28 Avril 2016


Blaster & Evanessa

Interview Peavy, Marcos & Vassilios (face to face)

So, finally, you’re back in Paris! There was a time when Rage always came to the capital when a new album was released… but for the last three or four European tours, it didn’t happen…

Peavy : Yes, I know. If I had the answer, I would give it to you… It’s not because we didn’t want to play. I guess it’s something you should ask the promoters. We asked ourselves the same question. Maybe when we changed booking agency or so… there must have been business reasons.

Let’s talk about the new line-up! How have the three of you come to work together?

Peavy : You know we actually met long before we decided to play together. I met Vassilios long ago… in 1988!

Vassilios : I was seven! Ha ha ha…

Peavy : He wasn’t even born!!! Ha ha ha… No, he was 16, I think. You were sixteen, right?

Vassilios : I was fourteen.

Peavy : Ok, fourteen. He became a student of Christos Efthimiadis’ for eight years or something… and then he toured with us as a drum technician.

Vassilios : Yes, I was already touring with Rage in the 1990s but I was just building the drum set! Now, I play the drums! (smiles)

Peavy : And Marcos, I’ve known him for a bit more than eight years or something like this…

Marcos : Yeah, pretty much… almost ten years.

Peavy : And we had always this idea that we should play together some day…

Marcos : Yeah, because the name of my band was Soundchaser and of course it was related to Rage.

Yes, I saw that, I don’t know the band actually… Did you play covers or did you have your own songs? 

Marcos : When I founded the band in 2004, it was only meant to play covers but I ended up writing some original music… but of course, I was a huge Rage fan. It’s still one of my top three favourite bands in the world. When I was looking for a name for the band, the album “Soundchaser” had just come out so it had to be Soundchaser! So, I got to know Peavy, first as fan, then as a friend and now as a super good friend… and I play with him…

Peavy : (taking a big low voice) And now… as your boss!! Ha ha ha…

Marcos : Ha ha… Yeah, he rules my life!!

Late 2015, early 2016, you had this “Black in Mind Anniversary Tour”…

Peavy : Yes, it was our first live experience together. Of course, the main reason for it was that it was the 20th anniversary of that album which is one of Rage’s classics. All of us think it is a very important album. It captures exactly the spirit and the energy this band is known for and we wanted to get back to, you know. And it was also a good chance to bring the new line-up on the road and introduce the guys to the fans.

You’ve got a new album coming up in June, “The Devil Strikes Again”. First impression I got when I listened to the title track was “wow, they’ve returned to the sound and style they had on Black in Mind”… it really reminded me of the song “Sent By The Devil…

Peavy : Absolutely! The title track is actually the part two of “Sent By The Devil”

Marcos : Yes, it’s totally related, it’s like a continuation of “Sent By The Devil”…

Alright, it makes sense! So, what would you say your fans can expect from this new album?

Peavy : They can expect the good old vibe, the good old energy this band has been known for. It’s also really fresh, full of life and right in your face! It’s pretty straight. We concentrated on the music, the composition, not on showing off… I think that some fans missed that, at least we missed it… So we just did what we wanted, what we love, you know, and I think that you can hear it. Plus Dan Swanö mixed the album and he did a fantastic job, I like it very much, it’s natural and very powerful.

And Marcos, you co-produced the album, didn’t you?

Marcos : Yes, absolutely. I had the honour of being behind the desk, ha ha.

Peavy : Yeah, we did all the preproduction and some stuff at his studio in Belgium. Basically, we did all the writing together, this album was pretty much a team work.

Marcos : Absolutely! Everybody got involved.

Peavy : And it was fun to do it…

Marcos : For all of us!

Peavy : I enjoyed it very much, I loved doing that more than I had for years, you know.

Was it when you planned and rehearsed for the “Black in Mind Anniversary Tour” that the idea of returning to this style came up?

Peavy : Nothing was really planned, some things happened in the same time but I also started collecting some ideas that dated back to long before the line-up changed. “My Way” is the first song that I wrote, back in the middle of 2014. And I remember when we first got together, there was no official announcement so far, I was playing “My Way” on the acoustic guitar in Vassilios’ living room and I didn’t really see that Marcos was filming it with his mobile phone. And two days later, he sent me a whole structure for the song and asked if that was what I had in mind for the song… And I said “Wow dude!!! Did you remember this from just watching me play the other day??”…

Marcos : Yeah, and then I told him I had filmed it, ha ha ha!!

Peavy : Ha ha! Yeah, he cheated… But then we just met again and we did another song.

Marcos : Yes, and it was “The Devil Strikes Again”. These were the first songs that we wrote

Peavy : Exactly! And all the rest was done so quickly, you know… between a week and ten days or so. It’s like we were led by a higher power, you know. It was really flowing. I just wrote very naturally and these guys got everything, all our ideas fit together perfectly… it was really like ping pong! Like “Ok, I’ve got this, what do you think? – Well, we can do that… and here’s the structure! Great, Let’s record that… Next!!” Ha ha ha… And while Vassilios was working on the drums, I wrote the lyrics downstairs… So basically, in ten days, we had the whole album!! (laughs) Of course, then we worked on the arrangements and changed a few things but everything came out naturally and went smoothly… it was amazing.

Can you tell us about your own favourite new songs that you can’t wait to play on stage?

Marcos : Wow… That’s really hard… So many…

Vassilios : Can we pick nine? (laughs)

Peavy : Yes, that’s an endless conversation we’ve been having, ha ha…

Vassilios : From the discussions we’ve had so far, I think that “The Devil Strikes Again”, “Final Curtain” and “Spirits Of The Night” are songs that we agreed we should play live… but that’s today, you know… it can change.

Even though “The Devil Strikes Again” kinda reminds us of a certain era of Rage, it’s also a logical sequel to “21” which was a lot darker and heavier than its predecessors, right?

Peavy : Exactly, we just got rid of all the showing-off. We really focused on the efficiency of the song, not on how well we can play.

Vassilios : It’s a question of style, it’s a bit less progressive… it’s a bit more about melodies and being straightforward.

Peavy : I mean, if I compare the new album to “21”, I just think the songs are better, that’s it.

Marcos : I think it’s way more catchy.

Vassilios : But you know, there was no strategy. Things came out as they came out. Every era of Rage had its positive aspects. We all love the early albums with Manni and Christos, we love the two guitar players era as well and there is so much good stuff with Mike Terrana and Victor as well… So every era has its goods and bads, I suppose. Now, we’re just focusing on a new era, try to continue and maybe embody a little bit more the Rage spirit… Because, as you know, Marcos and I have been huge fans of the band, we know everything about it. “Perfect Man” opened the door to the metal scene for me when I was a kid. Christos taught me how to play the drums, I have always followed these guys and that’s just me… Marcos is even more a sort of fucking Rage library (laughs)!! So, we know everything, you don’t have to tell us how Rage is supposed to sound. And we also understand Peavy and how he writes music. You know, not many people can write like he does… There is really a signature, he has his own style, the way he puts progression in his songs… we know it, we hear it, we feel it. So, writing this album together came very naturally and we love the result.

Peavy : When I write a song, I don’t particularly try to write a metal song… I just try to write a good song, you know. I focus on the structure and the melody… It’s only after this process that it turns into a metal song. And these guys really understood that.

Let’s talk about the split between you, Victor and André… I would like to hear your version of what happened. I was really surprised when I read Victor’s bitter comments on the split. Did you hear or read what he said?

Peavy : I don’t really know what he said but you’re not the first guy to tell me that…

Well, I’m not going to tell you all the details but basically he complained about how you lost interest in the music, paid more attention to the business side of things and didn’t really care about experimenting or improving…

Peavy : Well, maybe he’s pissed off because I kicked him out of the band (laughs)… I don’t know why he would say such things otherwise…

Vassilios : You know, whenever there is a divorce, there is an emotional impact. You don’t split because you love each other, obviously. There are reasons that only Peavy and Victor know. And when you read negative comments in the press like that, it’s just one side of a character, you know, it’s not the whole story. Now, as far as we’re concerned, we just want to do our things now and we’re not going to say bad things about Victor or André…

Of course. I was not expecting you to say bad things, I was just curious and interested in knowing why you decided to put this collaboration to an end.

Peavy : Well, pretty much because the relationship was ruined at the end of our time together. We’ve worked together for 15 years and we had really good times and I think we did really good albums together but in the end, it started dysfunctionning… The respect for each other was getting lost, more and more, and it was just not nice to be together anymore, it was not pleasant. Victor is a great musician but he’s not really a team player. He likes to do things like he thinks they should be done. You know, one of his mottos is “I make no compromise”. That’s the way he is and I always knew that… But for some time, he actually managed to incorporate his style with mine and it worked. Right from the beginning, it was clear that he was joining my band and that it was not the other way around. Rage had already a very much defined and developed style and even if we could change a few things and develop our music, there were things that could not change and in the end he was more and more frustrated, he wanted to bring more and more different influences – you can hear a little bit of that in the LMO album for example – and I thought it was too much, that it went too far… At this point, we had completely different opinions about the way Rage should sound. For him, it wasn’t enough, he wanted to explore different directions that I didn’t particularly like. So we didn’t connect anymore, not like we did in the past… and the way we treated each other became more and more disrespectful and I realized I couldn’t go on like this. You know, because I was really losing the fun in being with the band… Maybe that’s why he complains and says I lost interest… But I didn’t lose interest in Rage, Rage is my life. But the way it worked at the end was painful so I lost the fun… So I realized things had to change because it was not working anymore and what else could I do but change the line-up, you know? It was not an option for me to stop making music and I could not leave my own band. But it was not an easy decision, you know.

Ok, I had more questions on your future projects (Refuge, LMO, etc.) but we’re running out of time and we must end this interview… so I’ll just ask you what your immediate plans after this tour with Helloween are :

Marcos : Festival season!

Vassilios :We’re going to play festivals and then we’ll tour for the new album in November – December, I think.

Peavy : We’ll do our best to come back to France.