First of all, to avoid any misunderstandings, wich Rebellion are you? What kinds of styles do you represent? How can we recognise you?
Well, as far as I know there is only one band called Rebellion, wich is mine. I think we play heavy metal. There is so many sub genres. I am not so good in describing my own music, genrealists can do that much better. And if you know any other band that is called Rebellion, please tell me and I will sue them, because our name is registered.
You have been playing for 30 years, if I am not mistaken. How do you treat praising words in a casual conversational setting compared to the online forums? Wich affects you the most?
To be honest it’s always nice to hear praising words, but when become older, those who would not praise you are just simply quite. So I don’t build my trust on them. It’s just nice to hear that there are people out there that like your music and like your style, but it doesn’t make me feel something special or so…
After you left Grave Digger, how did you life adapt to that? How empty were your days?
That wasn’t so bad, because my leaving with Grave Digger went hand-in-hand with the finishing of my University studies, so I had a lot of work to do in a completely different field. And I quit playing bass guitar for almost 3 years, and just focused on finishing my university work and becoming a teacher. So I was completely out of the scene and it was 100% clear cut for me. So there was no time for regrets. Of course there was anger, when ways part there’s normally never happens in a peaceful way, but it didn’t ate up my soul or anything like that.
At the early 2000s you guys made the Rebellion band, with a completely different line up than what it is now. How hard was it to put this band together, and how was it to play music again?
I had started earlier than I found Rebellion, because I was a training teacher at a school and the bass player from the school band could not play a gig that was really important, so they asked me if I could do it. So I just played some pop music along with a school band, and only then I’ve realised how much I missed playing bass. And that’s when I started playing bass again, and jammed with friends. And when I met up with Uwe again to found Rebellion, I have actually been playing for a year again, so it wasn’t completely new and it wasn’t really hard to put together the band, because in those times you still received and you could still earn a lot of money from record companies and sales. So we got a good advanced money to pay musicians, book studios. That all went kinda easily to be honest.
I think that a lot of changes had been made to the line up in the past. How hard was to find new musicians that fit? How did a new musician changed the pace and momentum of the creating process?
I think that almost the hardest cut was when Uwe left and along with him Simone and Gale went, so it was only me and Micheal was left in the band. We actually tought about quitting, but we received hundreds, probably thousands of mails from fans from all around the world. Places like Australia, South Africa, Brasil, Argentina, Equador, Chile. From all over the world. For example I was really surprised by Korea. Arabit Emirates even, people wrote us to not quit the band, and keep on going please. So at that time I decided that I wanted the band in a different layout. I wanted a band that was more local. So that we could rehears weekly, and wanted a band that would become friends. So I searched for local musicians, wich was a bit harder, because it is easier to search for a good drummer when you can look Germany-wide. But I was successful enough and then we founded the new Rebellion with 2 new guitarists and with a new drummer. Actually I let the guitar players write the songs, but I still tell them if a song is not suitable for Rebellion. I still have the overall controll. So I think that you will find that the Amenos album isn’t too different from the former Rebellion albums. But I also think that if you have new musicians the style should also replay, and gave them a bit of a long leash. So I think, that the new musicians never really changed the basic style of the band, but brought in new aspects. But again I am not a good judge of my own music, it would be for you to judge actually.
Your album ,,A Tragedy in Steel Part II: Shakespeare’s King Lear” is a continuing of your debute album “Shakespeare’s Macbeth – A Tragedy in Steel”. Why did you choose to continue this album after 16 years? Do you think it matched your expactations?
Yes, first of all it was Michael’s idea to do that, because probably he was sick of all the historical albums, so we said let’s do something from shakespeare again, and I’ve tought about doing King Lear beforehand and he said why not do it. King Lear for me is a really special album for varies of reasons. First of all the 2 guitarists have been playing together in Rebellion for 5 or 6 years when we recorded that album, so we were really tight as a band, and we recorded just 2 guitars and panned them completely left and completely right, wich is very unsusual for modern production styles, but we wanted it that way. And together with the music, wich is depressive in many parts and probably relatively flow in many parts, and maybe even a bit old fashioned, and together with that style of production I think it’s a unique album that leans towards the ninties rather than towards the future. And I am really proud of that because it is unique and also, seen from now, it marks the end of the Rebellion phase with Stephan and Uwe on guitar. So I think it’s a very worthy album, and something that we can be proud of, but it is very different from the new album.
In June you are releasing ,,We Are the People”. There is another change in your line up, but I think this group is killing. Is there gonna be anything special about this album?
I think so yes, because you may well call, We are the People is a childs of the corona crisis, because all of our gigs and festivals were cancelled, and we just stood there and had a lot of time on our hands, so I said, okay, let’s use that time to try a creative process of songwriting and recording. We had much more time to write the songs and the 2 guitarists had much more time to experiment with harmonies and different styles. Some of their ideas we could not do for Rebellion, because they were maybe a bit too much for the band, but I think I let a lot of influences in the album, and I wanted the new guitar players to make it also their band, and to also make this album their album. And so I think it’s quite a different album from King Lear, and I hope it still sounds like Rebellion, but you could tell that better than I as I said repeatedly now.
On this album there are 12 tracks in a Heavy / Power metal style. How much do you think, that this could be Rebellion’s best release so far? You already released ,,Vaterland(Lyrics Video)”, what feedback did you get off of that?
Every musicians in every interview will tell you that the upcoming album is the best in the band’s history. I won’t do that. I think again it’s not for me to judge. It’s the best that we could do at that time, but then again this can be said about every album we’ve recorded so far. I think it’s a unique album, I think it has it’s own style and that is enough said about that. The lyric videos, we got really good feedbacks about them. It’s the first time that we have released 3 singles before we released the album and there will be a 4th single with an official video clip, that will be hopefully online in about 3 or 4 weeks. It’s a new strategy we tried out to see if that helps to raise an awarness about the band’s new release. We’ll see how that works. But in the end numbers and sales never matter. But most of the prereleased songs and lyrics videos have made it into varies international playlists, so I think that they were quite succesfull, and up to now everything seems just fine.
In your song ,,World War II” Uwe Lulis and Simone Wenzel takes part as guest musicians. How did the idea come? How much beer was left after the work in the studio was done?
Uwe and I never quite contact, we remained in contact after all these years via facebook, massages and whenever he was here, he payed me a visit, and whenever I was in his area I payed him a visit. So to work with him again was a natural idea, since Olee the former guitarist who also has a studio would not produce any albums anymore, so I asked Uwe and he agreed, because due to corona he was also not playing gigs, so he had much time on his hands. He played a lot of songs for me that he has written for various projects and he wasn’t sure what to do with them. So I asked him if he would like to write a song for the new Rebellion record. And he did. And then I thought that it would be nice if Simone also appeared on that song. It would be a cool thing of the old Rebellion line up. And I asked her aswell and she gladly did so. So in this ,,World War II” song is sort of a special song, and also I think it’s a pretty good song.
Your 9th album is ,,We Are The People”. What would you say, how much time have you spent on making this record, comapred to all the other previous releases of yours in Rebellion?
Much more time. Probably about 3 or 4 times as much time. But we had the time on our hands, we couldn’t do anything anyways. And it was good to be in the practise room and try varies ideas. Normally the guitarist would send me an mp3 of a song that he proposes and I would suggest some changes and then we would change and then the song is done. But this time it was different, because I am 53 years of age, Oliver and Stephan are about my age and my generation, but Fabricia and Martin, the new members, they are about 30 years of age. So they are a completely different generation and they work differently, they listened to different music when they grew up. So it was a bit of a different task to manage. But we overcame all these problems and I think we made the best out of it. Would’ve been different if there hadn’t been any corona. Then I would’ve been stricter and said that this is not possible and please write it a bit differently. But we used this corona crisis to create this unique album.
The lack of concerts must feel bad for you. Out of nostalgia, could you please tell us a few of your favourite gigs that comes to mind?
My favourite gig… Oh gosh! I remember one gig, it was close to Stuttgart, and it was in a really dirty club. The toilets were unwashed, the ground was sticky and the sound was really shitty. And it was space for about 150-200 people. We did the soundcheck and we were really pissed, and then we went to the hotel and said we not gonna return or we are gonna come back as late as possible, because we don’t want to hang out in this dirty back stage area. So we returned, and club was sold out, and it was a fantastic gig. I mean the sound was still shitty, even on stage, but it was brilliant, because the swet was running down the walls, you could say. Of course it is nice to play big stages and big festivals. There were some festivals where we played main stage at 18 o’clock in the early evening, it was also great. And when I went on stage I saw a big sign held by 2 people on 2 sticks. And it was a banner, and it said: Hello Mr. Göttlich from Götöshuleveschla. They were students from my school, but they didn’t say hi Tomi, they said Mr. Göttlich, so that was pretty fun. Basicly every gig is special in it’s own way.
What are you planning for 2021? What are your goals and expectations for this year?
Well we have 10 to 12 gigs already booked after the release. We really hope that we are gonna be the first band to be able to finally play again. That would be fantastic. And then we could draw a really nice crowd because people are starving to see live music again. And apart from that it would be cool to take Rebellion to the next level, to play big stages again. But I am not planning for that. I am just doing my job as well as I can and whatever comes from it is welcome. If I keep on playing these smaller venues and clubs with 100-200-300- people, we are happy to do that. We just take whatever we can get. I think that if you have too high expectations, because you think the new album is so fantastic and the new video is so brilliant and the stories we tell are so great that everybody is going to go crazy for it, and we are gonna be headliners in Wacken… And if that doesn’t happen, you feel shitty. That’s not the way it should be. You should go on stage and you should be happy that you can play even if there’s only some people that are coming. The more the better of course, but I take what I get, I can’t change it. I can’t go out and arrest people and force them to see the show. In Grave Digger we played in front of a 1000 people, but nowadays there are only like 300 people that go to them, and it’s the same for every band. The numbers are going down. And the smaller ones, like Rebellion, of course we are affected worse than the bigger ones, but we should also as Rebellion remember that there are shitloads of bands out there that are even much smaller than us, and even work under worst conditions than we work, and they are also happy to play their gigs. You should be happy at the end of the day and not frustrated because it didn’t work like you thought it would.
Would you like to talk a bit about yourself? What foods do you like? What is your favourite beer?
Well I don’t have a favourite beer to be honest. I used to be a heavy beer drinker but I switched from beer to apple wine. Probably you don’t know apple wine, it’s a speciality from our region here. It’s a bit like cyder. You may know that. Because if you drink too much beer you get a big belly, and I am 53 now, so for every kilo that I gain I really need to work hard to get rid of that again. My idea is simply not to gain the kilos. I drink beer in the practise room, whatever is available. I am not too fassy about beer. What food I like? I like to cook and I cook quite well, and my girlfriend also cooks quite well, so cooking for us is also being together and doing something and it’s also relaxing. I like to cook traditional german food, like Sunday Roas I think would be the name for it. I prefer beef to pork, because it’s more healthy. I like to cook fish of course, and in the summer time we barbecue almost everyday. I also do my barbecue on a closed lid. I have been doing this for 10 years and I know everything about how to prepare it best and to wich are to put what food and things like that. So you could say that I am a meat eater, but in Germany it’s very cheap and very low quality and it doesn’t taste very good, because it is industrialised, and nobody really cares about the animals. So I prefer to buy meat from just local butchers, to pay more money but to get better quality. If you eat good meat it’s really healthy and it’s just the best thing. I am sorry for all the vegies out there.
How do you imagine your elder years? What would make your retirement perfect?
That’s a good question, I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently because I am at that age now. I would need to work untill I am 67, but I will quite at 60, and that will cost me some money, but I don’t care because these years between 60 and 70 are the last years of our lives where you can do whatever you want. And where you have a chance to still be able to do it. Once you hit 70 or 75 you won’t be able to hop on a ride and go ride through America from Alaska to Fireland. There is a lot of places in the world that I would like to see actually, and I saved a lot of money in not just music but with other businesses as well, and I don’t live an expensive life style. I like to have expensive whiskey and expensive wine, but I don’t spend much money for cars or houses and stuff. So I have some money on the side, so I can afford some luxury when I’m off work, and I will probably travel a lot. I like to go diving, I am a diving intructor, and I will probably go to the Pacific area, I’ve never been there, and it’s too far to travel when you need to be back in 2 or 3 weeks, but maybe if you have half a year of time, you can stay and travel wherever you want to. So this is what I would want to do when I retire. And after that I hope it will be enough to just sit here in my yard. I have an old farm house that I renovated, and I hope that my daughter will also stay and live here as she plans now, and then I hope to be a good grandad and play with the kids and spoil them a little bit. And not to become a grumpy old man as my dad is, who also lives here in my farm, since he is 85 years of age. He is a bit of a negative example. He can be nice, but most days he is grumpy and in a bad mood and the kids don’t like him really, because constantly complains about things and I hope I will be different.
It was a pleasure to speak with you Tomi, you are a legend. I wish you the best and thank you for your answers!
Thank you very much, this is one of those words where I’m supposed to react as you said in the first question. I am just gonna do some deskwork and then go out and enjoy the sun going down.
The interview was taken with Tomi Göttlich on 14.06.2021.