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In Words: Ramrods

- Peter Harasim - May 2011 - Lars Bjørn -

Ramrods @ SAOL Music

© Ramrods

Peter Harasim - May 6th 2011 (by email)

The German band Ramrods started in the mid-60's, but with Love Is The Answer they present their debut album. Sometimes things need time to grow... As they are nobodies to many, we try to enlighten you with a little help of singer / guitarist Peter Harasim who answered our questions.

What were the reasons for the band to break up, and then come together again?

In the 70s and 80s we used to play a lot of shows, but most of them were free or benefit concerts for squatters or no-nukes organizations. For me it was fine because I didn't rely on making money with my own music. But the rest of the members were professionals. Apart from that rock artists had a tendency to live beyond their means at that time with all the good & bad habits you couldn't afford. So when it was too heavy for me to keep a band of maniacs going and I had the situation to find me a brand new line-up and start again I gave up and quit as well.

At the same time I felt comfortable being active behind the stage and work for all my heroes – from The Pretty Things to Steve Marriott (who became very very close friends), from Miles Davis to Chuck Berry, The Kinks, Ramones, B.B.King or Robert Plant.
But after 2 or 3 years of absence from the stage, friends called me up again to join a new project and suddenly we found the band performing again with the old name. Now I can deal better with changes in line-up. In the CD booklet you can see a list of people who came and went. Even if the possibilities to perform are weak nowadays I don't want to miss it.

Please tell us something about how you write songs - as a team? - and about the recordings of Love Is The Answer!

When I was a kid in the 60s I used to write my 'own' songs down in notebooks. They were Twin brothers to Paint It black or Yellow Submarine - just with other lyrics or just two notes changed. When I was 15 I played organ in Falüstraal - an acid rock band in Nuremberg and I came up with own songs. So did I when I joined the Ramrods in the mid-70s.
For most of the time I was the main composer in the band, but when we finally had the idea to capture the songs, giving them structure and record them I needed a helping hand.
About 12 years ago Marko Bittner joined the band and he took over to be the musical director. He tried out other instruments and arrangements and composed much of the instrumental parts of the songs. Also he was mainly responsible for most of the recordings and coaching everyone involved in the project exactly what to do.

Your album cover symbolizes peace. Are you still involved with the peace-movement?

Filthy Rock & Roll I start with: "I grew up in the Sixties with the Fabulous Four", but even in sleepy Nuremberg we had huge demonstrations against the Vietnam War in the late 60s. In our area we had huge US bases so we had someone to address our message to. Even if many of the GI's were friends of ours and shared many of our opinions. I always spoke out my mind clearly and not often too loud. I was in the No Nukes Movement for a long time and even organized Anti Nazi Demonstrations.
Still to this day I find it important to interfere. People I grew up with find it awkward and embarrassing that I still do that.

Do you have more songs that you have not yet released on a CD?

Oh yes, we have many more. For this album we had fragments and recordings for about 30 or 40 more songs. Currently we start our live set with a brand new unrecorded song and I still write new tunes all the time. The song Love Is The Answer didn't pass the audition of the rest of the band so I have to rework that again.

Will you do a video clip? Which song(s) would you like to shot?

Well, we might not have the time to do one. Also for a middle-aged rock band of our kind it is not really necessary. Clips are not that important anymore.
If we would we should try it with Matter Of The Heart. Many rock magazines put that song down for being a commercial pop song just made to gain getting airplay. Funny enough it gets less airplay that - for example - Seven Days.

Tell us a little about how your concerts are going! Is it a more mature audience? Or is it mixed with older and younger fans?

Mainly we try to be at places where already people are there. We support bands like Mothers Finest, The Pretty Things, Ian Hunter, Nazareth so the audience is middle aged as well. Recently we had a show with The Brew who have a younger audience. That felt good.
But of course we can't please Rap or Death Metal audiences, even if I work for these people at my job.
We always had a tendency be more agile and nuts on stage and for decades I smashed the mic stand at the end of the show. These days I just throw it into the audience. It is always an exaltation to see the first rows getting frightened of you. You can see pure angst in their eyes. I love it.

Is it mostly in Germany that you play concerts, or are also playing in other countries?

Well, we can't even manage to play Augsburg of Frankfurt. First of all we concentrate recently on recording. We all have our civic jobs so touring is very limited.

Do you plan to record some live footage - not talking about Pro shots - for YouTube or similar platforms?

Yes, this is something we have to do quite soon. Somehow we were not very happy with the live recordings that we did. And the best shows we failed to record them.

Have you thought about making a more efficient homepage for your band, your music?

We are just busy with that at the moment. But I can't do that so a friend of ours – Stefan Klug from Fiddlers Green is taking care of it.

Anything else you want to share with our readers, any interesting news?

I pass my CD to other artists - even James Blunt or Katie Melua have got Love In The Answer somewhere in a grab box - if they haven't left it as a tip to the hotel employees.

We started to record just to pretend that we have work in progress and we can say to people who always asked us why they can't take home our music: Well, it's on the way. The band was very puzzled when I said: "The recording process is over. Now we do the last mixes and I have a company who really wants to release the album."
If I would have known that we get this massive reaction that we have I would have reworked a few things on the album. Some vocal harmonies could have done better for example.
Looking back it's a bit sad that we haven't done that earlier. But I appreciate the response and enjoy the idea that people here and there might have good moments when they listen to our music.

Looks like it took them long to get out the first album, but that they won't let us wait for too long before there is more of Ramrods!

Lars Bjørn


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