Heart of Steel: Interviews


Interview With Kosta Zafiriou of Pink Cream 69
Interview By Anders Sandvall

Here is an interview with Kosta Zafiriou, drummer from Pink Cream 69, about the band, their newly released album THUNDERDOME, and the upcoming tour.

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Where in Germany are you based? Do all of the members live in the same city?

We are based in Karlsruhe, in the South of Germany. Meanwhile, we are all spread around the city in villages.



David, from England; does he also live in Germany now?

Yes, since he joined the band he moved to Germany. A few times he went back to England to visit his family, but his permanent residence is in Germany.



Would you like to tell the readers who don’t know who you are a bit about the band?

Please read the history part of our biography, it would be too much to write it down here:


1987    The first Pink Cream 69 line-up consists of Alfred Koffler (guitar), Kosta Zafiriou (drums), Dennis Ward (bass) and Andi Deris (vocals).

1988    PC 69 wins the Metal Hammer talent competition at the Rockfabrik in Ludwigsburg and receives a number of offers from German major companies, signing with CBS (these days Sony Music).

1989    Their eponymous debut album causes a stir on the international music scene; Pink Cream 69 embarks on a tour with White Lion in October.

1990    The highlight of an eventful year is Pink Cream 69’s appearance at the New Music Seminar in New York, documenting the group’s international status.

1991    ONE SIZE FITS ALL comes out in Europe and Japan, followed by a headliner tour with Little Angels. Their 49/8 EP, consisting of live tracks and bonus material, provides the appropriate setting for their successful Asian tour.

1992    Pink Cream 69 play five sold-out shows in Japan, recording their SIZE IT UP! LIVE IN JAPAN video in the process. A three-month triumphal march through 14 countries as opening act for Europe follows.

1993    GAMES PEOPLE PLAY is their third regular studio release, supported by an extensive tour of Germany in November.

1994    Vocalist Andi Deris leaves to join Helloween. Pink Cream 69 enlist British-born David Readman to replace him and record their fourth release, CHANGE, in Los Angeles. The album is marked by a more contemporary and open style.

1995    Pink Cream 69 play a co-headlining tour with Thunderhead and move on to a new record company after six years with Sony Music.

1997    Their fifth studio album, FOOD FOR THOUGHT, arrives in spring, followed by another successful tour of Germany, during which the band’s first live album is recorded.

1998    ELECTRIFIED is one of Pink Cream’s strongest releases to date; summer 1999 sees a successful tour with Bruce Dickinson and a sensational appearance at the Bang Your Head festival.

1999    Following their active involvement in his solo album, the band tour Japan together with ex-Royal Hunt vocalist D.C. Cooper. PC 69 make a brief detour to South America and play cameo roles in a TV feature.

2000    Pink Cream’s seventh studio recording, SONIC DYNAMITE, sees the light of day in February, followed by a tour with Axxis during the first leg of their celebrated German tour. Autumn sees the continuation of the tour and the arrival of the MIXERY EP, consisting of rare studio and live versions, as well as a number of bootlegs.

2001    The band return with ENDANGERED, but are unable to perform live due to Alfred Koffler’s hand condition. Koffler’s offer to have the band tour with another guitarist is refused unanimously.

2003    Pink Cream 69 play as a quintet for the first time, reinforced by Uwe Reitenauer to relieve Alfred. His baptism of fire is the Bang Your Head festival, playing in front of thousands of fans.

2004    The new album, THUNDERDOME, is out, and the sequel to their co-headlining tour with Axxis has been scheduled for March.


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You have been in the business for a really long time and you have only had one member change. How have you managed to keep the band together?

Very simply said: We love our music, we respect each other as persons and artists, and we try to share work and profit fairly.



What has been the highlight in you career so far?

I think thereīs quite a few when you watch our history :).



Why has it taken long to finish, ”Thunderdome?” Why have you chosen to call it, ”Thunderdome?”

Our guitar player Alfred Koffler is suffering from a neurotical disease called Focal Dystonia in his left hand. We gave him enough time to see if he could recover after taking a break.

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You are only four guys on the promo pictures. Is Uwe a permanent member? Does he play anything on, ”Thunderdome”?

We asked Uwe to join the live line-up of the band, so he is not a full member of the band. When we started the recordings for Thunderdome, we did not know Uwe yet. Heīs a great guy and an exceptional guitar player - weīll see what the future brings.



Has Uwe been in any big band before joining you?

Nothing known. He is a guitar teacher in our area and played with several local bands.



Who has written the music and lyrics to the new album?

Alfred Koffler, David Readman and Dennis Ward wrote the music, David Readman and Dennis Ward wrote the lyrics.

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Are you satisfied with the album? Is there anything you are not so satisfied with? If so, what?

Basically very satisfied, although a musician never will be totally satisfied - we already has little details in mind we can improve with the next record.



I think that you play melodic hard rock. How would you like to describe the music you play?

You are very close to what I call it: Powerful melodic Hardrock!



Why have you chosen to do a cover of ”My Sharona?” Is that a favorite track of yours?

Not really - Itīs funny, I never expected that everybody would ask for this song, for us it was not a big deal. The story is very simple: After we were done with the main recording sessions for this record, we figured it would be better to record two more songs for the simple reason that we have to provide a bonus track for Japan, one for South America and one for the limited edition in Europe. Dave had a few songs recorded as a demo, one of those two was "My Sharona". We thought it fit very well to his voice and decided to do it. To keep it interesting for ourselves, we decided not to rehearse the song as a band: We sat together and shortened the solo a bit, that was it. Everybody had to learn the song alone, then we met in the studio and jammed it out. Thatīs why it sounds in the arrangement very close to the original with a PC 69 vibe going on. Actually it was intended to become the bonus track for Japan, but after friends and management heard the song, they forced us to put it on the regular version;-)



How is it to be produced by a band member compared to a hired producer?

Very relaxed. Dennis is experienced, talented, knows us very well and how the band should sound. We also worked with hired producers and definitely prefer to work with Dennis.

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During some years you have only toured in Germany. Are there any thoughts on touring rest of the Europe this time? (As far as I know they haven't been to Scandinavia since 1999; the support tour for Bruce Dickinson?)

This is not true. We've always played European countries. This tour starting in March will lead us through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, France and Spain. Further we already have confirmed Festivals in Czek Republik and Slowakia.



How much do you sell worldwide?

Enough to be in the position to tour all the countries I mentioned above, to sell records in Japan, Europe and South America. Considering the market these days, we are very happy with that!



Are you more content with SPV than your previous label? If so, why?

SPV has the strongest distribution net in Europe for all kinds of rock and metal music. Besides this, the A&R manager of SPV who signed us always liked the band. A couple years ago he told us to contact him when our contracts with Massacre run out. Nevertheless we were absolutely satisfied with the job Massacre had done and have a good relationship to them - still SPV is the bigger company, and we hope to benefit from this. Having an own management company, the most important part of the company for us is to simply place our CDīs in the stores.



Would you like to say anything to the fans out there?

Thanks for being interested in Pink Cream 69, I hope you like our new record THUNDERDOME!



Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

Thank you Anders.


Thanks to SPV for the promo pictures and Suzan at Playground music Sweden for the help.

Band Website: www.pinkcream69.com
Label Website: www.spv.de