» Hansi Kürsch - Blind Guardian
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Interview conducted August 15 2010
Interview published August 18 2010

The new Iron Maiden release is due out this week, and the songs sound promising! Soon the new Blind Guardian album will be out in America. I was so pleased to speak with the Sacred Bard - Hansi Kürsch - all about his soulforged journey from the dark into the light, and their first studio release in almost four years.

Now, no longer just another stranger, me and Hansi used our imagination to discuss The Wheel Of Time series; Tolkien Tales, and the twist in mythistory; Wacken guest performances, getting older, but wiser, and some other far forgotten tales from the twilight world of the Masters of the Ring.

MettleAngel: Hello Brother, it is great to finally speak with you again. We met in Cleveland while you were touring for 'A Twist In The Myth'.

  • Hansi: I think I recall that. I have been doing so many interviews, that I need to get my head together and my mind straight.

MettleAngel: I totally understand. I want to congratulate you on another amazing album.

  • Hansi: Well, Thank You.

MettleAngel: I was so pleased to hear that you are revisiting some of the elements of your past like 'Somewhere Far Beyond', and Michael Moorcock's Tanelorn, but you are also keeping the symphonic quality of 'Nightfall', and 'Night At The Opera'.

  • Hansi: This is good to hear from an American. Many of you are so critical, and want us to just play the old stuff.

MettleAngel: I respect the eternal evolution of the band. You always uphold your roots, then you expand upon them. I have always been a strong advocate of your lyrics, both derived from fiction, and from your soul journey of life. I noticed that this time you have delved into Robert Jordan's - Wheel Of Time series.

  • Hansi: Yes, we have written two songs dealing with this fabulous work of fantasy fiction.

MettleAngel: I have never read the books, but my wife Wendy is a huge fan, and dedicated supporter. She has most of the books in original hard cover edition. She has been a collector of these tomes, since before we even were married. I assume that you wanted to pay your respects to his memory, since he died before completing the series?

  • Hansi: Actually, my Turkish friends turned me on to the books. We had already decided to write the song "Wheel Of Time", even before he died. It was all a coincidence, and we did not view it as being an homage.

MettleAngel: Oh really! I was surprised that you had never written about this series on previous albums.

  • Hansi: When I first heard about the work, it never really appealed to me like Tolkien, or Stephen King did. Then, when I revisited it, the work just struck me deep down. There is truly a very strong spiritual vibe running through it with the Dark Lord, and the power similar to The Force.

MettleAngel: There is assuredly a real yin-yang source energy balance of male and female strength being established. My wife has informed me of this. The Dark One (Shai'tan or Ba'alzamon), like the Sithlord, or Voldemort, with Harry Potter, is represantative of an ongoing dualistic nature dating back to the writing of the gnostics, or even earlier.

  • Hansi: I have always been drawn to this type of supernatural elemental energy.

MettleAngel: I assumed that given the nature of your lyrics. Those 13 forsaken (eight men and five women) chosen leaders in the WOT, are like the 12 archons under the reign of the Demiurge in Gnostic philosophy. Have you read all the books up to date?

  • Hansi: Actually, no, I am only up to the sixth book. I intend to read them all in order. I am intrigued by all the individual worlds, cultures, beliefs, and ideas which permeate all throughout.

MettleAngel: Yes, indeed there is a notable amount of relevant typology ever presented.

  • Hansi: I am drawn to the battle of evil versus good. The Dark Lord is so iconic.

MettleAngel: I can understand your fascination. Interestingly enough, I read that you were a practicing Christian.

  • Hansi: That is not so.

MettleAngel: At Wikipedia there is this direct quote, "I am a faithful but very critical Christian".

  • Hansi: Hmnn, that is only half true.

MettleAngel: So you are not a Christian?

  • Hansi: I was raised as a Christian, and I do believe there is tremendous wisdom to be gleaned from the Bible, but I am not a practitioner of the faith. My family and I do not attend any religious service.

MettleAngel: Many famous musicians have admitted that they are Christians, and I respect this. Alice Cooper, Sean Peck of Cage, Tom Araya, Chris Jericho, all are Christians in their personal lives.

  • Hansi: I just feel that the world needs a strong sense of morality, and social conduct. I am a strong believer in the powerful force of life, a supernatural existence, but I do not adhere to any anthropomorphic deity.

MettleAngel: Neither do I. It seems like you have much more in common with your Gnostic and Pagan ancestors. Personally, I have studied religion all my life, and I am this close to becoming an atheist. I know I never will be, though because like Plato, I believe in Life, Love, Truth, and other higher ideals. The divine elements of light, water, air, earth, and spirit are essential to our existence.

  • Hansi: I wholeheartedly agree!

MettleAngel: I guess you could say that I am a Monotheist, with Polytheistic and Pantheistic tendencies.

  • Hansi: (Laughs, and put down the phone briefly) WOW! I could not have said it better, that is exactly it!

MettleAngel: I belive in God, because I love Life, but God is everywhere, and God is everything!

  • Hansi: I agree! You are the first American to finally understand my spiritual beliefs.

MettleAngel: Well, given your love for Tolkien, Moorcock, and especially Stephen King, I think your journey in the dark to light has forged your soul's desire.

  • Hansi: (Laughs even more) Excellent word play, and so true!

MettleAngel: Speaking of Tolkien, what do you think of the fact that Peter Jackson will handle both new "Hobbit" movies?

  • Hansi: Honestly, I really do not care anymore.

MettleAngel: I can sympathize! the first two LOTR movies were great but "Return Of The WalKing" (to quote Clerks II), was too much hype. Then that bastard took his award money and made the ridiculously long "King Kong", an updated "Jurassic Park" with Jack Black, WTF!

  • Hansi: (Still chuckling) Once Hollywood took over, the mystery and message was lost.

MettleAngel: When I first saw Ralph Bakshi's "Lord Of The Rings" animated epic on the big screen in 1978, I was blown away. I had already read every book, but The Silmarillion. I just could not handle that when I was nine. Kudos to you and your fellow bards for making sense out of that and creating 'Nightfall'.

  • Hansi: It was always the books, and that movie which stirred my heart as well.

MettleAngel: As I mentioned, your lyrics have always held a place in my heart. I was so drawn to the soul struggles and unique music of 'Night At the Opera'. I see that on the new album the song "Control Divine" is inspired by Milton's masterpiece - Paradise Lost.

  • Hansi: Yes, I have been wanting to address his work for quite some time.

MettleAngel: You know the more I think of it, the band's name really sums up both the music and the message.

  • Hansi: How so?

MettleAngel: If I have my facts straight, the band chose the name after reading Stephen King's IT, right?

  • Hansi: Well yes and no. I actually first came up with the name after hearing Fates Warning's 'Awaken The Guardian' album.

MettleAngel: The song "The Guardian" still gives me pleasant chills. I know that you changed your name from Lucifer's Heritage to escape the Black Metal and evil connections.

  • Hansi: Yes, and even though the song "Guardian Of The Blind", was mostly inspired by IT, I felt the name has a more majestic tone, because I have always believed in a guiding spirit which watches over us, our own guardian, so to speak.

MettleAngel: This belief of being guided is one that I feel a strong connection with, as well.

  • Hansi: That is good.

MettleAngel: Man, we sure have a great deal in common. I know you are only a few years older than me. I just watched the 'Rage Live At Wacken 2009 DVD' which comes with their new album as a bonus edition. When you joined Peavy on stage, I almost did not recognize you with such short, and slightly grey hair, you older wizard you!

  • Hansi: I have not seen that footage yet, but yes I now have short hair.

MettleAngel: You have lost a few pounds as well.

  • Hansi: Yes, now I am just the other guy, the nice neighbour, not too threatening, I suppose.

MettleAngel: I see Peavy has packed on a few pounds.

  • Hansi: Next to the towering Peavy, I probably look real diminutive.

MettleAngel: Yeah, and then Schmier from Destruction joins him later for some classic Avenger cuts. How did Peavy persuade you to do this with the band?

  • Hansi: Oh, we have all known each other for ages. We all played the same clubs, grew up together, and drink the same beer. I also did a Wacken performance with Grave Digger, have you seen this?

MettleAngel: Actually no, I have not. I know they have a new album due out in early October called - 'The Clans Will Rise Again', go figure! I was sad to see them lose both Manni Schmidt and Thilo Hermann, as they are both great guitarists.

  • Hansi: If you see the footage, you will notice me wearing a kilt.

MettleAngel: Seriously?

  • Hansi: Yes, Chris Boltendahl talked me into it. I did, however, wear underwear, even though I was not supposed to.

MettleAngel: That is understandable...

  • Hansi: Well, you will definitely see me in underwear, because that damn camera man was too focused on me bollocks, and children are going to see this.

MettleAngel: Now, you have me laughing. I will have to look for that. I am still surprised that Grave Digger are pushing the Scottish bit again. I know that before Running Wild disbanded, they were going to do an unnecessary sequel to one of their trademark pirate albums.

  • Hansi: Yes, some bands stick to what they know.

MettleAngel: Yes, but they also stagnate, unlike Blind Guardian. I know you are very fond of Classic Rock. I really liked the cover of "You're The Voice" by John Farnham on the 'A Voice In The Dark' (Single).

  • Hansi: Wow, you are the first American who actually does.

MettleAngel: I may live in the US, but my heart and heritage is all European. I may have had my issues at first with The Beach Boys cover, or "Mr. Sandman", but once I saw the video, I was hooked. Speaking of your love for The Who, Genesis, Queen, and other great bands of the '70s, when can we expect to see a cover of Peter Gabriel era Genesis, or Keith Moon era The Who?

  • Hansi: Believe me, I want to do this, and we have plans to do another 'Forgotten Tales' album in the future, so once we create the time, you will finally get your wish.

MettleAngel: "Baba O'Reilly" would be most fitting from The Who, or even "The Bargain". I know Anvil just did "Slip Kid" from the awesome "Sons Of Anarchy" TV show.

  • Hansi: I have not heard that either.

MettleAngel: I was wondering if you are familiar with the "70,000 Tons Of Metal Cruise"?

  • Hansi: Oh yes indeed! Our promoter Wolfgang has informed us about that, what a line-up!

MettleAngel: My wife, son, and I are definitely doing this! They just announced Agent Steel with John Cyriis! As so many Nuclear Blast bands seem to be signing on, is there a chance Blind Guardian might consider?

  • Hansi: It is like this, we all very much want to do it. The thing is that January is the best month to tour Japan and Australia. Believe me if we can fit it into our schedule, we will do this!

MettleAngel: That would be killer! You and I can talk the "God Stuff", and you and my wife can discuss The Wheel Of Time series. Brother, Thank You so much for taking the time to indulge me.

  • Hansi: Michael, I do appreciate this interview. It has been so exciting for me personally. When I first called, I must admit I was a little bit out of it. You are so knowledgeable, and so entertaining.

MettleAngel: You are such a noble entertainer, yourself. You have such a unique vocal delivery, as well, which is easily recognizable like Kai Hansen, Peter "Peavy" Wagner, Ralph Scheepers, and other German Power Metal Lords of this ilk. You and your kind have such truly awe inspiring lyrics.

  • Hansi: I do try my best. I do hope we can see you on the cruise; otherwise, we will catch you when we tour America, and I look forward to getting to know you better. Thank You for supporting the band, and for all the years of loyalty.

MettleAngel: Brother, as long as Blind Guardian continue to evolve musically, you can be 100% guaranteed that I am there as a fan and friend!, I truly wish you all the best!

  • Hansi: My love to you, Brother, thank you again for the interview and time we have shared.

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