HELL IN A HANDBASKET
Interview with Mille Petrozza of KREATOR
By Dominic Pierce-Toogood
Mille Petrozza is the backbone of German thrash metal exponents
Kreator, who have been creating their very own brand of noise since 1985. Currently on their
"Hell Comes to Your Town" tour to promote their new album, "Violent
Revolution," you'd think Mille would be a guy you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley late at night, right? Wrong! This hometown boy, who has
never moved from the town in which he was raised, wants nothing more than an easy life and sleeps soundly in his bed every
night, never dreaming of the nightmarish scenarios he writes and sings about.
We caught up with Mille mid-tour for a quick conversation about this apparent contentment, the real reason for playing Colombia and what the future holds for the war-horse that is Kreator...
Rough Edge: Hi, Mille, how are you doing? How's everything going so far?
Mille Petrozza: Very good. Most of the shows are packed and it's a very good tour.
Rough Edge: Why did it take you so long to come back and tour the U.S.?
Mille Petrozza: We had problems with the record companies. Typical bullshit - the distribution wasn't there and you know, it's always hard for a band from Europe to have control over all these things, like on the business side of things and it wasn't in our hands. We wanted to come but for business reasons it just didn't happen. We needed the support of a record company. Now with Sledgehammer (their new record company) they give us that support.
Rough Edge: You seem to have a lot of fans over here from looking at your website at www.kreator-terrorzone.de.
Mille Petrozza: Definitely, I'm very surprised how many people are still around. The metal scene over here seems to be healthier than ever. It's good!
Rough Edge: How does it compare to Europe? How are the audiences different over here?
Mille Petrozza: Not much. There's not that much difference. The audience over here is also very dedicated and very enthusiastic. Most of the time we have split reactions - the same over in Europe.
Rough Edge: OK. So you've been in motion in '85?
Mille Petrozza: Yeah.
Rough Edge: Do you still see some of the original people out there in the crowd?
Mille Petrozza: No. Not many. Sometimes I see some. Most of the people I know from back then are not still around though.
Rough Edge: There's a few?
Mille Petrozza: Yeah, not many though.
Rough Edge: Your tour is called "When Hell Comes To Your Town." What kind of hell have you guys been raising?
Mille Petrozza: (Laughter) The hell of metal! I don't know man ... it's the motto of the tour. There's no deeper meaning to it than that. It's more or less "Hell Comes To Your Town" should be a powerful kind of tour theme.
Rough Edge: You've been on quite a number of tours over the years. If there are no funny stories from this tour, have you got anything from the past you can tell us?
Mille Petrozza: There have been a lot of funny stories, but I don't know if I can mention them now. When you're on the road most of the time people seem to think that it's always like party and fun and you know ... that kind of thing going on. But it's mostly waiting around. I can tell you this much - we come to a gig and we have to wait around until 11:00 at night. We arrive in the morning and then we have to kill some time until the evening. Of course there are some times at night where there are parties going on, but nothing like people really think. Basically there's a party after the show ... the kind of thing where everyone hangs out and drinks a little bit ... whatever.
Rough Edge: I see you just came back from the South America leg of the tour. How was that?
Mille Petrozza: Very good. Very good. We were playing in countries like Peru for the first time.
Rough Edge: You also visited Colombia. Was there any other reason to go to Colombia than just to play?
Mille Petrozza: (laughter) What other reason would there be?! (laughter) Yeah, basically we went there to play. Colombia was good and all the other (South American) shows were good.
Rough Edge: And this is the first time you're visiting some of these countries?
Mille Petrozza: Some of them. Peru we went to for the first time. Some other countries.
Rough Edge: So it seems like a blur to you with all this traveling.
Mille Petrozza: It's good but it's very stressful - especially in America. We had to be on a plane at 7:00 AM. There's a show at 3:00 AM. There's no sleep. It's very stressful.
Rough Edge: That's why you need to go to Colombia - you need something to keep you awake!
Mille Petrozza: (laughter) Oh yeah!
Rough Edge: Let's talk about the new album, ("Violent Revolution"), how does this differ from anything you've done before and has it been well received live?
Mille Petrozza: It's a mix between all the records we've done in the past. It more or less has all the elements that Kreator has been known for over the years. It's got songs related to real life situations and it's a good album - I mean the record is a band record. It has a lot of melody and a lot of aggression and beat and everything that Kreator stands for.
Rough Edge: I've heard a lot of people say that this is more like the old Kreator though.
Mille Petrozza: It's possible. Yeah, people typically say that. You know ... it's like a mix between the old and the new Kreator. It has the melody of the new period where we did a lot of experiments and it has the old aggression and the lyrics-all that.
Rough Edge: Is it going well live?
Mille Petrozza: Oh yeah. Very well.
Rough Edge: Do the crowds seem to know the record? Are they singing along?
Mille Petrozza: Yeah.
Rough Edge: That's great! Some of the lyrics in the album seem very dark. Are these the kinds of things that keep you up at night? Do you have nightmares about these kinds of things?
Mille Petrozza: (laughter) Um ... no, that's why I'm writing these lyrics. If I didn't write those lyrics, maybe I would have nightmares. Most of the time people want me to explain what the lyrics are about. I don't want to do that because I think you should leave some room for interpretation. If you want to know what they're about, just read them and whatever they do for you, that's fine.
Rough Edge: So people can interpret them however they want and adapt them to whatever is going on in their lives?
Mille Petrozza: Exactly. If they can relate to some of the stuff - fine!
Rough Edge: But for you, it's an exorcism isn't it? Getting all of these lyrics down.
Mille Petrozza: Yeah somehow it is. You have to get rid of some stuff that you're thinking about and you want to say things that are on your mind. It makes sense. It comes out like an exorcism. Like therapy or something.
Rough Edge: They say that you sing about or write songs about your innermost feelings - so are these your innermost feelings?
Mille Petrozza: Yeah.
Rough Edge: Well then you are not someone I want to bump into in the middle of the night!
Mille Petrozza: (laughter) No, I'm a very normal person.
Rough Edge: You must have seen some changes since you began in '85.
Mille Petrozza: Yeah that's true.
Rough Edge: What are the biggest changes you've seen in the rock music scene?
Mille Petrozza: It has become more commercial and more controlled by record companies and the industry. It used to be different. That's something that we can deal with though. We can find our own way out of it. We have a lot of support from our fans, we need some support from our record company, but that's it. We have our family.
Rough Edge: Coming from the area that you did in Germany, the coal mining area, did that inspire you to start making music?
Mille Petrozza: Yeah, basically because there was nothing else to do. When you're a teenager, you start playing music and it just came from there. We didn't plan on becoming professional musicians - it just happened. There were a lot of things that just happened back then. We didn't really plan this ... it just started out as a fun thing to do in the afternoon after school and it still is.
Rough Edge: Do any of you guys still live in the area or do you live in different parts of Germany now?
Mille Petrozza: Three of the band members still live there and one lives in Finland.
Rough Edge: O.K. So you kept your roots there?
Mille Petrozza: Yeah in a way. We never thought about moving.
Rough Edge: I've got a couple of other things for you, Mille. Say you were to leave Kreator temporarily, and you could sing with any other band that's still performing, who would that be?
Mille Petrozza: Nobody. I don't want to play in other bands. That wouldn't work! It would make the other band sound like Kreator if I sang for them. (laughter)
Rough Edge: What about any band through history? There must be someone you admired before and thought what if I could go up there with them and sing, who would it be your honor to sing with?
Mille Petrozza: Um ... Nobody! (laughter)
Rough Edge: You're that happy with your band?
Mille Petrozza: Yeah!
Rough Edge: That's great.
Mille Petrozza: Like I said, I respect a lot of bands - I like a lot of bands, but I don't go that far to say I want to join another band because I like them so much. No way!
Rough Edge: O.K. So when the tour is done, Mille, what's the future hold for Kreator and you?
Mille Petrozza: We're mixing a live record after this and then we're editing the DVD. That's going to come out some time next year. That's all our plans for now.
Rough Edge: Is the live album being recorded on this tour?
Mille Petrozza: Yeah, in Sao Paulo it was and we have various recordings from Europe. It's going to be a double live record with 25 songs. We have a lot of things to pick from. We recorded 20 shows in Europe and a big one in Sao Paulo and it's great.
Rough Edge: Excellent! Thanks very much and have a good tour the rest of the way.
Mille Petrozza: Ok man. Thank you very much!
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Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:11 -0400.