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In Words: Bonfire

- Claus Lessmann - Nov. 2011 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

© Bonfire

Claus Lessmann - November 2nd 2011 (by email)

Bonfire is one of the German bands which is around for decades and got recognition from hard rock fans around the world. Now they celebrate the 25th anniversary of their most successful album - Fireworks. Time to talk about Fireworks Still Alive! And more!

With Fireworks Still Alive you celebrate the anniversary of the release of your most successful album, when did you first thought about doing a live version of Fireworks?

First of all I want to say Hi Claudia, it is very nice doing an interview with you.
Well, actually this plan was on our minds already for a couple of years, but as you know, most times you don't have the time and the right mood to make them come reality, because there is always something different to do, that seems to be more urgent. But finally the time was right at our anniversary.

When and where did you record Fireworks Still Alive?

It was recorded at different locations in Europe 2010 and 2011 as there where for example the Czech Republic at the Masters Of Rock or the two shows we did in our hometown Ingolstadt, Germany.

From the original Fireworks you played all but one song, why is Cold Days missing?

Cold Days was only a bonus track on the original album and we have never played it again after the recording, plus somehow the was not enough time for rehearsing this additional song. But you are right, maybe we should have done it to make it all complete.... Maybe next time.

With Sword And Stone you added a song which previously was only released on the same titled single, did the fans asked you to make this available?

In a certain way I must confess... yes. The fans, especially in countries like Spain, always wanted to hear this song, so we played it live and finally said, that it definitely hast to be on the album.

Beside Let If Off from your latest album you played I'm On My Way to pay tribute to the late Steve Lee. Please tell us a bit about your connection to Steve!

When we heard the news, that Steve Lee has died, we were really shocked, because I personally had a very good relation with him, based on very good conversations we have had. Plus the fact, that the world has lost one of the most outstanding rock singers. So I decided spontaneously to play one of Gotthards ballads on our upcoming shows and I still do think, that I'm On My Way was a very good choice. It is a fantastic song and I hope, that Steve would like our version of it... All the best to you Steve...wherever you are now.

The cover artwork looks like an image from the 1950th... Why this style? And who did it?

You are right. We thought we should do something different compared to our previous albums and so we came up with this idea oft he wrapping of those firecrackers in the 50-ies and 60-ies. They were very colorful and always were promising big fun. The artwork was done by our good friend James Beckett, who comes from England, is a good friend and also a big fan of us. He also has done our homepage and some of our previous covers. He is just fantastic in his work.

The style of the artwork is taking one back in time, though let us travel a bit back in time... You started as Cacumen - and I even saw you back then -, how often fans ask about you about the Cacumen albums?

Thank you Claudia... Because you really seem to be in the same Fireworks.. Still Alive spirit as we are, because you see and feel all this about it.
Well, sometimes fans still are asking and talking about the old days. Especially when the are our age and maybe have already have seen us at that time. A couple of years ago, we have released a box set with 5 CDs called The Early Days Of Bonfire that included the Cacumen recordings and they seemed to like it a lot.

When you started as Bonfire you had a major label backing you, how much did being signed to RCA help you?

It really helped the band a lot. From that time on we had the support we needed. They had the money, the right connections and the power to break the band.

When you recorded Fireworks, did you feel the magic of the songs?

I don't think so. It is always a very special and magical situation and feeling, when you record an album, but somehow... at that time.... Maybe there was a certain something in the air around us that was telling us... Hey boys, there something happening to you soon.

Did you ever thought you will hit gold status with any of your albums?

Yes and no. As a musician you are always dreaming about being successful. I thing, this is what keeps you going through all the hard times. But, that this dream came true, made us very happy and proud.

Through the years the music business changed a lot... The band had to face ups and downs. Tell us a bit about your ups and downs!

Only a short answer...I love the ups and I hate the downs!!!

Through the years you surprised your fans, in the mid-90's with an album with German lyrics and in 2008 with Die Räuber. Can we expect some more surprises?

You never know... I think, you can't really plan surprises and so we are still open and ready to do more of them, but there are no concrete plans yet, though it would be fun to do it.

You saw bands coming and going, the music biz changing... Do you think it's easier to start a band these days and promote it? Or do you think the chances when you started were bigger to get recognition?

This is really hard to say. I think that the big advantage for upcoming bands today is the internet, because they are able to promote themselves in a lot better way than we could, back in the 80-ies. At that time you definitely needed a major record company. Every time has it's own challenge.

A phenomena these days are casting shows.... If there would be a casting show when you would have had the chance back in the 70's?

I don't think so. The talents and the musicians nowadays are a lot better than we have been at that time. The quality is much better now, but the support oft he record companies and all the people around those talents is much worse.

What are your plans for the rest of 2011? And what about 2012?

Easy to some more shows and festivals and rock!

Feliz Navidad and Merry Christmas!!! ....from us all!

Claus Lessmann

Claudia Ehrhardt


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