One of my favorites forever is the mighty Hungaian classic Heavy Metal band ROTOR. This band is really a living legend for me! They play my favorite kind of veteran Metal music since 20 years, they saw a lot of sucesses and catastrophes, but now they seem to find in the last 1-2-3 years real acknowledgement. Their next album is coming up, and I hope, the CD will be welcomed by evrey fans of true Metal music. I asked the bass-player of the band László Ferenczi about the past of the ROTOR, and I hope, soon they will have more interviews in bigger magazines about the present and glorious future, thanks for the hopefully coming sucesses. What could I say else? Just this: I hope, all the readers will be a part of ROTOR-rotation! Haha!
Allthough the big ROTOR-rotation is here again, (albums like „Gyökerek”, „Semmi nem elég” vinyl, „Tépj szét minden láncot” re-released CD, planed new album for 2006/2007), I don’t see too much interviews with the band in the Metal magazines. For example there wasn’t too big promotion around your latest album „Gyökerek” („Roots”) in the Hungarian Metal Hammer magazine. Your opinion about?
Yes, it’s totally true, but you don’t have to ask me about, but our label, which is a sub-label of the Hungarian Metal Hammer magazine. Maybe they didn’t feel so, that they have to do anything for us, because the latest stuff is very good selling also without interviews. We will concentrate much more better for the promotion of the next material.
ROTOR band is one of the few old Hungarian bands, which are standing strong also now and defending Hungarian Heavy Metal’s fortress. It’s a very important fact, that your band is not too much supported by the Metal-press, like for example Ossian and the other „megastar”-groups fromBudapest. You don’t play too often in the Hungarian music TV-chanel, you aren’t there in the biggest summerfestivals, and you aren’t invitated for interviews to the TV etc. I just want to ask you here: what is your inspirator, to make this fight from year to year?
It’s impossible for me to answer to this question with short words. We simply don’t want to be famous, we simply don’t want to earn too much money, ROTOR is a true and clean history in our view. But my shortest answer: we like this thing, what we make very much, and this is our real inspirator.
Let’s talk about your honorable past! László, tell us something about the founding of the band! Something about the ancient conditions and feelenings, ok?
The first formation of ROTOR was a fusion of two bands: us and Meteor band. Some members came, some members gone, but the seed of ROTOR is the same since 1992, like now. The old feeling is not too much different from the actual one, just we are now 15 years older. But as I said at the question before: The most important thing is for us to play Metal music.
How was the Rock/Metal life and scene at the old times in your city Miskolc? In the ’90s the whole music scene was very strong there, as I remember, there were also lot of punk and alternative bands beside of some Metal bands, but as far as I know, today Miskolc is famous just about its discos. But how was the rocker’s life in Miskolc in the ’70s and ’80s?
Well, the Heavy Metal of the ’80s… It was the real and most important age of Metal. There were a lot of live gigs with hundreds of fans, but maybe also the beginning of the ’90s was also good for the Metal music. My city Miskolc is now famous just of Opera-festival and „high culture”, but nobody can notice, the most of the people here are very poor, thanks for the post-communists and their shit. It’s laughable!!! Temporally there isn’t any place in the city, where a metalhead could feel all right… But maybe it’s not only for Miskolc typically…
As far as I remember, in your first period with chloting made from iron and chains there was a famous making of a ROTOR video-clip in Budapest. In the conception of the producer were lot of bars, and you played behind them under open air. There were lot of fanatics, too. The video clip was made for the only one Metal-music-TV-show of comminist times, called „Rock-Kalapács” („Rock-Hammer”). In the making of the video there were totally mad conditions, Tell us something about this story, ok?
Haha! Yes, that very nice making of video… I have nice rememberances… The story is really interesting, the producer and the staff was absolutely amateurly, but the TV bought the production without any form of professionality. (As I see, Lászó don’t want to tell everithing, haha! I tell now, what i know, ok? So, the place was a small football-playground, and it was girdled around with bars, and ROTOR played in a full metallic out-fit with chains, butcher-axes, knight brastplate, etc. etc., and the fanatics were so mad, that aproximatime 200 people hanged around on the bars. They were totally crazy about the band.)
I think, your singer, János told me, that on this video-clip-place there was also Ossian band, who wanted to make also a video-clip. But as János said, their video wasn’t so successfull like yours… Thanks for some fanatic ROTOR-terrorist, haha!
Yes, but it was made not by the ROTOR-terrorists, but by Ossian band itself, haha! Their production was very bad… The fans shot them with eggs because of their bad production. But after some years the bands from Budapest became more populairly allthough the bands from the countryside were also talented.
You also had a common live-gig in Petőfi Hall with Pokolgép. The fans were also very crazy about your band. As I heard, Pokolgép invitated you never again, because you were more better on the stage, and the difference was for them a bit disappointing. That was a real sucess for you, or?
Yes, but this problem was not just with Pokolgép, but also with Karthago, Ossian, Korál etc. But we made the same sucesses also on our French-tour and also today…
In the first period of the band there were two cultic releases, both of them were compilations: „Robbanásveszély 1” LP+MC and „Robbanásveszély 2” MC („Danger of explosion Nr. 1. & Nr. 2.”). Would you tell us something about these? As I know, you also worked on these albums as sound-engineer. Am I right?
Yes, I worked those times as sound-engineer in Miskolc in a studio. There were recorded and released other musical productions, too, not only Metal and Rock, Our band got with these compilations the possibility, to bring out the first album. Those times it was impossible to get place on compilation made in Budapest, just against big money, so these both compilations were great for us.
I have a question also about that studio, called „Sztár Kisszövetkezet”. Third release of the label was „Robbanásveszély 1.” (1987) LP+MC. The 9th release was „Black & Speed Metál Válogatás” MC (1988), and between these two were „Robbanásveszély 2.” MC. Which other releases was made by this label related Metal music? For example: Was made the tape-album of Excelsior (Heavy Metal band from Miskolc) also by „Sztár Kisszövetkezet”? I heard also, that this label concentrated also to so called wedding-music. If it’s true, than I would like to ask you: What were their inspirations for true Heavy Metal??? Is it true, that the boss of that label is now in prison?
I don’t know all the answers. I just was simply a sound-engineer. I din’t know anything about the things around the label. I guess, the business-policy of the label was not bad, so Metal music and weding-music were fit on the same record-label. As fa sas I know, the most of the money came from this wedding-music. As I remember, we recorded more Black Metal albums, too, but we couldn’t bring them out. We made also classic music recorings, and a lot of other recordings. I can’t say anything about the ex-boss. There was in Miskolc also an other label, I was there also sound-engineer, its name was „Artis Kisszövetkezet” but there we didn’t make Metal productions.
Your debut album „Tépj szét minden láncot” came out in 1991 as self financied album on 12” LP and MC (some years ago you re-released it as CD-R and now Hammer Records re-released it on CD). How is it possible, that you didn’t find any record-labe, who bring it out? That stuff was great in my view…
To be onest, I don’t know the answer. Maybe we were too naive, and too much people betrayed us. We trusted too much on a so called manager (I don’t want to write here his name, but his monogram is R.Á.) and his job was to make for us the album possible. He betrayed us, and ha has stolen all of our money. We didn’t find any big label. But we were strong enough, to stand up from the ground. I guess, the most of the bands would have been disbanded after such kind of problems.
I saw at foreign distributors / Heavy-Metal-hunters and traders, that original examples of „Tépj szét minden láncot” LP’s are very expensive. The same situation is with „Robbanásveszély 1” LP. I also heard about a guy, who bought it against more than 100 Euro. Your comment? And in the house of your singer János there were lot of LP’s… Haha! Really treasures! Haha!
Unfortunately János doesn’t have so mutch examples left. Too much people asked us about the LP’s, so we don’t have too much examples… We will decide, what to do with them, maybe we will sell them all for lot of money, haha! Maybe some collectors will have big interest on it because of the re-released CD. But there is also a really interesting information for collectors: there is also avaiable a bootleg-pressing from Asia, maybe from Japan or Vietnam or Korea? It contains more songs, that the original LP, and it’s much more expensive.
How came Hammer Records to the idea of re-releasing? Will you put also a bonus to the CD? For example songs of „Robbanásveszély 1.” and „Robbanásveszély 2.”? I guess, the song „Rotor rémálom” (=”Rotor nightmare”) would be worthy for re-releasing, or?
We got some questions from abroad about the re-releasing, and we thought, we ask also Hammer Records before we say OK for a foreign label. They answered, that if we are agree, they will bring it out. We were happy, that a Hungarian label can do anything for us, and we gave them our permission. Hammer Records is a good label, I guess. The only one bonus material will be the video-clip of the song „Tépj szét minden láncot”. It will be very cool!!!
Long years people have talken about „Tépj szét minden láncot”, that this album has the most ugly cover-desing in Hungary ever. But I guess, it was not so bad… Who painted it? Who is János Oláh? A friend of yours? How do you like the cover-desing? Your opinion about this title „most ugly ever”? Do you know, what said that boy about? Haha! What will be on the cover-desing of the CD?
János Oláh is a boy from Tiszaújváros (an industrial city near to Miskolc), but I don’t know him. I guess, this kind of negative reclam was good for us. We will put the same desing also on the cover of the re-released CD, we will make just a little bit modernisation. We wanted to find a new painting for the re-releasing stuff, but finally we have choosen the old one. It will be nice, haha! You all will see!
A cultural association supported the releasing of the original LP and MC, namely „Forró Drót Kulturális Egyesület” (=”Hot Line Cultural Association”). What was this association?
Some private persons wanted to make their illegal money for legal. (Wow, it sounds like in the maffia! You are the Heavy Metal Maffia!! Haha!)
You made for the first album also a video-clip. As far as I remeber, it was a very cool video-clip. It was primitively, but good! But unfortunately the official TV-chanels dind’t play it too often. I also saw it just one time… Don’t you want to make it avaiable somehow? Did you make also other clips for the first album?
We just made this one. And as I said, we will put it on the CD as bonus.
Don’t you think, that you came out with your debut too lately (1991)? Traditional Heavy Metal was not too poular in those times. How much example did you sell those years? I guess, you sold more tapes than LP’s, or?
Some very clever people said, that they want to put out the album on LP and on MC. We sold aprox. 10.000-20.000 tapes but I can’t give you informations about the LP.
As I remeber, the ’90s were not too good years in the history of ROTOR, or? You didn’t make new album, just a demo „Árvaház” („Orphanage”). Am I right here?
Yes, the conditions weren’t too good for us, and we were also not in our best form and practice. This time was for us an absolute nadir.
Let’s talk about „Árvaház”. You got a new guitarist, Tamás Szilágyi from Atomic band. On this material isn’t that kind of Heavy Metal, like on „Tépj szét…” album, but this music is very strong and little dirty Hard Rock / Hard Metal with some modern touches. You had very-very good texts but in modern topics. Why did you make this change?
One of the reasons was, that I changed from guitar to bass-guitar. With this step that kind of Metal-sound and riffing, which you can check out on „Tépj szét…” album was over. The songs on the debut-album were written by me, and I have that special German-Metal influences. As Tamas came, we followed his own style. He had modern style. But our next album „Acélba zárva” („Cast in iron”) is written in the style of „Tépj szépt…”. There are twin-guitars, runs of three, it will be totally Metal. We tried some songs on live gigs, and they were fantastic. They are near to „Tépj szét…”-stuff, but they are a bit moderner and the fans like them.
On the album „Tépj szét minden láncot” you were the guitarist, but after that you changed to bass-guitar, and also now you play bass. How was this change? Was it not a big problem for you? A guitarist is always one of the biggest heroes/stars in a band, but the basists are often in the background. Or?
I feel to the music a big love. In our band every members see it, and they respect me. The rhythm-section (bass+drums) in a band is very important, it is much more determinatively, than the most of the people think.
The texts on „Árvaház” are very dirty. The texts are going about poor people and their feelings. There are a lot of cross-references to your city Miskolc (one of the biggest loser-cities after the fall of communism in Hungary), the conditions in the city, for example lot of poor people, hopeless situation, monotony. Am I right?
You were always proud of Miskolc, you never move to Budapest, although in Budapest there are better possibilities for a Metal-band… This things are written in the songs „Diósgyőri álom” („Dreams in Diősgyőr”; Disósgyőr is a part of Miskolc), „Borsodban születtem” („I was born in Borsod”; Borsod is the name of the county, where Miskolc is), „Itt élsz” („You live here”) or most of the songs on „Gyökerek” album.
In Budapest or abroad we would be bigger, but we don’t want to move to everywhere. As we sing in „Gyökerek” song: „Itt nőttünk fel bármilyen is ez a hely”. („We grown up here, no matter, how is the place”)
If I’m right, you made a demo-recording in the ’90s, but it wasn’t spread. What was its title? Why didn’t you spread it? Tell me something about it!
Yes, there was a demo, it was the material of our second album, it was recorded after „Tépj szét…”, and it is just 50% ready. We didn’t recorded it perfectly, now we just think about, to make it with a correct sound. But if we want to re-record it, I must play guitars!
In the ’90s there was a boom of grunge, hardcore, punk, rap-metal music genres inside of Metal, and they were very popular in the media, and classic Heavy Metal came to the background. How were these years for ROTOR?
It was really a catastrophe…
In 2000 you came out with a new album. Its title was „Szívtől szívig / Hard & light”, but it was a bit strange for old ROTOR-fans. The sound was not so hard metallic, but also its title says that. Why did you make this kind of mainstream album?
There was a record-label, who wanted to release such kind of album from us, but later it ddidn’t wanted to bring it out… It was a mistake, to make that album…
What kind of feedbacks you got about „Hard & light” from side of the fans? As I remeber, you didn’t play the songs of „Hard & light” in that special „light” sound in live-gigs… But I guess, some fans got fear as they have heard the CD. Haha!
Yes, you are right, we play those songs in live shows with other sound. We never wanted to give back the original „Hard & light” sound in our shows.
On „Hard & light” CD I just found only one interesting thing. It’s the multimedia-section. There I’ve found a strange video-clip with 100% agriculture-feeling. Haha!!! I just know that song from shows, but not from albums… What is its title? Tell me something about that video-clip!
Let’ see the next question…
There is also an other video-clip on the „Hard & light” CD, it’s rater a PC-animation with lot of ROTOR-pictures. The video-clip was made for the song is „Szabadon, két keréken” Why did you make that clip?
I don’t remeber anymore, sorry…
Three years later you re-mixed some songs from the „Hard & light” album in 2003, and you made a new album with 10 songs. All the fans got a hard Metal songs from „Hard & light”-stuff. First time you made a 5-songs-demo-CD-R (entitled „Teszt 2003”) and after that you made that mentioned 10-songs album with the title „Semmi nem elég” („It’s never enough”).
Yes, you are correct here. We wanted to make those song with total metallic sound.
There is a little undergound Metal-label from Finland, namely „Heavy Metal Dealer”, which released that „Semmi nem elég” album on 12” LP. What would you have made, if that Finnish label wouldn’t have asked you for it? Would you have made it in this case, too? Or you would have never made that remixing for „Semmi nem elég” LP?
We were ready with re-mixing, as the Finnish label asked us for it. Our fans neded it!
„Semmi nem elég” was out in two formats: 12” vinyl on that Finnish label and self-released CD-R by ROTOR. Tell us something, how you got known that label!
I guess, you are the one, who knows the most about it in the world, because you were a very big help for us to get known that Finnish label. But shortly: A label bought from us copy-rights of „Semmi nem elég” for a fixed money. And it brought it out on 12” LP. By the way we also sold him the copy-rights of „Árvaház”, but it isn’t out until now… Please bro, make also your comment! (So, OK! Behind the Finnish label is a big ROTOR-fan, and he wanted to make something for the band. He payed everything, and he released „Semmi nem elég” on 12” LP. That was the first step. The second step will be the „Árvaház” on double gatefold 12” LP or on CD. He is a very correct boy!)
I got some informations from the label, and as I know, „Semmi nem elég” LP is sold out. Unfortunately I didn’t saw that album in any Hungarian distributions…
We got some mails from Hungarian fans, that they need the LP in their collections and „where is it to order from” etc., but I guess, all the fans, who needed it, they bought it. Although it was not easy…
You also got some examples of „Semmi nem elég” from Finland, and you used them for promotional work. What kind of feedbacks you got from the side of the media? Was it not strange for them, to get a vinyl in the 21th century, not a CD?
Yes, it’s really a very strange thing, but…
Ususally the music is more important than the cover-desing, but I make a notice now also about the cover: the desing of the 12” LP is very bad…
Yes, but the original plans were not so…
How important is for you „Hard & light” now, as „Semmi nem elég” is also out? Which one is better for you? „Semmi nem elég” or „Hard & light”?
„Semmi nem elég” is much more important for us.
I helped you a lot to get in touch with Henry Juvonen, the owner of the Finnish label, so I know very well, that he bought also the copy-rights of „Árvaház”. As he will have a bit more money, he will bring out the stuff. What was your first opinion about, as you got known, that a fanatic Finnish label is interested in ROTOR?
That is the most important thing in the Metal-scene! Without these people the whole underground Metal movement would be not worthy…
Before 1,5 years „Gyökerek” album was out. All the true ROTOR-fans were waiting for it! Your comment about this album? I think, „Gyökerek” is a mixture between „Tépj szét minden láncot” and „Árvaház”. Am I right?
Yes, you’re right. This album is near to the old ROTOR-style! And the next album „Acélba zárva” will be more old-ROTOR-styled!
What is the meaning of the title „Gyökerek”? I guess, this title means the roots to your city. Or?
Yes, but it has not only this meaning. It means also our past, but not only in the texts, in the music, too.
There are some texts on „Gyökerek” album, which are going about girls („Fura túra”, „Meglepetés”). What said your wives about them? Haha!
We think, we put all of our songs to the album, which are very pouplar on the gigs. All these songs give back the fantastic feeling of a good live ROTOR-show. The fans go to show to feel good, not too make a sucidie…
The ars-poetic of János (your singer) is the song „Olyan amilyen” (aprox.: „I’m real” or „I’m what you see”). Or? But I think, it’s also the one of ROTOR…
I don’t know… Yes… Maybe… Who knows? Haha! (So, I think, this words are good for ars-poetic of a Metal band: „Shit play-back music is trendy, but my microphone and my voice belong to me!!!”)
On „Gyökerek” album there are re-recorded some old fantastic ROTOR-hits. „Diósgyőri álom”, „Metal háború”, „Tépj szét minden láncot”. Why?
Lot of people asked us about as we made the new album. We were happy, and we made them. These songs are fuking great!
The song „Metal háború” („Metal war”) is one of your biggest hits. You play it on every cocnerts. Why did you never put this song to an album? The first publication of it was on „Robbanásveszély 1.” 12” LP and now on „Gyökerek” album…
I don’t know, why we never pubicated it before on official album… But now we did it! It was the best time! Now everybody got it! Our labe also wanted it!
Tell us a little bit also about your next album. You began the studio-works in the end of 2005, and it will be out in 2006.
Unfortunately the studio-works began not in December of 2005, but this fact doesn’t mean, that it wont be out in 2006. We will have a short delay… We want to make a professional material. It’s not a big problem, if we delay with it 1-2 months or a year, because we want to make a perfect album. It will be the best ROTOR-stuff of the last 10 years! We rather work on it longer, but we don’t want to bring it out too early…
ROTOR band was always very goon in live shows and you play also gigs very often. Why is it so important for you to play so much on stage?
The stage is like a mirror for a band. If somebody doesn’t use it, than he is not a real musician. He doesn’t see where he is, where he came from and where he goes. We hope, our miror is correct.
I was in ROTOR-shows, where the fans were perfect. But I also saw such kind of ROTOR-shows, where the band was 100%, but there were just a few fans. It’s wellknown, that ROTOR doesn’t ask for too much money for a live show. How do you make this fanatic work?
Most of us doesn’t live from making music, so the money for a live concert is the result of a engagement. Sometimes we can agree with small money, too. But we never play for free! If a fan buys a ticket for our show, than he must get the maximal ROTOR-program, and no matter, if there are total just 10 fans or 500... Btw. in the last years we made just one time a concert, where just a few fans were. Usually we make full-house-shows… Thanks for our fans!!!
You play a lot on motor-bykers-festivals, and you composed also a song for them: „East Side” (the name of a motor-bykers-team in Miskolc). How you got known with these motor-bykers-scene?
Our music was it, what brought us near to the motor-bykers. And now we have very good prsonal contacts with them… We will have also a motor-byker-song on our next album, but it will be the anthem of Koppány motor-bykers club. Motor-bykers need ROTOR, ROTOR needs motor-bykers. Haha! If they ask an anthem from us, we never deny it!
I guess, a ROTOR-show has always great feeling, and it is also very uniqely, because it’s like a family. There are very often your wives, children, families, motor-bykers, and Metal fans. Is it also a good motivation for you, or?
Yes… These concerts are really interesting, haha!
There is also a very interesting fact: ROTOR plays almost with the same line-up for more than 10 years. It’s not too usually in the Hungarian Metal-scene… As I remember, you just changed a drumer and a bassist since „Tépj szét…” LP. Is the community really so good in the band?
Of course we all are true friends. We are together for long times, we couldn’t save our community like so the called fair-weather-friends. If we wouldn’t be true friends, we would have to stop with ROTOR.
Maybe it’s a stupid question, but: Who is the boss inside of ROTOR?
János, the singer.
Now, near to the end of the interview I must ask you: what do the ROTOR-line-up in the privat life?
Most of us are really corinthians, haha! But there is someboy, who is more worst, haha!
The crew / team around ROTOR band is also very important. For long years we can see just the same faces as auto-driver, road etc. Can you tell us something about them?
There are 1-2 persons, who are members in our club, in our golf-club, haha! They can carry about our instruments, haha! There are really old friends of us. There were in the club also such persons, who are just dead… They were just 20 - 28 years old… One of them is victim drowning, the other of them was victim of shooting. Our auto-drivers are always changing themself, we have aprox 4-5 auto-drivers. But all these stories can’t be a wounder… After so much years can happen everything with a Metal-band.
Thanks for the interview, László! Would you make some last comments?
Two drumers of ROTOR were died. Our bassist said us one day in May of 1996: „we see eachother next Wednesday”, and we never saw them after that. I hope, as „good bye” it’s enough! Haha! Oh no! I have some interesting stories more: We transported our instruments and settings with a catafalque and full ROTOR-band was closed in a madhouse in France… (Oh, shit! It will be very interesting at the end…)
Vikidál Gyula (December of 2005)