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Axel Rudi Pell – Guitarist

Date: 6/26/10
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. After 13 albums and 20 years of making music, do you find it hard to write new songs that don’t repeat your past?

AXEL: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. During the songwriting process I am collecting ideas over a period of several months, then I pick up the guitar and put those ideas on tape. Then I will go back and listen to some of the back catalogue if I feel it sounds familiar. But I definitely do check to make sure things don’t repeat themselves.

2. Is the new album, "The Crest", similar in style and sound to your more recent releases like "Tales Of The Crown" and "Mystica"?

AXEL: I don’t think so because "Tales Of The Crown" was a little more progressive in rhythm patterns, usually my music is more in the style of Rainbow, Black Sabbath’s "Heaven And Hell", Dio era. I think "The Crest" is closer to "Mystica" then, maybe, more in the overall style.

3. Did you try any new ideas on "The Crest"?

AXEL: No because it doesn’t make sense, I tried some before and I got emails from management saying "don’t do it again, stick to your style"…and I want to stick to what I do also because "The Crest" is definitely what the Axel Rudi Pell band is about.

4. Tell us about the music for the instrumental, ‘Noblesse Oblige', on "The Crest".

AXEL: It’s only the piano and clean lead guitar. It has a beautiful melody and I got the guitar crying, put all my emotions into it. Its one of my favorite instrumentals.

5. Why did you title the album "The Crest"?

AXEL: Because I think we are at the point with this band that there was a feeling of magic in the air when I was writing the music for this album. That this is the crest for the Axel Rudi Pell band. The lyrics are based on the story started on the "Oceans Of Time" album about the five knights. Now in "The Crest" the story continues. I write all the lyrics and music.

6.Is the lineup the same from the last few albums?

AXEL: Yeah it’s been the same for twelve years. "Oceans Of Time" (1998) was the first record with Johnny Gioeli singing, Mike Terrana (drums) joined maybe five months later for "The Ballads II", or no…maybe "The Ballads III"? And then the rest of the band are the same from "Oceans of Time"p>

7. When you perform live do you try and play at least one song from each album?

AXEL: No I don’t because there are just so many albums and sometimes it’s hard picking the right songs for playing live. I do have some classics, like ‘Casbah’, from the record "Between The Walls" from 1994, ‘Strong As A Rock” from "Kings And Queens", and I always try and play a few from the newest album out too.

8. Is there an album you’re particularly not proud of or would like to rework?

AXEL: Maybe the first one, "Wild Obsession", from 1989. I don’t like the sound of it and the guitar playing is really not that good because I play different now. I think "Nasty Reputation" is much better, we play that song often.

9. Do you see in the future going back and re-mastering those first two albums?

AXEL: When we did "The Chosen Few" compilation a few of those older songs were remastered. I think we need to remix some of those older songs really. At some point, maybe towards the end of my career, I would like to put out a box set with every record, remixed, remastered.

10. Have you ever performed in North America?

AXEL: Unfortunately, no I haven’t. You know, I ask my singer Johnny, because he is from the U.S., if we should and he said it wouldn’t make sense really because you’d only get a couple hundred fans, if that, showing up. This style of melodic metal is just not that popular in the States and we would lose money.

11. Are you connected with your fans in the U.S. and the interest to play here? How about your record sales?

AXEL: The only thing I see is messages through our website and Myspace really. Right now there are no plans to tour in the U.S. Maybe if we get invited as a support band.

12. If you do play the States would you try and play maybe at least one song from each album?

AXEL: No, I don’t think so. We would probably do what have always done in Europe.

13. How many different singers have you had in the band?

AXEL: 4.

14. What do you think each singer has brought to that period of the band?

AXEL: Well my current vocalist, Johnny Gioeli, is really the perfect singer for my band. I think he is one of the five best vocalists in the world. When I recorded the second album, "Nasty Reputation", with Rob Rock, he was one of my favorite singers at the time. And at the time we were about to do a tour and Rob couldn’t do it because he joined Impellitteri on a full time basis. So I was interested in Jeff Scott Soto, got in touch with him and he said he could do the tour. For that kind of music at the time he fit perfectly and I wanted him to do more records and touring. But the problem was he was doing the Boogie Nights project which is why he only did a few albums; "Between The Walls" (1994), "Black Moon Pyramid" (1996), and "Magic" (1997). Johnny came in after because I always remember his work on the first Hardline album and he was on my list if at some point I needed a new singer

15. What are the touring plans for "The Crest"?

AXEL: We just finished the first part in Europe, have two shows in the summer, then the second part of the European tour is in October, and next year we will do all the festivals in Europe.

16. What are your three favorite guitars to perform with live?

AXEL: A Fender Stratocaster white with a left headstock, very vintage look. The second is a sunburst Stratocaster, third is a black Strato.

17. Who are your favorite guitar players?

AXEL: Richie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Steve Lukather from the band Toto, Randy Rhoads, Yngwie, and Uli John Roth.

18. Do you get involved in side projects?

AXEL: No, sometimes I will just get on stage with friends and jam. But otherwise my time is dedicated to my solo band.

19. What would you like to achieve with your solo band that have not yet?

AXEL: Maybe a platinum album, hahaha. Plus I would like to break in other markets, like the U.S. and Japan. I think most of our albums are available in the States.

Official website: http://www.axel-rudi-pell.de


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