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Kingdom Come

Finding The Heart

The music of Kingdom Come cannot be measured by the recording quality, melody lines and tough playing alone. It carries such strong feelings that either go through, and you fall in love with the band immediately, or they dont, and you just stand there wondering what this fuss is all about. And if you do understand what Lenny Wolf, singer and mastermind of Kingdom Come, is saying in his songs, every time you happen to come closer to the creator of this music is special. We have already seen Kingdom Come live in Moscow, and we have interviewed the man on the phone a couple of times, but this time we had a special opportunity to attend the press conference that Lenny and his guitarist Yenz Leonhardt gave in Moscow during a promotional tour in support of their latest album Aint Crying For The Moon. And of course, as usual, it was special
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Your new album Aint Crying For The Moon will be released on September 15, and your website says that this record is going to be more optimistic than a few previous records. Is that indeed the case? And what are the reasons for that?

Lenny: I finally got laid. (laughs) Cmon, say it in Russian I finally got laid! But seriously, Perpetual (2004) was very emotional, and I was experimenting with lots of sounds and loops and elements. But lots of fans were complaining about the old aggression of Kingdom Come, so Yenz brought out the axe, and I said, OK, I gotta get loony again!

Who are the musicians that took part in the recordings? Is it just Lenny and Yenz, or is there anybody else involved?

Lenny: The new album is once again something I did in my studio. Its not because Im an egomaniac, but I have to do things my way. We got on the drums our drummer Henrik (Thiesbrummel), he came by, so some of that stuff is live, and lots of it is programmed, its like a mixture of loops and live drums. The same thing with Yenz he came by, we talked, we bounced ideas, but in the end, except for the solos, I played guitar by myself. Besides, Yenz was busy producing other bands (la
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Yenz: Oh, its a privilege to work with Lenny, also hes a live musician a bit more maybe, he has a good voice, very strong songwriting, so its really a privilege.

Lenny: Oh, thank you Yenz, you are so kind!

Your two previous records were released in Russia by Art Music Group, and the new one is coming out via CD-Maximum. Why did you change the labels, and what are your impressions from the new company?

Lenny: Im only in charge of the creative part, and when it comes to business, my manager handles that. Let me now ask Yenz why hes having such a stiff neck. Can you explain that?

Yenz: I will try to explain. I was sitting most of the day yesterday outside here at the Hard Rock Cafe, turning my neck after all the beautiful women of Moscow.

Lenny: I think, once youve fallen in love, you can learn the language. Yenz says hes single, but hes not.

And whats your attitude to women in rock? Is there any female singer you would like to do a duet with?

Lenny: I thought about it, but have not really met the right match yet. Its not something Im concentrating or focusing on, but its something I can imag
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ine. As long as she has the Slavonic look! Its very important! (everybody laughs) Oh, this is turning more into a Playboy meeting than rocknroll!

Do you have any plans to record more songs in German? Or did the hostile reaction of the audience to your first solo album Lenny Wolf (1999) disappoint you so much that you have no desire to try this again?

Lenny: Ever since World War II we Germans are not allowed to be proud, so when I sang in German, it was not very successful. Some Americans who are of German descent liked it, but not Germans. (laughs) So its gonna be English or one day Russian, but no more German. Unless the German soccer team wins the World Championship, then I can sing in German again.

Do you have any plans to re-release your old material that you recorded before Kingdom Come with such bands as Germany and Stone Fury?

Lenny: Stone Furys records are owned by Universal, we dont have the rights anymore, its there of a lifetime. In 1984 22 years ago, oh my god! I signed a contract, and I dont own the right. What were gonna do is maybe re-record a few songs from the Stone Fury era, but we cant re-release the songs the way they ar
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You played a festival called Heroes Of World Rock in St. Petersburg last year. What are your impressions from it?

Lenny: The house was packed, and there was great energy. Id never expected it, I thought, Ian Gillan is a big guy, Ken Hensley is a big guy, and to little Kingdom Come people would be just saying hello But then Kingdom Come came onstage, and the people were like, rrrooaarrr. I got goosebumps, there was great response, I loved it. Were you there when we played the blues What Love Can Be? Do you remember that energy? I hope we can do it again.

Yenz, a long time ago you recorded 1.5 albums in Kopenhagen with your band Y. Do you plan to reform this band one day?

Yenz: Yes, we did two albums. Me and Oliver (Steffanson, guitar) have been writing for the third Y album, how and when it will be released Im not sure, but will be good.

Lenny: A man has to have a hobby. (laughs)

Yenz, you are involved in four bands at the moment. Which one is closer to you?

Yenz: Its very hard to say, because I go with my emotions in whatever I do. At the moment Im spending some beautiful days wit
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h Lenny, and it doesnt have to do with money at all, Im just enjoying it. Im very excited about the prospect of going on a longer tour of Russia with Kingdom Come. Were going to kick your ass live!

Lenny: Hes the Keith Richards of Kingdom Come he drinks, he smokes, he does drugs, he does grouppies and so on. And I only drink tea and love women, and thats it. (laughs)

Your Russian tour scheduled for this autumn will cover not only the European part of the country, but also Siberia and the Far East. What makes you be willing to visit such remote places? Very few musicians dare to go that far into Russia

Lenny: Im hoping to find my future ex-wife there! I have a feeling its gonna be a Russian woman. In Germany they all want my money, and here Im finding the heart.

Why did drummer James Kottack (now with Scorpions) leave Kingdom Come in 1990? What are your current relations with him?

Lenny: I saw him in Los Angeles last year again, we still love each other, and every time we look at each other we dont know what the fuck has happened. There was a lot of pressure coming out of nowhere, and we were very young, didnt know how to handle it and
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just called it a day. James would love with Kingdom Come again, but Scorpions are paying him more money. (laughs)

When James is playing a drum solo, he always breaks a bottle over his head. Was it you who taught him to do it?

Lenny: No. When I met James, every time youd go to a restaurant, you had to bring extra cash for the porcelain. And its not on purpose, he is like an elephant. James is like, Hey there! (imitates the sound of crashing things) Oh, sorry!!! (everybody laughs) And hes so charming, you cannot get mad! Hes like a big hog on two legs.

And do you maintain any relations with other musicians that worked on the first two albums?

Lenny: Something very terrible happened. In the beginning of last summer I shot a video for Silver Paintings from the last record in Los Angeles, and Johnny (B. Frank, bassist) and James were in the video. And this video director from LA was a fucking asshole, the tape is all lost - it was digitally recorded, but latest lost. I feel like Im gonna shoot him. But Johnny, James and I are very close. I mean, we dont talk very much, but were very close. And Danny Stag still thinks hes Jimmy Hendrix, so he
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s out to lunch. Were like, Hello Danny! and hes like Oh cool, wait till I come down. And Rick Steier, the rhythm guitar player, is a very good businessman. There are Kingdom Come members who are making money now, and there are Kingdom Come members who are making music now. Rocknroll! (laughs)

Ive noticed that you have visited the U.S. quite frequently in the past few years. In your opinion, how much has the country changed since your first visit there in the mid-1980s?

Lenny: The whole planet has changed, but Im spending more time in Germany than in America. Palm trees and sun is not the answer to love and happiness. Ive got my family my brother, sister, mother, babushka - in Germany. I love America, there are good people, but home is home. America is fun, but its no culture. And Russia is both fun and culture maybe. (laughs)

Do you ever listen to previous Kingdom Come records? And what is your favorite one?

Yenz: Its before my time, but the best one for me is Twilight Cruiser (1995).

Lenny: Obviously Im more into my new stuff, because thats why Im doing it the way Im doing it. But I love playing the old stuff live. Ev
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ery record is different from another one, and its a reflection of what I like now. I mean, it was very funny this morning when we did a live interview with Radio Maximim, we played What Love Can Be, and then the first song off the new record. Its like two different worlds, and one lunatic.

Yenz: I think a lot of you are gonna be surprised about the new album, it really rock - with three or four exclamation marks.

Do you plan to shoot a video for any song from the new record?

Lenny: Yes, were gonna shoot a video for Aint Crying For The Moon, the title track. Our drummer plays piano, hes very talented, and he also plays cello its very sexy when he plays a cello. Especially when he plays naked.

Do you follow the developments on the European rock and metal scene? If yes, are there any newcomer bands that you can single out?

Lenny: One big problem is that I dont listen to radio in Germany, because radio sucks. So I only hear new stuff from friends. But there are three bands that I listen to a lot lately I love Chris Cornells voice, I like the power of Rammstein, and I like the spaciness of Massive Attack. A little bit of Massive Attack, a little bit of Rammstein, a little bit of John Lennon, and lots of Lenny thats what gonna be on the new record.

Yenz: I cannot but agree, radio basically sucks, but I think Internet radio is a pretty exciting new medium. I listen to a lot of metalcore radio stations all over the world, they play exciting new bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Escape The Fate they are very young people, and its something new. The Internet is a good thing.

Lenny: The good thing about not knowing whats trendy is that you dont follow the trend.

Special thanks to T.C.I. and CD-Maximum for the accreditation to the press conference.

Decoding and editing by Roman Maniac Patrashov
Photos by Konstantin Bonez Viktorov
June 27, 2006
7 2006
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