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Be Real And True To Yourself: An Exclusive Interview With PLACE VENDOME And Ex-HELLOWEEN Vocalist Michael Kiske

By Becky Dorsett, Houston Contributor
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 9:52 AM

"I believe everyone, no matter what they do, should be thankful for any opportunity to pursue their calling"

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Most metal heads know Michael Kiske from HELLOWEEN. He was just a young man when fame called his name and to this day he is happy and proud to have been part of HELLOWEEN. He was living the ultimate dream and still does to this day with other projects such as PLACE VENDOME, UNISONIC, AVANTASIA and his solo work.

I was lucky to spend some quality Skype time with Michael as we discussed all of his projects and what his views on the "metal community" is. We started out our conversation with his current project PLACE VENDOME.

""Maybe Tomorrow", off of Thunder in the Distance, is the song that stands out as the strongest to me. It's one of those songs that has a huge build up and chorus. It allows me to shine and do what I do".

Kiske stated that working with Serafino Perugino is always a great time and that the song writers that he employees for the PLACE VENDOME material are all very high quality, talented writers. Working with Serafino and Dennis Ward is one of the greatest pleasures and that Dennis always makes the songs that much stronger once he is done with them.

Becauase PLACE VENDOME is more of a project, there are no plans for touring; however, when UNISONIC tours they do play some of the PLACE VENDOME songs. With UNISONIC the band and the music is their baby and they write the songs together and is produced by none other than Dennis Ward.

"The key thing when being a musician or performer is to try to be real and to be true to yourself. I am thankful for the freedom to do this 'job' that I have and that I don't have to go out and do a 9-5'r as I don't know that I could do both. I believe everyone, no matter what they do, should be thankful for any opportunity to pursue their calling".

As we continued with our conversation about how things had changed in his life since HELLOWEEN, Kiske started discussing how his beliefs had changed since he was a young man. He explained to me his views on spirituality.

"Real and honest religiousness or spirituality is something beautiful. Humans are spiritual beings, true love and real morality gets fed by the higher worlds. If we don't feed our souls they will morally starve to death and live in darkness".

He went on to share with me that his music has taken that turn as well. He won't write or sing anything that has a negative message and he expressed to me his thoughts on bands that he has played with in the past as well as bands he has not. He feels that each one has to answer for their own actions.

"I have never done anything as brutal as KORN, SLIPKNOT or SLAYER and it's really not my kind of music. I prefer a more open spirited song. I stay away from the negative. These musicians will have to answer to the man at the pearly gates for what they have written about, it's not my place to judge them for what they write or play".

I reminded him that these musicians might be playing brutal music but as far as I knew each one of them was of God fearing faith. He responded and said that it would be up to each of them to face the music at the gate when their time comes. He continued to explain that everything we put out comes back and if you put out negative and cause negative things to happen because of your music then negative things are going to come back to you at some point in time. One thing that I found very interesting about Kiske is his love for Elvis. He shared with me his feelings about The King.

"Elvis was a musician before his time. He didn't have to do what the musicians of today try to do, which is create stupid sounds to try and be original out of desperation. Elvis fell into a trap and his image wasn't always the best. The Colonel always told him what to do and how to be, something that caused many to see Elvis as "god like" and they always expected so much out of him. This was Elvis' demise, trying to be what everyone else expected of him. So this I say to every musician, develop yourself. Develop your music as you. Shape your personality, not for just a show and don't bullshit yourself. Be strong and stand up for yourself and what you believe in and how you want others to see and hear you".

As many may or may not know, 2014 brings more exciting travels for Kiske who will be playing Wacken with AVANTASIA. He hasn't been at Wacken since 2011 and is really looking forward to it. One of Kiske's favorite things about Wacken is the large crowds of metal heads who are laid back and really get into the music. He hates the way documentaries portray festivals, especially Wacken, as these documentaries are not always true to what really happens. The more exciting parts are put together for viewing pleasure because if they showed how laid back everyone was no one would believe it and might not be as apt to hop a plane from another country to come see that which is Wacken. He said that the he spoke with the police who were working security in 2011 and they told him that they would much rather work a metal festival than any other, that the rap and techno festivals were way more out of control then the metal festivals have ever been. Our discussion of Wacken lead us to a bigger conversation about the metal community as a whole.

"I truly don't believe that there is a metal community as a whole. There are too many stereotypes, genres and the fact that the industry is so dominated by different 'markets' it makes it hard for there to be an united community. When illegal downloading came into the picture is when the industry and the metal community began to become enemies. Each country is different so it's hard for one metal community to exist. It's every metal head's dream that a united front of metal heads could / would exist but unfortunately I don't see that ever coming to pass".

As we came to a close Kiske and I discussed what his favorite projects have been. In order as he stated them: HELLOWEEN(which was expected), UNISONIC, AVANTASIA and of course PLACE VENDOME.

Michael Kiske is an amazing person with a heart of gold and sees everything good in the world. His positive attitude and his wish to share his music with the world is what has gotten him where he is today. Seeing the man live here in the US would be a great experience, I certainly hope that someone makes that happen for us all!

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