Rage Interview with Peavy Wagner
Rage are back with full force. Band mastermind Peter ‘Peavy’ Wagner decided to exchange the complete line-up last year and just went ahead and did it. A lot of noise was published last year already but it still seems that Peavy is quite passionate about what happened. He has never been afraid to speak his mind and so he did in our interview. Read below what Peavy had to say about the new album ‘The Devil Strikes Again’, the new line-up and the past few years.
“I personally was not 100% behind our output anymore in the last few years. I realized I was on the wrong track and that I had to change something.”
Marc: ‘The Devil Strikes Again’, your 22nd studio album, will be out on June 10. It will be the first album with your new line-up. What can your fans expect from the album?
Peavy: I am 100% proud of the album. For a long, long time this is actually what I want to do with Rage. You know that I changed the line-up recently and this is the first time in many years that I was responsible for the complete songwriting and the decisions what gets on the album and what not. Before, with Victor, it was always a kind of a compromise. One of the agreements when he joined the band was that he’s gonna have 50% of the compositions where he can compose and arrange exactly like he wanted. It was very important for him to push forward his own career. Over the years it was getting more and more into that direction. I just realised that we were getting too far away from what Rage originally was. In the end he was not really willing to compromise anymore so I just realised he’s just the wrong guy for the band. I have a responsibility for the band. Rage is a name that stands for particular music which is known by a lot of people worldwide. People were getting disappointed more and more probably because we were not delivering what they wanted to hear from Rage. I personally was not 100% behind our output anymore in the last few years. I realized I was on the wrong track and that I had to change something. That’s why I changed the line-up. I got two guys who are absolutely behind me, who are my friends for a long time. They are fans of Rage since they were teenagers. So they absolutely understand what the special Rage sounds demands. I think that’s what the fans can expect from the new album. The music on that album is back to this typical Rage energy, the portion of thrash is back that we always had before, our typical way of songwriting is back being to the point and not that much guitar show-off stuff anymore which was included in the last years. That’s also nice but it’s not what Rage is all about. If you liked Rage on albums like ‘Black In Mind’, if you liked the straight Rage, the metal Rage that focussed on songs and not on showing off then you’re gonna be happy with the new album.
“If you liked the straight Rage, the metal Rage that focussed on songs and not on showing off then you’re gonna be happy with the new album.”
Marc: ‘Black In Mind’ is viewed as one of your best album by your fans. That album has actually been recorded with two guitarists. When you reformed the band last year, did you ever consider getting two new guitarists?
Peavy: Actually yes. Firstly, before I realised I had to change the complete band I actually thought to add a second guitar player but Victor was not willing to have another guitar player next to him. So I realised I had to stop working with him. As soon as I started working with Markus and Lucky I realised that Markus is an absolutely brilliant player and it was not necessary to have another guitar player. The first tour we played together was the 20th anniversary tour for ‘Black In Mind’ which is the most successful album of the band. We worked with a second guitar player on that tour because I wanted to bring the album on stage as close to the original as possible. So we had a second guitar player next to Markus. When we worked on new material it was really not necessary to have a second guy. We can always work with a guest guitar player if we need it but I don’t think it’s necessary for the regular line-up. Also I think the chemistry between us is really good. Both guys are my long-time friends. Lucky, our drummer, is my friend since 1988 and Markus is also a friend of mine for years. We would be hanging out anyway so now we can be together as friends and work together. That’s fantastic.
Marc: At the time when you changed the band you said in a number of interviews that Rage had become more as a job for you and that you didn’t have that much fun anymore. So, how much fun are you having now?
Peavy: 100%. It couldn’t be better (laughs). I am really happy. I feel like when I was 20. I like everything we do with the band right now. When we go out on tour it’s like we’re three little boys having a good weekend together. It was absolutely the right decision. As you said it was just a working relationship and just a job. I hated going out with those guys. It was just a pain in the ass to be with them. They thought the same about me. We just had no personal relationship anymore. If you don’t have that it reflects on the music sooner or later. It was really about time to make a change. It was for the better, also for the fans. Two days ago we just played in Paris and got absolutely positive reactions with the new line-up. The energy is right. That’s metal and that’s what the fans want to see.
“I hated going out with those guys. It was just a pain in the ass to be with them.”
Marc: You booked a few summer festivals. What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Peavy: A lot. As you said, we have announced a few festivals already and there are more to come. Every day I get more announcements from our management. They’re working on lots more stuff. The more the promoters of the festivals and clubs hear what we are about to release the more interest we get. Before it was a bit difficult with some promoters. They were like ‘Rage haven’t done anything for such a long time.’ The more they hear what we are doing right now the more interest comes in. That’s why a lot of festival offers coming in quite late but they are coming in. Then by November we are booking a headliner tour called ‘The Devil Tours Again’. We have already about 20 dates together. Concerning Australia there are offers from there as well. Of course it’s very expensive to get over there. If we get a chance to tour Japan in October we might combine this with Australia. Knock on wood. I hope it works out. Australia is the only continent I haven’t been to so far and I really want to get over there.