Rage - Peter 'Peavy' Wagner

Not only RAGE did keep going after the noise with the lineup changes, but they have managed to build an amazing album-release streak, with “Wings Of Rage” being the climax of this. Yes, the lineup has solidified the songwriting process and has created an album that pretty much touches everything this band has created over the three decades and a half history. METAL KAOZ got on Skype Peavy to learn about the new album, about “HTTS 2.0” and scoop around the chances of RAGE landing on North American soil. Read on!

Rage - Peter 'Peavy' Wagner

Hi Peavy, this is Dimitris from METAL KAOZ in Chicago.
Yeah, Chicago! You are Greek, right?

Oh yeah, guilty as charged.
Greece is cool.

Yes it is and, in fact, the last time I saw RAGE live was in Greece.

It may have been during the “End Of All Days” tour…

Whoa, are you still living in Greece?

No, I have been living in Chicago for the last decade. It’s been extremely long since the last time I saw RAGE live, man.
Almost 25 years ago. It’s been a long time.

Keep that in mind please, although I may have seen RAGE also in the “Ghosts” tour but I wouldn’t bet any money on this.
I remember for the “Black In Mind” tour we played in the Rodon Club, right?

You are absolutely correct. I was in that show too.
Great memories!

Oh man, I miss seeing RAGE live!
It might be a chance with the new album to get some live dates in the States. This would be cool. We have some offers and we try to make it happen.

Sorry, did you say that you have offers to play in the States?
Yes, we do. It always comes down to the money. I mean, if we manage to do this we should at least not lose money. It is extremely expensive to tour the States. Let’s see what we can do about this.

Oh my goodness, I hope we will. Because “Wings Of Rage” is an amazing album.
Thank you.

Just by looking at the release dates, the previous two albums almost came out in a yearly basis. This time around it took more time; was there a specific reason for this?
First of all, we wanted to get the best possible result and so we worked longer for this album. It took us almost two years. The first two albums we did with Marcos [Rodriquez] and Lucky were pretty much shot from the hip, you know, very spontaneous and we did not really take that much time as we did with “Wings Of Rage”. Most of the songs on the new album went through at least three different versions; we were rearranging them, writing new lyrics, adding something here or removing something else... We wanted to make this as good as possible.

This is the third album with this lineup; how much do you think or feel this lineup has grown in terms of putting songs together?
As musicians being in the same band, of course, we have learned a lot and we have gained a lot of experience over the last few years. However, we have been friends since a long time ago; I know Lucky since 1998 and I know Marcos at least 15 years. So, we did not have to grow together as friends but as musicians we did grow working together in RAGE. I think you hear this in the new album.

Absolutely and I think especially Marcos had, should I say, more degrees of freedom because I hear more of his personal touch in the guitar solos.
Yeah, it was his idea to write solos that you can sing along and I think this time he did a better job. Probably this was because we took way more time to write this record and we did not use the first version of the songs. We put a lot of thought on the ideas and how they will fit better into a song.

You also did everything in terms of the production, the mixing and the mastering of the record; why did you decide to do this in house?
We could have done this with the first record (“The Devil Strikes Again”) with this lineup. But we had not been for a long time in the same band and I was not so sure if Marcos had grown enough into it. At the same time I always wanted to work with my friend Dan [Swanö] who did the mixing of those two albums. This time and after hearing what Marcos did with the rereleases of the old RAGE albums and the albums he produced for other bands in between and I understood he was ripe enough to do it. This was the plan from the beginning that one day he will do this. When we were discussing about how we would do the production of the album I said that it was time to have Marcos in the picture for the mixing and the mastering and everybody was “yes, that’s right” (laughs). We should keep this in the family, I mean, we know best what we want and what we need and now we also know how we will achieve this. I think he did a really good job on this.

Yeah, I am not a professional but I am a longtime fan of RAGE and I like what I hear.
That’s good, and he is also one of the biggest fans of the band and this is how he did the production.

There is what I like to call an ‘organic’ sound, and while listening to the album, my mind went to all the way to “Secretes In A Weird World” or even “Trapped!”.
Whoa, I hope we did this a bit better because the technology we have these days is a lot better than we had in those albums.

Well, I was talking about the feeling I got while listening.
Yes, the feeling that you’re talking about is due to the production where I was involved as Marcos was and of course we try to make it sound like you hear a band and not just single tracks being mixed together. We really want to make it sound like a band playing together. For example, it is more expensive to use real drums to record an album than use a drum-machine but we will always keep the luxury especially since Lucky is a fantastic drummer. It would have been a shame to not use his skills. I know a lot of bands that are using drum machines but I don’t think RAGE is a band for this. I mean, there are a couple of these – how do you call them? – Math Metal bands that are super-progressive and they drums are programmed.

And when it comes to concerts, you get to hear something completely different than the record.
Yeah, exactly (laughs).

So, who is the “Twilight Zone” fan? I imagine that it is you...
I came up with this title. I am talking about myself in this song about not being able to get outside my inner self, not being able to communicate with the world. Sometimes it feels like this; I am always running around in my own Twilight Zone. Of course this reminds of the old TV series because when Marcos heard the title he came up with the intro from the TV series and I have to say it is pretty good (laughs).

I did not check the tracklist or even the press released before listening to the album so when I reached “HTTS2.0” I was like “damn, this sounds familiar” (laughs).
Yeah (laughs).

Who had the idea to rework “Higher Than The Sky”? Because it is different than the original.
This was basically a coincidence and it is funny story. While I was driving I heard on the radio WHITESNAKE’s “Here I Go Again”; not the original but the remake version. And I thought “whoa, they had one of their biggest with a remake”. I told Marcos about this and we started to spontaneously jam on “Higher Than The Sky”. I asked him to imagine how this song would be if I had not written the original, I mean, how would you play it. He had this down-tuned guitar and he was like “I would play it like this”. On the original there are some chord progressions with at least three notes each and Marcos did this on one down-tuned string. I liked what he did and right then I said to record a version of this song in the way that we would do it now. We recorded the riffs and Marcos programmed a drum groove as a suggestion for Lucky. When Lucky joined us in the studio later that day we played what we had for him but he did not recognize that it was “Higher Than The Sky” (laughs) until I had started singing. Everybody liked this version from the record company to the management and in the beginning it was meant to be a bonus track but then we realized it was too good to be heard just by a couple of fans in Japan on a special limited edition. It wouldn’t get the focus it should have, you know, so we decided to put it in context with all the other new tracks.

I guess the question now is what version will you play live?
I don’t know, probably we will still going to do the old version. I mean, the new version it is not meant to be in competition to the old one. The old one is good as it is. Maybe we can make a mix of it (laughs).

Well, the original has a longer singing along while the new one is faster and heavier.
Yeah, we can make a mix. We are actually discussing the tour set and we are in the middle of rehearsals so let’s see until we reach this point.

Speaking of specific tracks how is “Shadow Over Deadland (The Twilight Transition)” connected to “A Nameless Grave”? I mean, we hear a creature flapping its wings, right?
This is the cover artwork you hear there. The Soundchaser dragon flying over the nameless graves and basically this is the intro for “A Nameless Grave”.

Well, I was about to ask how are this intro and song connected to the album’s cover artwork but you just gave the answer. Although the orchestral parts have been decreased, compared to the older albums, but then you have the amazing “A Nameless Grave” and my album favorite “Shine A Light”. This kind of made me wonder whether LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA is still an active project.
Yes, we did a tour over this summer with the LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA and for the first time we played live the entire “XIII” album from 1998. The initial idea for the new album was to bring all the stylistic elements together. You know, all the elements the band has developed the whole 35 years from the Thrash-y early days to the anthemic songs of the early ‘90s, the epic orchestrated songs of the late '90s, and the more Progressive elements we used in ‘00s. Doing the shows with LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA in the summer made it easier to record these three songs.

Will you release a new album with LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA?
Under this name we won’t release something right now. I mean, for the next two years at least we will be concentrated only on RAGE so there are no sideline projects.

Anything from the REFUGE side?
No, this is on ice right now.

Oh, come on…
Maybe we can still invited the guys for some shows here and there for special appearances.

Or you can bring both bands in the US - how does that sound?
(laughs) Ok, deal! (laughs)

Talking about touring, you have announced shows in Europe and now I will officially ask you; is there any chance to see RAGE here in the States?
Like I said in the beginning of the interview, we will be touring for the next two years and we have a lot of stuff working on at the moment. A lot those have not been confirmed so I cannot talk about them. We have South America already on the plan and the idea is, as we do have offers for North America, to combine the two tours. Of course, calculations need to be made because financially it is difficult to make it happen. But we really try hard to make it happen.

I will call you back if nothing happens… (laughs)
(laughs) Yes!

Before letting you go, I would like to share a fun fact with you; for reasons that I do not know, the song that has been stuck into my mind from the old days is “Supersonic Hydromatic”… I don’t know why, but that chorus, man, it is stuck… (laughs)
(laughs) It is a funny song. I am not sure if we have ever played it live.

I don’t think you have. What did cross your mind to write those lyrics?
Dude, I was completely drunk when I wrote all this nonsense (laughs).

Ok, Peavy, thank you very much for your time.
Thank you Dimitris for your support.

I am still waiting the vinyl version of “Wings Of Rage”…
Yeah, that has the second version of “Shine A Light” that is a stripped down version. The way it sounded originally.

Awesome! I hope to see RAGE soon live in Chicago.
Thanks man, hopefully we will.