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Running Wild - Biography



Logo on album "Victim Of States Power" EP, "Heavy Metal Like A Hammerblow" Compilation, "Gates To Purgatory" and "Victory".


In 1976, Rolf "Rock 'N' Rolf" Kasparek, along with Uwe Bendig, Michael Hofmann and Jörg Schwarz, founded the group Granite Hearts in Hamburg. At this time, Hasche and Matthias Kaufmann were together in another Hamburg-based band Grober Unfug. In 1977, Matthias was also helping out Granite Hearts as bass player. Rehearsals were held at the Emilie-Wüstenfeld School, which is where Matthias and Rolf got to know each other. Matthias also persuaded Hasche to join the band. After rehearsing hard, the new group were desperate to find the right name.

They hit on Running Wild as they were all fans of Kiss and Judas Priest.

After many personnel changes, Rolf has long been the only remaining member of the original line-up and he alone determines the direction of the band. He writes almost all of the music and lyrics for Running Wild.

In 1981, Running Wild recorded their first demo which featured "Hallow The Hell", "War Child" and "King Of The Midnight Fire". The first two tracks appeared on the compilation album Debut No. 1 on the Raubbau Label which had become more known on the rock-scene through the punk band Slime. The 1982 line-up was Rolf, Hasche, Preacher and Stephan Boriss.

In 1983, Running Wild recorded some pretty rough versions of "Chains And Leather" and "Adrian (S.O.S.)" for the compilation album Rock From Hell. These two songs along with the Debut No. 1 tracks as well as live-versions of "Genghis Khan" and "Soldiers Of Hell" appeared on the demo-tape Heavy Metal Like A Hammerblow. This demo also came out as an unofficial vinyl bootleg. The 1984 compilation Death Metal from Noise Records included two Running Wild tracks, "Bones To Ashes" and "Iron Heads".

Noise Records also released their first album in 1984, Gates To Purgatory, which was a massive underground success. In these early years, the band played with occult imagery, something that earned the band a reputation as satanists. As with many other 80's metal-bands, these accusations were groundless. It's clear that the occult lyrics were not meant very seriously as ex-guitarist Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke was at that time studying theology and today works as an evangelical priest in Cologne.

1985 saw the release of the LP Branded And Exiled and a live-bootleg Black Demons On Stage, featuring guitarist Majk Moti for the first time. The band already had a fairly large fanbase that was steadily increasing.

In 1987, the band released Under Jolly Roger which was to be their most important album. It heralded a change of image from the occult to the historical. While it was musically similar to the first two albums, the title track (which also gave the stage show its name) earned the band their new image as metal pirates. While the historical lyrics were very superficial at first, the lyrics for later albums were intensively researched by Rolf Kasparek particularly. The album met with overwhelmingly negative reviews but this didn't prevent it being a commercial success.

In the following years from 1988 to 1992 (the albums Port Royal, Death Or Glory, Blazon Stone and Pile Of Skulls) Running Wild mainly wrote historically-based lyrics. As well as lyrics about pirates like Calico Jack Rackham, Klaus Störtebeker or the little-known Henry Jennings, the band also addressed subjects like the Wars of the Roses, Battle of Waterloo or the colonization of the New World by the Conquistadors.

From about the start of the 90's Rolf Kasparek had become increasingly interested in conspiracy theories, something that was apparent from the 1994 album Black Hand Inn. Simple historical narratives gave way more and more to more complex arrangements of interrelated stories. Other esoteric themes came to the fore: The song "Genesis (The Making And The Fall Of Man)" from "Black Hand Inn" was 15 minutes long and tells the story of Zecharia Sitchins' bestseller The 12th Planet.

The line-up changes became ever more frequent and this led, in small but noticeable steps, to Running Wild becoming a solo-project for Rolf Kasparek in the studio. The only constant (with the exception of 2000's Victory) remained the continued interest in pirates.

In 1995 Running Wild released Masquerade, the first album of a trilogy which was completed by The Rivalry and Victory. These three albums dealt with the struggle of good against wvil. Masquerade was about the demasking of evil, The Rivalry dealt with the fight between good and evil and Victory chronicled the triumph of good over evil. Rolf Kasparek repeatedly emphasised that it was a loose trilogy and that the albums as well as the songs should also stand alone.

This trilogy marked the end of the cooperation with German drummer, Jörg Michael, who after the tour switched permanently to the Finnish band Stratovarius who he had played with since 1995.

The Brotherhood was released in 2002, and despite a lukewarm reception, it was one of the band's most successful albums.

The follow-up Rogues En Vogue way more varied than its predecessor, was composed and recorded again by Rolf Kasparek in his own Jolly Roger studio and marked the end of the cooperation between Gun Records and Running Wild.

A very successful farewell-show - marking Running Wild's 30th anniversary - took place at Wacken Open Air, July 30th, 2009, after which the band took a well-deserved break.

Running Wild returned in 2012 with Shadowmaker, being the most successful album until today.

(Source: Official website, 29.9.2013)