Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: April 2009
Brian Rademacher: Hello Claus and welcome to RockEyez.com.
This will be our 2nd interview with you and it's been sometime since we last talked but now you will be coming to the States in July for Rocklahoma. How was it arranged for you to play that huge event?
Claus Lessman: As far as I know, one of the present promoters of Rocklahoma is a big BONFIRE fan since the 80’s, when we last played the US. So he just contacted us and asked us if we would be interested to play this awesome festival, which is also well known over here (in Germany). Of course we said yes, because we have not been to the US since that time and it will be a big honor for us to rock you guys.
Brian Rademacher: What really impressed me so much with the group was your acoustic set release "One Acoustic Night" (2006). Will BONFIRE play any acoustic songs at Rocklahoma?
Claus Lessman: Oh… thanx for this compliment…I really do appreciate this.
We always missed the train for an acoustic album in the 90’s, because there was always something different happening for us. So we just did not have the time to do it. Then we got the offer by the company EMS to check out their new TV studio with an acoustic show. They filmed the whole show and were so excited about the material that they wanted to release that show on DVD and CD. After the release we played an acoustic tour in Germany with about 35 dates and it was a lot of fun for us and the audience. We don’t know yet but we might do one or two ballads (acoustically).
Brian Rademacher: Tell us a little about the latest BONFIRE DVD "The Räuber".
Claus Lessman: "The Räuber", is a rock opera based on „Die Räuber", a play by the German author Friedrich Schiller. There’s a CD and a DVD release. It was the idea of the German director Piere Pollitz, who thought it would be interesting to work with a rock band on some real tough stuff of German literature. From the beginning on they told us that we would not have to do something that has nothing in common with BONFIRE. Do what you always do and what you wanna do... that was what they said... and so we did it, and it was and it is a lot of fun.
The Räuber is not a real conceptual album. We just wanted to write a couple of real good songs for the play that would work perfect with the story. Also we intended to make them sound not like typical theatre songs, because that’s the type of songs I really don’t like. It also was kind of obvious to us that the title must be The Räuber, because that’s the name of the play. We tried to use a lot of the original lyrics or lean on to them as much as possible and usefully. That is also the reason why some of the songs are in our native tongue German, because it developed a very strong effect on everybody who listened to the stuff. It was quite interesting to use German lyrics as well and mixing it with the English lyrics and it also was kinda natural, because the play is by a German author.
Brian Rademacher: Will BONFIRE be playing any other dates in the US before or after Rocklahoma?
Claus Lessman: Unfortunately not, but maybe later this year.
Brian Rademacher: Can you give us any hints on at least one or two songs you will be playing at Rocklahoma?
Claus Lessman: We definitely will be playing "Sweet Obsession", "American Nights" and "Ready 4 Reaction", from the "Fireworks" Album, which we recorded in LA back in 1987.
Brian Rademacher: BONFIRE has a song on the Playstation game "Sing Star". How did that come about?
Claus Lessman: The Song "You Make Me Feel" from our debut album "Don’t Touch the Light" was and still is very popular over here, so SONY BMG wanted it for this new Sing Star release. That is a great thing for us, because we can reach a lot of new people to listen to our music.
Brian Rademacher: BONFIRE celebrated its 20th in music awhile back. What was that feeling like and do you feel you accomplished what you set out to accomplish in music?
Claus Lessman: Actually it was not really a very special feeling, but surely we’ve been kind of proud of being in the business for such a long time, but that is what we always wanted to do. And I think there is nothing better to live your dreams, even if they are bad some times. But I think that keeps you going. To say it with a song title from the Double X album…"But We Still Rock"!
Brian Rademacher: Is BONFIRE working on a new release now?
Claus Lessman: Yes, we are writing songs right now for a new studio album for next year release.
Brian Rademacher: In Claus Lessman's life what is a normal day for you?
Claus Lessman: Not sleeping too long … go out with my dog … waiting for some good things passing my way … and of course music, studio, writing, etc. and have a good time with friends
Brian Rademacher: Seems this year Rocklahoma really reached out to some of the greats from Germany like BONFIRE, MAD MAX and Herman Rarebell, will there be any surprises during your set at Rocklahoma?
Claus Lessman: Nothing planned yet.
Brian Rademacher: To come back to the States again and play the biggest Rock festival does that have any meaning to you and what is the feeling like being invited for that event?
Claus Lessman: As I already mentioned above, it is a great honor for us to play Rocklahoma and for me personally it means a lot coming back to the US. It is still one of my favourite countries and I do have so many good memories. I just can’t wait till it’s time to get back.
Brian Rademacher: Claus Thanks for giving us some insight on your upcoming visit to the States and RockEyez will be there to give you support. Would you like to say anything to the US fans in conclusion?
Claus Lessman: We are so happy to come back to rock at Rocklahoma... everybody take care and keep the BONFIRE burning …and … I already feel a little stage fright …even after all these years!