The band released a debut demo in 1986 under the old name and managed to get a deal with former Metal Hammer editor Charlie Rinne's label. While Blind Guardian seemed to be another in the long list of Tolkien-inspired metal bands in the late eighties, the band quickly turned itself into a marketable metal band in Germany with a major deal. Asking friend and Gamma Ray man Kai Hansen to produce a demo (and often appear on albums), the Blind ones had already staked their turf. The band's albums sell around 100,000 copies each in Germany and the band's popularity seems to be growing elsewhere as well. One sign of this is the band's good sales in Japan and the Tokyo Tales EP of 1993. The band's line up is remarkably stable and the bands tours are with the likes of Iced Earth and Nevermore. Demons & Wizards is a popular and well-selling side-project with the guitarist of Iced Earth.
The first annual Blind Guardian Open Air festival, a festival promoted by the band, was scheduled for June 13-14, 2003 at BGS Open Air Arena in Coburg, Germany. A line-up of Blind Guardian, Napalm Death, Tankard, Freedom Call, Primal Fear, Grave Digger and Subway To Sally was announced. The band toured USA and Canada with Symphony X in the autumn of 2002.
The band consequently released a new album, called Blind Guardian - Live, in North America on October 7th. The album was recorded on the band's A Night At The Opera tour.
Filmed mainly in 2003 at the band's own festival, Blind Guardian's Imaginations Through The Looking Glass 2-DVD set was issued in the middle of 2004. Drummer Thomas Stauch left the fold at the beginning of 2005. He joined Persuader members Jens Karlsson and Emil Norberg in a new act called Savage Circus. In the meanwhile, the band unveiled a new deal with Nuclear Blast Records and named Frederik Ehmke as its new drummer. A Twist In The Myth was issued in September of 2006 and a worldwide tour followed. The band's '80s and '90s catalogue was reissued on CD with new mastering and liner notes in 2007. Edguy's bassist Tobias "Eggi" Exxel played bass for one show for the band on October 13th, 2007 in Pretoria, South Africa as a fill-in. Stauch was touring with industrial band Seelenzorn in 2008, while Blind Guardian was playing select shows in Europe. The title for the next Blind Guardian album was At The Edge Of Time. A late summer or autumn 2010 release was slated for the follow-up to 2006’s A Twist In The Myth. Vocalist Hansi Kürsch had previously stated: "This will be our most bombastic and epic album so far." Blind Guardian’s North American portion of the Sacred Worlds And Songs Divine 2010 World Tour was commencing on November 19th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and concluding on December 22nd in West Springfield, Virginia. Support acts were California’s Holy Grail and Florida’s Seven Kingdoms. Blind Guardian’s guitarist Marcus Siepen would play two shows with Sinbreed in the autumn of 2011. Marcus Siepen joined the German heavy metal band Sinbreed full-time in late 2011. Siepen had previously appeared live with Sinbreed at a couple of shows, including the ProgPower USA XIII festival in Atlanta, Georgia. A Traveler's Guide To Space And Time, a limited-edition box set with 15 CDs in 13 digipacks, released as 8,000 copies worldwide, would be out on February 4th, 2013.
BLIND GUARDIAN - IMAGINATIONS THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS - CENTURY MEDIA
This double-DVD release of the Germans is a showcase of the band's own 2003 headlining festival in a Coburg, Germany campground. The first DVD includes 20 live songs covering most of the bands career and not surprisingly one of the highlights is an older song, Banish From Sanctuary. Other fan favourites and more famous songs such as Lord Of The Rings and Mirror Mirror are also included. The band claims to have made "minimum sound corrections" to keep the feel of a live performance intact, the resulting sound is not the best however but that could be as much to do with a weak rhythm section courtesy of the recruited guest bassist and keyboardist than anything else. The second DVD features four extra live tracks recorded elsewhere and the usual extras such as the interview, the backstage scenes and 'the making of'. The dialogue is in German with available English subtitles.
The DVD tries to showcase Blind Guardian's fans in their native country with the band seen signing autographs, playing around with a soccer ball and offering free beer to a lucky few! This DVD release will obviously excite their hardcore fans the most, but also offers a glimpse of the differing atmospheres in a metal concert in Germany and perhaps Europe in general. - Anna Tergel
BLIND GUARDIAN – FLY – NUCLEAR BLAST
Fly is a new Blind Guardian single featuring three songs and preceding the expected September release of the Germans’ full-length. As a filler, the single does the job. There are two new songs on offer here, Fly and Skalds And Shadows, as well as a cover of Iron Butterfly’s In A Gadda Da Vida. Band and scene watchers eager to find out how the band would fare without long-time drummer Thomas Stauch and about the future direction of the band should glean lots from the CD. Additionally, the bass parts are performed by Olive Holzwarth, thus leaving singer Hansi Kürsch to concentrate on his vocals.
The song Fly follows the pattern of the more recent Blind Guardian work and is an evolution for the band. Unlike bands like Helloween (although their song If I Could Fly was on their atypical The Dark Ride album) that are rediscovering their roots, Blind Guardian is bent on change and Fly acts on the premise. The layered and laboured vocals are there, but underneath the music is rhythmic, poppy, experimental and even danceable to some extent. Blind Guardian, nevertheless, is not backing away from the convoluted and intricate music it has made its own. Fly even hints at Caribbean and Celtic melodies. Skalds And Shadows is included here in an acoustic version. The regular version will make it onto the full-length one presumes, but the included track has a strong medieval feel complete with acoustic guitar and a tone reminiscent of the dark ages. This is modern bard music indeed. Iron Butterfly’s In A Gadda Da Vida has been covered by everyone from Jag Panzer to Slayer to The Simpsons so another version is superfluous. Blind Guardian has whittled the 17-minute song down to three and changed things around a bit. Iron Butterfly too had a much-abridged shorter single version of the song, but this track is clearly Blind Guardian’s understanding of the classic.
Blind Guardian is like Opeth or Slayer. The band is critic-proof, loved by many and on a roll. Whether this single and the coming album will push the band’s popularity even further into the sky remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is the band’s determination to experiment and push the envelope. – Ali “The Metallian”
BLIND GUARDIAN - A TWIST IN THE MYTH - NUCLEAR BLAST
Here it is - the new Blind Guardian. Charlie Bauerfeind once again produced it. The album also features guest bassist Oliver Holzwarth. The new drummer Frederik Ehmke does a good job and uses pretty much the same techniques as his predecessor Thomen Stauch.
The album's production is clearer than on A Night At The Opera, and it is easier for the listener to identify the different instruments. The choruses are multi-layered and majestic as usual.
This Will Never End starts the album with a driving riff, but slightly disharmonic vocals. Otherland is close to the material on Nightfall In Middle-Earth and features excellent dual leads. Turn The Page begins with a medieval intro that suggests dancing in a king's court, and the alternating intensity of the vocals makes it very pleasant to listen to. Again, the guitar sound is a step back to the transparency of older albums. The song could well have been on Imaginations From The Other Side. The Fly single is the most 'modern' song on the album, but very creative. Carry The Blessed Home is bad, though. It is neither a real ballad nor a traditional metal song, and the bagpipes sound cheesy and artificial, even though Ehmke played them. He does not only play drums on the album, but also all flutes and bagpipes. Another Stranger Me sounds like Dio at first in the verse, but its chorus is very BG-like. Hansi Kuersch even whispers in that song. The vocals in Straight Through The Mirror are unusually high for the band. Lionheart is not about Richard Lionheart, but about a mystical artefact that is supposed to bring salvation. The song has an arabesque middle part. Skalds and Shadows appears in a different version than the one on the single. It features a full orchestra here, while the single version only had guitars, drums, cymbals and flute. The Edge alternates between mid-tempo and fast parts, and some aspects of its guitar work are reminiscent of Annihilator. The New Order is a spherical song at the beginning, but becomes pretty straightforward after a while. It has the simplest arrangement of any song on the CD. Only the limited edition features the bonus track Dead Sound Of Misery, which is a darker version of Fly lyrically and musically, and a second disc with two interviews (one in German, one in English) and the video to Another Stranger Me. The digipak design is excellent, and the dragon on the cover is vintage BG artwork, though not by Andreas Marschall. As a whole, the album is better than A Night At The Opera, but not as good as Nightfall In Middle-Earth. It is more accessible, but still a bit too symphonic. Some choruses would have been better with simpler vocal arrangements. Fans will like A Twist In The Myth, but people who are new to the band should start with Imaginations From The Other Side. - Andreas Herzog
"Am I in time?" enquires the voice on the phone. In fact, Hansi Kürsch of Germany's Blind Guardian is ten minutes late for a telephone appointment with Ali "The Metallian" on a fine Saturday morning. It might not be a shining example of German efficiency, but the interview is taking place subsequent to the release of the band's latest single Fly, which is sure to become a prime example of the band's proficient and able song craft. On with the questioning then because several more interviews await the man. Apparently, a bunch of journalists have lined up to get 30 minutes each with the in-demand musician. - 15.04.2006
METALLIAN: Hansi, you have just released a single called Fly. My understanding is that your full-length is six months away, which begs the question why release something now?
HANSI: Basically, you are right. The album is now five months away. The reason for the delay is illness. I got ill during the production of the album leaving me with no chance to keep the schedule for the album's release, which was originally for late April. We were talking to the record company and we decided to keep the schedule for the single because that would give the fans an idea what the album would sound like and give them a sign of life from us. People are waiting for the album as it has almost been four years again since the last CD. I know it is not the smartest thing to keep the single release date and postpone the album, but it is merely a promotional push.
METALLIAN: How representative of the album is the single?
HANSI: Sound-wise, it will give you a very good idea. Musically, it allows you to see the perspectives of the album, but you will also see 11 or 12 completely different songs there as well. You will hear the traditional Blind Guardian songs on the album and you will hear a modern section. All in all, there are no fillers on the album and, as you can hear from the single, it is vocal-oriented.
METALLIAN: Does the description of Scalves And Shadows as an "acoustic version" mean that the song will also appear on the album?
HANSI: There will be a different version of the song on the album, but it won't differ too much. The song will remain the same. There will be some more choirs and Classical instruments on it, but the attitude will remain the same with Celtic roots. I would say that Fly belongs to the stronger songs of the album. Otherland is another strong one, which is more epic and power metallic. The Otherland novels by Tad Williams inspired the song. Another song, called This Will Never End, is for old school fans. It might be the most interesting song for power metal fans because it is very energetic. I am anxious to see how people will react to it. I am convinced that it will be highly appreciated by eighty-percent of our fans.
METALLIAN: Blind Guardian fans are usually not known for reacting negatively.
HANSI: No, they are not, but you can feel that there is a kind of very traditional section of our fan-base that wants to hear Tales From The Twilight World and Imaginations From The Other Side again. For them there might be some elements that are too modern. Even these guys will find that fifty-percent of the album is attractive.
METALLIAN: What can you tell us regarding the album's progression so far?
HANSI: Well, I suggested the title A Twist In The Myth a long time ago and we are still thinking about it. It is still the perfect title, but if we can come up with something better then that is fine. The album has been recorded. We do not have any more recordings. We are in the middle of mixing which should take another two weeks. It is produced by Charlie Bauerfeind with help from the band of course.
METALLIAN: Hansi, you need to be challenged on recording and releasing another cover version. What exactly is the point of reprising other people's work?
HANSI: There is a need for doing covers. Whenever we head into the studio we have enough material that is good enough for the album. This means that releasing a single with all the tracks from the album does not make sense. As I said, all the originals have a certain quality. We cannot downgrade one of them and place it on a single. We needed to come up with a cover version and we like to play cover versions. I liked the idea of covering In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida because I immediately came up with the idea of what to do with it vocally. We gave it our own style. I was able to deal with the song. That is the basic reason for a cover version. It is a B-side and nothing more. It gives a little value to the single. We like playing cover version, but we don't really like to have them on the album.
We have done another cover version for the second single as well. It will come out after the album is released. This one will be a big surprise. It is in the tradition of Mr. Sandman. Some people will like it and others will not. These are also a good chance to feature our more Spinal Tap-ish side!
METALLIAN: Is bassist Oliver Holzwarth a permanent fixture of Blind Guardian now?
HANSI: Oliver has been playing on our two albums and appearing live with us of course. He is a constant guest. That is how we look at it. I still keep the option of going back and doing the bass work. The material since the Imaginations… album has become so complex that I was not really able to do the bass patterns and simultaneously singing on stage. I managed to do both in the studio for Imagination… but at that point I said that I wont do it for the next album. Then we started looking for a studio bass player. We found Oliver who used to be in Sieges Even and is again now. He was exactly the type of bass player we needed. He can play all the progressive Steve Harris stuff. We have been calling him first ever since and, so far, he has been able to do it. He will be on the next tour, as well but he is not a constant member.
METALLIAN: Earlier you mentioned that some of the music on the forthcoming album would appeal to fans of the albums you recorded in the '90s. Do you believe this is an indirect recognition that some of the misgivings of former drummer Thomas Stauch regarding your newer sound were valid?
HANSI: (Hesitates)… well, I mean, he is free to say anything he wants. He never complained about it when we recorded A Night At The Opera and he certainly didn't say anything when we did Nightfall In Middle-Earth. He was not involved in the song writing and he didn't offer us any songs. That is the truth.
We had spoken about it though. That was not a problem for us. There were so many other things between he and us, which we could not sort out anymore. It wasn't just the musical issues. It was a big bunch of things that were not right. We spoke about that several times. We did not reach a conclusion with him though. At a certain point, he reached the conclusion that he wants to leave the band. We all said that it was the right thing to do. There is more to the story than just the music.
Still, he did not leave in anger. There are no bad words between us. It just did not get well anymore.
METALLIAN: Is it possible that Savage Circus might steal fans from Blind Guardian?
HANSI: 'Steal' is not the right word. They certainly will attract some of our fans. A lot of things are possible. Their vocalist is close to me. I have only heard two songs though. From what I have heard there are some similarities, but also a different approach to singing. That is from my point-of-view. They do a decent job as a traditional metal band, for sure.
METALLIAN: Hansi, years ago you were speaking regarding sales figures in Germany and you remarked to an interviewer that the sales ceiling in Germany is 300,000 copies for a metal band. Has that changed in any way?
HANSI: That statement is absolutely correct. I think it was some eight or nine years ago that I made that statement. The whole music business has suffered pretty much. If you sell 150,000 copies in Germany that is a 'Gold Album.' Barely any band does that. Nightwish got one two or three years back, but that was an exception. Nowadays, whoever sells 100,000 copies in Germany and 250,000 in all of Europe is a major success for any record company. I would guess that we are targeting 400,000 to 500,000 album sales for our forthcoming CD on a worldwide basis. It is difficult to say, of course. If you have a smash hit on the radio things could be different, but radio doesn't play hard rock here. You cannot become a mainstream band. It is all word-of-mouth. Of course, we have good print media here and the metal scene is very healthy. It is too small to be mainstream, but too big to be underground. It is something in-between.
Time is up and Hansi is flying off to answer more questions for someone else. The single Fly is now out through Nuclear Blast. For the fans, the release of the full-length, due in September, cannot come soon enough.
Nuclear Blast Records has been doing a good job of building momentum
and hype for the first Blind Guardian album in four years. Partly
helped by a delay that has turned out to be fortunate and partly
through a lack of competitive product at time of release, the German
quartet's album, entitled A Twist In The Myth, has a serious shot at
establishing another milestone for the band given the new recording
contract, which allows the band new resources and emphasis in North
America. Seeing that Ali "The Metallian" addressed the music with
the band's singer Hansi Kürsch a mere four months ago and the
review is also to be found in these pages, the focus of this
interview shifted to other matters less discussed. Read on for a chat
with the amiable vocalist on topics such as the band, politics and
life. - 20.08.2006
METALLIAN: Hansi, what is the level of excitement when a new album
comes out and can you connect the dots to your personal life? Not
being an underground band, is the excitement still there or have the
preparations become routine?
HANSI: No, it's not routine and I think its never going to be
routine. We put all our hearts into the music and, it's not like we
release an album on a yearly basis, so a lot of things depend on that
album. We consider each album to be an expression of our inner souls
so we depend on good feedback and that's why the excitement is still
the same. We are disillusioned about several things because we can
feel and touch the impossibilities of a fame like Iron Maiden due to
several reasons but apart from that it's still the same excitement,
you just become more realistic.
METALLIAN: You say you depend on good feedback. What does that mean?
Does that mean you get disenchanted if you get bad reviews?
HANSI: We have gotten a lot of bad reviews. I mean you experience
that with youth and you experience that kind of feedback, but you
need the support and assistance of your fans. If we are on tour and
no one shows up or they show up but they are disappointed and would
not listen to the new songs then this would be some thing to consider
of course, but so far we have experienced a good feedback. It is not
something we really think about.
METALLIAN: When you say an album is an expression of your soul, given
how you were formed 20 years ago, how do you keep releasing albums
that sound vibrant? Where does the freshness come from album after
HANSI: Well, it's certainly a question of your development as a
person. You establish a different life from album to album, something
going on around you and this has an effect on what you are doing, but
sometimes I myself am surprised how little we have changed. Of
course, you improve your music and try to be better in terms of doing
more progressive music, coming up with new elements, coming up with
new songs but the basic musical and lyrical message is pretty much
the same, I think.
METALLIAN: You say you haven't changed as much, but in the meanwhile
many of the fans say you have changed a lot. You have heard all the
criticism about your complex sound.
HANSI: Yes, but on the other hand there is criticism of songs like
Skalds And Shadows. The problem is that we have so many people around
us and we can't please everyone because there are people who really
support the progressive element, there are people who support the
classic element, the bombastic element and of course there are the
old-fashioned ones who celebrate the 'let your hair down stuff'
from the early '90s and of course some of it does not have the same
attraction. That is the way things go. You attract people and these
people go in different directions that you wish they would go with
you and you have to accept that.
METALLIAN: Do you accept it as you say or do you say, "I am sorry
but I am going to lose these people and there is nothing I can do
about it" or do you work it out during the songwriting and in the
studio and say, "I want to keep everyone."?
HANSI: You know that's what I meant when I mentioned Skalds And
Shadows. You cannot please everyone. Some people have a kind of fixed
opinion and whatever you do they have already decided to leave you. I
listen to a song like This Will Never End, for example, and I would
have guessed that this should have pleased the old school
Imaginations… fans and in lots of cases it does, but in many other
cases it doesn't and I think it's really a question of progression
in general and if these people do go to a different direction
whatever we would do we could not hold .
METALLIAN: You mentioned Skalds And Shadows twice. Have you been
getting criticism from that song?
HANSI: Yes, of course and that's the exact opposite direction you
know and maybe it's the same people, the people who would love us to
do stuff from the Imaginations... era. You find both, the people who
love the song and you find some criticism about it and I think it's
same people who want us to do what we have done in the past, but when
we do it its not good enough so its very difficult to please
everyone. The guy from Machine Head said if you do the old stuff you
will be crucified and if you do new stuff you will be crucified so
the only thing you can do is to try to come up with honest music and
express and please yourself first and then hope and wish that a lot
of people enjoy what you are doing.
METALLIAN: I am surprised you mention Skalds And Shadows because I
would have thought that people would listen to Fly from the EP and
that would get you a lot more criticism, because it has that Celtic
and the Caribbean elements and sound.
HANSI: You are right and we thought in the same way. I think for Fly
we got like 80 percent spectacular reviews, but twenty percent of the
people really hated it. Skalds And Shadows is just a nice little
ballad you do not really think about it as the most spectacular song
ever written but it has been done in a very decent way and we enjoyed
working on it and we thought "well this song will hurt no one"
because it really describes what we are doing. If I would have to
define Blind Guardian this is the song which I would relate to us as
the closest so I did not expect to get harsh criticism for that one,
but there were some people really complaining about that and these
people strangely enough said Fly is OK or even good. That's a joke.
I mean that's how things are.
METALLIAN: Where does the bulk of the criticism come from?
HANSI: The majority of people really enjoy what we are doing. I
cannot really complain about any criticism neither from the fans nor
from the journalists because it seems they are very supportive and
they seem to mostly share our opinion about the music and Blind
Guardian. It is a minority, but it is a loud one and I see that and
as a musician of course I am more sensitive to negative reviews than
positive ones, I am not sure if it's natural but it is natural for
METALLIAN: Is the criticism mostly from the underground, from fan-
based sites, or from major commercial magazines?
HANSI: No, it's definitely the underground, from fan based magazines
and the more traditional Blind Guardian fans who posts on our home
page, for example. You can see it there. The discussion about this
song and that song is there and you yourself wonder sometimes why
it's so harsh sometimes.
METALLIAN: Do you read your own forum often?
HANSI: I try not to. When we did A Night At The Opera there was a
good amount of very positive reviews for the album and most of the
people seemed to like it. Of course we heard that some people thought
it was over-produced and some other people thought it was too
complicated and we took that under consideration when we did the
songwriting for A Twist In The Myth, but the majority was very
positive but after our drummer's departure the discussion started
again and it was far harsher than it had been before. The album was
four years old! That's the ridiculous stuff where you have to be
very careful because that can easily manipulate your mind and the
minds of others people and I therefore sometimes try to avoid reading
any of the comments.
METALLIAN: Going back to my original point, when you are releasing a
new album does life, and I mean your life at home, stop and you go
into a professional musician mode and your family and home for two
HANSI: It is a difficult life sometimes especially when it comes to
touring because you need to keep touch and there are so many things
going on around you that you are completely confused about and it
becomes very very difficult. The good thing is my long-term
relationship. I have been together with my wife for over 20 years,
which means that she is used to the whole process and my son brings
me back to reality within seconds no matter how long I have been away
but if you are on the road you are not in charge of everything. It is
impossible to keep the balance of private and business life.
METALLIAN: Is it like jet lag when you get into that mode and come
back home or does it take you several weeks to get used to it? Do you
get completely used to it like your son does or is it a difficult
transition as a musician?
HANSI: No, that's what I meant when I said that fortunately I have a
son. He demands the regular attention from the very first moment you
are back and there is no time for a 'jet lag', not at all. But if
you are on the road, especially if you are in the United States or
Canada, for example, my son is sleeping when I am awake so it's hard
to just talk to him once on the phone during the whole period and
that makes life very difficult.
METALLIAN: When one thinks of Blind Guardian, in the sense of word
association, one thinks fantasy, a night at the opera, goblins and
Tolkien. Does that bother you or are you completely happy being
perceived as a person being in a fantasy-oriented band and
specialized in that kind of story telling?
HANSI: I think it's when we are strongest so it's natural that
people relate to that and it has been such an important part of our
career and describes what we are doing so well that I don't have any
problems with it I am just surprised that people don't realize how
much apart from that our lyrics can be. Even through the music one
can say the same thing because there is a different element in Blind
Guardian, which is not recognized, but it does not bother me. It is
just natural that the stuff people like most and they can relate to
becomes your most significant trademark.
METALLIAN: Is there a political or reality side to Blind Guardian? Is
there a social side to you as a person, do you pay attention to the
news and the politics?
HANSI: Yes certainly and I would say so for the other guys as well
because we are really stuck in reality. We are facing it and it is
also delivered in the music and the lyrics, but on a lower level. If
you go back to A Night At The Opera, the song Wait For An Answer is
certainly a political statement as well.
METALLIAN: Where do you stand politically and what is your view as
far as Germany is concerned right now?
HANSI: I am what you would call a democrat with a strong social
aspect. It is almost a green attitude I have, but it is not exactly
green although I am on a more working class level.
METALLIAN: Do you mean to say the Green Party?
HANSI: I am certainly closely related to the Green Party but, to be
honest, they have so many things which they politically try to
achieve which are not worth achieving and they don't have a clue
about a lot of things, which are not connected to the environment. I
am really shocked by that, trying to save the Amazon by killing the
European forest, for example, type of a thing.
METALLIAN: That makes no sense.
HANSI: But that's how they work. I have spoken to a lot of people
and the more local it gets the worse it is. I mean, the biggest
achievement of the Green Party here was they agreed to some activity
which was completely against their philosophy and ideology but apart
of that they have some really good aspects, so yes somewhere between
the Greens, working class parties and the more liberal economy
parties is where I stand.
METALLIAN: Like the Social Democrats?
HANSI: Yes, but there is no big difference between them and the
Christian Democrats anymore. That makes it really difficult, but we
have a liberal party here which is more supportive for the economy.
So it's the minor parties which I am pretty much supporting.
METALLIAN: Are you referring to the free liberals?
HANSI: Yes them and the Greens, the two big parties are too much the
same at the moment to be supported. When it came to elections a few
years back I voted for the social party but that was more for the
chancellor Gerhard Schröder because I think he was not exactly what
you would consider a social democrat even though he was their leader,
but I like a lot of the things he said and the way he thought.
METALLIAN: What is the name of that left leaning party you mentioned
HANSI: Die Linke.
METALLIAN: I want to ask you about your other band Demons & Wizards
and your partner in crime in that band. I am not trying to put you on
the spot, but to me he sounds like a typical right-wing American
ignorant wacko. You are into some fantasy, culture and you have
obviously read books. I don't understand how you two get along.
Perhaps you never discuss politics and don't get into that stuff…
HANSI: Oh we do and we disagree on some things and you would be
surprised how many times we agree. I understand and I accept that the
American culture and point of view is different from the European
point of view and I have to accept that. Jon has his opinion but he
accepts the opinion of other people and I appreciate that and have no
problem with his political direction. I don't think he is strongly
right wing and he is certainly not ignorant so even though we don't
have everything in common in terms of politics we can get along very
easily with each other. He explains a lot of things and that makes
life far easier.
METALLIAN: What is going on with Demons & Wizards?
HANSI: Unfortunately yes, I think, because Jon has started working on
Iced Earth's next album and I'll be on the road with Blind
Guardian for at least for the next 12 months, maybe even longer, so
we might be able to start discussing the next album in 2009 or 2010
and until then it's impossible to even think about it.
METALLIAN: You are also working on an opera on the side. Is that
something that we should forget about and not even ponder for another
year or two?
HANSI: No, that is close to be accomplished. We considered featuring
one of those songs on A Twist In The Myth's limited edition, but we
finally gave up on the idea because it was too difficult to realize
it. We are fairly close to finishing the song writing and once we
have accomplished the touring for A Twist In The Myth that will be
the next thing on the agenda. It is very possible the album is coming
out in 2008.
METALLIAN: Does that mean that your touring plans are for another
year or so?
HANSI: Twelve months certainly, and if the album is more successful
than expected then it will be even more than a year.
METALLIAN: Is the opera going to be a Nuclear Blast project as well?
HANSI: Yes, I think so. It depends. If we do not release it under the
name Blind Guardian we could release it with another record company,
but since they are doing such a great job with us so far I don't see
any reason not to release it with them.
METALLIAN: I must be confused because I was under the impression that
the opera is not going to go under the Blind Guardian name.
HANSI: Well we are still working on it. If we involve the band as a
band in that project then it certainly will be a Blind Guardian
album. If not then it is still a discussion. If I just do the vocals
and Blind Guardian has done the composing it's a question if it's
a regular Blind Guardian album or not so let's says 60 to 70 percent
I am sure it will be a Blind Guardian album.
METALLIAN: What is going on next with you guys?
HANSI: It looks pretty promising because I am happy to announce that
the North American tour will start in the beginning or middle of
November and we will tour Canada of course. There will be at least
four shows, maybe five, in Canada. We will play the West Coast which
we didn't last time, there is one show in Vancouver. We play
Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City and I think there is a fifth city
too, but I am not sure yet as it's a pretty extensive tour this
METALLIAN: What else is going that everyone should know about?
HANSI: We are working on the production for the European tour, apart
from doing interviews and being on a promotional tour, Europe starts
in September. The album will be released the very first day of that
month. We will do some signing sessions during that time, trying to
prepare our families for our departure which is a tough job.
METALLIAN:: Finally, there is also a promotional video for the
HANSI: Yes it is completed. It is for the song Another Stranger Me,
the song itself tells a story of a schizophrenic person who realizes
his multiple identities as he tries to find a peaceful state with
these characters, but they are all very vigilant and violent so they
do not give him the opportunity for a peaceful status. The video
tries to deliver that through a detective story which is inspired by
movies like Angel Heart or Fight Club.
A Twist In The Myth is out now through Nuclear Blast Records. The
band's web site is at www.blind-guardian.com.