1. When was the last time you were raging mad?
Oohh, good question…when was the last time I was raging mad…probably three months ago, and I think is was my girlfriend that made me mad.
May I ask why?
Well, I don't remember any specific details hahaha.
Fair enough, me move a long to question two than, shall we?
2. If you are allowed to choose another job, what would it be?
I would love to be a storm chaser. In the Midwest of The United States there are these weather guys chasing tornado's, hurricanes and things like that, trying to get good film coverage. They put out scientific equipment to try to measure pressure and things like that. Now storms and stuff get my adrenaline going , so that would be a great job. Every time I see a big storm coming I rush outside to watch it.
3. Which piece of art (book, painting, sculpture, song, CD or whatever) would you like to have made?
I guess it would have to be something like the Statue of Liberty. That is really some kind of lighthouse to me, as it stands there in front of the port of New York. It says 'welcome', you know. For me it represents freedom, and also opportunity. I wish everyone could have a choice to pursue their dreams. I know that there is a lot of people living in third world countries or even less that will never have the chance to pursue their dreams. I love music, so that is what I pursued, and I think if everybody was able to do that it would be a great thing. Now I do not think it only can be done in America, it could also be done in other countries. Okay, I don't live there, so I don't know first hand, but I see some great bands coming from other countries, so somehow they are doing it.
Do you think musicians from the United States have it easier than those from other countries?
As far as the music goes? I really don't know. I don't know how it is in other countries. I know in America there is so many people wanting to be musicians that it is very difficult to get national exposure, getting picked up by a major label, exposure on MTV. I think those people are few and far between. SO you've got that, but at least there are levels underneath that, on which you can still survive living as a musician, such as myself. I have never had a major label behind me in the States, or major media like MTV, or clear channel communication radio pushing me, but I have been able to make a living, and I am happy with that. Though it is not the only way for me to earn money, for I am also involved in some family business.
4. Of which company or institute would you like to be general-manager?
Hehehe…general-manager…I don't know if I would want that responsibility. Well, okay…how about Sony Music?
Got something against major labels?
Well, it is a major label yeah, and if I control it I could put out my own records hahaha.
Okay, but would there also be any other band out there you would like to help then?
Oh yeah, there are quite a few bands out there I would like to help, for instance the band Edguy, I really like them. They are very young, but very talented, and I think they would do great in the States if they had a shot. Also Roy Z.'s Tribe Of Gypsies is an awesome band that should be signed, but they haven't had the opportunity yet either, but I would sign them right away.
5. Do you believe in love at first sight?
I used to… This means that my first marriage was based up love at first sight. But now that that is no longer…hahaha…I am a bit more sceptic now.
6. Which part in which movie would you like to have played?
I thought the lead part in 'Gladiator' was quite cool. I like the Roman Empire, and just the whole feel of that movie was classic and powerful to me, you know. Even the soundtrack was great. So to be a part of a movie like that would be a great thing.
Have you ever been asked to write a soundtrack for a movie yourself?
But do you think you where able to do it?
I think that I would have no problems with writing songs that lyrically relate to the subject matter, but as far as writing all the musical pieces I do not feel that I am talented enough as a keyboard player or guitar player to do that. I could write the lyrics and melodies, but as far as the music…I think there is better people for that.
Anyone you know?
The first guy I think of is Roy Z. I have got a lot of respect for Roy, because he does a lot of styles of music. He can go from like the Santana style of Tribe Of Gypsies to the heavy metal style of Halford, or the power metal style of Rob Rock, and he sounds good doing it all.
7. On what do you spend most of your money?
Probably recording equipment.
Well, that is kind of professional, but what about more personal matters?
I guess that would be going to the movies. I just love that, and usually go one or two times a week. The last one I saw was 'Terminator III', that was really good, and exactly what you think it is. One big car chase from the beginning until the end. I have also recently seen 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' with Johnny Depp, and I was pleasantly surprised, because it was funny. They did not take themselves too seriously, and I think that was good. I think if they had tried to be too serious it might not have worked, but because they have a lot of fun jokes in there it was funny.
8. In which field do you think the opposite sex has it easier?
You are not much of a dancer yourself?
No, I more like to watch hahaha. I am better at watching than doing it myself, that's for sure.
9. Which TV show should be removed immediately from the screen?
Hahaha…I don't know, I don't watch that much TV. When I am at home I always working, and when I need a break I go see a movie, or go out with some friend or something. I probably haven't watched TV for more than a year.
10. Which death of a celebrity shocked you most?
Jimi Hendrix! That dude was great, and it is a shame that he is no longer around, but I think that the music he put out was awesome. To be honest with you, I know more about him now than I did growing up. Growing up it was nothing more than a couple of songs on the radio, and when he died I was a teenager at that time, but he did not affect me at that point, he affected me later on. When I started playing in M.A.R.S. and stuff, a lot of the other bandmembers really liked Jimi Hendrix, especially guitar players, and only then I really started to listen to Jimi's music. He was already long gone, but I think his music was great. It was soulful, it was not manufactured.
Recently I read a statement on some website about Jimi Hendrix, and it was something like this: “Compared to today's standards, Hendrix is only a moderate guitar player”. Any comments?
Well, maybe on a technical level or something, but I think Jimi played from the heart more than anything else. He kind of spoke through his guitar. I don't think he had as much technique to fall back on as today's guitar players, but in the end – because of that – I don't think today's guitar players put as much heart into it as Jimi Hendrix did, because that was all he had to give.
11. In which other period in time would you have lived?
I don't know, maybe the sixties.
Yearning for the hippie days?
Hahahaha, no…well, maybe we are offspring from those days, but I wonder how it would have been living in those days.
In what way?
Probably the way people where so adamant about rocking the system and doing something different on their own. I thought it was very strange that a whole movement would be created around that, a whole sub-culture.
12. Are you religious?
Yes. I believe in God. I go to a church here in Florida, I try to go every week, I also read the Bible every morning and pray. I am very into a personal relationship with Jezus Christ.
Are you a so-called 'born again' Christian?
Doesn't that cause problems with you also being a heavy metal singer?
No. I think that my personal life is with Jesus and my professional life is also where he has placed me in my life, you know. He gave me the opportunity to be a singer, to put out about fifteen albums by now. I think because I always give him credit and glory he is blessing me this way and keeping me going. Now I don't wanna be a preacher, and I don't wanna be labelled as a contemporary Christian artist, because I grew up on rock n' roll, and that's what I love, play, perform and create. So when I put that out there I make sure it is true to my heart, true to me, because I think people can tell when it is not. That is why you'll see some songs with Christian background scenes in it, or Biblical themes in it, actually I think a lot of the Bible stories fit well with heavy metal.
But are you never judged by other Christians for doing rock n' roll? Many of the Christians I know see rock and metal as a creation from Satan to corrupt the youth.
Well, I tend to think that Christians like that are very immature in their faith, because they are basing everything on the law, and I think Jesus Christ is more about love, mercy and forgiveness. I think the law was given so you realise that you can keep the law, but you need Jesus. I don't think the law was given for you to judge other people. Only God can do the judging.
Another thing, do you have a problem sharing the line-up (for example on a metal festival) with bands of an explicit satanic image?
Nope, don't have a problem with that whatsoever hahaha. People do what they do, and I think for me to get in someone's space and tell 'm my opinion is very arrogant. I would not do that. I'd rather wait for them to ask what I am into. If they really want to know, than I have permission to speak with them, and they want to hear it then. I don't think walking up to someone out of the blue and telling them that they are wrong is good. I mean, that does not create any respect, or any kind of love or connection with a person.
13. You're allowed to invite four persons, also dead ones, for a dinner-party. Who would they be?
Ben Franklin would be one. That dude was a genius, and I would ask him a lot of questions about all his inventions. Jesus Christ, obviously. Number three would probably be my grandfather, mainly because I did not know him very well. The last one would be…I don't know…let's see…
Maybe Jimi Hendrix?
Yeah, Jimi Hendrix, here ya go! So he could explain to me what's with the fire hahaha.
14. What was your worst ever made decision?
Man, these are deep questions! Let's see…I think I tend to forget my worst decisions hahaha. I guess my worst one would be not moving to Los Angeles sooner when I did. I came from Massachusetts and moved to LA in 1986 to do the 'Project Driver'. I think if I had moved there already in 1981 – when I really got serious about music – I would have had a bigger and better chance to be more successful at that time with my style of music. But when I think of that I always say to myself that maybe I was not ready for that yet, or maybe my talent wasn't up to par yet.
15. When did you lie for the last time?
Well, I did not lie to you hahahaha.
Well, I try not to lie, but I ain't perfect. I think when I do lie it is while trying to protect someone's feelings. It is not a big lie, but maybe more something like not completely correct information.