Metal Elite 
interviews & reviews


Metal Elite

Rolf Kasparek

The 27th of August 1998 was a special day for me. On that particular day I received the answers for the Running Wild interview I had sent to their manager Boggi Kopec a couple of months earlier to be forwarded to Rock'n'Rolf Kasparek, the icon of German heavy metal. As everyone who knows me is aware of the fact that Running Wild are my all-time favourite band and their album "Port Royal" was actually my very first contact to the world of heavy metal, I don't even try to hide the ecstatic emotions I felt when I noticed that I really received those answers. Although the band's manager had promised me via e-mail that the interview will be answered, I still had some doubts, because Running Wild are a rather big and well-known band and Metal Elite is just a small publication taking its first steps into the (electric) metal scene. And because I truly adore this band, there's no use to keep any limits in revealing my feelings: RUNNING WILD ARE THE GODS OF TRUE HEAVY METAL!!! If you don't like their music, fuck off and get a real opinion! Hah, just kidding, you narrow-minded gothic/black metallers, read on and change your views (or not). But before, I'd like to thank these three persons who made this interview possible (apart from Mr. Kasparek himself): Boggi Kopec & Andrea Dell from Drakkar Promotion and Tommi Lingonheimo.

Hello Rock 'n' Rolf! When did you last listen to some old RUNNING WILD songs?

When I had to prepare myself to release for the six shows we did in April.

Did GRANITE HEART release anything official during its five-year existence? Was GRANITE HEART more like a hobby band than a serious attempt to get some attention in the world of heavy metal?

GH has never released any recordings because it was just a fun project of some schoolmates.

Do you still have any GRANITE HEART songs or early, unreleased RUNNING WILD stuff on tape? What kind of feelings do you get when listening to these oldies? Is there any possibility that some of these songs will be resurrected and re-recorded in the future by the current line-up?

I never kept any old recordings of the early years because I look forward to the future, not back to the past. That is why there is no plan to do any recordings of old or unreleased tracks so far. There is too much new material in writing.

Was "Purgatory" played only live? Never recorded in a studio? Have you ever played cover songs live on stage? What is the oldest song you play live nowadays? "Prisoners of our Time", perhaps?

We never recorded "Purgatory" because it was a song of the old days. We just decided to use it as a bonus track for the live album Ready for Boarding to make it interesting for the fans. We played once "Sin City" by AC/DC and "Blitzkrieg Bop" by THE RAMONES. I think the oldest track we did live was "Chains and Leather". I wrote it in 1982.

Would you call yourself a legend in heavy metal scene? Can you name any person(s) whom you could put a legend status on?

I do not think it is up to me to call myself a legend, but I am since 14 years in this business. That is a pretty mad long time. I would say Gene and Paul from KISS or Angus Young have that kind of status. (Ok then, I'll hereby declare you a legend of heavy metal! -ed.)

Which RUNNING WILD album calls forth the nicest memories in you?

Gates of Purgatory, because it was the first album and the first professional work we ever did. That makes it special.

Excluding RUNNING WILD albums, which are the five dearest albums you own?

Too much to mention.

You had some serious problems and disagreements with the band manager in the past. How important is the manager for a band like RUNNING WILD nowadays and what was the situation in the beginning/middle of 80s? Now you have successfully worked with your current manager Boggi Kopec for a decade, so he seems to be the right guy for that job, eh?

When your management is working fine, everything is fine. That is the main point on the business side. Your manager is there to keep trouble away from you and not to cause trouble, because you pay a lot of money to take a lot of work away from you. So you are able to concentrate on music.

What do you think about Jörg Michael's decision to join STRATOVARIUS as a permanent member? Have you already found a guy to replace him?

I show respect for his decision and I wish him the best of luck but for sure the whole band was not pleased about the fact that he had left. We have some guys in mind, we wanna check them in the near future. That is all I can say so far. (For the readers' knowledge, Rage's drummer replaced Jörg for the Rivalry tour, but he's not going to be a permanent member. There's also a discussion and vote going on in the Running Wild fan e-mailing list about the fans' favourite for Running Wild's next drummer, so let's see do the results of the vote have any kind of effect on the selection of the next drummer... -ed.)

Which Finnish bands, apart from STRATOVARIUS, do you know? Any promising acts you'd recommend?

I honestly have to say none.

How much do you follow the current metal scene in general and how active were you in the 80s, did you have lot of contacts with other metal bands? Do you have any cool memories from the underground metal scene like 15 years ago?

I never followed any trends and I never thought about other projects, because I was too busy with RUNNING WILD at it's career.

During the 90's RUNNING WILD hasn't played much abroad. Don't you like travelling to other countries anymore or what is the reason for this "gig nationalism"? There are mad and raging RUNNING WILD fans outside Germany as well, you know...

The only reason was that we lost too much money on the road, cause what we have got was not that much we needed to pay all the costs of such an expensive show RUNNING WILD did throughout all the years. When RUNNING WILD is playing we wanna give 100% and a full bombastic show, not the half of it. That is why we had to cancel foreign countries for such a long time. But nowadays it looks better, that is why we have the plan to do a full range European tour. Heavy metal is rising again and the possibilities are there to play for all our fans. (Unfortunately the planned European tour was cancelled due to same kind of financial reasons... -ed.)

You're doing the Rivalry tour this year as well as playing some summer festivals, but have you already planned what's going to happen after that? After a relaxing pause of three years, are you now ready to continue releasing albums as regularly as previously?

We will make a tour (in Germany only -ed.) in September and after the tour I will start to write on the next album, but I cannot tell you now the time of release.

What did you do during these couple of years of silence, except making new songs?

Just everything I never had time to do. Private things etc.

RUNNING WILD is very known for sticking to the roots of heavy metal year after year, release after release. What would you like to say to those people who see this as a situation of stagnation and wish RUNNING WILD could some day change (develop?) its style to something else?

What should I say to these people? They never saw the light and they never will. I don't care!!! RUNNING WILD will be RUNNING WILD as long as the band exists, because this is the way I feel to write songs, nothing more, nothing less.

Are the "Men in Black" and "Agents of Black" from FBI or CIA or from some other secret service? By the way, have you seen the movie Men in Black?

No, they are the Fallen Angels or the Soldiers of the Underworld (or Lucifer). No, I never saw the movie but I saw the advertisement of it. I got the idea that this could be also a propaganda movie for certain people. That's why I put everything right in the song "Agents of Black".

I assume you'll never be a "Victim of States Power" and always a "Rebel at Heart". Opinion? Do you still feel the same flame of rebellion (can't come up with a better word) as in the glorious days of heavy metal when pants were leather and hair permed?

I always did what I felt was right. I always made decisions on my own.

What is the most fascinating thing about pirates? Who's your favourite pirate captain?

The fact that they made decisions for themselves, that they lived free in a certain way and how they stood together. I have no favourite pirate for myself, because I'm interested in the whole history.

Your lyrics often criticize the situation of our planet, corrupted politicians, etc. Do you think this world is an evil place and mankind has no hope because of its own stupidity? What should be done to make Tellus a better place to live (if it's even possible)?

I do not think this world is evil because men with his deeds make it an evil place. The whole system really does not work because a few people are living on everybody's works and they want to keep everything like it is today, because if anything would change to the better, everything would break down for them. Nothing will change after these people are losing their power to keep the world going round.

Why should a regular heavy metal fan buy "Rivalry"? Advertise your new album shortly.

It is pure heavy metal, no kidding, no faking bullshit. Just everything these 10 letters stand for. (That's damn right! -ed.)

What inspired you to compose such lengthy songs as "Treasure Island" and "Genesis"? Did you have a period when you wanted to create long, epic songs or did those songs just turn out to be 11 and 15 minutes long? Can we expect such opuses in the future as well?

It just comes for the lyrical idea. If you have a story like "Genesis" which is a big part of the old testament in the bible, it takes time to tell it. Not only in lyrics but also musical-wise. I did stuff like that for Rivalry, if you have a look on "Ballad of William Kidd" or "War and Peace". (Yes, I know, but they weren't as epic-long. -ed.) If I would have the right idea to do such a long song again, I would do it.

Have you ever left any songs away from the albums for some reason? If yes, how many and from which albums?


Would you like an idea of a RUNNING WILD tribute album? Your opinion about tribute albums in general?

Sorry, but I do not like tribute albums. I was asked to join the JUDAS PRIEST tribute album, but I denied it because if I would like to do a cover version of JUDAS PRIEST, I would do this.

What kind of memories you have from your first and latest concert in Finland, in Giants of Rock'90? What about the U.S. tour with VOIVOD and CELTIC FROST in 1986?

It was pretty much hot in Finland because we had to play around noon and everybody had a hangover. The crowd was great and everybody sang the lyrics. There is one reason that makes this gig special because it was the last show with Majk Moti. He left the band after that. It was interesting just to see America and we all were really impressed how much fans we had there back in 1986. It was a great tour for us.

I've been told that you're not very excited about computers and the Internet (in which this interview will be published only). What's wrong with them? How much have you contributed in creating "The Official Running Wild Homepage"?

Not computers and the Internet are wrong, but what some people make of it. If I would deny I could not do any production in a studio because you do the trigger sounds for the drums by computer, the effects and the final mix. I am using computers as far as I have to, but I am personally not interested in that stuff. I have different interests getting into other things, reading for example or talking to friends.

Any last words, wishes, greetings, whatever?

I want to send a "hello" to all RUNNING WILD fans throughout the world and I would really appreciate that if we could manage it to play a long, large tour to see everybody and to play for them.

I can almost hear a huge crowd of heavy metal maniacs yelling "hello" back to you! Thanks a lot Rolf for this interview and I truly hope you can fix the financial side of touring properly that also us non-Germans have an opportunity to see Running Wild live. Never forget to feed the flame of true heavy metal and keep up the spirit of it!!!