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Andy Boss (Absolute Steel)

Interview with Andy Boss from Absolute Steel
by Grigoris Chronis at 28 September 2005, 11:45 AM

Twenty years ago it was completely logical to be a diehard fan of both Iron Maiden and Skid Row, Judas Priest and Dokken, Accept and Rush, Slayer and Kiss. It was all Metal and it all ended in dozens of beers, headbanging and denim & leather clothing. I'm glad that Absolute Steel keep the 'faith' alive and present an album that will accompany your future booze Hard & Heavy nights. Some call it 'retro', I call it 'conscious'. Hi Andy, glad to know we share the same wavelength!

Hello from Metal magazine! The first thing I’d like to comment on is your latest studio effort, Womanizer and the impression I got from the overall atmosphere (apart from the music). I think that the result of this great album was a mix of several factors, with much more people involved than just the Absolute Steel musicians. I mean: a powerful production really involves many people working for this effort. You must have had a helluva time while recording plus a great deal of work done by the studio team!

Yeah we had a blast!!! But if you read the cover you’ll see that we produced and recorded this album ourselves. You see, I run a big studio in Norway and work as a producer for metal bands, so we have had the opportunity to work at our own pace, and making most decisions ourselves. On our next album, however, we plan to mix it somewhere else, to get more time to listen and be passive creative partners in the process. We sometimes get too involved.

I think that - regarding your partnership with Greece’s Black Lotus Records - the re-mastering of Womanizer really gives a new dimension to the band’s sound.

Yeah. That really helped. Thanks to the guys at Athens Mastering for a great job!

To the music itself: do you believe that Womanizer has the potential to drive Absolute Steel more ’upwards’ especially in relation to The Fair Bitch Project, which anyway is a fine album?

Yeah! It’s a more complete album. The songs have a more distinct AS-sound. On our first album we had no budget at all, so we recorded most of the album in my living room and mixed it at an old, abandoned fire-station.The songs are really different sound-wise, but they are great songs to party to anyway!!!

I’m - in general - glad that Absolute Steel do not tend to reduce the guitars’ 80’s feeling in favor of any neo-Euro Power Metal keyboards or endless harmonic vocals. You seem to walk fine on the thin line between the straightforward Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music. You’re really ’in’ the 80’s days!

Oh Yeah! We live and breathe 80’s Metal. And we want to make our sound more 80’s as possible, with a fresh edge of rawer Rock ’n’ Roll.

There’s definitely a variety in the new album, meaning up-tempo ’energy’ tunes mixed with mid-tempo classic Metal songs and a general tendency to cover all needs the average Hard & Heavy follower would have. How much are fans an influence for every new Absolute Steel album? Do you feel restricted sometimes, ’divided’ between something you’d possibly want to experiment on and the stamp that Absolute Steel has achieved during all these years of career?

I would say absolutely not. We are fans of this music ourselves, so we are in total agreement with our fan base. We always try to make some fresh additions to new songs, so that the songs don’t sound too much alike, but they all gotta be 80’s party Metal, no matter what. We want it and the fans want it!

Still, apart from the music it seems that the lyrical themes are in top priority for the band. Listening to the lyrics of your latest album, I remembered Twisted Sister’s Jay Jay French at a concert in Athens, Greece, crying out that the last 10-15 years all that Metal bands do is expose misery and pessimism, while the majority of the 80’s bands (TS, Motorhead, Kiss, Judas Priest etc) were singing back then for the need for inner power, faith and Hard & Heavy beer parties so as to leave aside all our everyday problems. I think that Absolute Steel are ’in’ the vein of those words.

You totally got it, man. That’s exactly our message. Growing up in the 80’s we worshipped bands like Motley Crue, Kiss, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dokken, Skid Row, Accept and many more. The music was all about raw energy mixed with good feelings. You felt really good listening to it and your spirit was lifted. Now many bands just want to bring you down with sad, angry and aggressive music. I don’t get that at all… Let’s put all grunge bands and NU-Metal bands up George Bush’s ass and have a party!!!

To end up with Womanizer, who’s behind this beautiful ’retro’ cover artwork?

Timo Wuerz from Germany designed it. He’s really great. The babe is our mascot, by the way. Kind of like a female Eddie. She’ll be on all our covers and t-shirts in the future…

Really, what’s the feedback you’ve had so far from the fans and Press concerning Womanizer?

It’s been really great! On our first album, people didn’t get what we were trying to do at all. But now, 80’s Metal is back in the spotlight and people are more open to our sound. The reviews have been great and the feedback from the fans as well.

Do you agree that Womanizer really shows the wish of Absolute Steel to show clearly that Norway ’exports’ also other Metal bands apart from the Black Metal ones? I guess you were fed up at some point in time with all this extreme stuff. Is it just hatred or do you happen to like some of these bands?

It’s mostly crap but some bands have some good qualities. Dimmu Borgir is not a band I listen to but they clearly have a great respect for the 80’s scene. They did a great cover of Metal Heart (Accept) and another one of Burn In Hell (Twisted Sister). They were great, so I have respect for them. Now, in Norway we have a new trend with Stoner Rock. I don’t get that at all! That’s like extreme Metal for grungeheads!

Anyway, I think that traditional Metal countries (Germany and the rest of Central Europe, Italy, Greece and Spain) will ’treat’ you nicely, since it seems you have quite a good reputation over there!

That’s good to know!

Womanizer marks also the first album with Black Lotus Records. Did you have any other labels to ’update’ your contract after Edgerunner went bankrupt? How did you end up with Black Lotus?

After Edgerunner we recorded WomaniZer ourselves and made 200 promo copies of it that we sold at gigs and sent out to labels. We did get in touch with some other labels besides BLR, but BLR was where we wanted to be. They totally understood what we wanted to do and gave us a great opportunity to do it without too much interference on the creative part.

Absolute Steel on stage: Let’s talk first ’bout the AS show. Just share with us anything you can recall regarding your appearance! We’ve read various juicy stuff ’bout pyros, strippers and similar shit!

Yeah!! We try to spice up our live shows with different kinds of stuff if the venue lets us. We have had strippers on stage, Harleys, pyro-helmets and spinning mic stands. It’s all good fun but the music still is the most important part of the show. But I believe that when people pay money to SEE us, they have to look at something more than a band. I hated the 90’s when everybody stood still with their backs to the audience and was sad on stage all the time. I would never pay money to see such an act. You have to give the audience 100% from the first power chord to the last string breaks on your guitar!!!

As music fans, which artists/bands have influenced both your songwriting you’re your onstage ’mode’?

For myself it has been many, Malmsteen is a huge influence to me, guitar-wise, but I love bands like Saxon, Iron Maiden, Accept, Judas Priest and Gamma Ray. I also like a lot of 70’s prog bands like Genesis, Rush, Yes and King Crimson but that’s not music to party to!!!!

So, there must be a set of shows lined up - as we’re speaking right now - for the promotion of the Womanizer album, right? Any fixed dates yet?

Yeah! We’ll do some shows in Norway first and then try to get some festivals for the summer…

In the Internet days of our world it seems that - at last - bands and fans can come really close enough. There’s mutual ’feedback’ and I think this can only be for the best of music. Your opinion? I guess you use the Net as much as possible?

Of course. It’s a great way to promote yourself as a band and to stay in touch with the fans. We spend a lot of time on our website ( discussing Metal on the forum and giving the fans the latest news…

Norway hasn’t offered any major quantity of bands in the non-’extreme’ Metal history, but all these artists feature a great level of quality. How would you explain this? Does it have to do with school education or anything similar?

I don’t know. But Norway is a small country, so I think the amount of bands that make it worldwide from Norway is in balance with the size of our country.

Speaking of these bands, can we have a brief sentence on the seven following acts (the last two being in a rather different musical style than your band)?

TNT: Great band! We love it! And what a string shredder! Ronny LeTekro is THE guitar hero in Norway. A legend.

Stage Dolls: Also a great band, but they were never a really cool band. They had great songs and Flaknes’ songwriting has made it worldwide through other acts as well.

Conception: It’s great to hear that you know them. A cool 80’s band a la Queensryche that deserved much more fame than they got. They were eaten up by the Monster of Grunge music in the early 90’s. A shame.

Griffin: A cool new act. I like them too, but they could write more party-tunes!

Witchammer: Don’t know their music, really. Cool name though…

Dimmu Borgir: Perhaps Norway’s biggest Metal act. I like them. They have some good tunes even though they are a little too angry for my taste.

Mayhem: Pigheads!

Thanks a lot for your spare time. We truly hope all the best for the band and the new album! Your last thoughts?

Not yet, I hope!!! (Laughs)


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