Grave Digger: Sixteen Years Of Power Supremacy Page 2
by Martin Popoff

Grave Digger albums in the '90s, despite their hard-ass power, are ambitious undertakings. "The craziest thing with this one is that we used a hundred recording tracks," laughs Chris. "It's not just guitars and drums but a lot of layers, including a lot of background vocals with Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian and Pete Sielck from Iron Savior. The weirdest thing was the guys from Subway To Sally who provided Middle Ages instruments. And they were so drunk after awhile. Eric Fish, the lead singer who also plays the flute, was so drunk that he played a totally different flute to the music than was planned. It was really crazy and we laughed like animals. I couldn't stop laughing in the studio about this (laughs)." But preparation ensures solid output. "Normally we prepare ourselves really good before we go into the studio. We do a lot of pre-production and everything. In the studio we need only four weeks for mixing and recording. We're not creative at all in the morning, because we don't start drinking beer in the morning (laughs). No, normally we start in the afternoon, drinking a beer, then we sit down in front of the computer and start writing songs. Normally we work seven or eight hours in a day songwriting. And in terms of the creative side, normally I smoke some pot, weed, and then I'll get a little more creative. And then Uwe will play a riff, and I'll go 'that's cool', and I'll work up the songs while Uwe is playing the guitar."

Boltendahl recognizes the band's rich heritage, but also believes there can be too much of a good thing. "I think in Europe we are in the first league of heavy metal bands, the top ten I think. But I think our record company, which is big in Germany only, did shit for the last five records for the rest of the world. That is the reason why we are now in South and North America with Nuclear Blast. And how do I see the heavy metal scene? I think the heavy metal scene grew up again because of Hammerfall. And I think the development of the heavy metal scene once again started in Germany, just because Rock Hard powered the Hammerfall CD to such good sales. And from this country it spread all over the world. And after Hammerfall, there appeared a lot of true metal bands. It's the same as what happened with the grunge scene though. There are normally 20 or 30 good bands, and the rest are a copy of those 20 or 30 bands. And the next 50 are a copy of the copies (laughs)."

While the band is out promoting Excalibur, hassles with their German label continue, holding up the production of a Grave Digger live album and a proposed Chris Boltendahl solo album. Once the smoke clears, the band will begin work on the next Grave Digger opus, due for a brainstorming session next month, followed by over a year of full production, with a tentative released date of September 2001.