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Rage has been around for over 20 years. With a lot of different lineups to be sure, but all the time with Peter "Peavy" Wagner in the front. It is his band. Yet they feel like a unity as a band more than ever, with the incredible skills of guitarist Victor Smolski and drummer Mike Terrana. We decided to have a few words with Peavy prior to their concert at Folkets Park in Växjö, Sweden the 30th of March 2006.

Download entire interview in audio format (18 minutes, 4.19 Mb)

David: Hello Peavy! Can you tell us something about Speak Of The Dead?

  • Peavy: No! …haha! What in particular do you wanna know?

David: How do you compare it to the earlier records?

  • Peavy: Each record is a new thing you know… A difference is that we have an orchestra on this one, in "Suite Lingua Mortis". We did this ten years ago on Ligua Mortis and XIII, so maybe we can compare it with that stuff. I general… well, it is divided in two halves, the first half with the orchestra and the second is the metal half. And I think it has some great compositions on it, haha. Check it out and it speaks for itself, I guess.

David: How has it been received so far?

  • Peavy: I don't know yet, it just came out a couple of days ago and we are here in Scandinavia on tour. We get no news, I have no computer with me… haha!

David: Have you read any reviews?

  • Peavy: Just a few. As far as I know it was pretty good. I do hundreds of interviews but I don't get the magazines, you know…

David: Which song is your favorite on the album?

  • Peavy: I don't have any particular favorite song. It's still quite close, you know.

David: Which old Rage song is your favorite to play live?

  • Peavy: I don't know… We just put I'm Crucified, from Welcome To The Other Side, back in the liveset. I don't really have any favorite. You can imagine that I don't really feel to play Don't Fear The Winter or Higher Than The Sky anymore, since we've played them for so many years. It's like standard for us and we don't really think about it that much anymore.

David: Rage is one of very few bands, going on as long as you have, that still manages to renew your sound from record to record and make it sound fresh, but still maintain what is Rage. How do you do that?

  • Peavy: What a question… We just kept our creativity. It's the driving factor we have, why we still do it. We love to write songs. We're not trying to copy ourselves, we try to write new songs - not just repeat the old stuff and give it a different title, you know, haha.

David: What is the Rage 'sound' anyway. Can you define it?

  • Peavy: I'm not a journalist… We don't want to put it in one of these boxes. It's heavy and it's melodic. It's not easy to compare the band. You really have to discover it on your own. You can't really say it sounds like Helloween or some other band.

David: You've tried a lot of different stuff. What is your next goal as a band?

  • Peavy: So far it's touring. We'll try to do a show with a full orchestra, maybe by the end of the year or so. Together with other artists also… But this is all in the planning. It's so many difficulties about this and it's so expensive. I hope we know more before summer.

David: You are quite an 'international' band, with members from Germany, Belarus and USA. What are the pros and cons of that?

  • Peavy: Well, here usually all the jokes start, A German, a Russian and an American meet. It works, you know!

David: Do you feel like a unity as a band?

  • Peavy: It's a special unity in this band, although we don't think about it that much anymore, since we have been going on for such long time. It's seven years we have been together. It's the longest I have been with the same band actually. And still we want to go on, because we like to do this together.

What is the special chemistry?

  • Peavy: I don't know. I don't think it has something to do with the nationalities. The music is the glue that keeps us together.

David: Do you write songs first and then discover that: "Hey this would sound great with an orchestra!", or do you decide to use an orchestra first and then write songs?

  • Peavy: With this new song Suite Lingua Mortis it was decided to do an orchestra suite before. Actually this one was completely composed by Victor Smolski. I was also coming with parts, but it was not really any use for my stuff anymore, he had already everything completely composed, and it sounded really good. So I just stepped back and said: "Ok, you got your masterpiece here." I think he had an orchestra in mind already. But you should ask him about this composition. He's a very good composer and has studied this kind of stuff for many years. I think he can tell you more interesting stuff about how he composed this.

David: What do think are the most important ingredients when writing a metal song?

  • Peavy: I write most of the 'metal' songs in this band. Like Full Moon, Be With Me Or Be Gone and the title track. That's my specialty, that's what I can write best. Victor does more of this guitar oriented, progressive stuff. I think the combination is really interesting.

David: Do you have any secret when writing a song, to get started?

  • Peavy: Not really. I don't know how other people write, haha. Usually I just jam with myself. Let the inspiration flow, you know. Sometimes I dream of a song also, and I wake up and have harmonies and melodies in my head. I grab a guitar and try it on. Creativity is something very unique and very personal. Generally it's about catching up what is coming in you brain.

David: I seldom hear anyone say anything bad about Rage, everybody seems to like you, but still you are quite a small band…

  • Peavy: Everybody likes it but no one buys the records… haha. Is everybody downloading the stuff? It's a mystery to myself. Things have gone as far as we have been able to live on this music for so many years. That's a big gift I think. Not everybody can live from this music nowadays. It has been a great life so long, being a musician. It's not a job for me, it's a profession. It's not for granted that you can live from this… Some band has sold more, but I don't want to compare myself to those who have been so lucky, there are legions of bands that just do it for a hobby. We are quite fortunate with Rage.

David: This is the fourth time I will see Rage live, what can you offer me tonight that I haven't seen before?

  • Peavy: Well, we have a different live set. We have exchanged a lot of the songs that we did on the last tour, and play some songs that we haven't played since far ago. A different light show… In general… it's still us you know! You won't see a different band, haha.

David: How do you prepare yourself for a concert?

  • Peavy: I just warm up on the bass. I don't warm up my voice. We select material, the combination of songs, so that I can warm up during the show. Not the most difficult songs in the beginning… We do some massage for the hand muscles, it works really good.

David: How has your voice evolved through the years?

  • Peavy: It has actually, I think, from the first albums until now. And for my personal taste I think it's for the better. It's just sounding better. In the 80s, everybody had to sing like Mickey Mouse you know, high pitch yelling… was very popular then. To be honest… who wants that? Who really likes that way of singing? For my personal taste it doesn't sound heavy, it just sounds like someone without balls, you know… I'm a man, a full-grown man, not a Mickey Mouse, haha. Vocals should touch the heart of something. A singer should sing in his natural voice range. Every voice has a natural range where it sounds good. You don't have to strain or force yourself. It just sounds good, sounds natural and that's what I've been trying to do the last years.

David: What new musical influences do you pick up today?

  • Peavy: Lately I've been listening to more progressive stuff. Freak Kitchen… from Sweden! Are they popular here?

David: Actually, quite popular I think…

  • Peavy: A lot of good progressive bands are from Sweden. But I don't know if I have been influenced from this. Otherwise I still listen to classical music. Still like classic metal bands… they still do good records. I'm still not listening to techno or rap music, haha.

David: Do you feel like this is the best time in your career?

  • Peavy: I don't think about this kind of stuff. The best time is always the present time. The past is over, I don't really live in the past and I don't live in the future. Now is the best time to focus on.

David: That was all my questions I think. Do you like to say something to the Metal Covenant readers?

  • Peavy: That is always the last question… and I always use to thank the fans, whoever reads this and who is interested in the band, who is supporting the band by buying the album or coming to a show - thanks! That's what keeps us going.

Thanks for the interview, Peavy!

See also: review of the gig the same night - 2006 03 03
See also: review of the last album Speak Of The Dead

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