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woensdag 05 juni 2013
KINGDOM COME: Simple Life Makes A Happy Man

Interview with Lenny Wolf of Kingdom Come by Vera in April 2013

Kingdom Come debuted like a rocket in the late eighties. Their epic heavy rock was graced with Robert Plant like vocals of Lenny Wolf and albums like ‘Kingdom Come’, ‘In Your Face’ and ‘Hands Of Time’ were chart busters at that time. Yet commercial considerations are not important for Lenny, artistic freedom is more important. It is always a privilege to talk with the super debonair Lenny and also this time he was a cataract of words.





Hello Lenny. Congratulations with the new album ‘Outlier’. I like it a lot. There is some experimentation on it, so maybe not everybody will like it, but I do…
Thank you very much. I am glad you do. You know, I am really surprised, because I am doing so much interviews and I am surprised how much people like this album. I was a little bit afraid, because I was doing a little bit of experiments indeed, not only traditional stuff, but it was in most cases the opposite of what I feared and expected. People liked it that I tried to build a bridge between the past and the now. Well, it is like it is.

Maybe in the past two years after ‘Rendered Waters’ – which was a kind of reflection of the past with a couple of new songs – you have become more confident about what you should do in the future?
Absolutely. Confidence is a perfect word. I know what I can, I am improved as a human being, as a producer, as a writer. So all the elements fell into place and made the record become very strong. It is just another reflection of what I like talking about and sounding alike without any masterplan. Just being at work, minding my own business and hoping for the best.

Exactly, most of the time you work alone in your own studio. That means you have all responsibilities, but on the other side it means you have total freedom, which is mind-blowing…
Whatever you do, you have its blessings and curses. Sometimes I think it is good to reflect with other people, but sometimes it is good to do what you want to do if you have a very clear vision about what you want to do. If it comes to art in general, whether it is music, books or paintings, there is no right or wrong. It is just one way of interpreting it and you can only hope that there are some people out there who will like it. But I am not worried about imagos, trends or clichés. Those days are gone. I have proved my point for all those years now. I don’t have to worry about those issues anymore, like when I was twenty-five.

And… do you feel a bit comfortable in Germany again? Because I remember you told me that Germans were so strict and hectic after experiencing the American way of life…
Not only strict. There are other characteristics. But then again, I am a German as well, so it has its good and bad sides. If I make a deal with a German company, I know I will not be screwed over. It has gotten worse, but there is still some kind of basic reliability factor in our whole business. If you want to go to a country where the sun is shining all day long, okay great, do it; but making a deal with those people that is a different story, you know. But I cannot really generalize it; things are changing all over the planet. I can’t just say: that country is great for fun, that country is great for work. Nowadays the planet has grown so small. We are all so connected now. It is not like thirty years ago when I drove to a different country, I FELT that I was in a different country. Now Barcelona is like Germany.




I think it is a pity. We lost a kind of charm when travelling…
Absolutely. I totally agree. When I came to Amsterdam twenty years ago, it felt really different. That’s what I liked about it. It had its own charms and that is exactly what people want to feel and see. Nowadays everything is so cooperated and looks alike. It becomes so boring. It is the same human race. But what can you do? It is the sign of the time and the planet is growing smaller and in another hundred years we are all going to look alike and take trips to the moon and eat whatever (laughs). I think the only good thing about this planet growing smaller is that the risk of starting a war has become very little now. At least in the Western world there is no dictator anymore, telling me: hey, in Holland people are aggressive and they want to kill us. You know what I mean? That is great. But then again it has its downsides and a price we have to pay.

Did you actually do some live gigs after the last time we spoke? I remember you did not like festivals for instance…
We actually did some festivals. One of them was in Sweden, I did it because a very good friend of ours, Chris from a Swedish band, was part of the organization. That was fun. We did a very small Russian thing, but we did not do any extensive touring mainly because we don’t believe anymore in touring every place on this planet, just for the sake of playing. Things have to feel right, not just emotionally also technical wise. Kingdom Come is not exactly Bon Jovi or Metallica, so as long as it does not make sense, I rather stay home, nip on my coffee and let things happen. The days that you can play yourself to death to get more recognition, those days are over, because you don’t reach anybody besides the ones who already bought the CD. Don’t get me wrong: We love playing live! The energy exchange between the audience and us is one of the best feelings you can have, but unfortunately – and it is really very strange – the musicians and the crew all want to get paid, they all want to stay in nice hotels, travel very comfortably. That is where the fun ends. I am not in a hurry to go on the road. If this record moves something, we will start the bandwagon and off we go, but until then, we’ll see… I have seen the planet from a very great, wonderful perspective. No complains. I am very grateful I was able to do that, but I am not twenty anymore, when taking a plane to America used to be the ultimate kick. Actually travelling to me has become a pain the ass. All the security issues, a different bed every night, having to ‘kill’ somebody to have a late breakfast, to me it is just a royal pain in the ass. So I do not really need it unless it is really worth it. If I can go somewhere with the car, no problem, I am a twilight cruiser. By boat… even more fun in Summer. But I hate airplanes.

Is there a specific reason why you called the album ‘Outlier’?
I actually had a couple of different titles in mind, but then my brother and his girl friend – they live in Seattle – visited me and came to Hamburg to see me and our old mother and we took a trip to Austria. During the long trip in the car we talked about the title and actually the girl friend came up with ‘Outlier’. I did not know what it meant, so I was googling it. Once I found out the meaning behind it, I fell in love with it instantly, because when thinking back on my childhood – outlier is like an outbreaker or outsider – I felt very connected with the meaning of it. And then musically spoken, because it is not like you hear one song and you know the whole record, so I am breaking out of certain standards again. The title just makes perfect sense and that is why I am using it.

What can you tell about the lyrics?
I tried very hard to keep far away from typical phrases like ‘Oh baby, I love you forever’ and other clichés. I cannot hear this shit anymore, because I am hearing it 24h a day on the radio and I am so tired of it. Lyrics are still very important to me, but secondary, the music is first and if it comes to lyrics it is just a very simple but straight reflection of what I felt talking about sharing, just like stating my opinion. I am not smart-assing, I am not pointing my finger, I am just saying what is keeping my mind busy and again trying to keep away from that cliché bullshit. Just normal life is my source of inspiration, but I don’t want to tell too much about it. Just like Bon Scott used to say, from AC/DC: doing nothing means a lot to me. And while I am doing nothing I reload my battery. I work in phases: three weeks very intense work in the studio, two months doing nothing for instance. I do everything on my own pace and I am very grateful that I am able to do that.





The artwork on the middle page of the booklet is pretty special, distortion and colour was added on a picture, while there is a funny duck…
That is exactly how I am representing my personality. It is always hard to judge yourself, but I think I am a very thoughtful guy, I am the collector of ideas, that’s the creative Lenny in me I guess. But the hard elements show what’s necessary for living life I guess. I like to mix distortion, meaning the heaviness of the record with lots of colours which is also represented in the record and I tried to put it in a picture which is kind of supporting the sound of the record. At the same time I try not to look at it as such a huge, serious, big thing and that’s why we have the little duck. You can interpret the cover as you want, but basically I was trying to put the sound into visuals and a picture.

It is a kind of picture as if you are an alchemist…
Yeah! Very good! Absolutely! When I am in the studio I am an alchemist.

An alchemist of sounds, not of materials…
(enthusiastic) Great title!!!

Why did you use electronics on the record?
Can’t really put my fingers on it. When I am in the studio, I am like a five years old guy who plugs in the guitar card, hoping that some creativity will fly by. There is really nothing on purpose or thinking involved when I am creating. In the spirit of the moment I let things happen. It is just a reflection of that very particular moment when I create. There is no masterplan at all, just playing around until I get my goose-bumps. It is an innocent process without thinking in commercial terms or concepts. Writing to me is a very pure, holy process which can’t be polluted by any commercial or other issues, indeed.

What can we expect in future from Kingdom Come?
I have no idea what the future will bring and I am not spending too much thoughts on it, because it just makes you worry. Things happen the way they happen. We’ll see. I once wrote: Simple life makes a happy man and that is exactly what it is all about.

Would you like to mention your all time favourites?
(sighs and thinks) That’s a very difficult question. Okay, let me think. Eleven songs I would like to bring with me on an island. That sounds like a cosmic plan!

Lenny’s Eleven

AC/DC – Live wire
Rammstein – Du Hässt
Sensational Alex Harvey Band – The Faith Healer
Rainbox – Stargazer
Radiohead – There There
Led Zeppelin – Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed
Beatles – Julia
Kingdom Come – When Colours Break The Grey
Archive – Lights
Metallica – Unforgiven

The band has shot a video clip for ‘God Does Not Sing Our Song’ in Hamburg. Great conversation with the man again!

www.lennywolf.com








Geplaatst door Vera op woensdag 05 juni 2013 - 18:47:25
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