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Dezperadoz - Wild West made in Heidelberg

With „The Legend And The Truth“ Alex Kraft, guitarist of the Onkel Tom live band and member of the AC/DC cover band Dirty Deeds, has made an album which is published exactly 125 years after the legendary stagecoach robbery in Tombstone on April 21st, 1881.

The successor to „The Dawn Of Dying“ from 1999 is meant to be a concept album about the life of Wyatt Earp – the Wild West hero who spawned many myths and legends. With a bullet from the famous 45 Magnum the album was delivered by mail and Alex faced up to the questions shooting his answers equally sharp; slowly swinging out of the saddle.

Hi Alex, firstly congratulations and a lot of respect for „The Legend And The Truth“. You´ve delivered a great album, which is running in my player now for weeks. Because of that we have to ask you a couple of question about it!
Howdy Ingo! It´s great that you´re able to make use also of the second journey to the good old times of the Wild West. Thanx!

125 years after the stagecoach robbery the second Dezperadoz album after „The Dawn Of Dying“ is now released. Why is it that there´s such a long time between those two albums? Was it because the album didn´t go like you had imagined?
Yes, 120 years would´ve been better but you can´t have it all. „Dawn Of Dying“ got excellent reviews and was quite successful for a newcomer. After the first album I, right away, started writing for the second and already in 2001 I went to the studio; Tom was still on the mic here, though. During this studio session fate slapped me in the face quite harshly and I had to go on with my life without my wife somehow. In this time I sank quite low but I luckily also learned what truth, friendship, pride, grit and compassion meant. I wanted to start a new life, cut off my long hair, broke up the band, told Tom Angelripper and the others that I wanted to leave the whole scene, retreated into my own shell and started, between self-pitying and boozing, to write a diary to be somehow able to assess myself before I would turn into a complete asshole. Boggi (Drakkar) released me from all my duties. Tom Angelripper, Manni Eisenblätter, Michael Kleanthous offered me help in every way. Well, the guys didn´t leave me alone. Took me, dragged me with them to tour with Sodom around the world until my spirits were revived again. I never touched the tapes of the second Dezperadoz again. I wrote the second record all over again in 2003 because I began to see the topic of Wyatt Earp, especially the big changes in his life, also as a part of my experiences.

Back then Tom Angelripper was still on board but this time around the album gets along completely without him. What was that about?
I just wanted to realize my ideas completely on my own which probably becomes apparent through the whole Dezperadoz story.

„The Legend And The Truth“ deals with the life of Wyatt Earp. How did you come up with him as a topic? After all, there are enough stories and legends from the Wild West, you could just as well have chosen Butch Cassidy.
The basic idea of taking Wyatt´s story came about at the photo session for the first CD, which was in Tombstone, Arizona. I bought every book that dealt with this controversial person and found that he wasn´t the American superhero who he was said to be but he was a person who, by troubles in life, had to live intensively through all facets and at the end got himself out of trouble with the help of some true friends (partly consisting of murderers and presidents-to-be!!) and something that is called value.

How was the research for the lyrics? Were there problems to get the information you wanted? How did you find out what is legend and what is truth?
The Research began already in 1999 in Tombstone at this afore-mentioned photo session but it was a bit too American for my taste. I talked to hobby historians who lived in Tombstone and engaged themselves with this for a long time. Writers like William Mark invested years to compare myths and stories. Stuart N. Lake still had the honour to interview Wyatt Earp himself and wrote his biography. If you stick with the documented, recorded events and get a little feeling for the country, the time and the customs then you get a slightly different impression of the hero in contrast to the picture that is popular in the American public.

Would a fictitious John Wayne, Gary Cooper or Clint Eastwood topic be something for you for example for the future?
Not really, I need tastes, emotions, sounds and smells for a song idea. Preferably, a story which really took place like that or similar and, as is generally known, life writes the most interesting stories!

What influence has the Wild West and the whole mythology of the Wild West on you and also on your private life? Do you keep up the research works at home?
Yes, that´s my hobby and I collect weapons and relics from past times.

After making this album how do you see the representation of life in the Wild West in movies?
The reason why spaghetti western were so successful back then was that no big budget movie was able to get across all the dirt of that time.

Do you have some special favorites from that movie genre?
„Palerider“, „The Wild Bunch“, „The Great Silence“, „The Good, The Bad & The Ugly“ and „Once Upon A Time In The West“.

What about the big composers like Ennio Morricone? Did they have influence on your compositions? How did you create those special melodies?
I studied music (jazz and classical music). For me, Ennio was always a big role model. Because he always gives the approval (when someone covers his songs) himself I had the honour to get such a personal approval for „As A Judgment“ on the first CD.

Are there maybe already offers to make a western soundtrack with you?
Would be a sweet thing! Maybe someday we get the chance to make a whole spaghetti western instead of only a clip. We have a lot of time!

With Joacim Cans and Tobi Sammet you have illustrious guest musicians on board. How did the contact come about and how was the collaboration? What did the guys contribute and are they also western fans?
This is not quite right! On the record are no guest musicians. Tobi, Doro, Joacim and Weiki only took on speaking parts of persons who are important for the story and thus told, like in a movie, parts of the story.

You are on tour with bands who aren´t quite in line with your sound. Is this rather an advantage or a disadvantage?
I´m curious about that, Dezperadoz is something special, something new. I think it doesn´t really matter with whom we play. With that band there´s only black and white and that´s how it should be. Spectacular!! Adventures? I never looked for them. God knows how it came about that they were always there wherever I rode... (Wyatt Earp)

Do we have to wait another seven years for the next Dezperadoz album?
I really hope not! THANX! All the best! So long, yippieyeeaah!

Website of the band: http://www.Dezperadoz.com

Author: Ingo Gießmann, Photos: hfr, Translation: Kathleen Gransalke
Date: 2006-05-19

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