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Rolf Tanzius (Gun Barrel)

Interview with Rolf Tanzius from Gun Barrel
by Grigoris Chronis at 15 November 2005, 9:12 PM

Bombard Your Soul blew my guts away. I can't recall the time I last heard such an ass-kicking, straightforward Metal-Rockin' album. That simple… Guitarist Rolf Tanzius is the proper beer mate you'd choose for a Rock night full of booze, I'm pretty sure 'bout it. In addition, you gotta have big balls to feature the Ace of Spades on your album's front cover!

Rolf, greetings from Metal Temple magazine. How are you?

Thanks, very good. A powerful feeling, cause Gun Barrel is on the road again.

Are you in Germany right now?

Yes, we are. We have a lot of interviews and gigs.

Well, Bombard Your Soul is on the loose! How do you feel?

We all feel fantastic because we got a lot of great reviews for our new CD and we are very proud that a lot of people say that it’s our best release. Thank you all.

It’s another full length album with the LMP label. Should we assume that you two get along really fine ’till now?

Oh yes, you can think so. Limb and the LMP crew is a feeling of friendship. Very seldom in this business. A stroke of luck.

While Battle Tested (2003) was a very remarkable album, my opinion is that your new effort climbs to a higher level in terms of songwriting. What do you think the progress was between these two albums?

Me and the band also think that Bombard Your Soul is our best album. We had a lot of problems in the past because we had to put off the studio terms for three times so that we could seek a new singer. Toni, Tom and I recorded our new songs in January 2005. In March 㤍 we found Xaver (the new singer) and in May we recorded the rest with Xaver’s lyrics and vocal parts and the guitar solos. It was a risk but we have won the fight, hehe!

Piet Sielck (Iron Savior) is again behind the console? Could you give us some details regarding the recording period?

We had two producers, Piet Sielck and Yenz Leonhardt \[Iron Savior, Kingdom Come and Lacrimosa]. Piet had the main task and both producers had some good ideas for the new songs because we have two kinds of music - the Rock ’n’ Roll and the Metal Rock. Piet and Yenz put it together in our typical dirty Gun Barrel sound. We had a lot of fun and got some new experiences from Piet’s magical art. He is a great producer.

So, I guess you’re satisfied with the production, huh?

Yes, we are. The sound is heavier than Battle tested. It has a live feeling.

Are you the composer of the Gun Barrel melodies? What about the lyrics too?

I have a lot of ideas, ready songs, unready riffs and so on and we all put it together in our training camp, hehe! There we look if we play the song fast, slower etc… Xaver is the lyrics master. He writes a lot about his adventures, also from the life on the road. The Rock ’n’ Roll secrets.

There’s a wide variety in Bombard Your Soul, something that’s not that usual in our days. Still, all influences go back to 80’s bands/styles. Did you mostly act as fans or musicians while composing the B.Y.S. tunes?

We play our ideas loud and dirty and mostly if we have a killer riff we take it. We don`t look if it`s modern or old-school, you know. We play and our music is our fun and our fans like it very much. So, we go the right way without being synthetic.

A friend of mine nicely commented that BYS is not that valuable if ’listened’ to in your room. You gotta be in a Rock Club or drivin’ on the highway to evaluate it were his exact words. Agreed?

Yes, your friend has recognized the Gun Barrel music. It`s freedom and a lot of life power. No killing, no dying…..the fun of life.

Xaver Drexler is now handling the vocal duties and - I must happily confess - he pushes the album to a wider direction. How did you find Xaver? Was he involved in some other bands before joining Gun Barrel?

We had some connections and we got the phone number and so it happened. The first meeting, he had sung some Gun Barrel tunes and we knew that’s the man we need. Xaver has sung in the bands STS8 Mission (three albums) and in the ’Bonner’ band Pump!. Xaver is a direct hit for Gun Barrel! A funny guy with a great stage performance and a perfect voice.

What happened to Guido Feldhausen?

We don`t know. We look into the future.

Really, what were your criteria for hiring the new frontman? Vocal abilities, onstage performance, cool guy?

He must have the love to often play live on stage. He must have a girlfriend with a lot of understanding and he must have time. Also, he must make a lot of sacrifice of his free time and other hobbies.

When I first saw the cover artwork, I was sure this would be the proper album cover. Who’s behind it?

Dirk Illing made our cover after he had heard the album title. Immediately he saw this skull in front of his eyes. We want to show that the cover, the music and the album title are one thing. This face bombards your soul with our music.

The Ace of Spades featured is a Motorhead tribute?

A little bit, but it also purposes a thousand percent to Gun Barrel.

Really, speakin’ ’bout Motorhead: apart from this legendary trio, what other artists should you refer to as Gun Barrel’s influences?

Everybody in the band listens to different music. Toni likes Machine Head, Sub7, Thunderhead - the ’hard stuff’. Tom is our ’poser’ music fan, as well as Xaver. And me: I listen to the old-school Thin Lizzy but also In Flames - a very big palet.

And you, as a guitar player, who do you feel you owe your passion for playing the guitar to?

Oh, it gives a lot of guitar heroes for me: Hendrix, Paul Kossoff, Brian Robertson, Brian May, Fast Eddie Clark, an endless list…

B.Y.S. is on its way to the record stores’ shelves (I’d love a vinyl edition, too…), which brings us to some plans for live gigs. Really, is there any kind of tour scheduled?

We’re looking for tour dates, support gigs and so on. We hope to support a bigger band in 2006.

Are you organizing any video shootings? (I don’t know if it’s worth the money anymore…)

We must look for the fourth CD. Perhaps if we have good sales with the  Bombard… album and then maybe our label will determine a new video. We had made two video clips in the past but only as bonus material.

Rolf, are you involved in any other project or is Gun Barrel your ’dedicated’ band?

No, only Gun Barrel. Every day you must spend your time with this band and all the things around it. Sometimes I`m a little of an actor in some TV films and DVD music releases. But most of the time it’s Gun Barrel.

Your official website is great. Do you spend time for Net stuff? It’s true that the World Wide Web is a helping hand for a band to promote its music and to correspond with the fans, the Press etc.

We have two great guys for our website. World Wide Web is the best promo stuff for a band like us. We get mail from countries all around the world. A great thing!

Are there any plans for the Back To Suicide EP to be re-released via LMP at some point in time? I guess it’s getting kinda ’obscure’ nowadays.

No, no plans. Only new material, with our new singer.

Rolf, thanks a lot for your spare time! Anything you’d like to add?

We hope that Gun Barrel can come to many countries with our bombarding music. We will work on some gigs. All the best to all Metal Temple readers and to all the fans we have. Rock the world!!! Gun Barrel salutes you!!!


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