20 QUESTIONS WITH…
Helloween/ex-Pink Cream 69 singer ANDI DERIS!
What better way to usher in this Holiday Season than with 20 Questions with the singer from Helloween!
Recently, we got in touch with Helloween’s Webmaster to see if we could hook up a 20 Questions interview. We’ve actually gotten a lot of requests over the years to do 20 Questions with someone from Helloween. We’ve also gotten requests to do 20 Questions with someone from the band Pink Cream 69. Well, today’s your lucky day, becase you get both! Sort of.
Andi Deris has been Helloween’s frontman for the better part of a decade, but before that, he had been the singer in Pink Cream 69, a band which he co-founded in the mid-1980s. So we not only asked him about what Helloween’s been up to these days, but we also bugged him about Pink Cream 69 stuff too. See? Something for everyone.
This interview was actually conducted via telephone on November 29, 2004 by Tony Webster, who just so happens to run Helloween’s Web site at www.helloween.org. Tony not only called Andi in Germany and did the interview for us, but he also transcribed it for us, which saves us a hell of a lot of work. So enough with the introductions. Let’s get going with this week’s 20 Questions!
1. What are you currently up to? This is your one and only chance to plug whatever it is you have to plug.
We (Helloween) are currently recording and pre-producing songs for the next album.
2. You joined Helloween in 1994 after having fronted Pink Cream 69 since the mid 80s. How did the fans react to you going from a glammed out rock band like PC69 to a more progressive metal band like Helloween? Did anyone throw shit at you or try to beat your ass or anything?
Hahahahaha…. more or less so, it’s more or less black and white, some people hated it. I can say I brought over about half of my fans and the rest hated it….. and perhaps probably still hate me.
3. What happened that you quit Pink Cream 69 anyway? We’ve heard a few stories saying that your departure wasn’t necessarily on the best of terms. In your own words, please tell us your side of how that all went down.
Well it is the old story of band chemistry and changing music styles and saying to yourself yes I can live with it or no I can’t live with it, I obviously said I don’t want to live with it.
4. Rate the following singers on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a bucket of moldy schumpfnüdeln, and 10 being a killer vocalist.
Vince Neil = 5
Mike Tramp = 5
Paul Stanley =10 is the best isn’t it? 9!
Claus Lessman = The singer from Bonfire he’s cool, 6
Don Dokken = 7
Bruce Dickinson =10
Roko Kohlmeyer = Who? I don’t know him
Bret Michaels = 2
Michael Kiske =7
David Readman = 7
5. What "rock star" deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
Do I have to mention ONLY one? Well Michael Weikath for always being too late hahahahaha.
6. Name the 3 highest points and the 3 lowest points of your musical career to date.
Very hard to say. The three best things…. three platinum albums. And the three worst things are:
1. Being sick on tour and having to cancel.
2. Sitting down and not having any ideas yet you have no ideas and you have to have an album out soon, thats shitty sometimes.
3. After 5 weeks you start to miss your family and it’s hard sometimes when you are gone for more than 6 months.
Helloween circa 2004
7. It’s pretty well known that you’ve been a long time KISS fan. What do you think about Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer wearing Ace and Peter’s makeup? Don’t you think that’s insulting to the fans?
Well as a matter of fact I don’t understand this because in the earlier days of the band they had other bandmembers like Eric Carr or Vinnie Vincent wearing their own makeup and thats what I would go for. So yes it’s embarassing seeing Ace and Peter’s makeup on different guys. They shouldn’t do that.
8. Of the following, which do you prefer and why:
Amsterdam or Hamburg =Amsterdam
Blind Guardian or Iron Savior = Iron Savior
Kasespaetzle or Sauerbraten =Sauerbraten
Your cover of "Fast As a Shark" or your cover of "Detroit Rock City" = Detroit Rock City
Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera = Christina
The Wacken Open Air Festival or Rock am Ring = Wacken
Udo Dirkschneider or Udo Lindenberg =Udo Lindenberg
Baywatch or Knight Rider = Hahahahahaha thats a hard one… Baywatch!
Aldi or Pennymarkt = Aldi
Miss Piggy or Kermit the Frog =Miss Piggy
9. We heard that you’re a big fan of the Smurfs. Dude. Why in the hell would you ever publicly admit something like that?
Because believe it or not I was young once! And when I was young I loved them and I still love them because I have a lot of good memories.
10. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
5 years earlier I would say Iron Maiden with Blayze Bailey but now they have Bruce back so I wouldn’t say that about them anymore. I don’t know… I would have to listen to all of the newest output from bands and then find the worst and then tell them to give it up. At the moment I can’t think of any. I think many of the bands nowadays do a good job. A few years ago I could’ve mentioned a lot of those bands who just jumped on the grunge train or whatever. Nowadays bands are trying to find their own identities again. I have hope that this will be better than 10 years ago. For now, if they believe in it, they should go for it.
11. What do you remember most about writing or recording the following songs:
Take Those Tears =My very first mega high song, and I thought I would never make it on stage but I did
Where the Eagle Learns to Fly =Very very sad song, this is a song I thought the guys in Pink Cream would not like to have on the album, such a sad song but they loved it.
Face In The Mirror = My first trouble I had with Pink Cream, they wanted to go into this Alice n Chains/Metallica direction and I still don’t like the song.
Sole Survivor = This was not only the first song for the Master of The Rings album but the first song I rehearsed with Helloween.
Wake Up the Mountain = Uli’s first song, a good song and a suprise because nobody thought Uli could come up with good songs and when he came up with it was a good suprise for everybody.
1000 Years Away =A very very sad story over here in Europe or even worldwide and I used it for my first solo album. A #1 single in Japan, a suprise for me.
Don’t Spit On My Mind = This was Markus’ first song that I really loved and I remember sitting together with him in the Chateau Du Pape studio in Hamburg writing the lyrics for his song and Markus’ really loved the political but not too political titles so this song is going very deep politically.
Dangerous = This is a funny description of myself but in a bad way and with a smile on my face.
Mr. Torture =Thats Uli’s song on the Dark Ride and I wrote the lyrics for it. A good song, a nice song that maybe should have been a bit funnier even but then its a shame because it would not have fit on the Dark Ride album so then we had to find a compromise. I think on another album the title could have been even better.
Never Be A Star = True!
12. In 1999, Helloween released an album of cover songs entitled "Metal Jukebox." Who’s idea was it to record a cover of an ABBA song on there? Was that yours? How can "Lay All Your Love On Me" actually be put onto an album called "Metal Jukebox?" Didn’t Helloween lose enough fans with those goofy albums "Chameleon" and "Pink Bubbles Go Ape?"
It was Weiki’s idea to make a stupid funny record. He is an old Abba fan so we decided to do a metal version and add some double bass drumming to it.
13. For what amount was your largest music-related check, and what did you end up spending it on?
I don’t know but I think it must have been big and think I bought a house.
14. Yes or No, has Andi Deris ever:
Driven a Trabi = No
Carved a Jack-O-Lantern = Yes
Worn a pair of lederhosen = Never, NO! I’m not Bavarian hahahaha
Drank a bottle of Schnaaps while driving down the autobahn = Half a bottle
Swallowed an entire bratwurst without chewing =No hahahaha impossible!
Smoked a joint with Michael Schenker = No impossible hahahahahaha he’s never there!
Refused a fan’s request for an autograph = Never
Prank-called Alfred Koffler = No
Shit your pants on stage = hahahahaha no!
Been arrested = No
15. Out of all the bands that Helloween or PC69 has shared the stage with, which ones were the coolest to work with, and which ones were the biggest bunch of jackasses you’ve ever met?
Well the coolest guys were Iron Maiden because through the years we got to know each other so much and they have always been a bunch of pals on tour. The worst was back when I was with Pink Cream when we played with White Lion. This was kindergarten, stupid kindergarten shit but not from our side.
16. Give us your fondest memory about performing or being in the following cities:
Berlin = I remember I sucked during the show because I was sick and had to end up cancelling three shows.
London =Whenever we’re there it’s raining, but it’s always raining in London
Tokyo = I remember taking the short trip to the hotel and suddenly an earthquake started very very nice
Rome =Nicest city in the world
Los Angeles = I think the best thing about LA was that you could sit outside and smoke, this was really nice, but then again for me it was a bit suprising because I always thought it was more or less New York style….. a nice city but it was not big city style which I personally enjoyed very much.
Sao Paulo = Too big, too many people, too sticky, too narrow too much of everything I don’t like.
New York City =Manhattan has meanwhile become very clean and safe again. I remember 1990 I was there for the first time and I did not like it at all. I like it more and more now everytime I go there.
Moscow =In the beginning very scarey until you find the right people and you have to know the right people not to be scared and now that we have good contacts to the mafia we like it very much hahahahahaha
Detroit = One of the most dangerous cities I have ever seen. I mean maybe it has to do with the car industry there, it appears to be very metalish. For us to be not so popular in the states it was dangerous for us to walk in the streets.
Karlsruhe =A typical mediocre German city, sometimes boring and sometimes ok. Next to the French border which is ok because we have French culture and German culture and the mixture is quite nice.
17. Speaking of Karlsruhe, why is there a pyramid in the center of that town? Karlsruhe, Germany is about as un-Egyptian as you can get, yet someone decided to build a pyramid right by the pedestrian zone. Its existence baffles us. Why is it there? Please clear this up for us once and for all.
The pyramid is actually the grave of the old Herzog, a duke…. and he was a big fan of Egypt which is why you find the pyramid there and you find other Egyptianlike buildings which there aren’t many but they are around where this pyramid is.
18. For a tax-free 1,000,000 Euros:
There is a red button in front of you. If you press it, Helloween’s Webmaster Tony Webster will be kidnapped at gunpoint as soon as this interview is over. He’ll be tied up, blindfolded, thrown into the trunk of a car, and driven for hours to the edge of a cliff. The kidnappers will then exit the vehicle and push it over the edge, with Tony still locked inside the trunk. He’ll manage to survive the impact, but he’ll be all fucked up for years and will require intense physical therapy in order to walk again. Not only that, but the experience will be so traumatic for him that he’ll be struck with uncontrollable bowel movements for the rest of his life, and he’ll shit his pants whenever he hears a Helloween song. He’ll still be able to run your Web site though. Would you do it?
Hahahahahaha! I would have to speak with Tony first! What’s his share and what’s my share?! If he would say no, I wouldn’t do it. Put it this way: if he would say no, or if his share would be less than 50%, I would not do it! hahahahaha
19. The Last of Andi Deris:
Last book you read = I’m reading The Signs of the Vikings
Last CD you purchased = Take a Look Back In The Mirror by Korn
Last movie you saw in the theatre =Day After Tomorrow
Last cover song you performed live =Detroit Rock City
Last concert you watched from the audience = Aerosmith
Last rock star or celebrity you shook hands with = Michael Weikath
Last time someone asked you "Who in the fuck thought ‘Pink Cream 69′ was a cool name for a band?" =Must have been 15 years ago…. I dont know, everybody loved it. At least it’s more obvious than Limp Bizkit
Last time you talked to Kosta Zaphiriou = 5 minutes ago.
Last time you visited the USA = February
Last time you got drunk = Must have been the day before yesterday! hahahahahahaha – but not too much I have to admit!
20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name, and you give us your thoughts.
Gene Simmons = Great business guy
Michael Weikath = Always too late
Kai Hansen = Always too late
Nikki Sixx = Never too late
Jan Bayati =Cool manager
Michael Wagener = Cool dude good guy, friend of our last producer for Pink Cream, Dirk Steffens
King Diamond = very high vocals and he must be a workaholic because he sang with two bands at one festival and I would not do that.
Axel Rudi Pell =Well that’s a phenomenon; he’s a cool guy
Ralph Maison =My best friend!
Dennis Ward =One of the greatest bass players I have ever played with and one of the best producers I have ever heard.
Well, Andi didn’t talk shit about any former bandmates, but he did say White Lion pulled some ‘Kindergarten shit’ to Andi’s band back in the day. (Keep in mind that Andi is German, so the term ‘Kindergarten’ is that much more insulting.) We also think he was just trying to be nice to Webmaster Tony (since he was doing the interview) when he said he wouldn’t push the button that would send him over a cliff. It’s 1 million Euros, for fuck’s sake! Helloween could easily get a new Webmaster for, what, a few hundred bucks and a bunch of leftover CDs? Get real.
Anyhow, all you Helloween and Pink Cream 69 fans have finally gotten the interview you wanted, so try to be happy about it.
Thanks to Andi Deris for answering all of our questions, and special thanks to Tony Webster for making it all happen!