German hard rock band Fair Warning celebrates their comeback by headlining the UFOR II festival. Bass player Ule W. Ritgen took time from his busy schedule to answer our questions.


It's been quite some years since your last album. Will the fans still remember you and find something familiar about "Brother's Keeper"?

UWR: Yes, I'm quite confident, they will. You know, why? Each time we're working together, we end up sounding like the original Fair Warning - we can't help it. And that's what the fans have been waiting for, haven't they?

Do you think bands are overall afraid of the backlash they'd get from media/fans, you know, if they would change around their sound too much?

UWR: May be, I've never thought about it. - I guess, I'm just too naive. I believe and rely on inspiration,- only when I feel inspired while writing, a song stands a chance to get finished and later recorded. And a good song somehow determines the way its gonna come across, the ever changing trends of sound and attitude are sometimes a little overrated.

Do you believe the new CD will help Fair Warning reach a wider audience?

UWR: I hope so, but it´s hard to predict. In the past we´ve reached a lot of people in some countries and only a few thousand fans in others - with the same music. Mind you, the reactions we´re getting right now are very good...

What the heck is the song "Generation Jedi" all about.... really?

UWR: It´s about a generation of people - our generation - who have a tendency of fleeing into a fictional world of knights and daemons- of clear-cut ´good and bad´- since they can´t make out these essential values in their day to day lives anymore. Every ethical value seems to be corrupted and blurred these days and its most important to redefine and re-establish these values. Otherwise we won´t have a future...

How many songs were actually written for you to come up with the 13 (with the European bonustrack) on the finished album?

UWR: We wrote maybe 30 altogether. It´s always good, to have some choice...

What's the theme/message behind the title "Brother's Keeper"?

UWR: You could call it a ´way of life´, which somehow characterises our relationships within the band as well. It stands for taking care of the people around you, for sharing your lifes with- and taking responsibility for others.

Was there ever a theme or undercurrent in the past?

UWR: Not really, we simply always chose a selection of songs, we liked best and recorded them as good as we could...

Was it difficult to get the old team-spirit going in the recording studio?

UWR: No, not at all. In fact the old chemistry was there straight away and even stronger than before. Maybe, because we all were looking forward to recording together again...

What kind of compromise are you prepared to make as a recording artist in 2006? Do you take any input from record company people and others surrounding you?

UWR: We never make any compromise artistically, because if you do, you loose your identity as a musician and as a band and that´s it... Once the album is finished, though, we always try to be as helpful and accessible as possible to our partners like record companies, tour promoters and media people, and suggestions and ideas are appreciated.

What happened in those free years when Fair Warning was on the back-burner? Well, you obviously all got a little bit older... and wiser???

UWR: Hopefully wiser, ha,ha. We all were very busy creating and recording music, Tommy and Helge with `Souldoctor´ and ´Dreamtide´, CC with his Drummersproject ´Trommelfeuer´ and myself studying and writing new music.

Fair Warning started out from the ashes of ZENO. Do you still include any Zeno songs in your concerts?

UWR: Not at present, since we never even manage to play all the FW songs, our fans would like to hear on every tour...

Fair Warning will be participating in the UFOR in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on 1 October. Are you looking forward to the festival? Are you personally planning to check out some bands in particular?

UWR: Of course we´re looking forward to playing there. I´m going to have a good look around and check out, what the other bands sound like...

Does Fair Warning have something special in their sleeves for this event?

UWR: You wait and see.... Cheers!!!

Interview by Urban "Wally" Wallström
Additional questions by Kimmo Toivonen

Check out RockUnited's UFOR 2006 special for more interviews etc.

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