Gary James' Interview With Fernando Von Arb Of
Back in 1986, Krokus was one of the hottest Heavy Metal groups around. They'd been going strong for ten years. Recording for Arista Records, their album "Change Of Address" had just been released. Guitarist Fernando Von Arb talked about the group.
Q - You say that Krokus "isn't an L.A. band, a New York band or an English band. Krokus is a world band." Where is the strongest market place for your music these days?
A - Right now, it is Switzerland, Germany, America and Canada. I would say soon it's gonna be South America. I don't know what's happening in Japan, Australia and all those places. We were never in Japan. We would like to go, but I have no idea how big we are over there. But America is definitely one of the happening places.
Q - Some of your concert dates had to be re-scheduled because of Mark Kohler's (Krokus' guitarist) elbow injury. What is his condition at this time?
A - I just called him today. He got rid of his cast either yesterday or the day before. What he had was an infection in his elbow. You can have it in your elbows or knees. They had to operate. He had to wear a cast for two weeks. Now he begins to move his arm again. By the beginning of the tour, he should be able to be part of the gang again.
Q - One band referred to Krokus as "the poor man's AC / DC." How do you feel about that?
A - I don't know the latest AC / DC albums. But when I listen to the stuff we played on our last album, well, show me the band that plays that style right now. We have our very own style. In the beginning, unfortunately, people always used to compare our singer's voice with that of Bon Scott. We don't even need to talk about it because it's very different. I don't feel anything like an AC / DC bug in me. There's no comparison I would say.
Q - Just two years ago (1984) Twisted Sister was the rage of the Metal world. Today they're experiencing some trouble selling out a six thousand seat arena. Why do some groups have more staying power than others?
A - I think the case with Twisted Sister is a little bit special. They had very fast and big success. The album they followed up with was just not accepted by the audience. I think Krokus always went for something a little bit new on each album, like the new album. It's always a step, a little bit in a different direction. You always have to surprise a little bit, the fans. Look at Van Halen. They are big again too. They had a big album in 1984 and they have a big one again. I think the worst you can do is repeat yourself over and over. Then you go down hill.
Q - On your latest album there's a cover version of Alice Cooper's "School's Out". Were you a fan of Alice Cooper?
A - I was a big fan of the song. Definitely. In my teens I was listening to the "Killer" album. "School's Out" was a great tune. We were rocking out to this stuff. We felt that the Alice Cooper version of "School's Out" began sounding thinner and thinner every year. The recording is quite thin. We recorded it the way you play Rock music in 1986, fast and big guitars and drums. I think it's a very good cover version.
Q - What kind of music do you listen to in your free time?
A - I'm very extreme with the music. First, when I'm driving my car, I listen to whatever is on the radio. If I don't like it, I switch the station. I can listen to Classical music and then the hardest of Rock music. One of my favorite Metal bands has always been Judas Priest and I would say Dio has an absolutely fantastic band together. I'm not very moved by the Speed Metal stuff. I'm more into the down-to-earth Heavy Metal.
Q - It was back in 1975 that interviewer Tom Snyder told John Lennon that most likely a group would come along in 1988 and a critic would compare them to The Beatles. John said it was possible, but they probably would be playing different instruments than The Beatles. Have we reached a point where you almost have to have new instruments in order to give Rock 'n' Roll a new sound?
A - First, I think that's very true. Back then, John Lennon didn't know the sampling of sounds with the synthesizers were gonna be that big. Now you can sample any sound, anything you want. You can play polyphonic music with it. Nobody knew that ten years ago. Right now I think the world of Rock music is still going completely crazy with those instruments for the next few years. What I would like to add to what John Lennon said is, it needs a new spiritual wave, like when India and the gurus were in. That's when the influence of Indian music was very big in Europe and America. Before something like that happens, I don't think the music is going to change drastically. It must come from a place we don't even think of right now. Maybe from China. I don't know. But right now we still squeeze out the lemon of the Rock revolution. I don't hear anything absolutely shocking or brand new in the past few years. It's all more or less the same with a little bit different sounds.