Heavy Metal veterans RUNNING WILD show us with their upcoming album Blood On Blood, they are still going strong. Rock Out Stand Out’s Lotty Whittingham parlayed with band captain Rock N’ Rolf Kasparek about Blood On Blood, how ideas form in his mind about what to write and mental health.
You will be releasing your latest album Blood On Blood soon. Album releases have been postponed due to the pandemic, was this coming Friday the intended release date or were you hoping to release it earlier?
You know normally I was planning to release it earlier because that’s we did our four track EP to fill in the gap between the last album and the new one. So, it took a long time and there were some breaks from illnesses I was dealing with. There were also breaks due to the festival appearances we made in 2017 and 2018 Wacken Open Air.
Did you manage to get it recorded before we went into a strict lockdown?
Luckily I had chosen the ten songs for the album as there were about twenty songs. Pretty much at the end of 2019, we had the lucky situation that we could start and finish the drum recordings before the first lockdown took place. I could do things like recording the guitar parts for the choruses and other things in my own studio. That’s why I was so focused on the album, the pandemic didn’t have a huge impact. We had four shows that were originally planned for 2020 that got pushed back to 2022 so I could take the time to focus on the album.
It states in the press release you used this time to fine tune anything, were there many changes to say lyrics, guitar parts etc?
I was pretty much about done with the production and I got a call to ask if we wanted to push the album release back by a couple of months later. There were several reasons, I had a list of things I wasn’t completely satisfied with as we all do and we had two months to see to those things. We all know how the quality of that small percent can do to an album so it was a very lucky situation.
How do you go about choosing what you’re going to write about in your albums?
I always get ideas, these always form in my head. The first idea I had for this album was the title track, back in the days it was called One For All And All For One but that’s too long. Then I found Blood On Blood means the same thing so why I chose it, it’s about the musketeers and their motto. It can also be used among pirates as well otherwise they couldn’t survive, so that was interesting especially with the album cover. Another idea that came was for Crossing The Blades, it was an add on to Blood On Blood.
For a long time, I had the idea for a song like The Iron Times which is about the thirty years war and I really couldn’t find the right melody. For years I had an idea to do a song about that and this time I had the idea for the right melody that could carry the song. This was the third song about the topic as it’s 17th Century and the musketeers had formed, this was for something between the songs.
There are some other songs about prophecies like Say Your Prayers and One Night, One Day. Also some party rock songs which are completely different to the others which were Wild & Free and Wild, Wild Nights. It’s a big range of topics I wrote the lyrics about.
Speaking of Crossing The Blades, it says its a hybrid between The Three Musketeers and your mascot Adrian. It made me wonder if Adrian replaced Dartagnan or if he’s an extra musketeer.
Adrian is pretty much our trademark and he stands for the pirate thing in our band. That’s why I did this hybrid song, everyone knows the crossing of blades the musketeers do and then we add on these two saddles and his hat to make sure he is something to do with the track.
The lyrics in the track Wild, Wild Nights could be relatable to now, particularly during lockdown where we haven’t been able to see anyone or have those sorts of nights. Was this mind when writing the song or did you write it earlier than that?
I wrote the song pretty early on, I had the title track written down and Wild, Wild Nights was the second idea I had. The song had originally been written in 2017 but you know things change so much that our song becomes way more recent and relevant to the times we’re living in now. The song is written to have a good time to and the words are there to sing along to. It doesn’t mean too much, it’s there to have a good time to enjoy yourself.
When it comes to recording the material, do you write the melodies first and then the lyrics or is it the other way round?
It’s different, I have no formula. Sometimes I have the chorus first or the title first and then comes the musical ideas. Sometimes, I have the riff first and that was the case with Say Your Prayers and it was a different song, the working title was Fire And Ice as far as I remember. It changed to another thing with a different idea, sometimes I hear something on the TV or I read something and the idea falls. Sometimes it’s the titles first, sometimes the melody is first; there really is no formula.
When you’re watching TV or reading something when an idea forms, have there been any particular films or books?
Before we went on tour one year, I saw a John Wayne movie and whilst going from town to town I had the idea for the melody Little Big Horn. So I wrote the song on the tour bus in my head and then when I got home, I wrote it down on paper.
Which of the tracks from Blood On Blood are you looking forward to playing live the most?
The title track as I think it it’s a great song to have a good time with and sing along or scream along. Some songs like The Iron Times which wasn’t meant for playing live as there’s so many different guitar parts, you can’t do that with two guitar players. Same with One Night, One Day.
Which of the tracks proved the most challenging to record?
Pretty much One Night, One Day because of the song itself. I had just written the song as a demo, Mike [surname] added the drums and put it on. Then I decided to put it into another key, I had to relearn all the small bits and pieces one by one in a different key.
Given you have been in the music industry for a long time, what has been the biggest change for you?
I have found throughout the last ten years or so, all the kids were attracted to Running Wild. They were buying the records when they were released again, all the older records. When I did the festivals for 2017, I had to take notice that the first ten rows for all these shows that nobody was over thirty. There have been a lot of younger fans discovering the band by themselves through the Internet, there has been lots of streaming and downloading as well. Nowadays when we play the festivals, we play the same setlist like Guns N’ Roses or Iron Maiden.
What’s mental health awareness like in Germany?
A few years ago, we had a soccer player who took his own life and his wife made a speech to the media about bringing awareness for people who are suffering with that. Especially in the sports world where you always have to bring 100%. One Night, One Day is a song about prophecies but you also read it as going through a deep valley as a person where you fight through that until you see the light at the other end of the tunnel.
What do you think we could do more of so people feel comfortable talking about their mental health?
It’s a big form because in our society, you have to be strong. This is what everybody expects, we have grown up with being told it’s a weakness if you say you have problems. That’s why I think it’s great when people speak to the public about it, he was a football star that took his own life because he couldn’t handle his problems as he felt he couldn’t talk to anyone. He had help but it wasn’t enough.
What advice would you give to someone who isn’t coping?
We had cases in our band, I won’t who it was but he was going through a tough time with depression and getting along with that. It was a tough time for the band because you want to help him in the first instance. When you’re friends with someone, you want to help them out so don’t look away.
What helps you when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed?
I like to do different things; listening to music, going out with my dog. I always have to laugh when he looks at me, he’s a chihuahua. He’s very cute but also very clever and funny. When you’re not feeling good, dogs are very good for that.
Given the band name Running Wild, which animal would you like to run wild with and why?
It’s hard to say, I think wolves are pretty interesting.
Who would you choose to be in your crew for a sea voyage?
It’s pretty hard to say because if you look at real pirates, they didn’t live that long. They were pirates that were around for twenty two months or something like that. Maybe if another Pirates Of The Carribean movie comes out and I can find a new character.
Do you have a message for Running Wild disciples and our readers?
I hope the Running Wild fans in England like the new album the same way I do and I really hope we can see each other face to face in the next year playing festivals.
Thank you Rolf for speaking with Rock Out Stand Out today and best of luck with the album release.