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Voices from the Darkside
I have always loved Voices From The Darkside fanzine and when I re-connected with editor Frank Stover on Facebook I asked if he would be up for doing an interview and he said he was so here it is:
MC: What sort of kid were you growing up and what did you want to be when you were growing up? Did you come from a big family or a small one?
FS: I was a very quiet kid that rarely caused any problems. I just did what all kids were doing at the time, playing with my toys, enjoying to be outside in the woods with other kids, riding my bike, watching TV and stuff like that. Nothing special, really. I had a very cool childhood with lots of great memories. I was the only child at the time (my brother was born, when I was already 14 years old), so our family just consisted of my mum and dad and myself."
MC: Were you always into music or did that come later on? Were any of your parents into music a lot?
FS: "I always loved music... I started watching music shows on TV very early on and discovered all the popular 70s music by doing so. My first record was a compilation entitled "Disco Hits" (or something like that)... I wanted that because it had THE SWEET's 'Action' on it (which was probably my first real favorite band)... needless to say that I wasn't too much impressed by the other artists on it. My parents weren't too much into music... they just had a couple of records, but none of them really appealed to me."
MC: So at what age did music start to enter your life and at any time during your life did you ever want to pick up an instrument or want to sing?
FS: "I can't really recall the exact year anymore, it must have been in the early 70s though... But like I just said, it was THE SWEET that really turned me into a music addict. Whenever they appeared on a German TV show, I made sure to watch it. I was probably 8 or 9 years old at the time. No, I didn't wanna be a musician myself at that time (that came many years later for a short period of time)."
MC: So what were some of the 1st bands that you heard that you actually liked and are you still fans of any of those bands even today?
FS: "The first bands that I heard were stuff like THE RUBETTES, ABBA, MUD, SLADE, THE SWEET, THE BAY CITY ROLLERS, SUZI QUATRO, STATUS QUO... basically all the typical 70s stuff. And yeah, I still love THE SWEET today (I even have two very cool compilation CDs of them in my collection), I also still love the early STATUS QUO stuff (before they became a radio friendly act; their double "Live" album is just awesome!!), but I also wouldn't turn the radio off these days, if I would get to hear any of those other artists... I heard it all so often back then, that it's become part of me somehow."
MC: So how did you end up discovering the world of heavy metal and what were some of the early bands that you heard that you ended up becoming a fan of and are you still a fan of some of the early bands that you liked way back when and what years are we talking about?
FS: "Well, the first band that really changed my life completely was definitely KISS. I saw a live report about their first European tour on television in 1976 and that turned me into a die hard KISS fanatic ever since. I bought every stupid teeny magazine whenever they had the tiniest little write up or picture about them included and played all their early records literally to death (I rebought many of them several times over the years). KISS "Alive" was my very first "serious" record and it's still among my all-time faves. In 1980, I was finally able to see them live for the very first time on their "Unmasked" European tour (my first concert EVER!) and the support act was IRON MAIDEN, who had just put out their debut album. They really blew me away, so I got myself that album right away and from there started to look for similar sounding, heavier bands in our tiny local record store. It was mostly the cover art that made me check out new bands, so pretty quickly I added albums by TYGERS OF PAN TANG, SAXON, MOTÖRHEAD, SAMSON, DEF LEPPARD, ACCEPT, ANVIL, JUDAS PRIEST etc. etc. to my collection. A radio show on the English BFBS station, called "The HM Show", helped me a lot as well, because the DJ Tony Jasper played a lot of cool bands that I hadn't heard of before and often even had them in the studio for interviews. Great, exciting times for sure! All this was in the early 80s. And yeah, I still like a lot of those bands today."
MC: Now how did you end up discovering the world of underground metal? Was it one person or several people that dragged you into the world of underground metal and do you remember what were some of the first couple bands that you heard and did it take a few spins of hearing this type of music before you got into it?
FS: "I'm not exactly sure, but I suppose it was partly also through Tony Jasper's "HM Show" on BFBS. But probably also through a Heavy Metal Fan Club, that I had started with a friend of mine at the time. We became pen pals with a lot of likeminded people, and pretty quickly got introduced to the tape trading phenomenon. Stuff like very early METALLICA, VENOM of course, EXCITER, RAVEN, early ANTHRAX, EXODUS, ARMORED SAINT, THE RODS etc. were names that got already heavily traded and ended up in our collections as well through those channels. I originally had some problems with VENOM early on, because they sounded so different, so extreme, that I needed to be in the right mood to enjoy them on certain days. But after I while I got used to them and became a die hard VENOM addict. All the other stuff just clicked right away. I immediately loved the aggression and the speed of old METALLICA, ANTHRAX and EXCITER."
MC: Were you ever into the punk or hardcore scene at all and if you were what were some of the bands that you like and got into?
FS: "Oh yeah, as soon as I found out that all the extreme Metal bands were listening to that kinda stuff, I checked out GBH, DISCHARGE, MISFITS, DEAD KENNEDYS, EXPLOITED, ANTI NOWHERE LEAGUE, DRI, SEX PISTOLS, MDC, RAW POWER, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT etc. etc. All great bands at the time!"
MC: Did you ever do any tape trading at all and if so, how many people did you trade with? Do you still have any copies of old, original copies of demos?
FS: "Yeah, I was a very heavy tape trader at some point and my list consisted of thousands of titles. Can't recall the exact number of people I've traded with, but it must've been 10-15 maybe. Over the years I sold more and more of my tapes since there have been so many cool re-releases of old demos on CD that I didn't see the need to keep the tapes as well (which I don't listen to anymore anyway)."
MC: What were some of your early bands that you liked and was this music like a drug that you wanted more and more of?
FS: "Like I mentioned already, the earliest bands that I liked were METALLICA, ANTHRAX, ARMORED SAINT, EXCITER, VENOM... and then of course SLAUGHTER, HELLHAMMER, MANTAS (DEATH), POSSESSED, HOLY TERROR, SACRIFICE, VOIVOD, NASTY SAVAGE, DARK ANGEL, HALLOWS EVE etc. etc. Yes, the music was definitely like a drug and it was extremely cool whenever a new band with a similar style was discovered!"
MC: What were some early concerts that you saw and were you blown away at the speed and intensity of these bands when they played live? Is there a band you never saw live that you would like to one day? What are some bands that disappointed you live? In your eyes and ears what makes a good live band?
FS: "You probably mean the heavier bands here, don't you? Well, I was able to see METALLICA on their "Ride The Lightning" tour with TANK as the support act, VENOM with EXODUS and ATOMKRAFT, AGENT STEEL with NUCLEAR ASSAULT and ATOMKRAFT, SLAYER on their "Hell Awaits" tour with DESTRUCTION, DRI with HOLY TERROR, ANTHRAX with OVERKILL and AGENT STEEL, POSSESSED with VOIVOD and DEATHROW... they all blew me away completely, that's for sure! Many bands I got to see a couple of times again in the years to follow. But I would've loved to see SLAUGHTER, HELLHAMMER, SACRIFICE, MANTAS, DARK ANGEL with Don Doty on vocals, HALLOWS EVE or NASTY SAVAGE... stuff like that. A band that disappointed me live? Well, can't really recall any at the moment. At least not from those glorious times... things changed over the years and I've seen ALOT of bands then that really didn't do it for me in a live situation (I'm not going to mention any names here, sorry). To me, a good live band needs to be full of high energy; they simply have to practice what they preach. If you're playing highly aggressive music, it's boring to see a band going up on stage and just standing still and staring on their sneakers. Unfortunately that's become the case with many younger bands later on and they pretty much ruined live shows for me."
MC: What are your thoughts on the following?
"It used to be a killer genre in the early days when bands were still really young, raging and full of the necessary aggression. Unfortunately it became pretty lame in many cases when bands started to "evolve"."
"I used like love a lot of the original Power Metal bands (before the term Power Metal really existed), but can't stand all the bands that are popping up in that genre these days. They only try to focus on the clichés and that makes most of them just ridiculous to me."
"Same as with Thrash Metal: the early stuff was great, but when the mainstream took over it got pretty annoying and lost its hate and darkness completely. There's still some pretty cool newer bands around, which is great."
"The originators of this music I still love, but I couldn't care less about all the newer acts, especially all the symphonic or happy sounding crap."
"Don't listen to it as much anymore as I used to, but as long as it's REAL Hardcore or REAL Punk Rock, I think it's still a totally cool form of music. Can't stand all those bands though that are labeled Punk or Hardcore these days, and then get radio airplay (shit like GREEN DAY, THE OFFSPRING etc.)."
MC: Now in Germany back in the day, was it easy to find underground metal releases? What there record stores that carried this stuff? What were some of your favorite places to get your fill of metal music?
FS: "In my hometown Syke (a very very small city) there were only two stores that basically sold record players, speakers, tape recorders and stuff like that, but they both had a record section as well. Since Hardrock and early Metal was still released on bigger companies, like EMI, CBS, MCA or stuff like that, you could at least find albums by JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, DEF LEPPARD, KISS, MÖTORHEAD etc. there. In Bremen, where I live for way over 25 years, have been a couple of very cool stores already at the time and I always would go there to check out second hand stuff or imports. I discovered a lot of cool underground bands from the US there."
MC: What were some of the 1st fanzines that you read and how did you come to discover the world of fanzines and did any of the record stores in your area sell fanzines?
FS: "The very first fanzines I probably got myself were German ones: SHOCK POWER, BLITZKRIEG, METAL MANIACS GERMANY... those three probably must've been among the first fanzines ever that I read. A store in Bremen was also selling the German edition of the Dutch AARDSCHOK for a while and later on also the early editions of ROCK HARD. It might have been through adds in there, that I ordered a copies of the aforementioned zines, but I'm not quite sure anymore."
MC: At what point did you decide you wanted to do your own fanzine? Did you have any idea how to do one and did you ask any people for advice on how to do one? What were some of your favorite fanzines that you read over the years and were there any fanzines that you didn’t like?
FS: "I wanted to do a fanzine on my own very early on already. When we were running the Heavy Metal Fan Club, we figured we should also do some sort of newsletter or fanzine that we could offer to our members. And so we created a xeroxed zine called BLOODY DISASTER, which was restarted as METAL WARRIORS rather quickly. We had never done anything like that and asked no one for advice. It was only done with a typewriter, a very little run was copied on a xerox machine and overall it was unprofessional as fuck. We just compiled news from teeny magazines, used their pictures and partly even printed interviews that we had taped from the BFBS "HM Show", but we felt good about it. Later on when I started to work for DESTRUCTION, I got several fanzines from all over the world and loved them all more or less. They all weren't professional either, but you got introduced to a lot of new bands that you hadn't heard of before and to me that was always the most important thing. I never really liked "fanzines" that were trying to impress with full colour glossy paper, but were obviously lacking in the necessary knowledge about the bands they featured. Those were always a waste of time for me."
MC: Now how long did it take from when you had the idea to do your own zine to the actual 1st issue come out?
FS: "I have no idea, sorry. Probably about a week or something like that. One day we sat down in front of a typewriter, armed with scissors and glue and just started working until we had enough pages to go to a copy shop."
MC: Did you ever end up doing any prior writing before starting up Voices From the Darkside? How did you come up with the name of your zine and were any other names thrown around? Did you have other staff writers help you with the zine or did you pretty much do it all yourself?
FS: "Yeah, like I mentioned already... the very first one was BLOODY DISASTER / METAL WARRIORS. The name for VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE was inspired by the MORBID ANGEL song 'Visions From The Darkside'. I was always a very big MORBID ANGEL fan, so that was an obvious choice. I just figured that a zine should be the voice (from the darkside). Never thought about other names, at least I can't recall any others anymore. VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE originally was started as a column in the Germany Metal magazine HORROR INFERNAL. Back then I did all on my own, but when I was thinking about doing it as a zine, I hooked up with Leif (Jensen, now vocalist in DEW-SCENTED), who had contacted me in my HORROR INFERNAL days already."
MC: So take me through the steps of putting out your 1st issue. What was the hardest and easiest thing? How many copies did you end up printing and how hard was it selling it? What year did it come out?
FS: "It was pretty easy actually since I had enough material lying around, that wouldn't fit into my HORROR INFERNAL column anymore anyway. Ok, a couple of (not so clever) interviews still had to be added and the layout wasn't exactly very pro either, but everything went rather quickly. A friend of mine at the time had the possibility to print it, so in 1992 we went for 500 A5-sized copies and surprisingly got rid of them all pretty soon already."
MC: Now how many issues did you end up putting out? With each issue did it become easier for you putting together each issue and did your circulation keep going up with each issue? Did you ever make any money with the zine?
FS: "The print era lasted for 10 issues and yes, it became easier with every issue since it was a learning experience. We switched from A5 size to A4 size with issue # 4 and I think that the layout improved as well over the years (not to mention the interview questions, which became more serious and in-depth). No, I never made any money with it, I actually lost a lot of money with the swansong issue, because by then we had a run of 1.000 copies and it had so many pages that the printing costs were ridiculous (not even the ads in it were able to cover those costs)... and then we had mailorders who asked for wholesale prices and postage costs weren't fun either."
MC Did you, when you were doing your zine, did you make flyers and put them in with orders and when you were writing bands back to help spread the word for the zine and looking back if you did, do you think it helped much in spreading the word about your zine?
FS: "Yes! Flyers were helping ALOT in those days. You gotta remember that all this was before the internet days and everyone was still writing letters instead of emails, so each letter always included a shitload of flyers. We went for it as well and it seems that they got spread around everywhere, since orders came in even from very exotic places, which was great!"
MC: How would you rate yourself as a writer and do you feel you improved with each issue as far as your interviews went and how you reviewed stuff and do you feel you were pretty fair with all your reviews? Did any band or bands give you much shit over you giving them a bad review?
FS: "I think I'm a pretty average writer, but I've always written my reviews with all honesty and never really kissed any asses, so I think that's a fair way to do things. Not all bands might have been satisfied with a review that I've given them, but hey, you simply can't like everything... The writing certainly has improved over the years, but I think that's pretty natural when you do stuff in a foreign language."
MC: As issues came out, were you starting to get more and more mail and did you start to get a lot of orders through the mail? Did you get many orders or bands sending you stuff from the US much during your time with the zine?
FS: "Yes, the amount of letters was getting out of hand sometimes. But every new order was still a great thing since it proved that we were obviously doing things the right way. We got orders and material from all over the world, including the US of course."
MC: What was your favorite interview that you did and your most disappointing? Was there any band(s) that you never got to interview that you would have liked to?
FS: "I don't really have any favorite or least favorite interviews... but I always appreciated those bands a lot that really took the time to answer very in-depth (Wannes of PENTACLE is a good example for that) and was kinda disappointed by those who just delivered one-liners. The only band that I would have loved to interview (from a fan boy point of view), but never got the chance to, is of course: KISS. But they wouldn't really have fitted into VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE anyway."
MC: How many issues did you end up putting out and when you released your last issue, did you know at the time it was going to be your last issue? What was the reason you stopped doing the zine and did you miss doing it much at the time?
FS: "When I was putting together issue # 10 I already knew that I didn't wanna continue on, since my interest in the scene at the time was pretty much down to zero. There were so many bands that I found just plain boring and VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE had already almost turned into a fulltime job, instead of a fun kinda project, that I had to stop. If you add to this the financial aspects, you'll easily understand that this was the only option for me. At first it was like a relief when it was over, but after a while I started to miss it again..."
MC: Now after you stopped doing the zine, did you do any writing for any other zines at all?
FS: "I worked for ROCK HARD, EMP and AMAZON here in Germany and even got paid for it after all. But I felt like a whore rather quickly, so I didn't really enjoy that and stopped doing so again after a while."
MC: What were some of your favorite bands back then and do you think the underground music scene is missing things like writing letters and supporting each other as I don’t see much of that these days?
FS: "Favorite bands? Well, from the top of my head (additionally to the already mentioned ones in previous questions) I would say MORBID ANGEL, SADISTIC INTENT, GRAVE, IMMOLATION, INCANTATION, AUTOPSY, COFFIN TEXTS, BOLT THROWER, MASTER... stuff like that, as well as zillions of newer bands from today's scene. I personally don't miss the letter writing, even though it was more personal of course. But I'm fine with emails, since it's easier, quicker and cheaper. The support in the scene hasn't really suffered either, since internet is a great tool to promote things."
MC: What is a metal style of singing that your not a fan of?
FS” "Over the years I started to dislike the typical high pitched vocal style quite a bit. I used to like a lot of bands with singers like that, but in most cases I find that pretty annoying these days."
MC: I know you did some writing for Snakepit Mag in the past are you currently doing any writing for any fanzines/webzines these days? What do you think of webzines?
FS: "Well, I was actually the founder of SNAKEPIT and did the first four issues until I suggested that Laurent should take over (he was "just" a contributor in the early days). Apart from the VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE website I don't do anything else. It's already a very time consuming thing, so there's no time left for any other activities in that department. Even though I run a webzine myself, I personally still prefer the good old print / xerox zines... but webzines are also a great tool to get rather fresh information and they don't cost me and you (almost) no money, so..."
MC: What are your thoughts on the underground these days? Do you feel like me, that there are way too many bad bands and too many labels out there? Where do you see the underground in 5 years? Do you ever see where all music released is just on Mp3s and not on cds/vinyl?
FS: "Yes, I agree. The number of bands, labels and releases is ridiculous! Even though the current underground seems to be healthier than ever with an incredible big number of killer newcomer acts, it's really hard to keep track on it. Back in the 80s I played each new record to death, while nowadays I get so many of them, that I can be lucky to be finished with them before the next bunch already arrives. That sucks! I have no idea where we will be in 5 years from now... usually I would answer that everything has collapsed by then, but since that didn't happen for so many years yet, we still might have the same amount of releases (or more) by then. I just hope that mp3 won't take over completely, because I hate mp3 files! I won't the real deal, with a cover, booklet etc."
MC: Tell me something about yourself that people may find surprising?
FS: "Oh boy... I have no idea. I'm just an ordinary boring kinda guy who works a 9-5 job as a web designer in a small agency, I live with me girlfriend for nearly 26 years now, I am a vegetarian, I don't smoke and don't drink and even listen to music that ain't Metal. Don't know if this is really surprising..."
MC: Do you follow any sports where you based out of and do you like any non-metal music and if so what music genres and bands to you like?
FS: "No, I'm not into sports at all, sorry. I listen to all kinds of music, as long as it sounds good to me. This could be Pop, Rock, AOR, Grunge and even some modern stuff. Next to all the brutal Metal stuff my collection also includes a.o. KATE BUSH, AEROSMITH, ZZ TOP, QUEEN, ALANIS MORISSETTE, NIRVANA, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, ROB ZOMBIE and LINKIN PARK. Shocking enough?"
MC Is there any band or bands old stuff you would like to see re-issued one day on cd or at least Mp3 form?
FS: "Yes. I'm currently looking for the "Decameron" album from EPIDEMIC and from what I found out it seems to be very hard to find / expensive everywhere. So, yeah - a reissue of that would make an old man very happy ;-) " (Before this interview went to print I hooked Frank up with a copy of the Epidemic cd-cf)
MC: What do you think of sites like Ebay and what is the most money you paid for something that involved music?
FS: "Since I use Ebay a lot myself, it would be stupid to say negative things about it now. The most money I probably paid there for a rare CD single from ALANIS MORISSETTE (70 Euro) and on a non musical thing, for the first issue of a Spider-Man comic (a German edition from the early 70s)... I paid about 90 Euro for that. Yeah, collectors are crazy ;-)"
MC: What are your thoughts on bootlegs and have you brought any over the years?
FS: "It depends... on one hand bands are losing a lot of money from bootlegs (which sucks), but on the other hand, it's often the only option to get an item that has been long out of print or has never been released on CD... Yeah, I've bought a couple of bootlegs myself already and sometimes the quality is surprisingly good (including the packaging)..."
MC: Are you a big fan of all the fests that go on over there like Wacken, etc and have you been too many?
FS: "No, not at all! I prefer the small venues with only 2-3 bands. Those big festivals are not my kind of thing that's why I've only been to the Dynamo Open Air and Aardschokdag in Holland many years ago."
MC: When old bands reunite with maybe one or 2 at best original or core members, do you feel that most bands do it for the wrong reasons and that their new stuff doesn't measure up to their new stuff?
FS: "Yes. I'm not a fan of reunions at all, no matter how many original members are included in the line-up, since the band had reasons to split-up years ago. And I don't think you can return with the same kind of enthusiasm and energy when you've grown older."
MC: What would a dream concert for be for you and why?
FS: "To travel back in time and see KISS in their prime in 1975/1976. Do you really need an explanation for this?" (nope big fan of old kiss as well here-cf)
MC: For somebody new to the underground, what are some bands you think he/she should go check out?
FS: "It depends on what you mean... old bands or new bands? When it comes to old bands, the list would include the obvious names, such as SLAYER, KREATOR, POSSESSED, BATHORY, VENOM, HELLHAMMER, SLAUGHTER, MANTAS / DEATH, DARK ANGEL... newer bands: ANGIST, DEAD CONGREGATION, UNAUSSPRECHLICHEN KULTEN, FUNEBRARUM, DISMA, BURIAL INVOCATION, ENGULVED, TRIBULATION, BONES, EMBRACE OF THORNS, DEMONIC RAGE, PRAISE THE FLAME, BEYOND, VORUM, GRAVE MIASMA, ALTARS, SULPHUR AEON, HATESPAWN etc. etc. etc. I could go on for hours here, I suppose..."
MC: Have you ever gone on places like Ebay and seen your old issues for sale and if you have, what was the going price and do you have copies of every issue that you put out?
FS: "Yes, I've seen them every now and then on Ebay and they've sold for about 10-14 Euros each... I still have a copy of each issue myself, yes. But only those, no additional copies that I could still sell."
MC: When you were doing the zine, did mail ever get to the point where you could not answer it all?
FS: "Yes... especially those overseas letters were very expensive then... but luckily this has changed since we have email."
MC: What are you doing with yourself these days and will there ever come a day where you put all your issues on the web for all to read?
FS: "As I already mentioned, I'm just running the VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE website and work as web designer... not much time left for anything else besides unfortunately. The old issues have already appeared as pdf files on some websites, so luckily I won't have to do that myself. And there's of course the book edition out for about a year now, that has all 10 issues in it plus all the columns from the HORROR INFERNAL days."
MC: Has any band or bands really changed their style that you absolutely hated?
FS: "I hate it in general when bands that I like change their style, so as you can probably imagine there's been quite a lot of them over the years that I stopped to follow... no need to mention any names here, I guess."
MC: Have you ever been asked to write for any magazines and how about labels? Were you ever asked to work for a record label? Did you ever think of starting up your own record label?
FS: "Yes, I have been asked to write for several bigger magazines over the years. Like I mentioned earlier already, I worked for ROCK HARD, EMP, AMAZON, but also for quite a lot of other magazines like HEAVY, ODER WAS?!, METAL HAMMER, METAL STAR, METAL TIMES, BANG!, SHARK etc. etc. The list is pretty long already. As far as record label work is concerned. I used to do promo jobs for Koch International when they released MASS PSYCHOSIS and Candlelight Records for EMPEROR's "Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk" release. I never considered working fulltime for a record company, since that would include the necessity to move to another city, which I was never interested in. We already had our own (shortlived) record label with VOICES PRODUCTIONS and did three CD releases: LUNAR AURORA - "Weltengänger", WARHAMMER - "The Winter Of Our Discontent" and LUNAR AURORA - "Seelenfeuer", but the business side of it was not really what I wanted to be involved over a longer period of time, so I stopped that again."
MC; Do you feel that fanzines and soon magazines will just go away completely and everything will just be on the web?
FS: "I hope this won't turn into reality, but I could imagine that nevertheless, unfortunately since it's getting more and more difficult to sell print zines these days. Sad but true."
MC: Did you ever at any time want to pick up and instrument or sing? How about bands, has any band ever asked you to be their manager?
FS: "I never learned an instrument, so that was never an option, but I tried to be a "singer" once and failed miserably with that, so I stopped before it could become more serious. I used to be the manager for several bands already, including DESTRUCTION (demo days until the release of "Infernal Overkill") and AVENGER (pre - RAGE) in their early days. But I also worked with local bands, like FINAL PROPHECY for example. Apart from that I also helped out a lot of bands with promotion and / or fan club activities (KREATOR, IMMOLATION, MASS PSYCHOSIS etc.)."
MC: What are some of your favorite memories from back in the day? What was the best band or concert that you ever saw?
FS: "I have no idea, sorry. But SLAYER on their "Hell Awaits" tour was definitely one of them (I've seen them twice on that tour). When it comes to favorite memories, I would say meeting all the bands that I personally liked a lot in person was always a cool happening."
MC: In your eyes and ears, what makes a good song? What makes a good interview?
FS: "A good song should grab your attention right away, it should have some killer riffs, a great vocal delivery (no matter of which style) and a crushing rhythm section. Nothing is more boring than a song that starts to bore you after a couple of seconds already. A good interview should have interesting in-depth questions, you should recognize that the journalist has some knowledge about the person / the band he's interviewing and the interviewed person should be willing to reveal some interesting information and not just the typical cliché answers that you read in every interview. Only if both parties are working together properly, the result is worth reading, I guess."
MC: If somebody wants to start their own fanzine/webzine what advice would you give them?
FS: "Always be true to yourself, be honest in what you write (no matter if it's good or bad) and don't let anybody dictate your content. People will easily recognize that. And be creative. Try to come up with interesting interview questions and not the typical standard stuff."
MC: What do you think of sites like Facebook and My Space and have you re connect with many people from back in the day due to them, more Facebook than My Space of course?
FS: "Yes, Facebook helped in that ALOT, since almost everyone seems to be on Facebook these days. It's easy to stay in touch with people through that and it's also a great tool for marketing and information. I never really liked Myspace that much (even though I used to have a site myself back when it was still worth it)."
MC: What are some recent bands or live shows that you have enjoyed a lot?
FS: "I rarely go to shows these days, so the last one I've been to was TESTAMENT with DEW-SCENTED and that was already about a year ago. Ok, I've checked out a JUDAS PRIEST and a THIN LIZZY cover band, but I'm not sure if those are worth mentioning."
MC: What are some rare items you have in your collection that you would never part with and is there any rare or old stuff that your looking for?
FS: "Since I only collect CDs I don't really have items that are totally rare. And I don't really care for it, since I would always part ways with a rare CD for a re-release that has more music on it. To me it's the songs that count and not the value of a release. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm looking for EPIDEMIC's "Decameron" album on CD, so if anyone reading this should be willing to sell it, please get in touch." (no need to get in touch with him for the Epidemic cd as I got one for him-chris)
MC: Have you ever been to the US and if so what was the experience like?
FS: "No, never... sorry."
MC: Tell me about this Voices From the Darkside book you mentioned earlier in the interview. Whose idea was it to put this out and how long did it take you to get all the material together for it and I know at the end of the interview is ordering info for it, but how has the response been and is anybody in the US selling it?
FS: "The original idea came from Jerry of Belgium's Detest Records... he asked me, if I would be interested to re-release all 10 VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE issues as a book edition. I agreed to it and even suggested to include all columns of HORROR INFERNAL magazine as well, since that was the actual beginning of it. From most of the issues, scans were already available online, and I even had uploaded pdf files of the columns on the VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE website for those who were interested, so the biggest part of the job was already done before we actually started. But Jerry was extremely busy with his label, so the whole project got postponed quite a few times until he told me one day that he would shut down Detest Records. To me that also meant the end of the book as well, but it didn't take long and Patrick of Iron Bonehead contacted me about it again. He told me that he's a good friend of Jerry and would like to take over the project, if I would agree to it. Of course I did and things started to roll again. I wrote some liner notes and got a couple of quotes from bands that we included in the book as well and worked with Patrick on layout ideas. He made sure that all the scans got reworked a bit in order to improve the quality and I supplied new scans of pages that weren't really useful before. Since issue # 1 - 3 were still in A5 size, we decided to enlarge them to A4 as well for the book, which worked out surprisingly good. And the rest is pretty much history. The book got released in a limited edition of 1.000 hardcover copies and Iron Bonehead plus several distributors worldwide started to sell it. The overall response to it has been amazing. I posted several pictures of it on Facebook, informed people about all the details and got a killer response on it. It seems that a lot of people were still looking for the old print issues after all those years, but since they have been out of print very many years already, the book was a good opportunity to get the complete VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE print era in one helluva massive book edition. In the US there's been at least four companies that were selling copies of it (Dark Descent Records, Hells Headbangers, Nuclear War Now! and Forever Plagued Records)."
MC: If somebody wants to contact you, what is the best way to do that?
MC: Frank thanks for doing this novel of an interview. Plug anything you want and any last words. The floor is yours.
"Thanks a lot Chris; it was really a challenge to reach the end of your questionnaire, so I hope my answers live up to your expectations. This was one of the longest interviews I ever did. You seem to be even more crazy when it comes to the number of questions than Laurent Ramadier of SNAKEPIT, hahaha. Anyone who's interested in purchasing the hardcover book edition of VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE (approx. 800 pages), should get in touch with www.ironbonehead.de for ordering details. All the best! Take care!"