» Kai Hansen - Gamma Ray
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Interview conducted September 27 2008
Interview published October 09 2008

Kai Hansen is a man on a mission, and he will fight, and carry on, determined to bring us all into the plan of free thinking of pure insanity, and genius. While we are heading for tomorrow on this majestic planet, we can truly sigh no more, knowing Gamma Ray light and lead the way. I was able to sit and chat with Kai about all things Gamma Ray, it was a blast to discuss the past, as well as present. I even discovered some skeletons in the closet, so join us somewhere out in headspace, as we plant powerful silent miracles into each other's presence.

MettleAngel: Wow, Kai you are one of my favorite musicians! I champion German Power Metal, and Gamma Ray are the elite! I've never seen you play live, so tonight will be such a blessing. Let's discuss this new triple DVD/two CD Live package you have coming out in November, called Hell Yeah, The Awesome Foursome.

  • Kai: Yes, the first issued pressing will be quite a treat for the fans, a real bonus. There is a great deal of music on that, even footage of out last brief trip to the Americas.

MettleAngel: I know you gave the fans the choice before releasing Majestic, as to if they wanted a new CD, or DVD. Now, you are giving them the ultimate DVD Box set.

  • Kai: Well, we were leaving Sanctuary and joining SPV, so we knew it was important to work on a new album. Then, there was all this buzz about us doing the second Land Of The Free album.

MettleAngel: Land Of The Free is one of my favorite albums of all time! I have all your releases, well on CD; I wish I had some on vinyl! I really enjoy all your work with Helloween, Blind Guardian, Stormwarrior, and all the Gamma Ray releases. I was a big advocate of you singing on LOTF, after Ralph left and formed Primal Fear. I love your vocals on "Ride The Sky", "Judas", "Victim Of Fate" "Phantoms Of Death", etc. You made the proper choice, and established the right direction for Gamma Ray; especially, with the follow-up: Somewhere Out in Space, even when you introduced us to Henjo & Dan, and Dirk switched to bass.

  • Kai: You know your Gamma Ray history...

MettleAngel: I've been there since the beginning, holding my ground, with a lust for life! I spent many a paycheck on the Gamma Ray imports and CD singles. It is so cool that you are touring with Helloween, and play both "Future World" & "I Want Out" with them as the final encore.

  • Kai: Well, both bands have been playing these songs all these years....

MettleAngel: Who can forget your silly antics in the videos with Helloween?

  • Kai: We always had fun making videos, we still do.

MettleAngel: You are such a character, I was speaking with Henjo earlier and he claimed you were not going to play "Empress" this evening, since you had not rehearsed it. Us Accept fans really want to hear that "Princess Of The Dawn" inspired anthem.

  • Kai: Well, then we will play it. Actually, there's a funny story behind it. Dan wrote the basics of the song on his Midi files. There was no guitar, so I added some riffs, but we needed vocals. I asked for 30 minutes in the studio to come up with the chorus, next thing you know I was singing "Princess Of The Dawn".

MettleAngel: That is not the first time, considering the bridge on the opening track of Majestic, "My Temple" which sounds dead on "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", or the songs from No World Order & Majestic which are so similar to Priest & Maiden.

  • Kai: All that is definitely intentional, as we are fans of those bands. I just go in and start singing, with a few hook lines, of which 80/90% make sense; the rest, I improvise, when I get bored. We know some fans will criticize us for this, but we don't care, because we enjoy it.

MettleAngel: Then there are those fans who may not recognize the reference at all, and then discover a band like Accept, when a critic, like myself alludes to this.

  • Kai: We play the music we grew up enjoying...

MettleAngel: This is what makes LOTFII so interesting, because it not necessarily a sequel. It it neither a follow-up, nor musically in the direction of the original.

  • Kai: Yeah, for us it captures the whole vibe of what LOTF means to the fans. It is my experience that sequels seldom work.

MettleAngel: That is so true, but you are a man on a mission, determined to consistently write quality melodies.

  • Kai: Yes, (chuckling), we have not failed with the fans. An album of magnitude like the first Land CD, was unique. It took time to sink in, and now it is a classic.

MettleAngel: There are so many reasons, but I would suggest that your choosing to sing again, is the primary reason.

  • Kai: Well, we did not know that at the time, Metal was not too popular in '95, it was all about Nirvana. This guy supposedly kills metal, then offs himself?

MettleAngel: Some bands like Blind Guardian, Running Wild, Rage, Helloween, & yourselves, remained true, thankfully. Now, tell me who originally performed the song "Gamma Ray", I was astonished to find out that it was a cover.

  • Kai: They were called Birth Control. They were a crowd rock band of the late 60's/early 70's with lots of organs, and improvisational musicianship.

MettleAngel: I knew about the Pet Shop Boys cover, but I need to hear the original version of this. Do you like the Pet Shop Boys, honestly?

  • Kai: No I don't really like them at all. I just thought that every time I heard the song in my car, it would be the perfect song to make into a metal cover, like what Priest did with "Diamonds And Rust". I like all kinds of music from Bon Jovi to Venom.

MettleAngel: I want some band to metalize New Order's "Perfect Kiss". Paragon just did Backstreet Boys' "Larger Than Life", Bodom & Graveworm have covered all the 80's Pop. So why did you choose to touch on the Illuminati concept with No World Order? Gamma Ray is a fun band, not one known for pushing a 'message'.

  • Kai: We thought it would be fun to fuck with the minds of our fans, but we were not too serious. It is not like we were revealing hidden secrets, we just wanted to spark some interest in this.

MettleAngel: You and Agent Steel introduced a whole host of metalheads to the Mysteries Of The Freemasons.

  • Kai: We did not want to get too political. We wanted everyone to think for themselves. It all fit so well, because of what was going on with President Bush, Islam, and world politics. This is why the cover has the conflict between light and dark. We shot a video, we were running around, goofing off on rooftops. In one scene, Dan throws a grenade at what appears to be the Twin Towers (little did we know). We had to scrap the whole thing when 9/11 occurred while we were on our promo tour. We did not want to upset anyone, it was strange, but definitely not funny.

MettleAngel: Wow, that is surreal, like the original cover for Dream Theater's Live CD, or better yet, Sept. 11, 2001 was the release date for Slayer's God Hates Us All! This is why I respect Gamma Ray. You were having fun, but when it became too serious, you did the right thing, serving our souls, by no longer showing this video.

  • Kai: We don't want to get too depressed, we want to rock out, and have a good time, and play music which our fans enjoy.

MettleAngel: Maintaining the positive attitude is why you are so successful. So many look up to you as icons, and their heroes.

  • Kai: You have to remain open minded for all things. Most of our fans really appreciate all that we do, the rest are on the internet spreading trouble.

MettleAngel: Yeah bloggers and critics need to lighten up, and see the good things in life. Last night we spoke with our friends in Keep Of Kalessin, who opened the "Death By Decibels Tour", on the first night of the run. We were pleased to discover that their members enjoyed Ratt, Alice In Chains, and Rush, as much as they dig Coroner & Emperor. When their Black Metal fans discover this, they will cringe.

  • Kai: Some people need to lighten up, why can't they shut their mouth, and just enjoy the music?

MettleAngel: This reminds me of the obese man, who would not shop Hot Topic to get shirts of his favorite bands; but when he sees those bands live, and they don't have his XXL size, he complains. All he has to do is go to Hot Topic and they'll have his size, unless he loses 100 lbs. He boycots Hot Topic because they are in the mall, whatever!

  • Kai: Most metal fans are cool, and will accept us, no matter what, the rest, well...

MettleAngel: They will waste their pathetic lives bloggin' and bitchin'. I'm getting frustrated, so let's raise the bar of energy and focus on the fact that Gamma Ray is here is the US. Many of the fans drove quite a distance to see you play tonight, just as they did when you played Prog. Power, the other night. We are all dedicated, tried, and true.

  • Kai: I noticed that, and that makes it so much more meaningful for the bands. We appreciate all your support. I'm grateful you are a loyal fan who supports the band, and writes favorable reviews.

MettleAngel: I'm honest and fair, and until Gamma Ray lets me down, I will support them. I know you won't, though, because you are all a great bunch of guys!

  • Kai: Thank You, so now go enjoy the show!

MettleAngel: We will, and thank you again for this awesome interview!

See also: review of the gig the same night

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