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Jens
Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:54 am Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 12 May 2008 Posts: 8071 Location: Bucharest - RO
Sabina:
Rock'n'Rolf...

Rolf:
Yes...

Sabina:
2009 – Running wild – 79 – 30 years...

Rolf:
30 years, yes.

Sabina:
A long time.

Rolf:
Yes.

Sabina:
But you weren't always Rock'n'Rolf. That means there is also a little Rolf... who...

Rolf:
Yes, there was, definitely.

Sabina:
...who, at some point of time, chose to make music. But I think after 30 years of Running wild, your fans would like to know how that little Rolf started. What were the first thoughts of Rolf? Do you remember that?

Rolf:
Well, in fact I had always loved music. Even what my parents used to listen to, like Rock'n'Roll or also all kinds of popular stuff. You just heard that in passing as a little child. And then with 11, I think, I made that grave decision to sell my model railway. And for the money I got, I bought my first electric guitar.

Sabina:
That was one of those really good "Märklin" railway sets, right?

Rolf:
Yes, that was a "Märklin". And the guitar was a fancy model by "Hertie" for 99 German Marks [~50€]. Well, at least it got 6 strings, and that's the only thing that mattered. I mean, having an instrument to start with in the first place. That's it.

Sabina:
And why did it have to be a guitar and not any other instrument?

Rolf:
Because drums would have been too expensive. I couldn't afford them, quite simply. In fact, I always had a kind of affinity for drumming. But I think it was the right decision.

Sabina:
But it never was an acoustic guitar? Right away an electric guitar.

Rolf:
Right away an electric guitar. Because I never wanted to play an acoustic guitar. I wanted an electric guitar. I wanted to play rock music. Even at the age of 11. That was my dream. When was it... like ...72... You had Black Sabbath back then, Paranoid and similar stuff. That's what I was keen on. And that was the direction I wanted to follow.

Sabina:
And you knew from the start that you had to use an electric guitar? That the sound was created that way? Or was there anybody who told you that?

Rolf:
Well, you just saw what those guys were using. Of course, I definitely wouldn't have been able to get this sound with my first guitar, no matter which amp I used. But that's a different story. Anyway, you just tried to deal with it. And I knew an acoustic guitar wasn't fit for this kind of music. That's not what I wanted. And so it all began. That's how I got started.

Sabina:
And what was your first amplifier?

Rolf:
My very first amp was a Miles Platting, a kind of Marshall copy. But that was much later, I bought it at the age of 16, I think. Before that I had just practiced acoustically or used some kind of vacuum tube thing. That's it. I only had this tube-based amp and always had to borrow the box. But the sound was quite decent at that time. Indeed, it was a real amp, 100 watts head, and things got really interesting then.

Sabina:
But with 11 you didn't have any amp at all? You just played acoustically?

Rolf:
Yes, and this vacuum tube thing. Radio, basically. Turn up the volume until your neighbours start complaining. Just messing around. To learn how to get along with it and how it is done at all. Those were the very first steps. Of course, there were also Slade and T. Rex, those were the idols back then. But also Black Sabbath and other bands that already existed in those days.

Sabina:
So you watched "Disco" with Ilja Richter?

Rolf:
Yes, but only because of these bands. The rest, well, you got annoyed … and waited for them to finish … and Yeaah! There it is! … Then five minutes and it was over again. So you just waited for those few rock bands, at least I did.

Sabina:
Which feelings did that evoke in you when you watched these bands and then played the songs yourself ?

Rolf:
It was fun, joy, and a certain feeling of freedom. That's what rock music meant to me. To express myself somehow. With my guitar, and – later – with vocals as well, but that was an addition that came later.

Sabina:
That feeling of freedom: Can you describe it with words, even if it is not simple?

Rolf:
It was just a good feeling. You felt free. And you also could express the anger that you got about things. And you could turn that into something positive. Of course, I wouldn't have been able to explain it like that as a child. I just did it because I got a good feeling. That's what was important for me.

Sabina:
Was that also the point when you tried using your voice? I mean screaming to these sounds, releasing your aggression? Or how did it work?

Rolf:
No, not at all. It was just messing around on the guitar, basically. It took like 2 or three years until you started for real, I mean using chords, getting to know your instrument, playing around. That didn't come before I was 16. We were a students' band back than. At least, we decided to be a students' band, let's put it like that. And we got the opportunity to play at another school, which actually had equipment. A teacher from our school supervised everything, which was really kind that they did this. That's what I bought my amp for, the one I was talking about. And I could use a box with that. Another buddy had some drums and was also just starting, he was already able to play some beats and so on. There was another guitarist, who I taught how to play. And also the bass player, just how to keep a note on the bass. For the feeling, just like that. And from all this, a band developed that had the name Granite Heart.

Sabina:
We are talking about Hamburg here, right? A school in Hamburg. Which school was it?

Rolf:
Yes, that was a very small school in … well, we went to Veermoor, that was the name of the school. It was in Lurup. We were the first class of the Realschule [= secondary school in Germany]. So basically we were the oldest guys in the schoolyard, and we were the ones who wanted to play rock music. And in that other school… I don't remember the name right now … it was somewhere down the main street. And they had this big hall and all the equipment and so on, and we were allowed to use it. It was some kind of arrangement between the two schools, which was great for us, of course. Because back then we could never – I mean today you get an amp for nothing – back then it would have been a huge investment. A drum kit in particular, which used to cost like 1000 or 2000 Marks [= 500 or 1000€], just a regular kit. That was impossible for a schoolboy. For my first real guitar, a Gibson, I had to go working, also for my box. In fact, I borrowed the money from my grandma and paid everything back, really worked it off.

Sabina:
What kind of job was that?

Rolf:
Well, that was after the Realschule. I worked for "Manpower", which was a temporary work agency. And I did this, I did that, all kinds of jobs. And that's how I financed everything to have my own equipment. Right.

Sabina:
You said that was after school. Was that a time when you were already eager to make music professionally? Because you make it sound like a job – instead of a vocational training or studying…

Rolf:
Yes, that's true, that was the plan. In fact, I started a training to become a draughtsman. Actually, I would have preferred a more artistic way, but that school would have been to expensive. My parents just couldn't afford it, neither could I as a schoolboy. That's why I started doing this, but it was never my way. I found that out very quickly after half a year. So I went back to school and got my Abitur [= general qualification for university entrance in Germany]. Which, in retrospect, turned out to be the right decision for everything that followed afterwards. Not because of school, which I didn't give a damn about at all. In fact, I really managed to get the worst final scores of the whole class. But I passed it.

Sabina:
What was your final score?

Rolf:
I don't know, maybe 4 point something [4.0 is the worst possible result for passing]. I don't remember exactly. But then it was already clear that I was becoming a professional musician. I mean, we had already signed our record deal. That was already a different story.

Sabina:
Alright, so that means we've already got a bit further.

Rolf:
Right. What happened in between was my decision to go back to school. And during that time at school – I think it was called Emilie Wüstenfeld Schule, Sternschanze or something like that – in the hall of that school we had the opportunity to play, to set up our gear in the hall. Which we did. And one day there was this guy, I think he was two years ahead of us, he said "Yeah, I play the bass guitar, you know, and you make rock music. That's cool, you know." And he joined us. I mean, our drummer could just keep the beat somehow. We just wanted to play, so we needed somebody who could play the drums. And he brought along another drummer. Of course, that was an interesting situation, because that drummer simply sat down behind the drum kit and wanted to show off a bit. The first thing he did was breaking one of the drumsticks. Now – everybody would say, who cares? But as an amateur ... "You broke my drumstick!" It was a catastrophe. Because it was money. And then all the pieces of the drum kit were flying around in all possible directions. And – he couldn't even keep the beat. The other guitarist, Uwe [Bending] and me, we just looked at each other: "What kind of dork is that?" It was Hasche. And that was his first performance somehow. And then some time later that bass player said that he has got a room in the basement of his parents' home where we could practice. This would mean that we could be independent and make as much noise as we wanted. Because they were rehearsing there with his punk-band Grober Unfug anyway. And he would like to play metal. So we met there, and Hasche joined us again. And that's how things evolved. Now he could play, and it worked somehow. Unfortunately, we couldn't use the drum kit of the other band anymore. And we didn't have one ourselves. But then Hasche said "I can buy my own drum kit". Which, in a way, was the decision "Hey, this guy got a drum kit. So we'll take him as our drummer." Because the other guy didn't. We couldn't go on like that. So that's it. Hasche was the drummer. And then it went on. The name of the band had always been Granite Heart, which was basically Uwe and me. And then we sat down together and said "It's a new beginning, a new line-up, so we need a new name for the band." And our guitarist came along with his idea of "Running wild", which refers to the Judas Priest title, of course.

Sabina:
That's when your musical taste changed, as well, didn't it?

Rolf:
Yes, that was different. Before it, there were Kiss, AC/DC, and stuff like that. Cheap Trick, everything that was around. And then at the end of the 70s, 79 – I mean I had known Judas Priest a bit longer, since 78, 77, I knew the band – but 79 there was the live-album, and the "thing" became the thing, so that you said "wow, cool!" The sound and everything, that was exactly what we had been looking for.

Sabina:
Your idols, in a way?

Rolf:
They were idols, yes. They were our idols, Judas Priest, definitely. And so the title Running wild, that's why the band got this name. Anyway, like I said, we rehearsed down there in that basement and played at some school parties, nothing more. Maybe 3 or 4. And then the band started falling apart again. The bass player joined the army and said "I can only continue with one band, and it'll be Grober Unfug". Well, those were his old buddies, you know, so it was no problem for us. The other guitarist left, because he had some problems with Hasche, somehow, and so Hasche and I were suddenly alone.

Sabina:
Which year was that?

Rolf:
That must have been about 1981. We thought like "How can we go on? We must do something. We must go public, we have to find new people. So we placed an ad in the Oxmox, that was it back then…

Sabina:
Just for all of you who are not from Hamburg: Oxmox is the name of the essential city magazine in Hamburg…

Rolf:
Exactly.

Sabina:
... in which you can search for and find all kinds of things, also events. Maybe it was even something like a rock magazine in a way…

Rolf:
Yes.

Sabina:
... because it was a in fact a city magazine, but all the bands found each other there.

Rolf:
Yes, indeed. Like I said, we placed an advertisement in it: "Metal band…" I don't remember exactly, but something very ostentatious such as "we like chains and leather …heavy…". Something like that, I can't remember the exact words.

Sabina:
You don't have that ad anymore? You didn't keep a copy?

Rolf:
No, not at all. I'm not that interested in preserving old things. But anyway, that was the style. And then one guy contacted us who said "Yeah, I also want to play metal, I also like Black Sabbath, Priest and stuff. That's cool. … And I even have my own rehearsal room, which is located in a bunker somewhere in Ohlsdorf." And we said: great, a rehearsal room. So we met him and jammed with him. And it worked between us from the beginning, in fact, there was this kind of chemistry that made it work. We simply wanted the same thing. And that guy was Preacher. Well, and then we placed another ad because we still needed a bass player, obviously. We placed this ad, and then Stephan Boriss got in touch with us, other people as well. Technically, he was in fact the worst of all of those who presented themselves. But he wanted to do exactly the same thing as we did.

Sabina:
And he had equipment…

Rolf:
Right, exactly. That as well. He had his own bass and all the stuff he needed. And that's how it started. I think the first concert we played was the Teichweg festival. That was an event which was supposed to feature all kinds of musical styles. And it was a platform that included the press and some opportunities to get in contact with people in Hamburg. And we played a very good show, including pyrotechnics and other stuff. It was a really good show. And there were many metalheads around, which had already noticed that there was a metal band on the billing. At least it seemed like one, with that kind of logo, and the guys looked like it, wearing leather and so on. And that was really something that people were talking about. I mean, in the scene that was just evolving back then. That was 83, I think.

Sabina:
What kind of scene? Were there already bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray – no that was later. Did they already exist? Did you have contact, or did you know each other?

Rolf:
No, no, not quite. That was still very early. There was another band called Greenback, I think, who also played hard rock / metal, who we knew because we knew them in person. We didn't have that kind of contact. It was also 83 when that scene emerged, when you met in the city park in the summer and spent the evening, stuff like that. And you started seeing the same faces around at concerts, at least amateur concerts. We also played a number of shows, maybe 2 or 3, we didn't play live that often.

Sabina:
But here in Hamburg.

Rolf:
Only in Hamburg, yes. And then we were playing in the Pinocchio, which was a small pub, where we had a huge audience. I mean, it was much smaller than the Ballroom here, much smaller. And there were like 300 people inside, which looked like this. So the fans had to pass the drinks to us onto the stage, because they couldn't get there any other way. That's when this cult status was born. That Running wild were something extraordinary. That they even used pyrotechnics in the smallest venues and always had their leather outfits, skulls on stage, candles and so on.

Sabina:
How did you get in touch with that stuff, especially pyrotechnics? So that everybody knew they were a part of it? I guess you were watching some shows of bigger bands and saw what they did, like Priest. And then you said "we can do that, too".

Rolf:
Yes, of course. Especially a band like Kiss. They played a show in Hamburg in 82. I had known that before…

Sabina:
And you were there.

Rolf:
Yes, of course, I was there. Iron Maiden was the supporting act, you just had to see that, it was obligatory. And we were so fascinated by it that we wanted to do the same. We knew that German bands didn't use to do that. They are very careful with their image, like "No, we can't do that. Nobody will believe us." That was a point where our attitude was completely different. Our attitude about it was typically un-German. It was more like what the Americans would do. Because I said: "I want to choose a different way. It's not only about playing music, I want to entertain people as well." Creating entertainment. So that the people go home and say: "Yeah, that was great. I enjoyed that."

Sabina:
Where did that come from? There must have been some kind of turning point…

Rolf:
Kiss. Definitely. Of course, musically there were other influences as well. Like Noddy Holder, as far as vocals are concerned, Slade or Status Quo at the beginning – musically, or UFO, which were an influence from the 70s. But show and presentation – without using make-up, I didn't want that – it was Kiss. Obviously. And then a mixture of Kiss and Judas Priest, with their leather outfit and their image which we were fascinated by, that's how we created our own thing, in a way.

Sabina:
If you look back, where did this feeling come from to say: "I want to combine these things, I want to create a show, I want to do it the American way"? Even if it was influenced by Kiss, that Rolf himself wanted to do it, that Rolf could say "This is how I can define myself", so that the presentation was authentic?

Rolf:
Well, this style which was created, in a way "bigger then life", fascinated me, actually. A band that just enters the stage and performs wearing T-shirts and jeans, that was okay with AC/DC. In fact, much earlier they did it differently, too. At some point they gave up using stage outfits because everybody else was doing it. So they said: "It's nothing special anymore. So we will be the ones who go on stage with jeans and sport shoes." But Kiss were like from a fantasy-tale, in a way. And that's what we wanted as well. We wanted a show in order to entertain people. A show that was extraordinary, of course, because you had to be special back then if you wanted to get a record deal. Because it's not like today. Musicians today can't even imagine, it was almost impossible. If you had got one, which we had – later, that was your ticket. Then you knew: "You've made it". That was the situation back then.

Sabina:
Did you know about any record companies then? Because I know that you recorded your first demo in 81…

Rolf:
Yes.

Sabina:
... Did you already record that demo with the intention of getting a record deal? Or how did it work?

Rolf:
No. Just to get well-known in the first place, to get in touch with people. Because in Hamburg, like I said before, in 81, we had played at school parties in that other line-up before we fully got started with Running wild, playing in clubs and so on. But there already were many metalheads who knew our name. In Hamburg. People who said: "This band is something special, they are different from all the other bands." What happened then was that we met Limb, who later became the manager of Helloween, who knew his stuff and the scene, even on an international level, especially in the Benelux-countries, magazines like Aardschok, and everything else that was going on. That was about 83. And he said: "Listen. You need a demo." In fact, we already had one then, but we made a new cover and a complete inlay with a band biography and so on. We sent it to all kinds of fanzines, which were on a list he gave us, about 100 all over the world.

Sabina:
That seems like you were already heading for a professional level.

Rolf:
Yes, definitely.

Sabina:
So you already knew that you wanted more than just playing at city festivals and schools in Hamburg.

Rolf:
Yes, absolutely. Of course, I can't speak for the other guys. But for me personally it had always been … how shall I put it … for me it was never a question if I was becoming a professional at all, just how exactly it had to be done. So I never questioned that, for me it was always clear that I wanted to make music professionally. This is my way that I have to go. And I want to go it, and I will go it. It was never anything like "well, if we do this, it might work like that, maybe …" and so on. I never had any doubts about it. Somehow. Which, of course, also had to do with the fact that it actually happened. Sometimes your dreams become reality. It's true. And there were also several coincidences that occurred together. For example, there was a guy named Alex Gernert, who is the vice editor in chief of the Bravo [German youth magazine] today. He had a fanzine back then, and we were in good contact. And if I remember correctly, that new label from Berlin – Modern Music – wrote to all those fanzines in the metal sector, because they wanted to be a metal label. They asked: "Do you know any new bands? Any new demos that you find interesting? Send them to me." And Alex sent our Running wild demo, amongst others, to Modern Music. About two weeks later I got a phone call – of course we had put out telephone number on it very carefully. You did on those days, today you wouldn't anymore – he called me and said…

Sabina:
You mean Karl Walterbach.

Rolf:
Karl Walterbach. And he said: "I find you very interesting, and I'm planning a metal label. At the moment I'm preparing a sampler with several bands, and I would like to have you on it. Wouldn't you like to record two tracks for me? We'll first make a contract for these two tracks, and then we'll see what happens." Of course, we went to Berlin at once, very naively. The people in the studio had no idea about anything. Neither did we. Before that we had only been to a studio once, for the demo. So we didn't know, either, how it is done. So it sounded awful. But it showed in a way what the band sounds like. These are the songs, that's their style of music. So it was put on the sampler. All the other bands on it complained about this shitty band that was also on it and said: "You can't do that, it's not professional." Well, and then the sampler was released.

Sabina:
Who were the other bands? Do they still exist?

Rolf:
Ah, who was that? Something with "X", I think, and also Sado were on it, I think. And a fourth one. What else was on it? ... It's been too long.

Sabina:
At least nothing that survived long?

Rolf:
No. I can't… Well, I don't want to wrong anybody. But I can't remember, really, who else was on it. But I remember that those people complained. Anyway, the record was released, and the only reason why it got sold was Running wild. And that was the reason for Walterbach to offer us a deal about a full record.

Sabina:
Did you know about the fact that this was the only reason?

Rolf:
Yes, he told us.

Sabina:
How did you react?

Rolf:
Obviously: Ah! Our hearts were filled with pride. And we knew: "Okay, people are really interested in us". Which meant it wasn't just a dream, that we wanted to become rock stars. Many have that dream, that's a fact. But that people were seeing something special in what we were doing. And this was the reward for what we were doing. In fact, he already wanted to make this album, but then he called us and said "Listen, I want to make another sampler with you. Because I got another band from Hamburg. And since you are already well-known in the scene, I would like to promote them together with you, so that people get to know them." And this was Helloween. Well, and this was the Death Metal sampler. We recorded two more songs for it. But at that point we already had the deal for the full album. Then we made Gates to Purgatory. For an indie-label, which was something really bizarre back then, this didn't really exist in Germany back then, particularly in the rock sector. And, in fact, we sold 20.000 copies just in the first two months. This was something that nobody had expected – least of all ourselves. We were absolutely surprised. And we simply enjoyed it, to be honest.

Sabina:
That was in 84.

Rolf:
That was in 84, yes.

Sabina:
84 was the start, which fits because we are sitting here in the Headbanger's Ballroom, or rather just Ballroom, as it's called now. I've read that in those days people somehow used to connect you with the occult direction and Satanism, as far as the lyrics are concerned …

Rolf:
Yeah, well…

Sabina:
What were the reasons? I mean you just mentioned the Death Metal sampler…

Rolf:
This wasn't our idea!

Sabina:
… so we talked about Death Metal…

Rolf:
Yes, exactly.

Sabina:
And today you wouldn't associate Helloween with Death Metal and occultism either…

Rolf:
Not really, no.

Sabina:
So how can you explain it?

Rolf:
Well, the idea behind the title came from Tom Fischer of Celtic Frost. He had the idea. He always said: "Yeah, let's do that, with a sick cover and stuff" – which is still indexed today – with some zombies on the cover and so on…

Sabina:
What did he have to do with it?

Rolf:
They were also on it, Celtic Frost.

Sabina:
They were also on it?

Rolf:
They used to be called Hellhammer, and he wanted to start over again with Celtic Frost, and they were also on it.
[In fact, the two songs on the Death Metal sampler were by Hellhammer.]

Sabina:
They were also on it, together with Helloween and...

Rolf:
Exactly.

Sabina:
...on this sampler, okay.

Rolf:
And, ...like I said, that's what happened. Anyway, we started writing all these things and, like I said, we had skulls on stage, inverted crucifixes and so on. But for us it didn't have anything to with religion, that we took anything seriously, but rather as a tool to express what we wanted. For us the devil was a kind of antagonist, who questioned everything. We basically used him like a literary character, that's how you can put it. And when we noticed that we were associated with people who really mean it, seriously, we said: "Hey! Misunderstanding! Not with us!" And on the second album we changed it already. There we cut those lyrics completely and had different topics, basically, like social criticism or whatever you might call it. We saw that people couldn't deal with it, they took it the wrong way, and so we decided to stop it.

Sabina:
Did you have any contact with these topics at all, so that you got the idea to write lyrics about them? That you thought about Satanism, occultism… ?

Rolf:
Well, of course Black Sabbath, yes. But also because the guitarist of the band, Preacher, was quite interested in it, as he was already studying theology. He actually is a priest today.

Sabina:
Yeah, right!

Rolf:
He is a priest. And that's why we often talked about these things, but for us it was always a plaything, and people understood it as a reversed religion. So we said: "That's not my intention, I don't want to have anything to do with it."

Sabina:
Then let's talk about Preacher, briefly.

Rolf:
We can do that.

Sabina:
As you said, he is a Protestant priest. And where? Somewhere near Cologne?

Rolf:
Err, yes, I think near Cologne, somewhere.

Sabina:
And you mentioned earlier that he introduced himself to you as Preacher.

Rolf:
Yes.

Sabina:
That means it had always been his thing, I mean preacher – priest …

Rolf:
Yes, yes, it was indeed. He liked to talk. That's true. When he joined the band, he was already studying. So that was his direction, clearly. He just didn't know if with or without music. And after the first tour, he said "You know, I need a certain amount of money to survive. And at the moment it's not enough yet. But I can't wait. Because I have to get along with it now. And so I choose against the music." That was the reason, somehow. Back then, we were not too unhappy about that decision, because we had some problems with him inside the band. And so we accepted it. Chapter closed, next chapter.

Sabina:
So it wasn't because of his religious attitude or his way of becoming a priest…

Rolf:
No, not at all. It had nothing to do with that. I mean today he is a Protestant priest, and back then he wrote stuff like, I don't know, Victim of State's Power, he wrote that, and also participated in writing Adrian (Son of Satan). So compared with today it seems like a big contrast. But it was not because he used to deal with those things, but we rather used it as a political figure. But unfortunately, people just couldn't comprehend that. They understood it too superficially. I say it like it is. And so we said that we don't want to be misunderstood, we don't have anything to do with it. I'm not interested in religion, at least not in this kind of way, and so the topic got knocked off for me. So that's why after Branded and Exiled ...like I said, we made Branded and Exiled as a trio. Then Majk joined us at the guitar, he only played some solos, maybe two weeks before the release. That's when he joined us. And we did the typical metal thing, like Priest and so on, metal gods, and … whatever. This direction. And while we were preparing the third album, there was a kind of break regarding the image. Because as we were preparing the album, I had the idea for the track Under Jolly Roger, also the idea for the title. And I presented it to the other guys in the rehearsal room. And so far that was the best track of the album, obviously, the highlight. So maybe that should be the title track for the album, it's a great title. And so we said: If that's the title of the album, and it's about pirates and the pirate flag, then the cover should also look like this. So we made the cover look like this, too. And then somebody– I don't remember who – had the idea to put ourselves on the back cover, painted in pirate outfits. And we thought the idea was so cool that we also wanted to put in on stage. That's where it came from, step by step. There wasn't much planning behind it, it was just a spontaneous idea.

Sabina:
What about the little Rolf? Were you a little pirate, too, as a child? I mean here in Hamburg you don't have much to do with carnival, when you might get dressed up. But did you – I don't know – have anything to do with pirate books? Where did this affinity com from?

Rolf:
No, not really. Of course, you knew all those pirate films. And being from Hamburg you also knew the stories about Störtebeker, of course, obviously. But in the lyrics we were rather dealing with those Caribbean pirates.

Sabina:
But not the ones that you find on the front pages today?

Rolf:
No, definitely not. The ones back then also had different reasons for it, for what they were doing. Today people also tend to see that very superficially, those "criminals". But, in fact, they invented the concepts of health insurance and life insurance. If somebody got injured on board during a trip, he was taken on land to where his family lived, and so on, and got supported by his old crew. For them it was something like a pension. That was normal for them.

Sabina:
So that was when you got deeper into those stories...

Rolf:
Exactly. And the result of that was the album Port Royal, in a way, where these stories got intertwined. Then I also bought several books on the topic and found it very interesting that there is another facet behind it. So that it's not just the pirate thing from Errol Flynn movies and so on, or the other pirate films from the 60s. But the sophistication that they had. Or to put it differently, the life that they had to live because they didn't have any other choice. They had no way to survive apart from being pirates. They also wanted to be free, because the people who were criminals back then weren't the real criminals. That were those other gentlemen with the fine collars and their wigs. So I was fascinated by this whole story behind it.

Sabina:
So, why don't we go out to the harbour and feel the atmosphere while talking about piracy and the real story behind it?

Rolf:
Yes, of course. Let's do that.

Sabina:
So we'll walk into Hamburg so that we can show it and not just sit in the Headbanger's. Because the sun is shining outside …

Rolf:
Right!

Sabina:
And I think we should get our face tanned and talk about pirates and everything else at the water, about Jolly Roger and everything behind Port Royal.


[translation by Uli Bauer + Seewolf]

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