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Our Common Language is Music


Архив интервью | Русская версия

The live season in Russia starts with a big bang this year as the first international band that metalheads in both St. Petersburg and Moscow are going to see is Rage, power metallers with 30+ years of storied history. And even though Rage it is various incarnations have performed in Russia numerous times since 2000, the fans are still eager to hear them play both new songs and all-time classics. The beginning of the current decade was not a very happy time for the band, as its members basically drifted apart, but in 2015 bassist and vocalist Peavy Wagnber brought in Marcos Rodriguez on guitar and Vassilios “Lucky” Maniatopoulos on drums, and a new era of Rage dawned. In St. Petersburg, right upon the band’s arrival, we had an opportunity to talk briefly to the entire band to find out more about the upcoming shows and the latest news from the realm of Rage…

Hello, hello, hello! (singing) Helloooooo! We are Rage! Yes, we are!

You've been to Russia quite a few times already. What are your biggest impressions from our country? Do you have an interesting or a funny story about your travels and shows in Russia?

Marcos: We have plenty of stories! Peavy, do you wanna start?

Peavy: Russia is simply beautiful and my favorite city is St. Petersburg, more in summer or spring times. And I remember a sad story…

Marcos: No. no sad stories! I have a happy story! I remember that last time we played in Moscow in Volta club right in the middle of the show somebody gave us a hand-drawn picture with Peavy holding a skull. Do you remember that?

Peavy: Yeah, yeah, it was a bit of a work to do!

Marcos: And Peavy was like a warrior…

Lucky: It was a picture that was drawn by hands. Somebody took a lot of time and efforts to draw this picture and present it to Peavy.

Marcos: What was it – a Slavonic warrior? I cannot remember actually what it was. But that was a funny story - in the middle of the gig somebody gave it to me. And there is a picture of me on the Internet holding this hand-drawn thing. And there is a Youtube video by someone who did it. It’s a time-lapse video of this girl painting it, and it’s really good. And from St. Petersburg I remember that we got really wasted last time. We hang out with some friends and it was a really good and funny night! We came back to the hotel at 5 o’clock or something in the morning. Oh, and Peavy was serving beers for the people. It was a crazy night, I should say!

Peavy: And everything was for free!

What shall we expect from your shows this time? How will they be different from the previous times?

Lucky: Of course, the band develops further. Every year brings something new. If we look back three years ago, when this line up started, for example… everything has changed. Our stage design has changed. We have two albums of songs on our shoulders. And of course, the setlist is gonna develop further with this latest album we are presenting on this tour.

Marcos: There are some new songs to sing. There’s always some interesting unexpected news in the set that even we didn’t think that it was gonna happen but after three years and 120 shows we are pretty cool with it! Hope that we will be healthy and well again to be able to do it all. But you can expect…

Lucky: …cool classic songs…

Marcos: You should expect all the good songs from the band’s discography and three guys who want to have a good time on stage and want to entertain the people.

You re-recorded several songs by Avenger for the bonus-CD to your latest album, “Seasons Of The Black” (2017). How was it like to play these very old songs again?

Peavy: It was really fantastic to re-record some songs. It started when we wanted to re-release this Avenger material from the first album “Prayers of Steel” (1985). We worked on the remastering with Marcos and we understood that those songs are timeless songs, but those songs weren’t recorded so well – you know, we worked on them when we were 18 years old! And it was our very first album, so the equipment was really primitive in 1984 compared to today. And then we had a glorious idea to jam on the riffs and record some of those songs as an extra material for today and it worked out really well. I think also it was really interesting for the fans to realize how these songs actually are, and maybe a lot of them remember this material. It was a very good decision to do it. We played those songs on this tour, right? Very spontaneously and accidentally. (laughs) But it was nice!

Do you intend to play them live here as well?

Lucky: You know, we don’t intend to play them but we play them because it just happens! That’s the good thing with this band after so many shows and after being so much into it. Yes, we have a plan about what we want to do but this plan can change spontaneously on the stage if we feel like doing it differently. And then we do it differently! It is good, it keeps the whole thing alive and this is cool!

Both Lucky and Marcos are lead singers in their own bands. Have you considered giving them some lead vocal parts in Rage?

Lucky: Some lead vocal parts?


Marcos: I have some lead vocal parts in this new album. The first track, “Season of the Black”, we sing the whole song together pretty much.

Peavy: I think she means a long part…

Marcos: No, I don’t think so.

Lucky: Peavy Wagner is the voice of Rage. We can add something to it, do choirs and make it…

Marcos: …make it bigger…

Peavy: In fact, it is really convenient to have three lead singers in the band. Two shows ago we played in London and I was very sick, very ill, and he (points at Marcos) was helping out, he took over a lot of lead vocals from me. I was just singing some backings and played mainly bass. It was really helpful for me to survive.

Marcos: Yeah, we are three, and instead of cancelling a show, any of us can take over if it’s necessary.

Lucky: And for sure it could be more Marcos than me. Singing and playing drums is very shitty.

Peavy: If it hadn’t been like this, we would have to cancel. But we still could play.

There are several classic Rage songs which are played by both Rage and Refuge. What is the reason? You have so many songs to choose from...

Lucky: Setlists always are a disaster for Rage because you have to choose songs for it. You can play maybe 16 or 17 songs in a 90-minute set. So each of us put the songs in the setlists that we really want to play and it counts 60 or 70 songs in the end. And we have to reduce it, and we do it, and then you have 50! And you do it again. And there are 30 songs, and it’s still a double set! It’s an endless story and there are must be some songs that you have to play no matter what. It’s absolutely hilarious and we have this discussion all the time! We can play a lot of songs. I think we could play 50 or 60 songs without a problem. And that’s why we love the spontaneous thing sometimes. Sometimes we change some song in the setlist after a few shows just to have a change and to play something different

It was reported that there will be a new Refuge album in 2018. How is the work progressing?

Peavy: We are still recording it. We haven’t finished the recordings yet and I can’t say when it will be finished. I can’t say when the mix will be finished. So far everything about this album is a little bit in the air because I’m so busy on the tour and I can’t really care about it. I don’t know when it will come out. We didn’t really discuss it, but soon in this year it will come, I’m pretty sure! But anyway it’s a side release and it doesn’t really matter when it comes out. We recorded about 11 songs but it’s not finished yet and we still have a lot stuff to do.

Lucky, what is your band Tri State Corner now doing?

Lucky: We will release our next album on April 27, right after the world tour of Rage. We will release the album and after that we are going to go on a European tour in May. Then we will play at a few festivals and in October we will tour throughout the Europe with Lordi. There are plenty of plans and I’m really looking for what will happen when we release the album. Everything is working fine, there is no interruption or something like that.

Is it difficult for you to keep two bands going at the same time?

Lucky: No. Not at all! It’s difficult to keep the bands going if you don’t like the bands. If you like them – it’s easy.

Peavy, last year you re-released several Avenger and early Rage albums on your own label. Why did you decide to release it on your own, and not give them to any other label?

Peavy: They were so many years on other labels, I’m pretty happy and proud to have them back in my own hands. Why should I give them to someone else? This is just another source where money goes and people have their hands on my rights. No need for this. It’s not such a big deal to re-release old stuff again. We have a very good distribution deal with Soulfood in Germany and we can handle this on our own. My label, or our label, Dr. Bones will re-release the whole Rage back catalogue sooner or later. It’s a lot of albums, so we cannot put them out at the same time, of course. The first thing we did was this Refuge box (“The Refuge Years”, 2015), then “Black In Mind”, because we were doing an anniversary tour for this, and recently another box, “The Early Years”, came out, with the Avenger material and the very first albums of Rage. Now, I don’t know exactly when, there will be a box with “10 Years In Rage” (1994), “Black In Mind” (1995) and “End Of All Days” (1996), then the classic albums, and as the last thing, we will do the albums of 2000s, as boxes and single releases. Both will come at pretty much the same time on CD and vinyl. It’s a lot of work, but we do it in between other work. (laughs)

Marcos, what is the most technically difficult Rage song to perform? Are there any Rage songs which you would like to play, but haven't had a chance yet?

Marcos: Every song requires concentration.

Lucky: It’s speeder songs!

Marcos: Yeah, I could say that too. It’s the speeder songs because they are really fast on the right hand. All the songs that we’re playing, I’ve been playing these songs since I was 15 or 16 years old. I consider the music of Rage really technical and since I’m the only guitar player in the band, I have to do it very precise and accurate but I can’t say that it’s a challenge for me. Because I love them so it makes them easier for me. If I don’t like a song it makes it harder for me. But I like all the songs! If I have to choose I could say that the songs from the 90s are really fast for the right hand, high-speed riffing like in “The Price Of War” or “Take My Blood”, but the latter we don’t play live. (laughs) Stuff like that, or “In A Nameless Time”, is really, really difficult to play and requires a lot of concentration. But I love them so it’s not difficult! If you know what I mean.

Are there any Rage songs which you would like to play, but haven't had a chance yet?

Marcos: How much time you have here on the phone? (laughs) I would like to play all the songs from… ALL THE SONGS from “XIII” (1998), all the songs from “Ghosts” (1999), all the songs from “Ten Years in Rage” (1994), all the songs from “The Missing Link” (1993)… I mean, I would like to play them all!

Lucky: The same.

Peavy: It’s hard to say… I have to meditate.

Marcos, you did guest solos on a couple of albums by Russian band Dissector. How did you get to know them? What are your impressions from this cooperation?

Marcos: Well, honestly it happened because they contacted me via my own website to record a guitar solo on their album. I listened to their music and I thought that it was super cool and I said “Yes, ok, let’s do that!”. I recorded it, sent it to them and they were really happy with what I did. I like the band and it sounds pretty cool for me.

Rage is a band with three people of different nationalities. Is it easy or difficult to find the common language on every issue? Do you ever argue about anything?

Marcos: Nooooo!

Lucky: First of all we have a common language which is music, and this is what keeps us together. To be of three different nationalities is more a value that an issue. In general it’s a value when you could get something from another culture. We speak English, all the three of us are living in Germany and one day we will speak Germany with this boy here (points at Marcos) cause he is going to learn it. And we don’t have to argue about anything because the general topic here isn’t the cultural thing. The point is that we know each other for so many years. Peavy and me are friends for the more that 25 years and Peavy and Marcos are friends for more than 10 years. And me and Marcos are living in the same house now. We see each other every day. If you have to argue after all of this stuff then you should stop it. (smiles) All of it is really family-like, so we don’t have any issues and the cultural thing is just adding something. I’m learning something from a South American guy every day, he’s learning something from a Greek and we’re learning something from a German. It’s all good!

Talking about cultural things I want to ask you about getting something from our culture. What do you like the most in here?

Marcos: Girls! (everybody laughs) I’m sorry, I was like… g-g-girls! I tried but I couldn’t help it. Contrary to everybody saying that Russians are very cold, I found them really nice. Every time we came here we had a really good time! People are really kind, really open-minded, really warm and kind-hearted. This is against what other people could say.

Peavy: I think the Russian culture had a lot of influence on European countries after the centuries of connection. If you go back to your own roots you’ll always find something like Russian roots in your own. For me I have always felt at home here.

Lucky: Form the professional point of view I can say that Russian crews always prove that they are super well-organized. You can count on their word, they are reliable, and it is not that you can take for granted everywhere. It’s special and we are really grateful for this.

Rage on the internet: http://www.rage-official.com/

Special thanks to Club Avrora for arranging this interview

Interview by Elena “Linn” Pavlova
Questions also prepared by Roman Patrashov
Photos: Elena "Linn" Pavlova (St. Petersburg 2018), courtesy of Nuclear Blast (promo pics)
January 24, 2018
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