Did you prefer the underground scene?
Well, I was part of the underground scene. METAL WARRIORS was part of the underground scene. Yes, I have to agree, I prefered the underground scene more than the more established ones. But in the end, good music is good music, no matter if the band is a mega-star-project or the band playing in the garage next door.
Because those times weren’t any internet, I think you got in touch with the bands via snail mail, correct?
Yep, most contacts were by airmail. Even telephone was simply to expensive. Of course I met many bands and musicians during there tours in Germany. METAL WARRIORS had a good name in the international underground Metal scene that’s why I received so many material from all over the world.
Were you aware of the newer bands via flyers or…?
Most of them conacted me and send me there material. Plus, don’t forget I was heavily into tape trading.
Were there bands, labels they never answered you?
Hmmm...I can’t really remember. There could be a few, but I’m not sure.
What did you feel, when the first issue was released? Were you proud of it?
Yes I was. Gosh I was a little kid then and was damn proud. Today I think this issue was awful. The layout sucked bullshit!
How did you distribute, spread the fanzines? Were you in connection with penbangers from all over the world?
Most copies were sold via mailorder. Some were sold in local record stores or at concerts. I advertised in other fanzines thus I never got spread around quite quickly. Of course I had many penpals who also helped selling the mag.
Were each issues available in record stores? Did you send from the paper to those bands, which were interviewed in the fanzine?
Yes, all issues were sold in record stores. When we turned to English language I managed to find stores in the USA. Our best customer though was a huge record store in Japan! He orderered 200 – 300 ! All bands featured in METAL WARRIORS received a free copy!
Were you in connection with undrground labels as well? Were they supportive for Metal Warrior?
Yes, those labels were very helpful. They send records, cassettes, later CDs, promo stuff and got me on guestlists. They helped me getting interview dates with bands live or via telephone. They were very helpful. They also supported me with advertising in my fanzine. Without the benefit of the labels METAL WARRIORS would have never reached the standart that it had.
Did you get from them promo packages? How did the labels do the promotion back then at all?
As I said before, they send all the new stuff for reviews. They were very supportive and always had an open ear for me.
Which labels were the best back then respectively which labels did have the best releases in your opinion?
Tough question. Very nice people worked for Noise Rec. and Intercord Rec. Also Wild Rags Rec. in the USA and Roadrunner Rec. in Holland were very supportive. I remember when ASSASSIN’s Interstellar Experience album came out, vocalist Robert Gonnella (one of my best friends) wanted to have a ad for the record in my mag. He photocopied an ad out of Metal Hammer and I published it in the next issue and send an invoice to SPV. The guy there wasn’t pleased about it and was quite mad at Robert. But in the end they send me the cheque for the ad, hahahaha. I think all label had their good releases and their bad one also. In the beginning Noise Rec. had the best bands, like KREATOR and CELTIC FROST. But then there were SPV with SODOM, DESTRUCTION and my friends ASSASSIN. Plus Roadrunner Rec. who licened all the great records from the USA: SLAYER, METALLICA, MEGADETH, POSSESSED etc.
How often did you release the issues of each fanzines?
I published 7 issues, normally there were 2 issues per year.
Would you say, that you developed issue by issue?
O yes, I did. Most improvement was the layout. The first 3 issues were quite chaotic, if you ask me...
Did any people influence your writing style?
No, absolutely not.
Did you reach all of your goals what you wanted to achieve with Metal Warriors?
I had no goals that I wanted to reach when I started the mag. I just wanted to put mag together that looked cool and featured interesting bands. Of course I wanted to sell more copies with each issues. At least I sold out all issues.
As far as the fanzines, they were done with a DIY (do it yourself) approach, how was it by you? What do you think about DIY at all?
It’s cool, because everyone can do it. And today it’s even easier because there are the computers with writing and layout programs. I only had a typewriter and did the layout with ascissors and glue!
Would you say, that without the existence of the punk fanzines, wouldn’t have came the metal fanzines into being?
I don’t know. When I started I didn’t know any Punk fanzine! I only knew Metal fanzines and football fanzine! I think those fanzines all started because of the lack of „official” magazines that covered Heavy Metal! I mean, when I started there was no Metal Hammer and Rock Hard still was a fanzine. I think that’s also the reason the Punk fanzines started. Or those football fanzines who covered the fan scene. You don’t find those special stories in magazines or newspapers.
Do you know something about the forming, developing of the fanzines, about their history? Did you know, that the very first fanzine was released in 1930?
Well, yes and now. I knew that there were fanzines about different topics in the early days of the last century. But honestly I never got that deep into the fanzine hstory at all.
Talking about the ’80s, did you take part in the tapetrading scene? Can you tell us more about it?
Yes, I said it before. I was heavily into tape trading and answered this question in the beginning.
Would you say, that in the ’80s were broadcasted more metal videos in the tv and were more metal radio programs than nowadays? Was Headbangers Ball a great support of metal?
I don’t think there was more Metal on TV than today. Headbanger’s Ball was kind of supportive, but not everyone could watch it in the 80ies early 90ies. At least not here in Germany. Metal will always have its fans, no matter if they got broadcast or not!
Both the tapetrading scene and running fanzines were very popular in the ’80s, they were at their peak those times, would say, that running fanzines was a chain reaction back then? I mean, the editors draw inspiration from each other or…?
No, I wouldn’t go so far to say it was a chainreaction or a fashion. It were only a handfull of magazines around and not everyone was trading tapes. But you can say, all fanzine writers or editor were into tape trading. That’s for sure!
Was a competition between the fanzines editors or was a unity among them? With which fanzine editors were you in touch back then?
From my point there was no competion. There were kind of a unity among us though I wasn’t very close to anyone.
In my opinion legendary compilations, such as Metal Massacre, Raging Death, Beyond Metal Zone, Speed Metal Hell etc. helped introducing new bands for the fans, they played an important role in the underground, how do you view it?
You are damn right, especially the Metal Massacre series was very important. Some bands on it were even new to me.
What have been your favorite interview so far to date and your most disappointing?
Another tough question to answer. I don’t know which one was best. The worst interview ever was with Swiss Death Metal bands MESSIAH, who answered only kiddy nonsense. I think they were very surpised about themselves when they read the interview. They send me a „we’re-sorry-letter” afterwards. The funniest interview I did was with MINOTAUR which we did totally drunk on the way to McDonalds and back to the studio walking the windy streets of Hamburg.
Were there other fanzines as well in what you were involved as co-writer or did you spend all of your time on Metal Warriors?
When I did METAL WARRIORS I only wrote here and there for WILD RAGS mag from the States.
At which point did you decide finishing the fanzine? Why did you stop doing the fanzine? Have you had enough of doing any papers, the scene was oversaturated, you lost your interest, it was lack of motivation or…?
The mean reason was the time problem. I started an apprentinceship and simply had no time to continue the mag. But there was also a financial problem as postage and printing costs increased that it made no sense to go on like this. It was hard for me to give it up. But there was nothing I could do about it.
Did you never think about to carry on the fanzine after few years of silence?
Yes, but not that seriously to start something new again.
What did you do after you finished Metal Warrior with? Did you remain in touch with the underground?
Not that close that I used to. I started working and also was more interested in going out and party, dating girls...you know! I also got interested in other music which I started to discover. It was more exciting discovering new music styles and bands that were not Metal. Though I’ve never left the Metal scene. I still was listening the Metal and I will forever!
Did you keep an eye on what’s going on in the scene?
Yes, I still read Metal mags and bought records and CDs. I went to concerts. Yes, I was informed.
Did you have a lot of reviews, interviews which were never released, because you stopped doing the fanzine? What did you do with them?
No, because it was swiftly clear that No. 7 was my last issue shortly after the mag was printed.
How big is your music collection? What are your most rare items?
To be honest I’ve never counted the stuff I’ve owned. I used to sell a lot of bunch because I have a family now and not enough space for all the stuff. I guess I had a collection of about 3000 records, 95 % being Metal. I had about 1000 of live tapes and some hundreds of original demo tapes. As I mentioned, I sold a lot of stuff and made some collectors very happy, I guess... Right now I think I have about 1500 – 2000 CDs, covering about 50 % Metal. The rest mainly is Independent music or Gothic or other Rock music. I must admit I have all SADE records... I have a wide spectrum of music that I like. But Metal is still a big big part of it!
What do you think about bootlegs, about bootlegging? Are they really for die hard fans or are they a kind of money making?
I think there are some people making big money with those bootlegs. I never was into bootlegs, because some people tried to make money with stolen products! I was a tape trader, yes, but tape trading was free. I never paid money for it. Bootlegs are only made to get some good money from the fans, make them feel to own something special. Most bootlegs have an awful sound. If you ask me that’s a rip off !
What are your thoughts on some of the old bands getting back together? Are you for something like this or do you think the bands should just let sleeping dogs lie so to speak?
Well, as a manager of a „come-back-band” (ASSASSIN) I have to say this. If the band come back for themselves, having fun in playing songs together again and enjoy there time creating new songs, than it’s absolutely okay! If they only come together to use there old name to make some extra cash, than they should stay in retirement. But to be honest, you can’t make the big money in the Metal scene. I honestly think most comebacks happened because of the love for the music. There are some bands who can live on what they do – but they are far away of beeing rich. Metal is underground music listen by minority. I think comeback are okay as long as the bands also play there old stuff. That’s what we really wanna listen to, don’t we!?
How do you view the present scene compared to the ’80s?
Hmm, I think the bigest different is, it’s so much easier today to spread your music, because of the internet. Another difference I see: in the 80ies the shows were much more crowded. There were much more fans coming to the clubs. I remember when DESTRUCTION/CANDLE MASS toured together only about 150 people showed up here. In the 80ies each of these bands would have there own crowd of about 300 – 400 people. Seems that the old fans have died out and the new generation needs a monitor to watch live shows...
What do you think of the internet and places such as MySpace? How do you see the importance of internet and would you say that it became the biggest, most popular informations-channel these days?
Yes, you can’t do it without internet! It’s so easy to spread your name and music. I wished we already had those tools in the 80ies. MySpace and YouTube are very important and help a lot. Even if you don’t have a record deal you can manage to reach thousands of people. It’s just great!
What do you think about downloading music files? Are you into or against it?
I don’t download albums! I’m old fashioned here. I need the CD, the album cover. I want to read the lyrics and I want to see who has played this or that instrument, who was in the studio creating the sound. And yes, I want that cool looking fuckin’ album cover motiv!!! It’s okay to get same samples of a band’s sound and it is helpful of spreading new band’s songs. I hate those internet pages who offer downloads and asking for cash but don’t have the right to do so. That stealing and ripping off the musicians. Remember: copy kills music!
Would you say that downloading files is killing the music industry or can they mean to be a kind of promotion of bands?
I think both is possible. There are many illegal working people in the internet offering downloads without having the right to do so. The steal the music from the musicians and cashing in money what they haven’t worked for! They steal money from music circle. Means, what the record companies don’t earn they cannpt invest into ne bands. On the other hand downloading can be very helpful. Downloading from offical services can be very supportive to the music industry. I still think there is enough money earned in the industry. But we are talking about Metal which is only a small small part of the industry. In the end, a talented and good musicians with good songs ill always make his/her way!
A lot of fanzines are exisitng nowadays as webzines, do you like reading them or do you prefer rather the printed ones? What are the advantages or disadvantages of webzines?
I like and enjoy reading webzines but also need my printed magzines especialls when I take a shit!!! ;-)
Didn’t you think about to do Metal Warriors as a webzine? Was it a popular, well know fanzine back then?
I thought about it, but not too seriously. There are so many good webzines around I’m not sure the world needs another one. Plus I don’t have that much time left. I work, I have my own small business (www.noniland.de) and I manage ASSASSIN and all-girl-band JANE HELEN from Norway www.myspace.com/janehelen). Not to forget my family, my lovely wife and my cute daughter.
Are nowadays fanzines still popular and abided the test of time? Which fanzines, magazines do you like these days?
I can’t really say, wether fanzines are still popular or not as I don’t know any printed fanzine of today. I only know some football fanzines. Most things are going on via internet. I like Rock Hard best!
Do you often read early fanzines, such as Metal Forces, Kick Ass Monthly, Whiplash etc.?
I’ve sold them all via ebay and put a smile on some collectors face! But before that I’ve read the more than once, that’s for sure!
Unfortunately Bob Muldowney and Sam Kress passed away…
Yes, I’ve heard about it and it made me really sad. I’ve never met him in person but I subscribed his brilliant KICK*ASS magazine. It had a big influence on me starting METAL WARRIORS. Bob was great. He always wrote and said what he believed and thought. He was a true Metal head and legend. He will be truly missed but never ever forgotten. Rock in Peace, Bob!!!
What are the differences and similarities between fanzines and magazines?
The big magazines are made for profit the fanzines are made for fun and true inthusiasm! That’s the maind different which says it all.
What about you these days as a whole? Are you a family man with children and stuff or…?
Yep, I’m married for 12 years now and I have a 3year-old daughter, named after an MERCYFUL FATE album: Melissa! I work as accountant – right now in a female fashion company ! Then I have my own small business selling health and wellness products (www.noniland.de) and also work mainly with two bands ASSASSIN and JANE HELEN as there manager. 24 hours are not enough, sometimes...
Are you still in touch with dudes, with whom you were in touch 20-25 years ago?
The close friends are always there. I’ve lost some contacs that I’ve had in the „hey-days” but I still hang out with many old friends and buddies, or at least have contact with them via internet. A true friend sticks with you until the very end!
Would you say, that metal is in your vain forever?
Absolutely! Ok, I listend to a lot of other music but Metal was, is and ever will be a big part of my life. In fact my hair is longer now than it was in the 80ies! Stay Metal forever!!!
Do you have any hobbys?
I don’t collect stamps, if you mean that. My hobbies are music music and football. Plus I love surfing the never ending space of the internet. I also like watching horse racing.
My last question: which is the real Borussia?
There’s absolutely onyl ONE Borussia: VFL BORUSSIA MÖNCHENGLADBACH!!! I`m a fan since I can think. I was a little kid when Mönchengladbach was writing history in the 70ies with their legendary teams including Netzer, Vogts, Heynckes, Simonsen, Stielike, Jensen, Kleff etc. etc. I still remeber the first match I saw live in the legendary and sadly missed old stadium Bökelberg against Hamburg. It was a draw 1:1 and Lothar Matthäus scored a nicely shot free kick. In the 80ies I regulary went to the matches home and away. Since the early 90ies I’ve owned a season ticket. You can find me at every match at home standing in the Nordkurve – the supporter’s stands. BORUSSIA WAS MY FIRST LOVE AND IT WIL BE MY LAST!!!! I can’t live without it!!! Right now we are second devision as we went down last season. But we are on the way back to the 1st division and are on place No. 1! I hope I will witness another championship before I die...or at least a national cup.
So Rudy, thanks a lot for this feature, any closing words?
Thanks for the interview and being interested in my person. I never thought I’ m interesting for other people... Support the Underground, go to gigs and show some support to „smaller” bands. There are many bands and musicians who are worth to check out! After reaching the age of 41 all I can say is: Whatever you might do - ENJOY YOUR LIFE!
Onslaught Thrasher (2008.)