If you like your metal dark and crunchy, Germany's Stormwitch are the band for you! Their latest album, Season Of The Witch, is full of guitar madness thanks to Stoney Stoner. Turn that amp up to 11 and join us for a bit...
PS: What guitars did you use recording the Season Of The Witch album?
SS: A lot! I know anyway, these were too many, ha ha ha! Okay, all my guitars - but do not ask me which model on which song, because I cannot remember exactly. Often, the parts have been re-recorded and I used another guitar. But the guitars are: Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul, Fernandes Dragonlfy, Fernandes Revolver pro, Fernandes Ravelle Shin, Ibanez RG 550, a 7 String, LTD MH 330 and an Ovation. Taliesin was completely played with a Gibson Les Paul. Evil Spirit I played with my Fernandes Revolver and the lead guitar with the Fernandes Ravelle Shin. Last Warrior I played with my LTD and At The End Of The World I played with my Stratocaster. I changed the guitar to match the sound I wanted because every guitar has her own special sound.
PS: What effects & amps were used during the sessions?
SS: ENGL - what else! ;-) Volker and I love the ENGL sound and we both play ENGL Second Edition Amps. Volker has the EL 34 Tube version and mine is the 6L6 Tube version. The effects are from TC: Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Detune, Pitch. For the crunch sound on Taliesin we used my Ibanez TS-9 which I have modified with the classic chip 4558DD. The holy grail, ha ha ha! In front of the ENGL Crunch Channel.
PS: How do you and Volle Schmietow decide on how the guitar parts are divided up on each song?
SS: All rhythm guitars were played by me, because this was a long time ago, before Volle came into the band. The dual lead parts are split off to the first voice for Volle and the second voice is always my part. For the lead parts, Volle plays the dirty rock 'n' roll parts and I do the technical parts.
PS: Let me ask you about a few songs on the album. What is the story behind Taliesin?
SS: The story is about Taliesin, the father of Merlin. He was killed by the dark fairy Morgian. It his life story. I was born at the end of time
And experienced what know one knows
Now Im here and in my prime
My mind no longer grows
I am praised with a special gift
For Im a healer and a King
Im not here to let things drift
I create when I sing
For I am Taliesin
My existence is in between
What is and what should be
Now look and you will see.
PS: What was the inspiration for Runescape?
SS: Runescape is an online game. www.runescape.com The story goes that when you are there, you can be what you want: a knight, a hero, or a witch. ;-) Andy's girlfriend is a big fan of that and plays it all the time. What did he have left but to write a song about this?
PS: Tell me about the title song - Season Of The Witch. I love that dual guitar line between verses, by the way.
SS: Yes, I love the dual line guitars too. Just like Thin Lizzy! ;-) The story of Season Of The Witch is about witches. When in rainy nights
The wind makes branches creak
And the silvery moon
Paints shadows in the streets...
The gates of Hell are opening for you
The messengers of doom are waiting too
Is this really fantasy or...? Nobody knows... Beware! The witch is alive! Me and Andy love that stuff and he wrote that lyrics... In the season of the witch...
PS: Going back in time - what was the first guitar you ever bought & why did you buy that particular model?
SS: I started when I was 6 year old and my parents wanted me to first learn classical guitar. But I wanted to play loud rock 'n' roll. However I lost the fight with my parents and got a classical guitar. Ha Ha Ha! My first electric guitar was a Fender Stratocaster copy. I was 12 years old and it was a cheap copy, but the times were hard those days. LOL My Amp had an amazing 5 watts and worked with batteries and the color was yellow LOL Hey, we were in the seventies! It had no distortion, only a clean channel. I remember - I turned all pots to the right side and put it in a cupboard to get some small distortion. Life is hard my friend! But do not worry! Today I have the amp I had always dreamed of.
PS: Which guitarists inspired you most to want to play guitar professionally?
SS: That was Gary Moore and Randy Rhoads (RIP), two legends who have passed away too early.
PS: What was your very first paying gig as a musician?
SS: I was 15 year old and we played with my school band in a youth club. I got 15,00 D-Mark - I dont know how much was that in dollars at that time. But it was enough for a drink and something to eat.
PS: What was the very first album you remember buying?
SS: 1972: Slade Slayed The reason why I want to play rock music! ;-)
PS: How did you first come to meet Andy Muck?
SS: The first time I saw him was 1987. I was on tour with my band Tyran Pace (Ralf Scheeper's former band, now he is in Primal Fear). The location was in Germany. Adler (Eagle), played a concert the day before we played there. We didn't have time to talk together. The second time I met him 2010 when I joined the band. We went for a long walk and talked about what we had experienced over the years. What experience we have gained. We both understood immediately; splendidly.
PS: What do you feel Andy's greatest strengths are as a frontman for the band?
SS: He has a charismatic voice and he is really authentic.
PS: What does Stormwitch brings to the world of metal that no other band does?
SS: The Masters Of Black Romantic.
PS: Are there any plans for Stormwitch to do live shows here in the USA in 2015 / 2016?
SS: We have not gotten an offer for a concert in the USA yet, so there are no plans right now. I feel a little sadness, because I know there some fans are waiting for it.
PS: Please tell me 6 CDs you never get tired of listening to.
SS: Accept Balls To The Walls
Iron Maiden Number Of The Beast
Judas Priest Screaming For Vengeance
Whitesnake Slide It In
Jorn Lande & Trond Holter Dracula - Swing Of Death
Gary Moore Run For Cover