Interview with

Yes...they're back and ready to unleash their brand of power metal back onto the world. Always a favorite band of mine, interviewing SCANNER was a great pleasure. Long time member Axel A Julius reveals the past, present, and future of this greatly overlooked band. Read on and remenise in the glory days, or become acqainted with this band.

Interview by - Anthony DeLuca

1. What are your musical influences? What made you first want to become a guitar player?

My early influences came from bands like Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Status Quo, Uriah Heep, April Vine, Scorpions, Wishbone Ash, UFO, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Manowar, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and beside some none hard and heavy stuff like Al Di Meola and Yes. I wanted to become famous at my school and impress the blond girl 2 classes under.

2. How long have you been a guitarist? Were you in any other bands before SCANNER? Why did you call the band SCANNER? Does this name have a significant meaning?

I started at the age of 15 and we got the schoolband REINFORCE which changed into LIONS BREED when we got our first record deal and recorded "Damn the Night" around 1984. We got the name SCANNER out of Perry Rhodan . It is something like a flying electric brain there and after we choosed this name in 1987 for our band many things were called scanner then, e.g. the terrorist finder walkie-talkie of german police and all the computer stuff.

3. Michael Knoblich was the first SCANNER vocalist. Did he sing for any other bands before joining the band? Why did he leave the band? Did he continue singing for other metal bands?

No, he did not sing for a band before or after joining SCANNER. He was unhappy with our record company and disappointed, so he left the band. Last he did was Techno music. But honestly spoken at less convincing quality.

4. Why was the song "Galactos" a bonus track only available on the Japanese release of Hypertrace? This is such a great song, and ties in well with the story portrayed in the album.

Don't remember exactly, but it was because we recorded the song before the album recordings started in a different session and so the sound was slightly different and a producer's decision was not to extend a playtime of 20 minutes per side on a vinyl LP anyway.

5. How did S.L. Cole become the second vocalist for SCANNER? Did he perform any of the older SCANNER songs while on tour? What is his full name (what does S.L. stand for)? Is this just a stage name?

I met him as the former singer of ANGEL DUST just been fired, when MAJOR just had left SCANNER. He performed some songs but without really standing behind it. It is just a stagename, because he got a hard to spell yugoslawian name.

6. Why did S.L. Cole leave SCANNER? Do you keep in touch with him? What is he up to nowadays? Does he still perform with any metal bands?

He was fired by our record company because his bad behaviour was not accepted there. We tried to find another deal with him as the singer of SCANNER but at the end he did not want to change his attitudes and acting and was really uncooperative towards the other bandmembers so we made our decision to stop working with him for the future. I don't have any contact to him anymore.

7. It seems that the first two SCANNER albums were based mainly on outer-space themes. Was this purposely done? Why did this style of writing stop?

I stopped because of S.L. Coe's attidudes about this. He did not like this at all. And so already Terminal Earth was not that spacy as it seemed anymore.

8. Was SCANNER looking to find a band theme (like RUNNING Wild's pirate theme)? It seems with this new album (seeing a photo of a blue-colored vocalist) that the style and stories of outer space are once again a part of SCANNER's image and songwriting.

Not really, nowadays SCANNER's lyrics are about more profound social themes of our personal lifes or some epic stories. The blue...

9. How did Haridon Lee become the third SCANNER vocalist? Where there a lot of vocalists attempting to fill this spot? Did he come from any bands before SCANNER?

He was coming from Poland and recorded an album with a german band called Crow before joining SCANNER. We had tested a lot of singers before.

10. The song "Your Infallible Smile" from Mental Reservation is such an emotional song. Does this have any personal reference to someone you know?

Yes and no, I wrote this song for Haridon about his sister. He had bought her a car at her birthday and then she crashed to death with it the day after. So it is a song about his feelings of guilt and sorrow.

11. Was "Mental" based on a story you know, or is it all your ideas put into this album?

It was all our own ideas.

12. Why did Ralf Sheepers sing the entire first song off of "Ball of the Damned"? Was this a way to draw attention? Did he tour with SCANNER, or was that exclusively part of the album?

Ralph was backgroundsinger on our first album Hypertrace and got no band then and we got him known as an excellent vocalist that time. First wishes arised to have him as lead singer in the band, but we were happy with Michael so far at this point and this was not really an alternative thought. But when Michael left the band I just held the phone in my hands to call Ralph for asking to join the band when somebody told me he has already joined Gammaray two or three days before. Shit happens. So after all these years of up and downs ralph was in GammaRay and then he was fired some day. And when we recorded Ball of the damned he was rehearsing with Judas Priest without getting said if he would be their new vocalist or not, he was really somehow depressed by the situation, so we asked him if he would like to sing one song on our album. After all the story repeated when Haridon left SCANNER Ralph just had formed Primal Fear.

13. The story behind "Ball." is FUCKING INCREDIBLE, just like the "Mental Reservation" album. This album is entirely dedicated to your father (R.I.P.). My sympathies to you. Where any of his life-events portrayed in this album? (songs like "True Stories Teller" and "Frozen Under The Sun" come to mind)

No it was somehow foreboding, because my father died a sudden death the day after we left the studio and had finished the production.

14. The song "Ball of the Damned" is one of the most lyrically intriguing songs I've ever heard!! Is Lord Barker's character based on a story or person you know, or is this entire story the result of your creative imagination? The album's artwork is incredible & portrays the song perfectly. Is Lord Barker illustrated anywhere? Who is the white figure lying on its side on the cover art, towards the very bottom of the picture?

The story was a result of my imagination and my wish for revenge to all bad personalities on earth like Adolf Hitler or Saddam Hussein. You find Lord Barker on the balcony at the frontcover and a portrait of him as background of the tracklist on the back of the album at the german edition. The japanese and american edition is a bit different I think. The white figure is no special person but should reveal the age of the castle and demonstrates the stream of life by the autumn leaves in it's flap.

15. Was the "Ball..." tour successful? What are your fondest memories of this tour? Which bands did SCANNER tour with/share the stage with?

We toured twice that year. Headlining we toured with a band called Unrest and supporting Fates Warning we toured with Omen. These tours were very successful for us. Most fonded memories are the nights of parties and fun on the nightliner with the guys of Unrest. They were really quite entertaining in all stories they told. Lots of beer- and whiskey bottles were killed and virgins were kidnapped.

16. What happened to Haridon? Why isn't he in the band now? Did he go on to perform in other metal bands?

Haridon wanted to start his solo career as The Duke and was not willing anymore to support the creative process of developing things in SCANNER and so we had to decide to let him go. It was really shocking for us because we were so sucessful these days and had already deals and all the bookings for the next year. But we could not accept to make all the work and just let him participate at the fruits, while he was working 100 % for his own career, if you know what I mean.

17. Why did you change labels so much? Starting with Noise, then Massacre, and then Saraya Recordings. Didn't these labels do enough for the band? What label are you on now?

We are still with Massacre Rec. in Germany. Saraya was just a license and teritorry deal for America like JVC in Japan is for Asia. So we just left Noise Records because of the trouble with S.L. Coe.

18. Why has SCANNER been on hiatus for so long? Did the band break up?

It was so hard to find a good and fitting singer and while time was passing some bandmembers left the band for e.g. studies or to concentrate on another job. This did not make it all easier. So it was a two man's show for a long while and we prepared everything alone, and I have spent more time in the rehearsal room with Marc than beeing with my wife. I know him better. After the songs were written and recorded we started to look for new members. First our female backgroundsinger Chris helped us doing the demo for the company, but did not want to become leadsinger, although beeing talented as hack for this. Then we first found Lisa for vocals via newspaper announcement.

19. How long has there been the official SCANNER website? Will there be a virtual store or way of purchasing SCANNER merchandise (shirts, CDs, etc.)?

Our own website is and is still under construction and you will find all this one day here.

20. How did the new vocalist join the band?

As I already reported we met her through an announcement.

21. How would you describe her style? What band did she come from?

She was backgroundsinger in a few bands from our region here and was verymuch motivated to do the job in SCANNER so we decided to give her a trial. Because the fist results were really not bad we decided to work on with Lisa. She is somehow between Alanis Morissett and Lemmy of Motorhead. I don't know. For my personal taste she could sound a little harder then she does, yet.

22. What songs will be performed live?

We prepared e.g. Across the universe ,Terrion, Not alone, After the storm, Puppet on a string, Ball of the damned from the last albums so far to be continued and a few songs from Scantropolis.

23. Why did you switch to a female vocalist after having male vocalists all these years?

It is just because we wanted to try if we got better luck with a female vocalist in matters of steadiness.

24. Will there be any guest musicians on this new album? Will it keep to the same SCANNER sound as from the older albums?

There are a few guest musicans as well on the album. We got a little help from our friends. The sound is a bit different even because of Lisa's voice and you can see a little change in style as well. But I think following the developing from one to the other album it was an expectable result as well. And of course it should find acceptence by SCANNER's fans.

25. If possible, give a small synopsis of the new album, song by song. What musical elements are in each one, sound, and vocal melodies.

Please don't ask me that detailed. You have to know I worked nearly each day on this album recently and I'm trying to get a normal distance and relation to it at the moment. It is very melodic and has got a lot of hard riffs. 9 Slow and fast and midtempo tracks. And as bonus a live version of Till the ferryman dies. It is dedicated to the victims at ground zero in N.Y. and is simultanious a tribute to Fritz Lang's movie Metropolis of 1926. Because of some paralells between his silent movie and what was seen on sept. 11th . It is meant to make ones thoughts about both. Metropolis was the first social Science Fiction movie in the last century or you might say millenium. For this time, when the movie was made it was really an incredible innovation of techniques and effects and last but not least of content. So we took this for motivation to create our first album in this new millenium.

26. Is this new SCANNER line-up a solid one? Are you planing to keep the band going, or is this just a one-time reunion?

Of course we want the band as solid as hell and it is as I described the situation in the past before no reunion or something because we worked steady and want to do this also in the future.

27. What are your current tour plans? Any chance on SCANNER to come to America? (there are several metalfests you can play: METAL MELTDOWN (New Jersey), POWERMAD (Maryland), CLASSIC METALFEST (Ohio))

We are just planning the tour for Europe in late atumn this year right now, but we will try to get to America the next year as well. Some bands invited us for touring.

28. Has SCANNER made any videos? If so, will you release them on a compilation one-day?

We just got one video on Buy or die ( it is horrible) from our second album , but we are working on one right now. We wanted to record this in Sweden in Stockholm last year, but the budget was not enough at the end, so we canceld it. Now we try it again with the song Till the Ferryman dies.

29. What are your thoughts on the metal scene today? What are your opinions on the shitty "nu-metal" bands out there? Where do you see SCANNER now (do you feel your return is well timed)?

Nu- metal is no metal at all. Sometimes there is not even one distorted guitar listenable, while the so called vocalist is jumping like a wild monkey. This is weired. 90% is rap and talking, 9% totally nothing, and 1% bad heavy riffing. We got no timing in our return. I mean we could not plan it. We did what we were able to do and are back right now, that's it. Perhaps some people like what we do.

30. If you could tour with ANY band, which band would it be, and why?

I tend between Dream Theater on the one hand and the Sex Pistols on the other, one for to learn from in musical matters and the other in learning the non musical matters. :-)

31. That's it. Thank was an honor to interview one of my favorite bands. Any final words to the UNSTOPPABLE Force readers, or something you'd like to add?

Yes , thanx for your patience in listening to me and I hope your readers will give the new album a trial and that they will enjoy it. I hope we will meet all once on tour. Bbfn

[THANK YOU!!] -Anthony DeLuca


Hypertrace (1988)

Terminal Earth (1989)

Mental Reservation (1995)

Ball of the Damned (1997)

Scantropolis (2002)