Would not be the first time I totally overlook/forget an important date, like a birthday (even my own) or an anniversary… Luckily there is this awesome STALKER team who pointed out that the first STALKER print magazine edition saw the light of day in February 2004 … Therefore I want to thank this team right here, there would not be any online magazine without you! We all are volunteers here (which also explains why our reviews are overall very positive – why bother with stuff you don’t like anyway…) So we decided to go down memory lane for you, every team member in his/her own way – enjoy! (Klaudia)
Congratulations, dear STALKER!
Looking back 15 years, when STALKER was still a print magazine, I remember so many crazy stories. For example, our first magazine order came from Mick Box (Uriah Heep). I believed it to be a prank from colleagues and hung up.
The issue with Björk on the cover almost not happened because Björk was dealing with a REAL stalker and it took some time to convince her we’re a music magazine.
At the WACKEN OPEN AIR Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy, Pain) and Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom) came up with a new section for STALKER: We donate a bottle of vodka or whiskey and two musicians interview each other while emptying the whole thing, and no talk about music allowed.
Naturally, the Gibberish section became one of the most popular … especially among the musicians.
During our first anniversary party in Markthalle Hamburg, a poor intern was entrusted with the – by no means serious – task of taking Anathema to a pub after the soundcheck so they could watch a football match, and then to bring them back in a sober state.
Mission Impossible – the poor darling was completely devastated.
There are still so many memories and anecdotes about STALKER and those here were the more harmless ones. I hope that the STALKER Webzine still has many such great moments ahead and rocks another 15 years in the spirit of “inside out of rock’n’roll” magazine world and music scene.
Fascinating how fast time is passing by! 15 year anniversary of Stalker, unbelievable! For me it means 15 years of Heavy Metal right from the source and 15 years full of personal highlights. Blind Guardian, In Flames, Saxon, Kreator, Subway to Sally and many other personal heroes that I could meet and interview. That’s actually something that would never have happened without Stalker. I am also thankful for many bands I discovered for myself, many bands I actually would not have encountered without Stalker. I am quite proud that I „discovered“ bands like Powerwolf and Orden Ogan long before they were famous. 15 years and still going strong! I am looking forward to the next 15 years! (Timo Päßler)
15 years of Stalker
and 13 of those I have been part of it too, who could have expected that? Definitely not me. As STALKER subscriber I called in to inquire about a missing edition and thanks to Samira ended up in Metal journalism myself: My first live review was End of Days at Z7 Pratteln, my first interview took place with Korkus Frontman Marc Storace, and I could fill 100 books with all the stories since.
Sweaty bodies, drunk puking fans, aroused groupies, sex, blowjobs and fist fights for all to witness – well, you really get a lot to see in 13 years when you write for a Metal magazine. There have been good and bad times that had me grow as a person, I made many friends and I had a chance to combine two passions of mine, photography and music.
And although it is a lot of work and exhausting, I would not miss a minute of it.
15th anniversary of Stalker-Magazine – I hope I can remain a part of this awesome team and this magazine. I hope there are many more exciting stories and challenges in the future.
I’d wish more feedback from you, my dear readers: what would you like to find here on this website? Just tell us via social media comments or e-mail so that we can rock the next 15 years!
And let’s thank our chief-ed Klaudia, there would be no Stalker any more without you, and it is incredible how much work and time you put into it. A huge thanks to you. (Sandy Mahrer)
Encounters of a special kind …
One of the highlights in the last 15 years of Stalker are, of course, the many occasions when journalist encountered musician. The results of these question-and-answer games were quite different: from bizarre over hilarious to thought-provoking. Here‘s my best-of of the strangest and most memorable interview moments – in no particular order. (Kathleen Gransalke)
Coheed and Cambria
(November 2012 in Hamburg, Germany), Josh Eppard, Travis Stever:
One last question.
Second Interviewer: Ask him about the Halloween costume.
What was your question exactly?
Travis: He asked me about the Halloween costume that we´d create to represent the band.
And you answered what?
Travis Stever: It was really long.
Interviewer: It just got more and more fucked up (all laugh)
Travis: It does have three testicles and an elephant dong.
(To Josh Eppard) So, you have to top that.
No, we would be The Beatles. That´s what we should be for Halloween. Especially, since we are in Germany.
But the Beatles are not from Germany, how about the Scorpions?
I actually like the Scorpions but The Beatles cut their teeth playing here in Hamburg. This is where they learned how to play. The bar is right there, it´s like right over there. We are all big Beatles fans. Even though they are not from here, in their books this is where they say they learned to be a band and learned to play. I actually tried to get the band to dress up as The Beatles tonight but they didn’t want to do it.
(June 2010 in Vantaa, Finland) Kaarle Viikate:
Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus, another band singing mostly in Finnish, even recorded two albums completely in German, would you consider that too?
I’m so poor in my other languages, as you notice here (laughs)…if the day will ever come that we release an album outside of Finland, then there will be an English translation of the lyrics in the booklet. I don’t believe that… for me writing in Finish…all the things I want to say…the best way I can say it is in Finnish.
(November 2009 in Mannheim, Germany) Wille Naukkarinen:
Last question, do you believe in ghosts?
I do, actually, I do and the funny thing is that I don´t really believe in any religious or any of that stuff. I kind of feel like I shouldn´t then believe in ghosts either. I´m all about being a realist but I do, I do for some reason.
Have you seen one?
No, I haven´t but they really fascinate me, there´s some programmes on tv all the time, you know, about ghosts and hunting ghosts whatever, I just think it´s so interesting if they really exist, I don´t know, they fascinate me and I believe in them in a way.
(July 2008 in Vantaa, Finland) Mathias Nygård:
Another aspect of your show is your own appearance with all the costumes and make up. Have you ever played a gig without them or if your suitcases got lost at the airport, would you rather cancel the show?
laughs) I think we would probably have to cancel, we would have to see what we can do but if everyone´s suitcase got lost then we would be in a quite difficult position. It happened, it´s a long time ago (laughs)… we didn´t have any album out by then and our former keyboard player forgot his luggage at home or whatever. And we were playing a show in Helsinki, on the way he realised that he actually didn´t have the clothes with him so we stopped by and he had this desperate attempt of building some sort of (laughs) Hawaiian skirt made of bamboo [raffia] but in a Finnish version made of twigs from the forest. Just taking something and building something out of that (laughs). Well, obviously it didn´t work so he ended up being naked playing the show (laughs). It was quite a funny thing as such but I don´t think we probably will go that far anymore.
Are your costumes actually made of real fur?
Yeah, most of it is.
From what animal?
I don´t know the name in English; it´s “supikoira” in Finnish. I don´t know if it´s a raccoon or something, I don´t know what it is called. [it´s a raccoon dog]
Dillinger Escape Plan
(June 2008 in Helsinki, Finland)
After watching you play I was wondering if it would even be possible for you to play on a very small stage, with no space to move?
Honestly, I used to really like it, in the beginning. Now I feel way more comfortable on big stages than I do on small stages because I´ve been hit so much. I have fake teeth, I have scars all over my head, my hand is broken, both my hands are broken right now. This finger is broken [shows his finger and moves it in a weird way] and my wrist is broken. I don´t like it, I´m over it, you know. When we play…Ben, the kid on my right, he´s out of his mind, he doesn´t care that he has a sharp piece of wood in his hand. He swings it around and I have a microphone, it doesn´t have much reach, you know. So when we used to play small stages it felt like every single night “oh cool, I´m bleeding again”. I remember one tour, he hit me in the face and knocked a tooth right out and when I went home my mom was like “what are you doing? You dropped out of college to do this? I paid for you to have braces when you were a kid and now you get your teeth knocked out?” So I enjoy to have a little bit of room right now.
Black Dahlia Murder
(October 2007, via Mail) Brian Eschbach:
Where does the inspiration come from, for the music and lyrics?
I had to think about this for a long hard moment but when it comes down to it there´s really only one answer. Satan.
Stalker turns 15, wow!
What do I associate with Stalker? Good times, nice people, and more good times! Two of the funniest moments, that I will remember for all eternity, are a night with folks from Sólstafir, with whom Klaudia and me sat talking and mostly laughing in some 3rd class bed and breakfast almost the whole night. Actually, it was some folks that accompanied the band mostly. Some Norwegian guy called Magnus had the most dry and hilarious humour I have ever encountered. Our tummies and cheeks were aching from all the laughter, when we left some time early morning.
And then there was the gibberish interview between members from Cradle of Filth, Dark Tranquility and Kreator. Those guys were hilarious as well, we had such a good laugh. Although I got some little beef with Dani, for sending his hellhound of a watchdog after me, who yelled at me and threw us all out. Just for your info, Dani: none of your guys drank a drop of alcohol or anything else. But they were the most funny, with the best humour
So yes, those are the most cherished moments, when thinking about my time with Stalker! (Melanie Kircher)
So Stalker has been around for fifteen years already?
Haven’t been on the team that long myself, but sure enough, I still have the first issue I bought, which was the second that was ever released and dates from 2004. Asked for a short reflection of these one and a half decades I figured to sum them up in music, so here is each year represented by one album that I still love today, each from a different band. Actually in one case I remembered the year wrongly but I realized it too late and am too lazy now to take a new photo, so go ahead and spot the mistake! 😉
I’ve also included my first Stalker, opened at the very page that caught my attention at the time (no regrets and no apologies!) to honor our anniversary.
And a cat, because after all we’re on the internet these days… (Tina Solda)
Top 3 most impressive bands during my active Stalker time
Top 3: Avatar
I had horrible headache. But after the concert it had disappeared. The sound of the guitars, bass and drums matched incredibly precisely. And I was very impressed by the voice of Johannes Eckerström, especially his combination of screaming and growling. I liked the whole show and and by the end my neck muscles were not stiff anymore. A few years later, I was living in Prague, my flatmate started enthusiastically talking about that very special Scandinavian band, realized that it was a Swedish one and asked carefully if he can say that out loud in my presence. Yes, with Avatar he is absolutely right, they are great.
Top 2: Reckless Love
Please join me, you can fully enjoy this evening, you do not have to write anything. Well, ok, I will come along. And then I had a lot of fun. I knew men with make-up HIM-style or from Turisas concerts, but the make-up of the men in the audience irritated me in the beginning. It look way more professional than mine. But when Reckless Love entered the stage, I did not know where to look at first. The boys seemed to have jumped out of the fashion and make-up magazines that I used to buy as a teenager, but as a same time they represented the reason for me leaving the gym with shoulder strains. By the way, I enjoyed the music as well, the melodies remained in my ears for a while.
Top 1: The Man-Eating Tree
By chance, I came across The Man-Eating Tree during the Metal Expo in 2011. I had seen a lot of other bands already, it was loud, I did not know this band, and I just wanted to take some break. But my stalker colleague did not let me leave. She was really insistent (thank you so much, Sandy). Just few songs later I cried in her arms. The voice of the singer Tuomas Tuominen back than touched me to my heart, I never expected something like this to happen. So far, I used heavy metal music rather for reduction of aggression. After the show, we ran straight to the CD booth. Since than “Vine” is running on continuous loop on my jogging playlist.
Not to top at all: the doormen
I have always worked internationally and interdisciplinary and occasionally I lecture to a large audience. But every time I wanted to pass the doormen and tell him I was on the press list, my heart slipped into my pants. (Grit Kabiersch)
STALKER 15 years – this is also a personal record …
… in my truly colorful career… although I did journalism before I even knew it’s called like that and could be a profession. At elementary school I started circulating my own zines stories and drawings, the first were hand-written 1 copy only, hence literally circulating. Then I received a type writer as a gift and could create more copies via carbon paper or the spirit duplicator at school. Then came those student magazines and some more international level with Science Fiction and Fantasy Fanzines…
The reason for creating those B/W illustrations (just like this one feat. Motörhead) was that they photo-copied better and we did not have the money for professional lithographies of images… and because the chief-ed of the SF satire series „Marc O’Popel“ noticed my fave for loud music, he invited me to join his Rock / Heavy Metal Fanmagazine „Hounddog“ – and the rest is history, which includes interviewing e.g. Queensryche, Annihilator and Megadeth, later joining the Rock Hard crew (also creating cartoons) and later due to my university media studies I ended up with running a Rock / Metal radio show – which still exists, by the way (FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK, Radio Agora …)
Still there are many coincidences to connect me with STALKER soon after I had moved to Helsinki. At a show at Tavastia headlining The Black League (according to the internet it was February 13, 2004), I meet a colleague from my Finnish language course (Melanie Kircher) who attends this gig as a reporter for this new magazine… oh, maybe they would need more contributors?
Another remarkable thing happened the very same evening: one of the totally unknown support bands really impressed me – and so much that later I kept pestering the STALKER chief-ed until she agreed to publish my interview with those guys. Well, maybe it was the first one ever for those Finns outside their home country?
WEEEELL and I wonder what became of those dudes from Jyväskylä and the slender young man on this photo … ??
Actually, I met him at last Tuska… and HERE you can find out what became of the band Swallow the Sun or better, what happened at their latest gig here in Helsinki…
A little story that representing so many similar ones … and it’s so difficult to pick certain highlights or anecdotes, there are way too many. It could be that Elenium chose a cartoon of mine as their official Band-Merchandise motive…
I can still roll on the floor laughing when I remember visiting the museum with Ensiferum or talking about the 7 deadly sins with Before The Dawn… which might give you a hint why I am still doing this. Despite the fact it involves many many lonesome hours being glued to a computer screen, without pay, instead of chilling at a beach, roaming the woods, hanging out at a bar with friends, visiting relatives etc etc … Doing this journalism thing, you always meet a lot of great people you’d otherwise never met, which is true for so many people I have the honor to call my close friends now.
And it does not matter how long you have been “in the biz”, there are always some new bands that blow you away. (Thanks to colleague Marco Manzi for this snapshot).
(You can watch my unplanned guest star appearance in the Keoma Video filmed at Tuska 2018 after about 2:40)
Well, all I can do now is hoping that you had some fun with our trip into the past…
… and let’s hope for another 15 years for STALKER in the future!
Your STALKER editor-in-chief Klaudia