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Tommy: You have made yourself a big name as a guitarist, Rolf - recieveing very good reviews worldwide and prizes at different occasions, and are considered one of the biggest guitarvirtouses in Germany, and have been awarded the German Rock Prize in the category Best Instrumentalist. And also became the best participant at the Finale of the European Guitar Festival in Switzerland in November 2000.
What makes you play for such different bands as your own Empire and for example Vanize? Many projects you are involved in has the touch of the more softer side of rock with a lot of acoustic and unplugged tunes.
Do you feel you have a need to satisfy every corner of your musical yearn, and which style do you hold as the most enjoyable to play?

  • R. Munkes: I was trying with lots of styles musically as well as on the guitar and it took me a lot lof time to find my way and my favs. And I'm still not there where I want to be, but closer. I like to be involved in two/three things a time.
    Each one has special things, which the others don't have. That makes it interesting and varied. Empire and Vanize are my main projects and everything has to wait for that.

Tommy: Tell us a litle bit about the idea behind Empire. What made you start up this band, and also - what are the longterm plans for the group? Can we consider Empire a steady band, or is it more on the projectlevel still?

  • R. Munkes: After my solo CD "No more obscurity" I wasn't too happy that I put half instrumental and half vocal stuff on it. So I decided to find singers and do a whole vocal album. Lance agreed to sing the whole album except two songs. These two were done by Mark Boals.
    I composed several tunes for the album and worked out the whole stuff with Gerald. We worked one year for that album and invited some of the greatest musicians to play and - they did.
    It was an honour to have all these guys on my CD!
    In the moment I'm working on a follow up of Hypnotica. The line-up isn't still confirmed, so be patient and stay tuned for that.

Tommy: Attending to a lot of prominent schools in your adolesence years,mainly being tought playing by jazzmusicians - there were never really a doubt that you would devote your time and life to metal?
Or are you planning on releasing some jazz, blues or equal album later on in life?

  • R. Munkes: To be honest I play Jazz very, very bad and I would never have the idea to make a jazz album. I don't even listen to it. I don't like Jazz! It was important for me to learn a bit about it, but that was all.
    What I like is Blues. I have some ideas for some tunes, but right now the other things are much more interesting for me. I love Robben Ford!
    And I'm into some Fusion players as well.

Tommy: A couple of years ago, you also featured in two Michael Suljic productions for Walt Disney Enterprises, where you recieved nice accomplishments for your versatility as a guitar player.
Are there any more project planned within this area in the future, and is this something you want to explore more of and try out in the future?

  • R. Munkes: I'm always open for all and Michael is good friend of mine and a great musician. It was very cool to play on these albums - totally different stuff (one was a musical for kids).
    We did a 3 Track CD this year, but I haven't still heard the result. It's already released, but I don't know any details so far.

Tommy: Could you bring us up to date on the status on the band ABRA, which you were involved in and co-founded back in 1992 and that has released two CDs so far?
Are that band put to ice now when you are heavily involved in 2 major bands, or is there time for that too?

  • R. Munkes: Abra was the brainchild of a real strange and selfish guy, who was involved in drinking too much alcohol and didn't want to take it real serious and professional. So I decided to leave that thing.

Tommy: And finally - any words of wisdom or funny facts about the nearest future
you want to share with the readers?

  • R. Munkes: Thanks for the interview and we'll keep on working hard to Bring Rock Into The Fast Lane!!!!!! Cheers Rolf

That was all I had for now, Rolf - the staff at metalcovenant.com wish you all the very best for the future, and we sincerely want to thank you for keeping the spirit of Metal alive!

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