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Peter Schüren: "So much later in April 2009 my cousin asked, if I could eventually play a gig for Blind Guardian in Portugal end of August… What I have learned in my life is: Always say “yes”"

Interview with Peter Schüren from Blind Guardian
by Milan Škoda at 17 January 2021, 9:42 PM

Perhaps all Blind Guardian fans have been talking the last few weeks about their latest release: Imaginations From The Other Side (25th Anniversary Edition), which is celebrating of iconic band speed metal album ever. Entire album Imaginations From The Other Side track by track was already live performed with great response during their 2016 tour, at the end of which the band decided to record and filmed gig at the Ruhrpott Metal Meeting (Turbinenhalle, Oberhausen, Germany) on 3 December 2016. What is more that result went so well that band decided to share this record with all of us for the 25th anniversary. Fans around the world can order this one since 11 December 2020.

Some fans either on the spot in Oberhausen or later seeing photos of the show, or now holding the album in hands, was surprised by the guy who stayed on the left side of the stage (look from the auditorium). Questions came to the mind: where is the guest keyboardist Michael Schüren who had been standing for a long time there (since 1997) and who's that new guy? Many fans unknowing the Krefeld's music scene and hold in hands new release were looking at the booklet or to the earbook and a little bit confused have seen the name Schüren, not Michael, but Peter.

If you do not know this guy, I am honored to present here another member of the Schüren's musical family.

Peter, can you bring some light on the relationship between you and the Blind Guardian guest keyboard player Michael Schüren?

Michael Schüren is my Cousin. A kind of double cousin, because our mothers are sisters and our fathers are brothers.

So you've been close since childhood, which visibly includes music too.

We both started making Music together when we were 10 and 11. My Cousin played organ, I played the drums. At the same time, I took drums and piano lessons, but the drums have been my favorite instrument.

What kind of music did you make when you were young?

We played some small gigs together, mostly small parties from older People, e.g. Friends of our Parents or grandparents. We played old English/American songs like „Raindrops keep falling on my Head“ or some German Schlager. However, I think we have been very cute for the old guys, and they liked it very much. After 5 years the band was grown up more and more, and Michael started his Business with cover Music, Top 40 music, but this was not my game. I founded a new Band called „Torso“ to make my own Music (later Michael was part of this band as well). However, we had a lot of fun, but no success. Because of some bodily issues I had to quit playing drums. Michael an me restarted the Band with new musicians, but it never made it on stage again. ("Raindrops keep falling on my Head" authors: Burt Bacharach & Hal David; recorded on 1969 by B. J. Thomas for Buch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid movie with Paul Newman as Butch and Robert Redford as Sundance - BG Czech fanclub notice)

I supposed, since Michael has been a guest at Blind Guardian since 1997, you have known the band for a long time too?

My first contact with BG was in Krefeld in my rehearsal room. BG was one floor below. It must have been in 1992. At this time I was asked by former Lucifer’s Heritage member Christoph, If I could produce a Demo for his new Band Pillow Killz. They produced their first demo with André Olbrich. However, I remember some parties in my room when the BG guys came and put a new demo recording of themselves in the cassette player. So, this was the first contact. After producing this Demo for Pillow Killz I concentrated for several years on writing music. I never had ambitions to become a “star”. (Lucifer’s Heritage was pre-Blind Guardian name 1984 - 1987; Christoph Theissen /1969 - 2013/ was LH guitar player during Battalions of Fear demo era 1986/1987 - BG Czech fanclub notice)

How did your relationship with music generally or Blind Guardian evolve?

So much later in April 2009 my cousin asked, if I could eventually play a gig for Blind Guardian in Portugal end of August. The booking came very late and my cousin had a different contract for this weekend. What I have learned in my life is: Always say “yes”. So I got one of Michaels Synthesizers and started to work on the setlist. I was used to play the piano, never keyboards or organ, and even if the keys are black and white there is a big difference in those instruments! However, after some months of preparation I met the BG-Guys at Düsseldorf Air-Port and the adventure began. I never tried the songs with them before, so the first time we played together was the next evening on stage. It was a very small festival, probably not more than 4.000 Metalheads in front of the stage. But for me it was a great experience, and all BG-Guys have been very nice to me. I felt like being part of it! Everything was very impressive, but the most powerful impression was the professionalism of the crew. This was awesome! (it was a show on 30 August 2009, Festival Ilha do Ermal, Vieira do Minho, Portugal - BG Czech fanclub notice)

Since the event in 2009 have you ever seen each other again?

However, after that I played several times as sub for Michael. I have been in Belgium, in South America and Spain (with Judas Priest) in April and May 2012, (If I remember correctly) and then a few gigs end of 2016, when the live video was recorded. I remember, this gig was followed by three other gigs the following weekend. This Gig in Oberhausen was definitely not the best one I made. It was the first one after a long time, it was the first time in Germany, very close to my homestead, and I knew a lot of guys down there in the audience. And I was sure, they have had a special eye on me! And, to be honest, I didn’t know by then that this concert will be recorded. If I see the videos I think I was very “static”, if you know what I mean.

Peter, at least you have an unforgettable experience.

Peter: So, Milan, that’s the story kept short. But as you know: What happens on tour stays on tour. Finally: I was in the states for business very often, and sometimes during BG-tours in North America. And of course: I took some of my American friends to the BG Concerts! What I finally want to say: Wherever in the world I meet this band, they always let me feel, that I am part of the band, even when I am just part of the audience and not on stage!

Peter, thanx a lot for your time and interview.


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