Alexander Beyrodt (pronounced [bairodt]) is not the most famous guitar player in Germany, for sure, but he is on the way to the top. After years in Sinner, brief incarnation of The Sygnet with German melodic hard rock genius Michael Bormann of the Jaded Heart fame Alex finally gave birth to his very own baby, Silent Force, along with D. C. Cooper, legendary outsider of Royal Hunt. Frankly speaking, this interview took place a while ago but contrary to other magazines we tried to reveal Alex as a musician as well as uncover some other issues often ignored in most of the interviews. Here he is, a star in his own right, Herr Beyrodt!
MetalKings.com: Alex, first I'd like to say that your personal website is very informative. Who made it? You or your friend?
Alex Beyrodt: It's a friend of mine from Switzerland. His name is Santo and he designed the website. He takes care of it but unfortunately it was not updated lately so I have to do something about it.
MetalKings.com: OK. Tell me how did you start playing guitar and who influenced you?
Alex Beyrodt: I started when I was 15 or maybe 14, I don't remember. It was really funny because I was watching TV with my parents. And there was a German guitar player, Viki King, he was playing white Fender Stratocaster and on that TV show he played a solo on just one string. So I said to my mom, "Oh, that's really easy! I can do that too!" That's how my interest for guitar started. The next thing was when I bought an electric guitar and started listening to KISS, Status Quo and others. Then I found Deep Purple and Rainbow, I was huge fan of Ritchie Blackmore and still am. Then finally I saw Ozzy Osbourne live with Randy Rhoads. I was standing in the first row and was hooked by Randy's guitar playing and his charisma of stage. Unfortunately, nowadays many musicians don't have charisma anymore. Today everybody who can hold a guitar is just jumping on the stage and in the earlier days it was not only the guitar it was the whole person who was important. And I'm missing charisma today on the music scene a lot. And a was also a huge fan of Gary Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, George Lynch, John Sykes and Chris Impellitteri is also really great. So I was through all those steps: formed the band, did shows and blah, blah, blah... (laughs)
MetalKings.com: So your first band was Wild Axes, right?
Alex Beyrodt: Yes, that was my first band which I formed when I was 15. At 18 I had my first single with these guys.
MetalKings.com: The single was called "Take Me".
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, exactly! How can you know?! (laughs)
MetalKings.com: So is it possible to hear the song nowadays?
Alex Beyrodt: Well, actually the single is in the frame, it's on the wall in my living room. So I cannot play it to you! (laughs) But I think of making an MP3 and putting it on my webpage so that people can listen to it and laugh! (laughs) And I really think that I should put some early demo stuff on the page, it's a good idea.
MetalKings.com: Later you left for the United States and played in Rough Cutt with Paul Shortino.
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, that's right. But it was not a long time, just for a few months.
MetalKings.com: And why did you leave for the USA?
Alex Beyrodt: I left Sinner after the recordings of "No More Alibis" album in 1992 that's why my face is not on the cover. But I played the whole record. So he had a band with guys from Rough Cutt, Lita Ford, House Of Lords, the band was based in Los Angeles.
MetalKings.com: So did you record any albums with Paul?
Alex Beyrodt: There's one album, it's called Bad Boyzz (released only in Japan on "Alfa Records" in 1994). The funny thing is that I don't play guitar on the album, I sing in the background. But it was not a real band, just a project. You know, American musicians are sometimes really strange, they don't work in the stance of a band. They always form a lot of projects and if one of them becomes successful then they will say that it's a band. And I didn't like such way of working. I prefer a band situation with five guys when everyone is living and fighting for the band. So I don't understand the American way, I don't like it.
MetalKings.com: And why did you leave Sinner after "No More Alibis"? Was it a better offer from Paul or you didn't like Sinner music?
Alex Beyrodt: I had to move to Los Angeles, I thought that this thing with Paul would be a good band and don't forget that Paul was always my favorite singer in the world. So when I had a chance to make a band with him I was really excited and left Sinner.
MetalKings.com: And how did you get to know Mat Sinner?
Alex Beyrodt: Oh, it was at a newcomer festival where I played with my band Princess. And Mat and some other guys from the band were in the jury. So they saw me on stage and after the show asked if I would like to have an audition. I said, "Yes, of course!" cause at that time I was a huge fan of Sinner that's why I was very excited. It was like my dream came true. So two weeks later I was a guitar player in Sinner. It was that piece of luck you need in the career and I had it at that moment.
MetalKings.com: As far as I know it happened in 1988, right?
Alex Beyrodt: Right, I think so.
MetalKings.com: And what did the band do after recording "Back To The Bullet"?
Alex Beyrodt: After the recording we were touring with Zed Yago, writing a lot of songs, playing big festivals and I guess the next thing was "No More Alibis". Then I left and came back for the "Bottom Line". With that album we went on tour with Mr. Big all over Europe.
MetalKings.com: Some sources claim that Henny Wolter (Primal Fear, then Thunderhead member) played on that album "Bottom Line". Is that true?
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, Henny played some guitars but there are definitely songs that I played on for sure.
MetalKings.com: And why did you leave Sinner again?
Alex Beyrodt: Well, I left Sinner to form Silent Force and now I'm not a member of Sinner anymore.
MetalKings.com: There will be the new Sinner album in 2003 called "There Will Be Execution". Are you going to play on it?
Alex Beyrodt: No, I don't want to. I'm tired of being in Sinner, to be honest. It was a good time for all those years but Silent Force is my baby, it takes all my power. Actually I was tired of being in the shadow of Mat. Everybody always wanted to do interviews with him, you know, so nobody was really interested in me. So I was tired of it, I think I'm a good musician, a good guitar player and I want to have some interest in me as well! (laughs) Don't get me wrong but everybody was always crazy about Mat. And now I feel much better because I have my own band, I can write the songs I want, I can make the music I want, I have responsibility and I enjoy it much more. But the time with Sinner was very good for me, I learned everything about the business in this band.
MetalKings.com: Some people say that Mat is a dictator. Do you think so?
Alex Beyrodt: Well, let me put this thing correct and answer like this: Mat knows exactly what he wants, he is in this business for a long time, a very good businessman and most of his decisions are right. And I don't really like the word 'dictator'. He's a very strong person, let me say it this way.
MetalKings.com: So whose idea was it to form Silent Force?
Alex Beyrodt: The idea? Actually it was my idea! (laughs) Because I started to step out of the shadow of Sinner with The Sygnet first but it wasn't happening because I had problems with singer Michael Bormann...
MetalKings.com: Yeah, Michael told me your problem was that you came from different styles of music.
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, he's more the type of Bon Jovi, mainstream singer and I like heavy metal music with balls, you know. He did a great job on that album ("Children Of The Future" (1997)) but for the next album we couldn't find a way to work together. That's why I decided to start from scratch with a new singer, a new team. Andreas Hilgers, drummer, he was in The Sygnet and he's a very good drummer. So I asked him if he would like to join Silent Force. He agreed and then I was looking for a new singer. And at that time D.C.'s solo album was running in my CD-player all the time. To be honest, I never was a big Royal Hunt fan but I liked his solo album very much. So I contacted my management and next day I had D.C.'s phone number. I gave him a call and two weeks later he came to Germany and we started working together.
MetalKings.com: OK. Maybe you can unveil a big mistery about D.C. Cooper. What is his real name? What means D.C.?
Alex Beyrodt: His name is Donald Christopher Cooper. Actually his real name is Donald Cooper but Christopher is the name of his brother who died in a car accident many years ago. So to remember about his brother he took his name as a middle name. So Donald Christopher Cooper is D.C. Cooper.
MetalKings.com: And does he live in the USA all the time?
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, he's an American citizen, he lives in Pittsburg.
MetalKings.com: Does it affect the band's work? I mean, the United States and Germany are far from each other...
Alex Beyrodt: No, it's not a big problem. We rehearse without him which is quite usual. A heavy metal bands does not rehearse with the singer all the time because it's really exhausing for him. And two weeks before the tour he comes to Germany and we start rehearsing with him. Then we go on tour. During the songwriting I send him tapes, so it's really easy. And this band has such good musicians that you don't need to rehearse four days a week, that's not necessary.
MetalKings.com: In the meantime you played with Primal Fear...
Alex Beyrodt: Well, I played with Primal Fear before the first Silent Force album. The thing is that Primal Fear had to play world tour, they were looking for a guitar player and Mat was asking me. And of course I said 'yes' because I liked the first two albums very much. So I played the tour with Primal Fear and after that they asked me if I would like to join the band. But I said 'no' and nobody understood it because they are very successful. But I still said 'no' because it's the same like in Sinner, the band has two leaders, Mat and Ralf (Scheepers), so I would be just one more guitar player like in Sinner. And I didn't want this position anymore! That's why I said 'no, I wanna have my own band, my own responsibility'.
MetalKings.com: How do you record bonus tracks for Japan? Are they leftovers or specially written tracks?
Alex Beyrodt: Oh, Japan always gets a bonus track, it's the part of our contract. So they are not leftovers, we're always thinking hard which song to take as a bonus track. And we chose "See Beyond" for the first album and "Pain" for the second.
MetalKings.com: And do you have any more outtakes from sessions?
Alex Beyrodt: I think there are two more songs which are not finished yet with vocals. And right now we started working on the third album which is gonna be a tough one! (laughs)
MetalKings.com: On the second Silent Force album you worked together with guitar player from Rage, Victor Smolski. How did you get to know him?
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, Victor is my friend!.. He now plays with German musicians in a German band and everybody knows each other. Because that's like a huge family here, you meet each other at shows, open airs. And Victor also lives not so far away from where I live. I came in contact with him because of my workshops. You know, I do workshops for the German company called "Behringer". They are making guitar amplifiers and mixing desks and stuff like this and I do workshops for them. So once I said, "Maybe I can ask Victor Smolski so that we can do workshops together!" So I contaced him and we worked together at the Frankfurt Music Fair, went to Los Angeles together and he became a good friend which is great because usually guitar players don't like each other. There's always competition. But between Victor and myself there's no competition which is really really great. We respect each other as persons, as musicians and as guitar players. But we don't talk like 'Oh, he can play this and I can't play this'. Usually guitar players are doing this all the time but we don't. So we have a really great relationship and even thinking about doing a project with the orchestra of his father. We plan to do a record with his orchestra like two guitars and orchestra.
MetalKings.com: Reminds me of Yngwie Malmsteen!
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, exactly! There will be Victor and myself, I think it could be very interesting. I hope we will soon find the time for it.
MetalKings.com: I think you know about that project that Yngwie did with orchestra. What do you think about that project and about Yngwie as a guitar hero?
Alex Beyrodt: I love that album. I know that some people think of it very critical but I love it. I respect his work a lot. His last albums really suck (laughs) but in the past he did so many great albums, he's such a great guitar player and I respect it a lot.
MetalKings.com: On the second Silent Force album you had a different bass player, Jurgen Steinfetz. Why did Fleisch leave?
Alex Beyrodt: Well, Jurgen was already playing with us on the tour with Stratovarius for the first album. And Fleisch was really very short time in the band. He's working as a tour manager for "Continental Concerts". He's always on tour with Rhapsody, Axel Rudi Pell and all those guys. And after several months we decided that it's better to split because he likes more his job of being a tour manager than a musician. Jurgen was very quick in the band, he's now with us for about three years so Fleisch was replaced very very quickly.
MetalKings.com: Is the second album "Infactuator" the concept one?
Alex Beyrodt: No, no concept.
MetalKings.com: So songs are from our lives, right?
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, songs from hell! (laughs) Actually there's a little trilogy on the album abut the Roman Empire, gladiators stuff but no concept on the whole album at all.
MetalKings.com: Why did you choose "All Guns Blazing" of Judas Priest as a cover-version?
Alex Beyrodt: When we went on tour with Stratovarius we thought that we should play a cover song from somebody to finish the show and get the crowd going. Because when you play a song that everybody knows it's really great for the people. And D.C. said, "Oh, I always wanted to play "All Guns Blazing" from Judas!" And we tried it and it felt great, it was very easy to play it and it sounds like a song from us. Then we played it on tour every evening and after the tour we decided to put it on the album.
MetalKings.com: In late 2001 there was a project German Rock Stars that recorded the song "Wings Of Freedom" devoted to victims of September 11 in the United States. Were you asked to play there?
Alex Beyrodt: No.
MetalKings.com: But would you like to join such project?
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, of course. I would love to do it because you live in really tough times and if you can help people anyhow you should do it.
MetalKings.com: As far as I know you also played "River Of Pain" from Royal Hunt during live shows..
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, sometimes we do it. But we play it more heavy!
MetalKings.com: And do you play any other covers live?
Alex Beyrodt: Sometimes we play songs from D.C.'s solo album but I don't see that as a cover. And I don't think that "River Of Pain" is a cover because it belongs to D.C.'s history. So the only real cover we play is "All Guns Blazing". Other songs involved D.C. so it's not 'covering'. We can also play something from Sinner and I don't think it would be a cover.
MetalKings.com: I know that you live in Kreffeld. Famous German band Blind Guardian comes from Kreffeld too. Do you know them in person?
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, we're good friends.
MetalKings.com: And did you ever think about recording songs in their "Twilight Hall Studios"?
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, we're thinking about it but I don't know yet. I've been to their studio five or six times and it's quite nice there, very close from where I live. Right now we don't know in which studio we will record the next album. We have several opportunities but didn't decide yet.
MetalKings.com: So when can we expect the new album from Silent Force?
Alex Beyrodt: I guess by the end of the year or early next year.
MetalKings.com: What is that 'burning bus' mentioned on your homepage?
Alex Beyrodt: Oh, this thing happened to us once at the Stratovarius tour and twice at the Angra tour. We had burning bus. It looks like we always burn the buses down! (laughs)
MetalKings.com: So it really burned?
Alex Beyrodt: Well, it didn't burn to the ground. But it was really dangerous. Everybody was sleeping and the whole bus was covered with poisonous smoke. But our bass player, Jurgen, he was awake, saw the whole bus full of smoke and told the driver to stop. Then we all went out, there was no electricity, it was in the middle of the night. It was very dark, you couldn't see anything. It was really terrible and dangerous. I was walking over somebody, maybe it was Eduardo (Falachi, singer) from Angra. It was really dangerous to be in that poisonous smoke.
MetalKings.com: Do you think that the first album of Silent Force was more progressive than the second one?
Alex Beyrodt: Yeah, it was more progressive. But it was the concept album so I think it was OK. On the concept album you always try to explain your feelings without lyrics. But on this second album you can understand that we toured together, rehearsed a lot and it was more a band situation. Because on the first album it was more my work but on the second it was the whole band, we changed our style. So beaware of the third album! (laughs)
MetalKings.com: And did you ever think about the solo album?
Alex Beyrodt: Well, I would love to do it but unfortunately I don't have enough time. I could do many things, I have many ideas but my schedule is so full, I do those workshops. It's something I do for a living and it's a great job. It's great to play around the world, get money for it. So I don't know about the solo album... maybe next year, maybe two years later... let's see!
MetalKings.com: Do think the European heavy metal is more melodic and classically oriented than the American one?
Alex Beyrodt: I totally agree. That's because of the roots. I think that both Russia and Germany have similar roots, they are in classical music. And American roots are in rhythm'n'blues so it's very different and you can hear it.
MetalKings.com: And do you like classical music?
Alex Beyrodt: I love classical music! And another thing is that European heavy metal bands do not follow trends. They just love this style of music, they stay with it while American bands always try to follow trends, pick up money or whatever. That's why the whole American metal scene is still down. The grunge came to America and they all thought, 'Now we have to play grunge!' but they destroyed themselves! But in Germany all bands stayed with their style and played heavy music. Look at Gamma Ray or Sinner or whatever. Even during the times of grunge they were making the same heavy music. That's why I think European musicians are much stronger than the American ones. And it's also the problem of mentality.
MetalKings.com: As far as I know in Germany many musicians don't live from their music while in America they do.
Alex Beyrodt: That's right. But look at those American bands. They earn money, make millions of dollars but they are on the scene for two or three years and then they're gone and you will not hear from them again. But in Germany, take Sinner, it's 20 years. Look also at Gamma Ray or Helloween, they're even longer here. Even if the money thing is not that big as in America the German musicians really love that music and it's not about money.
MetalKings.com: Alex, thanks a lot for the interview! Hope to see you in Russia some day!
Alex Beyrodt: I'd love to come and play in your country! Have a nice day! Bye!
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