By Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
Swiss rockers Krokus are back!!! The band is currently on their first American tour in over 15 years. Although lead singer Marc Storace is the only member remaining from the bands most popular line-up of the early 80’s, the new Krokus is just as good, if not better. Much of the praise that the band is currently receiving is due to the return of guitarist Mandy Meyer.
Meyer had previously been in Krokus in 1981, but never recorded with the band. He was asked by Storace last February to rejoin Krokus after guitarist and founding member Fernando Von Arb left the band for medical reasons. Meyer, an accomplished guitarist, gives Krokus some much needed musical muscle. In addition to Krokus, Meyer has also played in many other noteworthy bands including Asia (on the band’s third release ), Gotthard and Cobra. His resume speaks for his itself. Meyer is a talented, intense musician who brings it all each time he hits the stage.
Meyer isn’t a man of too many words, he usually lets his guitar do most of the talking, but he was kind enough to sit down with us for the exclusive GlamMetal.com interview.
During this interview, we discussed the past, present and future of Krokus, along with Meyer’s past musical accomplishments. So sit back and let’s get reacquainted and focus on Krokus.
GlamMetal: Hello Mandy, welcome to Buffalo and congratulations on rejoining Krokus.
Mandy Meyer: Yes, thank you. It’s been a long time since I was last in America. And it’s great to be back in the band.
GM: Now you are originally from Canada, right?
MM: Yeah, I’m half Canadian. My Mom is from Canada. At the moment she’s in Switzerland watching my place while I’m out on tour.
GM: Did you move to Switzerland when you joined Krokus in 1981?
I was born in Canada and moved to Switzerland when I was two because my father is Swiss. So I grew up over there.
GM: How did you hook up with Krokus the first time in 1981?
MM: I was in Krokus in 1981 and we toured the states playing with bands like Pat Travers, Rainbow, Nazareth and Ted festival. That was a long time ago, I got to know the members of Krokus from a festival that my band was playing and they were playing as well. When Krokus needed another guitarist, they remembered me from that festival. We got together and it worked out for a while. I played with them for two years.
GM: When you first joined Krokus you replaced Tommy Keifer. I heard that he committed suicide.
MM: I’m not exactly sure what happened. From what I heard, he was sick, very ill and just hung himself. He was a cool guy. I always had a good time when I was around him. We had a good relationship even though I took his place in the band. He didn’t give a shit.
GM: When you joined were you just playing rhythm guitar or some lead as well?
MM: It was a bit of both. In the beginning I was playing more leads and as time when on, Fernando started playing more of the leads.
GM: Was that one of the reasons that you left the band?
MM: No, not really. They wanted to start playing as a four piece band like Van Halen. And then after that didn’t work out, because maybe Fernando wasn’t as strong of a lead guitarist as he thought, they brought in another guitarist. (Mark Kohler). After Krokus, I started a band called Cobra with Jimmy Jamison of Survivor. And then I joined Asia (In 1984) and that was great playing with Carl Palmer. It was a dream come true playing on the third Asia album.
GM: Yeah you had some pretty big shoes to fill in replacing Steve Howe.
MM: It was a challenge, but I really enjoyed doing it. It was a different style of music for me and I really learned to appreciate it.
GM: Were you surprised when Marc asked you the rejoin Krokus last February?
MM: No, I heard about the problems they were having and that Fernando had left the band because of a wrist injury. We have remained friends through out the years. I would see Marc all of the time.
GM: Did you take the gig right away or did you need some time to think it over?
MM: I said let’s try it out and see what happens. See if it works. I was in a band called Gotthard at the time and that band was totally different musically. We had a lot of acoustic guitars and a lot of guitar tracks. It was really hard to tour with Gotthard because there were so many instruments required to play a set. Now with Krokus, all I need is one guitar. I really like playing in Krokus. I like the sound, and I like the songs that we play. You know like “Easy Rocker,” the songs are melodic and just fun to play. Every night is a bit different when I play, I just keep the main melodies. Sometimes I change the leads a little, it’s fun to have that freedom and be able to be creative. It’s not like I have someone looking over my shoulder and telling me that I have to play each solo note for note. In this band I can do whatever I want to do.
GM: What plans does the band have for after the tour? Are you going to record some new material?
MM: Yeah, we are already working on it now. We have some songs already and we are going to finish it up and release it next spring. When we come back from this US tour, we go to Russia for a few dates. We have played quite a few gigs already, including some large festival gigs over in Europe. We have a big following there and fans come from all over to see us play. The festivals are well organized and good paying.
GM: Did you ever consider cancelling the US tour that you’re on because of the high gasoline prices?
MM: Well, we had a little extra in the budget to help cover things like that. We are not making money on this tour, we will most likely just break even. For us this tour is just to make a stand in America. We haven’t been here in a long time. Some people haven’t seen Marc perform in over 15 years. They want to know if he can still sing and if he can still move. We also want them to realize that Krokus is now a working band, one that records and performs. Not just a band of the past.
GM: Well, I for one am happy that you’re back. Now what is the status on Fernando Von Arb? Is he still a creative part of Krokus?
MM: Well, maybe if we use some of his old songs.
GM : What happened to him?
MM: He had some horrible problem like tendonitis. But he’s playing again. I had the same problem last Christmas. But it wasn’t from playing, it was from picking up something. I was weird, because I could play leads, but I couldn’t play an A chord. (Laughs)
GM : Well I’m glad that you’re better. Now let’s talk about you set list. The band is playing older material and a couple new tracks.
MM: Yeah, we are playing “Fire,” “Easy Rocker,” “Headhunter” and things like that. From the “Rock the Block” CD we play “Mad World” which is a great song because the lyrics really fit what is happening in the world today. It’s a shame that we can’t make more of that song.
GM: Yeah, that would be a great track for rock radio to add.
MM: I wish that it would be played, because I think that it would do well.
GM: Yeah, I agree. Well, I appreciate you taking time out to talk to us. Any parting words for your fans here at GlamMetal.com?
MM: Yeah, call the radio stations and request our songs. And see you all on tour.