Ronnie/Ken - Pretty Maids
Danish veterans Pretty Maids undoubtedly released one of the albums of the year in hard rock/heavy metal. When the band stopped for a show in Jönköping, Sweden, Metal Covenant sat down after sound check with founding members Ronnie Atkins (vocals) and Ken Hammer (guitar) for a chat about things past, present and future.
Mozzy: I have to say I'm really looking forward to tonight's gig. I have seen you at Sweden Rock two times but never at your own show.
Mozzy: It definitely is. But it will be good, it will surely be intimate.
Mozzy: It's going to be very easy, I'm sure. Talking about Sweden Rock, how was it replacing Ratt (who cancelled some days before this year's festival)?
Mozzy: Me too, but I was glad to see Pretty Maids replacing them.
Mozzy: So how has this tour been so far?
Mozzy: Have you been playing mainly smaller venues or bigger ones too?
Mozzy: What has the reaction been like for the new songs?
Mozzy: I noticed that you change the set quite often; that must be more fun for you as well?
Mozzy: Your latest album, Pandemonium was brilliant. As I told you before, it was Album Of The Month in May at Metal Covenant. Even though your last albums were very good, it was a clear step-up I think.
Mozzy: One main factor on the album is the great production. The last album you produced yourselves; this time you chose to enlist Jacob Hansen.
Mozzy: I agree. Another thing which is notable on Pandemonium is the keyboards. They are much more prominent than in a long time.
Mozzy: Was that because you didn't find a good one, or?
Mozzy: There are certainly some really good keyboard parts on the new one, so it was surely a good move.
Mozzy: Now we're going to switch back to the old days, if you don't mind. I have a large collection of old metal magazines, and I managed to find these, which include Pretty Maids...
(Ronnie and Ken are carefully studying the two Metal Hammer magazines, both from 1990, I hand them. Each of the mags has a large, 2-page Pretty Maids article, complete with various pictures.)
Mozzy: What do you think when you see those old pictures?
Mozzy: As I understand it, you had some problems during the period between Future World and Jump The Gun?
Mozzy: Jump The Gun therefore was quite delayed, wasn't it?
Mozzy: It turned out a great album in the end though.
Mozzy: Really, you should have made it bigger with that album.
Mozzy: Also, there are many who think that Pretty Maids is an awesome band who should have been bigger overall.
Mozzy: That (the grunge era) was not the best period
Mozzy: You had great success in Japan with Jump The Gun, and became quite big there afterwards, right?
Mozzy: Germany has been a great country for you as well, hasn't it?
Mozzy: Do you in some way regret that you, although you've still had a successful career, didn't manage to take that final step?
Mozzy: What about the US; did you ever tour in the US?
Mozzy: In today's climate, with downloading and all that, can you still make a good living out of the band?
Mozzy: I agree, it's a shame.
Mozzy: But under all circumstances, you've had a long, solid career. What are you most proud of?
Mozzy: And I guess just still being around, that's a great success too?
Mozzy: How about a DVD; didn't you plan to do one some years ago?
Mozzy: I guess you must have lots of old clips as well?
Mozzy: Have you started to think about the next album?
Mozzy: And what about the future of Pretty Maids; will you simply keep on going?
Without doubt, any Pretty Maids fan would wish to see the band continue for a long, long time yet, especially when they are still releasing albums as fabulous as Pandemonium. That there is a strong bond between the band and their fans was demonstrated after the triumphant show in Jönköping. Winding down backstage, the Danes were gracious enough to allow inside those who wished to get autographs and take pictures, and spend some time with the humble, laid-back members of the band. A perfect ending to a memorable night (which came to an end very late for your Metal Covenant correspondent and various other members of the party!), and one that displays that Pretty Maids are a class act not just on record and the stage but in private as well.
See also: review of the gig the same night