Interview conducted June 5 2017
Interview published July 13 2017
"They want the band to have the typical sound
that the band was known for in the 90's."
Bass player and vocalist Peavy
Wagner and his Rage, which since 2015 also includes
guitar player Marcos Rodriguez and drummer Vassilios "Lucky"
Maniatopoulos, will put out a new record, Seasons Of The Black, on July
"We are preparing an album for Refuge."
Tobbe: If looking at today's standards,
it wasn't really long ago since you released your last album [The Devil
Strikes Again, Out June 10th 2016.]. So how come you have already a new
album out now so soon?
Peavy: Yeah, that's more the standard of the
80's or the early 90's all right. But, you know, I come from that time
and it's not really hard for me to do that and the situation in Rage
now, with the boys that I work with, is so great at the moment that
we're so inspired by each other. We're just writing songs constantly
and we have way more stuff and ideas that we could release, you know.
fact is: before the Devil album came out last year we already had, like,
5 or 6 new songs done and by October the new album, Seasons Of The Black,
was completely written. So we decided "Okay. Let's just record
it!", you know. As long as it's hot and inspired, you know. Better
than wait for another two years and don't really know anymore what it
was about, like "What do we have here?", you know.
Tobbe: Did you even have some ideas that
were from a time even before The Devil Strikes Again? Like older ideas?
Peavy: Nearly all of the material from Seasons
is completely new. There is one little skeleton idea in the long, 20-minute
epic in the end of the album, The Tragedy Of Man. One part is called
Bloodshed In Paradise and its skeletal, harmonic parts were left over
from 21 . Everything else is completely new. It all happened after
we wrote the Devil album.
Tobbe: When you sat down to write the songs,
did you follow some kind of formula with the new songs, like really looking
at the elements that made Rage to what it once was?
Peavy: We don't really have to take care of this
and actually it just happens by itself. I'm so used to write stuff,
which is the main reason to how Rage is known, you know. I can just
write freshly and freely and when Marcos got into music and into playing
guitar, Rage was one of his biggest influences, so his way of composing
is very much influenced by my way of composing. That's the reason why
it's so inspiring and the way it fits so good, you know.
You know how it is nowadays, with all this technology;
you can just send a WhatsApp with a new idea or so, you know. This is
a matter of a couple of minute or so and as soon as I write something
For example, I'm here alone at home, sitting in front of my fireplace
and jam a little with my guitar, and I get an idea and I get some harmonic
structure with some melody in it and I have a cool chorus and stuff,
then I just record it quickly with my mobile phone and send it over
to Marcos and to a 100 percent just 5 minutes later he will come back
like "Yeah! Do that! It's a fucking good riff. It fits perfectly.",
you know. It's really easy. The possibilities nowadays make it so easy
to work together, even if you don't meet physically for rehearsal.
know, 20 years ago you had to meet in a rehearsal room or in a studio
to get into creativity mode and now you can do this wherever you are
and whenever you want to, even if you wake up at 4 in the morning. Just
send it on WhatsApp and see if he is awake or not, you know. Maybe he
is awake and still in the studio playing guitar or so.
Tobbe: 23 albums. So where do you personally
find that creativity to just put out album after album all the time?
Peavy: Oh, creativity, you have it or not, you
know. I've been playing guitar since I was 9 years old or so. And I
always was a songwriter, from the very first chord I could play and
I wrote a song with just one chord, you know. [Laughs] I am constantly
writing. If I wouldn't be a metal singer I would probably be a singer/songwriter
or something, like Bob Dylan or whatever, you know. I am just writing
constantly. It's a part of my life and it's a part of my personality,
of my expression. No matter if I would make a living from this or not;
if I would be, I don't know, a baker or whatever, I would still be writing
The question was "Where does this creativity
come from?". The creativity is always there, but I have a pretty
good antenna to the universe to channel all this, all these ideas that
are coming, and I know how to do it. I have a guitar everywhere, in
every room, and as soon as some spark of an idea just comes flying I
just grab the guitar and work on it. Not because I have to, but just
because I want to. I'm always curious, "What is this? What was
that in the back of my mind here?". I just wanna hear it, you know.
Tobbe: So you never feel any pressure at
all to write songs?
Peavy: Absolutely no. This is not a job for me.
There's no pressure. This is just pure pleasure and something like breathing,
eating and drinking for me. And now the situation in the band, especially
with Marcos who is my co-songwriter, is absolutely perfect and very
Tobbe: But still, something must be challenging?
Even for you. I mean, even if you have written so many albums, something
must be challenging when you go into the process of making another record.
Peavy: Most challenging for me is always to bring
out these songs that we wrote in a form so the world outside can listen
to the ideas we have. It was and always is a challenge. It's not like
a competition for me, that I wanna have the most albums recorded. It's
basically the love for what we're doing. We're music freaks, you know.
I am a music freak and I just want the world to hear this stuff that
I have. Not to be a star or that everybody is, like, clapping or so,
you know, or "Oh! You're so creative! You're so cool!, whatever,
'cause that's not the thing. This is a kind of communication for me.
As I guess many people have told you, you have kind of returned to an
older Rage sound on the two last records and even if it's hard to predict,
is this the type of sound we will hear from Rage from now on again?
Peavy: Surely. This is the way that I sound.
There's no one around me anymore that is harming this and is changing
it to his own idea or so. As Marcos and Lucky both are really freak
fans of the band since their teenage days, they want Rage to sound like
the way that comes out of me. They want the band to have the typical
sound that the band was known for in the 90's. I'm pretty sure that
all the future stuff coming out from this band will sound in this direction.
It's not that we try to push it in some direction or so and this just
Tobbe: So this is the second album with
the new lineup and in what way have you been able to build a stronger
musical bond since the last record with the two new guys
Peavy: The musical bond was already absolutely
strong before we got together, because both are my long-time friends.
Lucky is my friend since 1988. [Laughs] And Marcos, we're friends since
10 years now. So the bond between each other and the personal and also
the musical understanding was already very strong. So we didn't really
need time to grow together, as we were already pretty much together
when we started, you know. Of course, since we released the Devil album
we've played around 100 shows together, so we are way more into it now,
Tobbe: I guess you weren't really satisfied
with the last couple of albums with Victor [Smolski, former guitarist]
and he was maybe stifling you a little bit in your way of creating music
and is that also a reason that you're putting out two albums so quickly?
Like to really, really get back to the Rage style as fast as you can.
Peavy: Nah, you know, the first part of your
question; I wasn't really unhappy with the albums and it was also a
good output, but it was not that much my stuff anymore. Victor is a
very demanding person and he just put his stamp on the whole thing more
and more. For example, on the last album, 21 , and also on the
Lingua Mortis album [LMO, 2013], which were the last two productions
I did with him, I couldn't find myself anymore. When I listened to the
album it was more and more like "Yeah. It's a cool Smolski solo
album that I'm singing on.". [Laughs] Even if there were still
songs from me.
know, he was taking those songs and modeled them in a direction he wanted
them to have, but not the way that I would make them sound and not the
way that I would arrange them. I don't wanna criticize him or so. He
is like he is, so it's okay. But obviously he was just the wrong guy
to work with me, or that I should work with, you know. As Rage is my
band and if I cannot find myself anymore in my own band, then there's
something wrong, you know. [Laughs]
Tobbe: But Victor and you and also Mike
Terrana [Former drummer], like, 15 years ago, took Rage into some kind
of revival almost, with albums like Unity and Soundchaser and those albums
were very popular, so...
Peavy: At that phase this lineup worked really
good. Especially, Mike Terrana had a good influence on Victor's ego.
[Laughs] Yeah, I have to say, especially around Unity and Soundchaser,
it was a pretty good working machine and a really good output. So you
can always say that every lineup had its good times, you know.
Tobbe: But Rage is divided in, like, 3 parts.
You know, you had the 80's with that kind of speed metal part, and then
you had the heavy metal 90's, and then you have, like, the Victor stuff
with more guitars.
Peavy: Of course, when you're working with new
musicians the whole thing has to define itself as maybe something new,
you know. When you start to work with a person that you don't know before,
it's a kind of experiment and you never really know in which direction
everything will develop.
Especially as it looked really good in the beginning
with Victor and Mike, I was like "Okay. This could work for a long
time." and I gave it a try, you know. Probably I gave it a try
maybe 2, 3 ,4 years too much, you know. [Laughs] This
is not meant in a negative way and you know how life is. You can never
really foresee what's coming and before you change something and before
you end something, you still give it a try and "Maybe it gets better
It's the same with a relationship with a woman,
for example. You're married with someone and you're getting problems
and the whole thing is getting difficult, then you don't just get divorced
right away. You give it another try, or you go to a therapist or whatever.
You split with the whole thing really at the last moment, when you realize
there is absolutely no way to have a future with it, you know. That's
how it was pretty much with the lineup before. But now I'm happy. I'm
in a new relationship and I'm really happy. [Laughs]
Let's get back to the new album a bit. You have recorded a bunch of old
Avenger songs from the Prayers Of Steel album . So why have you
chosen to record those songs at this point?
Peavy: That was pretty much connected to the
fact that we're gonna re-release the Avenger album, the Reign Of Fear
album  and the Execution Guaranteed album . They will come
out in a box called The Early Years [Out June 30th], on my own label
Dr. Bones. And when we worked with these re-releases we remastered everything
and we went through all those old tapes with demo stuff and unreleased
material from those phases.
So when we worked on the re-releases we just
realized that those songs are really timeless, cool songs that just
don't have the 100 percent shape that they should have had. Back when
we recorded the Avenger album we were teenagers and this was our first
steps in the music business. First time in the studio, you know, and
we were not such good players as we are today, obviously. So we just
imagined, like "How would this song sound if we would record it
today?" and I said "Why don't we just do it? Let's pick out
the best of those songs.".
So we picked out the 6 strongest songs, in our
opinion, and re-recorded them and now we're gonna put them out as a
separate bonus disc on the new album. And if you think about it, also
history-wise, it makes absolutely sense because that stuff was released
under a different band name and I guess a lot of younger fans don't
really know about this material or don't really connect this to Rage.
So, I think by re-recording them we brought these song kind of back
into the Rage catalogue.
Tobbe: So out of all Rage records, give
me a good reason why someone should buy Seasons Of The Black before buying
one of your other records.
Peavy: Because it pretty much holds all the
essential trademarks that this band ever was known for. It's a really
good album. That's the main reason, you know. Of course, you can also
buy Black In Mind  or whatever, which is not less good, but just
for having a good metal album, Seasons Of The Black is absolutely perfect,
I would say. If you like this style of Rage, then you just gotta have
it. It's a good album; it's not just another filler or so.
Tobbe: There is so much competition out
there today and there are like thousands of metal bands, so what does
Rage do to try to stay on the level that you're on?
Peavy: What can we do? I mean, honestly we have
no chance than just releasing new albums and playing shows. That's the
only thing we can do, like everybody else, you know. We just have to
live with this competition. But the good thing is that we have true
fans that have really stayed very true to the band over all these years.
For example, when we released the Devil album last year I think it was
a gap of at least 4 years from the 21 album, but we actually could hold
our sales figures, you know. Which is totally rare nowadays, but it
really shows how true fans we have. They really hold us align.
Do you see younger fans coming to the shows today too? Because a band
of your generation have to gain new fans and you can't rely on your old
fans all the time.
Peavy: It's always a challenge to get new fans,
younger people, interested in the band. But this is mostly nowadays
a promotion topic. We try to get more into the internet promotion, which
is how most of the younger people inform themselves. So we can just
try to modernize our promotion work, playing good shows and do good
albums and in the end it spreads from mouth to mouth. That's the only
thing you can do nowadays, you know. That's how it is and you just have
to deal with the situation as it is.
Tobbe: And before we finish this off, just
a couple of quick questions about Refuge: So, have you guys thought about
increasing the number of gigs you play with Refuge, like playing a bit
more often than you in fact do?
Peavy: Actually, at the moment we're nearly
not playing at all. We have very few shows where we switch over between
the Rage lineup and the Refuge lineup and play a couple of songs with
Manni Schmidt, guitar] and Chris [Efthimiadis, drums]. This is just
for our own fun basically. We're a big family, you know.
But we're not really that active in the live
section at the moment, because we are writing new songs now. We are
preparing an album for Refuge. We have 8 new tracks ready; really great
stuff. So the plan is to enter the studio by September/October this
year and record the new album with Refuge. You know, the The Missing
Link  follow up. [Laughs] We have a new deal with Frontiers Records
and we suggested that we have everything done by June next year.
Tobbe: So those songs will sound more like
the early 90's?
Peavy: It sounds a bit different to the Rage
material nowadays. It's obviously a bit more vintage, just because of
Manni's playing style, as he plays a completely different, more older
technique style and of course also of his input mixed with my ideas,
you know. This gives the original feeling we had on albums like Trapped!
, for example. We always had, like, songs that, for example The
Body Talks, that were a bit unusual, you know. We are pretty open minded
with adding different styles into the stuff. It's gonna sound pretty
much like what we did in the early 90's with this lineup.
of the album Seasons Of The Black