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Interview conducted June 11 2022
Interview published July 20 2022

"They all can bring their gears in, and I'm gonna model it so that it sounds like Rage."

Iconic long-running German metallers Rage came to Sweden Rock in June and Metal Covenant talked for a little while with main guy, bass player and vocalist, Peavy Wagner.

Tobbe: Your 2021 record Resurrection Day is, according to me, the best Rage record you have done for quite a while. [Peavy repeats "for quite a while" and we both laugh at my choice of words.] Did you get some new-found energy for that record?

Peavy: Yeah, I mean, the band is refreshed with Stefan [Weber, guitar] and Jean [Bormann, guitar] and they probably brought this refreshment and energy to the new album. And I'm also very motivated. Basically, everybody in the band is motivated and in a very good mood, hoping that everything goes well for touring again after this break.

Tobbe: With such a long career that you've had with Rage, I guess that it's okay to put some pressure on you to put out good albums every time.

Peavy: Oh, I don't see it that way. I don't put any pressure on myself, you know. What is this, my 25th, my 26th record? [Stefan, who is sitting just 10 feet away from us, says 27th, which would be the correct number if Avenger, Rage, Lingua Mortis Orchestra and Refuge would be seen as one unit of Peavy's.]

After so many records, for me, there's no pressure anymore. I see it as one more of my babies. For me, it's a psychological need to write songs to express myself. This is my way of communicating. You know, that's how I see it. So it's absolutely normal for me to speak to the people out there in this way. So, every new album I see as a chance of communicating, you know.

And besides that, you get better and better over the years, because you're getting so used to play and to write songs, and you just develop as a songwriter, so. So there's no pressure for me. It works, basically. I'm happy with the results, you know. I think it's growing, in a way. You know, the way that the band writes songs, the way I write lyrics, everything. It develops naturally, so.

Tobbe: About an old record. I was actually browsing the Metal Archives and looked at some reviews on your old records, and the record of yours that had scored the highest grades was in fact Perfect Man [1988]. Is that surprising to you

Peavy: Well, maybe. You know, this record was made in a situation where the band just had a brand-new lineup with Manni [Schmidt, guitar] and Chris [Efthimiadis, drums]. We were money-wise in a very bad situation. We had no money. The only guy that had an apartment was Manni and we slept on his sofa, and Chris was sleeping on the floor actually. [Laughs] He didn't even have a place to sleep on, you know. Yeah, we just lived hand-to-mouth.

So, in this situation we were, like, completely free, you know. There were no expectations on us. We were happy that Noise gave us another chance to do something. We were so open for everything. It was our first time to make music together, so we didn't think of any rules or so.

You know, we just did what we felt like, and what came out, and maybe through this situation something interesting came out, that people liked, you know. We didn't expect to see those reactions. I remember that Kerrang! gave us a full 5K and it was, like, "Yeah! This is the reinventing of thrash!". P.O.T., pop-oriented thrash, he wrote [Laughs], and Xavier Russell was his name.

Tobbe: You know, Resurrection Day is also among the highest scoring albums, and it's very unusual that a band who has been going for so long gets so great reviews in there on the new album too.

Peavy: 33 years later. [Chuckles] Yeah, I mean, this is nice of course. We like the development. You know, I just know that you can't influence this. You just do what you think is the best that you can do at the moment, and then just hope that the people understand what you've been trying to do, you know.

Tobbe: Wings Of Rage was out in January 2020 and Resurrection Day was out in September 2021. It's pretty close between 2 records, so will we have another record out from Rage even next spring or something?

Peavy: No, not next spring. Actually, we have everything already together. We have about 18 new songs, in the pre-production phase, of course. We are preparing for the 40th anniversary of the band, which should be in '24. At least we celebrate that, you know. Actually, my 40th anniversary is already over. [Laughs] However, '84, the release of the first Avenger album [Prayers Of Steel], which for me I take as the start of it, you know. First album release.

So, in '24 we celebrate the 40th anniversary and we're preparing for a double album, one real heavy and one with orchestration, to bring all the stylistic facets of the band. There's gonna be a band biography with a book also. So we're preparing everything for '24. Of course, if we wanted to, we could have put it out next year also, but we push it all together.

Tobbe: Are you a songwriting machine, in your own opinion?

Peavy: Oh no, I don't see myself as a machine. But I love to do it. It's definitely one of my favorite things in life. I just love to do it. But a lot of stuff comes out, yeah. [Laughs] But it's not like I force myself to do it, you know. Of course you can write music like a machine. And I know that there are new machines that can do this.

Tobbe: Maybe soon there won't be an artist, only machines.

Peavy: They were testing one of these algorithm-based computer programs that writes music. One or two years ago they developed one of these programs, and the guy that programmed it was obviously a fan of Rage. He programmed it just for an example, you know, like, "Write music like Rage!".

So this program wrote music, and it sounds actually like Rage, you know. You can find it on the internet. I was really impressed, you know. I clicked at it and, "Wow! This sounds really like I have done this.". It seemed recorded, you know. And the vocals, that also are programmed, sound like I am singing. Really impressive, you know.

Maybe in a couple of years we can all go home, you know, like, "Okay, the machine has done it.". And we all will be on stage like a hologram, and just sit at home and let the machines work. [Laughs] But, I mean, not my way. I hope my future won't be like this. I hope people still will love the real thing, you know.

Tobbe: You've always survived through every member change. Do those changes really affect the band in any way for you, or is it just keep going and the show must go on all the time?

Peavy: Well, I am the trademark, and my voice is a sound, and my way of writing has a certain style, you know. Of course, people that play with me have their own input, and a different way of thinking, of course, a little bit. When you have different people playing with you, of course a few different influences come in and maybe give you new elements or so. But in general, the main thing is gonna be me and it's gonna be Rage anyway, you know.

We recently covered songs from Powerwolf and from Orden Ogan, because they asked us to do cover versions of their stuff, you know. I sung two of the Powerwolf songs. Actually, we recorded also one of them. And people that have heard it so far, they say, "That sounds fucking Rage though. How do they do this?". It always will sound like us, whatever we do, obviously. [Laughs]

Tobbe: Is it easier now to run the band when there's more like 1 boss?

Peavy: There never really was like we had, like, several bosses or so. You see, it doesn't really work. But I don't play the boss. It's not like I'm a dictator and say, "Do this and this and this.". I'm trying to involve everybody as good as possible, you know. I mean, the roads are clear. Everybody knows what I am doing here, and everybody knows where his road is, you know. They all can bring their gears in, and I'm gonna model it so that it sounds like Rage.

Tobbe: If you would predict a little bit about the future. Where do you see Rage in 5 or 10 years?

Peavy: Actually, I hope that my health allows me to at least carry on another 10 years or so. It would be great. I would love to do the 50-year anniversary, you know. 'Cause I really love doing this. It's the best thing that can happen to a person in his life. To live like this, you know. I just wish it goes on.

I don't wanna stay at home and I don't wanna be ill, and whatever, you know. I don't wanna be dead. [Laughs] I'm grateful to the audience that they still let me be around, 'cause without the audience the band wouldn't be. That's what I always keep in mind. It's not happening because of me, it's happening because of all these people around the world, you know.

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