InterviewsQuick Shot

Toni Merkel (Sodom): „A dream came true“

Admittedly, when people in central Europe hear „Merkel“ in context with „Germany“, they will probably not immediately think of Toni Merkel, the „new“ Sodom drummer … And now it’s 3 years ago that he joined the ranks of this legendary Thrash band. And those Thrashers still have a lot to do (like festival shows) even after their 40 year anniversary (!! – see the anniversary edition) – therefore we are grateful that Toni found some time for our questions:

What was the first band that you were in, Toni?
My first bands were in the schools I went to. It was more or less cover bands where we covered 70s progressive classic hard rock sound.
My first serious band with their own songs that also played live and toured was Sabiendas, in which I still play these times.
Old school death metal from Germany.

How did you meet the guys from Sodom and end up joining the band?
I met Frank Blackfire (git) about 15 years ago through my snare drum instructor Yevgen (Yeff) Shestopalov.
At that time, Frank was looking for a drummer for his solo project “Blackfire”, where he wanted to play his own and Sodom songs live.
I met Tom (Angelripper, Sodom-mastermind, the ed.) a few times before but only briefly here and there at concerts.
2020 Frank called me, told me that Sodom was looking for a drummer and asked me if I was interested in auditioning for Sodom.
It was clear that I didn’t have to think long about it 🙂
I was able to play some Sodom songs from the “Blackfire” times and played 7 songs with Sodom directly at the audition.

What is it like drumming in Sodom? What are the live shows like?
It was of course a dream come true for me to rehearse, tour and write songs with such a band.
The live shows so far have been well received by the people and I’m looking forward to do more shows with Sodom in the future.
I’m still a fan of Sodom and a big fan of Chris Witchhunter’s drumming.
I try to perform the classic Sodom songs from Witchhunter era in his style as closely as I can.

You are a session drummer as well. Any bands that you worked with that were memorable?
I played some tours with the brutal death metal band “Pighead” from Berlin. Good times, because these are good friends of mine.
I was a drummer in the black metal band “Pestlegion” for a while. That was also a very good exercise for me 🙂 we had a very good time, too.
Some shows with “Negator” that were fun, too. Drums recorded for the album Killstruments & Deathods recorded for the band “Big End Bolt etc. etc.
(and he runs his own drum school, visit his website to find out more, the ed.)

Any favorite metal bands?
I really like the old school Metal stuff. I always struggle with favorites, no matter in which direction, because I don’t want to commit myself.
Since I’m very open when it comes to musicality and I don’t just consume only metal, it’s always difficult for me to choose favourites.

What is Tom Angelripper like? What were your first impressions of him?
Tom is a good person. Always honest, collegial and constructive. He knows exactly what he wants. Lots of people talk a lot and don’t do anything. That’s not the case with him.
I am of course also a Tom Angelripper Fan 🙂

Have you always been a Sodom fan? Any favorite Sodom albums?
Yes, I was a Sodom fan, especially, as I mentioned before, from the Witchhunter times. I especially like all the albums with him and the time Frank was in the band, too.
So I’m very happy today to work and play together with Frank for Sodom and also of course with the actual lineup.
Very good loyal people and meanwhile good friends of mine!

Thank you for the interview!

Text: John Wisniewski
Photos: Sodom Website  Toni Merkel Website

GastmitarbeiterInnen / guest contributions

Regular guest contributors e.g. Melanie Kircher, Tatjana Tattis Murschel, Grit Kabiersch, Marina Minkler, Jasmine Frey, Maria Levin, Elvira Visser, Nina Ratavaara, John Wisniewski