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40 Years of Rage: An Exclusive Interview With PETER "PEAVY" WAGNER Of RAGE

By George Dionne, Podcaster
Sunday, April 21, 2024 @ 9:29 AM

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Photo Credit: Oliver Bob

Heavy Metal powerhouse RAGE has been bangin' and thashin' all over the world for 40 years. With 26 studio albums, 10 EPs, 4 live albums, and numerous complications, the German headbangers show no signs of slowing down.

To celebrate their 40th anniversary, RAGE has delivered a unique double album clocking in at an impressive 94 minutes, with no clankers among their 21 songs. But wait, there's more. Afterlifelines is set for release on March 29, 2020 through Steamhammer/SPV, and it is split into two segments.

Disc 1 is entitled Afterlife represents what RAGE fans come to expect from the trio; hard, fast, and anthemic Metal. Disc 2, entitled Lifelines, adds classical and orchestral arrangements to RAGE's brand of Metal madness.

I had the chance to catch up with frontman Peter "Peavy" Wagner ahead of the album's release and before their extensive World Tour.

KNAC.COM: If I knew absolutely nothing about RAGE, how would you describe the band's music to me?

WAGNER: Powerful Metal with individual trademarks (trashy/epic/progessive...) with interesting lyrics...not the cliches

KNAC.COM: RAGE is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2024. Most marriages don't last that long. In a world of ever-changing musical tastes and rising costs, why do you think RAGE has managed to survive?

WAGNER: It was always the love for the music that made me go on through all difficulties. And of course it's the fantastic lifelong support of the RAGE Fans worldwide!

KNAC.COM: Your latest album Afterlifelines is set for release on March 29, 2024 through Steamhammer/SPV and features an impressive 21 tracks. Was this a result of a particular creative period for RAGE during the pandemic lockdowns?

WAGNER: You could say so. As we found ourselves in another lockdown in Autumn 2021 we just kept on collecting song ideas, I have to say, we had a real good run, so we found ourselves a few months later with plenty of material, enough for two albums. So we talked to SPV if they would support a double album release, facing the band's 40th anniversary. They gave us the green light, so we started working.

KNAC.COM: CD1 (Afterlife) represents what most would call the classic RAGE sound, while CD2 (Lifelines) adds orchestral elements. Why did you come to the decision to make this split, rather than have a double album of all 'classic material' or double album of all 'orchestral material'?

WAGNER: This was our concept from the beginning, to bring all those different stylistic elements together in a way that it would bring the listener best possibly into our musical universe, at the same time create a kind of tension over two albums that would culminate in a kind of climax, here represented in the "Grand Finale" (Lifelines plus following tracks).

KNAC.COM: Keyboardist Marco Grasshoff was responsible for the orchestral elements on the album. How did you end up recruiting him?

WAGNER: Marco lives not far from us and he is a fantastic musician. As we realized we couldn't work again with Pepe Herrero from Madrid (like we did on our last album), he was too busy, Marco was our first choice and it turned out to be a wonderful collaboration.

KNAC.COM: Afterlifelines is not a concept album per se, but the songs do share an underlying theme of an approaching dystopian world if mankind doesn't change their ways. I would imagine you were inspired lyrically by what we are currently seeing in our society?

WAGNER: It was the logical story following the topics of the last album (Resurrection Day) and yes, the topics come up to us every day, it's up to us now to find new solutions, I'm sure we will sooner or later.

KNAC.COM: RAGE have released a few songs ahead of the album's release, can you tell me what inspired the lyrics to...

WAGNER: "Cold Desire" - About that depressing feeling of helplessness being confronted with all of the problems of our societies, especially for those young boys that were not born with a golden spoon, creating hate and rage.

"Under a Black Crown" - The global reign of a few billionaires running the most powerful businesses, beyond all governments and rules.

"Dying To Live" - An anti-war song, inspired by the fear about friends we have, fighting right now in actual wars.

KNAC.COM: "Toxic Waves" addresses the devastating amounts of plastics in our oceans. I can remember this being an issue back in the eighties when I was in elementary school. Do you have any ideas how we as a society can solve this decades long problem?

WAGNER: There surely must be found several solutions, how to avoid these plastic wastes and also how to get it out of the sea, there's already some technical ideas being tested.

KNAC.COM: Karim Konig is responsible for the eye-catching album artwork for Afterlifelines. How was he recruited? Have you worked with him on previous covers?

WAGNER: Yes, Karim is a cover artist and layouter at our drummer's music management and booking company (Luckybob), we've worked with him for many years.

KNAC.COM: The artwork represents the album's lyrical content, while calling back to some earlier RAGE album covers. Did you express to Konig that's what you were looking for, or did he come up with the concept himself?

WAGNER: There's plenty of ideas from myself included but I gave him free hand to create the final result. I like those little details that you can find even after a hundred views.

KNAC.COM: RAGE kicked off what's expected to be an extensive tour on March 4, 2024 in Canada, with headlining shows and festival appearances coming up throughout Japan, Germany, Austria, and other European countries. How did your first time playing in Canada go?

WAGNER: It was really nice! Fantastic fans we could meet, nice shows and memories!

KNAC.COM: Four of the upcoming dates feature RAGE performing with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra. Is this the first time you've brought an orchestra to the live stage?

WAGNER: No, we have a long tradition in playing Orchestra Shows since 1996. We've played complete tours and many Festivals with our Lingua Mortis Orchestra.

KNAC.COM: Are there any particular tour stops you are looking forward to either performance wise or the local scenery?

WAGNER: I'm personally looking forward to a show here in my hometown (Herne - Dusseldorf Area), that's gonna be with several former band members including my very first band long before RAGE.

KNAC.COM: What are the chances of RAGE in the USA?

WAGNER: I don't know what our possibilities are, as it's quite expensive already to get the working visa, that costs already a fortune. It's hard to calculate that.

KNAC.COM: The tour goes into November of 2024. What are your plans for RAGE after that?

WAGNER: We will continue playing shows in 2025.

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