JUERGEN OF MAD MAX (italian version)
by Giancarlo Bolther
Can you introduce us to your band and give us a bit of history about the group?
MAD MAX from germany first started out in the early 80ies as a kind of melodic rock band and did 3 records for the world famous ROADRUNNER RECORD label (METALLICA). We supported those releases by touring Europe with the likes of STRYPER, PRETTY MAIDS, URIAH HEEP, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and many more.
What happened when you decided to break up and why did you decide to get back together?
Due to differences with the record company concerning the support and the musical direction of the band MAD MAX split up early 1991. When we got back together early this year it was first just our singer Michael and myself. We wrote all these new songs for NIGHT OF WHITE ROCK together combining our music with the christian lyrics - something we both wanted to do for a very long time but never found the right band for this. When everything was written, it was basically Michaels idea to ask our old bandmates and friends Axel on Drums and Roland on bass if they would join us on this. I'm so happy they followed us!
What emotions have you experienced with your comeback?
It is like a dream for us that the NIGHT OF WHITE ROCK album was so successful in whole Europe and even in the USA - it helped a lot that right after the release we toured with DEEP PURPLE and ALICE COOPER - that brought a lot of attention to the band.
What kind of audience do you have now, after so many years?
The audience is a kind of mixture between classic rock fans and fans of christian music in general - as you might know we are not only doing rock songs but also some acoustioc songs that gives us the opportunity to play in churches and also get a lot of radio airplay.
What is different about your new project as compared to what you've done in the past?
The main difference are off course the christian lyrics - this is something we will never change again.
Is there something about your past that you would like to change if it would be possible?
No - we would not change anything - it was good what we did then, but right it is very important for us that we have something to say - to tell the people our view of the world - the view as christians.
Which are your best memories from the’80s?
The best part of the 80ies for us was definitely the touring with all those great bands and musicians!
In your opinion, is your music a means of escaping from reality or of facing it?
We are definitely facing the reality - on the brandnew album which is due for release february 2007 we will cover some very real problems like the war or child abuse seen through the eyes of a christian. This will be kind of heavy stuff - a lot of people will be very surprised!
Your music seems to be a mix between that of artists such as Petra and Stryper. How much were you influenced by these bands and have you had other influences?
We always loved STYRPER - besides that we toured with the guys - and we are certainly a little bit influenced by them! Also Bands like DOKKEN and SCORPIONS have always been our musical roots so far.
I’ve heard that you will play in Italy in December. What are you preparing for this show? Will this be your first time in Italy?
We are so proud and exited to be in Italy for the very first time! It's a great honour!
Your last album was acoustic; in your opinion, can every song be played both acoustically and electrically or are there some songs that can only be played acoustically?
For our acoustic album IN WHITE we picked not only songs from NIGHT OF WHITE ROCK. We also did a brandnew song called HELLO FATHER which is kind of a musical prayer and we did our version of the worship classic OPEN THE EYES OF MY HEART. There are definitely some songs that are not made for acoustic performances like RAISE YOUR VOICE which is kind of our WE WILL ROCK YOU!
When did you first experience your deep conversion? Would you tell us about it, please?
It's not a conversion - Michael and I have always been christians.
How hard it is to manage an artistic career with your beliefs?
For us it' s kind of natural right now to be recognized as a christian band - that's what we stand for. If somebody only likes the music that's ok for us - we don't wanna force anybody and we don't preach.
Sometimes it's very hard to follow Jesus, sometimes we don't understand what is goin' on. Would you like to tell us about your difficulties in being a Christian?
Like every christian we sometimes go through hard times - but at the end of the day we know that Jesus will be there - that's what counts!
How do you live out your Christian beliefs in your ordinary life and can you tell me more about your daily relationship with God, please?
The daily relationship can be a prayer, can be a smile , can be everything! Jesus makes us kind of strong in manging our personal life and in the way we interact with other people.
What does it mean for you to be a Christian artist in a world (the music one, in particular) where there is a very little place for God and his loving message?
Right now I have the impression that people worldwide are open minded for christian music in general.
What do you think about the tendency to link hard rock and heavy metal with evil contents?
Combining hardrock and heavy metal with evil contents is more or less an image thing made by the music industry .
In your opinion, can song lyrics really influence young listeners?
I'm sure that for many listeners the lyrics really do mean something - not for everybody off course.
My lyrics are very personal and hopefully people can follow my feelings - that would be great. But again - I don't wanna force somebody!
What kind of feedback are you receiving regarding the messages in your albums?
We really do get a lot of mails from all over the world - which is great - saying that people love the songs and that they are happy to have found a christian rockband like MAD MAX.
A lot of people think that following Jesus means losing your freedom. What is your answer to that?
Following Jesus - for us - means "finding your freedom"!
Doing Christian music or doing music as a Christian: are they the same thing or is there a difference? In other words, is doing worship music only a question of lyrical content or does it mean something more than that and what does doing music as a Christian mean to you?
Let me put it that way: We are christians playing the kind of music that we love!
I know that you are working on a new album; could you tell us something about it, please?
The new album will be released in february 2007 - we just finished the songwriting and some of the songs will be really heavy - this was not planned at all - it just came naturally when Michael and I worked on the songs. A lot of people will be very surprised! We will start recording this week!
Do you have a word of hope to end this interview?
Let's all pray together in Rome on december 8th and 9th at ROCK ON CHRIST(MAS)!
Juergen / MAD MAX
reviews (only in italian): Night of the White Rock; In White; White Sands