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ďServant In Heaven, King In HellĒ - Kerbyís Exclusive interview with Kreatorís Mille Petrozza

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Monday, October 28, 2002 @ 1:51 AM

KNAC's Own Jeff Kerby, Kreatin

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There are a million different preconceived notions that exist when people discuss musicians who play in metal bands which fall under the auspice of ďdeath metalĒ or ďthrash metalĒ or ďkill your hamster with a rusty fork type metal,Ē but throughout the course of conversing with Kreator lifeblood Mille Petrozza, those erroneous preconceptions are bound to be challenged and eventually reconfigured. After helping form Tormentor in 1984 in Essen, Germany, Millie has devoted the better part of twenty years to creating some of the most aggressive, forceful music that has ever tortured an amplifier on this planet. During the bandís career, there have been forays into sonic experimentation and countless imbibed libations, but through it all this group continues to exist and thrive. The release a few months ago of Kreatorís new disc entitled, ďViolent RevolutionĒ shows that the band is more adept than ever at writing songs with a surprisingly meaningful lyrical picture that fits tightly within their voluminously powerful frame.

If a person is expecting Mille Petrozza to be some type of one dimensional figure obsessed with his guitar and the procurement of copious amounts of blood, the truth that he is actually a well spoken individual possessing opinions on topics and issues extending well beyond his own country and culture should come as no small surprise. In a world where it seems that most public figures are afraid to state their own beliefs due to potentially negative implications on their career, Petrozza is a musician unafraid to display his informed opinions, and he encourages his fans to do the same. Whether you agree with his views or the way he conveys them, the mere fact that he is using his position to promote things more significant than plugging Kreatorís next concert or album should be a point of recognition that needs to be noted as well as respected. After all, Mille would probably be the first one to say that if enough individuals just increased their awareness and became willing to engage in more intelligent dialogue leading to widespread social and political change, any future violent revolutions might not be necessary.

KNAC.COM: What do you think the most important element of metal is?

PETROZZA: Thatís a good question. Let me think for a minuteÖ.In my opinion, I would guess it would have to be somehow aggressive, brutal and emotional. It has to have somethingómelody or whatever. It depends though because I can also get into metal that isnít quite so heavy. There definitely has to be something about it though like some certain aura. There has to be a certain aura to it.

KNAC.COM: Can you name a band that you enjoy listening to but that maybe isnít your typical aggressive type metal?

PETROZZA: Tool is one. I really listen to all kinds of stuff---I could even be listening to a Pink Floyd record. I like Rush a lot too.

KNAC.COM: How hard was it to play your typical brand of wild thrash style metal seventeen years ago? Do you think it was more difficult for you to be accepted during that time than it would be today?

PETROZZA: No, it wasnít because there werenít too many bands around at that time. We had to build it up, there were some things we couldnít do because we were not very experienced as musicians. I think weíve grown up as a band and as individuals. When we started, it was more raw. Now weíre more controlled, but weíve kept the raw energy.

KNAC.COM: Do you think that the sound on ďViolent RevolutionĒ hearkens back to that of the earlier albums and does a credible job encapsulating that raw energy?

PETROZZA: Thatís what a lot of people say, but I donít agree with that. Itís definitely not back to the roots. It has more of a somewhat Coma of Souls feeling to it. Itís definitely not like Endorama or Outcast. In those cases back to the roots would mean endless pain.

KNAC.COM: In the song ďViolent Revolution,Ē it says the only solution is a violent revolution. Is that really the only way that you see to bring about total societal and political change?

PETROZZA: I just think that people should raise their voices and not agree to everything that the government tries to feed them. In my opinion, nowadays many people are becoming very lame when it comes to political issues because they just donít care. Mostly itís because they think politics are boring. That is true if you only follow the news, but if you are able to communicate with other peopleóthatís where politics start. It is your responsibility to get that information--you canít criticize the government if you donít know what youíre pissed off about. I think thatís what Violent Revolution is trying to say. If you have something to say, raise your voice. Donít just follow and not say anything if you want things to change. A lot of people are complaining all the time, but they donít even know what theyíre complaining about.

KNAC.COM: Do you think that since 9/11 happened that Americans are a little less inclined to speak up against the people in Washington D.C.?

PETROZZA: A lot of Americans on this tour have told me that they donít agree with some things that Bush does. Itís really cool to see that. I think the majority of the people just follow this patriotic bullshit that is going on at the moment. They are proud to wear their flag or whatever. If thatís all they identify with, in my opinion, thatís really lame--itís like ĎI donít have anything else but my stupid flag.í I donít think that the way Bush is handling things is the way they were meant to be handled. America stands for something elseónot just this redneck dictator. He just tells people what to do and sends them to war. Itís fucked up. Iím really anti-Bush. Even though Iím not from this country thatís how I feel.

KNAC.COM: That seems to be the sentiment of most of the world right now. Not many countries are openly supporting military action against Iraq.

PETROZZA: Exactly. I think the government is responsible to come up with other solutions besides violence. Itís like caveman behavior--

KNAC.COM: Or a calculated diversion from domestic problems.

PETROZZA: It works too. It works. Itís just wrong though. I donít think the United States has ever stood for stupidity in the first place. The U.S. has always been a very progressive country, but what Bush projects to the rest of the world is very conservative. Itís like this redneck fucking cowboy attitude.

KNAC.COM: Given the history involved, do you think that Germans are more cognizant of not just blindly following political figures?

PETROZZA: Maybe, but itís not just Germany that is against Bushóthere are a lot of people in the US and people all over the world who donít believe in what heís doing. Itís just obvious that you canít support such an idiot.

KNAC.COM: Is your song ďServant in Heaven, King in HellĒ more directed at organized religion or are you saying blind servitude on Earth only gets you more servitude in heaven?

PETROZZA: No no, itís aboutÖitís very difficult for me to explain the lyrics, itís like if thatís what you think it is, then thatís fine with me. I think itís more about not being a conformist and not expecting a reward in the afterlife. I live my life the way I want rather than following some concept that has been made up for me. Really, itís about coming up with your own view of things. Just open your eyes and follow your own vision rather than someone elseís.

KNAC.COM: Was the seventh song on Violent Revolution, ďGhetto WarĒ inspired by any particular geographic location or is it a broader statement than that?

PETROZZA: Yeah, itís inspired by the place in Germany that I grew up in. Itís not that we were from the ghetto or anything, and you probably canít compare the ghettos from Germany to those in America, but there has been some gang violence there. Basically, thatís what this song is about.

KNAC.COM: Do you think that being from Germany predisposes their musicians to being a little harder in their sound and approach?

PETROZZA: I donít know. It depends on what bands youíre talking about. We have so many bands there who arenít heavy. That being said though, there definitely is a way of expressing yourself if youíre from Germany. Itís just a style. We were influenced by old Accept stuff and German punk rock bands. Any metal head who was into that type of music was also into punk.

KNAC.COM: Is it hard to try to bring in different elements to your sound when you are known for playing thrash metal?

PETROZZA: Not really, weíve done records like Renewal and Endorama that were all different. We can do it. No problem. Itís not hard at all. The problem is that itís just always polarizing with the fans. There are people who like the experimental side of Kreator and others who donít. I think the name Kreator stands for a band that is open for different concepts. Weíre not the slaves of our audience. We do whatever we like, and we have a lot more variety. I think thatís how we define our styleóitís very open.

KNAC.COM: How do you guys manage to play the long sets you do with your tour itinerary being as it is? There are stretches where you may play five or six nights in a row.

PETROZZA: The thing is, you have to take care of yourself. I canít party anymore. I canít drink anymore because Iíd fuck the next show up. These days I eat well and go to bed early. I donít do extensive partying anymore as I used to do ten years ago. That way all the energy is focused on the show. Now there is a lot more energy in our concerts since we donít focus on partying so much anymore.

KNAC.COM: Do you think the connection between fans and Kreator is deeper than that of many other metal bands that originated during the eighties here in the States?

PETROZZA: Yes, definitely---they are the best fans in the world. They followed us and accepted our experimental period. Especially now with the Internet, we have a web page and the next day we have reactions to shows. Itís a very honest relationship. Itís like the fans tell us what they like, and they wonít hold back if they donít like something.

KNAC.COM: Do you respect that about them?

PETROZZA: Yeah, itís a very honest relationship. We got a lot of shit from our fans for Endorama. That was good because it was constructive criticism.

KNAC.COM: How much does that alter you thinking when you go to make your next album?

PETROZZA: I donít know. I mean, subconsciously there may be some influence, but we have to please ourselves before we please the fans. Over the years we have found a strong connection with our audience. Itís not like we have to force ourselves to play what our audience is expecting either because we like that material too, and we do like to please them.

KNAC.COM: Do you think the Internet helped spread the word about Kreator and helped keep it alive?

PETROZZA: Not only help spread the word, but it helps with the communication. You get to see part of the person behind the fan. We receive emails about what people think about our lyrics and things like that.

KNAC.COM: How hard has it been to hang on all these years and stay true to your style of metal?

PETROZZA: Itís not that hard because to me it doesnít seem like it has been that long anyway. Iím not looking back on things. There are so many people who only speak about the past and are being all nostalgic about the eighties, well, Iím not like that. I look into the future every day of my life. I donít look into the past. We started the band at a very young age, and I was only fifteen years old. The important thing is that I still have a lot of ideas and energy to keep going. There isnít any reason you canít keep doing it unless you become a drug casualty. Too many bands are abusing too many drugs, and they canít resist. We havenít done that, and thatís why weíre still here.

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