Interview – Horror and Madness Grave Digger

Grave DIgger Interview December 2015 Vandala MagazineOn their first real US tour after thirty five years of being a band we got to sit down with Chris Boltendahl and talk about the motivations behind his music and the eternal power of speed metal!

Interview By Matt Bacon
From December 2015 Vandala Magazine 

So how are you?

Chris: Fine thank you! I’m really fine! It’s a great tour with great fans. For the first US trip it’s been a great experience. A lot of the shows are sold out and a lot of people are coming which is cool.

For you does this represent a step forward? Where does this fit in the Grave Digger legacy?

Chris: For us it’s a great opportunity to be opening for Blind Guardian since after 35 years of being a band it’s our first real US tour. We can present ourselves in front of a good sized crowd. Traveling around the entire country is great.

What kind of fascinates me about you guys is that you’re this band that for so long was ignored but is suddenly everywhere?

Chris: It’s a new challenge for us. We are always looking to develop Grave Digger and get better opportunities, we don’t want to step back.

Now that this has happened are you going to try to come back more regularly?

Chris: I don’t know! We are on the road for another three and a half weeks and once we get home to Germany we are going to look around and see if promoters want to bring us back. We are open for everything!

Do you still have day jobs?

Chris: Some of us. But we try and live for music! I don’t have a job though. It’s been nearly twenty or twenty five years.

Is it easier for you being in Europe? Does that help? How else do you manage to make a living with it?

Chris: We don’t get any support from the government. We are just constantly touring and taking advantage from the record company and selling as much merch as possible.

What attracts you so much to power metal that you made it your living?

Chris: We love it – we grew up with it and it’s what we want to do! Our hearts and souls belong to this kind of music! It is the driving force behind Grave Digger.

From that – what was the moment when you were like “This is all I’m going to do from now on”

Chris: I saw a Deep Purple cover band when I was in school and it kicked my ass and I knew I wanted to be in a hard rock or heavy metal band. From that time on I forced myself to reach that target.

So for you is Grave Digger more of a hard rock band?

Chris: No. It is a heavy metal band – not even power metal I’d say. When we started there was only heavy metal – no power metal. There are so many different styles now in the music scene that it’s best to say we only play heavy metal.

Why do you think it is that you are so much bigger in Europe?

Chris: I don’t know. I have no idea. In Europe it’s much more common to like metal.

Part of what’s always attracted me to Grave Digger is how even within the sound there is a lot of evil. It is a lot darker…

Chris: We’ve always been attracted to those ideas. When you grow up with Iron Maiden and Dio you end up fascinated with that kind of stuff. I’m not really into fantasy as much as the darker side of human beings. We are really into stuff like Edgar Allan Poe.

I’ve been trying to get into Poe… what are you favorite Poe stories?

Chris: Fall of the House of Usher. I love the movie for that one too.

Why are you fascinated with the darker side of human beings?

Chris: It’s funny. Beyond that, it’s fascinating because there are so many different views you can have. We put these ideas into a lot of our lyrics in a sarcastic way. You have to read between the lines

What are you trying to communicate?

Chris: It’s like a movie. We try to help people get visions when they listen to our music.

So music for you is purely entertainment?

Chris: Exactly. It’s nothing else. We have no message.

Ace Frehley once said “Rock and roll is rock and roll”

Chris: Exactly. Metal is metal.

626_GraveDigger_CMYKWhat do you love so much about music?

Chris: It allows you to express yourself. You can bring it all out on stage.

Do you feel that your German heritage impacts your music?

Chris: When you listen to our music there’s obviously the German accent but beyond that I think we sound pretty international.

Do you have any final words of wisdom for me?

Chris: Enjoy the show and check out true German heavy metal!

Catch Grave Digger live on tour in the USA and then Europe. And Don’t forget to check out there latest album ‘EXHUMATION – The Early Years’ which was just released this October.


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