» Charly Steinhauer - Paradox
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Interview conducted January 22 2013
Interview published January 23 2013

The German riot squad known as Paradox have just released their new album - 'Tales Of The Weird'. Most of the lyrics were written by Daxx of Vendetta fame. I have always supported this band and their mettle products of the imagination.

I was deeply honoured to speak with Charly Steinhauer, who has endured so much hardship and hearsay over the years. Even after decades of sorrow, while heading for a non-stop collision course, Charley has persevered and celebrated the mystery. I respect all that he does, and I welcome his wisdom.
Come join this search for perfection, overshadowed by sadness, and an escalation of a future celebration.

MettleAngel: Charly, congratulations on another excellent album.

  • Charly: Thank You! The response has been overwhelming.

MettleAngel: This is the best Paradox in quite some time. I understand that you were able to get Achim "Daxx" Hömerlein from Vendetta to write the lyrics for the new album. 'Brain Damage' is my favourite album of all time. I love the music and lyrics of that masterpiece. I even played the music at my wedding! "Fade To Insanity" was our theme.

  • Charly: Hey Cool! Now Daxx is the fifth band member of Paradox. We are longtime buddyies since the early Vendetta days. We live very close together here in Germany. He is a great lyricist and I am proud to have him in the band. He also wants to write lyrics for other bands as well if he likes their music.

MettleAngel: He has written words that forever echo in my mettle heart. He has even inspired me with writing lyrics. More on that later. I also heard that you got Michael "Micky" Wehnery to assist with the mixing and production of the new album. Is it true that he played with Paradox before he joined Vendetta?

  • Charly: Oh yes he did for a couple of months, but it was the Pre-Paradox era in 1983. Then we called ourselves "Maniac" After this experience, he founded Vendetta a few years later. We have been in good communication after all these years.

MettleAngel: That is good to know that you have stayed in touch with Daxx & Mickey. Is there a chance that you may be working with them with their new band called Brain Damage?

  • Charly: Micky helped us during the drum recording sessions with Daniel. Yes, I am working with Micky's new band Brain Damage.

MettleAngel: That is so cool. I dig the demos I have heard thus far. After the first listen, I was like, This sounds like old Paradox!"

  • Charly: That is funny! I contributed for a short while, then Micky decided work with other musicians. I was too busy with Paradox anyhow. There are some songs which I sang on and played lead guitar, though.

MettleAngel: Damn that sounds so promising!

  • Charly: Daxx is just writing the lyrics for Brain Damage. I like the new songs. I have known Micky and Daxx since the early days and we spent a lot time together in our rehearsal rooms in the 80`s. Actually, for a couple of rehearsals I was the singer for Vendetta.

MettleAngel: Get out! Man, I would love to hear how you sounded on those demos!

  • Charly: Nobody knows, but we tried this as well. One time we shared the stage together and we did a cover of 'Let It Loose' by Savage (U.K.).

MettleAngel: I wonder if that was before Metallica attempted it. Savage are still active today, but their style, like Tank, has changed drastically. So, how did you go about getting ex-Majesty, MetalForce, Necrophagist, and current Obscura guitarist Christian Münzner to join the band?

  • Charly: Christian is a longtime Paradox fan and he asked us to join the band years ago when we searched for a live guitar player. Now the time was right after Kai Pasemann left the band.

MettleAngel: Did he assist you in writing the material, or did he just play the already written guitar parts? Did he at all assist with writing the new album?

  • Charly: He is a full member, but the songs were already written before he joined. So he did not assist with songwriting. Maybe he will do so with the next album. He did most of the lead solos on "Tales Of The Weird".

MettleAngel: Does Daxx play any of the guitar parts on the album? Did he at all assist with writing the new album?

  • Charly: Daxx was just responsible for the lyrics.I made the melody lines and word settings. A few days ago he sent me a new song and I am thinking about using it for the next record, because it sounds really old school!

MettleAngel: I bet! I thought that originally the new album was supposed to be a continuation of the 'Heresy' album. Some of the songs have that feel, but clearly they do not deal with the Cathars and the Church persecution of that religious sect.

  • Charly: No but it was planned first to continue the story and bring it to a proper conclusion. Then, we had so many great ideas for other topics that we changed our mind completely. The cover artwork should remind you a bit of 'Heresy', but it still has nothing to do with the religious sect.

MettleAngel: I was wondering if it was an homage to the 'Heresy' cover, kind of like what certain bands do with current album covers, alluding to their best ones. What are the basic themes of the album? I do not feel that it is conceptual, but many of the songs seems to follow a current theme. Would you not agree?

  • Charly: Each song has its own story. It is not a concept album, though. In fact, there are several types of topics which focus on those thing which we faced every day in our lives. If you watch the news with more scrutiny, or as your eyes are wide open as or walk through your life more aware.

MettleAngel: Sounds like Daxx is up to his old tricks!

  • Charly: The world is full of corruption. Just consider the unscrupulousness activities that weapon traders engage in just to make fast money. They do not give a shit about the lives that will be deleted. For them only profits count. This is the same with the environmental degradation. Mankind's only goal seems to be making big money and for that we are abusing mother earth!

MettleAngel: I agree and one day, she will have had enough!

  • Charly: Exactly! Consider the song "Brutalized", this reflects the disillusion, aggression, and brutality of many young people today. It just can not go on like this or we all will end up in the stone-age again. There are many more different themes on the album. Have a look at the booklet. It is worth it.

MettleAngel: I plan to get the CD. Right now I only have a digital promo version, but I have the other Paradox titles on CD. Just out of curiosity, it almost seems as if the prophetic "Day Of Judgement" deals with the Mayan Prophecies which we now know were either misinterpreted or altogether wrong. How do you feel about this? Surely, you were not convinced the world would end in 2012?

  • Charly: We all did not expect tthe world to fall in 2012, but it is written in the Mayan calendar. This was an emotional topic to write a song about, of course. We are all happy that nothing happened, but the real question we have to ask orselves is did they count right? Who knows? We were not convinced the world would end, not yet, at least.

MettleAngel: I find it hard to believe that Daxx felt any impending doom, either. Vendetta were always known for writing music and lyrics with meaning, purpose, and introspection. The lyrics here seem to deal with the "Evils" of our lives, would you not agree?

  • Charly: Yes I agree, but Daxx's ideas are very close to ours. Of course, he did not wanted to copy topics from Vendetta. Paradox is a different band and he wanted to write about different topics, as well.

MettleAngel: I respect that. Were not the lyrics written for past albums by Kai Pasemann? Is it true that he is a lawyer? Is this why he left the band? I assume his career would make it difficult to tour and play shows?

  • Charly: You are right. He wrote the lyrics for 'Collision Course', 'Electrify', and 'Riot Squad'. He is a lawyer and he was forced to leave the band because of working stress. He also had problems getting free time available for shows. So we had to act and we did.

MettleAngel: I understand that. I actually thought that the band had called it quits in 2010. You were not able to attend Prog.Power, and rumours circulated about your poor health, and the dissolution of the band. What really happened? Were you just in need of rest and a break? What happened with your bassist Olly Keller? How did you get Olly Keller to rejoin the band?

  • Charly: No the band did not quit. Of course, Olly and I were not motivated after Kai and Roland left the band. Olly made a break but he came back after I found Christian and Daniel. In that time, I had no health problems. We just needed time to find new musicians and then I wrote the songs for this album.

MettleAngel: It seems that you are the only mainstay member of the band after all this time. How have you been able to keep this band active? Is it fair to call it your band? Are you an original member? I thought that one of the founding members was Axel Blaha, the drummer who performed on the first two Roadrunner albums.

  • Charly: Great question! Well Axel Blaha and I founded Paradox on the 19th of November 1981 under the banner of "Overkill" We were Motörhead fans and the name came from their '79 album of that same name.

MettleAngel: Damn, that is my birthday date! I think the band Overkill formed a year earlier, under the same auspices.

  • Charly: Axel quit playing drums after Roadrunner Records were no longer interested in Paradox anymore in 1991. I kept the band active, because I am the main songwriter. I wrote all songs by myself and after all, I am the singer. This was the requirement to keep this band active. It is fair to call it my band but it was not my original project.

MettleAngel: When you made the band active again with 'Collision Course' you employed the talent of the Holwarth Brothers. How were you able to get them to join Paradox? I remember when I first heard Alex and Oliver in Sieges Even. It was the 'Life Cycle' album, and I was blown away. This was before the band took on a more Progressive flavour.

  • Charly: Sieges Even and Paradox had the same producer in the 80`s. We would sometimes meet, and we shared the stage together. I knew them both very well. In 1998 I went to the German "Bang Your Head" festival. They also went to this great event and we began to talking about the future. After a while Alex approached me and asked me whether or not I was interested in reforming Paradox.

MettleAngel: I was so excited when I heard there was going to be a new album. I really dug the Scorpions cover of "Dynamite" too.

  • Charly: Alex mentioned that he and his brother wanted to join Paradox, because they really liked the music. This was a big chance for me, since they held the reputation of being exclaimed as the best Metal musicians in Germany. I took the chance and shortly after we get the offer to play Wacken. After this show we signed with AFM Records to record 'Collision Course'.

MettleAngel: Then this was also the beginning of a very prominent deal with AFM Records. 'Tales Of The Weird' marks your fourth album with this label. Are you very pleased with what AFM has to offer you? Are they patient with the band and the duration between albums? Have you fulfilled your contract, or do you plan to continue on with them for many years to come?

  • Charly: We are very satisfied with AFM Records. It is a solid label and they let me work as at the pace I want. I have a free hand and I am really proud to work with them together for 13 years. With 'Tales Of The Weird' we fulfilled our contract, but we are still interested in working with AFM together in the future. I do not need another label. They trust me 100% and they are very kind humans, as well. Thumbs up for AFM Records!!

MettleAngel: Good deal! I understand that you do all the production for the AFM albums. Do you also do the mixing and mastering? Do you currently have your own studio?

  • Charly: I do the inner mix of the albums and then we engage Victor Santura - the guitarist of Trypticon - for the main mix and mastering. I also have my own studio at home to record guitar, bass and vocals. In general I am responsible for the whole production.

MettleAngel: Is the current line-up one that you hope endures, even unto the recording of the next album?

  • Charly: I very much would like to record the next album with this line-up. It works fantastic with Christian and Daniel. Although, Olly is a bit tired of music. We will see what happens, but if he decides to leave, then we have great interest from another killer bassist.

MettleAngel: Oh really, who might that be?

  • Charly: I can not say more now. In December I suffered a a heart attack and I am in rehabilitation now.

MettleAngel: What! Damn dude, you have the worst kind of luck! How are you recuperating?

  • Charly: Well, it could be possible that we must search for a singer, because we want to play live, and for me it seems to be impossible to both play guitar and sing right now.

MettleAngel: I bet!

  • Charly: We are going to have a band meeting and decide how to proceed. This is tough news. I know, but I never give up! We will come back with high quality.

MettleAngel: Yes you will! We will think good things for you! Over the years there have been a number of bands who call themselves Paradox. I actually had the cassette by the U.S. Christian act from San Antonio, Texas around the same time as I had the 'Heresy' and 'Product' titles. What made you choose this name for the band, or was the band already named when you joined?

  • Charly: When Axel Blaha and I founded the band in 1981. We had several names like "Maniac" (1983), "Warhead" (1984 -1985) and in February 1986 we decided to name ourselves "Paradox". In 1985 I wrote a song called "Paradox" which is our band hymn.

MettleAngel: I know that song all too well!

  • Charly: Later on we chose this name because we liked it and it had a mystical message. We felt that is was a good fit for a Metal band name. We never looked to other bands with the same banner. We are famous with this name and we never had problems with other bands telling us to change it. I am interested in hearing the Texas Paradox. I will have to check them out, man.

MettleAngel: I am not sure how rare their music is. They definitely had a Dokken meets Priest vibe, with poor production. They were popular when acts like Saint, Messiah Prophet, Guardian, Tempest (U.S.) were at their prime. I am curious, what was your take on the Metal Mind Records re-masters of the original Roadrunner albums? Did you approve of this, and were you pleased with the outcome?

  • Charly: We approved of them, and I even provided them with pictures for the booklet. I am proud of these re-releases, but we did not like the bonus tracks. They were bad quality, and low budget. We never earned any royalties.

MettleAngel: That sucks, because those gold disc and digipaks were not cheap, and limited in quantities. I bought the 'Product Of The Imaginations' CD re-master, but I could never find 'Heresy', which is my favourite of all the Paradox albums.

  • Charly: It did not bother me, because everybody knows that I am not in the business for the sake of money. I also only have just one copy of 'Heresy'. I am amazed how much they are asking now for it on E-bay and Amazon.

MettleAngel: Again, someone else is profitting off of your art. I respect that you love Metal for Metal's sake. This is why Paradox have stood the test of time all these years. Do you have any plans to return to play America? I would love to see the band live, and meet you in person. Would your set list consist of new material, as well as the Classics?

  • Charly: Michael, it would be a dream form me to play in the U.S. I would also very much like to play the "70.000 Tons Of Metal" Cruise.

MettleAngel: Yeah, I am surprised you have not been asked to participate in that. Tankard finally made it, as did Onslaught.

  • Charly: Hopefully we will get a second chance to play "ProgPower USA". That would be great. It all depends on the booking agencies and their interest in us.

MettleAngel: I sure hope they pay you the respect you rightfully deserve. One final note. I understand that you used to be in contact with a good friend of mine from Sweden. His name is Anders Lindberg, and he has a one man band project called The Porridgeface.

  • Charly: Ah yes, we have been in contact in the past.

MettleAngel: He is so damn talented! I, myself, have been very active with this project and we are excited to announce that the new album will be out later this month called: 'Eyes On The Betrayer'.

  • Charly: That is good to hear!

MettleAngel: I assisted Anders in the writing of several lyrics for this album, and we are both excited for the sophomore release. We both want to let you know that Paradox, as well as Vendetta, Tankard, and Deathrow were a huge influence on us as we committed to this project. Get in touch with him at FaceBook, and check out all the new material.

  • Charly: Wow! Cool! That means a lot to me and I will check it out. I will get in touch with him when I leave the rehabilitation center.

MettleAngel: Also, please let Daxx & Mickey know that I would love to get in contact with them about their new project Brain Damage. It would be so damn cool to do an interview too.

  • Charly: You will have to send me the questions for Daxx, because he has no Internet. I will meet him soon. As far as Micky…you can get in touch with him via Facebook.

MettleAngel: Man, I hate Facebook! Yeah, kindly let Daxx know how much I worship Vendetta. Charly, Thank You for taking the time to indulge a long time fan, all the best!

  • Charly: I have to thank you Michael, as well. Thank you for your support!!

See also: review of the album Tales Of The Weird

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