Interview done at Biebob in Vosselaar on March 26th 2002
In Silence there is Force… Silent Force
Again I had bad luck with the guest list, seems they don’t like my last name!?! But with a little help of merchandiser Peter I got in and could enjoy the show of Angra and Silent Force. Now I feared that the band wasn’t informed about the interview as well and I was right! Luckily Alex Beyrodt was so kind to give Claudia and me an interview and let us know about his opinions and experiences.
Nadja: How would you describe your music?
Alex: Oh, that’s a simple one! I would describe our music as European power metal.
Nadja: Right, that’s simple.
Alex: There is no need to describe it in a different way. I think that our music incl. everything which is metal. We have neo-classical influences, sing-along parts and that’s what European power metal is about. These days there are so many different labels / folders, but this one I like best!
Nadja: How would you describe music in general?
Alex: Good question! For me music is the essence of life. This year I celebrate my 25th anniversary of being on stage (ed. – He doesn’t look like…) and I’m afraid of the day I can’t enter the stage anymore! Probably because I’m physically no longer able or because there is no more interested in what I’m doing. For me music is the most important thing in the world. I can’t imagine a life without music, but at the same time I’m cursed. If you are born with this God-given talent to write music, you have to do it and that will rule your life. If this curse is really strong and deep inside you than you have to become a musician and you have to go it all the way! No matter what are the consequences and you’ll fight to make your way. That ain’t easy… Often it’s pretty tough!
Nadja: So, to be a musician is a call.
Alex: Yes, in my case it’s a call. There are incredibly many people who are really good guitarist or singers and they make music for a few years, then give up and do a day job again. They return to an office or work as a baker or do whatever. They might have been good musicians, but they haven’t had this iron will. They don’t have this certain something which you need to keep going on for years. My opinion is that you can only make it, if you believe in yourself and the success and if you never ever give up! You have to have an iron will and stamina. Many don’t have this.
And that brings us back to the curse I spoke about. There is a reason why God or whoever has given me this talent. I can’t do anything against it, I have to make music! All decisions I made concerning my life, I made related to the music, doesn’t matter if they effected my family or my job! Music was always my no. 1 and there through I chose to be different, to life a different life which people who doesn’t feel the same can’t understand. With every tour the band does every band member turns his life, family and business life, upside down and makes it uncertain.
And that’s the same for every band which is touring. That unites us. That’s what music is all about… That’s how I feel it. I hope that I could explain this and that others can get the meaning. For me it’s very important, it’s my life! I can’t live without it, but I can’t influence it. It’s living under a spell and that’s the problem!
Nadja: So, you would like to live someone else’s life?
Alex: No! Not for one second!
Nadja: Is it possible to live a ‘normal’ life between tours?
Alex: Luckily I can work in ‘normal’ life in music business. I present amplifiers at music trade fairs all over the world. I do presentations in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Rotterdam and everywhere else.
Nadja: A different kind of touring!
Alex: Exactly! But that’s a job you have to deserve, something which you didn’t get easily. You have to do a lot to get such a job. Actually I contacted the company and told them that they need me for this job and that it won’t work without me. And it seems that they believed me… So I’m in the lucky position that my business life and my private life are connected. But for several years I had a day job like many others. It was a creative job, but at the same time a 9 to 5 one. What most fans don’t know is that almost every musician has a day job, doesn’t matter how famous they are. Many fans think that if you make it on stage, if you go on tour that it means that you are rich, but that’s not reality! Beside that a tour like this one costs a lot of money and we are far away from being rich! Actually on every tour we put our job and private life on stake! But that’s the way it is for every band, not just us!
I guess this answers your question… Actually my answers are always at some length.
Nadja: That’s okay. Makes it easier for me! Actually you have answered several of the basic questions at once…
Alex: Kind of experience….
Nadja: Are there more negative things about being a musician which fans don’t know about and which you might want to tell?
Alex: This business has a lot shady sides, but I can’t think about at the moment… Negative things… Just imagine being for about weeks on tour with 18 people on the bus. Or that you have to take a shower where a dead rat is lying in the shower… Or imagine that you don’t get food, coz at dinner time you did an interview or took a shower. Or there is a nice shower, but the water is ice cold! That kind of showers I had 4 or 5 times on this tour. That’s tough and you have to clench teeth. A tour like this is exhausting, but I enjoy it. I like to be on tour and so for me personally these are shady sides. For many people it would be impossible to do, you have to be born for this. You have to believe in yourself and you really have to want it and then you’ll get through all of this!
Nadja: Now it’s time to talk about your latest release Infatuator. This might be a question you got ask a thousand times… Anyway, how you write songs? Do you jam? Or do you write on tour?
Alex: On tour we never write new material. Even if on this tour I had an idea and so I called my own number and sang the melody on my answering machine. That was in Lyon. We did some sight-seeing and then I had this melody in my mind. I was standing somewhere on a street in Lyon and the melody was so great that I had to keep it one or the other way. So I sang it onto my own answering machine to avoid that I might forget it. That’s an expectation, not the usual procedure and it was just an idea…
Alex: Exactly! On tour it is difficult, coz we kinda live different lives on tour. Some sleep longer… And you don’t have the technical equipment to record songs.
At home I recorded meanwhile about 30 guitar riffs and melodies and stuff. These we can use as a rough basis for the song writing of the next album. Later we meet in the rehearsal room and pick up ideas. If we all really like the riff or melody then we start working with it. In the past I wrote all the songs on my own. Actually the debut I wrote alone and on the second album we started working together as a team in the rehearsal room. I hope that for the next album we can write more songs as a band, coz I have great musicians to work with! They have great ideas and it would be stupid not to use this musical potential.
Nadja: You think that the magic of working as a band gives the albums a special touch?
Alex: Right! You used the word magic… There was a special moment… Last year we rehearsed for the NTS festival in Paris and so DC was there as well. We had already rehearsed for about a week, then during on rehearsal we did a break. We had a drink and talked about all and everything. I was sitting on my chair and started playing this riff, André put his cigarette away and took place behind the drums to join me. Then everybody else put away the drink and a jam had started. The result is Hear Me Calling which is on the latest release. We didn’t worked it over afterwards. It was a kind of religious experience. The song is recorded exactly the way we played it that day! Inclusive the breakdown part with this end and with this solo part with the harmony changes! We simply played it that way. It just happened and after we finished the song we were standing there and looked at each other. Everybody was smiling, I had goose-bumps and we looked at each other… It was like the look wanted to say „Wow, what was that?“ At that moment there was a special magic. It was just there, we could feel it. It was so intense and after that experience we decided that we have to write more songs as a band. Many bands don’t do it anymore that way. Most times the guitarist is writing the songs, burning it on CD and hand them to the other guys in the band. The band members learn their parts, they meet, play and it works, but there is no magic! Luckily we have a great chemistry in the band. We are five very different characters and sometimes we clash with each other, but finally we are all trying to achieve the same things. We write songs in the way bands like Deep Purple, Beatles and Led Zeppelin did it in the past… Just meet and to create a song. A song where everybody plays his part, give his little piece to make the song whole. And I’m really proud about this!
Nadja: How came DC up with the title Infatuator?
Alex: He created this word. I visited him in Pittsburgh and I had this song with me. He started to do the vocals and when he came to the chorus he just sang this word! Afterwards he looked at me and asked me: „Hey, this word isn’t existing, right?“ I answered „Don’t ask me, it’s your mother tongue!“ So we checked it and learnt that this word isn’t existing. The verb ‘to infatuate’ is existing, but not infatuator, but it was cool! We were happy, coz it sounded cool and it was a word which DC had invented. We thought that it would be a great title for the album and it’s something special!
Nadja: Especially if it works that way!
Alex: Sure, we hope to infatuate as much people as we can with our music.
Nadja: I guess that it’ll work out for you. I read that the track Gladiator was written inspired by the movie; coz DC had no knowledge about the Roman culture….
Alex: The lyrics were written afterwards. The music was there for about 5 years. At that time I started writing songs for a conceptual album about the ancient Rome, but I never finished it. It’s a hell lot of work. I still had this track on a tape and we listened to it. Everybody really liked it and wanted to have it on the next album.
Okay, DC is an American and we all know that the education of the Americans isn’t very good…. *smiles, then laughter*
Claudia: But now after the release of the Pisa study we know that the Germans aren’t that much better….
Alex: Right, that’s what we learnt from the Pisa study… But I’m part of a different generation and I got a decent education. I’m proud about it and very happy *laughter* So, it was easy, he knew the movie Gladiator and I told him that it’s a good topic. He agreed and worked out the lyrics. Perhaps we continue this topic on the coming album… Who knows?
Nadja: On In My Arms you worked with a female singer? How came? Will you work with her in future?
Alex: DC wanted a female singer for the ballad, coz he preferred to share the vocal parts on a love song with a woman. We talked about and André mentioned: „Hey, I know a woman; she is one of the background singers of Sash. Sash is a British pop act which is pretty famous and which sold a lot of copies. But she loves punk and metal, so let’s ask her and check it out.“ She visited us and we had a good time. She is really funny and looks hot! *Says it with a certain tone*
Nadja: Great! How shall I get this intonation on the site? That will be hard to explain….
Alex: Right, with the intonation I really do have a problem! Easy to see when you read Rock Hard… *laughter*
Anyway… Then she started singing and it sounded amazing! Beside that working together was pretty easy and so she agreed to sing this part. Nothing special, it just happened!
Nadja: Sometimes everything works out easily… Why you recorded the cover version?
Alex: DC had the idea to play a cover tune at the end of our set on the tour with Stratovarius. Just to heat up the audience, so we sat down and thought about which one we could play. DC came up with All Gun’s Blazing, coz he always wanted to do this one and as far as we know no other band covered it. It’s not one of the most popular tracks of Judas Priest. It’s just one song of Judas Priest and so we played it during a rehearsal. It worked on the first run. So we finished our set with this song on the Stratovarius tour and every night the crowd went crazy. One day DC started some crowd surfing and stuff like that… Something he never did before! It developed a magic wake and after awhile it felt like it was our own song! After the tour we talked about what to do and we all wanted to have this song on the album.
Nadja: I’m not sure, if Judas Priest will be pleased about it. It’s like you adopted their song…
Alex: Oh, I think that Judas Priest would sound that way, if DC would have become their new singer. DC was pretty close to make, so it is a good example.
Nadja: Perhaps they now regret their decision… *laughter*
Alex: Hope so! No, I’m just kidding… I hope they don’t… Actually, I don’t know… *laughter* Hope they don’t make an offer…*laughs* No, no, Ripper is doing a pretty good job! Not much to tell about and Ripper isn’t responsible for the musical change of Judas Priest. I’m pretty sure that he would prefer the classical Judas Priest and that they will get back to their sound with the next album. They will do the album everybody is waiting for, I guess.
Nadja: You mentioned the tour with Stratovarius… Now you are on tour with Angra. Are there man differences in the way of working together? Or is the atmosphere different?
Alex: No big differences. On the tour with Stratovarius we had a really good relation with the other bands, we worked together very well and the whole feeling was great. Stratovarius treated us fairly. It’s the same on this tour. Everybody respects each other and that’s necessary if you are on a bus with 18 people! Headliner and support act together in on bus is usually not working; coz there is always a competition between the headliner and the support. But this is different! We try to help each other and so it’s a lot of fun! The guys of Angra partly use our backline which we offend them, so they hadn’t to bring it from Brazil or to rent it here. Therefore we do have a sound check and they treat us very well. After the show we are sitting together, someone plays guitar and we sing. It’s like on holidays. A kind of cruise through Europe! *laughs*
It’s great! About 3 days ago Raphael’s amp fucked up and so I gave him my rack. He couldn’t believe it, coz that’s very unusual that someone offers a member of another band to use their equipment. Just says: „You can use my amp, also all my programs.“ Usually it more like „Actually I’m not sure… It took years to find the perfect sound for myself and I don’t want anyone else to play this.“ That’s bullshit! We all want the same, we want to play and to give the fans something for the money they paid. I guess it takes a few years of experience to realize that we all have the same aim. That’s why we all enjoy this tour that much!
Nadja: I see. *laughs* You mentioned magic and believe. Do you have a kind of talisman? Or a certain ritual which you do before every show?
Alex: We have a ritual which we do before we go on stage. We build a circle and hold each others hand then usually DC do a kind of speech and we finish with a motto we all say together very ardent. *Pretty amused* It says: „Rock’n Roll, smelly hole, lets takes some drugs and fuck! HEY!!! “ The funny thing is that it seems that the intensity of how we shout this, is how the show turns out! At some days we just reeled off this slogan and the show was so-so or it was the other way around. Funny, ain’t it? So, we always know how the show will turn out before we go on stage. Angra didn’t have a ritual in the beginning of this tour. Now they do have, they through some chairs around in the dressing room and shout something… That’s funny, right?
Nadja: Somewhere I read that you have recorded about 14 hrs. of live material during the tour with Stratovarius. Any plans to use this for a video or DVD? Or will we never see this?
Alex: We did this MPEG video… Beside that we recorded new material during this tour. Unfortunately the sound quality isn’t good enough for a release.
Nadja: That you could overdo!
Alex: We think about that and in Paris a friend of us came along. His name is Volker Wagner and he filmed for us and probably we do a DVD…. It’s waiting and see. Perhaps we use some stuff for a bonus track on the next album… We definitely have enough material therefore.
Nadja: Tell me, is it true that you’ll play guitar on DC’s next solo album?
Alex: No, I don’t think so. DC has already written some songs and finally found a guitarist in Pittsburgh. Surprisingly he found this guy in Pittsburgh, coz the is almost no existing music scene. Beside that they will record the album in Pittsburgh and there is the right chemistry between them. It wouldn’t make any sense, if I would get involved then. It is DC’s solo album and I think that band and solo project should be separated. Don’t mix it up!
Nadja: In different interviews as well as during the one we are doing now, it sounds like you think that it’s an advantage to have an American in the band. What are the advantages?
Alex: We learn from each other. It ain’t always easy to have an American singer, coz the culture is so different and also there are a lot of political topics where we have different points of view. So we pretty often have fierce discussions which us pretty interesting and we learn a lot.
One night at this tour we had a discussion with the guys from Angra. And DC had to take a lot of critic for being an American. *laughter*. It was really interesting. DC has a more simple and practical way to see the world. That’s the American way…
Nadja: Any news from Sinner? *duck*
Nadja: Wrong question? I should have known better, I guess… *laughs*
Alex: *grin* No, I haven’t. Three days ago I met Mat in Paris and he didn’t say anything.
Nadja: So there is silence between you…
Alex: Not really… It’s pretty childish; I was part of the band for 12 years! We had a good time and I have learnt a lot. I’m just a little disappointed about what happened or not happened during the last year. Especially because I heard that I’m no longer in Sinner from someone who’s not involved. It’s sad that Mat never told me personally or called me. We met at Wacken and in Paris and so I got the information that they record a new album… I’m not part of it. Never got any ‘official’ information. I’m not hot to play and to record the album, but I thought that we were friends after playing together for 12 years. I think as a friend he should have called and say something like „Hey Alex, you’re happy doing Silent Force and I think it’s better to go separate ways. “ That would have been a fair gesture and it would have be okay for me. I miss the dialogue, but to be honest I anticipated this in a way… Before I heard that I mentioned in some interviews that I’m no longer in Sinner, but that should have actuate a reaction…
Nadja: I think that you never stated that you are no longer part of the band. You made a clear statement that you guess that you no longer in the band….
Alex: Right, but it’s a pity…
Nadja: Now some questions which are more general… What’s the worst album you heard at least? Make the nation aware of it! *laughs*
Alex: *burst out* The worst album… No idea, I can’t name one. Okay, let’s say it that way… I put the Rock Hard sampler in my player and very often I skip forward, but I can’t name any bands! In general, I’m not into death metal. It doesn’t give me anything… Also I dislike a band production which sounds like it’s recorded in their living room. Unfortunately there are too many of these albums released these days. I also can’t name any band there. I think that the fans deserve that an album has to have a certain quality which is due to the digitalization no longer given. These days everybody can buy a computer and make his own CD. We spent about 70,000.- DM (app. 35,000.- Euro) for the last album and I would have preferred to have this money in my wallet instead of spending that for recording studios. Especially because about 2 weeks before the release you could download the album at the internet. But that’s another story… I believe that on long term quality will make it and I appeal to the fans to buy just CDs with a decent quality! Hopefully then the amount of CDs which have a bad production, this crap will no longer be released…..
Nadja: While I was preparing this interview and read other interviews in the web to avoid asking the same stuff. But I recognized that some answers get shorter with every time you had to answer. And it seems that this was annoying you more and more…
Alex: Right! *Drum roll* And the question is… Is Silent Force a project or a band!?! *laughter*
Nadja: Hey, my next question would have been what were the dumbest questions you ever had to answer?
Alex: Is Silent Force a project or a band?
Nadja: Okay… I see! *laughs*
Alex: Right, I think that will end one day, coz people see that we are a band. I’m always irritated about it, coz I can’t understand why they ask us! And why they don’t ask bands like Rhapsody, PRIMAL FEAR, Symphony X, and HELLOWEEN… Any more? Not Gamma Ray!
In all these bands most musicians are involved in side-projects which we aren’t. I’m talking about side-projects which are touring….
Nadja: Like Jack Frost with SAVATAGE and SEVEN WITCHES….
Alex: And Metalium… Okay, no more but… Jack is a good friend of mine, don’t get me wrong. And I’m not mad about it, but why don’t they ask them?!?!
I think that it’s obvious for everybody who listens to the Infatuator album that we are a band!
Nadja: I think it’s obvious if you read the answers…
Nadja: Okay, now the famous last words…. Please something else than the ones you usually use!
Alex: Others?! Ohu! *laughter*
Claudia: Just a moment! DC said something on stage… Did something special happen on this tour?
Alex: Ohm, okay… The burnt twice… I think it burnt twice, one time just a little and once really bad! One time the battery exploded and one time the generator burnt. We slept and had to left the bus head over heels at the highway! That was pretty heavy, but it wasn’t the first time! We had that experience on the tour with Stratovarius. It happened on every tour, yet!
Nadja: What are you doing?
Alex: Nothing! We slept and than someone yelled: „Get out! The bus is burning!“ *sniffing for* And we smelt it and realized it.
Nadja: Perhaps you should rename Silent Force into Fire Force… *laughter*
Alex: Then the bus of the support act which was opening for us in France rammed our bus. Luckily just the tail light was damaged and our bassist Jürgen fixed it. But the best was what happened with DC in Marseilles! Two minutes to the end of our set during the last verse of All Gun’s Blazing he collapsed on stage! Not just for a second! That day he had fever and hasn’t had much food. Also he hadn’t drunk much. On stage he sang God-like, but can’t remember anything! And then during the last verse he collapsed and was lying on stage like a dead man. In the beginning we didn’t realized what happened, coz once in awhile he is lying on the ground, crawling and joking. But it took just seconds to realize that this was serious and stopped playing. We put up these feet like you should do. The venue filled with more than 800 (presale tickets) fans was as still as death! It was amazing, and then we called for the first-aid men. It was the first time during this tour that there were an ambulance.
Claudia: Now we know why!
Alex: They took over, coz we were shocked. Full of adrenaline from the stage show and then your singer is lying there like a corpse that was a shock! And then there are almost 1,000 people looking at you and you just can just do a gesture to say sorry… I tried to explain what happened. DC was brought to hospital, but could leave a few hours later. Luckily we had a day off next and now he’s okay. Not one of the best moments on tour… But I totally pushed away.
Claudia: He didn’t, coz he mentioned it…
Alex: It was heavy stuff, coz he started with „Welcome to the empire of future…..:” and the next he remembers is looking at the ceiling at an hospital. That’s shocking! Yesterday we watched the video of that show and you can see that he starts to stagger and you can see that he’s wasn’t himself.
Nadja: Pretty interesting how long he hold out, if he can’t remember anything.
Alex: Absolutely! He sang God-like and we sold more merchandise then on any other day! Afterwards we made jokes about and told him to do that every night!
Perhaps the fans thought that you might need money to pay the bill from the hospital and they wanted to support you! *laughter*
Alex: Buy more shirts!!!!
Nadja: And what was „We use the shower!“ related to?
Alex: Tonight was the last show and everything is different, everybody is joking around. So, we snag instead of „We must use the power“ we sang „We must use the shower“ and instead of „Infatuator“ we sang „I’ll fuck you later“!
Claudia: I just though it could be addressed to someone, coz I remember tours where you would have wish that a certain person will use a shower….
Alex: Okay, actually we made some jokes on stage which were more insider ones…. That’s it!
Nadja: Obviously.. *laughter* But now the famous last words!
Alex: And you want different ones……. hmm… Actually, it’s pretty easy. I just take over what DC is saying, coz he’s right! If you like our albums play it for a friend, just to spread the word. The metal scene needs support and more fans. There are many people who don’t know that they like this kind of music, they have to learn it!
Nadja: One more question! Any other shows planned for this year?
Alex: We haven’t played much in Germany and then we got an offer from U.D.O. to play with them in Germany, coz we are a good live act. A damn good one and we took the offer!
That’s absolutely great, coz the band members are fans of us!! So, we got invited to play with them, it’s no buy-on! They also transport our backline for free; they just want to support us. That’s what we talked about earlier, about unity! And so we play the shows in Germany with them.
On November 15th we play in Atlanta at the ProgPower festival. There are also playing: Blind Guardian, Edguy, Angra and many more… Everybody is welcome!
Nadja: Thanks a lot! It was a really nice conversation, even if you disconcert me several times! I wish you all the best and a successful future for Silent Force! I’m looking forward to see you again on stage!
Picture borrowed from Alex’ myspace