Metal-Rules.com Interview with Minotaur
Interview with Joerg Bock and Andreas Richwien
Questions by Arto Lehtinen
When speaking of the German thrash metal, usually three names pop up to
everyone’s lips, namely Sodom, Kreator and of course Destruction. However
the German thrash metal scene has always been known for being some kind of
cradle of the old school thrash metal since the early 80’s. But in the
middle of the 80’s, the whole local metal genre had more to offer than
these three names, as stated a little bit earlier, like Deathrow, Tankard,
Assassin, Accuser, Holy Moses and of course a bunch of smaller and even
more aggressive bands. For example, Minotaur, which started out at the
same time as those big ones, but never managed to make any huge
breakthrough, but instead the band remained loyal to the underground
I recently had the opportunity to ask a few questions
about the reunion and released demos from the band’s drummer and the
Minotaur rules - Thrash Attack !
Good day to the cradle of the thrash heavy metal realm. What’s up there
in the camp of Minotaur?!?!
J: Well thanx for welcoming us back. Everything is quite fine these days.
We’re pretty busy with rehearsing and preparing things for our new demo.
Pre- recordings are done …
Let’s set off by firstly taking a historical glance at Minotaur. The
whole band was founded in 1983 when German thrash metal
started getting its shape and a lot of new bands started popping up from
cellars by having more and more brutal music and image. Secondly, the
current generation of metalheads are more or less unfamiliar with Minotaur
least I assume. So could you politely shed a little bit light on how
everything started and what kind of following did you get among the thrash
metalheads at that time?!?
J : We started ‘Taur in 83 after we all got the chance to listen to the
first Metallica, Anthrax, and Possessed demos. We all thought that this
only could be the future experience after what Germany had brought forth
so far, such as Accept; Scorpions.. etc….So we decided to put something brutal together from Germany … In the same
way as Sodom, Kreator, Iron Angel and the others…
The first Minotaur demo, “The oath of blood”, actually wasn't unleashed
until 1986. How is it possible that it took 3 three years for you to put
the first demo out. I mean, when other well known bands were founded at
the same time as you, they got the first demo out within a couple of days,
then signed a deal and played a lot of gigs all around?!?
J : From 83 till 85 we had several line up changes and of course I never
wanted to do something totally stupid as playing live with a crap band. I
still think that should be as professional as possible. In ‘86 we were the
only band entering a professional studio to record a demo. All the other
stuff was done with a 4 track recorder or so. Maybe this was the wrong way
to get well known pretty fast and so called “rich & famous”, but in my
opinion, our way was better. A lot of German bands wrecked down, even well
known acts such as Destruction had problems to survive all this.
But getting a deal without any suitable label apparently turned out to be
a hard task for Minotaur. As you continued doing more demos, the
next one in a row was “The Slaughter Continues” in 87 and then came “Power
of Darkness” in 88… Great pure aggressive thrash metal indeed. The band
should have deserved to have a deal, but did labels approach offering
deals why did you continue the making demos?!?
J : We had a deal with Roadrunner, but we weren’t too happy with their
conditions, so they cancelled the whole thing and we were forced to do
nothing for over a year. This was much more than a pity for us. Otherwise,
we had problems with our old management and also personally. All this made
us more professional when working during that time, but definitely not
easier. We….I…..tried to be as good as possible.
Speaking of the demos, didn’t you release an untitled demo in 1988
featuring tracks like "Sacrifice of the Unbelievers", "Total Decay", "Dodd
Shall", "Tales of Terror".. I am asking because I didn’t find any piece of
information on it from the official Minotaur site?!?
J : This was the official demo from 86. ”The Oath of Blood”….and “Dodd
shall” is called “Daddschal” which is a Buddistic name for antichrist.
In 1988, you took a real financial risk on your own by putting a self
financed and produced album out limited to 2500 copies and of course was
sold out immediately…Didn’t that album get any labels confirmed about
talents, skills and ability of Minotaur?!?
J : During that period of time, none of the labels were interested. Too
many shitty and fucked up bands on the scene destroying the whole bizz, so
even real bands had problems to survive, but these days – Even after
“Power of…” got released on the cd, the quality still shows it’s true face.
Minotaur was pure power thrash back in 88 and it is still now.
Then you unleashed an ep 7" consisting of two tracks by some tiny label?!? Could you tell a little bit more about that ep?!?
J : The “ Eat Metal” Ep was formerly recorded for Turbo Records, but
during the recordings we decided not to continue working with them, so we
looked for someone else to produce the stuff. Jörn from Remedy Records was
more than involved in the project, so he put out the 7” single in late
After the ep, the whole band kinda vanished without leaving any traces.
Did you put the whole band on hiatus or what happened? As far as I know
you were around in the early 90’s without releasing any new stuff?!?
J : Well from the release of the single till 91/92 we did a lot gigs but
nothing was released on vinyl or so on. Then one big bang and a first
split, but I reformed the band pretty fast and in early 93 we recorded and
released “Welcome to….” as an album. Not too many know about it, but it is
still a great ”non original” ‘Taur album.
However Minotaur have done an incredible lot of gigs all around
Europe…Sweden, Portugal, Poland and in general Central European countries,
but according to the your website, you still recall the tour down there in
Portugal. I can’t help asking about how you have been able to arrange
those tours, because you didn’t have any record label and any suitable
distributors in other countries?!?
J : We arranged most of the gigs with the help of fanzines and/or local
organizers. And we never did it because of the money, as a lot of the
shows that we played were more or less for fun, food & drink. We never got
rich while doing the tour in Poland. We got paid in sloty for food, drinks
and hotels and just earned enough dollars to buy gasoline, and so it was
in several countries around Europe.
What is the biggest difference between the metal crowd of the 80’s and the
current decade?! Is the metallic passion and magic still at gigs where
the crowd still bangs their heads and do the stage diving or is the whole
atmosphere basically dead from your point of view?!?
J : In my opinion things haven’t that much changed….. Only the big bizz
got into metal and the commercial stuff goes on and on. To be honest I
still live in the 80s/90s scene. I hate nu metal bands such as Limp Bizkit,
etc… To me there are a also bunch of shit bands like Nightwish etc….. I
still prefer thrashing metal, which is "metal" to me.
In the 80’s you used to do gigs with several big names for example, Sodom,
Messiah, and several other ones. What kind of treatment did you receive
and how did you get along with these big bands?!?
J : Most of them were pretty cool. Bands as Rage, Sodom, Samael,
Nihilist/Entombed were quite cool party dudes. Also the French, Agressor
or the Danish, Invocator. We had lotsa fun with them. But bands such as
Helstar, Hades etc were not so party oriented ones.
A : To be honest, we have also met “people and bands” who are REAL
assholes – real rock stars hehehe. Sometimes I think myself, "who do
you think you are…"!!!!
Can you still recall the wildest and craziest gig ever done and why, where
and what happened?!?
J : Sorry, but after playing about 200 shows with the band I can hardly
tell ya any story's from the shows.
A : Hehehe I could write a book about Jörg.
In the wake of the current flourishing reunion boom, even Minotaur
returned back to the lime lights and all the old releases, mainly demo
tapes, have been re-pressed on the high quality cd format. How much
of the old stuff did you have to re-produce to get the better quality and
what else did you do to the renewed demo tapes. Do these renewed demos on
the cd contain some extra tracks?!?
J : The real & official “Best of…” cd never got released so far. I allowed
Metalion from Slayer Mag and his Head Not Found Records to put this
compilation together with me. But because he suffers from financial
difficulties, nothing has been released so far. It’s only been an idea to
do the demo stuff with some unreleased tracks and live songs etc… The only
thing working these days is the re-release of the old demos as 7” singles
through “To The Death” Records in Sweden.
When the decade changed from the 80’s to the 90’s, in my opinion, the
whole thrash metal era kinda died all of a sudden, several bands announced
about quitting and taking short or then long breaks, until in the end of
the decade, a bunch of defunct bands of the 80’s were reformed and have
done tours and albums, but how do you view the whole reunion boom, do you
think all these reunions are justified?!?
J : Yes and no. If people think and live for Thrash like Schmier from
Destruction… Then I think a reunion is ok. But I still think the Exodus
return was a fake. Even none of them had long hair anymore. Also Agent
Steel - and I really like their “Omega Conspiracy” album – was so fucked
up in a reunion. Razor’s live at Wacken, they played before I entered the
stage with Torment (the other band I use to play in) - What a fake….
The triple thrash of the German metal bands in question Sodom, Kreator and
Destruction became very huge on their own way and rose above other bands.
There were a lot of other bands trying to reach the same position like
Living Death, Holy Moses, Accuser, Deathrow, but never got the same status
just leaving behind to gather the dust, did this situation somehow bug
other bands and have you pondered why even the younger metal generation
just talks about these three bands?!?
J: Maybe ???!!!! I should ask Larz our bassplayer, he is 19. He should
know this. I will pass this question on.
A : I think these bands were very popular and the other ones were more
into the underground. Some German bands followed the thrash wave from `85
till 90 and wanted the same success, but many of them changed their style
on their 2nd album. We have never changed our style during all those years
and I am very proud of this. We still try to put the old spirit into the
What made the German thrash phenomenon so special? Was it because it
was one of kind and really unique. Was it because there was a lot of great
J : Well I don’t know. ( ?????? AL)
A : There were no extreme bands which would have played as hard as
Metallica or Exodus until a bunch of kids started to play more aggressive
and faster stuff. This started in West Germany because we were bored of
the national metal scene with bands such as Scorps, Accept etc… We had enough clubs and an audience who supported this kind of music and
it's always a good mood without any kind of violence. That’s different
with other countries so nobody stopped gigs or something like that…
Well I can’t help asking about your opinions about the newer albums of the
German triple thrash :
Kreator : Violent Revolution
Sodom : M-16
Destruction : The Antichrist
J : I have not heard much from these albums yet. Ask Andreas…
A : The new Kreator is very cool and it brings back the roots of older
albums. But, sorry I haven’t heard the new stuff from Sodom or
Destruction. A friend of mine downloaded a few songs from Destruction`s
comeback album and those songs are cool but I don't like the modern album
The demo releases of Minotaur have been spread throughout the underground
tape trading scene during the last three decades by now and always reached
new traders… But do you view the internet as a great tool to spread the
Minotaur stuff. How much has the internet helped to get more
attention and a new fan base for you?!?
J : For ‘Taur, the internet was and is one of the mighty medias to chose
from. In a short time, we got over 500 page hits after the site opened and
this gave us a little more back up to return and to make it really happen.
Do you think these media formats in terms of mp3 and videos are more like
a great advantage for the extreme metal bands to get more attention?
It seems like the whole metal community has gone through the labyrinth of
J : I am not too much in conformance with the internet thing. Andreas does
in ‘Taur, but he shows me things to give me an idea of what is possible
and for bands as Minotaur it is great to have a great opportunity to come
Minotaur recently visited the studio, processing a new demo. I can’t
help inquiring on how the studio sessions actually went and what the
result was. What kind of thrash assault can be expected from the new
J : So far we are pretty lazy while sound-checking things for the
recording. But expect a thrash attack like the old Slayer and Kreator. No
modern thrash sound – a more rough sound.
Could you give me some detailed information on the demo, how it can be
ordered and of course the price and where!!!
J : We are still working on the new demo. So far we got a lot of new songs
together titled ”Full Speed Ahead”, ”Into Oblivion”, “ Till Death”,
”Damager” “Hate Last Forever” and ”It’s War” and a cover from Priest’s
“Grinder”. This is the first time that 'Taur has recording a cover song.
The Minotaur line-up has undergone several changes since the band was
founded in 83. Do you still keep in touch with the former Minotaur guys or
is the relationship somehow inflamed between you?!
J : I still have pretty good contacts to the former Minotaur people like
Chris, our first bass & vox, also to Marco Scharfenort, and to the others
I have lower contact like phone or fax, in which I contact them usually a
few times during the year.
All right before ending the interview, I've got to find out what sort of
stuff you usually crank up in the stereo?!?!
J : Ok - Ya wanted it (Hope ya won’t get mad):
Agent Steel - Omega Conspiracy cd
Queensryche - Operation Livecrime live cd
Rush – A Show Off Hands live-lp
Vixen - Made In Hawaii Ep
Iron Angel - Winds Of War Lp
Angel Witch – The first Lp
Hallows Eve - Tales Of Terror Lp
Bathory - Enter The Eternal Fire (from Sign Of The..)
Exciter – Heavy Metal Maniac Lp
All the best to Minotaur and danke for the interview and the last words
are yours as usual!
J : Thanx for the interview too and sorry for the delay - I am a little
bit personally out of order during the last few days because my wife is
expecting our second baby!!