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Claus Lessmann (Bonfire)

Interview with Claus Lessmann from Bonfire
by Grigoris Chronis at 24 April 2007, 9:21 AM

A highly respected German act, even for fans that do not particularly listen to melodic Hard (on-the-edge Heavy) Rock, BONFIRE released their Double X Vision DVD/CD virtually outta nowhere! Still, news has been great (again) for all BONFIRE devotees since this combo is another one 'value for money' release. We instantly grabbed frontman Claus Lessmann to share a few things regarding all the details about BONFIRE and…here you are!

Claus, how did the idea of releasing the Double X Vision DVD/CD come up in the first place? I consider myself to be a good BONFIRE fan and I admit I was (kinda) caught by surprise when we got the promo copy, since I don’t remember there was any kind of news (or rumours) for this release! Was the idea ’born’ before, during or after your latest Double X CD release?

Well, it’s been quite a while ago since we released some live stuff. So we thought it would be a good time to bring out some songs from last year’s European Double X Tour. It was a very spontaneous decision and it was suggested by our good friend Mario Lehmann from the label MTM. We said we should do it. The perfect date seemed to be the Firefest festival in Nottingham, England and I think it turned out to be a pretty good live show.

I would imagine BONFIRE shooting the DVD in a concert in Germany, your home-country. Instead of this, you decided to shoot it in UK’s Firefest. What was the motive for this decision?

We still do have a lot of fans in other countries and because the last live stuff we released were shot in Germany, it made more sense to us to bring out a show which took place in a foreign country. And a good date for this was the fantastic Firefest.

Really, how did you see the fans gathered at Firefest? Well, there may have been Melodic Rock/Hard Rock fans coming from all over the world but…you know…British fans, in specific, are not considered to be such a warm/enthusiastic crowd (laughs)! Or were they too ’few’ (laughs!)?

In a certain way you are right. Fans are wilder in (e.g.) Greece, but still I think that the Firefest is a fantastic festival to play and I think it went down very good for us.

Is it true that the Fireworks magazine is entitled as such due to BONFIRE’s Fireworks album? (I, too, had this idea for the last years)

Yes you are absolutely right. It was named after our second album Fireworks. So it was a great honour for us and the people of the magazine to have BONFIRE for the show.

The Double X Vision DVD features some brilliant shooting: many cameras, good video mix, great sound. Can we have some specific details concerning the technology used for the DVD?

I think I just know too little about all that tecnical stuff, because I’m just a Rock’n’Roll Cowboy who just wants to go out on stage and rock, but I can say that it was a very good and professional video crew and it was a lot of fun working with them.

Some info on the DVD’s bonus ’goodies’: three songs are featured from the previously unreleased concert Rock gegen Rechts from 2002 (recorded by the WDR - Rockpalast). It does not have to do with the Rock For Asia concert, does it?

No, that was something completely different. We’ve been invited to perform on that show by the famous german Rock legend Udo Lindenberg and we have been the only Rock band on the bill.

Another bonus features question: Was there any particular reason for including - once more - the specific five BONFIRE promo videos? I mention this because the same clips were featured in your Golden Bullets DVD (2001), too.

The reason was, that it’s pretty hard nowadays to get that material in the shops, because BMG did not release it again. Plus there are many of new or young fans who don’t know that material, so we thought it might be a good idea to put it on the DVD as a bonus.

So, how was the Double X Anniversary Tour in general? Many places to visit (again), lots of fans, an exhausting schedule…The overall feeling, on your way back home?

It was a really good tour. Not as huge than in the 80s, but good enough to make us all feel great and satisfied….band and fans. Therefore I want to say … THANK YOU ALL … again.

BONFIRE lives now for 20+ years. How easy is it to attract young fans to your music? You know, teenagers seem too keen on current Rock streams…What did you witness in the Double X Anniversary Tour?

You are kinda right. But our experience is that they really like BONFIRE’s music as soon as they been to a live show, because they feel that the music comes straight from the heart and it’s really true. The only problem is to bring them to a show.

On the echo of the Double X CD release, how do you see this album now? What is the overall impression you got keeping in mind all factors related (songs, sound/production, feedback from fans/media, sales, the 2006 tour etc)?

I really love this album, because it brought us back on track what we can do best …hard and melodic rocksongs mixed with some feelful and concerned ballads. And that is also the way for us in the future for the next 20 years… (Laughs).

I was happily surprised to see in the news section of your website that you will cooperate with the Theatre of Ingolstadt for the making of a Rock Opera. Really what will it all be about? Have you fixed any dates for performing this opera yet? Any DVD/CD release, too?

It will be about the german  classic of Friedrich Schiller’s  Die Rauber. BONFIRE will write and perform the songs live in the theater next year with about 20 sold-out shows. This might also be released on CD and the whole work will be very interesting and different to all that we’ve done before. We will see what happens!

The ’opera’ plans mean we won’t have news for an upcoming ’normal’ BONFIRE album for a little while?

As you already said …  No new studio album planned yet.

The BONFIRE team - as it is now - seems too ’bonded’. Apart from the Clauss/Hans ’marriage’ (laughs!), what’s the most important factor for the BONFIRE family to roll nicely?

I think the most important thing is friendship, respect and trust. That is what kept us together for such a long time now.

Last but not least: the previous version of the BONFIRE website was kick-ass; the new version kicks ass even more!!! Who’s behind this awesome design? Who should we give credit to?

It is a good English friend of us who lives in our hometown. His name is James Beckett and you are absolutely right! This man did a super fantastic job!

I can recall was nominated for some award in Germany a couple of years ago, right? Whatever happened with this contest?

It was the ECHO award and we were nominated in the category ’Best Website’. The result was…unfortunately…we’ve been second. That’s life.

Claus, thanks a lot for your time to this interview; let’s wish for an - at least - Quadruplex X CD to be released in 2026 featuring the same positive energy BONFIRE has all these years!

Thanx also from my side and please say Hi to all your readers and we can’t wait to come back to your country and Rock!!!


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