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Craig, Rich & Luke (Ruffians)

Interview with Craig, Rich & Luke from Ruffians
by Grigoris Chronis at 05 December 2006, 12:31 AM

The sleeping 'beauty' of the Ruffians' music has arisen once again! The US 'classic' metallers' brand new album Desert Of Tears carries on the tradition of good ol' U.S. Metal magic and I feel more than happy the band seems ready - again - to kick some serious Metal ass! Craig Behrhorst (guitars), Luke Bowman (drums) and Rich Wilde (vocals) reveal the current status of the Ruffians and it is obvious that some things are meant to shine forever on!

Desert Of Tears marks the band’s first full-length studio ’return’ after many years. First of all, what was the motive for Ruffians to write a new studio album?

Rich: First let me say, we are so happy to have the opportunity to do this record. Thanks to Georg and everyone at Metal Heaven Records for making this a reality. Truly though, our fans are the people we really want to thank, since they are the ones who demanded it!!

Are all of the album’s tunes brand new or do some of them ’date’ back to the early Ruffians days?

Luke: Most of the songs are new. Running Blind is the first song we wrote, back in ? I think, but we didn’t get around to recording it until now. Desert Of Tears is also from the eighties, and we did play Darkest Of Light at the Bang Your Head!!! Festival in 2004.

Who was the main songwriter for the new album? Or, you’d call this effort a ’team work’?

Craig: Well, when ever you record an album together it’s always going to be a team effort as everyone has to contribute their piece to the puzzle. When it comes to song writing everyone is involved on some level. I will usually come in rehearsal with a riff already worked out and play it for everyone. We then collectively work out the arrangements and the final structure as a band. Rich will then write all the melodies and lyrics.

The cover artwork does eventually ’fit’ to the music inside. Who had this idea and who created it? In addition, how do the lyrics comprehend with the music and cover?

Rich: Craig and I discussed the basic idea of the cover, and of course we consulted with our good friend and long-time artist Mark DeVito ( We have known this guy so long, he is the one who actually painted the first ever Ruffians banner over 20 years ago !!! In the end, we chose the Desert Of Tears concept because it brings to mind very graphic images. Everyone knows the stories of Egypt, and the song  Desert Of Tears just became the obvious choice.    

I was a little afraid the new Ruffians album would be as well ’trapped’ into the current of today’s ’hard’ music. You know, aggressive vocals here and there or over-distorted chords etc. You seem rather in confident in playing in the ’classic’ Metal vein, without – your success! – sounding ’retro’ or anything like this. Did you discuss in the band – in prior – how the sound of Desert Of Tears would be?

Luke: Not much need for discussion really. Even though we’ve all played other types of music with other bands over the years it seems that when we’re playing together it all sounds like Ruffians. I guess we better leave the old jazz standards alone…

Are you planning on shooting a video for any track off Desert Of Tears?

Craig: We will be filming the upcoming European Tour and will use some of this footage to make a video for I Believe.

Are you satisfied with the sound/layout of the CD, now that it’s finally released?

Rich: Hell Yeah !! I think anyone that says they would not have done anything differently is kidding themselves. I know I would like to have had more time to do some other things vocally, but overall I love it and I’m just so happy and proud that it’s finally done after living in the shadow of the first EP for over 20 years !!!

Really, how did you get in touch with Metal Heaven label? Are you satisfied with their support?

Luke: Georg Siegl, the owner of Metal Heaven, contacted us. It had been mentioned on our web site that we were preparing to record a new album, so I think Georg had been watching our activity. He was the first one to contact me about the release. We really connected after a few phone calls and decided to go with them. We are pleased with everything Metal Heaven has done for us so far. The album is getting a lot of exposure & press at the moment.

I was 90% confident the new album would be issues via Hellion Records (as the ? And Live and Ruffians +4 releases), to tell you the truth. Really, can you give our readers some info regarding the pre-mentioned CDs plus the There And Back release via the Old School Metal Records label?

Craig: When we first got the invitation to play Bang Your Head!!! Fest back in 2004 it made sense to re-release the original EP along with material that has never been released all throughout Europe. Juergen Tshamler put us in contact with Jurgen Hegewald (the owner of Hellion Records). Hegewald had a lot of good ideas for the re-releases. He suggested we do both a CD along with a colored collectors vinyl and have it available before we played the festival. The CD version has the original 6 song EP along with 6 live songs recorded at The Stone nightclub in 1985 with Carl Albert. This release was dedicated to Carl Albert. The vinyl has the original 6 songs as well with 4 demo tunes from 1987 featuring Rich Wilde on vocals. Both releases came out with tons of never seen photos, flyers & artwork.

There & Back was later released in 2005 to be available in the States. This is a double disc and was released on Old School Metal Records. There & Back is basically both the CD & vinyl that was released on Hellion along with a bonus video track of Darkest Of Light from the Bang Your Head shows + a 100 photo image gallery. This has completely different packaging and again is filled with never seen photos & images.

We are happy with everything Hellion Records has done for us, but this time around it made sense to have the new album released on Metal Heaven Records.  

Will Old School Metal Records be releasing the new album in America?

Craig: Yes, OSM Records will release Desert of Tears in the States and also has a distribution deal for the album to be available in Japan. This will be an 11-song release with a bonus video track of Do Or Die. OSM currently has a release date of mid-December.

A set of 2006 European tour dates has been announced for Ruffians. Are these dates the only ones (Germany, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland), or you are planning on adding some more gigs, too?

Rich: We would love to do more shows, and we’re hoping the opportunity presents itself. What we are focusing on now are possible dates in the spring and summer Festival season …. Any ideas???

Why will Tommy Sisco not join the band?

Luke: Tommy is booked solid with his band Luv Planet, there was no way to work out the scheduling conflicts in order for him to do the upcoming European tour with us. Fortunately our old friend and other bass player, Eric Wong, will be joining us again.

You appeared at the Bang your Head!!! Festival in Germany during 2004. What was the mood like? The reaction of the fans? Really, how does it feel playing onstage after so many years?

Rich: I can tell you, it was unbelievable!!! We were so happy to be there, and the WOM was packed for the warm-up show!! We had a great time …. The feeling of hearing the crowd singing all the songs with us really can’t be described … it was magic!! The festival show was amazing as well … We were treated very well and the crowd was really behind us, cheering and going crazy …. The reviews from those shoes got us thinking about doing another record.

How would you compare the European metalheads in relation to the American ones?

Rich: Europe has the upper hand in this because, as everyone knows, Metal is like a sleeping giant in America right now …. There is a movement starting in the states now, and Ruffians hopes to bring Metal back!!!

Really, are there any plans for a DVD release in the near future?

Craig: We have talked about releasing a DVD toward the end of next year, which would include old footage with Carl along with recent footage. We will film much of the upcoming tour.

A rather ’social’ question: is Ruffians a band approving the New Order in music? You know, mp3s, downloading, p2p programs etc? Do you think it’s a disaster for bands/artists? Some musicians consider it a good ’tool’, since e.g. a fan satisfied by a ’downloaded’ album will eventually buy it.

Luke: There doesn’t seem to be an easy answer for that issue. It has been harmful for some artists, helpful to others. I don’t know what effect ( if any) it will have on Ruffians. I do think people who like the music will eventually by the album or concert tickets, I also think a lot of people download music because it’s there, and never even get around to listening to it. I guess I’m still in the middle on this one…

Do you consider ’Ruffians anno 2006’ a second chance for ’Ruffians anno 1985’ or you feel you’re in front of a brand new era for the band?

Rich: We hope that our fans will enjoy what we are doing now, and we want the new songs to be welcomed …. At the same time, of course we want to reach even more fans, and hopefully you will be right in saying that it’s a new era for Ruffians!!

Thanks a lot for your time; all the best to Desert Of Tears from our mag!

Rich: STAY HARD!!!

Luke: Thank you for having us! We wouldn’t be here without your support!!

Craig: Thanks for the support. We hope to play in your country soon!


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