Interview mit Snowy Shaw

  • Einleitung

    Snowy Shaw (Tommie Helgesson) zeichnet eine schwer in Worte zu fassende, meist alle Blicke auf sich vereinende Bühnenpräsenz aus, die manchen Musiker womöglich neidvoll erblassen läßt. Abseits von Konzertbesuchen geben davon zahlreiche YouTube-Videos zumindest einen kleinen Einblick. Einblick in das Kuriosum „Snowy Shaw“. Was Videos aber nur suboptimal enthüllen: Diese massive Bühnenpräsenz ist mitnichten alleine durch die mitunter bizarren optischen Inszenierungen oder sein Spiel mit einem comicartig-überzeichnetem „Super-Helden-Image“ oder obskur/mystischen Figuren zu erklären. Diese „alle Blicke der Zuschauer landen auf mir“ –Wirkung zeichnet eben auch jene Gigs von ihm aus, die auf aufwendige Bühnenbild-Inszenierungen verzichten. Es liegt somit wohl weniger in Requisiten, Stage-Clothes oder sonstigen Accessoires begründet denn in der Person selbst.

    Als Drummer prägt(e) Snowy seit Ende der Achtziger Jahre mit seinem Einstieg bei King Diamond als Nachfolger von Mickey Dee und vielen folgenden Bandstationen auf Tourneen und Tonträgern viele Rock- und Metaldrummer bis zum heutigen Tag.

    Und doch ist es nicht das erste Mal, dass ein seit Dekaden international aktiver, herausragender Drummer und Musiker von vielen namhaften Drumzeitschriften des In- und Auslands beständig übersehen zu werden scheint. Seltsam bis unverständlich.

    Umso erstaunlicher, da er neben der bereits erwähnten imposanten Bühnenpräsenz und Drumgüte auch Multiinstrumentalist ist, und er die Grenzen dessen, was der übliche Drummer so stemmt und umsetzt, durch seine vielfältigen gestalterisch-konzeptionellen Ideen und Tätigkeiten hinter den Kulissen diverser Musikprojekte überschreitet. Auch darüber gibt das Interview hoffentlich ein klein wenig Auskunft.

    Um hastigen Lesern einen Schnell-Einstieg in das komplexe Wirken von Snowy zu vermitteln, folgt hier eine knappe Auflistung der wichtigsten Bandstationen sowie ein aktueller Video-Link.

    King Diamond
    Mercyful Fate
    Memento Mori
    Notre Dame
    Dream Evil

    Video-Trailer “Showreel in the wunderwurld”

    Um das Interview nicht durch Übersetzungen zu verwässern, waren Snowy und ich übereinstimmend der Meinung, dass wir es in Englisch belassen. Ich bitte um Verständnis, genauso wie um das wohlwollende Darüberhinwegsehen über meine englischen Unzulänglichkeiten. Dankeschön :)

    Ein besonderer Dank inklusive symbolischer Umarmung gilt meinem super-netten Drumkollegen und 100 % zuverlässigen Gianni Hirschmüller, der sehr engagiert half, den Kontakt zu Snowy herzustellen. Ich hatte Snowy vor Jahren leider nur kurz/flüchtig gesprochen und hätte nun, fast 10 Jahre später, Skrupel gehabt, ihn aus heiterem Himmel um ein so viele, teilweise auch komplexe Fragen umfassendes Interview zu bitten…wenn nicht Gianni vorab für mich auf „hoher“ See anlässlich des 70 Tons of Metal Events die Bereitschaft für ein späteres Interview für das Drummerforum im netten Gespräch mit Snowy „ausgelotet“ hätte. Danke dafür & Ahoi :)

    Randbemerkung: Obiger Abschnitt (die Einleitung) wurde komplett vor! dem Erhalt seiner Antworten geschrieben. Ich bin von der inhaltlichen Tiefe seiner Antworten begeistert und hoffe, dass manche Drummer sich die Zeit nehmen, das lange, aber lohnenswerte Interview zu lesen. Allein sein biographischer Hinweis auf seinen realen Beinbruch on tour und das Meistern von doublebass-lastigen Songs mit frisch gebrochenem Bein…. Aber lest selbst!

    1.) Snowy, you just returned from your gigs with Therion and as guestsinger with Kamelot “on board” :) (70.000 tons of metal). Any thoughts to share about this experience?

    It was a wonderful experience, a paid vacation with some playing involved. and also a chance to reconnect and hook up with old friends and make new ones, all being stuck on a cruise ship for days more or less. Also, like all the fans I talked to were saying, it was very cool to hang out and interact on the same level like normal people without any sealed off VIP areas or anything like that. I don't know if all the artists share that opinion, we were all there stuck in the same boat , so to speak and people were very respectful, nice and cool. It certainly was my first time on this or any cruise ship but I liked it a lot and hope it won't be my last.

    2.) What about your musical socialisation as a young kid growing up in Sweden?
    what about it? I'd say it was great growing up in Gothenburg, with a strong blue collar mentality laying the foundation for a fairly good rock scene. Big enough for all international tours to stop by yet small enough that all aspiring rock musicians were friends, knew or at least was aware of each others existence. Might have been a bit competition but no hostility. But of course, it's hard to say as I obviously have nothing to compare with, but seen in retrospect and having talked to many people from other parts of the world, like people from the former Soviet union, the east bloc and latin america, I must say it was a blessing growing up in a liberal country like Sweden that has also always been very open to american popular culture with music and movies for example. The music climate and export have always been exceptionally good for such a small country, and it has a lot to do with ABBA I think, besides a number of other explanations like the aforementioned americanization and also due to the fucking cold and shitty weather, work ethic and boredom. I mean, there is not that much to do when it's too cold and dark outside like it is in Scandinavia, so if you work hard at achieving your goal and dream, perhaps if you get lucky, you can eventually pack up and move to a nicer and warmer continent, like Yngwie Malmsteen did for example. On the downside there is a strong widespread sense of what we call "Jante's Law" but that's another subject for another occasion.

    3.) Honestly spoken I (foolish boy) underestimated the musical integrity of your former band Dream Evil for several years until I became aware of more and more Killer-Songs with marvelous catchy hooklines (for interested readers: get a first impression by listening to: “The End”, “Into The Moonlight”, “The Chosen Ones”, “Chasing The Dragon” etc,). Speaking about your drumpart for “The End” you implemented a somehow simple but very tasty trademark for the song. A short pause and then an accentuation where it is not expected by the listener. This element is implemented in every chorus of the song. For the first time at timeline 1.03. It gives the song a tremendous and surprising “anti-flow” where other drummers might have decided to play a predictable and repetitive halftime-standard-groove or whatever. Can you tell me anything about this idea for the pause and placing the crash, the accentuation unexpected a little later? The effect is overwhelming, or simpler put in words: Great!

    First of all , thank you for the nice words.
    I don't wanna sound arrogant or come across as bragging but I must say that playing the Dream Evil style of drumming is so easy and comes so natural and simple to me that most of the songs are more or less improvised, and I would do two or three takes at the most and just go for it without planning ahead. Without rehearsals and in some cases I had never heard the song before, ( or after hahaha! ) It was all due to hectic recording schedules and limited time, and/or lack of interest from my part.
    You may preserve a sense of spontaniety that way but the downside of doing it like that is that after you've been playing the songs on tour for a while and having gradually had the time to work out a drumming arrangement that you like, then you realize you should have recorded it that way, but then of course it's already too late - shit happens!

    About that little thingy you mention in song The End though was something I felt made sense and would enhance a certain vide I was after in my composition. I've noticed that my take on drumming often differs from other drummers, whereas my main goal is to try emphasis what's important in order to make the song as good as possible, and not just from a strict drummers perspective then, and I always demand to have cue vocals when I lay down the tracks because that's what keeps me oriented, and I follow and accentuate just as much or perhaps more on the vocals as on anything else. Depends on the music and what one's trying to accomplish of course. When I was giving drumming lessons in the past, one of my best advices to the drum students was ironically enough; learn how to play guitar, or bass. That way you'll automatically get a better understanding and appreciation for music as a whole, instead of just being so damn caught up in your own little world and performance. Also I wanna say, since you're asking, and that goes for all instruments, what you do NOT play is just as important as what you actually do play.

    A bit more elaborated than you asked for I guess, but there you got a little of my thoughts and philosophy around drumming.

    4.) By following your career through the years it is quite obvious that you do not limit yourself to be “just a drummer”. Aside vocals, guitarplay, playing the bass, writing and performing, getting involved with countless projects, drawing, creating stage designs. etc. a lot of your video-clips and also your stage appearances seem to “breath” 100% Snowy Shaw spirit. By having a look at videos like “The Book Of Heavy Metal”, “Live Showreel In The Wunderwurld”, “Boufoon Bloody Bouffoon” or “Scarecrows” aside quite different genres and different video-techniques they seem to have a consistant! Snowy Shaw signature in common. A resistant and stable identity. Nowadays music business on the other side has so many clones, faceless and even worse: replaceable temporary hyped marionettes. So to me your resistant integrity is like an antipode to the majority of nowadays music. Where do you see yourself in art & music of 2012?

    Again, thanx alot, you almost make me blush here, hahaha!
    What can I say, I guess it comes down to whether you have a strong personality or not, and if you feel comfortable in that role and how much of it you dare to express and bring across. My life would definitely have been a lot easier if I didn't have such strong integrity, opinions or will of iron. I'm sorry, but I'm a real lousy follower.
    I firmly believe that when you create something, whether it's a painting, a song or whatever, you gotta be willing to unzip your pants and expose yourself, show who you are and what you're made of, and don't try to hide behind a false facade.

    Ok, having said that, yes, I do put on warpaint or make up and more or less crazy outfits, but by all means that is not a disguise I hide behind, it's an extension of the real me and I'm never as happy. :)

    5.) When touring as a drummer what is your daily warm up routine if there is any?

    I haven't done any regular touring as a drummer in quite a few years now actually, but back when I did, I didn't have any particular routines or anything. Occasionally I would grab a pair of sticks and try warming up my muscles a little by playing on the dressing room's sofa or whatever was around. But I can't say it ever worked very well for me though because I'd always go out onstage and basically beat the shit of the drums like some goddamn caveman, mainly because I got so pumped up and excited. I remember how I had a period on tour with Dream Evil where before every show I used to say Fuck it! I'm gonna play so soft, relaxed and good tonight, but without exception, every-fucking-time as soon as I got up on stage and behind the drums I forgot all about it and just slammed away hitting so hard that I'd get cramps during the first two songs.

    People always seem to be impressed by a hardhitting powerhouse drummer and that's cool to a certain extent, but from a musical point of view, consistency is what matters and if you wanna do ultra fast blast speed, grind and stuff I learned the hard way that one gotta hold back on the power and play a bit "economical" like most black metal drummers do using triggers etc.

    In the right context and with the right band I 'd love to play drums more frequently again.

    6.) When touring as a singer with Therion or doing gigs as multi-instrumentalist for Notre Dame for example - what was your warm up routine then?

    Before a show, whenever there is time for it and especially in the beginning of a tour I try to get some privacy, like for example in the bathroom where there is usually good acoustics and then warm up my voice.
    As for the rest I try not to think or emphasize to much on it, and like I always do, try to enjoy myself,have fun and do the best under the circumstances. I never ever practice these days and often when I'm busy working intensively on something like being a singer on tour for instance, I may not touch the drums or a guitar for about six months or so. Inevitably you get a little rusty and out of shape on the particular instrument that way, but it's not the end of the world and I really don't have the ambition to be any virtuoso, I basically wanna create and make good music and put on great shows. So usually before a recording, tour or show depending on how demanding the music is, I give it a few days of playing and rehearsing the instrument in question and usually and thankfully I pick it up to an acceptable level pretty fast again.

    It's only with my own band Snowy Shaw that I alternate between all instruments. Normally I tend to concentrate on one thing at the time, like with Dimmu when I played bass and sang, then I didn't touch the drums for at least six months basically. except that I went into the studio for 3 days to record drums for Ralf Scheepers solo album. The way my life is, it's impossible to get the time to keep it all up regularly, I wish I could but it's a luxury I can't afford, unfortunately.

    7) Your “Live Showreel in the Wunderwurld” looks and sounds impressive - not only for a live-document. Many impressive live-documents of the past like Thin Lizzy´s “Live & Dangerous” or Kiss’ “Alive I” and “II” etc. revealed (to the trained ear) certain studio-editing. In my point of view this does not disqualify great records or musicians at all. But to some it seems to be a sensitive topic. Between the 2 of us :-). Did little live- mistakes happen which “forced” you to edit some things?

    Yes, I was put in an unpleasant situation where I had no choice but to fix a few things, but let me get back to that in a minute.

    Admittedly this is a bit of a touchy hush-hush subject that usually make most musicians cringe with discomfort, because everybody knows what goes on but the average listener are not supposed to know and can't or won't always understand this piece of information and may draw the wrong conclusions and sadly end up feeling cheated and betrayed.

    According to what I've heard the truth and the fact is, not since Deep Purple's Made in Japan from 1972 have there been one single live album release that doesn't have more or less overdubs, editing, manipulation or re-recordings on it. And you can't avoid hearing some of the business gossip, horrible stories where apparently the only authentic thing kept from the actual live recording is the snare drum and shit like that.
    So what can one do when you've created a situation where the standard quality is so high up there that no one can match the expectations without doing what everyone does by bending a few rules?
    Knowing all this I willingly went against the grain with my Notre Dame live Creepshow Freakshow Peepshow that I intended keep super real, authentic and the overdubs to an absolute minimum, by keeping mistakes, flaws and just fixing what was really really necessary and wasn't cutting it, like some of Vampirella's too softly sung incoherent notes that just wasn't audible and correcting a guitar that was unacceptably out of tune for two songs, and although lots of fans and people love it, I've heard some people complain about the production being a little poor sounding and not up to par. Up to par with what? Other so called live albums that has been totally re-recorded in the studio? Then what do you expect? It's race you just can't win.

    So back to my brand new live album: Snowy Shaw is Alive! I won't bore you to death with all the technical details and I wouldn't be able to explain all of it either, but all I can say that the sound engineers that I hired to record the show were far from as professional, competent and reliable as they claimed to be, and believe me I have and will be doing all in my power to have them removed from the business, so that other won't suffer from their fuck ups like I have.
    When I got all the files from the live recordings I couldn't believe my ears or eyes. Don't ask me how but somehow they had manage to get my lead vocals leaking into basically all of the other channels, but on the actual channel of my mic there was nothing but a super low buzzy signal with tons of distortion on it. Needless to say, me and Andy ( La Rocque) did everything we possibly could to make it work in the mix, but in the end I had no choice but to overdub the lead vocals on top of it, hence that little doubled stereo effect you can hear in certain places in the songs and if you listen carefully all my talking between the songs has a different sound quality because that's only the leakage from the other channels without any direct line, but we decided to keep that as it sort of works and serves its purpose when there are no instruments playing at the same time.

    8.) Since the masterpiece of RUSH, “Moving Pictures”, as a music listener I became strongly impressed by timing and production perfection. On the other hand the machine-style-perfection-trend going on for many years to establish even more accuracy and dynamic stability in the rock genre to me has developed to a state of (sorry to be that drastic) perversion. Although I really love Rock, Hardrock and Metal, to me the extensive use of production tools over the last years came closer to Techno and computer music then acceptable. I can´t figure out what should be wrong with fantastic studio LP´s of the seventies and eighties of Lizzy or Whitesnake were no click was used and editing was (technically) very limited. These productions of course sound different… but I´m not so sure wether the new ones really sound better? What do you think?

    I couldn't agree more. But I think and hope that will all change within the next few years, and then also in the process weed out the crappy bands that can't deliver the goods unless they have to fake it with the help of technology.

    I'm not saying I'm against the use of these modern technology tools and recording devices per se, most certainly not, but I question to what extent and how they are used to create contemporary music. Correct me if I'm wrong but in my opinion music as any kind of art form must be about the expression, bringing an emotion, message or feeling across. And if that gets compromised along the way during the process of making a perfect top notch recording, then you end up with, what?

    Problem is, once again, when a trend become the conventional norm and conformity, suddenly it's the law and the masses have to obey. Like Dio said; If you listen to fools - The mob rules!
    Just like it is with fashion and trends in general, all of a sudden you may see girls with enormously fat asses wearing tights and bare stomach shirts regardless of whether they have the body for it or not. Weird comparison perhaps, but you see the point. What's right for one band isn't necessarily right for the next,I mean you can't quantize and sound replace Buddy Rich playing Be-Bop Jazz.
    I think it all comes down to what the musical direction is and what you wanna accomplish, the end justifies the means. If you're goal is to create industrial machine-like music with a somewhat cold inhuman sound as an effect, then use whatever tools and gadgets necessary to achieve the
    sound. It worked beautifully with Kraftwerk and others and then it was a really cool concept going for a robotic mechanical approach when all was analogue and there wasn't the technology for it. Same thing later on with metal bands going for super strict german precision and perfection like we did with illwill for example, but since technology is now so advanced and easily viable for each and everyone it has sort of backfired.

    I did two songs of my intended solo stuff after I'd quit Dream Evil in 2005 where I collaborated with Mike Wead as producer/mixing engineer. I wanted to try doing things in a little different way that I normally do, so it was a bit of an experimental recording where I programmed the drums and would record the guitars and bass in bits and pieces that I looped, repeated and so on. I thought I had two really great edgy metal songs that I believed had good potential and Mike who's a terrific engineer did a great job accomplishing what I had set out for in my mind, which was a bit Rammstein meets Dream Evil. Nevertheless, when I received and listened the final mixes I was all puzzled and didn't know what to make of it, or what to say to Mike for that matter, who had worked his ass off. But in the end I had no choice but to tell him flat out the way I felt, that the songs were dead and I couldn't feel a damn thing listening to them, it was like having sex with 10 condoms on.

    I was confused and it took me a while to realize that it had absolutely nothing to do with Mike's work, but because it was the wrong way for me to go. The collaboration and project terminated and put the whole thing aside. From this experience I came to the conclusion that, Fuck no! this shit ain't for me. I'm to punk and neanderthal for that. In my opinion, perfection is a definition, I may be called a perfectionist but I want my music to be perfect in its imperfection, if that make any sense.

    9) What was the heaviest (concerning negative circumstances or equipment-failures) gig you had to master?

    Well there are quite a few actually.

    For starters, the one that first springs to mind is Therion's 20th anniversary debut show in Glauchau, Germany was a real ordeal in chaos. 3 hour long with 12 people on stage + guests with shitload of stage props, decor, acting and belly dancers that would all have to be super well planned and prepared and matched and syncronized meticulously to achieve the desired effect and outcome of this spectacle, but truth was we hadn't even so much as ran through the 3 hour set once during rehearsals due to a hectic touring schedule, miscalculations, bad planning by an unrealistic trivializing time optimist in charge. If the band members hadn't been such experienced highly capable and adaptable musicians the whole thing would have went straight to hell and crash landed, but we somehow managed to pull it off and on the second or perhaps third day and show we recorded and filmed a live DVD. I think it's supposed to be released this year along with a couple of others shows in a massive 25th Anniversary DVD box, and while on that subject, as far as I know it's the real deal live recording, I certainly haven't done any overdubs on the recordings anyway.
    Another one was Notre Dame's last show on Halloween 2004 could in that respect very well have been the worst of them all, and of course that too was recorded and filmed for a possible future DVD release.
    What many people don't understand is that if you wanna put on a great big performance and bombastic live show without really having the kind of budget for it or the crew and qualified people behind the whole circus, you end up having to do it all by yourself, and you work so incredibly hard day and night for months preparing everything that when it's finally show-time you're a fucking worn out drained wreck. You aim for the stars and sometimes land in the treetops, other times you may land flat on your bare ass. Regardless of how hard I tried to maintain a good mood about it, I felt so many things went wrong on that show technically and from basically every aspect that I haven't even dared watching or listening to the show. Apparently I lost it completely and told the audience to go fuck themselves, and I have absolutely no recollection of that, or perhaps I have conveniently blocked it out due to the shame and embarrassment.

    Needless to say last year's showcase gig with Snowy Shaw + All star band and guests wasn't any walk in the park either. Even apart from the fuck ups of the scumbags that recorded the show, it was certainly one of the most demanding gigs of my entire life for several reasons. You wouldn't believe me if I told you, so I guess I'll save it for later.

    Then of course, I almost forgot when I broke my leg on my way to soundcheck at this sold out arena gig in Barcelona or Madrid on the european leg of the Conspiracy tour with King Diamond 1990. It happened right in the middle of the tour and we still had six more weeks to go, and for a while there we were all in deep shit in Shitville not knowing what the hell to do. I was in terrible pains and had it put in cast all the way to my upper thigh. Luckily it was my left leg so I insisted and told them not to worry "The show must go on" and that I'd managed pull it off anyway using only my right leg and re-arranging all the double kicks and stuff on the fly in front of 6000 people with the help of my hands on floor toms etc. To be honest, I thought it was quite fun and a nice challenge for me after having been playing those same songs on tour for many months.
    The funniest part was that no one even noticed until King in the middle of the show told me to stand up behind the drums whereupon he made an announcement and introduced me as Snowy "One Legged drummer" Shaw, and the people went completely nuts and the roaring was deafening.
    I fulfilled my task and finished the tour, and everybody was happy.

    One essential thing that I've learned and that can only come from experience of being put through all kinds of shitty unexplainable situations - You can't take things for granted and you must be very very flexible.

    10) To some people for years many music genres seem to suffer from innovation and new ideas. Nihilistic spoken: maybe there is nothing new reachable with 7 white and 5 black piano keys? Did you experience the feeling of being bored or feeling burned out or the fear of a lack of compositorial ideas?

    No, not at all, never.
    Not from a personal perspective anyway. But you're asking a guy here's who has constantly been following his heart instead of his wallet/head and taking on new challenges by been shifting bands, instruments and music styles. Perhaps that question would have been more appropriate for someone like Dave Murray of Iron Maiden.

    I'm not in the least worried that I will run out of new ideas or be bored, because trying new ways and things is what keeps you excited and inspired. I'm much more worried and concerned about people's inability and/or desire to think out of the box, push the envelop and visualize new things and new hybrids, and basically where the whole music industry is heading. Sadly I think there are too many established artists out there who seem to have lost their passion and integrity and just keep handing out the same kind of thing over and over that made them successful in the first place and that they expect is what their fans wants and expects, while trying to maintain their career and keep their boat afloat so to speak.

    These are matters that concerns me a lot and I could probably go on forever about it since there are so many different aspects to it.
    It's not like one gets a diploma for breaking new grounds and being a pioneer. The music industry as we know it, is going straight to hell, and the record labels executives are too afraid of losing their jobs by making a miscalculated mistake, and therefor won't take any chances and consequently just play it safe and sign clones.

    At the same time, people have an inborn need to pigeonhole the artist because it's convenient knowing what you're getting, so progress is a bitch. You can't deviate or stray away too much from the form or sound you initially established then your fans gets insecure and uneasy, and even might feel like you've turned your back on them and "sold out" while in fact it may very well be the exact opposite way.

    Like I said, I could go on forever on this topic, but I have a train to catch, in April ! so I guess I better leave it for now and for some other time.

    11.) You tour a lot since 1989 and are involved in many different, some of them frequently changing band projects. How do you manage to stay grounded? How do you find your mental and physical balance when “the sea gets rough”?

    Hmmm, I dunno, depends how you define grounded, and what you're getting at here. It's the lifestyle I have chosen and my life's been nothing but constant ups & downs in this crazy rollercoaster lifestyle of rock ´n roll. But despite it all, I think I've always kept both my feet on the ground and have luckily managed to maintain that way without letting my ego get too inflated, ending up a strung out junkie, alcoholic or anything.
    Touring can often be a very hard way of living and this kind of nomadic lifestyle isn't for everyone.

    12.) To many older music lovers you were first entering the spotlight as the young guy who replaced Mickey Dee. By analysing some vintage video-footage it is obvious that even during early live gigs with King Diamond your drumming seemed very artistic and spectacular and self-confident. Any anecdotes about your mood, thoughts before the first gigs with King Diamond?

    Oh Thanx.
    Thing is, for the last few years I've been writing an autobiography and just the other day I was going over and putting the final touches on that specific subject, so I guess I'l have to pass on that for now and you'll be able to read all about that and the rest of my constant ups & downs in the crazy roller coaster life at Tivoli Shaw before the end of the year if everything go according to the plan. All I can say is that, I was very young and inexperienced when I got thrown into that monstrous touring circus in the heyday of King Diamond, I was overwhelmed, awestruck and not always so sure about everything, but if there was one place where I definitely felt confident, at home and in my right element, it was behind the drums.

    13.) As a drummer having played in many… oops… let´s put it this way… in many bands with a little darker, “horroresque” or somehow (pseudo)-satanic attitude (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Notre Dame, Memento Mori, Illwill) I would love to remind of people living in countries where this kind of music in public may not be accepted or even worse is condemned and punished by fanatical clerical groups. Any words to fans in Saudi Arabia, Iran etc. ?

    Hmmm, I'm sorry but I guess I better not. I'm against all religion, and I can't seem to get my head around how people in 2012 can submit and devote their lives to such ancient fairytale nonsense is so totally beyond me. And as far as I'm concerned satanism in music is just a gimmick to add mysticism and excitement and to further fuel the rebellion, against the grain, sensationlism, anti-mentality for the outsiders that is in essence the spirit of metal, rock n' roll or whatever you wanna call it.

    I believe in Good, not God.

    14.) The “M”-word association game. Please answer as fast as possible by putting the first thought to paper:- Mario Bava - Who?
    - Murnau - Awesome! only familiar with his masterpiece Nosferatu though.
    - Mercyful Fate - Pioneers and legends.
    - Mick Tucker - The master of tasteful and musical drumming. One of my all-time drumming heroes.
    - Mickey Dee - Outstanding, fantastic drummer and fantastic man. I can never under estimate the impact and influence he had on me in my formative years as a drummer. More than anything Mikkey proved to me that drummers could be more than merely a time-keeper in the background.
    - “Meow” J (the Cat-Man… Peter Criss) - The one who first got me into drums.

    15.) If asked about one single track which introduces your drumming best to new listeners which one would you choose?

    To be completely honest there aren't that many recordings I've done that I'm that pleased with drumming wise. May sound stupid but I know I'm so much better than what has ever been captured, and I have never really been able to show my real potential on a recording.
    But if I would choose something, I have to say something from the album I did for Kee Marcello as a session drummer. I can't seem to remember any song titles or select one specific song but the album is called Melon Demon Divine, and from a drummers perspective I think my work on the whole album is very good.

    Also I think lots of the Notre Dame is quite representative for my style of drumming.

    16.) Sorry for the maybe :) chauvinistic intended question. What happened to Vampirella? (Notre Dame) Where is she 2012?

    Well, in the story of Notre Dame, there's a lot more than meets the eye, and not everything is the way it appears to be.
    As for Vamp I wouldn't know and frankly I couldn't care less. As a matter of fact I'm thrilled NOT to know, since I have finally managed to get rid of that clingy stalking bitch ( whom I've known since I was 12 and who was my girlfriend for a couple of years )
    My guess is that she's fallen back into total obscurity as the super vain airheaded suburban bimbo she always was.
    In 2009, a whole decade afterwards she tried to sue both me and the record company for a substantial sum of money, because she no longer liked the idea of appearing nude or semi-nude in the footage of the album covers and videos and expected and demanded us to withdraw all the releases and remove her pictures. Pictures she appeared in out of her own freewill and approved of over the course of Notre Dame's whole 7 year existence.

    I told her calmly that I was sorry she felt that way but even if I would have wanted to, there was absolutely nothing I can do about it now.
    One can't erase history and then told her the same thing I can only imagine countless porn movie producers have said a thousand times before me to all the aging "actresses" over the years who suddenly having second thoughts - Perhaps you should have thought about that a little earlier, Goodbye!

    17.) My childhood was strongly influenced by my first favorite Band Sweet, a little bit of Alice Cooper when I was nine (my oldest sister had the “School´s Out” LP), followed by Kiss and since 1979 Thin Lizzy. When looking back the movies which pre-adjusted my sense for esthetic were British Hammerfilm movies like “Dracula” and Italian Mario Bava´s “The Mask of Satan”. As a child I was begging my parents to allow me to stay awake until late evening hours when these movies were shown in TV in the early seventies. Talking about “literature” my childhood was filled with Horror comics and superhero stuff of Marvel and DC. The strange thing: I seem to discover all of these “witch-cauldron-ingredients” in your musical portfolio. It seems like you have been “shaped” by nearly the same influences. In many videos or even atmospheric small song-parts featuring Snowy Shaw I feel deeply reminded on very early “shocking” or “impressing” elements mentioned above. Am I wrong here? :)

    Hahaha! No Gerald, you're dead on in your assumptions here. You and I seem to have a very similar background and upbringing.
    Maybe your mum too breastfed you with blood, while stirring in the witches cauldron Haha! just kiddin' obviously, Being a kid in the 70s when there seemed to be a horror boom I was a nutcase about all of it, which I had a great outlet for in Notre Dame in particular. I guess I never grew out of that love and passion for classic horror clichés with a healthy touch of black gallows humor.

    18.) What is the best that could happen to you in 2012? Musically and also private?

    The best? Well, if I can dream it would be that my new live album Snowy Shaw is Alive would be in every household on the planet and that I would headline the biggest festival in every country this summer with my own fabulously fantastic stage show, and that I make a milestone masterpiece with my solo album(s) that I'm gonna start record soon, and that it would sell multi platinum followed by a sequel stadium headline world tour of course. :)

    This would earn me a big chunk of "fuck off money " so I wouldn't have to worry or do things I don't wanna do in order to make ends meet and could hire people to do all the boring dirty work for me, so that I could spend more time doing the things I love doing.
    Then later and with the fat multi million dollar check I'd receive in advance for my book from the biggest and best international book publication company, I'd buy myself a deserted island in the mediterranean where Tivoli Shaw i.e my little family should live like hippies secluded from the immediate civilization with all our dogs and animals.
    And well, that's about it, it's not too much to ask is it? hahaha!

    All the best and a big! thank you for taking the time.

    You're most welcome, It's me who should be thanking you for having me. Danke Schön.

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