. By the way Sascha said in a  few interviews  - when I heard what he said- was also a sing along song if you’re like in a bad situation and somebody really pissed you off a few minutes ago and you can at least hum that melody ’He’s an asshole…tadada, tadada’  and maybe it makes that situation a little bit better . So I also see that in really positive way. Nabatea is not entirely criticising society, whatever, but actually in a way, well when conquerors come and want to destroy things and they want to assert something , then that’s the criticism about things the Nabateans for themselves.  I think they had a flourishing society, and they were kind of rich and wealthy. Strange thing about it, somehow they were banished. As the Maya. There’s no way of telling where they possibly went.

Szapy: And how did you find the story of Nabatea?
M.Weikath: Well, it was Andy, wathced Indiana Jones, and in that movie the portal of Cathedral or something of the town Petra, the capital is shown in the movie. And that’s the original from Petra. That area is somewhere between Israel and Palestine, where it’s now (and also Jordan - ed.), and that’s kind of strange because it was built in to rocks.  You couldn’t find acces from outside easily and it took until 1901 or something ’till a swiss went there and found it, where it was. (History: the swiss explorer found it in 1812, and 100 years later, Lawrence of Arabia was there during the first world war - ed.) I think it must have been quite some effort to uncover all that. Strange. It took so long. People had aeroplanes before they had expeditions, and archeological people and whatever. Before, it was just a legend, and people assumed that it’s just like another legend like Atlantis, something you can’t prove. And then they actually found it. Incredible.

Szapy: Another interesting thing I read about, that you don’t like using social networks, and it’s about privacy. But on the other side, nowadays it’s necessary tu use it for the band.
M.Weikath: Yes, that’s what we’re doing too, and there’s an official Helloween Facebook or Twitter, whatever, but that’s not my world. Maybe in the past I’ve been exposed too much ignorance. That I know, could possibly happen if I expose myself to that. And let people say, whatever they think, just can’t be a good thing for me, if I did that. Everybody has my email, it’s kind of public, so what’s wrong with writing me stuff? Unfriendly mails I delete or I tell the people please shut up, or I block them, and that’s the kind of control I’d like to have. All those things. On Facebook there’s no control at all. Actually the people who think, they can use it like that, They are actually mistaken, maybe they’re also a little bit naive. I think in the future it will be shown  what is wrong  on facebook and things like that. Because you don’t have the security instruments that you need, and you being sold as the customer that you are. Because all FB is interested in your personal data. Because they want to sell it to somebody and want to send you advertising. If people won’t ignore that, it’s ok, but I think it’s very ignorant. And very dangerous. Everyone I talk to, they usually say ’yeah, I know, somehow right, uhum’ and that’s what it is. Don’t think that will be nothing after you used at all. I have one idea just that there are some real idea behind it but I didn’t put anything on there, and I actually stayed on there. I think it says fuck FB or something, like the main comment on there it is. They can delete me if they don’t like my comment, but I made one idea. And actually even with that I only have trouble, people think they have to write me there. I blocked all the things that coud possibly be shown to the public and all I get is messages, the only thing I permitted. And then I usually write back that ’please use my email’. It’s also written int he profile. So if they still writing on FB expecting me to get it, the only thing I get is a notification to my email that somebody wrote me yet again, and I don’t get into my head. I don’t see what’s good about that. 

Yosha: Last year,when you’ve been to Hungary, didn’t play so much from the album 7 Sinners. Could you tell me, what was the reason?
M.Weikath: Well, there were voices of people they wanted this kind of material and that kind of material and then we ended up with the setlist that we had. And we actually thought it was a good one. And some people also thought it was good, or we had great concerts, people were cheering, we had super T-shirt sales and stuff. So that’s always an indicator for that the people liked the concert and that’s criticisim. We took the thing that’s possible and could to do, and this time around we’re coming with a few more tracks from Straight out of hell. And the overall setlist will be different, there will be many tracks we actually never played before or the stuff from the new record. The public opinion is changing sometimes. There was a time when they wanted us to play more classical songs of the Keeper-era, and when we did that, they were quickly satisfied and saturated with that. And then asking for other things. So this time around we only try to play what has been said recently. We try to make it that way. 

Szapy: And there’s one more thing, I found. As you like many kind of music and bands, there’s an old one, which is only well known in Germany, Extrabreit. How did that one came to you?
M.Weikath: Well, there are tracks, like ’Flieger grüß mir die sonne’ and ’Rote Rosen’ that collaboration with Hildegard Knef. They’ve got a few great melodies, they were doing that in ’82 and there’s a bit of Helloween in there already. Namely you take some standed melodies, and make some rock song out of it. That’s what I like about it. That’s also happening with the stuff  like the Sex Pistol’s My Way. That’s kinda ’Helloweenish’ already. Becasue you’re taking great melodies, and you put them into heavy rock. All the other way around: you take some heavy stuff and you make great melodic sounding stuff out of it. It’s also possible. And that stuff I was like. Extrabreit has done about two numbers that were really like quite extraordinary. The other stuff ws kind of regular.

Szapy: Well, that’s it, thank you for the answers!

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