Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: April 10th, 2005
When did the band start?
We started the band started in 1976 under another name called GRANITE HEART. In 1979, we basically just fooled around, but then we got serious and changed the name to RUNNING WILD because the bass player and drummer left the band and we started focusing more on the music.
In 1981, you did your first demo?
Right! There was a sampler that was made to be sent to the record companies. We had a few songs from RUNNING WILD on it with some other bands. There were different styles of music on it… not just heavy metal.
On your first two albums “GATES OF PURGATORY” and “BRANDED & EXILED”… the covers look more of a death metal theme. Was the band into death metal at that time?
No, we just used that as a symbol like being a rebel. We never had any religious stuff in our mind. When we realized that people misunderstood what we wanted to say, we changed it to just our name and then with the next album “UNDER THE JOLLY ROGER” we went with a pirate theme.
When I looked at your discography, I saw the covers and thought maybe in the beginning you were into death metal before you changed to heavy metal.
It never had anything to do with the music. When we first started out as a heavy metal band with more traditional music, the band that was out was VENOM and the covers were a death metal look… so we went with that. So people thought we were death metal or black metal. I said “No!”… We’re just heavy metal in the style of JUDAS PRIEST or IRON MAIDEN. Then when our third album came out, “UNDER THE JOLLY ROGER,” we were rehearsing and the pirate theme happened. We had no plans for that… it just came about.
How would you compare the club days back when you first started to the club days of today?
It was much easier back then. More people came to the show s and there were not many heavy metal bands out there. It was very hard to get a record deal… almost impossible! Once you did get the record deal that was your ticket you knew “You made it!” We didn’t expect it when the first album came out. In the first two months we sold 20,000 copies. It was great for us. Today there are so many bands out there. I can go to a show in any town in Germany any day of the week. Today people don’t have the money to go to every concert that comes to town. They really have to choose what they want to see.
What was the most memorable year for you in RUNNING WILD?
Well , when we just did the “BRANDED & EXILED” album, we were really just an independent band and we got the opportunity to be supporting MOTLEY CRUE. That was the big time when MOTLEY CRUE had the “THEATER OF PAIN” tour. There were a lot of people at the shows that had never seen RUNNING WILD before so we got a lot more fans. It was a REALLY big step.
When you’re on tour do you have a rider?
We ask for nothing special. Ha! Something to drink, something to eat, something for me, since I am a vegetarian… just normal stuff.
Tell me the wildest tour story you can remember?
We have lots of those. But during our first tour , we were doing our own stage set. We were using high inflammables and we had a stone wall behind us and during the last song we would have fire around the drum kit. It was just this one show it became so hot and bright ! I was singing to the people, the roadie came out and tried to put it out and the whole stage set burned down. Nobody was hurt and we never did it again from that time on.
Another funny story where nobody got hurt is... There was a show on the “BRANDED & EXILED” tour and we had a very special effect we used during the encore. Hasche our drummer, at that time, was levitated, and had bombs tied to his arms in the beginning of the song a maroon (firework effects) goes off for effects. I don’t know how it happened but the technician changed the channels. We started off with the song and there was a big bang and timing of the drums were going up and coming down. I didn’t think much about it. When we finished the song I thought it was a very weird version. I said a good-bye, and I was turning around and there were two guys carrying Hasche off with a very big hole in his attire and he really had a black face exactly like woody woodpecker. He was not hurt - everyone was laughing. The fans loved it. They said it was the biggest effect they ever saw. The drummer exploding himself like Spinal Tap. The lucky thing was nobody got hurt. It was really funny and we laughed about those days.
When you were the opening act what was your favorite band that you toured with?
There was only one... MOTLEY CRUE!
What kind of music do you listen to today?
There’s nothing I like listening to more than old JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, or AC/DC. I listen to some Brian Setzer (STRAY CATS), BIG COUNTRY, some Celtic music and/or classical. It depends on the mood I’m in. I really like that Celtic sound. We use some of that in our music.
How do you feel about making videos?
Well you spend a lot of money to do that. We only did it two times long ago. The last one was during our 1989 tour. We figured out after we did it that no one played it.
Do you think there will be a DVD on the history of RUNNING WILD?
We thought about it during the time of the release of “20 YEARS IN HISTORY” that came out in 2003. But, I didn’t have the time to put everything together. I wanted to include backstage stuff, friends of the band and a lot of stuff people never saw. It has to be the right point to do that.
How would you say recording back in the beginning of RUNNING WILD compared to today’s recording?
When we were recording the first album, it took sixty days. When we did the last album, it took eight weeks. When we did the “BROTHERHOOD” album, I did all the overdubs and guitars in my own studio. Then it was much easier to do everything in my own studio during the “20 YEARS IN HISTORY” album. I started mixing everything at my house and everything just worked. We did some of the drumming in a different studio but the final mixing now is done at my own studio.
Do you like playing festivals?
Yeah. In the last two to three years we have had time to do that. We will be doing a European tour September in and October… some shows in Germany, some in Spain and a few in Italy.
Was there any meaning to you when the Berlin Wall came down?
Yes and no, because I was born when the walls were built up about ‘61. The first record contract we had was in Berlin so we always had to go there. It was different having one bunch of people on one side of the wall and more on the other. It was a weird feeling. When the wall came down, I thought it would be great for the people. But personally I thought how they did it was wrong. That is why Germany today is having so many problems. So many people couldn’t find work, there were many mistakes made by politicians, but for the people - they are free !
What was the first concert you attended?
RORY GALLAGER in 1971.
When you were in school, did you play any sports?
Yeah. But just with friends. I played a little soccer.
Did you collect anything as a child?
Yeah. Napoleon toy little figures.
How does it feeling being a legend in Germany?
It’s very hard to say. We just had a “20 YEARS IN HISTORY” and I thought about it. And look back it all came true. Everything went very fast. It all started when KISS and AC/DC were around. The big show we did was “Rock and Roll from Hell” with 55,000 people there in 2003. We were the headlining act RUNNING WILD is a very special band. We’ve been around such a long time and I personally don’t think about that. I just see special things that remind me about that.
Your last album “ROGUES IN VOGUE,” How long did that take to record?
It’s very hard to say. It was a mixture of things that took different processes, I started the writing and recording. It took about ten to eleven months.
Will there be any shows in the US?
It doesn’t look like it. First, we should have a proper record company there. It’s pretty hard for a band to come to another country without a proper record company.
I am just going to mention a few words. Tell us what comes to mind.
Touring - Fun when you’re on stage, boring when you’re touring.
Recording - Fun! A very interesting process.
1980’s – The big start of the heavy metal traditional.
RUNNING WILD - My Baby!
Would you like to say anything in conclusion?
Yeah, I want to say I really hope we make it to America. We would like to come there again. I think the last time we were there was 1986 about 20 years ago.
- Rock ´N´ Rolf Kasparek - vocals, lead & rhythm guitar
- Peter Pichl - bass
- Bernd Aufermann - lead guitar (Angel Dust)
- Matthias Liebetruth - drums (ex-Victory (Ger))
- Uwe Bendig (1976-1982)
- Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke (1982-1985)
- Majk Moti (1985-1990)
- Axel Morgan (X Wild) (1990-1993)
- Thilo Hermann (ex-Holy Moses, ex-Faithful Breath, ex-Risk) (1994-2001)
- Jörg Schwarz (1976)
- Carsten David (1977)
- Matthias Kaufmann (1978-1982)
- Stephan Boriss (1982-1987)
- Jens Becker (Grave Digger, X Wild) (1987-1992)
- Thomas Smuszynski (U.D.O., Darxon) (1992-2001)
- Michael Hoffmann (1976-1978)
- Wolfgang "Hasche" Hagemann (1978-1987)
- Stefan Schwarzmann (Helloween, Paradox, ex-X Wild, ex-Accept, ex-U.D.O., ex-Voice) (1987-1988, 1991-1992)
- Iain Finlay (1988-1989) (Demon Pact)
- Jörg Michael (Stratovarius, Saxon, ex-Avenger (Ger), ex-Rage, ex-Grave Digger, ex-Mekong Delta, ex-Unleashed Power, ex-Axel Rudi Pell, ex-Headhunter) (1990, 1993-1998)
- Mr. A.C. (1990-1992)
- Angelo Sasso – a.k.a. Drumcomputer *g* (1999-2001)