Minotaur (GER)

MINOTAUR is one of the longest running Thrash Metal bands out of Germany beside acts like TORMENT, KREATOR, DESTRUCTION and SODOM. Over the time they had a lot of line-up changes, split up and reformed from time to time. Now MINOTAUR is back with drummer Jörg Bock and old singer/guitarist Andreas Richwien. I had a talk about the history of MINOTUAR with main man Jörg. [Hey Jörg! Thanks a lot for all the tape stuff & the 7″ and sorry for the god damn delay!!! – demon666] 1. When and how was your first contact with Heavy Metal music?
Back then I sometime times listened to NDR 2 (north German radio station – demon666) „Der Club“ and from time to time they played AC/DC’s „Highway To Hell“. I totally liked that stuff and I knew that this is the music I have to listen to. Before this I collected these entire disco LP-compilation from 1977, 1978 and 1979. On these LP’s were bands such as URIAH HEAP with „Easy Living“. Stuff like these songs were the harder tracks when you compare it with BONY M. or BACKARA… hahaha. At this time I was only 8 or 9 years old and liked also stuff like that. Actually I had my first heavy/hard rock experience with AC/DC. „Highway To Hell“ was then also the first LP which I bought. I bought it at SPAR and the LP costs me DM 8,80 (nowadays €4,40!!! – demon666)

2. When did you recognize that there is more than the Metal Mainstream?
In the beginning I listened to bands such as DEAF LEPPARD and ANGELWITCH. Back then you simply had to know those bands. I listened to bands like IRON MAIDEN, MOTÖRHEAD and DEMON shortly after. At the beginning I concentrated on more well-known acts. That there is still another scene, I recognized later. That was on a release concert of ACCEPT in 1982. They’ve released „Restless And Wild“ at this time. After the concert I was allowed to be backstage. At this time this was the best what ever happened to me. I got autographs, could take photos with the band members and got a drumstick from Stefan Kaufmann. That was unique for a twelve year old boy. There I met also older metal fans, who were already longer in the scene and they told me that there is a so called „underground“ scene. For me it started all with the English metal scene and bands like SATAN. Later they showed me the American scene with bands like METALLICA. At that time, 1982, METALLICA was a completely unknown band for me. Over that it I slipped into the tape trading scene and for me the music was much better as that what you could buy on LP back then.

4. What was reason that you decided to play drums?
I think it was the meeting with Stefan Kaufmann of ACCEPT. I played classical guitar over six years before. Well, I got the drumstick from Kaufmann and simply thought „Fast As A Shark“ is a killer song and you should be able to play that, too.

5. Have you ever played in other bands before MINOTAUR?
MINOTAUR was my first band. However we began under another name. We were called DESTORO in former times. The name came from the John Sinclair book „Destroro The Daemon Executioner“. We decided to rename the band later in MINOTAUR. We thought this name is simply more intelligent. The band was formed by Ulf Kaiser and me. That was in 1983. At that time we both were together at the same school. After we had heard the first METALLICA album we thought that we have to do something like that. At the beginning we had always changing members like Stefan Roemhild who later then formed BLACK LAWS later known as EROSION. Sometime we met Chris Zenk at a metal concert. At that time he was on the search for a band with which he could make noise. We didn’t have a bassist and meant that he would be exactly the guy we need. This was the first firm Line-up with which we also recorded our first demo tape later. Actually it began with the fact that we had to teach ourselves our own the instruments.

6. Ok, after three years leaning to play your instruments you recorded your first demo „The Oath Of Blood“ in April of 1986.
Yes, the line-up was Ulf at the guitar, Chris at the bass and singing and myself at the drums. We recorded the demo from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. That was a compact offer. We came in on Friday around 8p.m. We build up our instruments and did the sound checks. Saturday mornings around 8 a.m. we began to record. So the basic tracks were ready in the afternoon and we could record the singing and the guitar solos. On Sunday everything was finished. For four song around 11min it was a hell of stress. Actually we didn’t sleep at all. I think nowadays no one would do it without drugs. At that time we kept us awake with a lot of coffee. Totally drunken I tilted a big cup of coffee over the mixer. Coffee chaos!!! Hahaha!!!

6. Ok, after three years leaning to play your instruments you recorded your first demo „The Oath Of Blood“ in April of 1986.
Yes, the line-up was Ulf at the guitar, Chris at the bass and singing and myself at the drums. We recorded the demo from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. That was a compact offer. We came in on Friday around 8p.m. We build up our instruments and did the sound checks. Saturday mornings around 8 a.m. we began to record. So the basic tracks were ready in the afternoon and we could record the singing and the guitar solos. On Sunday everything was finished. For four song around 11min it was a hell of stress. Actually we didn’t sleep at all. I think nowadays no one would do it without drugs. At that time we kept us awake with a lot of coffee. Totally drunken I tilted a big cup of coffee over the mixer. Coffee chaos!!! Hahaha!!!

7. One song on your debut demo called „Dadshall“. What’s the meaning of that title?
The word comes from Buddhism and means antichrist.

8. In reviews on your first demo comparisons to KREATOR were very fast to the hand. Did that disturb you at that time?
No, actually not. I think that we tended more to RUNNING WILD at that time. Talking about Zenks vocals he sounds very much like Rock ’n‘ Rolf back then. In my opinion you can’t hear KREATOR influences on our first demo.

9. Chris Zenk left MINOTAUR after your first demo.
Yes, Chris wanted to play Hardcore and we were totally into Metal at that time. It was a logical consequence that he went. He followed ex-MINOTAUR axeman Stefan Römhild and they joined forces under the name BLACK LAWS and later EROSION.

10. For me EROSION was the epitome of a band which connected Hardcore elements with the typical CELTIC FROST song writing. This applies to their demo and partly to their first LP.
It’s also that what Zenk wanted whereby one must say that Ulf brought in another very strong Metal influence. Ulf listened a lot to bands like MERCYFUL FATE, SLAYER, HELLOWEEN back then. Both took some MINOTAUR elements and songs writings with ‚em. At that time I wasn’t amused about it. Afterwards they were so friendly to give me some musical and text copyrights. Nowadays I’m again very well with both guys. It is evenly no matter what were 10 or 15 years ago.

11. Your second demo „The Slaughter Continuous“ followed in November 1986 this time with two new guys.
Yes, those were Andreas Richwien and Thomas Witte. Both played before together in a combo named RAVAGE. I knew both and as RAVAGE broke up it was clear that we have to join forces.

12. With the song „Planed Head“ MINOTAUR was part of the legendary „Teutonic Invasion“ LP compilation which was compiled by ROCK HARD magazine. How comes?
ROCK HARD simply asked us. In a reader inquiry our „The Oath Of Blood“ demo was elected to the fifth or sixth best demo of the year. So they knew about us. As they cooperated with Roadrunner Rec. because of the LP compilation they probably remind MINOTAUR. ROCK HARD asked for one song in best studio production and gave us DM500 (nowadays €250). We went into studio and recorded this 2.5minute song and we had still so much studio-time that we recorded also the Intro „The Slaughter Continues and the songs „Savage Aggression“ and „Fall Of The Gods“. Thank you ROCK HARD! By the way Oliver from ROCK HARD did also our management over years until he changed to the „Kuschel Rock“ CD compilation (one in Germany well known soft Rock/Pop CD compilation – demon666). That is gay! Really gay! Anyway! ROADRUNNER pursued an idea with the LP compilation. They wanted to build an opposite to METAL BLADE which published the METAL MASSACRE compilations. At that time METAL BLADE brought out already 10 or 20 very good bands. Bands such as SLAYER, HALLOWS EVE, DÉTENTE, WARLORD or POSSESSED. ROADRUNNER wanted to try the same on the European market. But it doesn’t work because ROADRUNNER wasn’t able to publish so many good bands at all. On both Teutonic Invasion compilations were not so many good bands. Therefore the idea was buried after the second compilation. After the first compilation ROADRUNNER offered VIOLENT FORCE and PARADOXES a deal. Also MINOTUAR by the way but that was somewhat later.

13. What was the reactions on the LP track?
We only received good reactions. As I said ROADRUNNER offered us a deal. We gave the contract to a lawyer. He supplemented this and that to the contract and then sent it back to ROADRUNNER. They weren’t amused at all. We had already a preliminary agreement with them with the LP compilation. They said: We offered you a deal to record a LP by our conditions not by yours. Afterwards they provided us with a two-year barrier, in which we weren’t allowed to publish a LP on ROADRUNNER. In theses two years we couldn’t release any official recording, since we were bound at ROADRUNNER still by the preliminary agreement.

14. At the end of 1987 MINOTAUR entered a studio again to produce the „Power Of Darkness“ demo.
After the problems with ROADRUNNER we tried to find a smaller label to publish our music. In addition we recorded „Power Of Darkness“. However no one was interested.

15. The background vocals were contributed by „The Children Of Hate“. Who was behind this alias?
That was MINOTAUR. At the beginning of MINOTAUR we thought, „We are MINOTAUR and we are bad! We hate all!“. Hahaha! Somebody came up with idea to do a fan club. That was called then „Children Of Hate“. Later we made joke from it.

16. Beside many people from the metal scene you met also MAYHEM and Metalion back then.
Yessss… Metalion had visited me at that time with the guys of MAYHEM. That was a very cool time!!! I already know Metalion for approx. 15 years. Nowadays we meet still from time to time like at Wacken OpenAir or on a tour. It is a cool guy who is simply doing his thing over a very long time. That’s fuckin‘ metal business. When he visited me at that time with the MAYHEM guys we made party ‚till the end… hahaha!!! Once we found him in the garden of my parents under a tree where he fell asleep after he puked… hahaha. We had fun without end. We also drove Hamburg city and tried to sell the first MAYHEM LP at every record store. The guys bought also LP’s in great quantities. Already it was a cool time… These guys drunk more than any human in this fuckin‘ world… That all happened all at my parents home and the guys were simply cool at that time. There was not one minute where I thought, oh my god, what a fuckin‘ bunch have I invited. My parents will have thanked me… hahaha.

17. Your first LP appeared in 1988 under the title „The Power Of Darkness“ NO COLOUR Rec.
Yes, that was a shitty number. They fucked us up. If we had gotten 50% of the money they earned at that time with the LP we would have been already lucky. Just fucked up! We recorded the LP in the same line-up as our last demo.

18. Then the „Death Metal“ 7″ came out. Afterwards it became calmer around the band. What happened there?
Those 7″ came out in 1989 on REMEDY Rec. It was not really calm around MINOTUAR. We had a change at the bass. For Thomas Witte came Marco Scharfenort. However that was the time in which we have toured a lot actually. Generally we were very active. At this time we thought we should find us in a new way. We thought Thrash Metal must to be sounded as WATCHTOWER on 45rpm. It should sound everything differently and still better. From today’s viewpoint that was our largest fault. At that time we supported many progressive bands like HADES. That naturally left traces with us. For us a tidy Thrash song had to consist of „40 parts“. With this line-up it had no more sense to continue the work. The sense and purpose of advancement in the music were simply gone. Marco formed DESERT STORM and Andreas and I had private problems which affected the band. It was a short and painless end. I explained that MINOTAUR is dead and said the band will come back if I would say it. The revival came up only one year later with a completely new line-up.

19. In 1991 the split CD with TORMENT and DESERT STORM followed.
Yeah, MINOTAUR was once dead. I had withdrawn myself from the metal scene, I was fresh married and thought „leave me all calm!“. And one time I recognized that there is something missing in my life. I wanted to prove myself again that the „Metal Beast“ is still alive in me… hahaha. Marco knew two guitarists who originated both from Croatia. At that time a lot of people fro the east came to Germany by the war. I knew Buschi already for a very long time from the metal scene. Many metalheads again oriented themselves new at this time. LIFE OF AGONY or BIOHAZARD were completely large and music with the typical HipHop Beats were totally in. However I completed a new line-up. Those were people who had interest to make hard Metal music. The idea with this three-way-split CD came in such a way that all bands were on the way to go into studio. All bands came from Hamburg therefore it was clear that we do something together. The disk came out on REMEDY Rec. By the way Buschi later went to PARAGON.

20. In 1993 MINOTAUR released another LP.
The offer came from the Greek label MOLON LAVE which had at that time already a German distribution. Back then we sold approx. 2,500 pieces from the LP. Strange to say that the selling of the LP was limited to the south of Germany. Probably that had to do with the fact that the distribution company was located there. In the remainder of Germany the LP was hardly to find. How the LP was selling world-wide I cannot say at all.

21. Later the band split up again.
The band failed because of the musicians. Musicians who simply didn’t fit together. They were none MINOTAUR musicians, they were… hm… mercenaries! Hahaha!!! Buschi was the only one who identified himself with the band. The others had rather the attitude „anyway where I play the main thing for me is I want to earn money“. I wanted to prove it myself again, also with other musicians. But it came the point where I didn’t want it anymore.

22. MINOTAUR is active again for some time. What was the reason for you to bring the band in life again for the third time?
Well, I was pissed for a very long time. In 2000 at Wacken Open Air my wife met Andreas while I played with TORMENT on the stage. He had finally interests to do music again with me and both of us had the times so we begun to jam. Short time after Lars of STORMWARRIOR joined forces with us on the bass. Later Alf came as the new bassist and Lars took over the second guitar.

23. So you worked on new material. When will it come out and what can we expect?
No comments! Hahaha!!! (He goes to his CD player and inserts a CD with four tracks from the rehearsal room. All tracks are killin‘!!! Razor sharp Thrash Metal! Great!!! – demon666) I hope that we can submit a new CD in the middle of 2005.

24. In the middle of the 80’s you brought out a tape-compilation together with Claudia von Bühl. The whole thing ran under the title „Death Metal Production“. Please tell us something about Claudi and your project.
Claudia was to say in such a way my „small sister“. Here in Halstenbek we lived in the same road. Only two houses parted us. We were very close friends and were infected by the same musical virus. She listened to Punk as well as to Metal. Once we wanted to do something for the Metal scene. We brought out three „Total Massacre“ tapes. The Fourth failed because of the fact that the companies suddenly began to make a lot of stress. NOISE Rec. annoyed us because WATCHTOWER wanted to be on the fourth tape. The band sent cool things to me like a bunch of photos, original tapes, and stuff. They were correctly hot to publish something in Europe anyway if it’s just on tape. Remember the scene was very small back then. Unfortunately they had already a contract with NOISE Rec. Before NOISE would have sent a layer we simply cancelled the whole thing. The idea was to present local and over regional bands on a tape for DM5,00 (nowadays €/$ 2.50 – demon666) and everyone should copy the tape for others so that those bands become simply more well-known. That idea came from the Punk music. Hey, you can mention that!!! „Wir gratulieren – Soundtracks zur Taufe“ („We congratulate – Soundtrack for the baptism“ – demon666) was the first Punk tape-compilation out of Hamburg. Our idea was it to take it over for the Metal. Actually we wanted to limit the compilation to Hamburg. It spread then on European and world-wide, was more or less a self runner. That was never our idea. Bands like TORMENT, SKITZO, VADER, TURBO, MUTILATOR or which white I to bring were correctly hot on it their Songs on this Sampler and have its material automatically sent to us. The Tapes has itself at that time between 500 – and 800-mal sells. For this time it was already crazy!

25. At this time there was also small scandal with you in the 80’s „pop world“. You had trouble with NENA back then. As I remember there was also report in „Bravo“ (one in Germany well known pop magazine – demon666). Later you also had a reader’s letter in this magazine. [For all into German language find pdf-documents of both articles here].
That was at that time as we were on a travel with my school class at Tegernsee. We also visited the Bavaria film studios. There we met Nena and Carlo and the rest of the band. Thy produced a video for the TV-pop-magazine „Formel 1“. It was a silly and foolish situation with Nena and I kissed her. Everything what was written later is absolutely not true! Later I met Carlo (Karges. He was main songwriter in NENA’s band. He died in 2001 – demon666). It was as the whole thing calmed down and I had a good talk with him. He knew HELLOWEEN from Hamburg at that time. I think he was well informed about the metal scene. Before he joined NENA he played in EXTRABREIT. R.I.P.!

26. You had an accident which led to the fact that you had to leave TORMENT.
Well, I throw down as we had frost. I had a double shin-bone and fibula break. Yes, with TORMENT I had to quit playing drums. TORMENT stood briefly before a studio recording. So they had to find a new drummer quickly. MINOTAUR also laid on ice but we worked at Andreas‘ home studio on the songs for the new album. If everything went well with my leg recordings and live-gigs are possible to the end of the year. We’ll see!

2005 News: MINOTUAR is now back with a vengeance. The band is about to write new songs and to rehearse their old classic tunes and stage favorite ones so that they hope to have nearly all songs for a new CD written and arranged. New song titles are: „Full Speed Ahead“, „In Combat“, „Soulless“, „Into Oblivion“, „Damager“, „It’s War“, „Fall Of The Gods“ , „Rather Die“, „Princess Of Hell“, „Tales Of Terror“, „Like A Knife In My Back“ (TWISTED SISTER cover). [Thanks to Andreas Richwien for the infos!]


1986 „The Oath Of Blood“ Demo

1986 „The Slaughter Continues“ Demo

1987 „The Power Of Darkness“ Demo

1987 „In Death We Trust“ Rehearsal Tape

1988 „The Power Of Darkness“ LP on No Colour Records

1989 Official „Live & Studio“ Tape

1989 „Death Metal“ 7″ on Remedy Records

1991 Split CD with TORMENT & DESERT STORM on Remedy Records

1993 „Welcome To…“ LP on Molon Lave Records

2001 „The Oath Of Blood“ 7″ on To The Death Records

2002 „The Slaughter Continues“ 7″ on To The Death Records

2002 „unreleased Pre-production“ Demo

2003 „The Power Of Darkness“ 7″ on To The Death Records

2003 „Death Metal II“ 7″ on To The Death Records