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Krokus - Chris Von Rohr: „People only know my big mouth, nobody sees my work!“
Swiss Rock veterans is a fitting description of the band Krokus. Since 1975 they have been a gem in the Swiss Rock scene, and despite their many ups and downs they got together again. The new album „Dirty Dynamite“ is the second after the official comeback with the classic line-up Von Rohr, Storace, von Arb &Co. Chris von Rohr is the band mastermind and became famous as juror in castingshows and with his demand „Meh Dräck“ (More dirt!). The Swiss love or hate him, I admire this man for saying what he thinks, no matter the topic, and there are few of this kind in Switzerland. Despite a lot of stress, Chris took time to answer STALKER´s questions.
Your new album „Dirty Dynamite“ was just released, but the tour doesn´t start before May, why do you wait so long to get the new material on stage?
Long? Hey, we need time to prepare seriously for the live shows, after the studio and the release mode. Haste makes waste ...
Your new band mascot „Da Dög“, an Olde English Bulldogge named Maddox, also on the album cover, is a real beauty, how did you get this idea?
We wanted something else than a skull – the dog is the better human being – a real philosopher – a dog´s motto: no matter what happens on this crazy globe – the main point is that my bowl will be refilled – this is the way we perceive our music – the trends come and go – Krokus will persist.
You recorded the album in the famous Abbey Road Studios in London, I think you have been there for the first time – how was it? Everybody was talking about a certain magic in this studio, is that true?
Sure, we could have recorded for much less in Switzerland, including the cowbell tinkling. From the logistics point of view, it would have been the easiest and cheapest way. There are musicians who spend a lot of money on golf lessons or divorces, we invested a lot into this production. Despite that, music is an expression of emotions. And how else to inspire such old Rockdögs like us – in one corner you can see the old amplifier of Keith Richards, in the other the microphone stands John Lennon and Ringo used … and in between the water pipe of Yoko Ono. We were in a surrounding where our heroes like the Beatles, the Stones, The Who or Hendrix had been creative. The rooms there aren´t over-renovated, but radiate a certain originality. In such a studio you can only give 120 percent. And three miles further Krokus had launched their international career at the „Hammersmith Odeon“. Also for me as producer this was a highlight in my career. It was an incredible summer. Me and singer Marc were totally in an emotional high.
You got also Mandy Meyer into the band for this album, who had been a replacement guitarist on a US tour in the 80s already, and he was part of the band before the reunion in the original line-up. Why did you get Mandy back into the band now?
Not moving forwards means getting left behind is also true in this job. Just like famous Buffalo Bill, we wanted to present a different attraction on tour. We played with Mandy already last year in Japan, and it was a blast. Then Fernando came up with the 3-guitars-idea. It´s simply ingenious! Not what I was getting afraid of first - too much noise, but there´s a whole new color added to the spectrum. We can be more variable and play with more dynamics. It is a lot of fun to weave three guitars into each other. When we wanted to play stuff in two voices before, the rhythm guitar was missing. With Meyer, who had been part of Krokus already in 1981 and from 2004 to 2008, the band can expand its sound spectrum. While Fern plays the basic, typical, traditional rustic Rock guitar à la Chuck Berry or Angus Young, Mandy rather represents the lyrical, melancholic, delicate technician for those songs in minor. The last unicorn, that´s his nickname, is therefore taking on the role existing in the successful early days of the band, which was held by Tommy Kiefer, who died in 1986.
In your video the model Sarah Israel plays the girl who twists the rockstar around her finger with her „Dirty Dynamite“ - why did you choose her?
Coincidence – the agency decided! It was a perfect fit.
Can you tell us where it was shot?
USA and Kofmehl Soletta
You´ve released 3 books in the recent years (Sternenstaub, Bananen Flanke, Hunde wollt ihr ewig rocken) – the first is mentioned among the top titles of fiction, do you have plans for another book?
I am always writing, and there will be something coming up in the next 2-3 years – no idea yet what it could be!
In recent years, you have acted twice as juror in the casting shows „Musik Star“ and „Superstar“ on TV, yet on your website you write about „stupid casting shows“. Was it different with those shows you have been part of, or why did you take part in those when you are not convinced of such casting shows at all?
I needed the money to heat up my pool. Luckily this is no longer the case.
What should a casting show be like to be acceptable nowadays?
No comment – I am no longer interested.
You are the band member of Krokus who is most present in the media. One could think that the world knocks at Chris von Rohr´s door, or what´s your opinion?
How I see it – the whole thing is a lot of work 24/7 – people often only know my big mouth – nobody sees my work – read my books if you are interested what my daily life is like, then you know a bit more – in the end it is the prove of accomplishment that really counts – well, nobody just gives you 50 Gold and Platinum awards just for nothing.
Sorry dear – I have no energy left for more – maybe next time, part 2 in summer. Have a nice spring!
Thank you for your time, and we gladly accept this offer. So take it easy, have a great tour, till next
PS: Krokus made it with the new album „Dirty Dynamite“ in the first week to the top position in Swiss charts and to 17th place in the official German Media Control Album Charts.
More information : http://krokusonline.seven49.net/web/
Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos by M. Häusler Date: 2013-03-16