"Metal in My Head" was out a few months back. Did you plan on having a new release out this year, or did the current situation and lack of gigs speed up the process?
Yes, we have been planning a new album for a long time. 2021 was the planned release year for us. Of course, the pandemic also played into our cards. We were able to concentrate 110% on production.
In the beginning, you were putting out albums every two years, but recently you have slowed down. Why?
We all have families, steady jobs and have played a lot of concerts in recent years. It is not always easy to get everything under one roof. We're not getting any younger either ha-ha! We give our maximum and if an album comes out after four years then that's the way it is. If we can do it earlier, that's good too.
Your guitarist Dano left the band last year, after almost two decades with Wizard. What happened?
Dano went his own way. It all became too stressful for him. The many concerts, songwriting... I think the pressure was just too much for him. He is currently doing very well even without Wizard and of course we are still in friendly contact.
Dano was involved in the songwriting process quite a lot, so how did it work this time around? Did you write all the material by yourself?
Oh, we got along pretty well. In most cases, I am the driver of ideas, so not that much has changed. The rest of the band was still there and supported me diligently.
You've got a new axeman on board, Tommy. Were you holding auditions for that position?
Actually, the four of us wanted to continue like in the old days. It worked out quite well with one guitarist if you can remember. At some point Tommy got in touch with us and asked if we were still looking for a guitarist. We invited him to a few rehearsals and it worked out fine. Tommy is a great guy; we've known each other for a long time. He used to play with Arndt in the band No Inner Limits too. He fits perfectly into the Wizard family and has already shown a lot of commitment.
For the first time in years, you recorded actual acoustic drums. On the last few records you had samples, so what are the reasons behind this change?
This time we wanted to go back to our roots. We recorded the last albums completely in our own home studio. That means a lot, a lot of work. This time we decided to record everything completely in the studio. This is very expensive, but the success tells us that it was a good decision. Please don't get me wrong, we are very happy with the last albums before "Metal In My Head". But you have to change your path from time to time, that's what we did.
In the press release for the album you stated that it was created with significant help from Jack Daniels. In what way was it helpful?
Ha-ha! Jack Daniels always helps. You shouldn't take everything so seriously. But of course during the pandemic we often sat together, drank Jacky and wrote songs.
Everyone who listens to Wizard knows what kind of music you play, yet on the new album, you have three songs with "metal" in their titles...
I think after 30 years of band history nobody will see it badly that we celebrate ourselves and metal a little bit. So if we celebrate what we love so much - Heavy Metal, then it can happen that the word "Metal" appears more often. In all honesty, if that bothers someone then our music is not the right direction for that person either, ha-ha! First and foremost, as a musician, I have to be happy with what I do. And I'm having fun. Every now and then the word "metal" can't appear enough, ha-ha!
"Whirlewolf" is dedicated to Martjo from Vortex, who tragically passed away two years ago. Were you close friends with him?
Yes, we were very close friends. He was an important part of my life. We went to many festivals together, played concerts together and met very often in private. Still can't believe he's not there anymore. There is a big hole in my family.
You closed the album with an epic tune called "Destiny". Would you say playing metal has always been your destiny?
I had my first concert when I was 13 and today I'm 47 and I'm still doing the same shit, ha-ha! The band, heavy metal, an indescribably great time... and yes, it was destiny for sure. I am very thankful for that.
Your early albums are quite hard to get. Are you planning any re-issues, maybe on vinyl?
I think it's not a big problem to buy our albums online. You can definitely get them at Amazon. The first two records "Son Of Darkness" and "Battle of Metal", however, are completely sold out. At the moment we don't have any plans for the old albums. Let's see what the future brings.
You've been singing for quite a while now. Would you say you have evolved as a vocalist over those years?
You always develop somehow. With every album you learn something new. I think if you listen to all of our albums you can see a clear development.
And who were your most important influences at the beginning of your career, apart from Eric Adams, whom you always mention in interviews?
I have learned a lot from other musicians over the years. Kai Hansen or Piet Sielck, for example. A great singer for me was and is Ronnie James Dio. I love the way he sang.
It's been 30 years since the first Wizard demo was out. When you were starting, has it always been the plan to play metal for decades, or was it rather like "Let's do a demo and see what happens" kind of thing?
Back when we were young, we never thought about our future. We wanted to play metal and have fun. And we're still doing that today, ha-ha! At the time, none of us would have thought that one day we would give concerts all over the world or enter the German album charts. I am very, very happy with what we have built over the years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal fans for their support.
Before we finish, can you tell me about the circumstances of you joining the Argentinian band Feanor? And also, how was it working with such top musicians like David Shankle or Frank Gilchriest who are/were involved with Feanor?
The bass player and founder of the band Feanor, Gustavo Acosta has been a Wizard fan since the "Bound by Metal" era. We were always in contact. He asked me if I would like to sing an album for him in 2015. I thought the first demo songs were cool and I said yes. So it has always evolved. So far I have been on tour twice in Argentina with Feanor. A great time... David joined us in 2018. We did a tour in South America together. We all had such fun together so we decided to write a new album. It was cool, it's a lot of fun composing with David. We are all very satisfied with the new Feanor album "Power of the Chosen One". Frank is also a hammer on the drums...
As a guy who breaths, eats and shits heavy metal, what would you say has been the best and the worst thing that's happened to the metal scene since you started your career?
The bad thing that has probably happened in all this time is the pandemic. For almost two years without concerts... a disaster for every metal fan. Something like that must never happen again. But metal never stands still. Hopefully it will soon be over and we can all rock out together again. The best thing is that this metal scene even exists. Music and friendships around the world. I love that...