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Marc Storace (Krokus)

Interview with Marc Storace from Krokus
by Grigoris Chronis at 12 October 2006, 10:06 AM

Marc Storace is a living legend for Hard Rock music. Krokus, too. Like it or not, it's the 4/4 mid-tempo groove that will always rule the Metal world, raising your need for another beer! Marc saved some of his precious time to share his impressions on the band's latest album, Hellraiser. Well, open up and say…Hellraiser!

Hi Marc, greetings from magazine! It’s really an honour to talk to you!

Hi there, the pleasure is mine!

Well, it was time for a brand new album - Hellraiser - from Krokus! Since we have not yet heard the whole album - only what is ’uploaded’ in your official site - how would you describe your newest effort? Is it a ’typical’ Krokus album? Is it in the same ’vein’ as 2003’s Rock The Block?

The new songs are typical Krokus. I would say that this time we stretched our legs with the songwriting and covered a wider spectrum of the Krokus repertoire. Just to give you an idea, I think it is correct to say the new album Hellraiser sounds like a mixture between Metal Rendez-Vous (1980) and Headhunter (1983) .The only difference however is that we have also covered new territory…a creative bonus, you will see!

How was the songwriting process for Hellraiser? Did it take you long enough to ’sculpture’ the new tunes? Really, were the new songs written by the whole band?

We started late 2004 and finished a few weeks before starting the recordings in Germany. At first, Tony and Dominique gave me demos with their musical ideas and I put down my vocal melodies and lyrics at home in my cellar. When Mandy joined, he had loads of great new musical ideas and so I visited him and together we jammed out 6 new songs! It was very exciting for me since I sat behind the drums and we recorded on a simple walkman just to keep a fast creative flow.

 Angel Of My Dreams is the first single off the new album? Why was this song decided to be the first one? Are you planning to ’shoot’ a video for this single?

A Video of this track would be great! The reason why we chose A.O.M.D. as our first single is because it has a very catchy melody and is quite radio-friendly…so we imagined of reaching as many people as possible this way. It seems to be working too, because the Hellraiser album already turned gold in Switzerland after only being in the shops just for one day!

Dennis Ward is responsible for the production of the new album. How come you chose Dennis for the ’dirty lob’? I guess you must be rather satisfied from his work.

I don’t think producing is a dirty job at all, especially when you are working with professional musicians and good blokes, like you have in Krokus. It was fun working with Dennis and we could tell that he enjoyed himself too. We knew him through his previous productions and met him for the first time when his band Pink Cream 69 opened for Krokus a couple of years ago.

Did things roll out ’smooth’ enough for the recordings of Hellraiser? Did you have any obstacles (time limitations, unsatisfactory initial results etc) while recording?

Yes. It all went hunky dory…like a Swiss clock he, he! Dennis was the perfect man for the job and it was a great relief to see it working so well with him. He tried his best to keep everyone pleased and even grant extra wishes at all times! For example, for the vocal recordings of the title track Hellraiser I asked if he could rig up an old analogue tape-machine and if I could use a hand-held microphone like I do on stage. He not only rigged up an old 32-track Otari for me, but even had the mic going through this very old tube. It was great re-experiencing the sensations of the 80’s sound again!

As for the band’s lineup: Stefan Schwarzmann is behind the kit for Krokus now. How did you meet him? Should we suppose he has added a more powerful/heavy sound to the new album?

Stefan happened to do some drum-roadie work when Mandy was still in Gotthard, so we knew he was dedicated and down-to-earth, and we all knew he had it in him as a drummer. He certainly has added the necessary balls and drive to the Krokus sound, and his technique is top.

Mandy Meyer, Tony Castell and Dominique Favez complete the lineup? A sentence for each one of them regarding your ’chemistry’?

Mandy is our mystical guitar wizard who brought back something special to the Krokus sound that had been missing since the departure of Tommy Kiefer.

Tony’s hot driving bass sound is what holds the whole band together during our pumping shows.

Dominique is like a unique precision rhythm machine.

As regards AFM Records: how did you get in contact with them? Are you - so far - satisfied by their support?

’Satisfied’ is the least I can say … I think ’overjoyed’ is the appropriate word! We met Sandra during our first trip to Balingen a couple of years back and again the last time round. She’s a very special A&R and promo-lady and understands her artists. The AFM promo campaign is so vast and the reaction from the Media so great that I believe Krokus will be very busy in Germany and the rest of the world in the very near future!

Krokus onstage: a huge grand European Tour is planned to support Hellraiser. Really, aren’t you tired yet of being on the road for 30 years now (laughs)?

The road can be very tiring if things are not well organised, but when things run smooth and we feel ’respected’ from the organisers and our fans enjoy our shows…then it can go on for another 30 years (laughs back he, he!)

Some brand new countries are now listed in your agenda (e.g. Greece). How does it feel to be playing for the first time in front of a ’new’ audience, even after so many years?

Krokus had never played in Sweden up until the release of Rock The Block in 2003, and we loved the hot reception from the Scandinavians. We are really looking forward to playing in e.g. Greece and obviously hope for the same positive experience.

I bet it’s a ’pain in the ass’ to create the setlist, with so many songs in the Krokus ’treasure’! What kind of a setlist should the band’s fans expect? A balance between the ’new’ and the ’old’?

You ’hit the nail on the head’ my friend. It’s a dirty job doing a new setlist because some fans will always hold it against us for leaving one or two of their favourite songs out of the show! Most fans want to hear old songs but we must include quite a fair portion of new songs from this new album, mainly because this time we have an album which is literally full of tracks that are playable live. I’m sure they will be thankful at the end of the day and especially if we decide to release some more live recordings later on!

Are there any plans to ’shoot’ footage for a future DVD release during the upcoming tour?

Very possible. Today’s technique makes it simpler to achieve some excellent results.

Some spare questions: a newly released European movie - Handyman - features Krokus with a song called Hellraiser. Should we assume it’s the same titled song? Really, how did this cooperation happen?

The song Hellraiser was recorded separately for the film before we started working on the whole album.

Marco Rima, the Swiss star comedian, is basically a Rock fan and very fond of Krokus at this! So in the script he manages the Rock band ’Krokus’ and has chaotic problems with his wife etc. It’s fantastically shot, fast moving, perfectly edited and hilarious! We even got a small funny part in the movie and ended up in a smashed limousine, on our way to a Rock concert!!! Check it out.

In addition, we read at your website that Knightsdivine, an online-middle-age-strategy-game asked Krokus to compose a theme song for the game, Hell yeah! Have you - or will you - actually write the song?

The song was already written, and it’s also the same Hellraiser track.

As for the Krokus Globe Club: How important is - for you - to have direct communication with the band’s core fans in the days of Internet? Would you like to tell us a few words about Peter Waelti, who seems to manage the whole Globe Club project?

Krokus never had the opportunity to be in touch with their fans whilst being away from Switzerland in the 80’s, and some fans never forgave us for this. We also had an American manager who unfortunately did not care too much about playing Europe. So now, thanks to Peter Waelti and Internet, we were able to establish an instrument of global communication for not only our Swiss fan-base but for our fans world-wide. It will be great being able to keep a road diary and even answer some fans’questions whilst on the road. Of course we will have to keep it down to a minimum because of the heavy road schedules, but this will definitely be a huge improvement and we shall be able to send pics and short movies too.

Peter is an old buddy of mine since the days when he managed the band Tea in the early 70’s. He is also Krokus’ biggest fan!!

Krokus are breathing live for thirty years now! A rather successful band in the history of - in general - Rock music. Bringing back memories, do you feel you have - in general, again - achieved what you initially wanted for Krokus?

I think we have achieved the first step with Hellraiser and are facing the second with the coming World Tour. There are still some loopholes but that’s normal at this stage, and we are striving to patch the old sails to catch every bit of wind for the long drive!

Really, how tough do you think it is for a new band - in our days - to achieve even half of what Krokus (or many other bands from the 70s/80s) have so far done? I think it’s rather difficult, even if there are thousands of bands, labels, agents, promoters or festivals now.

With Krokus we were lucky enough to be ready with a well waxed surfboard in front of the huge ’new wave’ of Heavy Metal that hit us in the eighties. It really is not that easy for a new act today. We established a good reputation back then and this is obviously helping us now. Of course, our good reputation alone would not help us if our new album would suck…but that’s a problem we certainly don’t need to worry about!

As for the Swiss scene: Gotthard can easily be considered as the follow-up successful band after Krokus. Do you like this act?

Earlier on they sounded quite similar but then drifted more towards the Whitesnake cliche. Of course I prefer to listen to Whitesnake, but they delivered plenty of good songs too. Krokus, in comparison, was always more radical and original!

I remember China delivering 2-3 excellent albums back in the late 80s/early 90s. Then, they were completely ’gone’. Whatever happened to this band?

China’s ’kiss of death’ was the fact that they had a new singer for every album and therefore, even though the music was great, they never established their true sound ’identity’.

Apart from Krokus’ success, would you characterize the Swiss youth as Rock-friendly? Or they do show more interest in other ’current’ music trends?

The Swiss youth is basically very Rock-friendly. In general I think they tend to listen to more than only one music style but today the love for Rock music is revived. Proof of this came when our Rock The Block album shot from zero to number one in the Swiss charts in 2003.

Last (but not least): the whole Rock/Metal community praises the band’s Metal Randez-vous (1980) album as the epitome in the Krokus chronicles. Three all-time classics - Heatstrokes, Tokyo Nights and Bedside Radio - with excellent sales and worldwide recognition for Krokus. This album also features your first release with the band. Your emotions about this album/era?

This was a very naive and happy era of the band. I cannot help but remembering the huge impact of this album! Around the world doors opened for Krokus and I enjoyed every minute of it. Why, I was singer of a great band with a great album and playing in great places….my lifetime dream was finally unfolding before my eyes like a red carpet!

Marc, thanks a lot for your spare time! All the best for the new album and the upcoming tour!

That’s fine, thanks! See you and meanwhile enjoy Hellraiser!


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