Fireworks Magazine Online 73 - Interview with Voodoo Circle


Ian Johnson talks with Alex Beyrodt

Alex Beyrodt's Voodoo Circle return with their new album, the enigmatically titled 'Whisky Finger'. Fireworks talks with Alex about the new release, what the title of the album actually means, his love of the Blues and what a being 'Rock Star' means to him.


Could you tell us what the title of the album actually means Alex? 'Whisky Fingers' conjures up all sorts of images.

It was something I remember reading about, a conversation between Eddie Van Halen and Steve Stevens, who were talking about who they admired as guitar players, you know like Jimmy Page, Clapton and Hendrix and Steve asked Eddie why he thought these guys stood out and he said it's because they have whisky on their fingers. He then explained to Stevens what he meant by this, which was the fact that all the guitar players they liked had spent years playing small shitty clubs, getting no money and getting whisky on their fingers because of all the hard work they put in to make it. I think I have that thing too, whisky on my fingers. I've played shitty clubs everywhere over my thirty-five years as a musician and for me a lot of today's band's don't put in the graft, don't work at learning their trade as a musician and because of that they miss out on a lot.

This is the fourth album from Voodoo Circle and I was wondering if you now have a settled sound your all happy with?

To tell you the truth I think we always had our sound nailed from the first album onwards. We all love 70s Rock and that was what we aimed for when Voodoo Circle first started out and I don't think we've strayed far from that sound since then. We all know the feel we want to get on the album and everything is on the table when we start to write an album, so we can all have a say in how it turns out. Which shows I think that all of us are on the same page when it comes to V-C music. We write honest mature Rock songs and we write songs that we love to hear and play.

Having band members like Mat Sinner, Alessandro Del Vecchio, David Readman and Francesco Jovino, I suspect also helps with the writing and recording process?

Oh definitely yes. Everyone is a true professional musician and they all know what they are doing. Each of them is very experienced as a song writer and in the studio, so it's a real pleasure to work with these guys.

'Whisky Fingers' has been getting some great reviews around the net and Rock press. You must be very pleased with that?

Absolutely. It's actually a little scary for us because when the first album came out it got great press, then the second and third albums got great reviews and charted for us. So when we came to do this new album, we just hoped that people would like what we'd done and thankfully they seem to love it. We are blessed, that's all I can say.

I wondered because of the amount of Bluesy guitar work on the new album if you're a fan of the Blues in general and the guitarists especially?

Well more and more I am. I'm actually going back to a style of guitar playing I had when I first started playing. At that time players like Rory Gallagher, Alvin Lee, Jimi Hendrix, Clapton, etc. These guys were my idols and I wanted to play like them. Then I found Heavy Metal and fell in love with Blackmore, Schenker and from then on it was Metal guitar playing for me. Voodoo Circle gives me the chance to go back to my Blues roots and play like I used too. In fact I'd say that when you here me play on a V-C album, you're hearing the real Alex Beyrodt, the real me.

Keeping with the Blues theme, Alessandro Del Vecchio's Hammond Organ gives the songs on 'Whisky...' a real depth and retro feel.

(Laughs) You're so right and what's great is it's a real Hammond, a B3, so you get that authentic Hammond growl which gives the songs a colour and vibrancy that sometimes you lose on other records. Also I think the production helps to give all the instruments a place to breath. Alessandro mixed the album for us and he's done great a job, he just knows what to do and how to give a song what it needs to make it sound great. Personally I think the CD sounds wonderful.

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I have to ask about David Readman's vocals on the new CD. As a big Pink Cream 69 fan, I think that he's out done himself on 'Whiskey Fingers'.

A lot of people have said so, but they have been saying that since the first album. With no disrespect to his other bands, I think when you hear David sing on a V-C album you hear the real David Readman. He loves the Blues, he loves Classic Rock and in this band he can show off his musical roots and show how he really sounds as a singer.

With you and Mat both being in Primal Fear and the new Primal Fear album out early next year, which band becomes a priority for you?

Actually, what's going to happen is we'll be doing a small tour with Voodoo Circle in March of next year, then if all works out a bigger one towards the end on next year. The beginning of the year is actually packed with dates for Primal Fear and the Rock Meets Classic Project. So Mat and I will actually be playing over 100 dates between January and March, and we'll be all over the world, Japan, America, Europe, Canada, which will be tough. Maybe we could do a DVD of the V-C tour, it's something to think about for the future. Having the two albums out so close together is a problem but we'll work around it. Luckily we're German and everything is already planned for the next three years (laughs). That's German efficiency for you.

Talking of your other bands any chance of a new Silent Force album?

Why not? I was talking about this only the other day. I have the intention to do another one but I also have to find the time to do it and also find the right time to do it if you know what I mean. The trouble is you see that I'm not only a member of Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle and Rock Meets Classic, I also have my own business to run. I sell guitar parts and that takes up a lot of my time too. So wanting to do a new Silent Force album and getting the time to do one are two different things and if I make an album I have to do it right, no half way with me, I have to give 100% to each thing I'm working on. So the answer I suppose is we'll have to wait and see.

Back to the new album Alex, do you have a favourite song and if so why?

I do it's called 'Watch And Wait (I Got My Eye On You)'. The reason I like it so much is because I think it is the perfect Voodoo Circle song and it has the perfect V-C sound. It has that slow acoustic start, a groovy bass-line and I worked really hard on getting different guitar sounds for the song. I think 'Watch And Wait' is my Voodoo Circle masterpiece, it's a the song I've always wanted to write.

Finally Alex you mentioned that you've been a musician for thirty-five years, how has Rock music changed over that time and did you think you'd still be making music all these years later?

Well I don't think Metal has changed that much over the years. I think you have to acknowledge that Rock music never went away. It had its bad period when Grunge came in and everyone dressed the same but Metal or whatever you want to call it has always been there. Look at Wacken and Sweden Rock, hundreds of thousands of people every year turn up for these shows. What I think happened was, that in the late 80' early 90s and onwards for a few years, musicians just couldn't be bothered to dress like a Rock Star. If your in a band and dress like you've just come in off the street, why should any one bother to come and see you? I've always felt that if you're putting on a show and you're on stage then you're a Rock Star, so you should at least dress the part and now I think a lot of the new acts are getting this. So long answer to your question is I was hoping I would always be a musician. Ever since I played 'Smoke On The Water' on my guitar for the first time, I've wanted to play music for a living. I was addicted to that Heavy Rock sound and who knew that one day through Rock Meet's Classic, that I'd be on the same stage as Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes and all my other Rock idols? I've been a very lucky man.

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