There are few German bands that have been at it for 30 years. Even fewer have remained popular, even though there have been times. And who would believe that Scotland would have such an effect on a Teutonic band that they would return 14 years after their first homage. Vocalist Chris Boltendahl has always been at the helm of GRAVE DIGGER, through thick and thin. He took some time out of the studio (and left Doro Pesch and Hansi Kürsch temporarily) to speak with me.
*Hi Chris, could you please describe the new album?
- Hi Miggo, well it´s the part 2 of “Tunes of War” from 1996. It is an active choice we made, and we´re very clear about it being a different story. We don´t want to make an “Operation Mindcrime II”. The themes are new and the setting different, this time it´s about highland legends and mythology.
*Which are your personal favorites?
-“Paid in Blood”, “Valley of Tears” and “Whom the Gods Love”.
*What made you head for Scorland 14 years ago?
- Our then bass player (Tomi Göttlich) was a big fan of Scotland, and I had a friend at Edinburgh University. We started writing, and also did a PR tour over there. We simply got addicted.
*How would you compare the two albums?
_They have the same atmosphere, but “The Clans…” is not as epic, and much darker. The catchier slower songs are a result of glancing back at the nineties tho, catchy, but not commercial!
*With your third decade closed behind you, how would you describe the various decades of GRAVE DIGGER, and what will you explore next?
-That´s easy; the first ten years was about Rock´n´Roll, the second decade was epic, the third progressive, but the future… I can´t say really. We want to stay healthy and creative. We will keep the energy up and everything seems promising for the future.
*Will there be more returns to previous albums, like, let´s say “Excalibur”?
-No, we will not return to “Exalibur” since it´s a complete story. The next album will be a concept piece; there will be 12-13 songs with one topic. I have started working on it in my mind.
*There has been a lot of musicians coming and going over the years, why all the member changes?
-Members… It´s like meeting a girl at a disco, it lasts maybe 14 days. Next up you meet a gal in a bakery and it lasts for 30 years! You can only hire people and hope for the best.
*How have you and the band developed over the years?
-We have all changed a lot! We used to be all about parties and booze; now were focused on the music. The most important core value is family; no one of us wants to sacrifice that.
*What happens next?
-In February 2011 we´ll go on tour. We´ll join forces with GRAND MAGUS in March, and we hope to please our fans! We will also do a couple of festivals, and a trip to the states. We love to tour but we don´t want to lose any money touring.
*Sound sensible in this day and age. The new GRAVE DIGGER album is a barnstormer; all the old fans I know are cheering the latest chapter in the GRAVE DIGGER saga. I strongly recommend the disc and I hope you get to see them live. Here´s to the next decades Chris!