KINGDOM COME Frontman Lenny Wolf On New Album - "I Tried To Update The Songs Without Ruining Them"
March 5, 2011, 9 years ago
Brian Rademacher at Rock Eyez recently caught up with KINGDOM COME frontman Lenny Wolf. An excerpt from the interview is available below.
Q: Do you have your hands in every part of the new release from cover art to production?
Lenny Wolf: "In all honesty I have to say yes. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but sometimes this is one of my down sides. It’s hard for me to give away control but since I’m a control freak. I like perfection. A few years back when I was working with the band STONE FURY, my first Los Angeles band experience, I worked with a couple of producers that really didn’t work out well. Especially the second guy who made us sound like a pop dance-influenced group or whatever the fuck that was. It was a nightmare and ever since I was kind of paranoid about giving out control. I feel now that I got to the level where I can call myself an OK producer because I recorded everything myself. That was one of the biggest battles; being the writer and putting it on tape can be tricky sometimes because I’m jerking off over some great kick drum sound. It’s great but not enough, and sometimes I’m ecstatic over something and I might pass over other aspects, but that’s life in rock n roll."
Q: You have 11 tracks on the disc (eight past tracks that were re-recorded and three new tracks). With the past tracks were there others songs that you originally wanted and changed your mind?
Lenny Wolf: "No not really, I knew right away the songs I wanted to pick. I wasn’t keen to use our so called hits like 'Get It On' and 'Love Can Be'. Some songs shouldn’t be touched but songs like 'Can’t Deny' or 'Should I' can be presented in a more up-to-date sound. I tried to update the songs without ruining them, that was another thing I had to battle. I didn’t want to make them a totally different song they had there own red thread if you know what I mean and I didn’t want to take it away. The guitar sounds a little different the drums were a little more open and my vocals have matured a lot, which by itself makes a big difference."
Go to this location for the complete interview.
Kingdom Come's new album, Rendered Waters, will be released on April 5th in North America, March 25th in Germany and March 28th in Europe.
The album track 'Blue Trees' is streaming at this location.
It is not the success of the early days which Lenny Wolf associates Kingdom Come with, nor earlier hits from his long-standing career. What he really cares about is the present. Is this a contradiction in view of his new album Rendered Waters, which features eight old and three newly recorded songs? Certainly not.
All eleven tracks were cut at Lenny’s Two Square Noise Factory studio in Hamburg, Germany. In particular, the new recordings of old material show Kingdom Come’s vision of living in the here and now.“I purposely chose tracks from the very early days to show how we play, hear and feel the songs nowadays,” says Wolf. “Listening habits have changed dramatically, especially among the younger audience, which made it exciting for me to breathe new life into numbers which have not been heard for a while.”
For example ‘Should I’, this time played more slowly giving it a heavier appeal. The drums are more open and the guitars, according to Lenny, feature a more tube-oriented sound and warmer, more driving tone: “Just to give it an overall 2011 vibe. Of course, you can only change songs to a certain extent if you don’t want to lose the character and central theme of the original version.”
The same goes for ‘I’ve Been Trying’, ‘Pushing Hard’ and ‘Living Out Of Touch’. None of them has been reinvented, but all three certainly have a noticeably new approach to them. On the other hand, Lenny changed the verse of ‘I’ve Been Trying’ completely, giving it a different arrangement, just like he transported the song ‘Seventeen’ into the year 2011.“‘Seventeen’ has always been kind of a key song for Kingdom Come, yet it has never received much attention since it has a very non-commercial approach and is either loved or hated, but with the new version it will hopefully get the recognition it deserves.”
Another argument against suggestions that Lenny just wanted to warm up old material is that he purposely didn’t choose to re-record former hits like ‘Get It On’, ‘What Love Can Be’, ’Do you like it’ and ‘Twilight Cruiser’ which put Kingdom Come on the map on a global level. He even selected a song such as ‘Break Down The Wall’ from his pre-Kingdom Come days back in 1985 when he played with LA-based band Stone Fury, which just goes to show how timeless the material is.“It was very interesting to add new styles and to carry them into the year 2011. There are a number of songs from the Seventies. Their charm lives off the old recording technology which can’t be beaten these days and therefore should remain untouched, but re-recording Eighties songs isn’t such a sacrilege.”
Let’s not forget the three brand new songs, which feature that typical Kingdom Come structure of strong guitar hook lines and Wolf’s charismatic vocals. ‘Blue Trees’, ‘Is It Fair Enough’ and ‘Don’t Remember’ once again see Lenny prove his unwillingness to pander to expectations. Like it or not, he certainly follows his very own route. Although Lenny again recorded most of the instruments himself, Eric Förster, who contributed those ruthlessly driven guitar solos, and American-born Berlin resident Hanan Rubinstein, who mastered the CD, both certainly need to be mentioned for their great contribution.
To sum it up, here are a number of facts for history buffs: Kingdom Come were formed in 1987 in Los Angeles, USA. Besides Lenny, the only German in the group, there was also James Kottack, now playing drums with the SCORPIONS. The sensational debut Kingdom Come reached number 12 in the US charts and went Gold, and its successor In Your Face made high chart positions all over the globe, too.
There is no end in sight. In Lenny's words: “Kingdom Come is my calling. I either fall or rise with it. Apart from a few bad decisions, I’ve done alright. Thankful and still fully loaded, back to the future.”
Rendered Waters tracklisting:
'Can’t Deny' (newly recorded version)
'The Wind' (newly recorded version)
'Blue Trees' (brand new song)
'Should I' (newly recorded version)
'I’ve Been Trying' (newly recorded version)
'Pushing Hard' (newly recorded version)
'Seventeen' (newly recorded version)
'Is It Fair Enough' (brand new song)
'Living Out Of Touch' (newly recorded version)
'Don’t Remember' (brand new song)
'Break Down The Wall' (newly recorded version)