Interview with Marcus from PUMP
Calle: How did you guys meet and can you give us a short history of the band?
Marcus: Hi there, first off I’d like to thank for taking the time to talk to me and giving me the opportunity to answer your questions. We really appreciate it. Well, here we go...the band was formed January 2002 by me and former guitar player Ulli Hauff. Well, somewhere at the end of 2001 a German rock journalist got me in touch with our then- and now former guitarist Ulli Hauff and like myself he was looking to form a band that goes back to the roots of Sleaze-/Hardrock style. So we more or less clicked, drank a couple of beers together and wrote and recorded a bunch of songs in Ulli’s own little home studio. We thought that these songs were good enough to record professionally and we asked some friends of us to form a band. Those friends were Aki Reissmann (Guitars), who's still in the band and Achim Keller (Drums), who later joined Victory. This was around April 2002 and that was actually the beginning of Pump. Shortly after we had the opportunity to support Dokken and Harem Scarem, they both had their European tours at the time (That was actually the real reason to form the band because I got the offers for those jobs but I had no band :))...) We then decided not to record any demo tape (we actually did, but only a two-track CD which was more or less some kind of pre-production...) but immediately recorded a complete album in 2003. That was the "Against everyone's advice" album, which was entitled simply as "I" at first and was later changed into "Against everyone's advice". We thought that this would give us a better shot at obtaining a record deal. Our former drummer Achim knew Tommy Newton (of Victory fame), who is a well-known producer and with him we recorded the first album. It took us more than a year however to get a deal signed and afterwards it appeared that we were getting into a lot of problems with that label (Neon Knights). Nevertheless, Neon Knights Records re-released it as "Against everyone's advice" in 2004. We've toured with the likes of Axel Rudi Pell and Thunderstone in Europe, did a couple of shows with Queensryche the same year and did dozens of single shows. In 2006 our next record came out, "Breakdown to breakthrough", again produced by Tommy Newton, countless of single headliner shows and support shows for Shakra, U.D.O. (ex-Accept), some smaller festival appearances together with Jaded Heart, Legs Diamond, Mystic Prophecy, Pride Of Lions and many more. Everything happened really fast from now on...unfortunately we always had some internal trouble throughout the years within the band. In 2008 we almost broke up...Aki and me couldn't keep the band together, we couldn't get a a new record deal...but we refused to call it a day! We decided to work on a new album anyway which later turned out as "Sonic Extasy". We didn't know if this will be our final one...but during that time we were lucky enough to find new members who were motivated enough to work with us on the new record and were ready to fire it up on stage. And here we go again, it has been the right decision to continue with the band. We found a new record label with Fastball Music/Sony and "Sonic Extasy" was released in September 2009, touring with UFO in Germany the same year, diverse shows with Vengeance and House Of Lords, lots of single headliner shows and finally our previous albums were re-released through Sony again which made us really happy since they were out of print for quite a while. We're currently working on our fourth album right now or a tentative release in Summer 2011. Everything is cool again and we're happy that everything turned out good in the end. All in all I have to say it wasn't always the easiest ride for us through all the years but we don't regret anything. Well, and that's basically the story of PUMP...
PUMP with the "old" guitarist Steff
Calle: What got you into music in the first place?
Marcus: Well…I guess I have to say that Joey Tempest from Europe is to blame for that… I attended a show from Europe at the time… in…I guess around 1988…and as soon as they hit the stage…and Joey in particular….all hell’s broke loose…8.000 girls were screaming their lungs out of their body…I remember that I immediately thought to myself…alright…I want exactly the same…that’s what I want. One and a half year later I founded my first band…
Calle: Who are your biggest influences?
Marcus: Well, as a matter of fact and probably undeniable for us is that we’re heavily influenced by bands like Skid Row, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Tesla, W.A.S.P., Accept, Lynch Mob, Motley Crue, Dokken and Whitesnake. We all grew up on these bands and it’s deeply rooted in the five of us. And no matter how hard we try to sound a bit more modern we simply won’t succeed in this case J Okay, I’m just kidding...we also like a few modern rockbands of course, bands like Drowning Pool, Five Finger Death Punch, Soil, Disturbed, Stone Sour, Shinedown, Rob Zombie, Creed, In Flames, Nickelback etc. etc. also rotating in our players...and we all LOVE Pantera....but these are all just our influences we always...we always try to put some of our own style into to the mix which I hope anybody can hear specifically on our new album.
Calle: How would you describe your music to people who haven’t heard The PUMP yet?
Marcus: Straight ahead Rock ‘n’ Roll...straight from the guts...pure and simple, intense and melodic!
Calle: You released your third CD “Sonic Extasy” in 2009. How has the response from the critics been so far?
Marcus: Oh, we absolutely had an amazing responsefor the new record so far, which was totally cool of course. Okay, there were one or two “not-so-brilliant” reviews…but you simply can’t suit everybody. Guess I think that’s just a normal thing. But the overall reactions were pretty amazing. “Sonic Extasy” really opened a few doors for us.
Calle: How was the writing and recording process of the new album?
Marcus: Actually most of the songs for the new album were already written by my guitar player Aki and me before both new guys joined the band. So Micha and Andy unfortunately weren’t that much involved in the songwriting process for the new album. But they helped a lot with the arrangements before finally entering the recording studio. Stef, the lead guitar player on that album has also contributed two songs for the new record. All in all I can say that producing that album was definitively some kind of teamwork. We did it together and everybody has contributed some important and creative input to it. But normally we prefer to work as a team and with the forthcoming record we’re already working on we will definitively getting’ back to this kind of working process.
Calle: You worked with Tommy Newton as producer on the album. How did you get to work with him?
Marcus: Well, actually we have worked with Uwe Lulis on the new record. Uwe used to be the guitar player and producer for Grave Digger for...I don’t know...most of their career as far as I know...he’s now in Rebellion. Tommy Newton produced our two previous CDs, “Against everyone’s advice” and “Breakdown to breakthrough”. But as already mentioned, for the new record we’ve secured the services of Uwe Lulis and his “Black Solaris Studios” in Frankfurt/Main. Working with Uwe was pretty cool...he’s a good engineer and really cool to work with. Very funny guy, always relaxed. Okay, from time to time he needed a little break and then he took a ride with his motorbike to make his head free again. But we had some good fun while recording the new album. Unfortunately he had this bad accident with his motorbike right before we wanted to start mixing the album. So we’ve waited for almost half a year. But his state of health didn’t get better at the time and so we decided to mix the record at a different studio which threw us back more than half a year and we’ve lost some extra money. This really sucked. But luckily he’s fine again. All in all it was a pretty good experience working with Uwe. But working with Tommy was also cool by the way. We thought it was time to change a few things…I won’t rule out a possible collaboration in the near future.
The two first albums
Calle: What song or songs on the new album do you like the most?
Marcus: Oh…that’s a tough question…well, I’m gonna pick “Testify”...I like my vocals a lot on that song. Well seriously...this song sounds a bit different than erverything we did before. I like that. This song is a bit more modern, but still “old-school” in some way. It has a pretty good bass line, a great chorus, cool vibe. But it’s still “PUMP”. It’s also fun to play that song live. Personally I also love “PUMP-standards” like “Never”, “Low life in the fast lane”, “Ready, aim & fire” of course...but I like the fact that we did something different on that album, on a few songs at least. Other examples for that are songs like “Kiss of Voodoo” and “Long road to nowhere”. They’re really cool too, because they’re different than something we did in the past. I’m very proud of that.
Calle: You’ve played with bands like Harem Scarem, Queensryche and Dokken. What other band/bands would you like to share a stage with?
Marcus: We would love to tour with some of our heroes of course. That would be cool...going out on tour with Ozzy Osbourne or Motley Crue would be phenomenal. Maybe Judas Priest...something like that. But we would also love to tour with “newer” acts like Alter Bridge or Volbeat, Danko Jones...maybe with Crashdiet, Crazy Lixx or Hardcore Superstar. Basically we’re going out on tour with everyone who wants to tour with us...
Calle: What can people expect when they go see PUMP live?
Marcus: Hairs...sweat...boots...wild and wicked stage antics...basically everything you need to see at a cool Rock’n’ Roll show...check our some live clips of PUMP at our myspace site...that’s PUMP live!!!
Calle: What’s the most fun/crazy experience you have had during a show or tour?
Marcus: Well, okay...a Rockband passes through a lot of experiences while on tour...and so did we. We definitely had our share of wild and crazy experiences. I actually won’t be remembered on some of them to be honest with you. But I’ll give you one funny story, maybe this could be interesting. Before we went out on tour with UFO in 2009, we had the opportunity to support UFO at a single show the year before in Nürnberg. Even on that single show we had some good fun with them because after the show the guys from UFO were running around backstage, all naked more or less and it felt kinda strange in some way. I have to admit that we didn’t know what to say in the first place. Guess we all expected a lot of hot chicks but all we’ve seen were a bunch of mature and naked men. And they were behaving like it was the most normal thing sitting naked in an armchair. As I already mentioned, at first glance we were totally speechless because it was so surreal. But on our way back home we wer laughing our assess off. Very Rock ‘n’ Roll indeed.
One thing I also remember which was really crazy was on tour with Axel Rudi Pell, when our former guitar play Ulli fucked some chick at the central cemetery in Frankfurt...at night of course! We asked where the hell he was all the time because we were looking for him quite a while. He just said he was with some chick and fucked her....okay, we said...so far so good. But where did you go? And he just answered “I’ve been to the central cemetery”...”I just wanted to be alone with that chick”...We couldn’t believe it, but he really did that. Well, what a perfect place he had chosen at the time to do that...more quietness is simply not possible. I hope this story was crazy enough.
ALL live photos by Binzer
Calle: How would you describe the German rock/metal scene right now?
Marcus: Very healthy...and steadily growing. We’ve got a bunch of really good bands these days in Germany. And not only the “Powermetal” stuff. There are some pretty cool Sleaze-/Hardrocksbands out there, especially in the Stuttgart area where we come from. So it’s definitively better than ten years ago...or maybe 15 years ago...that was a god-awful time...
Calle: In what other countries outside Germany do you have a big fan-base?
Marcus: Well, I suppose in Switzerland...we played a lot over there...as far as I know and from what I’ve heard the last couple of months...people always enjoyed our shows there.
Calle: Do you have any plans on a tour in Europe or USA in the near future?
Marcus: Well, no...not yet. We’re just preparing to work on the pre-production for our new album which is expected for a release in Summer 2011. So we have no plans touring Europe at the moment. Well, “Sonic Extasy” and our two previous albums finally got an official release in the US and will hit the streets on December 7, 2010 through Jamsync Music/MVD Distribution. Our label there is working on a prober tour for us with some label mates next year. Let’s wait and see if this tour is gonna happen in the near future. Would be cool!!!
Calle: How would you describe each member of the band in only three words?
Aki (Guitars): loyal, honest , contemplative
Andy (Drums): the triple C….Cool, Calm, Crazy
Michael (Bass): determined, work-crazy , reliable
Selly (lead guitar): funny, talented, hungry
Calle: Where do you see PUMP in 10 years?
Marcus: I don’t know...who knows...??? Probably dead…J Okay, just kidding…we’ll try to have some fun as much as possible. I hope we’re still around in ten years...if not, we’re probably all ending up playin’ in some classic rock cover bands...that’s cool too.
Calle: What’s the best advice you can give to up-coming bands?
Marcus: Practise, practise, practise...you’ll just get a chance if you’re good live band. Everything else doesn’t count. Try to play live as much as possible, this will be the key to success in the very near future.
PUMP anno 2010