As the United Forces Of Rock festival '06 is getting closer, we are kicking off our series of interviews with the artists involved. First to answer our questions is Jürgen Breforth, the guitarist of MAD MAX.
Hallo! Wie geht's euch? How are you Michael, Axel, Jürgen and Roland doing today? Would you give us your latest news in a few words.
Jürgen: The absolutely latest news is off course that due to the great success of the NIGHT OF WHITE ROCK album there will be another MAD MAX album THIS YEAR!!!!! It is going to be a 6-track EP called "IN WHITE". This is an all acoustic album with very emotional arrangements performing new versions of "Bad day in heaven" and "To hell and back again" from the NOWR album, one brandnew song called "Hello father", one old time MAD MAX classic tune "Lonely is the hunter" and the highlight of the album is our version ot the million selling USA hit "Open the eyes of my heart" from the US worship songwriter Paul Baloche. We kind of "discovered" this song for Europe - besides this outstanding song is quite known in the christian rock scene, but absolutely for the regular rock fan. We end up this album with a cool instrumental track that will be used as a "live intro" for the upcoming shows!
Almost 20 years have gone by since Mad Max were playing together with the original line-up. Now the old gang has joined the forces again. What was the impulse for the reunion? And why it took so long time to make it?
When Michael and I had written together the songs for the NIGHT OF WHITE ROCK album, it was Michael's idea to ask our old friends Axel and Roland to join. They loved the new songs and were still ready to rock - the rest is history!
You released a new album called "Night Of White Rock" this year. This album has a Christian message and it differs slightly from your earlier material. How did you get the idea to release a Christian album?
Jürgen: Michael and I always wanted to do a christian rock album, but unfortunately the band split in the early 90ies and with all the acts we performed in the years to come there was no chance of realizing that.This songwriting thing combined with the christian lyrics only works between Michael and myself. We do have a very close friendship and this reflects the way we work together.
What kind of feedback have your received from your old fans?
Jürgen: We were really lucky that old and new fans loved the NOWR album.
Have you been satisfied with the success of the "Night Of White Rock"?
Jürgen: The success was not sure from day one, but finally the album got overwhelming responses from all over Europe and it became a great success, what gave us the great chance to do the "IN WHITE" album this year - what is quite unique in these days for a band - to do 2 albums in one year!
You launched the new term "White Rock" to describe the kind of Christian rock you play. How did you come up with it?
Jürgen: We called the music "White rock" because we thought that the common term "White metal" did not fit to our kind of music. MAD MAX is definitely a rockband like the SCORPIONS and no metal band.
Your earlier albums such as "Stormchild" (released 1985) and "Night Of Passion" (released 1987) were quite successful - back then and still highly regarded by the fans. Did you consider it as a risk to take up this Christian message, since there's always a danger of alienating some of the old fans?
Jürgen: We are very proud, that the old albums are still so successful - and as you know from visiting our live show - we still play a couple of the old songs - but to do this christian rock album we wanted to do for years was absolutely no risk for us personally. we knew exactly what we wanted the album to sound like and how we wanted to present MAD MAX 2006 and in the future to come.
If you consider all Mad Max recordings, what is the most valuable recording to you?
Jürgen: The most valuable recording - honestly!!!!!! - is the new album "IN WHITE", because this is something very special - we tried to make our songs still sound like MAD MAX, but all this with very emotional arrangements that hopefully will touch the peoples hearts! This is what music is still about - it is emotions and feelings. From the reactions we get so far people realize that this is a very special album and they listen to it over and over again.
You re-recorded "Lonely Is The Hunter" from "Stormchild" album and two tracks from "Night Of White Rock" for the new EP "In White". Why did you chose these particular tracks?
Jürgen: For "IN WHITE" we took the songs that fitted best to the acoustic arrangements and also fitted best to the lyrical christian concept.
There are two new tracks on "In White". What's the story behind these two new songs, "Hello Father" and "Open The Eyes Of My Heart"?
Jürgen: "Hello Father" is a brandnew song - it's kind of a musical prayer - a very personal song. I came up with the chorus line and Michael had this fantastic acoustic guitar melody - it's the kind of song you don't have to think about - it just comes naturally!
"Open the eyes of my heart" is a worship song - it was a huge hit in the USA, but is totally unknown in the rock world. We kind of "discovered" the song when we played a big christian rockfestival in Switzerland - the next morning was a great worship with JIM LA VERDE from the US band BARREN CROSS and he performed "Open the eyes of my heart" on his acoustic guitar. We fell in love with the song right away and we are very proud to present it to the european audience. It's also a great live song!
You were touring this spring together with Jaded Heart and the special guest star Paganini in Germany, Spain and Switzerland. I was able to see one of your gigs in Munich. I was enjoying your gig greatly. You were concentrating on your new material, but did not forget your fans from 80's either. Would you tell us something more about the European Tour 2006?
Jürgen: The European Tour with ours friends from JADED HEART and PAGANINI was a great experience. As you might know, we started our live shows with MAD MAX in february 2006 supporting the likes of DEEP PURPLE and ALICE COOPER in front of 50.000 people on 5 shows in Germanys largest venues. The step- to play a club tour - was the right decision, because the band got tighter from day to day.
Jürgen: MAD MAX always has been a live band and we wanted to take the NIGHT OF WHITE ROCK songs to the people - it doesn't matter if we are playing in big arenas or in clubs. On the tour with JADED HEART we sometimes had packed clubs and sometimes not, but that's not the point - it's all about attitude! We go out and play! That's attitude!
Mad Max will be participating in the UFOR in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on 1 October. Are you looking forward to the festival? Are you planning to check out some band in particular?
Jürgen: With the same attitude I just mentioned we will rock the house on the UNITED FORCES OF ROCK festival on october 1st in Ludwigsburg, ROCKFABRIK! It's a great honour for us to be part of the bill. Personally, I'm a big fan of KIP WINGER and it will be a highlight of my career to meet him in person!
Your EP is to be released pretty close to the United Forces Of Rock festival. Will you have a sort of a release party there?
Jürgen: For MAD MAX it's not just the festival - we will have a record release party the day before the festival.
Does Mad Max have something special in their sleeves for this event?
Jürgen: For the festival show we will have a special setlist with - off course - songs from the new EP! We have worked out a fantastic live version of "Open the eyes of my heart" with a great part for the audience to sing with us the chorus words "Holy, Holy, Holy".
I have been wondering how come you have never had a keyboard player in your official line-up? Are you planning on using a keyboard player at UFOR?
Jürgen: HENNING WANNER from JADED HEART will be with us on keyboards - he is a very close friend and a great musician.
Have you any plans to tour in Scandinavia in the near future? Eg. in Finland there are many hard rock and metal fans...
Jürgen: We got tons of mails and great reviews from all over SCANDINAVIA. So, now is the time for us to check out if there are any promoters that can book some shows for us over there.
Vielen Dank für eure kostbare Zeit! Thanks a lot for your valuable time! And I hope to see you... in Rockfabrik!
Jürgen: Thanks to all our fans and friends in SCANDINAVIA for supporting MAD MAX! See you in Ludwigsburg!