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In Words: Place Vendome

- Michael Kiske - Feb. 2009 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Michael Kiske - February 12th 2009 (by email)

Many metal heads will be happy that there is a new Place Vendome album, coz it means some new stuff for fans of Michael Kiske. And again many will hope for Michael Kiske to return to the metal scene, but that won't happen! Anyway, he was so kind to answer some questions about Place Vendome and about his solo work.

When the Place Vendome debut was released it seemed to be just another all-star-project and very often this kind of projects are limited to one album. Was it planned right from the start to do more then one album? And if so, why did it took so long?

It was planned right from the start; Serafino (Frontiers Records boss) wanted me to sign for possible follow-ups. But I didn't, I preferred to decide when it's time to.
I think that the time gap between the albums is okay, especially as I do release my solo albums, too.

This time several musicians wrote songs for the album - and it sounds homogenous. Was it difficult to choose the songs for the album? And who makes the final decision which songs get onto the album?

At the end it's me, I decide if I sing a song or not. But I could agree with the chosen ones, so I didn't need to turn one down.
The homogeneity comes from the musicians and the production.

How much influenced did you have? At least the vocal parts should be up to you...

The songs are finished so far, but I add the vocals my way.
I sing all parts at my own small studio and do it the way I like. Nobody tells me what to do.

Unfortunately there was no information about who wrote the lyrics... Have you done them?

No, the song writers did them, but some fit me very well. I don't really want to write some lyrics for this project, I need my lyrics for my next solo album.

There is a video for My Guardian Angel. Why this one as a video?

I thought it would be a good video, that's why I suggested this one.

Will there be another video?

I'm afraid there will be one more...

How was it for you to do a video? It's been awhile...

Usually I'm not the camera-kinda-guy, that's why I hide behind the Bono glasses...
These days I don't need it anymore, but you have to do it.

With the second Place Vendome album under your belt, there is a question coming up... Is Place Vendome just a studio band? Or will you be playing live one day?

For me it's a studio project. I'm only interested in playing live with my own band. But its possible that one we play live, when I get used to it again.

Do you miss being on stage? Or are you satisfied to write and record you songs?

Actually I start missing it... Studio work is a completely different thing, one can't be compared with the other.

To me it seems that you are no longer into the music which made you known. And your solo work is more based in rock. How much is it annoying you that fans still regard you as a metal singer? And that they expect something different from you?

It really annoyed me for a long time, but you can't change it. You have to accept it, you have to make your peace with it, coz you can't change the people. De facto you limit someone when you call him a 'metal singer'. I'm a singer and song writer, I can sing everything - or almost everything. Sure, I'm known for what I did in the 80's and 90's - and that was based in metal and hard rock. But I never limited myself.

I think you are already working on your next album... Can you already tell us something about it?

It will be colorful! But it's too early to tell you more - only that there will be some orchestral sounds and also acoustic ones.

Your influences are vast... Can you imagine to do something totally different? Something which hasn't anything to do with rock?

Sure! I would love to do that! And I hope that soon I get a chance to, but it's possible, coz I get more and more known outside the heavy metal scene.

I hope you allow me this one question regarding Helloween. The fans always speculate, if you would do a tour with Helloween. Can you imagine to do a tour with Helloween again?

Theoretically it always been possible, even if it would just be something for nostalgic fans, but virtually it's impossible, coz I won't go on stage with people I don't like. I have nothing in common with them, not ideologically and not as a person - and they don't understand me nor like me. For years they take the mickey out of me in media. The fans have a quite unreal view on things. Nobody would like to work with people who aren't your friends, even worse, if they are foes. One shouldn't do something just for the money or the publicity - at least if you have some self-esteem.

Last year you presented Past In Different Ways. How came? Was it the last step to close that chapter of your career?

My label had the idea and first I didn't want to do it, but then it occurred to me that there is no reason not to do it. Its the music I wrote, so the bullshit that happened at that time shouldn't have an effect on it.
It was great and important for me to realize that I'm still fully behind the music I wrote at that time. Now you have my songs isolated from the others on one disc - and it even fits to my new stuff, if it isn't presented in a metal production.

There have been several guest appearances on CDs, so you didn't fully turned your back to the scene. How important are these guest appearances for you? And how do you decide which one you take and which one you turn down?

Well, I totally turned away from that scene, I'm not interested any longer in this scene. Actually I never been interested in it, but now I reject it deliberately. I can't agree with the phony ideologies and the art hostile way of thinking! It doesn't mean I hate every metal fan! It's not a war against metal fans, it's all about wrong thinking. And this scene doesn't include the rock music at all, and once in awhile I enjoy this stuff, if it doesn't get too heavy. It's just the typical way of thinking many metal fans do have, they see everything in black & white. They think that if you are against metal, you can just do some love / pop songs. That the way many metal fans tick, but I don't care about rules and dogmas the 'church of metal and its rulers' announced... Hope, you got me.

What's on your schedule for 2009? Something scheduled for Place Vendome? Or some other projects?

First there will be another Kiske album; and then we try to do a cool AOR duet with a female singer. That could be very interesting.


It's always great when you have the feeling that someone isn't feeding you platitudes. Sure, some stuff Michael says won't be welcome by everybody, but he's honest and true to himself. And that's why everybody should show him respect and even metal fans should give his rock music a try. Thanks for your frankness, Michael!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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