1990 – present (31 years)
- David Moore
- Franco Zuccaroli
- Jutta Weinhold
- Lars Ratz
- Olaf Lenk
- Peter Szigeti
- Roy Last
In this second (and final) part of our JUTTA WEINHOLD story, we continue our trip through memory lane with VELVET VIPER, her solo effort “To Be Or Not…” in 1994 and we talk about what she’s been doing for the last couple of years and the things she’s up to nowadays. We hope you have enjoyed this story of one of Germany’s most underrated Rock icons, JUTTA WEINHOLD, who has proven that rock’n’roll is still in her blood! Again, we’d like to thank JUTTA and her friend Bärbel Craven for all their time and effort to help us out on this story. We love you both! Visit JUTTA’s official website for all the news and info about the JUTTA WEINHOLD BAND, and don’t miss her live! Go to: http://www.jutta-weinhold.de for the latest tour information.
So, the other band members were granted the name ZED YAGO. I can't remember, they ever played live under that name, though. Do you know what happened to them?
Jutta: “I just put “The spell from over yonder” on them and they disappeared back to the dustbin where they came from, except Bubi and Gunnar.”
How did you get in touch with the people, that appeared on the "Velvet Viper" CD?
Jutta: “Musicians from Germany and Great Britain were invited to an audition and so we got the team set up.”
This whole name change happened only a few days before you were about to play with Matt Sinner (SINNER) and GYPSY KYSS. Did you actually play this gig, or were you forced to cancel the whole thing?
Jutta: “On the first day of the tour we received a interim injunction from the court saying, that I couldn’t use the name anymore. I finished the tour under the name of the “Flying Dutchman’s Daughter”.”
We find back the names of Olaf Jung and Franco Zuccarolli (ex-STEELER) on the first VELVET VIPER CD. I thought that Mick Galle was also in the very first line up. What happened to him? Did he quit, before you actually started recording "Velvet Viper"?
Jutta: “He was at the audition, but Mick Galle really had too much on.”
Peter Szigeti had played together with DORO in WARLOCK (and in UDO). He was one of your guitar players on the new album. Did you communicate with him on how DORO would handle certain things or was he just another guitar player in the band? After all, he had gained a lot of success in those days with WARLOCK and great experiences in playing in a female fronted band.
Jutta: “Peter Szigeti was a nice guy and a good guitar player. He was booked to play on that SINNER tour. He already had other things on his mind. Now I’m pretty certain, that DORO had the same problems with bands like me at that particular time.”
What did you think of DORO in those days? A lot of magazines compared the two of you, but in my opinion your voice was stronger than DORO's and the music that you played was also much different than DORO's. I think, it would be quite unusual to compare you with DORO. The only thing, that you have in common, is that you’re both female front ladies. I got the idea that you were not too pleased with this comparison?
Jutta: “Thank you very much! I certainly agree.”
If I would have to add somebody to your list of influences, then I would certainly name YNGWIE MALMSTEEN (guitar solos). True or false?
Jutta: “I know Gunnar, Olaf (Lenk; He now plays in AT VANCE) and Dave were very impressed and influenced by him. I just don’t understand, why he hates singers.”
One song on the "Velvet Viper" album caught our special attention: "Brainsuckers: Thommyknockers" inspired and dedicated to Stephen King. How did you get inspired to write this song, by the book or by the film and why?
Jutta: “I got the idea from the book. I love Stephen King. I read every single book of him and I was absolutely godsmacked by this story. I know that there are still Tommyknockers and brainsuckers around, as people are becoming increasingly stupid. Stephen King’s agency authorized me to use the title.”
Is there any particular book of him that you like the most?
Jutta: “At the moment I’m reading the latest one “Duddits”, but I cannot decide on one in particular.”
I browsed again through your special thanks list on the "Velvet Viper" CD, and I found the name FIONA. Is this FIONA FLANNAGAN or are we way off here? How did she get on your special thanks list?
Jutta: “Yes, it was her. She corrected my lyrics, as I always found it very important that the English was as good as possible.”
Are there any big differences between VELVET VIPER and ZED YAGO, besides the name?
Jutta: “No, not really. ZED YAGO’S quest for fantasy continued, but under the name of VELVET VIPER.“
Wasn't it very difficult for you to start again from scratch? After all, everybody knew the band and its concept as ZED YAGO.
Jutta: “It certainly was as the chemistry was gone and as you know everything was going down the drain.”
What have Merlin, King Arthur, Perceval, Stonehenge and the Thommyknockers got to do with the ZED YAGO concept, that you were following? Were they all part of your lost fantasy world at that time?
Jutta: “ZED YAGO sailed to England, where she was part of the King Arthur legend.”
How did you like the solo CD of your ex drummer Bubi, called "Bubi The Schmied"?
Jutta: “It`s quite a long time ago, since I heard the “Blacksmith” LP, but as far as I can remember it’s a good production with nice guitarparts and a well sung piece of work.”
With whom did you share the stage in the period of the first VELVET VIPER CD?
Jutta: “I never played live with VELVET VIPER.”
Wasn't it difficult to get in contact with Bubi again for the release of the second VELVET VIPER CD? After all you fired him not that long ago after a long friendship and now he came back to join the band again.
Jutta: “Bubi and me never really had any problems! Other powers where striking and sometimes it comes as it comes.”
The second VELVET VIPER CD "The 4th Quest For Fantasy" opens with another Richard Wagner song "The Valkyrie"/"Die Wallküre". Any particular reason for that?
Jutta: “On her pilgrimage, she meets the Valkyries. ”The fourth Quest For Fantasy” deals with the strongest women ever (Valkyries, Horsewomen, Amazons).”
Wasn't it difficult for you to come up with a fourth segment of the ZED YAGO story and didn’t you ever think about writing another concept?
Jutta: “No, I still liked this concept and still had plenty of ideas.”
You also had to find another record company for the second CD, because RCA had dropped a lot of bands in those days, like VELVET VIPER and UDO. Why did you choose for the rather unknown T.A.O.B. Products?
Jutta: “What a silly question! Sorry, but no one else wanted us.”
The line up of your band was totally different again. The only member we know is Bubi. Lars Ratz is your new bass player and Roy Last, the new guitar player. Is this the same Roy Last that made an album, called "Goodtimes Ahead" in 1983? I have his album here.
Jutta: “Sure, the band members changed constantly and I was desperately holding onto the thing before I realized, that it was over. Roy Last was actually the same you referred to.”
The family name Last reminds me of the great orchestra leader, James Last. Is there any connection?
Jutta: “He’s James Last’ nephew. But that was never important.”
Another walk through the 'thanks list' brought me to the name of Gene Simmons (KISS). You thank him for his inspiration. Maybe you can tell us some more on how he inspired you for this album?
Jutta: “Lars Ratz is a big fan of Gene Simmons. He (Lars) now is the mastermind of a metal band, called METALIUM.”
How did the CDs of VELVET VIPER sell, if you compare them to the ZED YAGO CDs?
Jutta: “They didn’t sell at all.”
Why did VELVET VIPER called it quits after this fourth segment of the ZED YAGO concept?
Jutta: “The sale figures and upcoming new trouble, I could virtually smell it, made me stop it before I lost the fun in Rock`n’ Roll. I wanted to continue with music, but without a band.”
Did you make any other videoclips, besides the one for "Black Bone Song"?
Jutta: “No, after I lost the major deal, there was no money left for expensive things, like videos.”
We move on to 1993, when you released your solo CD "To Be Or Not…" What did you do in the time between VELVET VIPER and your solo CD?
Jutta: “Crying my eyes out!”
I hear a lot of DEEP PURPLE (old style) influences on this CD, especially in the opening track "House Of Madness". Didn't you have to play for a totally different audience or did you still attract the hard and heavy ZED YAGO/VELVET VIPER fans at your shows? After all, the sound of this new CD is still very heavy!
Jutta: “I still had so much material, that had to be produced. At that time I never played live.”
What did the press think about this great solo CD?
Jutta: “They never paid any attention. I have to admit that T.A.O.B never cared at all to promote this album. God knows why.”
Who were in your band back then, because the CD didn't give us much information about it.
Jutta: “A Czech metal band, called CITRON. They are friends of the producer Jan Nemec. With them I played a couple of festivals in the Czech Republic. That was a great experience, because the audience there were really craving for Rock`n’ Roll.”
In your thanks list, you refer to the 'rebel ladies'. Who are these ladies, that were honoured on almost every album that you made?
Jutta: “The most famous groupies in Hamburg.”
After that you started a gospel rock choir. Can you tell us a little bit more about this move?
Jutta: “After all that mess I wanted to keep distance from the whole scene in Hamburg. So my husband and I bought a house in the countryside. There I went to the local music school and started to learn the piano and music theory. In 1995 the school asked me, if I wanted to give singing lessons. During workshops every week, I founded the gospel choir. Two years ago I change it to gospel-rock-choir, because I can’t deny my roots.”
Are you that religious that you wanted to start singing (rock) gospels?
Jutta: “No, not at all! We don’t express the spiritual side of this music, but the rhythm and power.”
After that, you sang for three years in a rhythm and soul band called BLUE NOTE. Did you record any albums with this band and why did you change to rhythm and soul at that time?
Jutta: “I never recorded anything with BLUE NOTE. I only met the former keyboarder Klaus Henatsch, of the old JUTTA WEINHOLD BAND. For no particular reason I did rhythm and soul, I just wanted to sing again.”
Next you return with a new CD of the JWB featuring Klaus Henatsch, called "In Session". You play some well-known classics in combination with some own written material on this very nice CD. How was it to do something like this again? This album sounds so fresh and so basic, that it must have been a relief for you to record it. You can almost hear the passion and the fun you had, while playing all these songs!
Jutta: “Klaus Henatsch talked me into reforming the JWB, and here I was again. We had to produce the CD “In Session” very quickly in order to get gigs. This was the only reason for me to have cover versions on the CD. But still it was fun.”
In 2000, you return to your metal roots for a short guest appearance on the METALIUM CD "State Of Fire". What was it like doing something really metal again and how did you get in contact with the guys?
Jutta: “Lars Ratz asked me, if I could do some choir singing on his new album. I agreed and had a lot of fun with his music. It was something special to sing metal again. I didn’t forget!”
OK, it's 2001 now. What are you up to at the moment? Are you still playing with the JUTTA WEINHOLD BAND or do you have other projects going on as well? We noticed that you are doing a tour with the JWB and you even played an 'unplugged' gig. Going back to your roots somehow?
Jutta: “Don’t laugh, but after a few months Klaus and I got rid of the drummer and guitar player, because musically we wanted to go in different directions. We found a crazy genius of a guitarist, Kai Reuter, and a very funny, but pounding drummer, named Sven Petersen. We are working on being heavy again, as all of us decided to do so. The lyrics are again very strongly based on classical poetry and philosophical thoughts. And as stated before: ‘Strong words need strong music!’ And always remember: ‘Only loud music will drive away the evil spirits’!”
Recently, I found a very cool MP3 of you, singing "Keep On Running". Is this a new recording or did this come from one of your existing records that we don't know (yet)?
Jutta: “Amazing, what you all found! That was way back in 1979. No comment, really.”
What do you think of the Heavy Metal scene of today? Do you still follow up on the scene and which new coming bands do you find interesting, besides METALIUM?
Jutta: “I believe the metal scene hasn’t quite the same influence as it had fifteen years ago. What a shame! The old guys are still around, which is good. Some things like Nu Metal I really haven’t really followed up. At the moment I’m fascinated by THE BLACK CROWES, which certainly isn’t metal. I saw them at the AC/DC show in Hamburg and they are a damn good band!”
Something completely different now. In 1986 you were part of a forum, that existed of Anca Graterol and Marina Hlubeck (ROSY VISTA), Sabina Classen (HOLY MOSES) and Doro (DORO/WARLOCK), for German metal magazine Crash. You were discussing about a lot of different subjects. What exactly do you remember from this conversation and who came up with the subjects that you talked about?
Jutta: “I remember the meeting and that Sabina Classen stated that Ronnie James Dio is a pop singer (Schlagersänger). Sorry, but that’s all I remember.”
What is the most important thing you've achieved in the music business over the years?
Jutta: “I only did what I was convinced of. I wanted to sell records and not my soul. I think that I achieved a unique status within the metal scene.”
Are there still any goals left that you want to achieve now?
Jutta: “Having fun with my music and a band that will stick together for more than a couple of years, because only then we can develop good music.”
Do you have any other interests besides music?
Jutta: “At the moment, yes, swimming. I only learned to swim last year!”
What do you think of the fact, that a Dutch metal magazine like Metal Maidens, got in contact with you to do an interview about your former bands ZED YAGO & VELVET VIPER? And how do you feel about this trip through memory lane?
Jutta: “At first I was astounded that there would be enough female rockerz to fill a mag like yours. I’m of the opinion that there are not enough woman, who become serious musicians and stay around in the scene for a while. Coming to the next question: I like interviews and I like print media, because I get the chance to express myself and be able to refer intensely to every topic. Especially with people like you, who try very hard, it’s extreme pleasant to communicate, because I don’t have to be clever as most face-to-face interviews (TV, etc.) end up being superficial. The fact that the interview was mainly about ZED YAGO/VELVET VIPER is ok, because it was the most appreciated and successful work in my career. I found it extremely exciting to think so intensely about this whole time, that is back years ago.”
Is there a chance that there will be a ZED YAGO or VELVET VIPER reunion someday?
Jutta: “No, I’m afraid not, but listen to our next CD production and you will see that we’re getting a lot heavier and it will be going back to my very hard rock roots. I call it Blues-Metal.”
Are there many songs that you wrote back in those days, but never recorded? Or don't you have any unreleased tracks, that you could use for a nice compilation CD or something like that? Perhaps we could speak of the release of 'The last lost fantasies of ZED YAGO'.
Jutta: “There have been just a few lyrics, nothing more. If ever I plan anything like that, I would kindly ask you for your permission to use your words “The last lost fantasies of ZED YAGO”, because it would be a very nice title!”
Do you have any personal messages to the readers of Metal Maidens?
Jutta: “I want to beware people from just consuming music. The motto “to buy, to gain, to possess“ can certainly not be appropriate for good music, as music can replace non-material values, that have disappeared in our materialistic orientated society. It`s always worthwhile, to feel music – art in general -deeply. Only then you will gain something from it. I also like to say something about the new band. As I already mentioned “Blues-Metal” is appearing on the horizon. Let me now introduce the band: Klaus Henatsch, piano and Hammond organ, our fozzybear and a great singer too, who initialised the band. Kai Reuter, our big boy, a guitar player always under high voltage. Peter Pichl, bass guitar, and groove minister, the calming influence. Sven Petersen, responsible for the hard and heavy beats. We’ve got eight titles composed for the new CD so far. At the moment we are working on Shakespeare`s “Macbeth” and “Metamorphosis”, by Franz Kafka. As we have no major deal, it will take some time to finish the production, but it will come, promise!”
Any final words, you’d like to come up with?
Jutta: “Rock`n’ Roll is not only a music style for me, but also a life–philosophy. To all Dutch club owners: book us!!! It is high time for an unrestrained interpretation on the stage of freedom, where there’s nothing to lose. To all metal heads in Holland: Stay the course and whenever you feel like getting in touch with me, visit http://www.jutta-weinhold.de, write to us and support us.”
interview by: Toine van Poorten/copyright Metal Maidens 2001-2002
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