Zoltan Koncsok of Metal Express Radio recently conducted an interview with former HELLOWEEN frontman Michael Kiske. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Metal Express Radio: You're not an easy person. You're a very controversial figure.
Michael Kiske: "Yeah, I know. People love to hate me. The funny thing is that I'm totally harmless. I don't do anyone any harm. The only thing is that I have this weird idea that every musicians have to do what they believe in. I think it's important that musicians express themselves and I think musicians have to create music totally unlimited with full excitement and full passion and then the industry has to create a market for it. That's the way it works. That's the way you have a living music culture. What we have is a totally sick situation these days: the market's dictating the musicians. The markets are building the superstars nowadays. They do those castings and have those young teenagers and then dress them up to look pretty and dance and then write them songs and they are just products. This has absolutely nothing to do with the concept of rock music that for instance THE BEATLES invented. They were all about creativity. They always had their sound, but there was always something unexpected happening. That's something I call true music and that's so difficult. I mean things like that and people hate you for it. Especially in heavy metal if you don't reproduce records that they enjoy they even hate you. They think that you've betrayed them, which is totally nonsense. I mean as a musician I cannot betray myself just to please a market. You don't do these things to piss people off. I don't do this because I enjoy to make people sad. It's just the way I function. I can't do it any other way. If I would sit down and try to write something like 'Keeper' songs probably they would be the crappiest songs that I can write. It just doesn't work. I can just sit down and write a song and the song is going to be what it is. There's nothing I can do about it. (Laughs)"
Metal Express Radio: Do you think this change in your musical taste comes with the age or maybe it's because of your disappointment regarding HELLOWEEN?
Michael Kiske: "It's a combination of everything. You must not forget that HELLOWEEN was a band of five people composing songs and we made a Helloween song out of every song the members brought in. I don't think my songwriting changed that much from the HELLOWEEN days. Maybe I just developed a little better or maybe I tried out new things. But I'm pretty sure that some of the songs that I've written on 'Readiness to Sacrifice' [solo album], for instance, if I would have had that song and brought it to the rehearsal room in the early days of HELLOWEEN, it would have turned out to become a HELLOWEEN song. This is just the way a band works. Obviously you get older and of course there's a lot of frustration in me, because of the negativity that I'm getting from the past. Being successful in a band in their early stage is heaven at first, but if this becomes a grave for you and people don't accept anything other than this again, then it becomes a nightmare. And obviously I'm a very emotional person. I do everything very passionate, so I can also get very angry at certain critics. Tell me that my record sucks just because it doesn't sound like HELLOWEEN and sometimes I go very mad, because I think it's very arrogant to talk like that. I don't think I'm trying to be like HELLOWEEN, so why should I sound like HELLOWEEN. If I don't try to make a HELLOWEEN record, how can that be a criticism for this record? It's childish to talk like that. And then again, musicians shouldn't make their music for critics. I mean critics have their own musical taste and we all free to have our musical taste, but who are we to say that you suck just because you don't do the music I like? It's just stupid, you can't do that. If I would be a journalist the only stuff that I would write about would be records I like, because that's what I understand. And if I don't like a record that doesn't mean it's bad; it just means that I don't understand it maybe. And also it's very negative in metal. Since I was successful with HELLOWEEN I have those HELLOWEEN people that I don't hate or anything like that, but they always make my records down, because I'M not trying to copy the Keeper records and I think that's absolutely wrong! And sometimes I get angry. It's very antisocial and it's very art enemy and I always speak my mind about these things and people hate me even more for that."
Metal Express Radio: Is there anything from the HELLOWEEN days that you still miss?
Michael Kiske: "The first three years were absolutely great. It was like the best time. Everything was working at that time. I loved the music, I thought that we were the best band in the world and that's always a very good start. (Laughs) We were successful with the music we loved to do. And we were kinda liking each other and everything was beautiful. The first three years, especially the years with Kai Hansen were very beautiful. That was like it could have lasted forever, but unfortunately life isn't like that. A few years pass by and suddenly the things fall apart and you can't change it. And in the end it was a nightmare."
Metal Express Radio: When the problems got started back then?
Michael Kiske: "Actually it was the departure of Kai Hansen. I personally think that it was the problem, because Kai Hansen is a good guy to be with. Kai has a mentality, he's always silly, he always has jokes and he's a very very nice guy to be with. He just creates a very good atmosphere. And in the first years when we both in the band he was creating some kind of a good vibe and everything was in place. He also was very important for the band as guitarist and a songwriter. Weiki was important too, he was writing some of the greatest stuff during that time like 'Eagle Fly Free', which I still think is one of the greatest HELLOWEEN songs ever. But as soon as Kai got out of the band the chemistry was different, it was gone. It's not that Roland is not a good musician, it has nothing to do with that. It's just that he's a totally different person. And suddenly Weiki started to play strange games. He was working against the people and pretty early he started to work against me behind my back to get his Andi Deris into the band. And Weiki is not the sort of person who speaks to you eye to eye. He's not the kind of person that tells you, 'I don't wanna make music with you anymore,' so you can just grab your things and leave with style. He's the sort of person who tricks you out of the band. He just creates intrigues, which is not very nice and very hurtful. But as you can see everything seemed to be in balance and even Weiki had his place and as soon as Kai left the band the balance was different and I think that was the end of it."
Read the entire interview at MetalExpressRadio.com.