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Interview with Lothar Keller
(Yngwie Malmsteen/Cornerstone)
Sacred Dawn Lothar Keller
Vocals / Guitar

					Lothar Keller

Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: March 2008

Official My Space site:

Brian Rademacher: Hello Lothar and welcome to

That’s a name I’ve never heard of, how did your parents pick that name, German right?

Lothar Keller : My father was born in Germany and moved to the states around the age of 9. When I was born, he and my mother wanted to choose a name for me that represented strength. I actually saw my name in a baby name book years ago when I was young that also defined the names. It said the name Lothar is supposed to be a German warrior. I thought it was pretty cool.

Brian Rademacher: You mentioned in your bio that you were brought up by your parents with classical music, playing piano then the trumpet then you took voice lessons and joined the North Carolina Boys Choir. With most young kids listening to KISS, QUEEN and others bands did you feel you were being left out when other kids in school were listening to heavier stuff?

Lothar Keller : That’s a very good question. Being influenced by several musical styles has been a very positive experience. I can listen to a song from any style and take something from it. That’s why metal is so great. No matter what, you can take anything from classical music and make it work in metal. My parents also introduced me to bands like THE BEATLES, SANTANA and YES. I then started really getting into metal when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was a little more extreme but my parents didn’t forbid me from listening. They were fairly open to me listening to it. There was a station in Raleigh, N.C. called Chainsaw 88 FM that was awesome. That was where I really was starting to hear a lot of metal in the early 80’s. Metal is my preference but it’s not all I listen to.

Brian Rademacher: You eventually started listening and practiced with influences like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Howe, Brian May and Paul Gilbert. So what really changed your direction? Lothar Keller

Lothar Keller : As I started listening to a lot more metal I really got into the bands that had shredders. It had a lot of classical influences and at the same time prog like elements.

Brian Rademacher: When you were fourteen your dad took you to see IRON MAIDEN your first concert, what kind of impact was that show on your future music career?

Lothar Keller : That was the most awesome experience in my life. The command of the crowd that band has is insane. It was very powerful and something I will never forget. The guitar harmonies and vocals were what made them stand out to me. Bruce Dickenson had a command that I would even compare to Freddie Mercury back to the QUEEN reference. The sound and the light show were over the top. Back in ‘86, the Somewhere in Time tour was being talked about as being the loudest show at Charlotte Coliseum. It was insane!! Today, IRON MAIDEN still remains my favorite band.

Brian Rademacher: Tell me a story about your chicken days to pay back the loan you took from the bank for a Marshall Stack and Fender guitar?

Lothar Keller : Growing up in western North Carolina, I could either bag groceries at a grocery store or catch chickens. I chose catching chickens, it sounded more interesting! There was a family I grew up with that owned a chicken farm, I worked for them and made $10 an hour! Not bad for a 13 year old! I would help with transporting chickens from one hen house to the other. It could turn into long days but the money was what I needed to pay off the loan so it was worth it.

Brian Rademacher: Your first band was a Christian band called IHS with your father Pastor Keller on bass. Did you have it in your mind that you wanted to play a heavier style during that time?

Lothar Keller : I did. I would say even within the last couple of years of I.H.S. the music was starting to get heavier…and my dad kept right up with us!

Brian Rademacher: You broke out of that mold in 1995 with DISCIPLE 13 which was a much heavier style is this something that you were always looking for?

Lothar Keller : It was definitely more in a heavier direction. DISCIPLE 13 was on the verge of doing some good stuff. The band fell apart unexpectedly as a member quit just as we were offered an opening touring opportunity with SAVATAGE for their ’97 NE US tour. There wasn’t enough time to find a replacement so we had to decline the offer. Losing that opportunity really put a bad taste in my mouth and I pretty much gave up trying to keep a band together. I put my guitar down for the next 6 years but the music never left me.

So the album is gonna be called “As Yet Untitled” There you have an exclusive.

Brian Rademacher: Now what did you do from that point until you reached SACRED DAWN?

Lothar Keller : Because the music was still haunting me, I picked up my guitar again and eventually found myself working on material to record a solo album in 2003. I was recording everything on Pro-Tools to compose the parts. I would play drums first and then add all the parts in order….guitars and then bass then last vocals. I still needed somebody that could play drums better than me though so I asked the drummer from I.H.S to record a few tracks with me. Things really felt good and started coming together and I felt at some point a steady line up to support a possible future album was necessary. I was contacted by the old DISCIPLE 13 drummer in Jan of 2005 and at that time, SACRED DAWN was born.

Brian Rademacher: Now you release Gears of the Machine on Qumran Records in 2006. Which we reviewed and it got a favorable review. Gears Of The Machine Review. I did the review and compared your vocals to a mild Peter Steele and the sound I felt had an ALICE IN CHAINS vibe. What can we expect from you upcoming release in April “Gears of the Machine...A New Beginning” .

Lothar Keller : The Qumran release was recorded with the first line up. There were many things I would’ve done differently with that release so when the members changed not long after the initial release, I decided to re-record it with the new feel and groove of the band. It represents this band much more accurately with in your face, huge guitar tones and solid grooves. The vocal styles that you described of Peter Steele and ALICE IN CHAINS in your review will still be present with some added harmonies to add a more melodic feel to the songs. It will be kind of an older QUEENSRYCHE/IRON MAIDEN way of doing harmonies.

Brian Rademacher: My favorite track on Gears of the Machine was “Walls of Jericho”. Do you feel that was a strongest track on that release?

Lothar Keller : It’s hard to say. I hear so many different opinions. Each person has a different song that they identify with whether it be in the music or lyrics. I think “Walls of Jericho” definitely hits you strong and doesn’t let up until the end. Being a song about Chris Jericho the wrestler, it has a very competitive meaning. It’s very fun to play live.

Brian Rademacher: Listening to the new tracks on your MySpace site, it seems your vocals are a little higher pitched with “Asmodeus”, “Master of Thoughts”, and “Shadows”. By the way “Shadows” is on helluva killer tune. Do you feel your vocals changed from the last release?

Lothar Keller : The whole groove of the songs is way better. It helped allow the vocals to flow better and for me to put more meaning into it.

Brian Rademacher: The last line on my review was “I liked the entire CD Gears of the Machine” maybe it will lead to a well known independent label where SACRED DAWN can really shine”. That is a pretty funny statement as you just signed with Lance Kings Nightmare records. How did that all go down?

Lothar Keller : When we re-recorded the album the whole reason behind it was to shop it to a good indie label. We didn’t feel the previous version was strong enough, so we pulled it. We opened a show with SYMPHONY X back in July of 2007 and released the unmastered version of Gears of the Machine; A New Beginning with different artwork on the cover. We sold it at the show ourselves and the responses were awesome. Meanwhile we sent out press kits to a few indie labels that we wanted to try and work with Nightmare Records being one of them. We at the time had established a very good relationship with Tom Wylde (a Chicago internet radio DJ) who became a huge supporter of SACRED DAWN. He helped get us in touch with Lance King and establish a relationship with Nightmare Records. The rest is history.

Brian Rademacher: I see you will also be playing Nightmare Metal Fest on March 21st in Florida, what can fans expect from that festival, how long will your set be, will there be a meet and greet? How approachable are you to the fans who are going to pay good $ to see you?

Lothar Keller : Fans can expect to hear two days of several unbelievable prog/power bands! Our goal is to be unforgettable. We have a very powerful 40 minute set that will melt your face off. There is a scheduled meet and greet brunch at The Ramada Inn the next day March 22nd from 11:00am to 2:00 pm. We would love to meet the fans. After all ...that’s why music is so awesome…it brings people together and we should thank them all for supporting what we do.

Brian Rademacher: After the Metalfest what are the plans for SACRED DAWN?

Lothar Keller : Tour dates to support the album are in the planning stages. SACRED DAWN is a band that needs to be heard and seen live. We don’t want to be just a studio band. We also have over half of our next album written. Plans to start recording at the end of 2008 are in the works.

Brian Rademacher: Let’s get into some of your thoughts; tell me your feeling about different subjects.

What is your feeling about organized religion?

Lothar Keller : Growing up as the son of a minister I was involved in church throughout a good portion of my life. I think there is a lot of good from religion however; it is the one thing that this world disagrees on the most.

Brian Rademacher: Do you think there is a God and Satan?

Lothar Keller : I do. Regardless of it’s state of being.

Brian Rademacher: How much does family mean to you?

Lothar Keller : My family is very important to me. They have always been supportive of my need for music. I grew up in it.

Brian Rademacher: What is the worst thing your parents were most disappointed with you for?

Lothar Keller : When I gave up on music for those years.

Brian Rademacher: What is the thing that your parents are most proud of you for?

Lothar Keller : I guess making music and having the courage to pursue it.

Brian Rademacher: What is your feeling about Mr. Lance King?

Lothar Keller : Honesty and being straight up are very redeeming qualities and very hard to find in the music industry. Lance has shown those qualities and has been easy to talk to and very genuine. Our future with Nightmare is looking to be very promising.

Brian Rademacher: If you were not in the music field what would you be doing?

Lothar Keller : I have been working in the audio and television industry for about 15 years doing anything from mixing audio for bands or working for major television networks broadcasting sports or concerts.

Brian Rademacher: If you could conjure up a super group where you’re on vocals who would be playing with you?

Lothar Keller : Wow! There are so many awesome musicians out there. It’s all about chemistry though. Hmmm ... Very hard to answer.

Brian Rademacher: What are your feelings about the world we live in today?

Lothar Keller : I guess I feel like you just Sacred Dawngotta make the best of it. A lot of one’s perceptions are what they make of them.

Brian Rademacher: Last one, what is success mean to you?

Lothar Keller : Success is doing what you enjoy and to be able to pay the bills!

Brian Rademacher: Hey Lothar it’s been fun, and congratulations on the new CD coming out in April. Would you like to say anything in conclusion?

Lothar Keller : Metal is one of the greatest genres. It brings every emotion to all extremes making Metal one of the most flexible and underrated styles of music to date. There is so much hope in what everybody is bringing to the table and I intend to enjoy all of it.

Lothar Keller / SACRED DAWN


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