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Kosta Zafiriou – Drums for Pink Cream 69

Date: 12/2/09
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. Picking a setlist for the 20th anniversary show must have been tough. What Pink Cream songs are considered classic and had to be in the set?

KOSTA: Well picking a setlist after 20 years in hard but there are obviously some songs considered classics like ‘Do You Like It Like That’, ’Talk To The Moon’ from the "One Size Fits All" album and ‘One Step Into Paradise’ from our debut. ‘Shame’ from "Electrified", ‘Seas of Madness’. After so many years of making music and several records there is a lot to choose from. But I think after 20 years its easy to picks which ones have to be included for an anniversary show and a live DVD taping.

2. What songs did not make the cut but you would have like to been played?

KOSTA: Really I think we covered everything but the cover of the Police song ‘So Lonely’ which we played was not included because it was expensive to get the rights.

3. Has much changed with the music by replacing Andi Deris with David Readman?

KOSTA: Well Andi was the main songwriter so when he left it was a bit of an adjustment and the other guys in the band had to take over. When David joined he had to take over the ship you can say, but over the years Dave grew into the band and became an equal songwriter next to Alfred Koffler (guitar) and Dennis Ward (bass) and he definitely contributed to the new history with many good songs.

After Andi left the band in 1993 to join Helloween, it was the band’s decision to become a little more modern for the album "Change" even before David joined. So he really had no impact on what direction the music was going in. When we started working on the songs for "Change" Dennis actually sang on the demos for the album before we found David. And Dennis is a very good singer as well. Dave came into the band and had to sing on the new demos and new what the music was all about but it was not his intention to change the style of Pink Cream.

4. Are you satisfied with the double DVD set “Past and Present: Live In Karlsruhe”?

KOSTA: Yes we are. The main show recorded in our hometown of Karlsruhe was a very special one for us – 20 years since the release of the first record, 10 studio albums. The second DVD is the concert "Size It Up – Live In Japan"- video from 1992, for the first time ever to be released on DVD, featuring the band's original singer Andi Deris (now with Helloween). There is also a 55 minute documentary with interviews and rare footage, all 8 official video clips, and bonus live material from the band's appearances at Masters of Rock (5 songs) and Das Fest (3 songs) festivals in 2007.

5. Was any footage left out that you wanted to include?

KOSTA: No…not really. Maybe just some TV appearances and strange funny things we did but couldn’t get the rights to it. But I think its ok we didn’t include that stuff. The DVDs are packed with enough history to make it worth picking up. Its rather comprehensive as it.

6. What do you think is the strongest Pink Cream 69 album and why?

KOSTA: I think you have to split it up because of the two eras of the band. From the Andi Deris years it’s "One Size Fits All", commercially our best selling album. From the Readman years "Electrified" because in my opinion it stands for the style of the band and what its best at; strong melodic, yet powerful hard rock music.

7. Is there an album you would like to go back and change maybe the songs, production, lyrics?

KOSTA: You just named it in the question, hahaha…"Change". I have to tell you a little story about that album…there was a big move goin on back then (you know grunge/alternative), and we were still signed with Sony Music. The CEO of the German branch said "I am sending you guy to the U.S. with an American producer, bring me a modern record and I will open up the American market". So at the time it wasn’t just us looking to change, and when I get into the subject I ask the question; if you were a young guy in that position, and had that offer presented to you from a major record label, what would you do? And I’m sure any other rock band would have done what we did and made a more modern album.

Looking back now I see it as a mistake, if you change the style of music you are known for, then you should change the name of the band. Its confusing people if you don’t. If you go to the store and pick up a Pink Cream 69 record, your expecting to hear Pink Cream 69 which is melodic hard rock. If you are into other music, then change the band name and start from scratch, you know. Of course it’s easy to talk about it now, haha.

8. Was your appearance at the ProgPower festival in Atlanta the only time Pink Cream played the U.S.?

KOSTA: I’ve known the festival’s owner, Glenn, for many years because I booked several bands for the fest. He’s a good guy, great promoter, great venue, and a very well organized event. And a nice festival and atmosphere because the fans are really into the music. We also played the States in 1990 for the New Music Seminar, and in 94-95 we were only in California for the recording of the "Change" album.

9. Plans to return to the States?

KOSTA: Of course we would love to but as we all know it’s not a matter of the band wanting to. It comes down to if someone wants to book us.

10. What is Pink Cream 69’s fan base like in the States? Are you contact with your fans?

KOSTA: We do receive some emails and we check the guest book on our home page so that’s our kind of connection. Our connection is not based on sales.

11. Started working on a new Pink Cream 69 album?

KOSTA: Not yet but we really should. We had a meeting a couple weeks ago and we would like to finish it in the next year.

12. Plans for 2010?

My personal plans are I started a new band with Pink Cream’s bass player Dennis Ward and Michael Kiske (ex Helloween singer) called Unisonic. We just started the songwriting and it’s hard to see where the journey will end, but I know people want to see Michael on stage again. He hasn’t been on stage in 16 years since he left Helloween, and we have a connection through the Place Vendome project/records. As many know, Michael is not interested in doing heavy metal anymore, he is more interested in melodic hard rock and AOR, plus he wanted to work with Dennis because he liked the writing on the Place Vendome records. We have a group of people who know what direction we want to take the music but I can’t say just yet what the music will sound like. Its an exciting phase especially because we play our first festival this summer already.

13. Who are some of your favorite melodic hard rock bands?

KOSTA: Really it changes all the time, I go through phases. A lot of times Frontiers Records sends me music that’s good. I have a variety I like, from Coldplay to Slipknot, new Rammstein, and everything in between.

14. Do you do any other work aside from Pink Cream and now Unisonic?

KOSTA: Yeah, I am part of a management company called Bottom Row Promotion (www.bottomrow.com) and we manage bands and book shows for Helloween, Krokus, Pink Cream, Axxis. I travel a lot lately especially with Helloween. I change the chair from the drum kit and behind the desk, haha.

15. Speaking of Helloween then, when will they return to the States for a tour?

KOSTA: Well they recently toured the U.S. in 2008 with Gamma Ray. Were you there? Helloween is not that big in the States. We have been advised not to come back too soon. So we will wait a year or so to generate interest and then return.

Official website: www.pinkcream69.com


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