Menu Subscribe Search



Subscribe for the Latest Music News

Enter your email address below to subscribe to a regular(ish) dose of AAA Backstage goodness direct to your inbox.

Interview: Peter ‘Peavy’ Wagner from ‘Rage’

Rage press shot

For over 30 years German rock heavyweights Rage have made it their mission to unleash their metal-infused fury out into the world. Although there have been several major band line-up changes during this time, legendary frontman and bassist Peter ‘Peavy’ Wagner remains true to Rage’s establishment. With long-time friends turned latest recruits Wagner is about to release Rage’s 22nd album ‘The Devil Strikes Again’. We caught up with the man behind the band to discuss everything from the upcoming album, newest band line-up, to vocal warm-ups on the toilet and taxidermy on fans’ pets!

Congratulations on the new album! Have you got any celebrations planned for the release date? 

Thank you very much! The release isn’t until the 10th of June so there’s still four weeks to go. I don’t know if we’ll go out and celebrate (laughs).

What was your overall vision for ‘The Devil Strikes Again’? 

It became exactly what I wanted it to sound like. I wanted to get back the energy and vibe the band had in the middle of the 90s, y’know? Rage has been out for more than 30 years and we were established in the middle of the 90s. We were known for our very typical sound and I wanted to get back to that because a lot of fans were asking for it. Also, I like it very much – the founder band was more direct, more to the point, more straight. It had a portion of thrash and the idea was to get back to this vibe for the new album. I’m pretty sure we’ve succeeded to do this.

Can you walk us through the recording process this time around?

First thing of course, I was collecting ideas already. I think it was last year around April-May that we started with the pre-production, which went really quickly. Me and (guitarist) Marcos Rodriguez had 10 days to knock it down together. Then the final recordings were done in September in different studios. I included Dan Swano (Nightingale, Witherscape) from Sweden. He was here at the end doing the mix you hear on the album. Altogether I was really happy with the result and I think Dan added a fantastic sound. It sounds very natural and also very powerful at the same time!

How did the addition of new band members impact ‘The Devil Strikes Again’?

A lot I think. Those guys are my long time friends and they both grew up with Rage. When they were teenagers they were big fans of the band and they 100 per cent understand the sound. They also wanted to get the band back to this specific energy and I think they are the perfect guys to achieve what we wanted to do. They absolutely 100 per cent understand what it’s about. There are no ideas from them to change something in whatever direction they personally think of like it was with the old guitar player. He always wanted to make it more creepier than Rage. I’m very happy with these guys!

Do you still keep in contact with ex-band members Victor Smolski and Andre Hilgers?

No, not at all. Those guys have never been my friends, it was always a professional working relationship. Also those guys have lost a bit of respect for me in the last years and it was another reason for me to make a change because I just didn’t feel happy in my old band anymore. You form a band and you do this for many years and you have guys with you that make you feel like a stranger in your own band. It was obvious for me to not work with them anymore. I don’t miss them.

Do you have a favourite Rage album? 

Yeah, there are probably some that are sticking out all these years. From the 80s I like ‘Perfect Man’ very much. ‘Black In Mind’ is a fantastic album and ‘Unity’ I like, so there’s a couple of albums I like very much.

Do you have a favourite song on the new album?

Yes, everyday a different one! I can’t really say, I like them all, sorry!

Do you have a particular process when composing a song? 

Basically I’m constantly writing material whenever I get inspiration. I just record stuff and keep it for later when I need it. So I had already a big collection of ideas when we started putting (this album) together. Actually I always have a bunch of ideas, I could start writing an album right now.

Where is the strangest place you’ve ever gotten an idea for a song?

Strangest place? I have to think about this. Mostly I write with my guitar in front of my fireplace in the living room, just jamming with myself while my dog is listening. If the dog falls asleep then the idea is good (laughs).

Do you have any specific vocal warm-ups before a show? 

Actually I’m not really warming-up. I try to make sure the first song on the setlist is not too extreme so I warm up with the first song but I never really do any warm-ups. But I know other singers who go on the toilet somewhere yelling so it sounds warm (laughs). I remember once when we toured and I was sitting on the toilet and my friend from another band came in and he didn’t know I was on the toilet and he started yelling, “mother f*cker!” He was scared because I started screaming and we were screaming at each other.

What has been your strangest fan encounter?

If you find this weird, a fan girl from Berlin knew before I became a musician I was a taxidermist. She knows this, she heard about this and she was asking me to prepare – it’s a mammal, I don’t know the English word for it, but she asked me to stuff it, make a skeleton out of it, which I did actually and gave it back to her. She was excited.

What is essentially the heart of Rage?

Me, I would say (laughs). I always have been and always will be. It’s my life!

What does the next few years hold for Rage?

The next thing we’ll do as soon as the album comes out is play at a lot of festivals all year – festival season is just starting. Then we have our own tour by the end of October/November, which we are still working on but we’ve already announced.

When do you hope to come to Australia?

We really hope we can come over! Of course we’ll have to combine this with other countries, if we make it. For example: if we go to Japan by the end of October, we could come by and it would be great. I really want to come over there and see how it is. I’m really curious.

Do you have a message for your Australian fans?

Yes. I want to thank everybody who has supported the band. I know Rage would never exist without the fans so thank you for your support!

‘The Devil Strikes Again’ is set for release on Friday 10th of June.