Interview with

Born in the early eighties, ANGEL DUST was a band that never really excelled to the levels of recognition that other German metal bands did (HELLOWEEN, BLIND GUARDIAN). After releasing two albums, "Into the Dark Past", and "To Dust You Will Decay", ANGEL DUST broke up. It wasn't until an unexpected reformation in 1997 that the band resurfaced and took to world by storm. "Border of Reality" was this come-back album, and fans dug right into it. An enormous legion of fans acrued over the few months of this album's debut. Fan reaction was amazing. Afterwards, "Bleed" was released, then "Enlighten the Darkness", through which their first ever American tour underwent. I had the great privilage of seeing this band twice!!! The first show I saw was in New Jersey, then in New York. Both shows were a testament to this band's greatness!!! Founding member/bassist FRANK BANX answers all the questions I sent him. Read on and learn all about ANGEL DUST's past, present, and future...

INTERVIEW BY: Anthony DeLuca

U.F.-Let's start from the very beginnings of the band. How did ANGEL DUST form? Was Romme Keymer the vocalist at the time? Who else was in the band?

F.B.-Yes, Romme was the vocalist as well as one of the guitarist, the other guitarist was Andreas Lohrum. Else was Dirk Assmuth on drums and me on bass.

U.F.-Before "Into The Dark Past" was released, ANGEL DUST had released a demo tape. What songs were on this tape, and will they be re-released?

F.B.-We had a demo called "Marching for revenge" that was released in '85. The songs were: Thunder of war, Watch out, Angel Dust, Bang your head (against the stage), (funny eightees!), Marching for revenge and an outro called Dixie (march). I don't think, we'll ever really re-release it, but we might sell copies, when we'll play shows.

U.F.-"Into The..." came out on Disaster Records. How did the band get signed to this label? Who played the keyboards on this album?

F.B.-We mailed copies to several record companies, but Disaster Records get our demo from a friend of us. He was the singer of a punk band called "The Idiots", later, this guy formed the well known band "Phantoms of the future". Romme played the keys on the album.

U.F.-"To Dust You Will Decay" is then released. This marks the appearence of S.L. Coe as your vocalist. What happened to Romme? What lead to his departure from the band, and how did you hook up with S.L. Coe?

F.B.-We were always looking for a singer, even back in the demo times, 'cos Romme didn't really like to sing. So, we ask in several magazines for a singer and so, we hooked up with S.L. Coe. But both guitarists didn't really like to work with this guy and also, they didn't really want to continoue at all, so they left one after another.

U.F.-Who did you tour with for this album. How extensive was this tour?

F.B.-For T.D.Y.W.D., we toured with Running Wild, but it was in Germany, France and Austria only. It was only a 14 shows tour. But we also played several "mini tours", like 4 or 5 shows in a row, that we booked by ourselves.

U.F.-How was the metal scene back then? Did ANGEL DUST have a strong following in Europe? What led to the sudden hault of the band?

F.B.-The metal scene here in Europe was very strong during the Eightees. There were not as many bands around as today, so all concerts in our area became a real event and everybody showed up. I can remeber Metallica and Anthrax and two more bands playing in the "Zeche Bochum" a venue with a capacity of maybe 1000 people, but 1500 went in somehow. We had quite a big crowd behind us. S.L.Coe was the reason for the split, 'cos we couldn't really work together. Nowadays, I can only laugh about our behaviour back in the eightees, we were really stupid to give up.

U.F.-What had been going on before the release of "Boarder of Reality"? Please tell us about the work Frank and Steven did (you were in a band together?).

F.B.-Bernie, Steven, Assy (Dirk Assmuth) and me were playing in a cover Band and Bernie came up with some songs, we should record with him for an instrumental album, he was asked to do, but we liked the material that much, that we decided to look for a singer and begin to work with Angel Dust once again.

U.F.-So, what led up to the reformation of the band? How did you get signed by Century Media Records? Did Romme or S.L. express interest as returning vocalists for the band? How was Dirk Thurisch (vocalist)discovered & how did he come to join the band? Was he in any previous metal bands? If so, what were they?

F.B.-After we worked on Bernies material and wrote some more stuff, we were looking for a singer, we never wanted to work with Romme or S.L.Coe again. We first had a guy named Klaus and he sounded like Klaus (Meine/Scorpions), this wasn't really the sound we wished for A.D. So, we placed some advertisements in magazines and a friend of Dirk called us up and told us, that he knows a guy. We said okay, send this guy here, but Dirk sticked in a traffic jam and didn't show up. We thought, what an asshole but then, he rang us up once again and we reherased together. After two minutes (really!), we knew, this guy must become our singer, this guy even need no vox amp! He played in another band before called "Pegasus", but they only played one show together in three years. Then, we recorded a demo with three songs from the Border of reality album and gave it to the Rock Hard magazine for their "Unerhört" project. We received big response for our song (Border cof reality) and many companies offered us a contract and we finally choosed Century Media, maybe also for some local patriot reasons, 'cos they're from Dortmund too.

U.F.-Steven Banx (keys/synthesizers) was another new member to the band at this point in ANGEL DUST's career, along with Bernd Aufermann (guitars). How did they wind up joining the band? Were they performing in any other bands before joining ANGEL DUST?

F.B.-Steven only played in the cover band, I talked of before, Bernie played in several local acts and worked as a studio guitarist and guitar teacher before.

U.F.-The return of ANGEL DUST also meant a long awaited tour. How was the "Boarder.." tour? Any special memories that come to mind?

F.B.-That has been a little strange for us, I mean for Assy and me. We supported Over Kill on their Euro tour, together with Nevermore and Nocternal Rites and we had less people then we had with our single headlining shows back in the eightees, it took a while, before we realised, that this is the normal frequency nowadays. Like I said, in the eightees, every concert was an event, but their can't be five events a week. But all in all, we had a lot of fun on this first tour after 9 years.

U.F.-"Bleed" is then released. One song in particular, "Liquid Angel" really stands out for me; it's so emotional!! What does this song mean to you?

F.B.-We like to have these pathetic moments from time to time. Most people didn't like this song very much, but we enjoy it. This can be a nice live song, Dirk and Steven play and the rest of us can have a beers at the bar and invite some girls for the aftershow party, or so.

U.F.-How did your tour for "Bleed" work out? ANGEL DUST also got a chance to play WACKEN in 1998. What was that like?

F.B.-We didn't tour for "Bleed". We only played a few single shows and two shows with Nevermore in Greece. Talking about Wacken, this is probable one of the biggest metal events in the world. Nowadays 40 000 people show up, back in '98 it were some 25 000, but we played very, very early, they opened the gates just some 30-45 minutes before we played, so we could see some 5 000 people in front of the stage and some 20 000 at the entrance. I wish, they would do the Dynamo open air in its old seize again. Back in the middle of the ninetees, the top score were 180 000 people, wow.

U.F.-Speaking of the WACKEN, I must commend Steven Banx for his keyboard work on the song "Gambler" It really adds a nice dimension to the song...GREAT!!!!! Are there any other old songs you perform from "Into..." and "To Dust..." while touring?

F.B.-Yes, on the tours with Over Kill and Jag Panzer, we also performed "Legions of destruction" and "I"ll come back". We don't perform songs from "To dust..." 'cos we think, this is our weakest album.

U.F.-I noticed on your website, that you were having touring problems with your name and a lot of disappointed fans. What was going on? (to this booking agent or whoever your may be: Like ANGEL DUST says on their first album; "Run for your life, or you'll bite the dust!!")

F.B.-Sorry, I don't really understand this question. We had some problems to tour for "Bleed", but that's nearly three years ago now.

U.F.-There has also been talk of re-releasing "Into..." and "To Dust...". When will this happen?

F.B.-Yes, we want to re-release both albums, but we have no idea when it will happen. Our company say, they want to release them, but they never tell us when. We would love to tell the fans: "Hey guys,look, our old stuff is re-released", but like I said, we have no idea.

U.F-Recently, "Enlighten The Darkness" was absolute MASTERPIECE!!! What was your inspiration for writing a concept album about war? Who is the woman that sings on "The One You Are" and "Still I'm Bleeding"? Has she toured with you?

F.B.-Dirk and I are very interested in this WW II stuff, Dirks grandfather was a soldier in WW II for the whole war and he told Dirk a lot of stories, while my family where in the resistance against the Nazis and my grandfather and his brother told me a lot of this stuff. So, both of us know a lot of this time by first hand. It was very interseting for us to write a concept about something, of that no German musician ever wrote about. Pitty, the Germans didn't really caught the meaning of this album, most response came from the USA and Isreal. We might should have add a German translation to the record. The female voice is from Dirk's vocal teacher, she never toured with us. But she'll probable show up at a christmass show we'll play. It will be also the first European show with Ritchie Wilkison, our new guitar player, with whom we toured in the States and with whom we wrote and recorded our new album "Of human Bondage".

U.F.-ANGEL DUST recently parted ways with original member Dirk Assmuth (drums). Why has he left the band, and how did you find a replacement so quickly?

F.B.-Assy is back in the band, he left and came back for personal reasons. His replacement was Michael Sticken, a good drummer out of the huge Dortmund musician scene. Michael played the drums on "Easy living", the bonus track on the US version of "Border of reality".

U.F.-What are your impressions of America? Have you been getting a good crowd reaction (I'm hoping so!)? What happened to Bernd? Has he permanately left the band? How did you find his replacement; please tell us a little about him.

F.B.-We enjoyed America very much, the crowd was a lot better, then we expected, for this was our first appearence in America. Some things seem to be very strange for us, like gunstores everywhere, but no beergarden to hang out with your friends to relaxe. You guys should really think about changing this. At least in Texas and Arizona. Phoenix was hell on earth, more then 90 dregreese and only warm water outside, or cold beer in our sauna bus. I took out a cold beer and suddently the promotor told me stories about the strict law, what a pitty. Yes, Bernie permanently left the band, we had a real silly argue back in April this year and so, we split right before the tour. I remembered Ritchie Wilkison from his tour with Demons and Wizzards last year and their manager gave me his adress. I contacted him to be the replacement for Bernie on this tour and then, we became friends and so, he stayed in the band. Well, playing single shows in Europe, it's a pain in the ass now, for he's still living in Indianapolis and we live in Dortmund, so there are more then 6 000 miles between us, but there are no problems to do tours. He'll come down here next week to do this christmaas show and some promo work.

U.F.-This tour of America is financed by your record company, or yourselves? What are your plans after the tour is over? Perhaps a new album is in the works? Any words on it's developement? Any plans on returning to America after the new album is released?

F.B.-Well, we wish, our company would finance our tours, but in fact, they just prefinance it and we pay back all costs by our record sales, that's why nobody of us can exist from music only, we all have to work and spend our holidays for touring. If we do two or more tours a year, we have to ask for non payed extra holiday. Like I said, our new album is finnished and it will be called "Of human Bondage", it will be probable released in March 2002. We hope to tour in the USA again with this album. Our company is working on that.

U.F.-How was the POWERPROG Metalfest? Was there a good show-up from the crowd? What songs did you play? Any plans on playing other metalfests in USA, like New Jersey METAL MELTDOWN, or the POWERMAD in Maryland? **note to Frank: one of my friends, Mike (bass player of SYMPHONY X) said he was talking with some of the band for a while. Any plans on touring with them?

F.B.-Progpower was great, we received a very good reponse from the crowd. We played the following songs: Let me live, The one you are, Black rain, Come into resitance, Unite (from the new album), Still I'm bleeding, I need you, Enjoy, Nightmare, Border of reality, Bleed and Cross of hatred. We have no offer for other festivals yet, but of course, we would love to play all the other festivals too. We played the Rock Hard festival in '98 in Germay with Symphony X and know them met their. It was cool to meet this guys again in America. I can imagine, this would be a cool tour with them, but their's nothing planed yet.

U.F.-That's everything. It was a privilage. Anything else you want to add, or something I overlooked?

F.B.-Nothing special. I only want to mention again, how much we enjoyed to be guests in your beautyfull country and that we hope to return a.s.a.p.


To Dust You Will Decay-1986-Disaster

Into The Dark Past-1987-Disaster

Border Of Reality-1997-Century Media

Bleed-1998-Century Media

Enlighten The Darkness-2000-Century Media

Of Human Bondage-Coming Soon