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Rage's Peter "Peavy" Wagner: "Unfortunately, most people don´t understand that this fatal spiral will lead to our extinction one day. Would have been nice if we could live in peace and harmony with nature but we never will, so stupid, so simple…"

Interview with Peter "Peavy" Wagner from Rage
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 17 December 2019, 10:54 PM

To be better prepared, taking a little time to enjoy other things than the main business, but when it is time to start clicking, that feeling of being refreshed cannot be denied, it helps and everyone are positively going to profit from it eventually. The German Metal veterans, Rage, have been waiting, minding their own business, right before it was time to unleash the beast with "Wings Of Rage". Steinmetal chatted with founder Peavy Wagner about the essence of the new album, Rage's musical development, new / old label, songwriting and more…

Hello Peter, I feel fortunate to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, you have been quite a figure of an inspiration. How have you been doing sir?

I´m fine, thank you!

After your last album spree of “The Devil Strikes Again” and “Seasons Of The Black”, I had a slight feeling that you will take your time before releasing another album. Would you say that you wanted to take a little time for yourselves, each band member to his own without any pressure, or was it a different reason entirely?

There were two reasons, on one hand we had some Side Activities to do, which was in my case the Refuge Album in 2018 (that little fun Band I do with my old buddies Manni Schmidt and Chris Efthimiadis) and Lucky did an Album with his Side Band Tri State Corner. Besides this we wanted to take a bit more time to work on the new Rage Album songs. We had some first Ideas already by the end of 2017 and started to work by May 2018 on the tracks. We tried different arrangements and changed a lot during the pre-production phase, so it took a while longer this time…

After being signed for years with Nuclear Blast Records, Rage came back to Steamhammer Records, a label that hosted several of the band’s albums, with the last one being “Soundchaser”. What happened with the former after years of fruitful cooperation? Or have I struck a nerve with “Fruitful”?

There is no bigger meaning behind that. Our old contract with NB simply ran out, so we went “shopping” to all the typical Metal labels, like most bands usually do when contracts run out. SPV made the best offer plus our long time A&R man at NB left the label, our spokesman, so to say. So I thought it's the right time to change the horses, also as I have a good and trustful relationship with Olly Hahn, the Steamhammer “Maker”. You know, in the end you work with people, not with labels. However, there is no bad blood with NB …

Do you think that switching labels, which also means environments, made an impact on the material for the new album, let’s say added motivation?

I don´t believe that, as we didn´t know that we would change the label during most of the production time…

Talking of your new album, titled “Wings Of Rage”, it surges in, blasting off doors, with a lot to be said on what is going on in our lives. Our society has been known to show only those that have been able to achieve something, while not showing its behind the curtain. How does “Wings Of Rage” show the scenery of the misfortunate?

Yes, this goes through many of the songs like a red line. I always liked to write about Outsiders and people that have no voice in our society. Sometimes it's like a self-therapy for me, as I always had problems with depressions in my life, problems that can also bring you to a point where you cannot be “within” anymore…

How do you relate yourself with the themes on this album? What is your personal connection to the face of the society that it is so important for the mainstream majority to shadow from the rest of the public? How fake our lives really are? What made you angry while writing the lyrics?

It´s no secret that we live in a world that is built on constant growth and profit maximizing, those you can play as stupid, and in the end, very dangerous game, run over those who live by different values. This is very frustrating and as I have a strong feeling for fairness, it sometimes drives me mad. Unfortunately, most people don´t understand that this fatal spiral will lead to our extinction one day. Would have been nice if we could live in peace and harmony with nature but we never will, so stupid, so simple…

I will be honest with you, Rage didn’t surprise me with its musical prospects and elements on “Wings Of Rage”, however, you made it sure that it would be a huge bowl of soup, gathering your heritage, pouring it for all to heed and listen and take pride of being fans. In your view, how do you think that “Wings Of Rage” upscale its last predecessors? What makes it standout?

We wanted to bring all stylistic elements together that the band has developed and integrated in its music over the last 35 years. Like the thrashy early days, the power hymns of the early 90´s, the epic classical stuff later that decade or the more proggy vibes in the 2000´s, combine this all in a homogenic way. So to see the new album boils down the essence of Rage.

Rage has always captured me with its heavier and speedier tracks, and yes I am a Thrash Metal fan, yet the melodic edge seemed to me like an important agenda for the band, as well is being into one’s face. When you guys sit down and write the material, how do you find the fine line between the harsher edges of Power / Thrash Metal to the rather emotive, sometimes theatrical and dramatic moments? I have to say that it worked once again for the better on “Wings Of Rage”

I can only say that I always listen to it with the ears of the Metal Fan in me. I try to make our songs sound in a way that I would love it, as if I am simply a metal fan that hears it for the first time…

Continuing the previous question a little bit, since Rage has always been in a crossroads musically, especially since the mid-late 90s, do you think that it has anywhere further to go evolutionary wise? Do you see yourselves crossing into perhaps extremer areas just for the sake of progression?

I cannot foresee the future but if so, I guess it would go this direction, as I personally tend more into this kind of stuff ;-)

How would you describe the songwriting on this album? Were there points of conflict on the direction that this album went forward with? Would you say that you are the ultimate decision maker when it comes to which songs to record for an album and which not? Is Rage a democracy?

Rage is clearly “my” band, so naturally I have the last decision about our musical output but I definitely give my band mates full room for their ideas, we check out everything and discuss any ideas about whatever. The songwriting is basically a thing between me and Marcos, Lucky suggested this from the beginning on, that we two should do that. Lucky´s also writing but he wants to use his ideas for his TSC Band, also its clear that Marcos and me, we´re a perfect songwriter team, we think very similar about that topic and our ideas fit together perfectly so we never have big discussions or so, it simply fits.

I didn’t quite catch it, why was it decided to make a new version out of the “Higher Than The Sky” tune, which was originally released back in 1996’s “End Of All Days”? Did you have second thoughts about the original version that it itched you for a while?

Not really, this was more of a coincident. We had jammed on the themes and this new version developed. Just for fun we recorded it and it got a lot of good response from our surrounding here, so we decided to record it for real, first it was meant as a bonus track but then we thought it's too good to be only heard by a few collectors, so we decided to put it in context with the new material, as it's a real timeless song. It's not meant to be in competition to the original.

 “For Those Who Wish To Die” is certainly an uncanny Rage song, yet providing a tough perception, in comparison to the Power / Thrash Metal outputs such as “Wings Of Rage” or “True” for that matter. Would you say that it was a sort of an experimentation? Would this perhaps be the future Rage direction, going into a somewhat heavier, groovier unknown?

Maybe, why not? I like that groovy drum orientated stuff. Actually the basic idea of this song roots back to the “Black in Mind” sessions of 1994/5.

Nearly 37 years you have been twisting and turning with Avenger, then Rage, and you also have Refuge from the side. It would be interesting to know what makes you motivated to carry on so strong? I know that there were hardships along the way, yet you didn’t break, which is commendable, but still, what keeps you going in this business?
Besides the simple fact that I live from it, it is surely for the love of the music. I simply love to write and perform this kind of music, it's like a motor for myself, I couldn´t imagine not to do that.

Talking about Refuge, do you see yourself continuing with that old Rage lineup for another album? Is there a future predicted for this early version of Rage?

We surely will continue being friends and play sometimes together but it's not meant to be a professional band with the typical album/tour modus. We want to keep this for our fun and let it go easy.

Where do you see Rage going next with “Wings Of Rage”? How are you going to support it other than the January tour, which I already noticed?

We will tour a lot more, what we announced for Feb next year is only the first leg, there's a lot more to follow until 2021, as soon as we have it fixed we will announce it.

Peter, I wish to thank you for this interview and for your precious time, best wishes and you guys really killed it with the new release. Thank you. Cheers.

Thanks for the support and this also to your readers! See you on tour ;-) Peavy


 



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