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Running Wild's Rolf Kasparek: "At home, I came up with the bass line first and's a good one, and wrote the guitar riffs and lines afterwards. It fitted all together, something I have never done"

Interview with Rolf Kasparek from Running Wild
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 01 December 2019, 10:44 PM

Even after decades of a profound career, there will be always something new to learn, a trick in one's sleeve that has yet to be revealed. Gladly, one cannot be overconfident, and the smart ones will always leave space to learn new things. In order not to keep the fans waiting, Running Wild is coming up with a brand new EP, “Crossing The Blades”, a breathing space before the upcoming album next year. Steinmetal was fortunate to have a talk with the legendary Rolf Kasparek about the new EP, the lead bass line, Kiss, and more…

Hello Rolf, it is an immense honor having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

I'm fine…thanks. Working hard on the new album.

“Rapid Foray” truly made its mark back when it was released in 2016, returning Running Wild into the spotlight, in a glorious manner. It has been a long wait no doubt of a sort of a sign of life from the band, other than the upcoming live features mentioned. Upon the decision to issue the new EP, “Crossing The Blades”, did you have any dilemmas whether to actually pull this EP off or perhaps settle with a single track just to tease the fans of what will come next year?

No… was clear by the beginning of the year that something had to be released this year. 3 years is a long time and the fans had been waiting so long. So I decided to do an EP with three new songs and a cover version as a treat.

The way I see it, and I am referring it more towards the musical sense of the EP’s songs, “Crossing The Blades” is a kind of short, but sweet, summary of the Running Wild achievements. There is the historical driven speedster, mid temp heavy chugger, early influences and a sort of a mix of the former two. What is your opinion about that? I guess it could also serve as a fine introduction for new followers of the band as well?

Absolutely… the songs have everything of what Running Wild is all about, the melody, the guitar riff, the lyrics…. from my point of view, some of the best songs I wrote in years. And if I get new followers with these songs, I can't be happier about it.

Diving into the EP, I couldn’t help but notice the comments about the bass being the lead feature of the “Crossing The Blades” song. From where was this idea generated? What influenced you to go through with this direction, which on its own is rather interesting?

At home I came up with the bass line first and thought…wow…that's a good one and wrote the guitar riffs and lines afterwards. It fitted all together, something I have never done. So you can see that even with a 40 years' history, there is always something new coming up.

It puzzled me to notice that this version of “Crossing The Blades” is solely for the EP and would go modifications on the upcoming album. Can you shed some light on why it was decided to make changes and re-record it for the new album? Isn’t this EP version a keeper to hold on to for the future?

After I recorded the song and sent it to the record company, I thought that I could add some more elements to it. Nothing really dramatic but in this song there is so much potential that I decided to re-record it for the next album.

I understand that you are quite the Kiss fan, and the delivery of the cover for “Strutter” is no less than amazing. I am a big fan of the band’s debut album as well. Though you are no Paul Stanley when it comes to singing, the outcome turned out quite good. I assume there were goosebumps while recording this classic track? How did it feel after listening to the final mix? Do you think that you were able to fill in the big shoes?

A few months ago, at the Kiss show in Hannover, during their farewell tour, it brought back memories of my beginning as a musician. Kiss were the reason why I founded my first band Granite Heart in 1976, a predecessor of Running Wild. At the time, I found two songs particularly outstanding: "Deuce" and of course "Strutter". At that Kiss show in Hannover I noticed that they don’t play "Strutter" live. That’s why I decided to record my own version, as an homage to my first idols, of course in typical Running Wild style and with a little more steam than the Kiss original.

Listening to “Stargazed” sent me back to the early, and a bit late 90s albums of the band, like a swift flash backwards. What is your take on this track? Does it reflect that classic Teutonic Metal, on its old school version is still alive and well? Would it be considered to also be part of the upcoming album?

I played the song at the Wacken Open Air in 2018. It was also the first song I recorded for this EP. It's a straight forward song but I decided that the it will only be available on this EP. This year I had so many new ideas that I really wanted to work on. You will hear this on the new album.

Though the year is coming to a close, it is also 30 years' anniversary for one of Running Wild’s classic albums, “Death Or Glory”. Have you considered to perform a special set, or at least a strong reminder of that album, in the upcoming Running Wild shows? Is there a plan to re-record at least a single track out of that album maybe for the next album?

I'm not a fan of doing an album in its entirely but we will have songs from this album in the live set for next year. "Riding The Storm" and "Bad To The Bone" we will play for sure, but perhaps we will also add "Marooned" or "Tortuga Bay", I haven't decided it yet.

A pretty obvious question to ask, yet I feel that it is very much needed. What can Running Wild fans expect from the upcoming album? Would it lean on the Running Wild heritage of the first two decades of the band or rather take an unexpected turn?

What can I say… it will sound like Running Wild… it's in my blood. Sure there will be some new elements, new melody lines or special guitar riffs but in the end it sounds like Running Wild. I'm in the middle of finishing the songwriting and then we will record the album.

Other than the few festival appearances, is there a plan for actually tour with Running Wild, especially with the new album inbound? Perhaps even crossing the seas outside of Europe again?

To be honest I'm glad that I don't have to tour so long anymore. If I can play some festivals that's really enough. And for next year we have the Metalfest in Poland, the Hellfest in France, the Rock Harz festival in Germany and a festival in Bulgaria with Judas Priest. Together with the recording of the new album there is enough work to do.

Rolf, I wish to deeply thank you for this interview. “Crossing The Blades” is sadly too short and you made it happen, there is an appetite for more. All the best sir.

Thank you for the interview and have a great day! Rolf



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Edited 09 June 2023

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