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Rolf Kasparek – Vocals and Guitar for Running Wild

Date: 4/18/12
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. When you decided to retire Running Wild after the Wacken Open Air show in 2009, did you really think it was over?

ROLF: Yeah, the problem was I said goodbye Running Wild around 2006 because I was really uncomfortable working on the last album “Rogues En Vogue”, it was harder work than usual and I had to get rid of a lot of ideas because I didn’t think they were strong enough to go on the album. I really felt tired of doing it so I took a break and did a couple different other projects. But around 2010 a record company approached me re-recording some Running Wild songs from the first nine records because they were no longer available (because they belonged to Universal England and they didn’t want to put the albums out anymore). They asked for some bonus tracks so I tried to write some bonus material but it ended up being on the new album because I thought they were so strong I didn’t want to waste them as bonus tracks. ‘Piece Of The Action’ was the first song I wrote. I wrote it in ten minutes, haha, so the passion was back, and that was totally different to when I was writing for “Rogues En Vogue”. Everything came more naturally now when I was writing for ‘Shadowmaker”.

2. At the time, did you have any of these songs written that eventually showed up on the new album “Shadowmaker”?

ROLF: Some parts of ‘Sailing Fire’ were there and one song, ‘Me & The Boys’ was originally written for another project called Toxic Taste and when I was writing for “Shadowmaker” I thought it was a great song and just changed it a bit more into the Running Wild style. I also had the riff for ‘Locomotive’, and some parts of ‘Sailing Fire’ were around, and a couple ideas for the epic ‘Dracula’.

3. Are the band members the same on “Shadowmaker” that who played with you at the Wacken show?

ROLF: No, because Running Wild has really been a solo project for many years, I didn’t make any plans for it to be like this. The guys who play live with me are often different than who record on the studio albums. When I tour for “Shadowmaker” I will first ask the guys who played with me at Wacken and take it from there.

4. Tell us about the music on “Shadowmaker” and did you find it easy to get back into writing music in the classic Running Wild style?

ROLF: Well it was easy because I wrote what came into my mind and I wrote several of these songs in a short period of time, like an hour or less. It didn’t take long to compose these songs, it only took me two hour to finish ‘Dracula’ and you can’t plan something like that. The ideas just come to you sometimes that quickly.

5. Why is the album artwork so plain?

ROLF: You know when I started out writing “Shadowmaker” I knew this song would be the title track, and telling the story which comes from old prophecies and in some parts of the Bible, I wanted to put this character on the cover but make it more like a logo. Not like traditional heavy metal album covers that are very creative and colorful, I wanted something different that brought Running Wild into the present, starting over, going into the future.

6. Why did you not include songs from ‘Masquerade”, “Blazon Stone”, or “The Rivalry” for the Wacken 2009 setlist?

ROLF: No particular reason it just worked out that way I guess since it was a farewell I had so many of the older classics to play like ‘Port Royal’, ‘Bad To The Bone’, ‘Riding The Storm’, ‘Conquistadores’, ‘Gates To Purgatory’, ‘Prisoner Of Our Time’, of course ‘Under Jolly Roger’. There are many songs I like from those albums but it just didn’t work out that I picked any from those albums for the Wacken show.

7. I have noticed in some of the Running Wild setlists in more recent years, before the band retired, you really didn’t include any songs from “Masquerade” (which is one of my favorite albums). Is there a reason why?

ROLF: Well its hard when you have 13 albums to pick from for a setlist, and then you have to consider what the fans want too. Plus, you can’t have too many of these fast double bass songs because it’s a lot of work on the drummer, hahaha.

8. Being an American website, and a fan, I have to ask the obvious question, why has Running Wild not played any shows in the U.S. since the 80s?

ROLF: Well one thing was the lineup changes and that’s hard to do touring, especially overseas, when you have these changes. Plus for many years we only had our albums released by a European label. So support for an American tour wasn’t always an option.

9. Any plans to play some show in America in support of “Shadowmaker”?

ROLF: Not right now, there aren’t even any plans to do shows in Europe. Right now for 2012 I just plan on doing some promotion for it and see how the response is and I will take it from there. Maybe we will do a couple festivals but nothing is definite yet.

10. Being a fan, there are several songs I’d like to see in, or back in, the setlist. I’m curious if you would or have considered them?

a. ‘Diamonds on the Black Chest
ROLF: Great song, like I said we plan on doing some re-recordings for reissues and that song is on the list.

b. ‘Fistful of Dynamite’
ROLF: Great also. It’s a great rock n roll song and fits well into the material on “Shadowmaker”.

c. ‘Dancing On A Minefield’.
ROLF: (laughs) Another good one that fits in well with “Shadowmaker”, problem is there are just too many songs to pick from when you do a setlist. It was a song we played before in the past.

d. ‘Rebel at Heart’ and ‘Lions of the Sea’.
ROLF: Oh we played those years ago around the time when “Masquerade” came out. Maybe I would put those back in.

e. ‘The Rivalry’.
ROLF: That one is pretty hard for the drummer, hahahaha. Like after we play something like ‘Black Hand Inn’ we have to play something more mid tempo to give the drummer a break.

f. ‘Fight The Fire Of Hate’
ROLF: Another good one, great hymn.

11. Plans for the rest of the year into 2013?

ROLF: Really a lot of promotion, autograph signings in Germany for now.

12. Plans to release the 2002 Live DVD and The Final Jolly Roger on NTSC for North America?

ROLF: Really I don’t know, it’s up to the record companies. The Final Jolly Roger belongs to Wacken Records. I know the album “Gates To Purgatory” is getting re-released later this year. I hope all the old albums get released again.

13. Message for the American fans?

ROLF: I really hope everyone checks out the new album “Shadowmaker” and hopefully we will get to play some shows in the U.S. sooner than later.

Official website: http://www.running-wild.de


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