German stadium rock upstarts, Kissin’ Dynamite were recently on tour in the UK supporting the mighty Powerwolf alongside Amaranthe, and PureGrainAudio caught up with drummer and main lyricist Andi Schnitzer at legendary Bristol venue SWX to chat about music, touring, videos, and the classics of rock.
Hi Andi, how’s the tour going? Andi Schnitzer: Very good actually, it’s the first support tour in a long time that we did, and it’s by far the biggest we’ve done and it’s very good for us. For a long time we just played a lot of gigs in Germany and everything, but now the time is really there to expand and play shows in more countries, and that was the perfect opportunity for us. It’s sold-out almost every night more or less.
Yes, I’ve been seeing that on Powerwolf’s page with every date selling out, which is awesome for you guys, people coming every night to see you play, and sometimes that is the best way to get new followers and fans, get yourself out there. Schnitzer: Just being in the situation playing in front of many people and yeah that’s what we do, and we’ve already booked a show in London ourselves. It’s in fall 2019, the second of two headline tours. The first one is in March/April.
OK, is that going to be a European tour, or a UK tour as well? Schnitzer: In spring only European without Great Britain, but then we’re gonna have our first headline show in London in fall, and that’s really cool, we’ve never been to England before or Great Britain.
Well, welcome! Hopefully it’s not too bad so far! Schnitzer: No, especially because it’s the invention of rock n’ roll here. Maiden, Sabbath, Priest...
Check out the band’s rendition of Powerwolf’s “Let There Be Night.”
The home of metal, as we say. Well, I’m glad you’re enjoying it so far, it’s just a shame the weather’s not much better. Schnitzer: But it’s January, it could be worse, where we come from we just looked it up and we have -5 degree and snow and everything, so it’s almost like vacation. (laughs)
This is kind of warm and quiet in comparison! So you and Powerwolf have a history of joining forces and collaboration, what was it like recording “Let There Be Night” for the Sacrament of Sin deluxe edition? Schnitzer: Yeah, it was also a very cool thing we had the opportunity to do that, and we made our own version of it and Kissin’ Dynamite’ised the song, and I think people really liked it and we enjoyed doing it. We even shot a video for it, it’s a cliché rock n’ roll video, but in a good way.
It’s a great video. And sometimes cliches are good things to use, depending on the subject matter. Schnitzer: That’s right, and of course on the last gig of the tour in Saarbrucken in Germany, with 7000, maybe 6000 people when (Kissin’ Dynamite vocalist) Hannes (Braun), was made up like a Powerwolf and he sang it together with (Powerwolf singer) Atilla (Dorn) on the last show. The Powerwolf guys, we’re really enjoying each other. They’re really nice guys and don’t treat us like fucking just a support band, just a little bit. (laughs)
Powerwolf do seem like really cool guys, very close with fans and same with you being close to your fans, it does seems like a match made in heaven, yourselves, Amaranthe, and Powerwolf, it seems like a cool tour to have. Schnitzer: That’s right, every band is different but not too different so that people enjoy every band, I guess.
The album Ecstasy dropped on July 6, 2018, via Metal Blade Records.
It’s stadium rock designed to fill the hall! Schnitzer: That’s right. Choruses to sing along to. Amaranthe are very modern, Kissin’ Dynamite brings the stadium rock, and Powerwolf brings the cathedral vibes.
So, what did Powerwolf think of your cover of “Let There Be Night.” Did they really enjoy it? Schnitzer: Ok, I think everybody would answer now that they really loved it, but in this case they really liked it, also more than other ones, yeah it’s a modest thing but of course we were pleased hearing them saying that they really think it’s a cool thing, and I think the reason is just because we didn’t just imitate it, just we made it in our own Kissin’ Dynamite style.
You definitely added your own touch to it, you could tell there were Powerwolf vibes but you put your own stamp on it. Schnitzer: For example, if Hannes had sung like Atilla (does impression) then it would not make sense. He sings like he sings and that’s what makes it cool.
Yeah exactly that's it. So what has your favorite night of the tour been so far? You've done a lot of shows in Germany, and being German natives you're obviously in your own country a lot, but has there been any show, in particular, this time around that has been monumental? Schnitzer: I have to look at my (itinerary card) where we've been. I've been so busy living in the moment and always forget about everything.
I guess you're still quite early in the tour. Schnitzer: I forget so quickly. What I found that we are getting better every night, and in Rouen (France) we had a really good show especially, and in terms of crowd reactions it is anyway very good through the tour, we almost forget we are just support.
Let Kissin' Dynamite prove they are worthy of being kings in "I Will Be King."
I suppose it doesn't matter in the end, you all play together as a unit, making the complete show. Schnitzer: But yesterday there was an incident that was kind of weird, we played and people were watching like (confused) and they completely didn't get it. We thought, “What the fuck is happening? We're playing good, like every night,” and then in the mixing desk had a mistake and it was completely not coming out of the boxes, it was with a delay. I was three seconds delayed, guitarists were a bit faster, and Hannes was even four seconds delay, and it was completely untight and it sounded like complete bullshit.
In our ears it was good but nobody, just clapped a little bit. We had a break of five minutes, and our mixer rebooted the mixing desk and then we could go on how it was supposed to, in time, everybody at the same time, and people, fortunately, liked us after that. It was good training to deal with situations you don't, you cannot control. (laughs)
I want to talk more about Kissin' Dynamite yourselves. You began in 2007, and you now have six albums to your name, the latest, of course, being Ecstasy last year. Let’s start, however, with 2010’s Addicted to Metal. Udo (Dirkschnieder) gave a guest appearance on that. What was it like to work with him, was he easy to work with? Schnitzer: At first it was of course very cool for us to be supported by Udo, because he is a German legend from Accept, the German tank, and when I was a kid and we drove to vacation with my parents we listened to Accept and it was very familiar, the voice of Udo (does impression). Then I remember that our producer back then sent me the first file after Udo recorded the title track and I wrote the lyrics to that song, and so I was proud like nobody else, sitting in my room listening to Udo singing my lyrics.
I just couldn't believe it, like a hero moment. He's a cool guy and we are friends ever since, since then and his son is playing drums now, Sven. Back then it was quite good for us to be supported by him because people thought that isn't just any wannabe band but they are supported by Udo, so if he supports them they can't be total bullshit.
Listen to this track with Udo if you are "Addicted to Metal."
Well yes that was only three years into your inception, so to have someone like Udo come and back up your work, having confidence in your work meant the world, of course, then you went from strength to strength after that. Because you've worked with Udo, you have an impressive stable to choose from with AFM on the roster – Doro, Iron Mask and Annihilator for example, is there any dream show or record you would ever like to do, any dream collaboration you would want to do? Schnitzer: With anyone? Of course, I would choose our influences, our heroes, and this thing I need to mention would, of course, be AC/DC, always been I could not live, the world would be different without AC/DC. In school in first grade, pupils should learn about AC/DC.
They should learn about all the classic great ones, The Who, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest. Schnitzer: Maiden are the second for me that has been very since childhood, my influence and my band, and I would pick them too. Bruce after sixty years still sounding great and being a frontman...
So, of course, you've toured with some great names in the past like Powerwolf, Amaranthe, and Steel Panther. What would your dream tour be? Schnitzer: Tour? Of course, our first priority is also to be a good headliner, and then maybe Bon Jovi could be our support or Iron Maiden could be our support. Or maybe the other way around.
I'll talk about Ecstasy, that was actually the first time Kissin' Dynamite made it to Top Ten in the German charts. Congrats on that awesome achievement, I bet you are over the moon with that. Schnitzer: Thank you very much. Yeah we are honest we wanted to go to top ten, because the last one Generation Goodbye was I think fourteen, so it was our aim. We couldn't wait for the information when the album was released and yeah we were really glad with seven, and of course next time it's not going to be easier. I think it’s a very good album, and we're more back to the roots a little and more pure Kissin' Dynamite, and maybe people felt that it's a good and pure and authentic record.
Of course, you have to say that people don't buy so much anymore in general. That's why a seven is of course not having the same value as it had ten years ago or something. It's still seventh best selling record in this week. We're really proud of this still. Next time we'll aim for more. (laughs)
I have a little question about the "Heart of Stone" video. It was an incredible piece of work, beautiful and very emotional. Do you have anything similar in the pipeline such as an acoustic or instrumental concept? Schnitzer: I don't think so that we will do a concept (album). We're always open for acoustic stuff just as “Heart of Stone” or “Still Around” the other ballad on Ecstasy, but all in all we work with electricity and rock n' roll and I don't know, maybe we could so something like this acoustic tour or something, but not in the near future. At the moment it is time to rock hard every night.
Acoustics are very different shows, live with the electrical music and instruments is in your face and acoustic is so different, much more emotional. Schnitzer: But we are, I think yeah, I don’t know if I may say that, but if we have our headliner tour as you already know it from other headlining tours, we don’t just rock hard for two hours, there are also moments of quietness and emotion, and kissing, calming down in order to get up again.
Oh yeah sometimes it reaches the peak, then you have to be like, “Ok, we’ll bring things back and chill everyone out.” Schnitzer: That’s why we are called Kissin’ Dynamite, you know there is the kissing part, the romantic part and then there is the explosion. (laughs)
It’s a good name, I believe it was inspired by an AC/DC song? Schnitzer: Yeah there is an AC/DC song called “Kissin’ Dynamite.” Actually, my phone rang when we were searching for a name and I had “Kissin’ Dynamite” as a phone ring tone, and now it’s ringing again... But it isn’t the ring tone anymore. So my phone is the reason why we are called like that because we had no better idea but it’s a good name.
Catch Kissin’ Dynamite paying tribute to the band that inspired their name in “Rock N’ Roll Train.”
It is, maybe that’s how fate chose it. It rang at that time and that was fate. Schnitzer: Maybe it was destiny!
Exactly! We know about the headliner tours in the spring and the fall, but are you planning to get another album out in the next couple of years, with Ecstasy out in 2018, so would maybe next year be the start of a new album process? Schnitzer: We’re a band that does not write so much whilst touring, but of course if there is an idea we keep it, but we like to make a tour and finish tour and then little bit of a break, and then with new energy and focus in the studio or at home, writing songs, and that is, of course, something we will start again later in this year, but I have no idea when exactly another album will come out. But, of course, there will be another album and we will not wait for five years like Rammstein or AC/DC...
You could be like KISS and not bring out an album for six years and just keep on playing the old stuff! Schnitzer: That’s right, I think that we are not as successful enough yet to do something like this.
Well they can play arenas and get away with playing the same setlist show after show. But then even for bands as big as KISS that does get old, it is nice to keep fans on their toes but of course, it is a mammoth task on your behalf to come out with the new material. Schnitzer: And it would be too boring to just play the old stuff. It is very exciting to play new songs and to write new songs. That’s how a band stays alive I think.
Kissin’ Dynamite brings it on the “I’ve Got The Fire” music video, from Ecstasy.
As we were saying living life on the ball, playing the same stuff over and over again would be a Groundhog day moment. Schnitzer: AC/DC always needs to play “Highway to Hell”, of course. It is a curse and a blessing playing the hits.
With my experience of a couple of previous bands I’ve seen before, you have to have a mix of both, otherwise if someone hasn’t seen you before and then you’re now finally in the UK and they have a favourite from one of your older albums, but then you don’t play it, it’s hard to please everyone. Schnitzer: Now, for our age we have plenty of songs already, with six albums and maybe 70 songs or so, and slowly it’s getting a little bit hard to choose, and then also we can then choose some surprises again, good songs you forgot about a little bit, and then you play it again and they love it. It’s a luxury problem to have.
Any last words or anything that you would like to add for the PureGrainAudio readers out there? Schnitzer: Yeah of course! Kissin’ Dynamite is really excited and proud to be in Great Britain for the first time. Was way too long after eleven years of existing, and we’re really enjoying playing in the country where rock n’ roll was invented, we give our best to deliver a great show and to bring back some stadium rock for you guys!
We need it with Sabbath quitting and Motley Crüe, Twisted Sister. We need more rock! Schnitzer: We’re not trying to imitate them, but I think we have a modern approach to it with an old school vibe like our influences. We love it, we can't do something else, it is not possible, it is like living a dream, it's another day in heaven.