Intervju med Andi Deris.
Andi Deris, som i vanliga fall sköter sången i Helloween, har snickrat ihop ett soloalbum där majoriteten av låtarna kan kopplas till världens alla finanskriser och girigheten som sprids som en sjukdom världen över.
Han bor numera på Teneriffa och även om han inte själv direkt påverkades av krisen 2008, har han sett människor runt honom göra det.
Jag ringde upp Andi för att snacka om plattan, men även om lite gamla historier och kort om planerna för Helloween.
If the financial meltdown hadn´t happened in 2008, had there been a different album?
Andi Deris: Yeah and probably not as specified and not as aimed to all these asshole managers and so on. I thought it was good timing to write about corruption and greed and stuff like that. If you look at the world it´s just stocks, win optimization and money, money, money. Actually the world we´re living in now, is not that far from the stone age. The strongest one is the one who dictates everything, but there´s one big difference and that´s that we don´t even realize it. It´s more or less normal.
It´s fascinating that there´s always people saying that bad things will happen and then when it happens, we´re all surprised.
Andi Deris: I think the small people, the majority, live by the decisions from a handful of others and the people have to follow those decisions if they want to survive. There´s really no place on the planet left where you can go and just say “Well, I´m off! I´m living my own life.”. It´s hard to survive on your own.
Were you yourself affected in anyway by the crisis in 2008?
Andi Deris: No, not really. We felt it ticket sales wise in Spain, Italy and Greece where they were down by 50%, which was to be expected because they don´t have the money. But that´s about it and it didn´t affect us that much. I have a lot of friends here in Tenerife and they work in the tourist business and I think more than 80% here work in that business and in a crisis people don´t spend money on travelling and so on. The only good thing that happened after that was that a lot of people who might have gone to Egypt and so on, spent their holidays in the Canary Islands instead. But there´s a lot of unemployment over here and it´s something that shouldn´t have happened had the people who are responsible even realized that they have a responsibility. They are too greedy and too blindfolded to even realize they have a responsibility.
Both Germany and Sweden managed fairly well after the crisis compared to other countries.
Andi Deris: That´s true. But even though Germany is doing well, the money doesn´t reach the people. Germany´s certainly leading a good life, but then again, why don´t they lead a much better life? The majority of the people are still satisfied and leads a good life, but compared to the success Germany´s had, why don´t the people lead an even better life? The money´s somewhere up there, but doesn´t reach the people down there and I´m a bit worried about that. If people don´t have the money to reinvest, because you always need to spend some money to keep up the structure, then that´s worrying. So it´s not quite true that the Germans are doing better, it´s only a few doing better.
Where did the title “Million dollar haircuts on ten cent heads” come from?
Andi Deris: That´s an old saying from the 1920´s and Black Tuesday (Wall Street crash in 1929). They said “20 dollar haircuts on 10 cent heads” and nowadays you have to multiply it a bit. These days we have a lot of stupid people who are actually willing to pay a million dollars for a haircut. It´s strange but there are people like that. A status symbol haircut.
What´s the main reason for it taking so long between your solo releases? Is it mainly you being busy with Helloween?
Andi Deris: Yeah, busier and busier. From 2000 and onwards I kinda became one of the main songwriters and for each and every album I have to bring at least 5 out of 11 songs and at the end of the day there aren´t that many leftovers. Ideas pop up all the time and this time I tried to collect the songs that kept popping up again and again and I knew that I couldn´t use them in Helloween because they´re so far away from that sound. There are actually 3 or 4 songs on this album that we tried in Helloween and we really tried to force them into that style, but it destroyed the songs. What was left was mediocre songs, so we decided to keep our hands off these ones. You need 10 years to multiply with 2 or 3 leftover songs from every album and then you have 15 or 16 songs to pick from.
Andi Deris: Not at all. I never make my mind up when I write, if it´s a song for Helloween or whomever. It´s just my hobby and I sit down and try to be creative and I don´t make my mind up on whether it´s for Helloween or solo stuff. It wouldn´t be fun. I should feel very happy to be able to work like that. It all depends on the rest of the songs when we write for Helloween. Then again, Marcus is always surprising and Michael sometimes with really crazy ideas. It´s always a very sensitive thing to come up with 12 or 13 songs for an album. Coming from the 80´s, we´re all old school rockers and we want to have a story to tell from the first song to the last. You should get the feeling of a one hour great journey, so it´s important the way you mix the songs. I know a lot of fans out there don´t give a shit for obvious reasons because of mp3´s they probably don´t listen from the first song to the last one. They shuffle or maybe just download two or three songs. We are quite aware that the album format doesn´t have that importance the way it used to have, but we actually want to do it for ourselves.
On the other hand, the metal fans are pretty conservative and are probably the ones that actually still listen to the whole album, compared to fans of contemporary pop music and so on.
Andi Deris: Fortunately, yes. We´re aware of that and maybe that´s the main reason to why we stick to that old fashioned way that it has to be an album. I love it! I grew up like that and I don´t want to listen to an album in any other way. If I like a band, most of the time I buy the whole album. Otherwise you don´t really understand the band. Sometimes I listen to one or two songs that I more or less like and then when I listen to the whole album, the two songs I more or less liked, I suddenly love them. It happens often. Then again, I don´t know if this whole thing is staying the way it is or getting worse? I´m always paranoid.
It´s a tough business.
Andy Deris: A lot of people are saying that it´s not getting worse and that we´ve already reached the worse point, then again when you see other tours with bands and you go “Wow, it´s getting worse!”. Great bands all of a sudden just sell 100 or 200 tickets and I get paranoid and think “Will this happen to us?”. Nowadays you have a lot more competition because there are so many bands out there.
On this album, was there one song that was more difficult than the others getting done?
Andi Deris: Yeah, “Who am I”. There were probably two or three songs that were a lot easier on the demo, but when you make a demo it´s just you and you program the drums, play the bass and the guitar and it sounds like an ok demo, but when you pick a band, different people might have difficulties with different songs, which is ok. Being a musician you have your favorite stuff to play. I remember that “Who am I” took quite a while actually until it sounded the way it does now. There were so many possibilities and it used to be over 8 minutes and now it´s only 7 minutes. Arrangement wise it was a challenge because I wanted to tell a story and there was even one version that we cut down to 4 minutes, but then it felt like the story didn´t get told. It took nearly a week to find the right arrangement for that song.
Are you gonna tour for this album?
Andy Deris: Yeah, hopefully I have a chance to play some festivals in the summer and then maybe take it from there.
Earlier you mentioned bad managers. Through your career was there one guy worse than others?
Andi Deris: No, that would be unfair to say. Usually it´s a conglomerate of people and sometimes one idiot doesn´t know that the other idiots did some stupid things. Everybody is probably trying to fight for themselves and then, maybe, think of the band. That´s what we´ve been taught anyway. Even big name managements first of all work for themselves. You should expect it to be the other way around, that they would work for the band and then for themselves, because without a band there´s no management. The problem is that suddenly there were so many artists out there that the bands became exchangeable. The managements realized that if they can´t squeeze everything out of this band, they just take another band. That´s what happens on all these Idol and Talent shows. That´s the world we live in. We should be happy that we´re in the rock and metal genre, because we´re probably still thinking in a different way. Metal is not in the media and we´re against the media. The media actually don´t want to play metal. Maybe because MTV realized in the late 80´s that you can´t make money on metal because metal bands don´t pay to play. That was the main reason. I remember touring the US and watching MTV in ´91 and MTV said that metal was dead. They didn´t say why, but we knew that it was because they couldn´t ask metal bands for money to play their videos.
Andi Deris: Lund, yes.Yeah we did “White men do no reggae”. It was a great time for us. We were completely green, young boys on tour for the first time with an album that just became bigger and bigger. It was probably the time of my life and it was a dream come true. Everybody has that dream of being successful and conquering the world, but then when it happens it´s like “Whoa, what´s going on now?”. The reality is completely different and you´re out there and getting homesick. When you dream about something, you only see the positive things, but never the less, we came from a small town in Germany and all of a sudden we had a number one album in Japan during the tour with White Lion. We had like 1000 to 3000 people every night on that tour and it was a dream come true.
Was it just an endless party?
Andi Deris: No. Sure there were parties, but not and endless party. I think the tour went on for three months and I remember we tried it for the first two and a half weeks, but then we realized that we couldn´t go on like that. We would never survive if we kept going like that. (laughs)
I´ve always wondered where you got the name Pink Cream 69 from?
Andy Deris: Oh, that´s a very nasty thing (laughs). It´s the 69 and the lady is having her monthly thing. I didn´t know the meaning of it in the beginning when I read it on a cocktail card. A bartender in Baltimore explained it to me and I was like “Oh my God!”. When I read it, I thought it was a cool band name. Not too cliché and people would probably go “What?” and it was exactly the name I was looking for. A name where people wouldn´t even know what kind of music it was. Then when I ordered the cocktail and I asked what it meant, the bartender just said “Look at the colors! Doesn´t it ring a bell?” and then he explained it. (laughs) It was nasty, but I liked it. (laughs)
Looking back on your career, is there one album or a certain song that is a favorite of yours?
Andi Deris: There´s always one song that had a key role in my story and that´s “Perfect gentleman”. First of all it was a funny thing describing myself in the most stupid way and on the other hand, it was the main reason why I left Pink Cream 69. That song was so much me and I was really pissed off when they told me that they wouldn´t go onstage with me and that song. They said they would never go onstage with me whistling. The funny thing is that a year later, Scorpions had their biggest hit ever with whistling in it. I mean, we went out onstage with a boom box and did “White men don´t do reggae”, which was a funny thing to do, so I couldn´t see why they wouldn´t go onstage doing “Perfect gentleman” whistling, unless the people around you completely changed and they did change. They weren´t the guys I conquered the stage with. All that glamour and color we had. They wanted to go grey, dark and adult and I just thought “Ok, fuck you!”. (laughs) Since ´89 Michael Weikath asked me if I wanted to join Helloween, because they were scared that Michael Kiske wanted to do some Elvis Presley stuff and Michael was terrified saying it was a metal band and the next album kinda proved him right. The fans got more and more pissed off so he was completely right. I never thought I´d leave a band of friends, but when I realized they had completely changed it was different. There were a lot of nasty things going on that I don´t want to talk about. I was probably as stupid, but I didn´t want to betray an image that was very successful, for something grey.
What´s the plan for Helloween?
Andi Deris: We finished the tour in South America at the end of December, but we´ve already grabbed the guitars and we´re collecting ideas for songs. We´re just being at home on the couch in front of the TV, smoking, drinking and playing guitar. I think we´ll be back in the studio in August and record the new album and then it all starts over in 2015 for another 12 months. I´d reckon the album will be out in February 2015. We won´t rush it. (laughs)