sábado, 10 de setembro de 2016

Interview - Neudi Neuderth (Roxxcalibur): Digging Heavy Metal Treasures

Andreas "Neudi" Neuderth is a well-known figure in the Metal scenario, for his work in publications such as Deaf Forever, in Street Clip TV channel, radio programs, production and mastering, and especially as a drummer in various metal bands like the worshiped Manilla Road (band that was always avowed fan, becoming a full member since 2011), Viron, Masters of Disguise, Savage Grace and ROXXCALIBUR tribute project to NWOBHM, who is already on its third album, and was our main subject of this interview, in addition, of course, the passion of Neudi for the eighties and Classic Heavy Metal. (versão em português)

In a very relaxed interview, and as always is when you talk about Neudi Neuderth, very fruitful in terms of knowledge and information of precious jewels of the NWOBHM and the Classic Heavy Metal. Neudi tells us a little more about the latest Roxxcalibur album, "Gems of the NWOBHM", his start in music, Manilla Road , and much more! Check out the following conversation with this Heavy Metal's "treasure hunter": 

RtM: To begin, something I've always wanted to ask is how works the process of choosing the songs that will be recorded on Roxxcalibur albums? You all are fans of the vast material produced by the bands from NWOBHM, but each member should have some favorite songs and bands?
Neudi: Well, I am the fanatic in the band, but of course the others guys were into some NWOBHM stuff before Roxxcalibur but not in a way that results in collecting. Kalli (guitar) always was into Thrash and heavier US-Metal, also old Accept, while Alexx (vocals), who is a bit younger than us, started with the usual suspects like Priest, Maiden, WASP or Manowar. Mario always was a metalhead who also loves Punk and old Hardcore and Crust stuff. It changed since Roxxcalibur is existing and especially Mario (Bass) is NWOBHM-maniac now too while the other guys simply love most NWOBHM stuff.

RtM: And you, as a lover and collector of the classic stuff, your opinion has more weight?
Neudi: My huge collection (vinyls, CDs) is the “base” to find cool stuff to cover. We are all listening to potential songs and then we chose 20 or 30. After that we make a list and we rate the songs...and in the end we have the setlist for a new album. Our labelboss “Limb” from Limb-Music, known as Helloween´s first manager here in Germany, also has one wish, which was “Paper Chaser” from Taurus on our new album “Gems Of The NWOBHM”.

"There was no editing of drums or other parts of the album. Even there are some little mistakes on it because of that...I don´t see it as mistakes at all. It´s humans playing organic music..." (about Roxxcalibur recordings)
RtM: The concept of Roxxcalibur is paying tribute to bands that dont’ had greater exposure, being unknown to a wider audience, and giving them a second chance. How do you see the results so far, reaching the third album? You believe you have achieved the satisfaction goals you had since you have started the band?
Neudi: To be honest, when we started with the band we didn´t expect anything at all. It was already weird when we got offered a deal for that NWOBHM-Tribute-Project, even before we had our first rehearsal. Our now labelboss Limb already loved Alexx and my previous band Viron, so he knew that it won´t be any bullshit we will do with Roxxcalibur. With our first album we got amazing reviews and we were “CD of the Month” or “Special Tip” in many magazines. Same with the second and the brand new CD. So this part went way better than we´ve expected...because we´ve expected nothing. The only disappointing part is that we don´t play many shows. In the first years the organizers of festivals mostly didn´t know how to handle us, now we are too busy with our other bands like Manilla Road, Masters Of Disguise and Abandoned, just to name the most important acts with Roxxcalibur-members in it.

RtM: In "Gems of the NWOBHM" you could highlight what your favorite songs of the album? and why?
Neudi: My favorite songs on our album are different to my faves of the originals here and there. I love the opener “Why don´t you kill me” (original by Legend) because it combines epic 70s rock with pre-speed metal. And there is “Soldiers of War”, original from Satan´s Empire and from my favorite NWOBHM-compilation “Lead Weight” (Neat Records). I love “Age of Machine” from Mythra since the CD-release of the nineties on British Steel Records, because this song was not on their famous EP “Death and Destiny”. It also has this 70s feeling while already being pre-metal, something I love most when it comes to NWOBHM. But I think “our” best song is surprisingly “Somewhere Up In The Mountains” from Marquis De Sade.

RtM: "Gems of the NWOBHM" is the third Roxxcalibur album. Which songs  would you wanted to include in an album, but that was not possible yet?
Neudi: There are some songs that my bandmates didn´t like very much, but it would be not fair to name them here. I mean….there are some songs on this album that some of my bandmates didn´t like some years back. And there is one song on this album that I don´t like at all…. But we wanted to record “Gonna Get Back To You” from Prowler (from the “Brute Force” Compilation) and noticed while recording that it didn´t sound really cool… So we stopped working on it.

RtM: Another striking feature of the band are that you record many parts really live, with minimal over-dubs and without using digital programs to correct errors or possible failures, sounding as authentic and as close as possible to the conditions of the bands of the era . Tell us more about this recording process (I believe most of the music are recording in a few takes).
Neudi: Yes it´s true, but on the first and second album it was just one guitar, drums and bass live and we´ve added all other rhythm guitars later, along with the vocals and solos. Our new album was completely recorded live as a band in the studio except of solos and vocals. There are some first takes on the album, that´s right but one songs really was a pain in the ass and we needed nearly a day to get it done ha ha. Again the solos and all vocals, plus some effects (storm, birds etc.) were added later. You´re right, there was no editing of drums or other parts of the album. Even there are some little mistakes on it because of that...I don´t see it as mistakes at all. It´s humans playing organic music the way it should sound – in my opinion. Most recent albums sound like plastic shit because of all this editing stuff going on these days. Even some of the bands I loved back in the days lost their identity because of that, at least on CD.

RtM: I believe, as well as on stage, you should also have lots of fun during the process of  recording the albums, and the choice of songs (the dig for the gold, hehehe), and even in the choice of cover art,  once again wonderful.
Neudi: Yes, it is like that and there is no other reason for us at all. We all have other bands we play in and as long as we have fun with Roxxcalibur we will go on. And of course as long people want us, which looks really good right now **Ha Ha**

RtM: What about your drum parts? Tell us a little about how do you usually record , the time you dispend to rehearse the music to have such a powerful grip on the albums? I remember a cool phrase that you have said, that you are a Rock and Roll Drummer who plays Metal!
Neudi: Oh, do you remember this? Because it´s right. Somebody just called me “a more progressive Cozy Powell” which sounds funny but there´s some truth in that. My aim is to sound good and powerful. Technics and additional stuff only comes on top to that. So playing in Savage Grace, when Chris Logue did a reunion in 2009/2010, was fun, but not for me as a drummer. Playing all that doublebass stuff is not my cup of tea, even I can do it… That´s also the reason why I left the follow-up band Masters Of Disguise, simply it is not my style as a drummer. It is different as a fan of course, I like a lot of Thrash and Speed Metal, especially 80s stuff. But I have noticed that I am more a metal-fan than a metal drummer when I played in bands like Kokoon (Progressive Pop-Rock) or Child In Time (Deep Purple Tribute). But I am superhappy with being in Manilla Road and Roxxcalibur. Both is metal but with enough room for me to experiment.
"My aim is to sound good and powerful. Technics and additional stuff only comes on top to that."
RtM: And among many "Rough Diamonds" you already paid tribute with Roxxcalibur, you could do a "Top Five" of albums? So I would know more, especially for younger fans.
Neudi: To be honest, this is really impossible because it changes every day. So I just name the compilation “Lead Weight” from Neat Records and -even it might be a boring reply- the debut of Iron Maiden. These LPs were important when I was a kid. Beside that I absolute 7” singles...way more than albums:) So when labels like High Roller do CDs that combine the band´s singles + demotracks, over the years some of them became my favorite “albums” (like Sparta, for example).

RtM: A delicate question is also how to make these versions printing Roxxcalibur’s personality, but without descaracterizate the original version. Could you tell us a bit more about this process? Did you sometime become to discard some songs because it was not possible to create a satisfactory version?
Neudi: Like I said before, there was this one song (from Prowler) that didn´t made it on our new album. But before that we did “Angel Witch” (from Angel Witch) on our debut and “If I Were King” (Vardis) for our second album. Both versions were not satisfying to us so we left them off the album. Same with “Survivors” from No Quarter which we also did for our second album. Maybe we will use this one as a bonus track for vinyl or something….

RtM: And the reactions of the original authors? All positive, or a band or some member do not like your versions? Did you have a problem with anyone having unauthorized to recording some music?
Neudi: All positive, most enthusiastic. What not many know: When you do a real cover version than you don´t need to ask the author, only when you change the song drastically (music, lyrics, style etc.). In two cases bands thought we should have asked them but in the end they were fine. Also we have a friendship with some bands since album number 1 (Jameson Raid, Cloven Hoof etc.).

Keep It True Festival, with the audience

RtM: In addition to showing the public who did not have access to these pearls of NWOBHM, and give a second chance to those songs, I see that Roxxcalibur encouraged many persons to dig this gold too, and I believe that this also contributed to encourage many of these bands to return on stage, release new albums, realizing that there is loyal followers and fans of NWOBHM, and more people discovering that great bands. Do You get much feedback from the public and bands about it? Happened people have come to tell you: "Hey, we got back and released a new album thanks to you"
Neudi: In fact it happened. Quartz thanked us on many occasions when they did their comeback, Jameson Raid did a reunion, Sparta started playing again and did “Angel Of Death” as their only re-make on their new album… Many cool things happened and this makes us happy:) Also we had some shows with members of original NWOBHM-Bands, like Keep It True Festival. Brian Ross joined us several times to sing “Blitzkrieg” with us.

RtM: And sure, talking about Manilla Road, band which you have always been a big fan, and now is a member. Tell us a bit about this feeling of being in the band? Furthermore it is a very special moment, with the band playing in various countries, through various festivals, releasing new albums and even with the re-released albums too. Do you believe that many bands considered cult are having more attention nowadays? Mark even said in an interview that I did with him a while ago that considers the present moment more favorable, with the band getting more attention than in the 80s.
Neudi: Am in the band now since 2011 and still it is something special to me. But I need to mention that we are in contact since 2000 or even 1999 and that we met on several occasions before I joined the band. So of course my first show in 2011 (Hammer of Doom Festival) was a dream come true, but happily I knew the guys before and that helped a lot to feel good. On the other hand I am professional enough to switch off the fan when it is needful lol. 

I do some business for the band here on the European side (we have record deal here in Germany since “Mysterium”, and also the remastering of the back catalogue while Mark is writing new songs and does other business stuff in the USA. So this makes things a little more easier for the band too as we have more “manpower”. We also have a booker in the USA and in Europe etc. In fact the band is more successful than ever because the recent line-up is able to tour and to record. And yes, touring the world came late to my carrere, but of course I love it! Sometimes it is sad that I don´t have the time to see more of the countries we play in...
"Was a dream come true, but happily I knew the guys before and that helped a lot to feel good" (about joined Manilla Road)
RtM: You recently played with Manilla Road in the cruise 70,000 tons of Metal. Would you tell us a little how was that experience, and also about the public reaction to the show of the band.
Neudi: We had a good amount of metalheads on both shows we´ve played. If you look at the line-up, Raven, Jag Panzer, Diamond Head and ourselves were the “exotic ones” between a ton of Death Metal and modern stuff, plus two big names in the traditional sector (Hammerfall and Gamma Ray). So we were really surprised that some people who only knew the name Manilla Road even called us “(one of the) best band(s) on the cruise”. The trip itself was fantastic! A mix of festival and vacation:)

RtM: Finally, would you tell us a little how was your start in music, when you began to be interested in playing the drums, your main influences and when the Metal came into your life?
Neudi: My dad played drums in a band in the late sixties, but of course I was not born yet so this was not an influence...but his small but nice record collection. I would say that Creedence Clearwater Revival, still one of my faves these days, along with John Fogerty solo, was my first step into rock music, especially heavier songs like “Pagan Baby”. Same with a “Best Of” double LP from the Rolling Stones and the blue double LP from the Beatles. When I was six or seven he got a LP called “Hot Rock” which was a gift for the customers of a German bank (!). There was Deep Purple with “Fireball” on it and hey, that was “proto Speed Metal”, with double bassdrum and heavy, distorted guitars. This was an integral moment in my life.

RtM: Then, you have discovered more "heavy" bands, and i saw that you have a very nice Kiss collection.
Neudi: Then the usual happened: I got my first Kiss album (Alive and then Alive 2), Status Quo “Live” and other Live-Albums like “All the world´s a stage” (Rush) and “Double Live Gonzo” (Ted Nugent). Then in 1980, when I was 9 years old, I was finally able to see KISS here in Germany and their support was that newcomerband from England….Iron Maiden! This of course was life-changing. I met guitarist Dennis Stratton a few years back when we played three Maiden songs (Roxxcalibur with Stratton, plus Tom Gattis on vocals) at Keep It True. After that the usual stuff blew my mind and I must say that I was more US-oriented back then. Within the 80s I was into finding the heaviest stuff available but it ended when bands like Cryptic Slaughter or Napalm Death came up. This was the point when I thought “ok, now it is getting senseless”. But still, even I also love music from the 60s and 70s, I like that old thrash stuff and the early roots of Death Metal like Venom, Celtic Frost and Possessed.

RtM: Today we can see a kind of "revival" with several bands making music inspired by the seventies sound. Do You believe this new bands really done this music in a honest form, inspired by the great bands from 70’s? Or most would be more thinking in taking advantage of this "revival", and follow any trend that was more in vogue?
Neudi: Well, these young musicians could be my kids. If they would be my kids they would be influenced more of Metal, so it is strange that this retro stuff didn´t happen way earlier because their parents must be between 40 or 50 too. But in general I understand young kids playing that kind of music because it is way more fun to play than most other styles. You have more freedom playing your instrument, that´s why I like to listen to many 70s bands. Even in the studio most were improvising because studio and live were nearly the same – just without an audience. We had that feeling during the Roxxcalibur recordings too. Most original 70s bands had their heavy songs but the albums contain also other stuff. Some did some blues, some jazz or folk. So there was more crossover back then than in the 90s when metalbands tried to mix styles.
A little part of Neudi's Metal Castle. Do you think he's a Kiss fan?
RtM: Neudi, thanks for your attention, I let this final space for you to send your message to the fans. And thanks again, even for being such a very active person, always battling for Metal, always producing, whether on radio, TV, magazines, etc, and above all, always friendly and charismatic! Hugs and hope you return to South America soon, with Manilla, and maybe Roxxcalibur!
Neudi: I hope so! South America was a great experience when we toured with Manilla Road and along with Greece and Cyprus you have the wildest metalheads out there!! I see all these classic bands like Picture or Grim Reaper playing South America and this makes me really happy. Your scene definitely is alive and wellJ

Discography with Roxxcalibur:
NWOBHM For Muthas (2009)
Lords of the NWOBHM (2011)
Gems of the NWOBHM  (2015)

Neudi Complete Discography

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