Fernando von Arb of Krokus
Interview & Pictures By Marko Syrjälä
This interview comes out a little bit late, but its still up to date because band
is releasing a brand new double live album and DVD called Fire and Gasoline
the beginning of next year. I managed to catch legendary guitarist and founding member
Fernando von Arb backstage after their brilliant show in Sweden Rock this summer. Enjoy!!
You just finished your show in front of thousands of people. It was you first time
you played at Swedenrock. What kind of response you did get from the people here?
It was very good, very relaxed. People are friendly. They seemed to love it. They seem
to love it but you know
I have only seen my way from here to the stage and back about
a million times. So this gig was a very positive thing for us.
So are you going to see any other bands here tonight?
I definitely want to see Whitesnake. I want to see a bit of Jethro Tull, because of the
old days and I wanted to see these guys (referring to Queensryche on stage at the time of
the interview ) but
I have no time! (laughs)
(Laughs) Youre too busy man!
Yeah, Im busy.
Lets get some business out of the way. This is the second or third time when
you reunited with vocalist Marc (Storace)
Yeah actually this is the second time
Back in 1995 we made a reunion with whole band so it wasnt just Marc
And then you did album To Rock Or Not To Be and also some touring.
Yeah, but the drummer and one guitar player and Marc all had little kids and they
didnt want to go on tour outside of Switzerland. We only played in Switzerland so I
said, Lets stop again.. but NOW the drummer and the guitar player are
still in the normal Swiss life - they are not playing in bands but Marc said,
Im ready. Lets go for it! I can still sing like
that is absolutely true. I think he is better than ever. So we simply got together again
and made this album and then BANG! It went to Number 1 in Switzerland in one week and we
were very happy with that. We needed to do it now or never. We could not wait ten years we
had to do it now. So that is what we are doing now. In 1995 we had a half of a reunion,
but it was only half hearted.
But To Rock Or Not To Be is a really strong record from you!
It was a great record! I wanted to go and play and play but they didnt want to go
abroad, but now is another time and that is why we are here. Thats the reason. Some
people really want to go and play, not everyone.
But after just a couple of years you came back and released an album called
Stampede. The record was still released under name Krokus, even it was more or
less just you and
well, it was not like people left - its just that we did so much
playing non-stop in America from 1980 to 1988 that people got burned out. On
Stampede I played bass. Everyone wanted to do other things and it was a
mistake to call that album Krokus. It should have been called
Fernado von Arb!!
something else. Thats why I stopped this
formation because I knew it was not the right thing. You know, I was basically waiting
how do you say
You were waiting for something like this to happen?
Yeah, Yeah! I actually planned to go on with another singer because I wanted to go on
and play. But then the phone call came from Marcs side you know and he said he would
be ready to do this now. We were just discussing it
is this a tour? Is this REALLY
going to happen? And he said, Yah! So, OK, lets do it!
Before Marc called you there still released another album called Round
13. Another singer and another line up. What are your honest opinions of that one?
Well, It was a very weak album with a very bad mix. We had rough mixes that were much
better and this English engineer made this sound that we could not accept. Even before it
came out I said, Forget it. This is just not happening. This new album is
self-produced and it can be heard. We just let us show ourselves. Lets not have
other people turn the soup.
I guess with you and Marc together you dont need a producer. Theres no
need for that
You know, we dont really need a producer but sometimes it is good to have an
outside person who is feeling the rock from here (points down) and not from here (points
to his head)
From the balls!
Yeah! From the balls! When you start to think about it something goes wrong. Rock has
like Mick Jagger says, It never has to be secure. It has to be dangerous,
there always has to be danger in it. Never make it too sure. Not too clean. Leave it open.
I like the new album a lot. Its brilliant musically and the production is
amazing. If you had to compare it to the older albums what would you say?
We all feel as a band that this album should have come after
Headhunter...and then onwards. We cut those years out
snip! (laughs) And
thats the way we feel. We play songs from Metal Rendez-Vous to
Headhunter and then this one again. Thats the way it is! (laughs)
Well maybe you would like to cut out making Change of Address? What
happened for the band back then?
Dont ask me about that! (laughs) In briefly. Lots of money, Hollywood, producer,
lots of powder
it was all bullshit. Too much
too clean and we said,
Thats it. Even the demos of this album (Change) sounded really good, but
the final product
we wasted a lot of money on that shit. It sounds like the clean
floor in the palace of a king. It was just too clean.
What was the point of making Schools Out then? (The Alice Cooper
ask me whose idea that was. It was the record fucking companys idea.
Thats who it was. No, forget it. We were really forced to do it and we hated it.
So if I understand you right, your record company pressured you into making a record
like Change of Address because they wanted you to have a softer and more
Yeah they wanted us to be a hit band!
Yeah. You were not the only band who did that mistake back in the mid eighties. For
example Saxon tried to change their style to be much more commercial and so did many other
bands. But they mostly failed
Yeah. That is the worst thing you can do as a rough rock band. You clean out everything
and cut the balls away and that was the end of it. All of us were., No ,no no, no
For me all the alarm signs were going when the record company guy said,
You have to take off the edge off Marcs voice. And I was
alarm bell sound and laughs)
After Change Of Address you did album Heart Attack and that
was a way better album than its predecessor but there was something wrong with the
Well, I was burned out and not really in tune
in truth. BUT
we still play
Rock and Roll Tonite EVERY gig wherever we play! Some people dont even
know the song but they just like it. You know its a big sing-along
(sings a bit
of the chorus) But we are not playing nothing from Change Of Address so maybe that answers
your question (laughs).
I was hoping to hear Hot Shot City or Hard Luck Hero
Change Of Address)
Im sorry to tell you but it will not happen (laughs)
I understand. So you decided to break up after that album and tour?
Well, everyone kind of walked different ways because we were just tired. Tired of the
whole thing. Everyone had a rough year. We were always on tour, all the time in America.
We just wanted to go home
eat European bread
not Wonder Bread! (Laughs)
How about Chris von Rohr? (original bass player an founder member) You never asked
him to rejoin Krokus?
yeah. He is really kind of the local rock guru on the radio and this
and that and we are more of band guys. We dont want to go to the
(meaning media events) you know
that whole scene. We love to party but
we are a playing band. We dont want to give too many interviews in these family
magazines and all that stuff. I dont want to be a star, I want to be in a band. I
dont give a shit about stardom I want to be in a band but hes totally
different. Thats why we are not working together.
What is he doing now, besides producing Gotthard albums?
He is not doing that anymore. The last album he was not in.
Well, Gotthard is a quite different than Krokus.
Yeah! Its that certain type that the Germans like. We are more of a
Blues-oriented rock band. Thats why we are different. You know we havent
worked with Chris for years now.
So there will be no any plans to work ever with him in the future?
Well, he is doing all these ballads with .. cant remember that name and we
Bleah!! We are a dirty rock band and that is what we want to do! So
there is no need for us to work together.
Ok, how about the music scene overall in Switzerland. What other bands are coming
from Switzerland besides Celtic Frost and Gotthard?
We have some bands from Switzerland that are successful in Germany like
Shakra and Crystal Ball. We have all these bands that play this
German rock, German metal
You mean with the double bass?
Exactly. Not too much my cup of tea kind of stuff. (laughs)
Speaking of Krokus. What are some of the future goals of the band?
Goals? To have good gigs! And then good songs and then good albums. Thats the
Have you got any plans yet for the next year?
Oh yeah! We have got an album, or a live one or a DVD something like that. We are
recording every show in Switzerland on a multi-track.
Any idea when it is going to be released?
Ok. Our time is up now. Thanks for your time and see you next time!
Band Website: www.krokusonline.com