Rock Eyez Webzine
Rock Eyez
Rock Eyez Webzine


Interview with Claus Lessman
(Vocals, Guitar - Bonfire)

Claus Lessman


Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: March 19th, 2005

Tell us about the beginning of the band… how did you all meet, were there auditions to get in the band?
Actually, it was just a normal situations like many bands face. We were friends at school and I met Hans there. He said I am playing in a band Cacumen which is a Latin name meaning the “top of the mountain” and you want to join the band. That’s how we start off. No special story about it, just a normal rock and roll band.

Did you first work on a demo or go right to the studio and get a major release?
It took along time we did a lot of demos and we ended up with some kind of manager,which was a complete asshole and he ripped us off big time. He got us into the studio for the first time and I think that is a story that happened to every band who’s been around, so called manager’s that are sharks in the business.

In the beginning of your career, when you started touring, did you mainly stay to the European countries?
Yes. We played in Germany but first we played in the neighborhood .Then we made it out of our town then we toured Germany. When we started BONFIRE in 86’ we went into the studio and did our first album and went right out on tour with ZZ Top on the European tour. It was some kind of experience… if you can imagine.

They played your videos a lot on MTV. Did that help your career?
Oh yeah. MTV was always a big help. But unfortunately, now days they don’t play too much rock and roll anymore. It’s all hip-hop and stuff like that. I think every kind of music has the right to exist. I just don’t understand why the viewer who listens to rock and roll doesn’t buy the products they are advertising for and that’s a very bad move… the change they made in the past years.

The band been around along time. Do you think the band is getting more popular now than in the past? When I was talking to your manager, Willi, he told me you have 10 interviews today 10 tomorrow. It seems it never stops.
Yeah there’s a lot to do right now. We organized that big rock for Asia festival and we’re releasing a new DVD and a new audio CD, which we never released something like this before. We never did anything like this. We just did not have the time because we have been on tour and there was not an opportunity to record stuff like that and now it is massive work.

Tell me about the DVD?
You should see it.

I am waiting for it to come in now. It was already mailed to me.
It an acoustic gig in the middle of Germany Deutschland we recorded it there. We have a lot of backstage stuff on it, which is from the last tour we did in Greece. It’s very interesting and good to watch.

There is a new CD?
Yeah it is the same thing but only on audio. We are working on songs right now for the new album, which we’ll record in early fall.

What about touring after that, are you coming to the states?
I don’t know. We would love to come to your country. We had such a good time over there when recording and touring in ‘88. It’s very hard for a German band touring the US. I don’t know why the whole situation changed like it did in Europe when we talk about hard rock.

How are the fans over in Europe compared to the United States?
There’s not too much difference. Maybe in Germany the people are a little spoiled right now. They get the “impress me” attitude which I really don’t like. I compare the US fans to people from Greece and Spain which are really wild. That’s my kind of experience when we played the US.

If you were going to play the US would you go out as a support act or headlining, or whom would you like to go out with?
I think the best for us would be a good support situation with a big act from your country. But I would also like to play on a festival.

How do you like the feel of the festival shows?
It’s great. When touring on your own the maximum you meet are some friends visiting your show or talking with the support band. On big festivals, you meet all your friends from other bands and that doesn’t happen too often.

What do you listen to now?
, but they don’t exist anymore. What also I like is New Country. Does the band little Texas still exist?

Not sure…
New Country
they were taking over the rock and roll feeling when grunge came up. You look at them you think you’re back in the 80’s.

What can we see in the future for BONFIRE?
I hope a lot of live shows and I hope some shows in the United States. Your name is Rademacher?

That’s German…

After you record the new album, will there be a DVD?
I think it will just be an audio thing. Because the cost is too high.

How is the record label treating you?
They treat us good. I think when you talk rock and roll they know how to treat bands like us. We are very honest and the label knows that so they treat us with honesty. I think honesty is very important.

How has BONFIRE lasted so long?
Ha looks like that. We just can’t do anything else. Nobody has a real profession and that’s what we like best and as long as we can do it, we will do it.

What is your favorite song to play live?
I would say “Proud of my Country”

In conclusion, is there anything you would like to say?
Hi to everyone in the United States, check out our website We can’t wait to come back to the States bye-bye thank you.

DVD review: A day after the interview I received the DVD from BONFIRE, called “One Acoustic Night.” Let me tell you even if you're not a BONFIRE fan, but a fan of acoustic music, get this DVD. It is just phenomenal. It has a live acoustic set, backstage scenes and some fantastic footage. My son who is seven years old who was watching the DVD with me ran and got is toy acoustic guitar and started strumming away with Claus. A few seconds later, he wanted glasses like Claus. Just watching this DVD will be a memory for me with my son.

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