The History:  Pt. I - The Beginning  /  Pt. II - Sailing The Seven Seas  /  Pt. III - A New Era

The History

In 1976, Rolf "Rock'n'Rolf" Kasparek, along with Uwe Bendig, Michael Hofmann and Jörg Schwarz, founded the group GRANITE HEARTS in Hamburg. At this time, Hasche and Matthias Kaufmann were together in another Hamburg-based band GROBER UNFUG. In 1977, Matthias was also helping out GRANITE HEARTS as bass player. Rehearsals were held at the Emilie-Wüstenfeld School, which is where Matthias and Rolf got to know each other. Matthias also persuaded Hasche to join the band. After rehearsing hard, the new group were desperate to find the right name ...

They hit on RUNNING WILD (1979) as they were all fans of KISS and JUDAS PRIEST.

After many personnel changes, Rolf has long been the only remaining member of the original line-up and he alone determines the direction of the band. He writes almost all of the music and lyrics for RUNNING WILD.

The First Albums

In 1981, RUNNING WILD recorded their first demo which featured "Hallow The Hell", "War Child" and "King Of The Midnight Fire". The first two tracks appeared on the compilation album "Debut No. 1" on the Raubbau Label which had become more known on the rock-scene through the punk band SLIME. The 1982 line-up was Rolf, Hasche, Preacher and Stephan Boriss.

In 1983, RUNNING WILD recorded some pretty rough versions of "Chains And Leather" and "Adrian (S.O.S.)" for the compilation album "Rock From Hell". These two songs along with the "Debut No. 1" tracks as well as live-versions of "Genghis Khan" and "Soldiers Of Hell" appeared on the demo-tape "Heavy Metal Like A Hammerblow". This demo also came out as an unofficial vinyl bootleg. The 1984 compilation "Death Metal" from Noise Records included two RUNNING WILD tracks: "Bones To Ashes" and "Iron Heads".

Noise Records also released their first album in 1984, "Gates To Purgatory", which was a massive underground success. In these early years, the band played with occult imagery, something that earned the band a reputation as satanists. As with many other 80s metal-bands, these accusations were groundless. It's clear that the occult lyrics were not meant very seriously as ex-guitarist Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke was at that time studying theology and today works as an evangelical priest in Cologne.

1985 saw the release of the LP "Branded And Exiled" and a live-bootleg "Black Demons On Stage", featuring guitarist Majk Moti for the first time. The band already had a fairly large fanbase that was steadily increasing.

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