Grave Stompers was formed in 1993 in Munich (Germany), a story familiar to many others, friends who wanted to start a band and make the sound they liked. For underground styles, like Metal and Psychobilly itself, we cannot say that it is an easy path, as many are on the road. (leia a versão em português)
In the case of the Grave Stompers, they fulfilled the dream, doing shows and recording albums, having conquered fans of the style all over the world, and continue to carry the flag of Psychobilly, keeping the style alive and active.
We talked to the vocalist/guitarist and founder Gernot, who told us a little more about the history of the band, which is entitled "Psychobilly Old School", taking inspiration from classic names of the style, such as The Cramps, horror tales and even put Metal elements in your music. Check out:
RtM: The Grave Stompers were formed in mid 1993 in Munich, Gernot, would you tell us a little more about the beginning of the band.
Gernot: A school friend of mine (his name was Florian) and myself, we both wanted to form a group and play Psychobilly music. Psychobilly was our Life!! And we wanted to play the sound by ourselves. We needed a bass player and I knew that Holzi (a tall Psychobilly guy in a town near ours) had a double bass.
So one afternoon I picked up my guitar, drove to his house and just asked him, if he wants to form a band with us and that we should do a jam session right here and now. He said yes and we three became friends. So we needed a drummer and another guy I knew from former days, did the drums. After a few gigs we changed the drummer so Martin joined the band. At this point of time we came in contact with organizers and got the chance to play concerts and festivals to support many of those big Psychobilly Bands we used to listen to. It meant the world to us!
RtM: How did this actual line-up get solid?
Gernot: When we did our first record, “Rising from the Darkside“. After that we did concerts in Germany and Austria and another line-up change was drawing nearer: vocalist Florian left the group and I took over to the microphone as well. So the Grave Stompers are: Martin on drums, Holzi on bass and b-voice, and me, Gerno, on guitar and singing. Since then the line-up never changed anymore and we are pretty happy about that. We did a song „Never let you go!“ on Bone Sweet Bone wich was dedicated to our friendship and musicianship throughout all these years.
RtM: The band has tried to reach a darker sound, besides, has influences as the classical horror stories. Do you have other lyrics inpiration beyond that? Tell us.
Gernot: Classic, gothic horror Stories are the main items in our lyrics. Drinking, Partying and listening to Psychobilly as well. To be honest, we are more into groove and music than into deep and sophisticated lyrics :-)
RtM: Talking about your music, beyond this obscure rock n’ roll do you have other music style that
influences you in composition process?
Gernot: When we started in 1993 we did clean and rocking Psychobilly. Then we started to incorporate metal elements, heavy distorted guitar into our music (Rising from the darkside, Funeral Suite). This was over a period of two or three years, after that we returned to the traditional style again. The lyrical concept has always been spooky and sinister.
RtM: The Grave Stompers indentify themselves as Psichobilly Old School. How much did Metal influence your music?
Gernot:Well, we had some metal influenced years in the whole existance of the band, but all in all Metal Music has no big influence on the Grave Stompers. I for myself can say that beside Psychobilly and Rockabilly, I really like Metal a lot and I´ve been listening to since the mid 80ies. Black Metal especially! And Mötley Crüe and Saxon!!
RtM: Could you list us any bands, any styles, that influenced your carreer?
Gernot: I would say that the Cramps, the Meteors and the whole english Psycho Stuff of the 80ies where big influence for us. Krewman, Batmobile, Long Tall Texans, to name a few. We were totally into that stuff and wanted to play the music we were listening to!! We also liked 60ies garage punk pretty much!! That whole sound was also a influence to us!
RtM: There was a curious episode in 1997, when you released your debut album “Rising From The Dark Side”. Did you shoot your CD photos on a graveyard, right? Were there any events with the police? Let us know about it. The whole problem was about your gear (lol) for the
photography session? The axes, bones and skulls bothered the police?
Gernot: The pictures shown on that album were not taken from that special graveyard shooting. But it must have been around that time when we had another fotosession on a local cemetery which caused some trouble for us with the police. One afternoon we entered the cemetery in full Leather gear, well equiped with skull, bones and axes to do a foto shoot. If you are into Psychobilly and gothic horror stuff it´s just obvious that you have to do a foto shoot like that at your local cemetery (laughs)
After the shoot we went off by car exactly when we drove away we saw that the police arrived at the graveyard and got in with guns in their hands. We had no clue that it was because of us. The same evening our drummer Martin who had driven the car got visited by the police. Some people at the graveyard who had seen us, obviously felt offended by our appearance and called the police and gave them the number of our car. So we had some minor troubles with that whole thing and at the end it was put down because it was clear that the whole case wasn´t that serious. Today it´s a funny story from the past!!
RtM: You went through musical sound changing in your carreer, where did you get heavier and
darker? Did the tours affect you personal and musically?
Gernot: We started the band in 1993 and around 1996 we started with that heavier and darker sound. Martin had those Punk orientated roots and I had my passion for Black Metal, so it was for a few years that this musical genres got incorporated in our Psychobilly Music but with the "Bone Sweet Bone" album we returned to the classic 80's PsychoRockabilly style again. The concerts had no real affect on us – it was fun, we love playing live and it was like a huge adventure for us when we got into that whole Music/Concert Thing!! Well, one affect might be that you start drinking more booze than you probably should – that´s because the drinks are for free (laughs)
RtM: Grave Stompers did a lot of shows in Europe, you have experienced from 25 years of
hardwork. At the end of our conversation I want to ask you, is it any chance to announce a brazilian tour? Have you already had any invitations? Although your restrict and underground music, we have a lot of fans of yours around the country.
Gernot: WOW!!! We are very very pleased to hear that there are lot of fans around the country!! We totally appreciate that!! We feel deeply honored!!! Unfortunately there are no plans to come to Brazil yet...
RtM: Feel comfortable to send message to the fans.
Gernot: So at the end I say a big thank you for the interest in the Grave Stompers!
I wish you all the best for your future and your website – keep up the great work!
It´s totally necessary that people never stop to keep the music scene alive and rockin!!
And at the end we raise our bottles of bavarian brew to all brazililian Rockers, Metalheads and Psychos - thank you for your support - We salute You!!!
Interview: Louise C. Wagner (with Colaboration of Renato Sanson)Translation and Edit: Carlos Garcia
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