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M.I. - “One foot in the grave” looks like one of those typical Tankard titles, joking with yourselves a bit. With Gerre and Frank turning 50 and being in the same band for 35 years, does that make you think about retirement?

Of course the album title is not really seriously, a typical Tankard joke, although we are very old guys hahahaha… after 35 years we had to do a break, so we are really looking forward for the next 35 years!  So no chance for retirement!


M.I. - When you started, back in 1982, have you ever wondered you would be here today answering questions about Tankard? 

Did you find some secret ingredient in the beer that gives longevity?
We never thought to be alive after such a long time when we started the band, we were 15 years old and did know each other from school… unbelievable!!! A lot of fun and our love to metal keeps us young, we have nothing to do with beer…


M.I. - On a more serious note, do you think that the fact that all of you have day jobs and families is the recipe for these 35 years together as a thrash metal band? 

Many bands say that spending a lot of time together makes for problems to appear…
It is very hard to live from music and we did this decision many years ago not to do that. But we try to spend all our free time into activities of the band and play as many shows as possible. On the one hand we are totally free in what we are doing; on the other hand we are not able to play all the offers we get. But we are satisfied with this situation and try to give all our best. It’s not that bad spending all the time together with the band, maybe one reason for keeping together such a long time!


M.I. - I remember back in the 80’s that I looked at Germany’s Big Four of thrash metal (Tankard, Kreator, Sodom, Destruction) as a reply to American Big Four thrash metal bands (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax). Did you also feel that way?


We are really proud to be a part of the Big Teutonic 4, a couple of years ago everybody talked just about the big 3. I don`t really know which idea it was to call us four “big teutonic”, but of course it is based on the American big Four! We really would love to play some shows together, but it`s really difficult, because each band has its own events. At the moment nothing is really planned, but we are looking forward that it will happen one day!! 



M.I. - You were never able to have a tour with lots of dates (maybe because of your daily jobs) and now some of you are 50, how is life on the road? Are you more quiet and not so much beer drinkers?

Of course we are not as wild as in the beginning, but sometimes we still gonna have some great parties. We make a lot of jokes about each other, so it is still very funny! 


M.I. - The first single from “One Foot…”, “Arena of the True Lies”, talks about the people that put fake news on the internet and those stupid enough to believe them. Have you ever had fake news published about Tankard?

It´s a very serious topic! Of course we heard a lot of bullshit of our band… this time we did a great joke: After releasing the song we announced that Facebook take us to court because of that song. Of course that was a joke, but a lot of people believed that…


M.I. - Are you becoming a little more political as you grow older? I don’t think I ever saw a song as serious as “Syrian Nightmare”…

We always try to do a good mixture of serious and funny stuff. Nowadays we live in very strange times, so the focus is more on the serious topics. When we started with Tankard we did a lot for that kind of image, later we wanted to get rid of it, we really failed. Today we make a lot of jokes about our own image, we don`t take ourselves too seriously, we don`t go blind through life, that´s the reason for a song like “Syrian Nightmare”! On the one hand it makes us very sad what happened over there, on the other hand it makes us really angry, because so many countries are involved of that conflict, but nobody really takes care about the normal people, they have to suffer and die!


M.I. - After three albums produced by Michael Mainx, what was the idea behind working with a producer you never worked before (Martin Buchwalter)?


Although we were really satisfied with our old producer Michael Mainx we wanted to try something new with “One Foot in the Grave”. We know Martin for a very long time, he did good productions and we are really satisfied with the result of the new album. It was a great experience to work together with him, he had a lot of great ideas but we really don`t know what will happen in the future!


M.I. - Portugal has always been really friendly with you. Can we expect to see you soon?


We always love to play in Portugal, nothing is planned till yet, but we will come back for sure! Thanks a lot for all your support in the last 35 years!!!!! 


Interviewed by Vasco Rodrigues