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Charly Steinhauer (Paradox)

Interview with Charly Steinhauer from Paradox
by Salvador Aguinaga II at 23 December 2012, 11:48 PM

PARADOX, certainly have made their impact as one of the most influential Power / Thrash Metal bands in Germany. Adding technical abilities along with an old school feel made their material feel fresh and diverse. Recently the band releases their new album, “Tales Of The Weird” via AFM Records, with new band members on board. Sal talked with Charly Steinhauer, the band’s founder, about the new album, some history about the band and more…

Hello there Charly, how are you doing? Thanks for taking this interview. Let’s jump right into the fire, being the longest permanent member how has it felt to see line-up changes throughout your musical career with Paradox? Was there a time you thought to yourself that finding a replacement would be difficult?

In general it is always difficult to find musicians with the right attitude, having a good character,  comes from same area where you live and who play well enough. There are many factors to fulfill the qualifications and find a good replacement.

Your bassist, Olly Keller, left Paradox for a bit, is that correct?. If so, what caused him to return?

We are private mates and during that time we were still in contact. Each week we talked on phone about the situation in the band. Olly left just for a few month. He was demotivated cause nothing happened. It was difficult to find good replacements for Kai Pasemann and Roland Jahoda. After I’ve got the contact with Daniel Buld and Christian Muenzner i asked him to come back. It was no question for him. I’m glad to have him in the band.. Now we did 3 albums together what means a lot to me. Olly Keller is one of the best bass players I ever saw in my life. To work with him is unique.

None of the original Paradox members are in the band today nor have they been since Paradox’s debut album in 1987. How did you claim your position in Paradox and do you ever worry it will backfire on you and one of the original members will follow a lawsuit for advancing their band name?

Haha. No lawsuits. No backfire. Axle Blaha, the original drummer visit me all month and we drinking coffee together and talk about old times and new happenings ;-) He quit playing drums. He is one of my best private friends. Roland Stahl., the former bass player called me up some month ago. He would like to play bass again, but its impossible, cause were complete. He wants to visit me next month. We also have a good atmosphere. Markus Spyth, the former guitarist play in a cover band here in Germany and in 2008 he shared the stage with us to play Pray To The Godz Of Wrath from the Product Of Imagination album. We had a lot of fun together and are still friends… Almost all ex mates aren’t angry about something. Most of them left or must leave in friendship. I never had a fight in the band. It’s not easy to hold a family together for 30 years. People change her mind or having other priors after a while. Btw. nobody could do a lawsuit with me cause I was the founder of the band in 1981. Just under different banners. In 1981 we called ourselves OVERKILL :-).

How did you stumble across Christian Muenzner to play on the new album? Also, Do you think he’s a permanent member of Paradox or just a wanderer going from band to band?

Well, Micky Wehner (former Vendetta singer) is a buddy of me and he knew Daniel Buld.  Daniel knew Christian Muenzner. So it was like a chain reaction. Christian Muenzner is a Paradox fan since years and proud to be in. 10 years ago he asked us to join Paradox cause we looked for a third guitar player who helps us out in concerts. He is a permanent member of Paradox and he lives just a 45 minutes drive away. For me he is one of the best guitarists in Europe and human wise a good dude. He is the man.

Also along with Muenzner seemed to come along his producer in Muenzner’s work in Obscura and also from his solo project. Was it easy in deciding to allow him to mix and master on “Tales of the Weird”? Was there an alternative choice of whom you were contemplating to work on the album?

…the chain reaction continued. Christian Muenzner told us about his work with Victor Bullok who is also the guitarist of Tryptikon. I talked to him and he made us a fair price. Christian was totally excited about how he works and he was right. Victor did a great job on that album. First we thought about Andy Sneap but we had not enough budget.

How was it working along with V. Santura or by his real name, Victor Bullok? Any conflicts between any of his choices and yours in helping become what essentially is “Tales of the Weird“?

Right. Victor Bullok is his real name. He is a very easy handling guy and you can talk with him about everything. Our communication were perfect and I was amazed by his "know how". We are very satisfied about his work. No conflicts happened. I produced the album and he always understood my instructions very well talking about sounds, levels etc…

You’ve taken the role as Producer since the 2000 release, Collision Course. Why take the role? Any higher or technical training you had to go through in becoming a producer?

Because I know how it should sound. I never had a special technical training. That’s why we use a separate man for mix and mastering. Most important is to have "the ear" for that and to know how it should sound. The result is almost a bit different after mix. I did also the complete inner mix of the last three albums and I wrote all music. So I always have the responsibility about the Paradox productions.

The 2009 release, Riot Squad, is the only album since you’ve decided to produce Paradox’s material, not to be produced by your hands, why?

Riot Squad was also produced by myself but it was mixed and mastered by Achim Köhler. I did the inner mix.

Why the choice of letting Achim Homerlein “Daxx” come up with lyrics? Did he also have another role in the album?

Kai Pasemann did the lyrics in the past but after he leaved caused by his busy job as a lawyer we had to find a new man for the words. We also was getting the contact to Daxx via Micky Wehner, his former bandmate in Vendetta. "Daxx" is an amazing lyricist and our 5th member. He worked so professional. Its unbelievable. He also is open to write lyrics for other bands too. Our cooperation has future.

I could be wrong but “Tales of the Weird” touched the area of religion. Do you mind disclosing your personal views?

No. First it was planned to do a continuation of the Heresy story but then we changed. Now we write about things which happen in the world and makes us angry. Youth criminal, corruption, pollution of the environment, TV lies etc, but with Day Of Judgment also a story about the Maya prophecies.

What inspired the idea behind “Tales of the Weird”? Do you believe you’ve achieved what you and the band envisioned?

Its about the fast living life we have on earth. Everyone wants to be better than the other.
"The devil in me".  That’s weird.

There was a lot of empty air between the years 1992-1997 for Paradox. Was the band on hiatus or did they actually disband during that period? What were you personally doing during the time off from Paradox? What made you get the band together again and continue with more material?

Paradox was disbanded after the split with Roadrunner Records 1991. Axel quit playing drums and I saw no chance anymore to form a new band. In 1998 I went to the German Bang Your Head festival and met my old buddies from Sieges Even. Alex and Oliver Holzwarth (now both in Rhapsody Of Fire). Alex asked me whether I thought one time to reform Paradox and he would like to be a part of it together with his brother Oliver. I saw a big chance and said. Hell Yes. Lets do it. Short after I get in contact with Kai Pasemann and Paradox were complete to start a comeback. Between 1991 and 1997 I wrote a few songs and kept me always inform about the metal scene by reading metal magazines. I had a full time job as a truck driver and in my private time I played tennis, videogames, visited concerts or went out with old buddies to talk about old times. I also was married this time.

On “Tales of the Weird” you guys decided to do a Rainbow cover “ A Light in the Black.”  How was that experience?

We see it as our tribute to Ronnie James Dio who was one of the greatest singers on earth. My favourite album of him was Rainbow`s Rising. I ever wanted to cover a song from that album. We thought about who could play the keys and was getting in touch with Bob Katsionis (Firewind). He said he is a fan of Heresy and he really like to do a solo for Paradox. He did a great job. I`m proud to have him on our album. Great experience but it was not easy to sing that song haha.

You’ve also appeared in Tarek Maghary’s side project “Dawnrider”, for an album essentially for guests musicians and participated in vocal duty on the album, Fate is Calling Pt. 1. What song/s did you help with and how did all of it go?

The song called "When Our Troops Unite" and was the opener on the album. Tarek called me up one day and asked me for. he was interested to have me on his album together with James Rivera (Helstar) , Ross The Boss and others. I took the chance and did it. It was cool to work with Tarek. He is a very kind person.

Besides Paradox what would you say is your biggest accomplishment in life? Also the lowest point in your life?

My biggest accomplishment in life… I have realized my childhood dream getting a "famous" musician. I’m totally proud of that. I was been at the age of 18 when I have started playing guitar from zero on and 5 years later I received a worldwide record contract at Roadrunner Records.

The lowest point in my life I had 2003 when my wife and my father died. 2004 when was very close to die by medical mistakes after emergency operations on my bowel.

What plans await you personally and also Paradox in the future?

Now we have a constant line up and soon we are ready to get back on stage. Our first show will happen in Luzern, Switzerland on the 8th of March. 2013 should be a year of live concerts and hopefully also in Greece. My personal wish is to play the third time in Athens and we would like to play in Thessaloniki too. I have friends in Greece. I love the people. They are very very thankful and support the band to 100%  during a concert. I was totally excited by the audience. Yes. Greece is a must! We do all what we can to come and if anybody is interested to us in playing. Drop us a line please!!!! Fans can help us to come if they know any bookers and wish us coming. We give it back with a intense show. We have fair prices and we also be able to do a Heresy old school special. This is a banner!

Is there anything at all you would like to elaborate on for all our readers and fans of Paradox?

I have say THANK YOU to our fans. thanks to everybody who like our music and listen to it. Thanks to all the people who bought ours albums and still buy them. The new one is a diamond in melodic thrash. We pay it back with new music and we never change our style. We will stay constant. Be shure. If you read Paradox on it, there`s Paradox in it. And of course thanks to you, the magazines without them we wouldn’t be known. To all Metalheads out there. We are a big family my friends! Raise your fist and keep the flag high for us!


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