» Frank Stöver – Interview COMPILATION OF DEATH
The following interview was originally done by Gabriel Gatica for COMPILATION OF DEATH zine from Chile… but as it covers so much stuff that I get asked very often, I figured it might be a good idea to publish it here as well. So, a big thanks goes out to Gabriel again for coming up with so many cool questions and also for giving me the permission to use it…
Its really a pleasure for us being able to present this interview with Frank Stöver, because besides of being a person with a pretty common life, he’s also an old but still active Metal warrior in the scene nowadays. If you know a little bit more than the standard Metalhead, you will know that Frank is not only a person who survived from the early years to the present, where the internet has made big changes on the mentality and attitude of those who listen to Metal music. Frank represents German Metal, fanzines, the good old days with letters and tape trading, etc. Today, his fanzine work deserves to be remembered. He was the creator of SNAKEPIT zine, managed the German IMMOLATION fan club and was also a hardworking manager for DESTRUCTION in the early years, without forgetting KREATOR, AVENGER and some others with whom Frank shared his dedication with. Well, even if COMPILATION OF DEATH is a fanzine strictly dedicated to Death Metal (and Death / Thrash of course), it is also our main purpose and interest to have the words from those who were active characters on the Metal scene when this one was growing strong. That’s why Frank is our best chance to learn a little bit more about it. In this interview, you’ll get to know about his life, his work with VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE as a printed zine / webzine and much more… So run, get a good record and pay attention to Frank Stöver’s words…
Cheers Frank! Finally I got enough time to sit down and think about some questions for you… and to be honest, it’s not that easy when I already know your long story in the Metal scene, being part of the first years and prefectly knowing a lot about the past and the present in German Metal. That’s why I also think that you’ve already answered many of these doubts before and might be tedious to do it again, but you must know that not that many people in Chile know about your fanzine and your important role in the German Metal scene, so let’s make an extra effort this time and prepare for a long list of questions… First of all, tell us who is Frank Stöver? What’s your age, city, profession, etc? What are you doing nowadays?
Hey Gabriel… first of all thanks for this opportunity… I’ll try to do my best to answer all of your questions as good as I can, even though it’s a shitload of stuff you wanna know…; -) But anyway, here we go… I’m a 43 years old, ordinary, lazy German guy, who started to listen to “heavier” music already back when I was a kid [if you consider UK’s Glam Rockers THE SWEET as “heavy” ; -)]. I used to be a technical drawer for several years, but I work fulltime as a webdesigner for about 6 years now.
Ok Frank, we’ll go back in time a little bit and start with a mandatory question as an introduction… Can you tell me how you got into metal? What’s that ”thing” that makes this music so important in your life, so that you’ve never left it aside as so many other people who started being part of a scene and nowadays are not interested in it anymore?
Well, like I just mentioned, the first “heavier” band that I was really into was THE SWEET when I was a kid… Don’t know what really attracted me to them… they just sounded cool to me at the time… and still do nowadays ; -) In 1975 I saw a giant sized poster of KISS in full make-up and everything and was totally fascinated by it. That’s why I got myself a copy of KISS “Alive” and the rest is pretty much history… Even though I would say that I’m generally very open minded when it comes to musical styles, I still can’t live without heavy music after so many years. I think it’s in my blood and will remain there until the day I die ; -)
How have you managed to keep the same interest and desire to do things for Metal until these days? Have you ever felt bored or maybe dissapointed? I’m asking this because anyone can see how the scene has changed… How has your life changed and how have you been related to Metal through all these years?
I don’t know… Of course I disgust a lot of things in the scene nowadays and was ready to quit several times already, but on the other hand there’s still so many great bands / releases coming out that the motivation constantly keeps coming back. My life has become a lot more relaxed these days as I rarely still go to shows and stuff… but I don’t really miss anything as I was lucky enough to see all the legendary shows / bands back in the 80s / early 90s, so…
As you’re a collector, who has published a zine (and some other things) and who has been around a huge part in the beginning of Metal in your country and who’s still active in Metal… What do you think about those that only know the typical things about this music? Do you judge other guys of your age that lack the same interest in Metal and despite that they still call themselves Metalheads?
To be honest with you – I don’t care… People change when they get older, some are even embarrassed by the stuff they did in the past and some still stay true to themselves… I was always one of the latter. If old friends of mine don’t listen to Metal anymore, I don’t have a problem with that… It’s just that it’s nothing for me personally. I still need my daily Metal dose ; -)
Do you think that age and commitments are excuses to lose interest in your music? You may have an exhausting job, hobbies, pets or maybe a wife and kids, among other things that are typical in everyone’s life. How do you manage to find the time to keep collecting records, getting in touch with other Metal Maniacs and keep on craving for this music without being limited by life so you can still enjoy the demon’s music?
Sure, age and commitments are probably a big part of the reason why several people loose interest… but on the other hand, collecting stuff is no big deal since there are so many options on the internet… It’s just a matter of true dedication I guess. Some people go to a soccer game, others to the cinema and people like us attend shows or record stores ; -)
I wanna know a little bit more about how the German scene was born, I mean, the stories about the mega-bands are all well known, but what about the underground, all the less-known acts…? And how important the first fanzines in Germany? Can you tell about it? I remember asking the NECROS CHRISTOS guys and also Arnd from DARKNESS some of this stuff too, but none of them could get into details about it. Can you try to remember the most important beings in the scene back then? The first editors, bands, labels, distros, stores…?
Hmm… fanzines like SHOCK POWER, SPEED ATTACK, early ROCK HARD and BLITZKRIEG or the German issues of AARDSCHOK were really important to me for sure… I also used to check out foreign magazines like KERRANG, KICK ASS or METAL FORCES… Later on we got a rather shortlived newspaper like magazine called DESASTER and the early issues of METAL HAMMER. Back in those days the market still wasn’t as flooded as it is nowadays, so I was really hungry for every new band that seemed to play music that I like… Needless to say that I contacted ALOT of those that got reviewed in those zines, I suppose… That way I definitely got to know lots of demo bands! I also ended up becoming a diehard tapetrader at the time and pretty quickly had compiled a list of a couple of thousands of live-, demo- and rehearsal tapes…
Tapetraders were also one of the important facts in the old days, when there was no internet, while nowadays you get everything with just a fucking click…For example, Magnus Forsberg was a well known tapetrader, being able to show his comrades all that was happening outside of Sweden back then. Same thing with Patrick Soppe, who is very respected in Netherlands (he answered some questions for you in the 10th issue of your fanzine). I know that you were also a really active tapertrader…What memories do you have on those days and the old way for getting Metal music and staying in contact with other maniacs?
It was a totally exciting time! Like I said, the market wasn’t as flooded yet and the Speed / Thrash scene still very young and new… As soon as the first live tapes from METALLICA popped up I was hooked… I found out about a new sub-genre that all of a sudden had a shitload of exciting bands to offer that being a tapetrader was simply a MUST back then. It was like Xmas whenever a package of new tapes arrived and you finally got to hear all those great bands that you had read about in zines or other trading lists…
Frank, I know that you were working as the manager for DESTRUCTION and you also made the cover for the “Bestial Invasion Of Hell” demo in 1984… How old were you then? Can you tell us how you got to know the DESTRUCTION guys and how it was, sharing those days with them?
I found out about them in 1984 when their demo was reviewed in one of the first issues of the German METAL HAMMER. Back then I was running the offical fan club for a brandnew record label called Roadrunner and was also in close contact with their German distributor SPV…I contacted DESTRUCTION and asked them for a copy of their demo for a review in my fanzine at the time… I also told them, that I could pass it on to labels that I’m in touch with to see what they think about it… They agreed. To make a long story short: SPV wanted to start a label on their own at the time (Steamhammer) and wanted to sign DESTRUCTION for it… I stayed in touch with them, first of all by running their fan club and later on it turned into a management kinda thing as they didn’t have a manager and needed someone to appear on their debut mini album. I was 18 at the time and as you probably can imagine… unexperienced as fuck ; -)
What was exactly your job as manager? Any funny stories about recordings, concerts or photo-sessions to share with us? What about the groupies after the shows? Beers, crazy parties and horrible hangovers because of too much Becks?
I booked a couple of national shows all across the country for them and handled a lot of other things, like selling the demo, organizing interviews and stuff like that. It was a cool time period as I was travelling a lot because of all the gigs and I met a whole lot of likeminded people, not to mention the bands that DESTRUCTION played with (IRON ANGEL, SODOM, AVENGER etc.). We partied A LOT at shows, that’s for sure. In fact my first real hangover I had at a New Year’s Eve party with DESTRUCTION… I was not used to the Lambrusco that they were drinking pretty heavily at the time… I still couldn’t walk straight the next morning when I woke up at the house of Schmier’s parents ; -) We also used to have very excessive drinking sessions with the guys who were running the fan clubs for SODOM and IRON ANGEL back then… I remember a lot of puking and headaches from that time, hahaha…
And now, when you look to the past and you realize that you were part of one of the most important German Metal bands, can you tell us your sincere opinion about the band and its evolution, dissolution, the comeback and what they’re doing nowadays? I ask you this because some years ago you weren’t such a big friend of “comebacks” or “re-unions” of many bands. I think you only liked what EXODUS was doing but not too much what DESTRUCTION was all about…
Oh boy… that’s a tough one… Well, to me they will probably never be able to top their old classics like the “Bestial Invasion Of Hell” demo, the “Sentence Of Death” mini album or “Infernal Overkill” debut full length… the original three piece line-up was something totally special and had a really unique sound and style on offer. I think with the time the DESTRUCTION guys became way better musicians and as a result they lost that old vibe a little bit… I wasn’t for example that much impressed by the band’s re-union album, but think that all the cool live shows they have played ever since made them a way better unit and I like a lot of the songs (not all of them) on the newer releases…
By the way man, until which year were you an active part of DESTRUCTION? Why did you stop working with them? Are you still in contact with the guys?
I stopped working for them shortly after their first real tour overhere when they were supporting SLAYER on their “Hell Awaits” tour… I was spending too much money out of my own pocket and the band wasn’t able to pay me anything back… they tried to convince the record label to pay my expenses, but they weren’t willing to do that, so I had to quit. I wasn’t in touch with them afterwards except for a couple of one off events… I met Mike on a promo tour for an album they did without Schmier, I interviewed Schmier over the phone for an old VOICES print issue and most recently met up with him when DESTRUCTION played with CANDLEMASS in Osnabrück / Germany… But that’s pretty much it.
You know Frank, I have some doubts about what happened with DESTRUCTION after the release of the “Cracked Brain” album in 1990. I mean, after “Live Without Sense”, Schmier left the band and just Mike with Oliver Kaiser were taking control of the band. Then, after “Cracked Brain”, a couple of EPs were released: “Destruction” in 1994 and “Then Not Me” in 1995. In 1998, the LP “The Least Successful Human Cannonball” was released. I have to say that I’ve never listened to any of these recordings… Can you tell us anything about this period? I ask you this because 2 years later, the band comes back with a new album called “All Hell Breaks Loose” and also a new sound and vibe in their musical direction… In which moment the band was supposed to split up?
I’m not really the right person to answer that as I totally lost touch with them during that time, but of course I’ve heard those self-financed EPs… To me they sounded way to modern and nothing like classic DESTRUCTION at all, so a name change during that time period would have been a better solution, that’s for sure…
Hey Frank, how involved were Mike and Schmier in the Metal scene back then? I mean, you’ve always been doing something for the underground, like fanzines, tape trading, etc…Were they interested in getting to know new bands, collecting demo tapes, fazines, etc? Or were they just interested in playing their instruments and stuff, like most of the Metal musicians around? What do you think about that?
I don’t really know, sorry…
You know Frank, so many times I ask myself… Why the most icon Metal bands have lost the musical spirit? They’ve fallen down in their compositions, playing too light… For example SODOM… they lost their dark vision in “Obssessed By Cruelty”, and the last good album was “Agent Orange”. NECRONOMICON decayed in the last albums, and the recent is disgusting. KREATOR have been too experimental at times, DESTRUCTION’s sound is totally plastic, the new ASSASSIN is horrible… How can you explain that? Maybe MINOTAUR still keep something old in their sound… Why, with the years passing, do they lose the right vision or magic… what makes their music big and Metal?
I’m not a musician, nor do I play in any of the bands you mentioned, but I can imagine that all of them more or less have lost interest in the true underground that they were all coming from themselves… so their influences probably aren’t the same anymore. To me they are often way too much concerned to become better musicians and songwriters and to deliver a perfect production than sticking to the original feeling of their music… Just a guess…
In my personal opinion, bands like SODOM, KREATOR, the DESTRUCTION revival, ASSASSIN, etc…have not done anything amazing today, they are living off their names, created in the past. But if you think of the underground scene in your country, there are a lot of bands, I mean new bands trying to rescue that old sound, this attitude, the older spirit… bands like NOCTURNAL, DESASTER, OLD, WITCHBURNER, HELLISH CROSSFIRE etc…They are doing better things… better albums… but are just copies of the old scene in which you lived… What do you think about reunions of the older Metal icons? About the new German Metal, which do you prefer and why?
To be perfectly honest here: I don’t really like the majority of the reunions of the old bands nor do I like bands that try real hard to sound as oldschool as possible… If you play your music from the heart you will easily deliver the right feeling and reach the right people with it. Everything else is a waste of time…
I am a huge fanzine fanatic, I think they’ve been important throughout the whole scene’s history, they’re like books for students, ha, ha… I have many friends that can’t see what’s the real meaning in a zine and only find the music to be significative… I say that written material is as valuable as the music and that both have got Metal to take its course, actually, SLAYER zine, PUTREFACTION zine, MORBID zine, BUTCHER zine, DOD zine, METAL FORCES zine or your VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE zine, etc can say it by themselves… Tell me what do you think about this…
I totally agree with you here. Fanzines are an important part of the underground and most bigger bands of today would never have reached their status without them. On the other hand, fanzines are worthless without all the great underground bands, so it’s a combination of the zines and the bands that keep a zine going…
Can you tell us which German zines were the best ones in the beginning? I remember some like SHOCK POWER, SPEED ATTACK, BATTERY, BATTLEFIELD, etc…Can you tell some good ones from Bremen for example? What about the scene in your city back then?
Well, you definitely already named some of the best ones… We also used to have two great zines that only released one issue each… One was BLITZKRIEG and the other one was from Götz Kühnemund (nowadays of ROCK HARD magazine), who used to publish a very cool fanzine called METAL MANIACS GERMANY way way back… he then joined forces with ROCK HARD and released a lot of very very good issues until they ended up becoming a monthly full color magazine… As far as I know there was no zine in Bremen and no real Metal scene either… Ok, we had a couple of bands here, like SWEET CHEATER (who became SECRECY), VICTORY (who became INVADER), FINAL PROPHECY, ANCIENT CURSE, JUDGEMENT, RUMBLE MILITIA… but apart from a couple of shows there was no real movement going on in Bremen.
There are a lot of magazines dedicated to spread Metal in the scene, many of them are made in an amazing way, with great interviews… What do you think about the work in a fanzine? Nowadays, with the internet boom, not many people are interested in buying zines, everything is at hand, easy and for free…
Yeah, it’s really a pity that more and more zines are disappearing… especially if it’s great ones. But running a fanzine is quite expensive these days, so I can fully understand that the editors either quit completely or re-surface on the internet… I always prefer to read a fanzine over the bigger magazines as the fanzines still deliver the real spirit of the underground and the editors really love the music they’re writing about as opposed to the staff in bigger magazines… they get paid to do their reviews, so there’s no need for them to find out more about certain bands or to like the stuff…
Which is what a fanzine should contain? When, do you think, it is a real contribution to the underground and when does it start being a piece of shit? How important is it to have a strong editorial concept, non-common kind of questions, good printing, etc? What gets your first impression at the moment of buying / getting one?
I prefer zines that focus on a certain style, be it a total Black Metal zine or an oldschool Death Metal zine… I also enjoy zines that mix both styles as long as the right bands are chosen for the content…I’m not really into zines that come up with lots of weird articles about non-musical themes (even though it may be more original)… I like zines that are very simple and very oldschool… gimme a cut & paste punkish looking zine and I’ll most certainly start reading in it right away. But of course the writing is also very important. I want to get certain informations when I read reviews and interviews and zine writers that lack the necessary background often come up with useless stuff in that department… So, it’s basically a combination of good content, interested writing… and the icing on the cake is a cool layout and a good xerox or printing quality of course (even though I can also enjoy very boring looking zines if they deliver some cool content…
Well, you started with VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE after writing some lines for HORROR INFERNAL zine, which was kinda big, with more than 41 issues as far as I know…Can you tell me a little bit about this last one?
Yeah, HORROR INFERNAL also started out as a fanzine and ended up becoming a magazine with 20.000 copies printed… you could buy it overhere at bigger railway stations etc. It was a Metal magazine that featured all genres, from Glam to Death Metal and I was doing interviews and writing reviews on Power / Speed / Thrash & Death Metal acts in there… I also had my own regular column for the Black & Death Metal underground stuff in which I compiled news, presented demos etc. – that column originally started out with 2 pages, but got more and more successful, so in the end it had turned into a 4 pages long regular section of the magazine… That column was called VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE and lead to the zine which basically evolved out of it…
And now going straight to VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE. Can you tell us about the beginning and how you get inspired by MORBID ANGEL when picking up the name? What about the creative process of the first issue? Tell us all the details that made you create your own fanzine, your own editorial concept, etc…
The reason to start a zine on my own was basically because I got so much stuff for the column in HORROR INFERNAL, that it all didn’t fit in there anymore… I was also pretty much fed up with the guys who were running HORROR INFERNAL as they made so much errors and silly decisions that I would have quitted sooner or later anyway. Being a diehard MORBID ANGEL fan for so long, it was an easy choice to adopt one of their titles (well, almost…) for the column and later on for the zine as well… Honestly spoken, I had no real masterplan or concept concerning the zine other than that it should be written in english (to avoid the translation requests that I constantly received for the German written HORROR INFERNAL stuff) and only cover brutal music… And if you ever saw the first issue, you’ll easily notice that. It was a learning experience in putting something together, but by no means worth a mention anymore.
Hey Frank, 10 issues in 5 years is definitely A LOT of work, and you seem to work really fast, even more when I see that the first issues were just on a 500 copies run and then turning to 1000 copies…What about the sellings back then? Can you tell us about the highlights and the lowest moments when VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE was being printed on paper?
Hahaha… yeah, we were working really hard on it and the name got spread around very quickly which again resulted in more material. It sold pretty quick right from the start, so it was never really difficult to get rid of each issue. Highlights? Well, I would say that the biggest highlight for me (apart from all the great bands we got to deal with) was the incredible feedback we always got on each issue, while the printing and postage costs were definitely the lowpoints in the existence of the print issue.
The 10th issue of VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE was really huge, I mean, with a lot of pages and even a farewell concert. How did this decision come up? Can you tell us details about that show?
Yeah, that’s true. Issue #10 was a really fat one and because of that a financial suicide… the printing costs were ridiculous not to mention the postage we spent on the distrubution, but I never regretted it. It was a worthy farewell issue in my opinion with an improved layout and a big variety contentwise. The festival wasn’t connected to that… The idea to do an anniversary festival came from Ramon and Nhashi, two contributors who joined the staff when we were already an online zine. They had already some experiences in setting up shows so they just asked me which bands I would agree on and which I wouldn’t… In the end the bill featured PENTACLE, DEW-SCENTED, MORRIGAN, SECRETS OF THE MOON, PAVOR, MARTIN VAN DRUNEN w/ BLOODY SIGN and INGURGITATING OBLIVION and it was a really big success. You can check out all details here.
I have read some answers from Leif Jensen from DEW-SCENTED (who was working with you on VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE back then) and he had his own view about your reasons for not printing the zine anymore. His words: ”…we decided to stop the zine after the 10th issue because the main editor Frank Stöver lost interest in this scene full of trends and keeping this work going would mean not being honest to himself…” Back then, Black Metal was definitely a trend and I think that’s what he was talking about… What is that what was really bothering / pissing you off Frank?
Yeah, I got pretty much bored by the stuff that got released at the time, that’s true. I felt that the real spirit of the underground got lost on the way somewhere when labels were releasing almost every stupid band you could imagine… It simply was no fun any longer and I wasn’t willing to lose more money on a project that I wasn’t 100% dedicated to any longer…
Mmm… As I understand it, you were also working for ROCK HARD, METAL HAMMER, HEAVY ODER WAS?! and SLAYER zine…Can you tell me about this? Any other?
Throughout the years I have written for so many magazines / zines already, that the list would be endless. To write for bigger mags was an opportunity for me to finally earn some money through all this (I was unemployed at the time), plus I could continue to promote the bands I liked on a much bigger platform.
You have been part of the most important German magazines… What’s the difference between a Metal fanzine and a Metal magazine? What about the flaws of each? Which one is your favourite?
Like I already mentioned earlier… fanzines are much more fun because the editors really worship the music they write about, while a magazine’s main concern is to be as up-to-date and varied as possible. I don’t really have a favorite magazine anymore, but out of all the still existing it’s probably ROCK HARD (even though I prefer their older issues a lot more).
You know Frank, SLAYER zine is possibly one of the biggest underground fanzines, Metallion made it a worldwide icon somehow…How do you remember those days working for it? How did you get to know Metallion? Is there any other fanzine that should have gotten the same attention than SLAYER zine, but remained totally underrated?
Well, I never really considered myself as a real SLAYER MAG contributor… Metalion just asked me if it was ok with me if he’d use some of the stuff I’d done and I agreed. As easy as that ; -) I got to know Metalion / SLAYER MAG when I was still working with DESTRUCTION… he used to send me one of the very early issues of SLAYER MAG back then and I really liked it a lot, but lost contact for many years again until I returned with VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE… We actually met for the very first time at a DESTRUCTION / KREATOR / SODOM show in Hamburg / Germany, even though he couldn’t remember afterwards, hahaha. He was probably in Metal heaven at the time because of the bands… As for other zines… Well, I always heavily enjoyed Poland’s HOLOCAUST, Finland’s ISTEN or ULTIMATUM MAG from the US… also SACROFORMITY from Denmark was a killer mag, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that they all remained totally underground…
Now that we’re talking about some other zines, you must remember METAL FORCES zine from England, starting in 1983 and supporting the scene in its early years, showing a lot of demos and also standing for bands like SLAYER, METALLICA, etc. Dave Reynolds, once a writer for that zine, firmly says that terms like Thrash Metal or Death Metal were invented by METAL FORCES. What do you think? For example, I always thought that the term Death Metal had its roots in POSSESSED or ONSLAUGHT… What do you know about this?
I totally agree with you here… I also heard about the term “Death Metal” for the very first time when ONSLAUGHT and POSSESSED both released their great songs with that name… maybe METAL FORCES came up with the terms before that… I simply can’t remember anymore, sorry.
Do you also think that METAL FORCES and KICK ASS MONTHLY were the “bibles” for the early years of the Metal scene?
ABSOLUTELY! Together with AARDSCHOK from the Netherlands…
Hey Frank, you were also the creator of SNAKEPIT zine. I understand that you made this one for opening a door to all the Heavy, Speed, Thrash and old Death Metal bands around when Black Metal was becoming the massive trend. Raising the flag of the old Metal way in that moment had to be kinda difficult… Am I wrong?
No, you’re absolutely right here! But I totally liked that situation. I wanted to support a scene that wasn’t flooded with releases and bands, I wanted to dig deeper again to find out about cool bands as I was sick and tired of getting bombed with average releases that all asked for a feature / review… Traditional oldschool Metal was completely out of fashion at the time, especially bands like TYGERS OF PAN TANG, THE RODS etc. that I featured in SNAKEPIT. It was great fun until a band named HAMMERFALL appeared on the scene and “True Metal” became the new big thing…
Now that I think about SNAKEPIT, UNDERGROUND EMPIRE zine, made by Stefan Glass, came to my mind… It was in a very similar style to what SNAKEPIT did. Did you ever saw other fanzines from your country in order to make something different?
Yes, there were a couple of German zines that focused on traditional Metal, but only one that I really enjoyed reading and that was THAT’S METAL. Similar in its content, but way more professional looking… The editor Martin Brandt went on to work for Germany’s HEAVY, ODER WAS?! (now HEAVY) magazine…
I remember Costa Stoios told me that one time you offered him a job as a writer in your zines. He was very surprised because as far as I know you don’t know each other personally. How do you choose your co-workers? How and when did you get to know Laurent Ramadier, Toine Van Poorten, etc? Do you search for people with different visions and styles or is the only thing that matters is that they follow the same line, no matter if they are so different?
It’s true, Costa and myself know each other for a very long time already, but never met in person til today, which is really a pity. But I knew that he has a similar taste when it comes to great Metal music and so it was obvious to ask him if he’d be interested in helping out since his excellent TALES OF THE MACABRE zine was more or less dead at that time already (unfortunately). I’m not 100% sure, but I think the other writers contacted me after the SNAKEPIT name started to get around a bit…I liked the stuff they offered me, so I used it. In Laurent’s case it turned into a long lasting friendship (even though we didn’t met so far either)…
Now that we talk about your co-workers, I remember that Laurent Ramadier was so angry with Laszlo David. Laurent said that Laszlo stole his interviews and told everybody that he wrote it. I guess you know about this… What do you think about this problem having both of them helping you in your zine?
As that’s basically a personal thing between Laszlo and Laurent, I’d prefer not to talk about that here… Hope you’ll understand that…
Talking about SNAKEPIT, what do you think about this fanzine and its evolution to these days? There were chaotic times to the zine and it almost disappears. What do you think about the supporting that Yosuke from NWN is giving in publishing the zine?
I like every single issue that Laurent has put together since he took over my job. I couldn’t think of anyone better than him to run this zine! His interviews are simply the best you can read, that’s for sure! I think it’s great that Yosuke helps this project so much – all power to him!!!
What do you think about Laurent, his way to direct the zine and his way to make his interviews? I know for lots of people it’s kind of boring to read about so many details… for me it’s just amazing…
It’s of course not easy to read his interviews as they’re really time consuming, but if you’re interested to find out every little detail about a classic 80s band, there’s no better possibility than checking out Laurent’s interviews, that’s for sure! I think they are totally worth the time you need to invest in reading them! If you want to read boring / average interviews, go out and pick up a monthly major magazine… you can easily read their features while taking a shit. Laurent is different in his approach and I totally like that!
This question is kind of mandatory, why did you fucking leave SNAKEPIT if it was a very promising fanzine and you had a really good staff of writers?
I once again lost interest because the situation was quite similar to the one I had already been in before with VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE.. A genre that was totally underground for many years all of a sudden returned into the big spotlight when HAMMERFALL became big sellers and as a result every label started to release traditional Heavy Metal like crazy again. The majority of the young Heavy Metal bands really started to annoy me real quick, while I still enjoy tons of younger Death / Black Metal bands… that’s why Laurent Ramadier took over SNAKEPIT and he does a tremendous job with it!!!
Changing the subject a little, Frank… Germany means tons of bands of violent Metal, from early and mid 80s. After the NWOBHM I think Germany was the country with the second most important scene with legendary bands instigating world chaos. What do you attribute this phenomenon in your country? What made you to embrace the sound of hell with your instruments? Was there brotherhood between the bands? Which one was your favourite band and which you hated?
Well, like everyone else in the world I liked and disliked bands from each country… I never really cared where the bands came from as long as the music was great. I actually wasn’t really aware of the fact that Germany had such an important scene back then… that came a lot later when I suddenly noticed that bands like HELLOWEEN, RUNNING WILD, KREATOR, SODOM, DESTRUCTION, GAMMA RAY etc. also had big success in foreign countries and not just overhere… My favorite German band? I don’t know…
What can you tell me about AVENGER, RUNNING WILD, ANGEL DUST, SINNER, IRON ANGEL, DARKNESS, VIOLENT FORCE, NECRONOMICON, POISON and many others. Were you involved with them?
I used to met and hang out with the POISON guys several times, helped out IRON ANGEL and AVENGER (I often booked them together with DESTRUCTION)… I even started to work quite a bit for AVENGER for a while, but my heart obviously wasn’t enough into it at the time as it unfortunately didn’t last very long (even though I still love their material to this day!)… All great guys, that’s for sure!
Which German bands remain unknown to the worldwide Metal scene? I imagine when Germany was divided there were many bands that until today are just privilege to a very few: i.e. FORMEL 1, RENEGADE, VETO, OVERDOSE, FINAL PROPHECY, INVADER and so many that never arrived to countries like us. Can you talk about this? Do you believe that the fall of the Berlin Wall had some utter effect in bands and Metal heads of those times?
Believe it or not, but I never really paid attention to bands from the eastern part of Germany, so I can’t really comment on them. I used to work with FINAL PROPHECY and INVADER though for a short period of time… Both were local bands from Bremen (my hometown). As for unknown bands… well, there’s probably a shitload of them ; -)
After the boom of Heavy, Speed and Thrash Metal came to the world the time when Death Metal was a smash hit, but in opposition to countries like Sweden, USA, Finland… Germany was not so strong in this style, just big bands like MORGOTH, COMECON, ATROCITY… What do you think about it? Can you tell us about the times when Death Metal was a worldwide trend? What about that period in your country?
Well, COMECON wasn’t a German band, but yeah… I think it’s true that Germany wasn’t able to compete with the international Death Metal acene when it exploded… I have no idea why… maybe Germany is simply stronger in creating oldschool Thrash Metal or HELLOWEEN type happy Metal?!
You too are fan of this style, bands like SADISTIC INTENT, IMMOLATION, MORBID ANGEL, etc. In fact, you were more than a friend of IMMOLATION; you were the manager of the German IMMOLATION fan club. What do you remember about it? How did you get to know IMMOLATION?
Well, I wasn’t really their “manager”, but more of a German contact for people who wanted to buy their merchandise and stuff overhere… I was in touch with them for several years already and we always had a very good relationship, so one day I simply came up with this idea and they liked that, so we worked together for a period of time. Nothing major, just more or less a friend and fan of the band helping them out…
I also remember Chris Forbes and METALCORE fanzine, he was manager of IMMOLATION for a very long time… Did you have the chance to meet him? Did you like his fanzine? Ha, ha, ha, If you know well Forbes criticized like shit the first efforts from REPULSION, NECROVORE and MORBID ANGEL, ha, ha, ha.
Of course I know Chris, but unfortunately we never met in person… when IMMOLATION toured Germany I met up with the band though. Yeah, I liked his fanzine. It always had some great content.
Talking about IMMOLATION, ha, ha, I don’t know if you remember Laurent Merle and his PEARDROP fanzine. He had a very funny way to make his zine and maybe you remember when he interviewed Edna, the mother of Ross Dolan and as the headline he wrote: “My son plays in a Death Metal band” ha, ha, ha. What do you think about these kind of interviews? Do you think it will be interesting to interview someone’s mother sometime?
Yeah, I definitely remember Laurent’s interview and thought that it was a really cool idea, but I don’t think I will ever do something similar myself… There’s no need to repeat a unique idea in my opinion.
And what about SADISTIC INTENT, Frank? Can you understand why a band with so many years within the scene released so little records? What do you think about Jeff Becerra in his wheelchair and the helping of the SADISTIC INTENT members?
The SADISTIC INTENT guys are just a bunch of lazy fuckers, hahaha! Sorry Rick, sorry Bay – but when it comes to getting new material out it’s the hurting truth unfortunately. They could be one of the leading Death Metal acts these days if “The Second Coming Of Darkness” would have been released back when it got announced… Unfortunately that didn’t happen. But I still have hope that we will get to hear it one day and I know it’ll crush everything around!! All hail SADISTIC INTENT!!!
The month after Jaime Moya (ATOMIC AGGRESSOR) passed away, in Canada Brian Lourie from SLAUGHTER / STRAPPADO dies. You along with Laurent Ramadier made a very good interview with Dave Hewson and Terry Sadler and we got to know more about the past of SLAUGHTER. What do you think about Brian’s death? Which are the deaths that grows more pain in you? Do you believe in the eternal life?
Whenever someone dies it’s a tragedy… no matter who he or she is, so I wouldn’t say that a certain person’s passing is more tragic than another… Most of the musicians that die I have never met in person, yet it’s still a shock when you get such a news of course… Probably because the Metal scene is basically just one big family… No, I don’t believe in eternal life, nor do I believe in life after death… and considering how this planet gets polluted and abused by mankind more and more, I probably wouldn’t like to live here in the future anyway…
Hey Frank, what about KREATOR? You were helping the band in their beginning, too. What do you remember about your history with them?
I was young and unexperienced but it was a great time for sure… I used to visit them in their hometown and stayed there for a short period of time. I went to see them in their rehearsal room and at various early gigs… Great time and great guys!
Ok Frank, so tell us what your parents think about your music, your fanzines and your friends… What was the first thing they told you when they realized you liked Heavy Metal, wearing black clothes and you liked music with satanic messages and shit like that? Are they christians?
My parents didn’t really like it, when I started to grow my hair longer and longer, hahaha. They already had a tough time with all the KISS posters on my wall when I was very young, so… You gotta understand that I used to grow up in a very small city and my dad had his own company, so a lot of the people knew him… It wasn’t really the best promotion for his company, when his son was wearing leather, spikes and bullet belts on the streets, hahaha. But that’s in the past and we get along great these days. No, they aren’t Christians (luckily) ; -)
Tell us about your collection, how many records you have, which is the format you like most, and which are the demos and records you still don’t have and you love to have it? Mmm, any record you trade or sell???
I don’t really collect vinyl or demos anymore and basically stick to CDs… I own about 2700 CDs and don’t really look for something special anymore. I actually don’t really collect rarities… it’s the music that matters the most to me, that’s why I often sold some original copy of an old CD in order to buy me a re-release that has more material on it.
Is there a country you admire for its musical scene? Which are the scenes you like the most?
Like I mentioned earlier, I never focused my taste on a certain country… To me there’s lots of cool scenes around the globe, no matter if it’s in Scandinavia, the US, South America or whereever… Good music has no boundaries!
Do you have any memories of some shit you had done and you never want to do again, I don’t know, maybe some self flagellation, beating somebody, rough sex, drugs, etc?
No, nothing… I never did drugs or behaved violently or something… and all the other things that I did in my “youth” I don’t regret or find embarrassing today…
Tell us something more about your personal life Frank. How do you describe a classical day in your life? What is the shit that you never told before in an interview?
I live a totally average and boring life, believe me. I get up at 7 in the morning, have breakfast, drive to work (the company is about 30min away from me by car), work from 9:00 – 4:30, then I drive back home, have a walk with our dog, if necessary do some shopping, have lunch and then I’ll start to do some private things, like answering emails, watching DVDs, going to shows etc. Like I said, boring and quite ordinary ; -)
You know Frank, many times I wonder why 80% of the Metal scene only is interested and knows nothing more than mainstream bands or what is ’in’ these days and they don’t have an idea about the history or a general knowledge of Metal… most of people talks about VENOM, CELTIC FROST, BATHORY, KREATOR, SODOM, etc, etc. that being very good bands they are the ones everyone knows because they have made a history and a legacy after them… what about all that bands which remained uncovered? What about all those bands in different scenes which existed long years back or that exist today? What do you think? Why they are not that wellknown? Why this tape trader tradition, of collecting demos, magazines, vinyl and so on have been lost a lot? Why is this all happening and how this happens in Europe or in your country?
It’s all about hype these days… The bigger magazines / record labels push a lot of useless crap to the max so that a lot of people don’t recognize anymore that there’s also a lot of cooler, less known bands around. It’s a pity, but that’s how this stupid business works… The more money you spend on an advertising campaign, the more people will believe that this new band is something special (luckily there’s also exceptions to this rule)… The tapetrading thing is still going strong these days, it’s just called “file sharing” and people exchange their music on the net. But of course it hasn’t the same underground feel to it anymore… you don’t need to spend money on magazines / fanzines / newmusic / postage as you get everything for free on the net.
Nowadays, is everything more easy right? Mp3, radio shows, internet, DVDs, etc, etc. I think all these have something good but without a doubt these have killed the passion that existed before, now comfort abounds within the scene. Do you believe that there is something that identifies the present-day Metal? What is your opinion about internet, chats, Metal forums and millions of pages for free download?
Well, as I use all those new technologies myself, it would be a lie if I would do some shittalking now… It certainly has some good aspects to it, but on the other hand there’s this information overkill that really annoys me… Same goes for the music that’s out there. It’s getting too much. That’s why I’m very selective. I don’t need to hear every new band, nor do I download every release that I could get for free. Plus I still buy a lot of originals after I checked something out that I liked… I gotta confess though, that I started to collect old demos / EPs etc. in digital format ; -)
As we already are talking about current times, the technology and all that it has provoked in the actual Metal scene… How do you think the worldwide Metal development would be if internet was already there back then, in those times???
I probably wouldn’t have listened to Metal then, hahaha… No, seriously… Communication would of course have been a lot easier and cheaper, but I still wouldn’t like to replace all the old activities with modern technolgy. Reading or editing zines, dublicating cassettes etc. was simply too much fun.
Have you been able to see some important changes in the mentality of the Metalheads today? It is so easy to have records, listen to samples in a very easy and free way, etc. Do you believe that this whole thing causes a more shallow feeling? Something like to chew and chew music without swallow or digest it?
Yeah, everything goes way too fast and you have access to way too many things too easy… On the long run this will probably kill more bands / labels than it’ll help them as there’s simply way too much going on each day.
I have done many interviews with bands that I love, and it’s hard to understand when the person you interviewed disappoints you. You know, answers without passion, uninteresting, without details, and sometimes a shitty attitude, what do you think about this? How many times you went through this? Which are the interviews you think are the best you had done and which ones the most disappointing?
Man, this interview is definitely the toughest I ever had to work on! I haven’t counted how much time I already spent on the answers until here, but I’m working on it the 5th day now, so a couple of hours for sure… The best inerviews I have done? Hmm… hard to say… there’s been so many of them throughout the years that I can’t think of any special ones at the moment. In the end it’s the reader anyway to decide whether it was a cool one or not. Same goes for disappointing ones… I hate it when I spent an enormous amount of time in compiling questions and the bands answers are basically “yes”, “no” or “I don’t know… can’t remember”… I mean, if I agree to do an interview, I should at least take the time to work on it a little bit more dedicated. Otherwise the band could have told me upfront, that they’re not interested or won’t have the time… It’s a waste of time for everyone…
What about the interview you made with Away from VOIVOD back in 1986? Where did you publish this chat? Do you like the musical evolution that VOIVOD had, record after record?
That interview was published in an old issue of HORROR INFERNAL magazine… can’t think of the exact issue at the moment, sorry. I totally respect VOIVOD for what they have created, but personally stopped listening to them after “Dimension Hatröss”…
Ok Frank, let’s go back to what VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE has been, and tell me, what do you think about your website? What is the most difficult thing to maintain active the web? How do you moderate the reviews, updates and interviews? How much time do you spend on it?
What annoys me the most when it comes to the website is the fact that the layout is so boring… the thing is, I created the website when my knowledge in that field was almost close to zero… in the meantime I could create a far more professional looking website as I do that for a living. BUT, there’s so many reviews and interviews online by now, that I would have to re-work the entire old stuff and I simply don’t have the time for it… I already spend too much time on the updates now. I work on the site almost daily as you can see when it comes to the updates. Luckily I have a lot of staff writers that help me out with all the reviews etc. – otherwise I would probably not be able to continue on with it… writing reviews, doing interviews, working on pictures / logos and updating the website BESIDES a regular job / life is almost impossible as each day only has 24 hours and most of the time gets spend on working, sleeping and stuff like that, so…
I can understand that making a webzine is much cheaper; the info is faster, etc. But I wonder what about all the interviews and the effort involved in the site. What will happen with all the stuff? Do you have another printed zines that had published the info from the website?
Well, as long as I keep the website going, every interview and every review will remain online… I don’t delete anything (except for gig dates), not even the news (they end up in the news archive which everyone still can check out if interested). But yeah, some interviews got already used in printed zines over the years, which is cool.
Despite VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE is not a printed zine anymore, it’s a wellknown website, lots of people around the world look at your work, is this an achievement for you? Did you feel that a website is open for a larger audience than a printed and limited fanzine? What is that you like most of both efforts?
It’s true that you can reach way more people with a website than with a printed underground zine, so that’s definitely a big plus for the website. Also the fact that you can spread news right away is a great thing… I never had any news in the print issue as it didn’t make any sense… they would’ve been dated by the time the issue was coming out. On the other hand, it’s the layout that I really enjoyed doing for the print issue. You can’t really re-create the same on a website… there’s always limitations in one way or another. And reading stuff in front of a computer isn’t fun at all… you could take the print issue with you whereever you go…
Do you think that in these times a website can bring more than a printed fanzine? Do you believe that the websites and the internet info are killing the printed fanzines?
Yes, unfortunately… Because of the reasons I already mentioned: it’s cheaper, more up-to-date and you reach way more people.
If VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE never was born as a printed fanzine, do you think it had the same impact it has today?
No, I don’t think so… the print issue created a solid and very true fanbase… some of the old readers even have written to me that they still check out the website on a daily base, which is great. On the other hand, there’s so many visitors to the site each month and such a great feedback from people that I wasn’t in touch with before, that it’s really hard to say…
When you see the website of VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE … you can see it covers all the styles of Metal including old bands, bunch of news, reviews… Do you have any filter for what you put on the site? Some band or style you never would put on the website?
Of course! First and foremost we cover oldschool Thrash, Death and Black Metal acts… but also some legendary 80s Metal stuff as well as a handful of Doom, Pagan or whatever bands… As long as a bands fits in there somewhere and sounds honest in what they’re doing, I might consider to feature them.
Talking about the reviews you had done before and now, how do you choose the subjects with your co-workers? Do you want to be absolutely objective? Did you have any complain from bands that didn’t like what you said about them?
These days I personally rarely find the time to write stuff myself, that’s why I send around mails to the staff writers in which I include a list of the items that need to be reviewed. Whoever is interested will get the chance to write about a particular release… It’s always tough to be 100% objective as we’re all first and foremost fans of the music that we write about, so a personal opinion will end up in most reviews nevertheless. Yeah, every now and then a band or label is pissed off about a negative reviews we wrote, but hey – if you can’t stand criticism, you shouldn’t send your stuff around for reviews.
It’s kind of funny to me to read all the explanations about the problems you had at the show for the 10 year anniversary of VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE… Here in Chile this is normal, the shows never start at time, the sound problems are just regular, and you never have all that excuses you gave in your website. We as an audience are used to these kind of things, if a show is said to start at 10 pm, everybody arrives 2 hours late ha,ha,ha. You are used to big concerts, fests, selling stuff, etc… Everything is more at hand, more professional. Here in South America it’s nearly impossible to do that kind of shows, maybe it’s the culture, the poverty, education, etc. All these things are influences to keep the rawness in the way of playing, and an audience with a more radical vision and attitude to Metal… What do you think? How do you imagine South America?
Maybe we should organize our next festival in your country then, hahaha. To be honest with you, I never really thought about how gigs or the scene in South America really work… I just listen to all the cool bands from your part of the world and that’s it ; -)
I also saw what you said about selling CDs from NS bands, I know in your country that kind of ideology and any kind of NS manifestation is prohibited by law, what do you think about politics in Metal? Can you understand South Americans who are attracted to this kind of ideology? Do you like bands like SPEAR OF LONGINUS, ARGHOSLENT, etc?
I hate it when politics get mixed up with Metal and even more if it’s all that fascist / NS bullshit that so many (Black) Metal bands feel attracted by. No matter if it’s their real attitude or just another marketing tool to provoke and shock – it sucks! Black and Death Metal is definitely the wrong genre for politics… leave that for people like Bono, Bob Geldorf, Peter Gabriel or Sting, who really practice what they preach. As for the bands you mention… I know that I had a release by SPEAR OF LONGINUS here, but can’t recall whether I liked the music or not… Can’t tell you anything about ARGHOSLENT either… if those bands should mix NS ideology with their music, I couldn’t care less anyway…
About the previous question, can you ignore the lyrical subject from a band if you like their music? Is it important to you what a band says in their lyrics?
No, I can’t ignore that… there’s a couple of bands that I originally liked, but that changed their attitude towards NS bullshit, that I got rid of their releases, like GRAVELAND or EVIL INCARNATE… I wasn’t too happy about Craig Pillard’s sideproject STURMFÜHRER either… He did really great stuff in DISCIPLES OF MOCKERY and INCANTATION, that such a thing destroyed a lot for me… Usually lyrics in Death and Black Metal bands are full of clichés… they write about blasphemic dark satanic stuff or whatever and I don’t care about all of that… It’s basically all fantasy stuff to me that fits the music, so…”
You have been involved in fanzines, what do you think about the books about Metal? A lot have already has been written, i.e. Laurent Ramadier says that the only book he can recommend is the NWOBHM Encyclopedia by Malcom, and the Swedish Death Metal Book is just garbage. What do you think about this? Do you have any favorite book, well done and written? Even here in Chile somebody is writing a book about our scene. Can you think of another interesting subject to write a book about in Metal?
I haven’t read too many Metal related books yet, but those that I did read so far, I pretty much liked: LORDS OF CHAOS, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SVENSK DÖDS METALL, SWEDISH DEATH METAL or the books by Germany’s IRON PAGES magazine about US METAL or the NWOBHM are definitely very cool. I can’t think of any interesting topics to write another book about at the moment, but I bet there’s plenty of possibilities…
Hey Frank, which are the guys from your generation who were important in your Metal development? I mean, friends who told you about bands and used to hang out to drink some beers and listen to Metal. Do you have the same friends you had before?
I’ve met so many people over the years, was in contact with so many bands, writers and readers, so it’s really hard to tell any specific ones … From the very early days of my Metal “history” I’m only still in touch with 2 local friends of mine… I know them both since the very early 80s and unlike many others, who I lost contact with, they are still listening to Metal these days.
I have a doubt Frank, seeing your work I realized you had interviewed tons of bands that are icons in the Metal scene, i.e. your interview with Cronos from VENOM, among others, how do you get your interviews? Do you do it by email, by phone or else? I ask you this because sometimes is kind of hard to convince the bands, mainly the bands with a big career, i.e. I always wanted to interview Rock’n’Rolf but it’s nearly impossible; as a very wellknown guy within the underground scene, is it easy for you to convince the bands for an interview? Any interview you aren’t able to do?
It was always easy for me due to my work for bigger Metal magazines… promoters offer you interview possibilities with bands whenever a new record comes out and those interviews will be done on promotional tours, at shows or by phone, so it’s no big deal. But I haven’t done those type of interviews in a long time as it’s a whole lot of work, listening to the interview tape and typing it all down afterwards… Interviews by email are a lot easier in that respect ; -) As a die hard KISS fan of the early days, I would have loved to do an interview with them, but unfortunately that never happened so far and I doubt it will ever happen as VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE is a) too unimportant for a band like KISS and b) musically not really the right platform ; -)
Do you believe you have a style of your own when you write or do an interview? What is the first thing that came into your head when you think about the questions? Which are your favourite Metal authors?
I don’t know if I have a style on my own… Do I? I just try to get as many infos across as possible, so that people who read the stuff will know what the band / release is all about… Same goes for interviews… I want the interview to be as detailed as possible and it should cover every important aspects of the band’s career somehow… Favorite Metal authors? Hmm… I don’t really have any, but like I mentioned earlier already, I think Laurent Ramadier does a killer job with his interviews.
Do you believe that to make good fanzines and write about music is as so complex as to make good songs in a band?
That’s quite difficult to answer… I think it has to be in your blood somehow. Just because people like what I do with VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE won’t necessarily make me a good songwriter as well… For me writing a good song would be totally impossible (I couldn’t even write a bad song, hahaha), while for a musician it might be pretty easy. On the other hand, a good guitarist or vocalist is probably not able to come up with an interesting fanzine… So, maybe it’s equally difficult?! Like I said, difficult question…
Frank, what do you think about Chile? Do you like its old scene? Probably PENTAGRAM is one of your old favourites, what do you think about their reunion? Do you like to have the band back or should they have left the band rest as a cult within the underground?
PENTAGRAM was a killer band for sure and I think it’s cool that they have reunited for some shows again… Don’t know if they still managed to pull it off in the same way nowadays as back in their heydays as I unfortunately wasn’t able to see or hear them now, but Anton is around in this scene for so long now that I bet it was great. But also apart from PENTAGRAM Chile has always had a very cool underground, that’s for sure, with killer bands such as ATOMIC AGGRESSOR, DOMINUS XUL, MELEKTAUS, THORNAFIRE, TORTURER, TRIMEGISTO or UNAUSSPRECHLICHEN KULTEN.
Talking about PENTAGRAM, what do you think about Anton, his bands and his changes of styles? I ask you this because in Chile the underground scene don’t like CRIMINAL at all, you know what I’m talking about, the more underground people think CRIMINAL and Anton sucks (because he likes bands like PANTERA, FAITH NO MORE, MACHINE HEAD, NEUROSIS, MINISTRY) although there is some respect for what PENTAGRAM did in their beginning…
I was never really a fan of CRIMINAL either as their overall musical approach was a bit too modern for my taste, but if it’s what Anton is enjoying these days, all power to him. If his heart is really into it, it’s still better to play that style than to stick to the old PENTAGRAM stuff, which he maybe don’t find too challenging anymore… You gotta please yourself first and foremost. It doesn’t make any sense to write and play music you don’t enjoy just to please a certain crowd.
Some time ago Costa Stoios made a comment about you being a very well respected guy in the German scene. What do you think about that? Is it easier for you to get to bands or watch any free concerts because you are a wellknown guy in your scene?
It depends… sometimes it definitely helps, as people know me for so long already… In that case there’s no need to introduce myself and the zine any longer, which makes things a lot easier of course… But on the other hand, times have changed a lot… everyone seems to be crying how bad sales are these days and how much money they lose on every new band / release, so that getting free stuff becomes more and more difficult to anyone I suppose… plus people at record companies as well as in bands change, so very often once great contacts simply aren’t around anymore.
In retrospect Frank, what do you think about yourself and all these years in the scene? Do you think you are an important figure to the German scene because of all your work through the years? Is there anything left in Metal that you want to achieve? Any dreams undone?
No, I definitely don’t consider myself as an important person in the scene or anything… it all just happened the way it did over the years… I have just been lucky enough to be around for such a long time. It just seems that the projects / bands I was involved in reached the interest of quite a few people, which is great. So I guess my taste can’t be the worst, hahaha… Dreams? Hmm… I don’t know… not really. You know, at the moment I can’t really think of anything that I haven’t done already (from being a regular fan, to running fan clubs, managements, zines, contributing to bigger magazines, doing promo jobs for record labels, running our own little label and so on and so on)… I never planned any of those activities in the past either, so who knows what will come next?!
Which are your next steps? Do you have new ideas for the website or maybe you want to do new things related to Metal??
No plans at the moment… I’m already more than happy that I still find enough time to keep the website going the way it is now, so… I guess the only chance to do some re-work on the whole goddammit site would be when I would lose my regular job again someday… but I’m not sure if I would really like that situation, hahaha…
Ok Frank, I came up with tons of questions for you, but I know it can be tiring to answer them to some guy you don’t even know, ha, ha, ha. I hope you’ve enjoyed the interview, it took me a lot to check some of your zines, interviews and websites, so I hope it won’t be so boring… Thanks a lot for your time; no doubt you are a guy who can talk about hundred of things… Best of luck with all your projects, thank you…
Thanks tons Gabriel for this opportunity. You did a great job and obviously a lot of research to come up with such a big amount of questions for this. I was really impressed how much info you were able to find out about me… that’s really scary man. I bet not even my parents would know all these details about me, hahaha. Oh well… I hope people won’t fall asleep while having to read all my boring answers, hahaha. Anyway, thanks again and all the best for your zine! For all further info check out www.voicesfromthedarkside.de or www.myspace.com/voicesfromthedarkside