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In Words: Rage



- Peavy - Sep. 1993 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Peavy & Victor - Nov. 1999 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Rage - May 2002 - Roberto Palmitesta -
- Peavy - Nov. 2003 - Claudia Ehrhardt -


www.rage-on.de








Peavy - November, 27th 2003 - Cologne (D), Live Music Hall




For a few weeks the latest album Soundchaser of Rage is in the stores. The band did some unplugged shows and meet & greets around the release date in Germany. Now they - as co-headliner - are back on tour with Helloween in Europe. In Cologne I chit-chat a little with band mastermind Peavy. Soundchaser is the second conceptual album in the history of Rage. "Well, Victor talked me over to do another concept album. But it's not his job to write it, so... It's a pain in the ass, coz you have to complete the songs, can't left something open to work out in the studio. It's limiting." But Soundchaser turned out good and so it was worth the work spend on it. On the unplugged shows they already played some stuff live and the reactions been very good. Made many curious about the tour with Helloween. "Andi suggested to tour together when we were in Spain. We liked the idea, coz we could play places we haven't been or where we don't have a big following. Beside that it's like touring with a family. We all know each us and get along very well. It's almost like being one band. And the reaction of the fans is fantastic everywhere." Some club headliner shows are planned for January in Germany, but just 4 shows. "Yes, we decided to do these shows to record a live album and DVD. The DVD shall be in the stores in September. It's our 20th anniversary, so..." These days many German bands face their 20th anniversary and some - like Doro - plan a big show events, others just do a kind of special CD-thing. "On that shows we will be our own opening band, coz the un­plugged shows were quite successful. We thought we have to record that and put it on the DVD. We also thought about combining that with some Lingua Mortis stuff, but that depends on Victor. On tour until December, back about a week before Christmas where we all take a break and then we do have only 2 weeks until we do these shows. Tight schedule. Perhaps we haven't the songs transformed and rehearsed in time... Then we probably do that later." A good decision, coz not everybody had the chance to see them with the Lingua Mortis orchestra or during the unplugged shows. "Also we never really had a live album." So it'll be a kind of Best-Of album, a travel trough their past. Some bands asked the fans what they want to hear on their website... "Perhaps we do that, but we will just play what the majority wants to hear, coz we can't play every requested tracks. There will fans vote for exotic ones like bonus tracks and b-sides. But it will be a long set where we play all the essentials!" At the moment it looks like everybody is releasing a DVD, but for their 20th anniversary they will do something more then just a live show, I guess... "Definitely! I want to make a kind of history with old footage. A lot material to sort out, but... It will be a double DVD and I guess that we do it the same way as Kreator and offer the live album, the DVD and both together as a package." Rage will be busy the next month preparing the shows, the DVD release and there is also talk about a tour in South America and Japan for spring. "At the moment we try to set something up for South America. We were there in 1996, but hadn't the chance since. It ain't easy, coz we aren't big enough to do our own tour there, so I think it'll be a package. Hope it works out and we can play there again." But there are place closer to their home which they haven't played... Like Turkey. "We had an offer once, but couldn't do that. The timing was wrong. But we would like to play there. If we get another offer and if it fits into our schedule, we will go to Turkey." This year there was a festival in Istanbul, perhaps a festival is a chance for them to play there... "Last summer we played some festivals - small ones and bigger ones - and we will play some next summer. We would like to play at BYH, but we haven't talked to Horst yet. Guess we should ask him..." A new experience was playing in Korea. "It was great to play there. The reactions were fantastic. And it was so successful that they ask us to come back 2004!" A new territory opened up for Rage and with them other bands might get the chance to tour there. But still there are places the band haven't played and were it seems that they won't play soon. For the fans there the DVD is a good chance to learn about the band. And as soon as they will find the time Victor will do another solo album, but it looks like 2004 Rage is busy, coz after the DVD / live album release they will tour again. But when there is time... "Victor asked me to take part in his next solo album. On the Soundchaser album we had bonus tracks - one for the European edition, one on the other - which were Bach compositions. For me it was and will be a challenge, but first Victor had to re-arrange the tracks. He will have 10 compositions on the album, but it'll take time." Seems that they have many plans for 2004 and beyond. So Rage is still alive and kicking in their 20th year in business and it don't look like they will stop soon. Good for the fans and fans in Germany shouldn't miss the shows in January!!!



Claudia Ehrhardt

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Rage: Peavy + Victor - live at BYH 2002
Claudia Ehrhardt


Peavy, Mike & Victor - May 2002 (by email)




Rage continue to show how positive was the change of line up. With Mike Terrana and Victor Smolski the band earn the teamwork that it's leader Peavy Wagner always tried to find. Both musicians choose to stay after helping Wagner to finish Ghosts when the old line up decide to leave the band in the middle of the production. Then came Welcome To The Other Side, one of the most complex albums on Rage's career and which has more progressive influences. One year later the band continues with Unity which sound comes back to the dark power metal roots of the band.
Let's check on this interview the opinion of all band members about how they join the band, the way they feel together right now and their impression of the last two albums.


Peavy, tell us, about how did you became a trio! What did happened in Rage?

The former band musicians decided to become 'pop stars', said they didn't wanna play metal anymore, coz this wouldn't have a future. This sounded like they were only in the band to become rich & famous and had no real interest in making this kind of music. So I was not unhappy when they left the band in the middle of the production of Ghosts. The only problem was to find musicians to finish the album, coz I had invested a lot of money meanwhile. They should have gone earlier, so I could have recorded the album already with Mike & Victor. Whatever, this was the birth of the best Rage ever.

How and when Mike Terrana and Victor Smolski met Peavy Wagner? How do you get to know each other?

I got tips from other musicians, also I knew some albums they recorded with other artists. I got their phone numbers and called them. We made a session to find out, if we could do it and the chemistry was there immediately. We agreed to give it a try and so far we didn't regret it.

How good is team work in Rage now?

It's perfect! There hasn't been a better teamwork in the band ever before. We share it all...

Welcome To The Other Side is a very complex work, many arrangements, effects and influence mixture. Which was the source of inspiration for Welcome To The Other Side?

We all have different backgrounds and influences. Victor studied classic half his life, Mike is a lot into fusion and I have a singer / songwriter background.

How was the composing process for Welcome To The Other Side

We took a lot time to work out all kind of different ideas we had, spent also a lot time and effort in arranging and recording / mixing the album. Victor and I work out our song ideas roughly before we come together. Also Mike is starting to learn piano to compose more in the future...

All tracks on Welcome To The Other Side offer something different, they all have a different air how do you do that? What did you do to make that each song sounded different?

It's in the arrangement of the instruments. Especially Victor is also a master of creating different sounds both on guitar and keys, he knows all techniques...

There are many influences in your music, I find many progressive influences in your two latest album. How do you describe the style of music of today's Rage?

High class metal at it's best!

Mike Terrana and Victor Smolski brought new influences to the band. How does this influences are reflected on Welcome To The Other Side and Unity?

The band is playing on a higher level now, musical and technical. Besides of the progressive influence it's of course also Victor's songs that haven't been there before. Check out also our newest album Unity for this!

How was the production process for Welcome To The Other Side and for Unity?

We started in August 2000 and worked till Christmas that year. We produced ourselves, something that was not so easy, coz we lost maybe a bit the eye for the main things and went too much into details. That's why we worked with producer Charlie Bauerfeind for our new CD, which is production wise a lot heavier.

I saw you at the Wacken Open Air festival and the show was remarkable, one of the best in the whole festival in my opinion. But many people are asking, if you will tour again with the orchestra. Do you have plans to make gigs with an orchestra?

Nothing to speak about at the moment. We only might do this again for certain events. As we worked this orchestra thing quite a long time, we think we don't want to overdo it, so we stopped for now.

Which are the plans of Rage for the future with the new album Unity?

Our new album Unity it's out on SPV / Steamhammer since May, 13th. We play European festivals over summer and do a co-headlining tour together with Primal Fear in September / October here in Europe.

Any plans for touring in South America?

Not now, unfortunately.

Many fans said that you are the brain of Rage, but now new band members are also involved in composition process. How do you feel with this fact?

That's what I always wanted. It's inspiring and very creative. Rage was always meant to be a band, not a solo project.

How do you feel with the new line up?

Perfect, it's a dream team.

What gave you the strength and the inspiration to make this drastic line up change?

The old guys were pulling me down, Mike & Victor are lifting me up, that's the best that could happen to me...

Which are the differences between Welcome To The Other Side / Unity and the previous albums?

Welcome spans a bow from the older power style to the orchestrated phase of the band and shows up new progressive elements for the future which is now to hear on Unity, an album that focuses on the rough and aggressive power metal face of Rage.

What do you think about today metal scene? Right now there are many bands, some of this bands are doing more of the same thing, but some other ones are trying to innovate with creative stuff. What do you think about it?

I think the scene is more alive than ever, which brings young bands to the top and young new fans to the concerts. Also the established bands get a kick for new creativity from this.

What do you think about the music that ex-Rage members are doing right now?

SHIT!!!

Do you have in mind a solo project in the future?

I want to do a solo album some when in the future , but I didn't plan anything certain. I'm collecting material for the moment.

What's you gear for bass playing?

ESP and Yamaha bass guitars, Ampeg SVT 2 & 8.10 cabinets, Tech 21 Landmark bass amp, Pyramid strings.

Mike, how do you feel with Rage right now?

I feel good playing with Rage. I really enjoy playing live with the band. It's a lot of fun and the songs cool.

How are doing to play with Rage and with your other bands and projects at the same time?

I schedule everything around the main priority, which is Rage. I make many other recording sessions and make drum clinic tours. It's nice way to keep in shape when I am not working with Rage.

How did you get along with the composition process of Welcome To The Other Side?

I was not involved very much with the composition of that CD. I co-wrote one song called Sister Demon, which consisted of the main riff, and I wrote some text for the liner notes and for some spoken word sections on the CD. I also helped with the arrangement of some of the songs, but that does not count for a song writing credit.

Which was your main contribution to Rage's new sound?

I am known for combining power and technique. So I guess that's what the fans notice or like in the sound of the new CD's. I also like to help with the CD artwork and cover concepts.

Many people said that you add a fresh air to the band because your style combines a fast and aggressive style with a progressive style. What do you think about it?

I would agree with that statement. I am just happy to play and that people can hear me and see me. I played for years in America where it was hard to get noticed.

For all your fans in Venezuela and South America please describe your drum kit?

Premier Signia Marquee Silver with Sparkle finish
2- 22" Bass Drums
1 - 14" wood snare
8,10,12,14,16,18 Toms
Meinl Cymbals
2-18" Crashes
1-16" Crash
1-22" Ride
2- Sets of 14" Hi Hats
3- 8" Splash Cymbals with
    6" bells mounted inside
2-18" Chinas
1-16" China
DW 5000 Bass Drum Pedals
Attack Drum Heads
Vic Firth Sticks


I have heard you voice in Welcome To The Other Side and The Heretic, you have a great voice to narrate stuff, any plans to take more part of your voice?

Thanks! Yes, I have a few other projects in the works where I plan to do more narration. I really enjoy this kind of work. I would like to do more in the future. My voice is also used in the bands intro tape when we play live. I think the kids like it....me too!  :-)

Victor, how do you feel with Rage right now?

I feel good with Rage. We are very happy about our new CD Unity.

Which was your main contribution to Rage's new sound?

I try to make the sound very aggressive and dry, because with dry guitar sound you listen more fingers-working. Also I made all arrangement and play keyboards.

You have to deal with the work of two guitar players and also with the keyboard playing. How do you feel about it? How are you getting along with such a task? How do you deal on stage with the songs that use to have two guitars?

For live-shows we used keyboards on mini-disk. With all songs, where many guitar tracks in studio, I make live-version with the most important parts. On the same way I worked for old songs.

Many people said that Rage now have a guitar virtuoso on board and that you are combination of guitar playing style of Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen. What do you think about it? Which are your main influences on guitar playing?

I try to create my style of playing and not make copy of Satriani or Malmsteen.

You have many skills to compose classical stuff and I understand that you studied music in Russia. Is that true? Are you into classic music? Which are your main influences?

My influences to play guitar come from all different style of music (from classic 'til jazz). When I composed, it's no different for me between heavy metal or classic.


I hope this gives you a few answers about what's going on with Rage and it won't be the last time we talk with them.



Roberto Palmitesta

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Rage - live 1999
Claudia Ehrhardt


Peavy & Victor - Vosselaar (B.), November, 20th 1999




Since Rage released their last album XIII a lot of things happened. Peavy has recruited new members. What happened? Many fans are confused and so I used the chance to talk to Peavy and Victor while the band was on tour.


I know that you won't talk about the line-up changes again and again, but many fans are confused due to the different statements. So I have to ask you about it again. It's unusual the 3 members leave at the same time.... You kinda have to start with a new band.

Yes, I had to built a new band which continues what I'm doing my whole life!

New members always bring some freshness into a band... A positive change...

Mike and Victor brought definitely a positive influence. A lot of songs are from the time Rage was a trio and with this guys these songs sound better then ever! Even the new stuff sounds tidier and has more power. Both, Mike and Victor, are better musicians then any former member. Their musical skills are amazing. They are on a higher level than their predators. Listen to it live!

I just had the chance to see a part of your show in Wacken. At that time you haven't been together for a longer time and I think now it'll sound more like a union.

Even in Wacken the songs been played without any mistakes.

I never had the idea that it'll be a disaster. I just wanted to say that after a few months working together the feeling as a band is more intense and so it's more obvious to the fans. For me it's a pity that the band members left after the recordings, more or less...

Unfortunately we hadn't the chance to record the album with the new line-up. In that point of view the former members kinda fucked me up. What else may I say?

I guess there is nothing to say about anymore.

I really don't know what to tell you about... I really don't know. Since they left none talked to me about their departure! The only thing I can tell it that they should work on some pop / rock stuff and that they try to get a deal. That's all I know about the whole story!

Let's talk about Ghosts! It's a conceptual album. Please tell me how you came up with the idea for this album.

At the time I wrote the lyrics I read and thought a lot about that kind of stuff. The lyrics been written within 4 weeks and so the interest for that subject influenced me. So it turned out that way. During the writing process I realized that the songs fit together lyrically and so the concept kinda worked out on its own. I never planned to do a conceptual album about this subject. I always let the ideas flow and don't search for a topic.

So you haven't had the idea in the beginning?

After several years it just happened again. Mike had a few very interesting ideas for our future work! So next time Mike will be involved in the song writing, musically and lyrically! Perhaps we'll do conceptual albums in future more often... Who knows.

The album was almost recorded... How you found Victor and Mike? It worked out great and usually it ain't easy to find partners in crime.

I won't say it happened accidentally, it was destiny! But the album wasn't recorded totally. I wasn't there when the guitar lines been recorded, so I didn't know about it at that time. I guess they already knew that they'll leave the band. Most of the recorded guitar tracks haven't been good enough for Rage and a few been a mess. So I definitely couldn't use all recordings. That was definitely not what I expected, but the studio was booked and so we went on with the recordings. So we started the mix and at the same time I started looking for new mates. My manager Boggie gave me Victors phone number. I knew Victor from his work with Mind Odyssee and we talked about. I knew that Victor is a superb guitarist. We both thought that Victor would be fantastic for Rage and so I called him and we met to talk about it. He heard the first mixes and wasn't pleased by the guitar work. We talked about the possibilities and Victor had the fantastic idea to record new guitar lines to add to the already recorded guitar tracks. So Victor added guitar tracks to the final mix and this made the album ready for release. Without the new guitar tracks the album would have fucked up. Before it was just vocals, drums, keyboards and lots of orchestra tracks. Nearly no guitars.

So Victor rescued the album.

Definitely!

It was quite interesting that I had the same ideas about the guitar tracks as Peavey.

As longer we work together we recognize that we work at the same musical level and that we have the same vision about the future of Rage. That's what I was looking for all the years and it's the same with Mike!

At the moment everyone of you is in the same position that there are problems with the former band / members. Victor told me that it turned out that Mind Odyssee don't want to work with him anymore.

It was destiny! We are at the same time in the same situation and that's no incident! *laughs*

We are all in the same fucking situation. *laughs*

Mike's trouble with Metalium, Victor's with Mind Odyssee and ... *laughs* Now it's time for Victor's counter-statement! *laughs*

I hope that's not necessary! Nobody needs statements like the one of Lars Ratz! That was ridiculous what he was saying!

I hope that I don't have to face something like that with Mind Odyssee.

Back to Ghosts. At the moment you're touring Europe. What's next? The album got positive critics and I think you'll recognize that on tour also.

What I learnt is that the new stuff from our orchestral time are more popular. In the setlist we included quite a few old tracks, but the fans are more into the newer stuff. Sure, the long-time fans love to hear old tracks like Shame On You (which we kicked off the setlist), but right now we have more fans which got into Rage with the last releases. We had songs like Shame On You (from Trapped) and Light Into The Darkness from the 1989 release Secrets... in the set for several years, but sometimes there are about 10 fans who knew the old stuff! Even if the venue is packed, but these are younger fans which know the last 2 albums. Sure, these albums they love and sing-along and when we play old stuff it's like "sounds good, but I don't know this". *laughs*

The fans are younger and not everyone stick to it for such a long time!

After 15 years in this business... That's a long time. We can't expect that everyone knows the old stuff. Okay, Don't Fear The Winter is an evergreen for us and everybody knows that song. A few songs from the early days we still play, coz the people know them. When we thought about which old tracks we'll play, we chose a few which are not so popular. We learned that we were wrong. So we kicked them.

Like you said you play these year (1999) in the traditional European metal countries. What about Japan or South America? Anything planned so far?

We are talking about that, but no contracts signed right now.

In the past Japan always been pretty good for Rage.

Yes, but these days it's not easy for any band there. The market decreased! To make a booking deal there is difficult these days. It takes a long time to agree about money and other contractual terms. *laughs*

Wait and see!

Yes!

You said that you found each other without searching for and that the chemistry in the band is amazing. So, have you already started to write new material?

We hadn't the time yet, but Victor had tons of ideas which he presented me! He has a lot of ideas and he already worked on some stuff for Rage. It fit perfectly in the concept of Rage! Mike presented me some lyrics! *laughs* Perfect!

Mike's first experience with lyrics were made with Metalium, he told me while he was in the studio with Metalium.

It's perfect for us. I mean it's his mothers tongue and he reads a lot, about many different subject / topics.

It seems that the new millennium will be the "reincarnation" of Rage.

We just started working together and we need some time to become a unit. We have to talk about a lot things and sort out. With this line-up a lot more is possible to realize, to achieve. We have to talk about all and everything. I want to record albums which the fans like. We have a huge range, many different possibilities and so we have to figure out what's the best for us. To bring out the essential of Rage. With the next album we have the possibility to release a killer album. That's our aim! We made a lot of experiments during the last years, now it's time to take the best out of everything and create something new. At shows you have the possibility to check things out. A lot fans came and this is the chance for us...

Luckily a lot of people came to see Rage, many bands are on tour and not everyone caught the interest of so many fans.

The tour is great!

I think with Ghosts you found a good balance between the harder stuff and the orchestral stuff...

But imagine how it would sound, if the album would be recorded by the current line-up!!!

Yes, but the people probably can't imagine it. They have to wait for the next release.

The problem, or not a real problem, but.... Unfortunately this album is not recorded by this band! Okay, Victor contributed some guitar sounds, but he hadn't the chance to take influence on the songs. He couldn't play the guitar the way he would have done. He had to work with the guitar parts of Spiros and Sven!

That limits him to the level of the already recorded parts.

Definitely! *laughs* It was a challenge for him to play these tunes to make them sound good! Spiros always was out of tune... *laughs* So Victor hadn't an easy job to do!


A lot more to talk about, but it was time for the band to get prepared for the show. So we had to quit here. In my opinion it was very interesting and I hope that next time we can go on where we stopped. I know that Peavy has a lot stories to tell and it was a pleasure to talk to the band. The next album will be the beginning of the new Rage and the future looks bright for this international trio!



Claudia Ehrhardt

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Peavy - Sep., 21st 1993 - Düsseldorf (D)




Luckily I had the chance to talk to Peavy of Rage for a moment. But first some facts about the past of the band. Rage are a power metal trio from Herne, Germany. The band existed at first under the name Avenger and renamed Rage. The line-up: Peavy (voc/bs), Thomas Grüning (g), Jochen Schröder (g) and Jörg Michael (dr). Rage released with Reign Of Fear and Execution Guaranteed two trashy albums. Shortly after the second release the band broke up and Peavy (voc/bs) started with guitarist Manni Schmidt and drummer Chris 'Efti' Efthimiadis, which are still in the band. In 1988 the band released their first album with the current line-up, this album called Perfect Man, it was followed by Secrets In A Weird World. With this album the band begin to play more melodic power metal than thrash metal. On Reflection Of A Shadow the band was more experimental and used keyboards for the first time. With Trapped, the 1992 release, Rage returned to their roots. The current release Missing Link is similar to Trapped just a little more straight.


Let's talk about the lyrics on the new album. In the past you took your inspirations from writers like Stephen King and H. P. Lovecraft...

It's true that I like to took inspirations from writers, this time also. For example The Pit And The Pendulum which is based on a short-story written by Edgar Allen Poe. Wake Me Up When I'm Dead is inspired by one of my favorites - H. P. Lovecraft.

Are you writing about more realistic themes, too?

Sure, the first song is about the unstoppable eco-gau, what makes me afraid of the future, coz none is doing anything against. Another song is based on a poem, written by myself which is about fascism and is based on the following story: Behind our rehearsal room is a park and one time when I was walking through I heard kiddies sing 'Nazi' songs! Although they know anything about the time between 1933 and 1945, the 2nd World War. I think that's very bad. I mean, if you see that stuff on TV, it's shocking, but seems to be far away. When you see it by yourself, you really start thinking about it.

You write most of the songs. Are the others ain't interesting in?

That's a question you have to ask the others. For myself, I do it this way, I sit down and put every idea on a demo and when I've written a song it's about 80% finished. It ain't that I didn't want the others to be involved. I'm happy about every idea they come up with. Nowadays Efti is coming up with ideas, coz he ain't just playing drums, he started playing guitar, too. Manni didn't worked that much with us on Missing Link.

What are you going to do in the near future?

After this tour we'll heading to Japan for a few shows and later we'll try to get a support slot for a European tour of a major act. Perhaps we'll get the chance to play Russia with this album or the following.


We had just a little chit-chat, perhaps 5 min., before Gamma Ray started. But I thought that this might me interesting, even if we couldn't go in detail... Next time!



Claudia Ehrhardt

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           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail: contact@ice-vajal.com


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