Running Wild has definitely make a comeback with their latest issue. Rapid Foray sounds very much like their best efforts from late 80s or 90s. Also, Wacken show during 2015 was indeed great and it was also heralding comeback. While Rapid Foray is warmly welcome by the fans all over the world I had a talk with legendary Rolf Kasparek (Rock’N’Rolf). We have talked about the latest records, their show at Wacken 2015, something form the past, and we touched some plans for the future as well…
I would like to start the interview with the first question, it is obviously about the new record, so please, could you for the very beginning tell us something about the new record, from your point of view?
Well, at first place it’s a record in which I’ve put a lot of work into. Because I’ve started out around late 2013., I really started out with colecting all the ideas, bits and pieces, starting out with that. And it was a little bit of a problem because in the beginning of 2014. I broke my right shoulder so I really couldn’t work properly, I couldn’t play guitar at all for about half of year. But then I could start out play (some) about half an hour a day and going through the ideas and everything. So I had a lot of time to just collect the ideas and think about the cover and think about the lyrics itself and the record in general. So I had a lot of time and also when I was collecting the ideas for such a long time I had about 32-35 different song ideas, basic ideas, which I could pick these 10 songs and it became 11, because I had this idea for this small piece of instrumental and I just could pull the ideas from that big kind of pool, so to speak, of ideas, and it really took a lot of time to work on the arrangements because I figured out very early that these songs belong pretty much to what was Running Wild’s classic stuff in the ’90s or the late 80s, something like that and they needed more work in the detail and the arrangement, so I had a lot of work to do there. When we did the Wacken open air the last year, 2015. I tried to work in a parallel way on the album on one hand and on the other hand doing the auditions to find the new musicians we need and also doing the preparations for doing the show, but it didn’t work out so I had to take the second break then and put it down again, and when I finished the show in Wacken I could go back to the album. So, there were a lot of different things and I had to build up a new studio and there were a lot of things going on between us, before when I was starting out with collecting the first audios until I had the real preproduction to make. So it look a long time and I’ve put a lot of work into that and I’m really proud on what we’ve achieved for the album.
The next one is actually, you have a brand new record out – Rapid Foray, but there is also this kind of old pirate vibe, a little bit, when it comes to Running Wild, so was there any decision before you started to write the songs that this new record will be much more into, or with the old vibe when it comes to Running Wild.
No, not really, because when I started out, I just started out collecting ideas. When I finished, at the end I started out with new ideas, because I knew we wouldn’t play live that year and so I started out with collecting the ideas and when I put everything together and had the idea for the title Rapid Foray and for the cover itself, it turned out to be pretty much more classical stuff, not because I tried intentionally to write this stuff, but it just came out of all the ideas I could pick for the album, I figured out that the album was different than two albums before that, pretty much more into what Running Wild was all about in the past.
That is actually the next question, because there is already a lot of people just saying that Rapid Foray, the new record, is a kind of a true Running Wild that should have been released just right after reformation. So what is your opinion now about your previous two albums, when it comes to Shadowmaker and Resilient and the new record, it seems that people are much more satisfied with the new record, compared to previous ones. What’s your opinion about that?
You have to see I stopped doing Running Wild around 2006., something like that. It was 2009. with the show we played at the WOA, I just said goodbye to Running Wild three years before that, so we really took a break and really put it down, so Shadowmaker was the first attempt to go back to that and I just did what I wanted and I just did what I felt was right at the time and it’s a great album. It’s not what some people expected Running Wild to be, I know that, but it was the first step to do that and Resilient was the second step. So these two albums were pretty much necessary to find my way back to what Running Wild is all about, and this is Rapid Foray and the year 2016., because I never tried just doing more copies of what we did back 20 or 25 years ago, that wouldn’t make any sense. It should be just RW 2016. heading for the future. So this is pretty much the way it has to go, these two albums were part of the way, so to speak.
As a matter of fact, you did one really great show at Wacken last year, previous year, I was there, so could you tell us something more about that, especially when it comes to DVD, I’m not particularly sure Wacken will release some songs, but do you plan maybe to release it on DVD, or something like that?
We didn’t talk about that so far because I was too busy with the album in the first place, and I’m now pretty much busy with doing all the interviews because I’m doing inteviews straight for two months, every day, and there’s a lot work into it. And I really can’t make up my mind if we want to do anything with the material we have, because we have great material from the show. But we’ll see in the future, really can’t tell you now, because I’m so much busy now with the album and with preparations and all that, then it comes down that we think about doing the next year some festival shows because ICS from WOA will work for me as a touring agency and they get all the offers in from festivals all over Europe and we will figure out what we can do in the next two months and we will see what we’ll do for the next year. We talked about that once, not really planned to do anything, we will see what the future brings, maybe, I don’t know.
That is actually supposed to be my next question – when it comes to future shows, definitely there is a comeback when it comes to Running Wild with three new records, with really succesfull Wacken show as well, you say that you also have many offers from various festivals across the Europe, so could you tell us something more about that, do you plan to have only festival shows, or maybe a tour, because there are definitely people who are still following Running Wild and they are in huge numbers as well.
Well, there will definitely be no touring at all, it’s just that we will do some festivals next year all over Europe and we’ll see what we can do, like I said before. There’s also the plan to do some event shows around Christmas the next year also in Germany and this is what we’ve planned today, but first we’ll have to see what will happen with the album because it’s really exploding, so to speak, it’s really going very, very, very well. And we really have to see what comes up to the future and to the next month, and to the end of the year, then we can decide what we will do. But there will be no touring at all because I’ve got these problems, because of my private life I really can’t go for a long time away from my home and that’s why we really can’t do a proper tour.
Also, you mentioned as well some problems finding the right musicians, some of them you were trying actually to find the right musicians for Running Wild, some of them were like Jorg Michael, Jens Becker, etc., so why is it such a problem to find the proper musicians in Running Wild and at the end of the day, have you solved this problem right now?
The problem has been solved because the guys that played the WOA show will stay as a band together and because when we played for the first time together it was pretty much magic in the room, there was pretty much a kind of chemistry into the band, and even the four of us go very, very well along with each other concerning the personal thing. And also on the musical side, Ole is a great bass player and Michael is a great drummer and they play very well together, even they’ve never played in a band before together. It’s pretty much magic that goes on there, so that’s why we released this photo to show that these four guys are a real band when it comes to the live stuff. When it comes to the studio RW is a solo project with hired guns, even the two were involved in the production of the album, Michael played some stuff on the album, he didn’t play all the songs, but he played some stuff on the album. And Ole was also involved, because we did all the choirs together, all the choruses and everything, so everybody in the band was involved in the production in some way. We’re really looking at the future to see what we can do as a live band because we’re pretty much proud on what we’ve achieved when we look back at the show at Wacken, because it was pretty much a really great band, not sounding like a band that played for the first time together.
Well, one question is definitelly running when it comes to Running Wild, it is a legendary band now, and some of your records are definitelly classic records, not only from the musical side, but also from the visual side with the cover artworks especially, etc. Some say even that the last year at Wacken some of your t-shirts were sold out very fast etc., so definitelly RW has it’s classical status when it comes to bands.So, what is your opinion about that, how do you look from your point of view, definitely you are proud about that, but is there any kind of pressure? You said you’ve been doing interviews already for two months.
Well, there’s not a real pressure, you know, RW is bigger than ever before, this is for sure, we were the headlining band in Wacken and we were the festival headliners and that’s what other people call on for us, to have RW as a headlining band for the festival and so the band is really growing. Even when we stopped for a few years and we didn’t do any records and any shows and anything. This is a new starting point, we started out with the first step we made, it was Shadowmaker and the second was Resilient, and we are today with an album called Rapid Foray and I’m really proud on the album and I think we can reach a lot of things with that. And it’s out for nearly a week and it’s going so well all over the world and we look forward to that.
What can you tell us now about this, since when it comes to RW, there is always this kind of an old pirate thing vibe. Especially when it comes to ’90s, RW was very famous by the cover artworks especially when it comes to some music or late ’80s as well. So, what can you tell us about this, today you have some bands who are trying to sell their stuff under the flag of being pirate metal, but definitelly you are inovators, you are originators, so what can you tell us about that, abou this so called pirate like style?
We started out with not sitting around together and thinking about having a gimmick, or something like that, it just happened to RW, it just happened because just of one song I had idea for when we were writing for the third album. It just came around, there was no real masterplan behind that, it was just that it came around and we started out with and it became very early and very quickly that the people said that this is the pirate metal band from Hamburg at that days. And it was kind of a trade mark that always standed, we never did a full record about that topic because it would be too limiting musically. If you think about that pirate stuff, you’ve got certain ideas, melodies and everything, that are different if you just write a normal heavy metal track. It was also sort of a chance to create some unique stuff, that’s what we did in the past and that’s we wanted to do with this kind of album because there’s a lot of trademarks from the old RW stuff involved in there, and it is pretty much a modern version of RW, 2016., but there’s a lot of stuff that goes back to the past and shows where RW is coming from.
These days, if you heard that also one old record (?) Noise records from Germany is actually reactivated and they said actually that they have just released RW best of album as well. Actually what do you think, there were lots of speakings about Noise records, probably you know much more than me about past 10 or 20 years, and all these happenings, but what is your opinion about this reactivity when it comes to Noise records and those years? That was actually the strongest time when it comes to German metal.
It was very sad that it was not on the market for such a long time, but there were so many problems with Sanctuary as a record company going down, and you know they also bought all the rights for that and they didn’t want to do anything, I don’t know why you bought anything not to do anything with it, I don’t see it, but they did it. And so now the BMG has bought everything and they want to relaunch a new label called Noise II and they want to put out all the old records on, and not only on cd, but also on vinyl which would never happen before back then with the new albums. So it’s really a great oportunity for especially the old and also the new fans that never had the chance to buy the original albums then, because they were no more on the market since 20 years or 15 years, or something like that and it’s a great oportunity to get all the classical stuff from the ’90s and the late ’80s. It will start around april the next year as far as I’m informed about that. They will restart to put out one album after the other, so they will bring out all of the old albums that were originally on Noise records, on vynil and on cd.
And definitelly the last question is about the new record, lyrical background, so what can you tell us about the lyrical background? Have you returned to maybe some old topics, old themes or found a new one, what can you tell us about this lyrical background?
It’s totally different stuff on the album, I think it’s the most varied album of RW if you have a look on the whole career for RW, because we did so much different stuff on that and there are songs about the pirate stuff like “Black Skies, Red Flag” or “Rapid Foray”, or “Black Bart” which is about Bartholomew Roberts, one of the most succesfull pirates of all times that really lived, he was a real person. And there’s also some material on what is happening now, if you have a look on the song called “Warmongers”, there’s a lot of war going on in the world and war will be there definitely untill the time when people can’t make money off of that. This is always the reason for war, to make money from that. And on the other hand, there’s so much different stuff, like the song “Last of the Mohicans” which based on the novel by James Fenimore Cooper, which is a really great story and it was very, very hard work to get this story into such a short song, it’s just 11 minutes, but it is a complex story I told in the whole song, not only the lyrics, but also musically. So there’s a lot of different stuff on the album, themes with today’s things going on and on classical stuff from the pirate things and also from the Western stuff, the song like “Into The West” which is part of American history, how they won the West. So there’s nearly everything you know Running Wild for, or RW is known for.
Well Rolf, I would like to thank you for the interview, I wish you all the best and looking forward definitely to see you in some festivals next year, all the best!
- Interview done by Marko Miranovic
- Typed by Jadranka Stanic