Krokus ? Alive & Well
Interview with Vocalist Marc Storace
Interview by Keith MacDonald
Krokus was one of the few, if not only, Swiss hard rock band to have commercial success in the US. In 1995 the ride came to an abrupt end when the band elected to go their separate ways only to reunite in 2002. They released a new album of hard rock material and hit the road throughout Europe reacquainting themselves with their fans from the past and picking up some new ones along the way. I recently had an opportunity to speak with singer Marc Storace who gave me some insight on the band and their upcoming US tour. You can check out their website awww.krokusonline.com.
What made Krokus reunite in 2002?
At the end of 1995, following the ?To Rock Or Not To Be? album and two successful Swiss Tours, an almost original Krokus line-up went their separate ways, except for Fern, who found new members who helped him keep the engine running. I worked on various other projects myself, at the same time enjoying seeing my two kids growing up. I also wrote songs with various artists, intending to release a solo album. Then Krokus released ?Round 13? which I found to be less than pleasurable. No disrespect meant to the musicians, but I just thought the songs were really way below anything ever released under the Krokus banner so far ? and it kinda hurt me to see the band, my baby, slowly deteriorating! So I honestly felt it was time for me to give Fern a call to see if he was willing to join our creative forces once again, to get a new fire burning in our old band again. I did this in late 2001 and he agreed in early 2002.
Why is it that Krokus was the only Swiss rock band to have any success here in the US?
We were the only Swiss rock band that had a professional attitude and we worked very hard, at everything we did – from writing songs to delivering them with balls, whether live or in the studio. Our music, image and macho style suited the times and we were lucky to be ready with our surfboards when this huge New Wave Of Heavy Metal came crashing along and whisked us on a crazy rock`n`roll ride to success!
How have the new members blended in so far?
It couldn?t be better – heard of ?Fire and Gasoline?. our ?live? double album I mean?!!!
How do you explain your longevity in this crazy music business that sees so many bands release only 1 or 2 albums?
You can party all you want but at the end of the day you still need to know how to read the compass and barometer, and keep a lookout for sharks. he,he!
How has the tours been so far throughout Europe? It seems European fans are more receptive to hard rock/metal than here in the US?
Europe has been better than ever for Krokus. Swedenrock, Balingen, Montreux and many more milestones are proof enough. The release of ?Rock The Block?, our last studio album which shot straight to number one in our own country for the first time in history, really got the ball rolling for us in Europe! I really don?t know what to believe about US Metal and Hard Rock fans, that?s why we?re coming over, to look the bull in the eye and find out the truth for ourselves! From the amount of fan mail we get, I don?t feel much difference to the excitement in the eighties.
Why so long for you to get touring in the US? What was the delay?
Well, shit happens you know, and then things get postponed and then more shit happens ? that?s life, but we?ll be there in time to walk over autumn leaves and hope not to step on dog crap, ha, ha! ? sorry `bout that ;-))
How long do you plan on staying out on the road?
We have booked a couple of dates in Russia starting with Moscow on October 28th and St. Petersburg on Oct.30th and they already asked us to play more dates, but the problem is. we would also love to go into a recording studio to lay down some new songs for our next album, which we would love to release before next Spring, so you see, we?re juggling for time already!
I see that ‘Rock The Block’ has sold well. Are you surprised?
Yes and no. I mean I personally just love that album, so I automatically expected every good rocker would feel the same. at the same time I was taken completely by surprised when it shot to number one in the charts and all that jazz!
The music industry has changed so much over the years. How has that effected the band, if al all?
Well, record company budgets are comparatively non-existent nowadays, it?s a hand to mouth existence for many bands and only dedicated and talented artists with a natural talent for survival and who are ready to do huge sacrifices, actually manage to keep going. Perseverance usually pays in the end but. there?s no guarantee! With Krokus, I paid my dues in the eighties when we managed to dig out a comfortable niche for us with much struggle and hard work. This is a great plus today, because all our groundwork was done in the eighties, but it would mean the end to rest on old laurels.
How much harder is it for a hard rock band to break out now than it was when Krokus hit the scene?
Much harder. Music today comes in many more styles, and that splits the dollar.
What do you think separated Krokus from so many other bands that came out back then?
Krokus was and still is unique. We have our influences like any other band of course, but Krokus is Krokus.
Do you like the way hard rock has progressed over the years and are there any bands out there that you actually like listening to?
To me it sounds like a lot of the new metal bands have been taking ideas from the seventies and the eighties and adding things to them, shuffling` them around and such. Sometimes the soul factor seems to be completely lacking though, and instead there?s bigger portions of aggressive playing, aggressive singing and aggressive behaviour. I mean, we have some pretty mean sounding moments in our music too, but in a passionate way. comin` from the blues I guess. I still listen to what turned me on the first time mostly, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Free, Hendrix, The Who, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Metallica and Rammstein.
Do you think a band like Krokus would have the success you had if your debut album was released today, considering the way things have changed?
?Metal Rendezvous? was my debut album with Krokus and with it came Krokus`s first International success. I think this album still holds its own today because of its straightforward melodic song material together with extraordinary amounts of passionate musicianship. Tommy Kiefer was an outstanding lead guitar player who gave his heart out with every note he played a great influence to the whole band, rest his soul!
What’s the future for Krokus?
One goes through life with hopes and dreams and one achieves what one desires, if he?s lucky. now that?s what we?re doing at the moment. The rest is written in the stars. Rock On and see you on tour!
Official Homepage: Krokusonline.com