Homebase: Germany
Lineup: Michael Weikath, guitar; Markus Grosskopf, bass; Roland Grapow, guitars/vocals; Andi Deris, vocals; Uli Kusch, drums
Label: Castle Records
Albums: Master Of The Rings and The Time Of The Oath
Website: http://www.castleus.com

The exclusive first pressing of this special limited-edition double disc package, Master Of The Rings on Castle records includes the original 11-track European release with seven additional tracks, over 84 minutes of music. The CD bonus disc is available in the U.S. until the end of April when it will revert back to 11 tracks. Their first new album to be released in Europe and the U.S. simultaneously is The Time Of The Oath which was released in March.

Q&A with Michael Weikath

Sheila Rene': Good to hear from you.
Michael Weikath: I'm sorry if I kept you waiting. Some folks just want to know too much and it's hard to disengage.

SR: I just received an advance cassette for your new album. It's great. How long have you been in the U.S.?
MW: We arrived Monday and we've been doing interviews every day. Oh, god I can tell you, I'm so tired.

SR: When will we get to see you play in the U.S.
MW: After the Japanese tour I believe. We're really wanting to get back here for a club tour.

SR: We've gone through a lot of changes in the music biz. You've been around for 12 years now, is the format changing on The Time Of The Oath.
MW: There's a very important concept behind that album. It's a spooky thing from Nostradomas who mentioned the time of the oath would be between the year 1995 and the year 2000. Something really grave is supposed to happen to mankind and he saw red in the sky and snow whiter than white which could be a nuclear war or a snow catastrophe or many other horrible events. All in all what is requested of mankind is that they should stick together to deal with things like this, politics and so forth, before the year 2000. After the year 2000, Nostradomas predicted peace, prosperity, life and health. So we just need to get through those few years.

SR: I love the spiritual feeling I get listening to your music.
MW: It would probably give them goose bumps if they listened closely. They'd conclude that they had emotions and wouldn't know how to deal with them.

SR: The scene has changed so much.
MW: Oh, God nothing is like before. I missed it all and ever since AIDS so many strange things have happened to mankind. I have the feeling that everything went grey at one time.

SR: Did you ever think of giving up during the time you were having problems with your label? You've always maintained your integrity.
MW: No, I'm much too hot headed for that. I'm a natural born musician and I've already gotten rid of all the women who might have loved me when I was 15 because they thought I was the greatest.

SR: What's the most exciting time in your career?
MW: Now. Although it might not be the most famous time, on the other hand when I was more famous, I might as well have put my finger up by ass. Right now, we have a good contract and a nice band happening. We're going somewhere again and I feel that something great is going to happen to this band. I've never been any more lucky than now. I have a friend as a singer and very decent people around me. I'm not surrounded by idiots today.

SR: The double CD, was that your idea?
MW: No, it was Castle's idea. It's just brilliant since you get the whole recording session of that very time. Even I didn't have it before. I'm going to have, for the first time, the whole collection.

SR: I love all the sounds on this album. It's got such a tempo. It's so gothic.
MW: It's just back to reality. We're supposed to sound gothic.

SR: Did you do most of the writing on The Oath?
MW: No, everyone helped out. In fact, I did five tracks and Andi was there with four tracks and Uli did two tracks and then Roland did one track. Andi and I worked on the lyrics together because we tend to do things as a team. This happens when you have a good unit.

SR: What's the cover like?
NW: Don't care. No, it's a monk in a monk's suit and symbolizing Nostradamus, making some funny signs with his hands. I didn't like the cover and so I sat down with a graphic artist and a Macintosh changed it completely. The angle's are different and more correct. We changed the outlook. What you see is the same with a lot more color and a lot more expression.

SR: You've already got a website and an e-mail address. Are you into this scene?
NW: Yes, but Hamburg wouldn't let me through. I'm still wondering what I can do about it. I would guess that you can pick up more fans on the internet. We are very much into computers. Andi is a computer maniac. We don't have any e-mail yet but it'll be up and running soon. It takes a lot of time to answer all the mail. It's extremely expensive to explore the internet. I'm still looking for a provider that will put me into the internet very easily.

SR: Have you done the video for "Power" yet?
NW: Yes and we're doing one for "The Time Of The Oath" next week in London.

SR: Are you a spiritual person?
NW: I'm a Catholic and I try to be good. It's very hard not to over react if someone is giving me a really bad time. But, all in all I try to bear in mind not to harm people. I don't want to show off, I'm just human.

SR: "In The Middle Of A Heartbeat" is a wonderful song.
NW: That song was written by Andi. We did those lyrics because sometimes I'm not exactly sure he knows what it's all about. My girlfriend would leave with an insurance guy because he made more money. Ever since then I've lost my belief in women, but those lyrics were written at that time. I didn't know if she would come back or not.

SR: Your last night in the U.S., what do you have planned?
NW: We're going to dinner with Steven Learner of Alliance and we're interested to find out what he thinks the future for us is in Mexico and Brazil.

SR: Are you able to get into the new hardcore bands?
NW: No, I don't like that kind of music. It's too negative. Sepultura is one of the more positive bands.

SR: Thanks for this time. I'm really looking forward to seeing you play the states this year.