Metal Rules!! Interview With Lars Ratz of Metalium
By EvilG, December 1999
Metalium are getting a lot of press on this side of the pond thanks to the fact that Chris Caffery from Savatage is one of the members in the band. However, the main-brain behind Metalium is bassist and founder Lars Ratz. The band are currently writing the second part of the story that began with “Millennium Metal Chapter One.” Lars seems to be a nice enough guy despite his critical comments about my less than thorough knowledge of Accept…oh well at least we were forgiven…
I love the band name “Metalium” – who came up with it and what does it represent to you?
I was my idea. I simply stuck the words METAL and MILLENNIUM together so everybody know it’s NOT a reggae-band (haha).
I hope we won’t ever have to call you “Rockium” like we now have to do with another unmentionable band who uses “metal” in their band-name?
Everybody has a different definition for words like “metal” and “rock” but I always have to hear some double bass here and there.
Obviously most people are checking out Metalium because they hear that the band is “Chris Caffery’s side project” – does that bother you, or is any publicity good?
Why could it be a Chris Caffery side project when he just composed songs for the record? Metalium was formed as a band and we showed already on the last tour that Metalium does not depend on a single person (Jack Frost played for Chris).
Just how much of an input does Chris have?
He did the co-producing and wrote 2 songs (Revelation and Pilgrimage, the vocal lines where done by Henning).
I understand that you are the man who put Metalium together…so please tell me how you hooked up with the rest of the band?
Henning and Matthias live in Hamburg as well so I’ve known them for years. Mike and Chris have played in a live project called “American Rock Live” (their is no record out from this project). Monster-Productions (my own Booking and Management-Agency) was promoting their European tour and we got to meet. They wanted to do something more heavy and I said “voila, I’ll introduce you to some friends of mine.” That easy!
What backgrounds or other bands did you all come from?
Henning and Matthias haven’t done a record before. Mike was working with Yngwie Malmsteen and Tony Macalpine. Chris is with Dr. Butcher and Savatage and me – Zed Yago, Velvet Viper.
You recently toured with PRIMAL FEAR and SINERGY in Europe. How did that go?
We succeeded each night! I’ve known Mat Sinner since 10 years and he is a friend of mine. There were no problems.
Any “tall tales” from the road?
I can’t tell, maybe some of your readers are under age haha.
Will any more touring be done in support of this album?
No, we already started writing for the new album and start recording in Jan 2000. The record is supposed to be released on June 5, 2000.
Has Chris been able to play any live gigs with you or does his commitments to Savatage keep him too busy?
He played all festivals and shows up until the tour.
Is this a side project for Chris only and do the other members of the band treat this as a full time gig?
For everybody other than Chris, Metalium is the main-priority. We understand that Chris has Savatage and try to work as long as possible with him. In case he has to do to much with Savatage we’ll find another guitarist. The band is about the music and it will always be mainly written by the “Germans.”
Do you think that the demands on the members will ever be so great that a full time commitment will be necessary?
It’s already getting to that point. “Millennium Metal-Chapter one” was the “most successful Metal-debut over Europe in 1999” (charts and sales). We were overwhelmed from this success and will go on with all our strength to extend it.
The vocals of Henning Basse are very powerful and he was only 23 when this was recorded!! Where did he develop such a voice?
As a baby maybe haha. He’s just gifted. He was singing in a Rainbow and a Maiden cover band to train his voice.
Reportedly, after the recording of the CD drummer Mike Terrana left the band due to health reasons. I was wondering how is Mike? We hope he’s doing ok?
We have no contact anymore, I cannot answer this question.
According to your webpage Henning tried out for the “Trans-Siberian Orchestra” – what was the result of that and will he record with them?
The result was that Paul O’Neal (producer) was amazed and gave him the job for the next CD to sing on the next record.
Lets talk a bit about the CD “Millennium Metal: Chapter One.” Obviously this is a concept CD. Can you sum up the storyline for Ch 1?
The bottom line is simple – “If you want to reach something you have to give full power and all you effort in this direction. Then you can reach everything.”
Was the story written to the music or did you have the story written before the music was done?
Before was the music and then the lyrics.
Did you write the complete story, or is only chapter one written?
We are writing the 2nd part right now.
What are the ingredients to the “Metalium” elixir? (don’t we all want to be transformed into mighty metal warriors? haha).
You’ll become a “METALIAN” after you drink the Metalium and step trough the gate. It really works!!! You just have to find the gate haha.
Why did you bother with two bonus tracks on the CD since after all this is a concept album?
“Smoke” was the idea of Chris. He said we have to put the biggest guitar riff of the old century with a big kick in the ass into the new millennium! We like to pay tribute that way to an icon who influenced us in our past. “Burning” tells the story how I felt when I was a metal-kid of 15. Also, next record we will have 1 or 2 cover versions!
Who originally did the song “Burning”? – the credits aren’t listed in the booklet.
ACCEPT you ignorant bastard!!!
Well excuse me for not knowing every fucking song by Accept. Sure I like them, but the operative word is LIKE, I never owned everything they’ve ever recorded. So for your information I am not an “ignorant bastard.” I actually like Accept but they were never a favorite of mine!!!
OK you’ll be forgiven, once more…haha
So this is Chapter one…the storyline is supposed to carry over onto the next CD called what?? – “Post-Millennium Metal: Chapter Two?
No comment it’s a surprise!
How many chapters are you planning on carrying this storyline for?
We’re not sure yet.
When will chapter two/ the next CD be available?
In Europe on the 5th of June 2000.
Are you pleased with how people have reacted to the CD?
We are thrilled!
How are you related to the booking agency MONSTER-PRODUCTIONS? Do you work with them and if so what type of stuff do you book – metal?
I founded Monster-Productions 6 years ago and we worked with acts like Kingdom Come, Primal Fear, Rockbitch, Sodom, Vader, Goddess of Desire, Holy Mother. Whoever wants to know more about it can go to www.monster-productions.com.
If there is any other news or things I might have missed that you can tell me about please do so!
Go to www.metalium.de and see some pictures of the last tour!