Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: December 24th, 2005
Rolf Munkes is not only a great guitarist but he's also a high priority entity in the industry. I have known Rolf for many years and this is the first time that Rock eyez has had the chance to interview Mr. Munkes. The first time I contacted Rolf was about three years ago when I was a slave on another site. He is a guy that praises his fans. This is a true star that does not take advantage of his fame. Any band would love to have him as a special guest and I consider this an honor to conduct this interview.
Good Day, Rolf.
How the hell do you have time to do all the projects that you’re involved with?
I'm a full-time musician and love my work. It's actually not work. It's mostly fun.
What was the first guitar you ever owned?
It was an acoustic guitar from my parents, nothing special.
What was the first garage band you were in, and what was your dream back then?
I played in my school when I was 15 and the girls were throwing flowers up on the stage. You know what happens then…
What was the first album you owned?
Smokey or Suzie Quattro Can’t remember - ... I was young.
What was the first concert you attended?
Foreigner, very great!!!
For you, what is the difference in playing acoustic compared to electric?
Electric guitar is my thing. It's hard to play on an acoustic guitar for me. I need a bit of distortion to work with the long notes. It's like cutting a saxophone players note from ringing if you mute the distortion. It wouldn't fit.
Which is your favorite guitar right now?
It would be a handmade Explorer that I received from Chris Heun (my Razorback band mate).
What were your feelings the first time you performed on stage?
What kind of kid were you in high school?
I did too many guitar exercises so I missed some stuff in school. But finally, I made it in the end… I was very shy and silent.
Were you in any talent contests as a youth?
Only with my bands, nothing big…
You must have won some awards musically. What award is the dearest to your heart?
I was the Best German guitarist at the Lausanne Jazz Rock contest 2000, I think. But there was another German one? I forgot.
At this time what is your main focus?
Guitar playing and studio work, mainly producing.
What musician impressed you the most out of all the musicians you have played with?
They were all cool and the more professional they are, the more I enjoyed working with them.
What musician who you never played with would you like to play with?
What is the biggest accomplishment in your music career so far?
It's the new Empire CD I'm working on right now. I guess it's always your "new baby.” But this one's hot!
If you had one dream come true, what would that be?
I would say, making a living in with my guitar without having to give guitar lessons.
The latest release by Razorback just came out called “Criminal Justice.” Do you consider that a side project?
It's more than that. I invested lots of work and time in that and love the combination of the musicians involved.
What is your favorite track on the CD?
“Hard to say good bye.”
Stefan Berggren does a fantastic vocal job on “Criminal Justice.” He is a mix of Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale. How do you set apart the members in Empire from the members of Razorback? Like do you ever say to yourself ‘I would love Stefan singing on the next Empire release’?
As I said, its great working with pro's and Stefan is a true pro. He did an amazing job and I'm really happy with the result.. and he is a mega funny guy!! Empire is another thing and the slot for the singer has already been given to Tony Martin since he sung on the last one.
You are currently working on a new Empire CD. Is there a title yet for the CD?
Sorry can't say right now. But it will be more mystic!!
Do you have an image on what the cover will look like?
Yes, I have the finished cover here on the computer and it looks really, really cool. It's all much more mystic and heavy this time. Neil Murray said it's for the Black Sabbath fans out there. There are some out there, aren't they?
How will this new release be any different then other releases?
The preproduction satisfied me because it was a very relaxing this time and everybody came up with cool ideas and it's exciting. It was great to make the whole album in my own studio. I have all the time in the world.
Are there any song titles yet?
I think I have to wait to release the names, sorry.
When is the release set for?
I guess it is set for a May 2006.
Are you recording it in your own studio?
Yep and it will sound f... great. I have started mixing this week.
What will be the first single for the new CD?
Have no idea.
Will you have any special guests?
No, just Tony Martin, Neil Murray, Andre Hilgers and me… But we ROCK.
The big question will you play in the US next year?
I wish I could.
If you can play guitar in an all-star band, who would you have playing Bass, Keyboards, Drums, vocals and a second guitarist?
On Bass Neil Murray, Keys Don Airey, Paice on drums, Tony Martin together with Gary Moore. HA-HA, great thing.
Are there any upcoming guitarists that you would recommend?
No, do you have one?
Can you tell us what endorsements you have?
I have two new ones, which I'm very proud of; A Peavey and Klotz endorsement… others are Dean Markley, Di Marzio, Fingertip and Guitar Place Aschaffenburg.
Who has been the biggest impact in your life musically and why?
Paul Stanley. He is a Rock 'N’ Roll show in himself and I really like his voice. Gary Moore and Robben Ford on the guitar side, their playing is just incredible.
What does Rolf Munkes do on a normal day?
Three days I'm giving lessons and the other four I'm working with musicians, mostly in my studio. I try to wake up with my daughter to bring her to school and then have breakfast. Then I normally start to work. Most of the time I do some office work first, to get my eyes open and then music... all day.
What is your feeling about the current state of the world right now?
My father died last year, my wife's mother some days ago, so there are some shitty points right now. But I'm trying to "focus on the good shit.” That's a Tony Martins text "good shit.” Is that cool? I really like that!!!! All in all… the world is bad place sometimes. But I have to deal with it, I guess. - Stop - it's not the world it's the people living on this planet. Hhhhhhmmmm ...could be true.
What is in the crystal ball for Rolf Munkes?
I hope it's the "good shit"!!
Rolf I want to take this time to thank you for the in depth interview and wish you the best with Razorback, Empire and future projects. Would you like to say anything in conclusion to our interview?
Thank you for the interview it was a real pleasure, Brian. It's cool that people like you are out there! Watch out for the new EMPIRE. Take care and I'm looking forward to seeing you.