KROKUS Frontman Talks About His RAINBOW Audition

Sweden's Metalshrine webzine recently conducted an interview with KROKUS frontman Marc Storace. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Metalshrine: Do you miss those days, when you toured in the '80s and sold millions of records?

Storace: No, I don't miss it, but I'm happy I went through it. The gold and platinum awards that hang on the walls at home are like pictures now. We are here and now and the future is ahead and we have to work towards our goal.

Metalshrine: How are people reacting to the latest album?

Storace: Very good and it's a good album and we can say that with confidence. It's such a variety of music and it actually combines the whole KROKUS style on one record, instead of having one record sounding different than the other, you can hear a little bit of everything. For instance, Mandy Meyer is back in the band, playing lead and playing slide again. Something we haven't had since Tommy Keifer departed and Mandy replaced him for the "Hardware" tour in 81-82. And there are other elements of metal for example, which came from Mandy. It also got ballads on it and also radio friendly stuff like "Angel of My Dreams" and then the kick ass, more AC/DC-oriented music. We came out at the same time, the same era as AC/DC and I think one band rubbs off on another. You can find elements of THE BEATLES in THE ROLLING STONES in the psychedelic days of the late '60s.

Metalshrine: Speaking of AC/DC, I've read numerous times about this, but we're you at an audition or did they think of you or what's the story?

Storace: No, this was just a little question. We had the same production company in Birmingham and they came down with our production, lights and everything and we were so happy, like pigs in shit (laughs). Checking out the light show and about to head out on this intense European tour. Actually the owner of the company asked me "Would you like to audition for AC/DC?" But I said "No, no! I'm happy here! We're going places. They don't have a singer so they have the problem, not us." And in those days, naive as it may sound, that was it. And I must admit that I became a real AC/DC fan later on and at that point they didn't mean that much to me.

Metalshrine: You auditioned for RAINBOW.

Storace: Yeah, that was like a flash in the pan. In London I formed EASY MONEY and I was still in pubs and we had a publishing deal, writing songs, and we were actually coming to a point where we were gonna sign a deal with Chrysalis and they had GENESIS on the label and there was talk about signing the deal with Chrysalis and touring the U.S. with GENESIS. It was great, but internally, within the band, it was not gonna work...the chemistry. At the same time I was approached by an A&R guy during a rehearsal with EASY MONEY and he took me a side in the office and asked me if I wanted to fly to Geneva for a week or so. Anybody would fly to Geneva for a week! (laughs) And on top of that, auditioning for RAINBOW. I would do it even if I wasn't interested (laughs), to be able to meet Ritchie Blackmoore, a guitar idol, and Roger Glover and Cozy Powell and the keyboard player...

Metalshrine: Don Airey.

Storace: Right, Don Airey. It was great, but I was badly equipped. I didn't know the RAINBOW songs yet and I think this was after "Since You've Been Gone"...no no no, after Dio because one of the songs that I knew was "Mistreated". I learned that one and listened to it in Cozy's room and he showed me his whole weapon collection. Lovely daggers and everything. Ritchie came up with a bottle of whiskey and said "Do you want this for courage?" and I said it was no good for my vocals. I never drink whiskey, I drink white wine, but only before singing. So anyway, I was nervous but we just started to jam. Ritchie said "Sing what you feel!"

Metalshrine: Do you remember what songs you did?

Storace: "Mistreated" and then we jammed. They had this one song which they wanted to put on the next album and they played it and I sang whatever I felt and then later on, the last test was sitting on the sofa in front of this huge fireplace. We were in a castle and there were white horses outside. I was...I saw millions behind the band and here's me landing in this situation.

Metalshrine: Another thing I thought about was that you've worked with a lot of prominent producers, like Bob Rock, Tom Allom and Bruce Fairbairn. What was it like working with them and how much of an impact did they have to your sound? Did they bring a lot of stuff to the albums?

Storace: Tom Allom was really great in his English way. Very British and relaxed and he kind of created the JUDAS PRIEST sound and that already put him in my good books. He inspired me in this relaxed way and his, kind of, connection to the street. We were in the demo stage and he came to Mountain Home, Arkansas. We stayed there, because that's where our manager lived and I used to go horse riding every day and Tom flew in and he was very inspiring in his open way. You believed every word. He was very convincing in a charming manner. Not a pushy producer or whatever and I work best with this kind of producer. He really opened my creative flow and writing lyrics like "Headhunter" and so on. I even dared to write things I was skeptical about, like saying stuff like "I am the animal, by God I am the beast". It's heavy! I talked to him about this stuff and he said "You're only acting. It's like theater." and that's really the way it is. Actually, with him on the "Headhunter" album, there are at least two or three demo vocals that he said "That's great! That's the one we're gonna use!" We fixed it up with equalization and I did it with a hand hold mic. Everybody played live and the drummer was in the middle and we had all these boxes and someone was in the control room. I guess Fernando was playing guitar in the control room and maybe Chris too. We got all these demos done and I went for it like it was THE thing and then when I tried again, when it was my time to do the real takes, I was already tired of doing that stuff. I used up all my good will and I got bored and wanted to get out of the studio and Tom just said that the performance was perfect and that's what I felt too, but I was scared that we couldn't use them because I was holding the mic. It was for "Screaming in the Night", "Headhunter" and I think "Night Wolf". Then through him we got the connection with Rob Halford and Rob came and did some backing vocals. Great guy! And then Bob Rock and Bruce Fairbairn. Bob Rock was the engineer for Bruce and the all-around helper...

Read the entire interview at Metalshrine.

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