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Written by Fab   
Sunday, 20 March 2011 18:43

DER KAISER are among those french Heavy-Metal bands that made the glorious days of the french Heavy-Metal scene in the 80's ! Maybe inspired by the return of other bands like ADX, BLASPHEME, VULCAIN to name a few, DER KAISER got reformed in 2009... What follows is an interview made with bassist Thierry that is about to let you know a bit more on the band's plans & motivations ! 


- Hello Thierry ! Can you sum-up the band history to introduce you to the readers ?

DER KAISER was born in 1981 in the north of Paris.  I, bass-player,  wanted to start a band with drummer Philippe. We recruited guitar players through classified ads of rock magazine Rock ’N Folk and selected Beno & P’tit Tchong. It was a bit more difficult for the singer and after a bunch of auditions, we went for Pascal. Just before summer of 1983, DER KAISER went on stage for a couple of shows in France and at the same time we went to the 8-track-studio to record the first 2-song demo which got a review in the fifth issue of the Heavy-Metal magazine Metal Attack. In april 1983, DER KAISER (the EMPEROR) sent the demo to the french label Madrigal and got signed for the debut studio album in may of the same year. The first album “Vautours” was recorded at Garage-Studio in the downtown of Paris in February 1984 and was released in October of the same year. This album got very good responses from the specialized press and got sold to more than 20000 units. DER KAISER performed several shows following the album release but right after some divergences between the band and singer Pascal appeared and Pascal left the band. After some auditions, the band finally found Claude THILL as new singer. In 1985, Madrigal released a “Greatest Hits” album with all band members of the label, “Saga Des Fers” was chosen for this release, the vocal parts were then re-recorded with Claude. DER KAISER went back to the studio in sept/oct 1985 to record the second album called “La Griffe De L’Empire” which was released in nov 1985. At the end of 1986, Claude decided to leave the band, replaced by Pierre Placines. DER KAISER was then working on the third album but finally broke up and remained silent for the next 23 years… Finally DER KAISER returned on stage in January 2009 for the third edition of the Paris Metal France Festival and the response of the audience was simply awesome. DER KAISER also played another show at the Headbanger Open Air Festival in Germany in July 2010. Next step is of course a new album but at the moment, no date release is scheduled…

- Why did you choose a german name at that time ? I mean it was not so common… much less than nowadays… The need to sound different… Empereur in french or Emperor in english were not so good for you ? 
 Actually nothing to do with all that - The band name was something really important for us and we decided to gather to find the right one. At the end of the night, we were…. Tired.. not to say completely drunk - and one of the girls that was with us opened a couple of dictionaries, a english one, a german one, a french one and if I remember well, a Spanish one. Then we all closed our eyes and pointed some names on pages opened randomly. I can’t remember who found the word “Kaiser” but we all agreed on ! What about “Der”… ? Simply because we had to register our name as official branding, but “Kaiser” was already used, therefore we has to find a solution and we decided to add “Der”… DER KAISER was born.

- Can you remember the reasons why the band broke up after two albums that got very good responses .. ?
We broke up because of several reasons and factors. We were all a bit sick of the non-interest from the label Madrigal about us. Then Philippe had left the band and to be honest, it was very difficult to accept. Also the Heavy Metal scene in France was in real deep troubles, less & less people were interested in this music and as a band, it was really difficult to survive. I finally quit the band that broke up a couple of months later.

- What about the responses from the medias (press/radios) at that time ? I remember it was really difficult for french bands to get exposures in the pages of the national magazines (only exceptions were ENFER Magazine and METAL ATTACK Magazine) because these ones were mainly focusing on foreign bands… ?
It’s true and we suffered from that in the beginning. Then we got lucky when we met Christian Vinot that became our manager, he also was writing for Metal Attack Magazine and we got good reviews in ! But again, yes, from a global point of view, those medias were only looking at the main foreign bands instead of focusing of the french heavy-metal ones.

- Many french bands also broke up at that time… Do you think the lack of support from the national press is one of the reasons ?
Well, of course but I don’t think we need to blame them too much. They had to sell what the kids wanted to get and that was a hard choice for them too anyway, business is business and talking about French Heavy-Metal was not something that was selling….

- If you had to remember the best & worst souvenirs as a band member at this time, what would they be ?
This is a true difficult question. The best event I remember is when our guitarist Beno called me at my office to announce we got signed to the label ! If I remember well, I simply cried and try to make sure I was not sleeping and in a middle of a dream ! Regarding the worst one, it is related when the band disbanded, it really was a life-page that was turned on and then we had to think differently instead of trying to be some rockstars… 

- OK the Emperor is now back ! What were the reasons that made you reforming the band ? What are the nowadays band motivations, I can imagine it’s differents that what they were 30 years ago… Just for FUN ?
It is definitely different but let me tell you the real story… One day Claude called me and said “What about reforming DER KAISER ?” – My first reaction was “Are you kidding ?” – The idea came up because ADX, Still Square, Nightmare, Killers (Hmmm…. Not sure about KILLERS, they never stopped ! Ed.) and many other french bands got reformed, so why not us ? I was OK but we had to see how the other band members would react to this… I got P’tit Chong on phone who was more than happy abou the idea ! Philippe… it was a bit different because I was already playing with him for a couple of years now and he was very easy to convince ! Beno rejected the odea for persona & business reasons. Then altogether we decided to at least play the third edition of the Paris Metal France Festival and see afterwards if that was the first & the last show or if we could go on… You know now what the decision was ! And yes, motivation is to have Fun and Fun !

- About that appearance at the Paris Metal France Festival in 2009… What souvenir do you keep ?Were you surprised of the response ? Oh yes we were more than surprised to hear people screaming ike hell the name of DER KAISER ! Many people told us it would be gorgeous, blablabla… we didn’t believe a word  but Man, it really happened and it was simply amazing !!!

- About gigs… If I’m not wrong, you don’t play too much… I can only remember another gig in Fismes this last month (March 2011)… why can’t we see you more often ?
Never too old to rock but the age is making things a bit harder ! No, seriously there are several reasons about that. I have a very tough job, P’tit Chong, Philippe and Claude are usually very busy too. We are also working on a new album and considering all this, it’s a bit difficult to play more… However I have to say DER KAISER played in July 2010 at the Headbanger Open Air Festival in Germany and we’re playing the Metal Warning Festival in Helsinski/Finland in November 2011. It’s a bit more difficult to play in France and I’d like to thank UNDERGROUND INVESTIGATION and particularly Sylvain Cotté for the initiative..

- Do you plan to re-release your albums on CDs ? I never caught them on CDs… why ?
Simply because nobody asked us about it and none of us in the band talked about this idea.. We can think about it, I have no clue how to start the project but I hope we will find somebody willing to re-release them.

- When you played in Fismes, you performed two new songs… So I assume a new album is on the way… What about the composition of this one and do you know when it could be released ?
Yes, this is our ultimate project, we at the time have half a dozen of new songs we’re working on. Difficult to say about a date release because we’re all so busy with our “previous and current” lives !

- Well those two songs really were in the old-DER KAISER style… How was the writing ? No stress about the idea the new songs could not sound like DER KAISER anymore and go to something different ?
To be honest, we didn’t think about this. We started the new work on almost the same material we were using in the past with the huge help of the current technology to share the idea thru the internet. Those 4 men can only play something like DER KAISER !

- Many “old” french bands recently got reformed… ADX, Blaspheme, Attentat Rock, Vulcain, Ocean… What do you think about this ? What were your relations with them back in the old-days and how are they now ? Is that cool to see them playing live again ?
Of course this is really good for the french Heavy-Metal scene ! I think we have to go on surfing on the wave and hopefully the relations between those bands will be good and at least better than what it was 20 years ago. DER KAISER was not too close to the other bands, except for a couple of them such as ADX or Blaspheme. I’d really vote for a French Heavy-Metal federation that could gather all french bands to get them stronger and to help about event organisations.

- The French scene is not only made of “old” bands… There si a multitude of new young ones… Are there some you recently discovered that get your vote ?
Actually I don’t have much time to listen to music and particularly to those French underground bands. Fismes was good for that and I discovered there EVIL ONE which I think has a good potential, hope someone in the business will really take care of them.

- What do you think about the nowadays French scene (bands, medias, gigs, etc…) – we’re always saying it was better in the past ?
Today I feel there is a potential for development but again it seems that nothing really changed in 20 years as it still looks very difficult to play live in our country. Regarding the medias… hmmmm… this is even more obvious because 20 years ago one could find special pages in the magazines, only for French bands, and this doesn’t exist anymore. As example, no one covered the Paris Metal France Festival… A friend of mine is trying to organize shows in France and he is constantly having troubles because of the prices of the venues…

- OK, thanks a lot for your time and answers, last words are yours…
You’re welcome ! FUN can be the last word, for us having fun is more important. Providing fun to the audience, to our fans, kids….

> www.myspace.com/der.kaiser

Last Updated on Monday, 21 March 2011 08:23

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