German metal dinosaurs Bonfire gaining momentum again. The latest studio album "Glörious" got very good feedback from media and fans, followed by the new album "Pearls" which contains the band's highlights, all re-recorded and party arranged in a different way. So it's the right moment to ask some questions to Bonfire mainman Hans Ziller. See what he has to tell:
Markus Heavy Music Blog: Hello Hans, first of all congratulations to 30 years of Bonfire. It must be a really good feeling, right?
Hans Ziller: Thank you. Yes, it’s a very good moment in time but there is also a bit of a melancholy since the years have gone by so fast.
MHMB: If you had to summarize in 1-2 sentences all the 30 years of Bonfire, which ones would it be?
Hans Ziller: I have experienced with Bonfire all ups and downs of the business, but I don't want to miss a single second of it.
MHMB: „Don't Touch the Light" and especially "Fireworks" were commercially very successful and you were even on the road with bands like Judas Priest. In retrospect, how would you describe this time?
Hans Ziller: Right, „Firework“ even reached gold status and we sold 250,000 copies in Germany. This was a really great time, days when rock music was still worth something and it was an intense period too. As I said, I'm glad that I could have been a part of all this.
MHMB: With "Pearls" you have a sort of "Best of ...“ album in the starting blocks, a record that includes interesting new arrangements for some "Classic Pearls". How did this idea come up and how easy was it to realize the album?
Hans Ziller: I avoid the words 'Best Of...', because it is not such an album. A 'Best Of...' is a compilation with ready-recorded songs. The songs on „Pearls“ are all re-recorded and partly new arranged in a way how I would record the tracks today. The idea behind „Pearls“ is to provide our fans with something different than just a 'Best Of...'. Additionally, we want to use the opportunity to bring our new singer David (Reece) a bit closer to the Bonfire fans.
MHMB: Although you had a 'time out' from Bonfire for a few years it always felt like you never lost your passion for the band. Is Bonfire for you a matter of the heart?
Hans Ziller: OK, a few years is a bit exaggerated. It was exactly 2 years. Bonfire is my life's work. I would even go that far saying, it's my life. So it's more than just a matter of the heart.
MHMB: How important was Lessmann / Ziller for you and how important was it for the further development of Bonfire?
Hans Ziller: I have to say that I regret this period with the German lyrics. It was a big mistake, that was a waste time and it took away a lot of energy from the band. Unfortunately this idea was not even from me, but one also have to admit the mistakes made. Retrospectively it was more damaging than helpful for Bonfire’s development.
MHMB: With „Die Räuber“ you went even one step further since you transformed a drama from Schiller into a metal opera. Whose idea was this and would you do such a project again?
Hans Ziller: It was Peter Rein, director of the Ingolstadt Theater, who approached us with this idea. Today I would say it was good money, but it didn’t help the band to develop.
MHMB: In 2015 David Reece became a part of Bonfire. How did you meet and how easy / difficult was it to persuade him to sing for Bonfire?
Hans Ziller: I know David for many years. He was part of Accept and we were in the same studio for a recording session, the Dierks Studios in Cologne. I met him again in 2010 at the Fire Festival in Nottingham and already there we briefly talked about a common project. The fact that David finally became the new Bonfire singer in 2014 is based on his contribution to my solo band EZ Livin'. The rest is well known history 😉
MHMB: Bonfire now seems to have a more stable line-up again. "Glorious" was a great album and "Pearls" also clearly shows again what the band is capable of. Hence the question: What are the plans following the „Pearls“ release and a tour planned for 2016?
Hans Ziller: I’ve already written an almost complete new full-length album. The planning is to record it in autumn this year and release it in April 2017 via UDR. Next to a new album we have plans to tape a show at one of the bigger German festivals for releasing the show as a live DVD. So, there isn’t a lot of time for taking a deep breath. Bonfire’s heading for their next Indian summer.
MHMB: Talking about the tour, most shows are planned for Germany. Are there any plans for more shows in Europe too?
Hans Ziller: Of course. Just check our calendar. We will play gigs in Switzerland, Sweden, Italy England, CZ, Austria and Finland. Furthermore some US shows are in a planning phase and the same goes for South America is planned. Besides we want to do Japan as well.
MHMB: What is the status of EZ Livin'? Does the current Bonfire success put EZ Livin' on ice or are also there some activities planned?
Hans Ziller: EZ Livin’ is currently on hold because I simply do not have time for it !!!
MHMB: Hans, is there something more you want to mention, something special for the fans?
Hans Ziller: Yes. To all the true Bonfire fans…don’t knock yourself off course and keep the Bonfire burnin' !!!