Edguy: 'Holy ear damage'
April 14, 2009
You would be hard pressed to find a more entertaining rock band than Germany's Edguy. Known mainly as a power metal band in the early part of their career, starting with 2004's Hellfire Club and on through their last album, 2006's Rocket Ride, Edguy showed a knack for comedy and '80s glam rock flair. The style received mixed reactions from fans and peers, but Edguy remained successful nonetheless. It had reached the point where people were starting to wonder if Edguy was serious about anything anymore, or were they merely a parody of heavy metal?
With their new album Tinnitus Sanctus, Edguy has surprised everyone. Not only does the music take on a more serious nature, but they have virtually abandoned the over-the-top power metal in favor of a more straightforward hard-rocking, heavy metal album. Not long after its release, Edguy guitarist Jens Ludwig phoned in to Live-Metal.net's Jeff Maki to talk about the album and Edguy's musical direction. Despite Jeff's somewhat negative review of Tinnitus Sanctus (much to the chagrin of Ludwig), Jens put his feelings aside and was still able to do the interview as scheduled.
Hi Jens, this is Jeff from Live-Metal.Net. I don't know if you remember this or not, but I actually interviewed you after the release of Rocket Ride.
Jens Ludwig: Oh, OK. I was actually just reading the review you did on the Web site.
What did you think of the review? I hope I wasn't too hard on you guys, but I was just trying to be honest.
I don't agree with many of the points you made, but that's the way it is.
I did like the album, but I didn't enjoy it as much as Rocket Ride. But every album is different.
It's OK. That's why I'm doing this job.
Go ahead and tell us about the new album. And even though I didn't like it as much as the last one, why would it get an Edguy fan's stamp of approval?
First of all, I'm really satisfied with the album. I think for Rocket Ride we had too many different directions, like “Trinidad,” to songs like “Sacrifice.” From my point of view, the latest album sounds more like a unit. Of course, there's still different directions on the album, like for example, “Dead O Rock” turns in many different directions, “Nine Lives” for example or “The Pride of Creation.” I think altogether it sounds pretty good as it is. Is especially like the guitar work, the notes and melodies—it's a good album.
It's more of a hard rock album than Rocket Ride. Why the slight shift in sound or direction?
I don't know. Everything just comes very natural. Whenever we do an album, we never talk about which direction it should go, we just get in the rehearsing room and see where it takes us.
In my review, I wrote that I wanted to see you guys take the style of “Fucking with Fire,” grab it by the balls and just roll with it. But actually, the album is more in an opposite direction, a more serious vibe. In our last interview, I asked you if you though that Edguy was taken serious enough. Does this have anything to do with the overall more serious direction of this album?
Well, if you take a look at the lyrics of some of the songs, I think that it's not much more serious than Rocket Ride. All of Rocket Ride's appeal of the album was more flashy, [when you're] talking about the comic cover of “Superheroes,” presenting us as superheroes, also the comic cover of the album Rocket Ride. It was all very flashy. Everything was focused on the artistic side of the band. Many bands, when they were taking the Rocket Ride album, they said that we were just a parody and that everything we do was based on humor and making fun of everything. And it definitely was not this way ever. On Hellfire Club we had some funny, some serious tracks, and I think it's just the same on the new album, as well. There are some serious topics in some of the songs. But on the other hand, songs like “Pride of Creation,” there's a lot of very ironic tastes. It's more like the same combination we had on previous albums, considering humor and serious topics.
What does the album title mean? Do the songs have any running theme? I noticed a religious take on a few of the songs.
First of all, the album title, Tinnitus Sanctus, means kind of like “freeing something,” and “Tinnitus” ... [Do] you know that ringing in your ear after a concert that you want to get out? Well, this stuff doesn't just ring anymore, it's a permanent thing called tinnitus. [laughs]
So I actually think Tinnitus Sanctus is a very good title for a rock album and the fact that there's Jesus on the cover with bleeding ears, is just what we call “holy ear damage,” so we wanted to have the most holy person of all on the cover. The songs are not so much about religion. The only thing that really talks about the topic of religion is “Pride of Creation,” which says sometimes it's OK to laugh about Jesus, as well, because Jesus would have had some kind of sense of humor.
You said it all comes natural when it comes to making an album, but with the current state of power metal, was [that style] something you were trying to get away from, maybe a little bit intentionally? Would you ever go back to the full-on power metal style?
I don't know what we'll do in the future. If we feel like we want another album like Vain Gory Opera, then I'm sure we will do it. But we had the feeling that the whole power metal scene had just became very predictable. We already knew what was coming up or what was going to be on an album before it was released. Actually to be very honest, we were bored with it. You really knew what to expect from a band like Stratovarious, for example. You really know what's coming out if they're releasing an album. And it was like that with other power metal bands. Everything, more or less, is sounding the same, and, of course, we wanted to do something different, but you also want to feel good about it. And what you hear on the album is exactly the music we wanted to do for this album. It's what makes it good, in my opinion, because it's a very honest album. There's no pretending or listening to people that want you to do Vain Gory Opera because we didn't feel like we needed it at the moment.
And was [vocalist] Tobias [Sammet] the main songwriter and lyricist again for this album?
Yeah, Toby did everything for this album. He got all the basic ideas for the songs and then also the producer, Sascha Paeth, had a lot of ideas and influence on the songs, as well, when we were recording in the studio. But the basic ideas and lyrics of all the songs are coming from Toby.
Is it basically “in Toby we trust?” Does everything start with him for each and every album?
Yes, exactly. I think it should always be the singer writing the lyrics because he is the one singing all these things. And the best way he can transpose certain emotions is when he is singing the songs that he has written. And songs come from basic ideas. It can just be a melody line or sometimes just some chorus. And there's a lot of influence from the other members, as well.
Asides from the new album, you guys have a few more releases that fans should know about. First off, could you tell us about the new compilation, The Singles. Did the band have any influence over this? Is there anything new on the release? Are there any extras?
Actually, The Singles compilation was an idea from our record company, Nuclear Blast. They presented this idea to us and I think it's a good compilation. All the songs throughout this compilation have been released previously. And for those that don't have access to those in certain countries, they just had the chance to buy very expensive import CDs. So for those people it's a very good compilation. And we have all the back catalog, all the singles, of course.
Secondly, you have an upcoming DVD. Could you tells us about that? And for the record is it called “Fucking with Fire” or “Fucking with Fuck"?
[laughs] Yeah, it's called Fucking With Fire. We just though it might be funny to leave out the word and have it censored. We are actually looking forward to this DVD release because it's the third time that we have tried to record a concert DVD and previously it never worked because something's always went wrong from the technical side. So we were finally able to record in 2006 in San Paulo, Brazil, which was a really good concert. And the crowd is just amazing on this DVD. And the fact there's kinda of going to be a documentary with behind-the-scenes stuff. But it's not going to be bonus material overkill that you have with many DVDs nowadays. But for everything that will be on the DVD, it's really worth watching.
And you just finished up a world tour, correct? How did that go and how was the crowd's response to the new material?
Very, very good. Especially Europe was pretty successful because we had much more people than on the previous tour and, also, we tried out new material, as well. That made me pretty happy. We wanted to show people that we're still there because people are waiting for new material and to hear it live. There are other bands where people are just going to the show just to see the classic songs, but they were into new material. That was really good to see. People were really going crazy.
And for the whole world tour, that was really part one because it will continue. It was really successful but also really exhausting because it was the longest tour we had so far without any breaks. It took us about 10 weeks being on the road. It was such a long tour, so it's good to be back home for a couple of weeks until the festival season starts.
Yeah, so you have the summer festivals, then you actually come back to the U.S. in September.
Yes. And I'm looking forward to that, as well. The last tour we did in the U.S., we were supporting Kamelot and now it's gonna be a headlining tour, which means more playing time for us.
What do you and the other members do when Toby is working on his other band, Avantasia? Are you guys in any other bands or involved with other projects?
The only breaks we have had from the band is when Toby left for the world tour with Avantasia, which was like four weeks. Besides that, we were working in the studio and recording. And I'm not involved with any other projects at the moment and, as far as I know, no one really is, except Toby, of course.
So it's all Edguy all the time for you guys?
Yes, exactly. It's a full-time job and doesn't leave much time for anything else.
OK, well that's all I have for you. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Thanks to the support from everybody, even to you, if you don't like the album that much [laughs]. And for everybody that has the chance, check out our live shows in September and check out the album. We hope to see many of the people at the shows when we come in.
OK, well thanks for the interview and thanks for your time. Sorry about that review, also. [laughs]
[laughs] Don't excuse yourself. It's not necessary. Apology accepted.