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Alex Beyrodt – Guitar for Voodoo Circle, Primal Fear

Date: 4/3/11
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. Tell us about the new Voodoo Circle album "Broken Heart Syndrome" Why that title and how does it differ from the original?

ALEX: wow, where to start…when I started writing music for the album I talked to the guys in the band and said I wanted to go back in time as much as we could, back to our roots, the late 70s early 80s. and around that time I also opened myself up to other music styles, like blues, and you can hear that on "Broken Heart Syndrome" because I’m more open to that stuff than I was before. At first I was a bit unsure if people would appreciate my change of style a little bit because I was known for heavy metal guitar in Sinner, Silent Force, and Primal Fear, but what I do in Voodoo Circle is actually who I really am, I really enjoy doing this. And the fans really like this as well, and as a result "Broken Heart Syndrome" hit the German national charts at #64 which is a huge success for this kind of music. And it came completely unexpected.

Concerning the title, around two years ago I had some private stuff goin but it didn’t have anything to do with a broken heart because of a love affair. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and the doctor conducted all these tests to see why. He said I was healthy, organs and everything were fine, I wasn’t feeling well because I was not happy because I didn’t play the guitar or was touring for half a year and he said if I didn’t start playing I may get a broken heart syndrome. I said "what?, really?"...and he said yeah it’s a real medical term for your heart deforming where it changes shape and it could result in death. And as soon as he said that I knew it had to be the album’s title.

2. Did you write the music and lyrics on "Broken heart Syndrome"?

ALEX: No. I wrote all the music and on ‘Heal My Pain’ I co-wrote it with Mat (Sinner – bass), the lyrics were done by David (Readman – vocals), and we composed together the vocal lines. But basically you can say I write 75% and the rest melodies and stuff I share with David.

3. Are the players the same that were on the debut?

ALEX: I had to replace the drummer because Mel Gainer (the drummer of Simple Minds) who played on the debut he wasn’t able to make it because he was already doing something with Simple Minds and I couldn’t wait to be available unfortunately. So the new guy is Marcus, he’s a German guy and he lives not far from me and plays with a band called Desperados. He great up on Cozy Powell and John Bonham and he really gave these songs what they needed.

4. Are you considering this a solo project since your name is part of the band’s name?

ALEX: Well we look at it as a band, and I know in reviews and the press it appears to be a project but that’s not how we look at it. It’s like five friends playing their favorite music together, nothing less or more. Why I attached my name to it is because on the first album I had on it Mel Gainer from Simple Minds, Rudy Sarzo (from Quiet Riot, Dio, Ozzy, Whitesnake) on one song, Doogie White from Rainbow, David Readman from Pink Cream 69, and Mat Sinner from Primal Fear/Sinner, all these big names. So I wanted to make sure from the beginning that people knew this was my band and not like the new band from one of the other guys in the band.

5. Has the band performed live and what are the plans for this album?

ALEX: We did a little club tour after the first album came out, and two weeks ago we did a little show at a festival, and we are gonna hit the road in September in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria with Sinner…double trouble hahaha.

6. Will the new album be released in North America on AFM?

ALEX: Yeah I guess so that’s what the contract sais. I have no idea when it comes out.

7. Any plans to do a few shows in the U.S.?

ALEX: We would love to but that all comes down to the right promoters and at the time that’s not in my hands. And I think if we did we would have to be support for someone.

8. How about with Primal fear when they come back?

ALEX: You know that is an option, we did that two years ago in South America with Sinner and Primal Fear and honestly you can do that for a couple of shows. The last tour in the States with Primal Fear was four weeks and the distance from gig to gig is pretty far and to play two shows every night is exhausting. I love touring and being in the States so I look forward to coming back.

9. Are you still in Silent Force?

ALEX: Well that is my band also, it always was, and a few years ago I decided to put it on ice for the time being because my priorities right now are with Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle, and Sinner which keeps me more than busy. Plus, the other guys from Silent Force are busy too with other bands, DC Cooper is back in Royal Hunt, and Andre the drummer is in Rage, so right now it’s not the time for Silent Force.

10. And what’s your status in Primal Fear? I know you have been a fill in guitarist many times.

ALEX: Yeah I am a full member now, I think we announced it 8 months ago but didn’t make a big deal out of it because for so many people they thought I was a member anyway, haha, and the next record will be the first I actually record with the band. You know I actually played my first show with Primal Fear tour in 1999, then again in 2002, then 2006, then 2009, hahaha...I’ve always been helping these guys out and me and Mat have been buddies for more than 25 years so it’s all family.

11. So you and Magnus will be the guitarists in Primal Fear?

ALEX: Yeah. We already did a European tour last year, then South America was a few weeks ago, we played in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Brazil, and that was great. Me and Magnus are a great fit together. But after the release of the next album we will be back in America and it will be the first time Magnus will be with us in the U.S.

12. Your style of guitar playing is influenced by Richie Blackmoore and Yngwie Malmsteen. So what are your favorite pieces of work, or albums by them?

ALEX: Well I grew up with Blackmoore, he’s why I started playing guitar, and Hendrix. The stuff from Blackmoore I like the most is...well really everything, hahaha. I do really like Rainbow’s "Long Live Rock n Roll", Deep Purple’s "Machine Head", "Perfect Strangers". Yngwie and I are actually around the same age, and we both grew up with Blackmoore, and when I was 16 I scalloped the fretboard of my guitar and so did Yngwie but then we didn’t know about each other, but we kinda had the same ideas about playing and how Blackmoore influenced us. I think my favorite Yngwie album is probably "Odyssey", and the one he likes the least, hahaha. I don’t know why he doesn’t like it, I read that in interviews, maybe it was because of the commercial sound, I don’t know. I also really like "Trilogy", and "Facing The Animal" I don’t think it really gets the recognized enough and respect it should. There are some great songs and guitar playing on it. After "Facing the Animal" I don’t know, the albums after the songwriting started repeating itself a lot. I’ve met Yngwie once and we had a really nice lunch together, it was like two friends hanging out and not a rivalry. You know sometimes other guitar players don’t get along because of egos, but he treated me really nice and knew about Silent Force. But we never talked about what happened with the Yngwie music after the album "Facing The Animal", that was just too personal and we were not on that level.

13. What’s your status with Sinner?

ALEX: Well I left the band around 2001 and now I’m back. We are in the middle of recording the new album, called "One Bullet Left", and the songwriting is very Thin Lizzy like, and there are three guitar players, hahaha, and like Iron Maiden we all like each other too and make it work, haha. I think the album comes out in September.

14. What’s goin on with Primal Fear?

ALEX: We are in the middle of writing songs and will probably enter the studio in a few months so it can be released in the new year.

15. Well you are pretty busy, so could you possibly be involved in anything else when time allows?

ALEX: Yeah I do clinics and workshops for Marshall, plus I have my own effect peddle company, www.guitarslingereffects.com , and its booster, distortion and overdrive peddles, I build and paint them myself.

Official website: http://www.voodoocircle.de


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