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Andreas Neuderth 'Neudi' (MANILLA ROAD): sincerity and heavy metal

Andreas Neuderth 'Neudi' (MANILLA ROAD): sincerity and heavy metal
BANDS : Manilla Road

Andreas Neuderth , or simply Neudi, joined in 2011 as the drummer of the legendary American group Manilla Road. On 13 February 2015 the band released the disc The Blessed Curse. We took advantage on this opportunity and invited Neudi to a discussion that you can read in the lines below. We talked about his love of Manilla Road, Ace Frehly, KISS, how important is to be honest with what you're doing when it comes to heavy metal music, and many other interesting topics. After this discussion, I can say without any reservations that I see Andreas as a man with a lot of good sense and relish talking.


Metalfan:  Hi Neudi and welcome to! Back in 2011 you've joined the legendary band Manilla Road. How did it all happen?

Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": I was in contact with the band since the late 90s. I thought Manilla Road would have been disbanded and I did a tribute homepage when I got internet. Mark Shelton found that page (which became the official homepage for some years) and since then we are in contact and became friends. We first met at Bang Your Head Festival in Balingen, Germany which took place in 2000 or 2001. I always kept him updated with the bands I had during the last years (Viron, Kokoon, Roxxcalibur etc.) and it seems like he liked my drumming. In 2011 their drummer Cory Christner was not able to make to their headliner show at Hammer of Doom Festival in Germany and they wanted to cancel that show. The organizer, Oliver Weinsheimer from Keep it True, suggested that I could play that 2 ½ hour show and this is how it happened. Two rehearsal and we´ve played the gig… over two hours. After that show the band wanted me to be a constant member and of course I was more than happy to accept the offer to play in my all time-favorite band.

Metalfan: When you first heard about Manilla Road? Which was the first song that you've heard and what did you believed about the band at that time?   
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": I had a local Heavy Metal TV-Show in 1985 (I was 14) and the record companies started sending me LPs to review them. One of those companies was Black Dragon from Paris. My first Manilla Road album was in one of their parcels, and it was The Deluge (1986). So in fact the first song I heard was Dementia. I was shocked about the drumming. I even was not sure if it was just wrong or genius first because it sounded so weird. I fell in love with that LP some minutes later and it still is my favorite “classicManilla Road album. Open the Gates (1985) was my second one because I have asked Black Dragon if they could send it to me too.

Metalfan: It would be great if you could tell us more about your influences as a drummer but also about your drumming technique.
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": I was lucky enough that I got a whole bunch of Live-Albums from the brother of a schoolmate when I was 8  or 9 years old. This included Unleashed in the East (1979) by Judas Priest and All the World´s a Stage (1976) from Rush. Both drummers, Les Binks and Neil Peart, had a great impact on me. Not just their drumming but also them playing those long breaks over the toms...starting with an 8” and ending it on the big floor tom. Before that it was Peter Criss from KISS who is of course not a genius but again...this long break from the smallest tom to the floor tom in Makin´ Love. I guess this “tom thing” was my earliest focus and I still love drummers who use big kits, like Nigel Glockler from Saxon. I am personally bored of drums like in AC/DC even I like that straight stuff as a fan/listener. I even think I would kill myself after playing one hour in a AC/DC tribute band... or I would kill anybody else. [ed. note laughs]
Later influences are of course Randy Foxe from Manilla Road who proved that unique and “busy” drumming is a positive and great feature to heavy music. I was never impressed by hyperfast thrash-drummers because this is more sports than drumming. Beside playing in Manilla Road the best effect on my drumming was playing in a Deep Purple Tribute band for three years. This brought back the rock-drummer in me. In fact I am more of a rock drummer who plays metal than a real metal drummer. When I was in Savage Grace for one year I have noticed that this fast stuff was not what I want to end up playing for the rest of my life, even I was able to do it. Sometimes there is a gap between what is fun to me as a drummer and what I prefer listening to as a fan. I was in a band called Kokoon which was close to be pop music. This was in the 2000s. I really have enjoyed this type of drumming a lot but I was never a fan of some of the songs we did. But I have enjoyed playing this stuff and the company of my bandmates. All these kind of different bands had a good effect on me because I have developed new ideas. Regarding technique….well, I just play what comes to my mind without thinking how I do it. I guess I would be a really bad drum teacher because I can´t say how I do it. [ed. note laughs]

Metalfan: Do you live exclusively from music or you have to do different jobs in order to support this passion?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": I still work part-time in a CD-store here in Germany and I love that job. It is always my aim to experience the scene from all angles and with that job I do or did everything except of running a label. If you just see one part of the business than you might think that the others involved (label, press, agencies etc.) make mistakes. If you know the whole thing then you are more relaxed and your expectations are on a healthy level.

Metalfan: On  February 13th Manilla Road have released a new album titled The Blessed Curse. Could you tell us more about the writing and the recording processes?

Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": Well, Mark Shelton is writing music permanently. If it ends up as material for Manilla Road depends on the song itself I guess. I was not surprised that one day he had the songs for a new CD ready. Our chance to record together is when we play shows in the USA, so I am in the country anyway and “for free”. We did that with Mysterium (2013) and did it that way again. Before my flight to the USA I knew the guitars and some vocals along with a clicktrack. But I don´t sit at home and compose drum parts. My philosophy is capturing the moment when recording, so you can say that what you hear on Blessed Curse is a kind of session. I did what felt good in that moment. Also my best ideas and performances are usually the first, maybe the second. Manilla Road is the first band except of my ex-band from the 90s (Economist) where I can live that and where it also fits well. After I have recorded the drums some of the guitar- and bassparts were redone to fit better to the drums. No need to say that everything is real. No editing (like copy and paste) or triggered drums. The heavy songs only have one rhythm guitar, just the way you will hear us live. This is also the way I prefer music. Yes, I love old stuff from Queen and some Savatage, but basically I like studio albums that are “a little more produced live albums”.

Metalfan: As far as I've seen, 'til now your new album have gained only positive reviews. How important are these reactions for you as an artist?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": We all check the reviews and send them to each other. Back in the 80s Manilla Road was a “love it or hate it band” and the “love-it-factor” has risen since the early 2000s. We have seen reviews of reissues by journalist who didn´t like the same LP back in the eighties. Regarding new albums, like now The Blessed Curse, it is very interesting to read reviews. You can clearly feel if the author knows about the band or not when you read a review. Some are stucked in the eighties and always compare a new CD with Crystal Logic (1983) or Open the Gates (1985). This is what I personally hate because the whole world has changed since the early/mid-eighties while the approach and the attitude of Mark Shelton hasn´t changed. It is just the music that has developed, also due to various line-up changes over the years. Also there is no reason to do a second Crystal Logic (1983) and even trying it would be kind of wrong and would cut the creativity of the band. On the other hand Manilla Road 2015 is still completely free of modern influences so this is why our new CDs are still relevant to the fans. We are no band only celebrating the 80s while playing well-attended live-shows while nobody needs your new albums. We feel the respect we get for this in all the recent reviews. Some still have problems with the sound/production but hey, this new CD is sounding the way we like it. Some think that especially the epic songs need a big, overblown production but these guys simply haven´t understood who we are.

Metalfan: What are saying the musicians that you interview at regarding your work as a drummer and also Manilla Road? Do you get any proposals of collaborations?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": In-fact I often get proposals and if the year would have 600 days then I would have considered some of them. I did before I was in Manilla Road because all my bands, even we had CDs out, were not taking that much of my time. I was the studio drummer on some CDs some might know or remember but of course I can´t talk about that. What is always feeling weird is when drummers from other bands that I admire like my drumming. I mean, I kind of just play what comes to my mind while many of these guys work harder than me, composing their parts and rehearsing techniques.

Metalfan: Your activity as an music journalist have helped you in a way during the years as a musician?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": Well, not exactly as a musician but for sure to be a part of the scene which then leads to helpful contacts. If you talk to Judas Priest or Black Sabbath you calm down after a while and this “star cult” is gone. Today I can meet anybody famous without being nervous or something, even when I am a fan. So this helped because with Manilla Road we also play big festivals where you meet the “big guys”.

Metalfan: How important it is to be honest with what you are doing when it comes to heavy metal music and music in general?
At least it is important to me. Also I am not very good in doing things I don´t like. [ed. note laughs] There are bands out there who write Heavy Metal music like others write Pop Music: Just to be successful enough to make enough money for a living. That´s nothing wrong and those bands have my respect too, but I think you can hear that on their CDs. Most of the time those CDs are cool when you give them a first listen and after that they are boring like hell. In general many people notice if you have fun while doing it all professionally or if it is just your job. Rush is a good example for this I guess.

Metalfan: I think that Iron Maiden it's the most representative band for NWOBHM, Judas Priest are the masters of classic heavy metal, and Manilla Road the kings of epic heavy metal. But in a way I feel that Manilla Road doesn't receive the attention that should. How do you feel about this matter?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": Back in the 80s I was the only one who liked Manilla Road within my circle of friends. And without the internet and with not the best press for the band I felt really “alone” with being a Manilla Road fan. We were all into that development from Heavy to Speed, from Speed to Thrash. I was too but I still went on listening to Manilla Road because they became my favorite band after listening to The Deluge. I mean, I was able to listen to D.R.I. or Hirax 30 minutes later and I am even more extreme since I have also embraced 60s and 70s rock music. Back then some fans were searching for the next heavier and faster thing while others were into that polished (hair-) metal thing. Especially Germany was a lot into Thrash and we had a ton of new bands like Kreator or Deathrow. Manilla Road didn´t fit well into that development and other bands like Armored Saint had a hard time too. I can´t remember any Cirith Ungol fans in the mid-eighties too. Manilla Road had their fans back then, for sure, but without the internet there was no forum. And since the early 2000s a young breed of fans have discovered all the albums and finally the LPs got a “late success”. Timeless no-trend-music sometimes needs a bit longer…

Metalfan: Here at we are big fans of mix-tapes. It would be great if you could choose 10 songs from 10 different bands for a virtual mix-tape. What would be the name of this mix-tape?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": Oh my God, I do that all time for myself as I still listen to CDs in my car. During the last months I try to transfer at least 3 or 5 CDs from my collection to my computer, but as WAV files and not as mp3. Sometimes I create mix-CDRs that make sense like NWOBHM Attack or US-Metal Inferno, sometimes I just mix what I feel like I want to hear the next day. There could be 70s stuff and Thrash on it. So right now….

KISS - Strange Ways
DUST –  Suicide
SLAYER – Gemini
EAGLES – Hotel California
CCR – Pegan Baby
BLEAK HOUSE – Rainbow Warrior
CELTIC FROST – Into the Crypts of Rays
MEAT LOAF – In the Land of Pig the Butcher is King
CREEPIN´ DEATH – Stop that Car
RIOT – Restless Breed

Metalfan: I know you're a big KISS fan. Did you got the chance to listen to the latest album of Ace Frehly - Space Invader? If so, what do you think about it?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": I like it, even I am a little like these guys I hate for it: I mostly like the old stuff from KISS to Creatures of the Night. Being a KISS fan is a little flashback to my childhood and I guess we all have bands like this. I am happy with my life the way it is now but listening to KISS is still a special feeling, like meeting old friends. Ace is absolutely cult. He might not be the best guitarplayer in the world but if he starts a solo you immediately know who is playing. I respect that as much as skills. I din´t like Anomaly too much but this new one is really great.

Metalfan: Speaking of  KISS, Carnival of Souls - The Final Sessions, the album the band have released in '97 it's a favorite of mine. How do you feel about that album and that '90s grunge direction?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": Now you got me because I absolutely love 4 or 5 songs of that album. KISS tried to be Alice in Chains but thanks god it doesn´t work. So they have created something unique here without doing it on purpose. I have always hated grunge and I still do but there are only two or three songs that are really like that. What I also like is that unfinished production of that album. I think most of the 80s albums were too blown up. I also want to mention that Dynasty contains some great songs that are really heavy. Thanks Ace! I guess nobody of us needs the disco stuff but Save your Love and Hard Times are great. Same with Torpedo Girl from Unmasked.

Metalfan: Last year Manilla Road steal the night on the first day of Romanian Thrash Metal Fest here in Bucharest. How was your experience here in Romania? Did you had the chance to visit anything?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": Unfortunately we´ve played the Manilla Road Festival in Germany the next day and we had to be there at noon for soundcheck. Also I was the guestdrummer for one song with the second band on that bill so we really needed to fly out of Romania early. When I see posters of festivals like this I am always a little afraid playing with so many death- and even black metal bands. Meanwhile I should know better but back in the eighties this wouldn´t have worked that way, at least here in Europe. I remember sitting in the backstage behind the stage with the guys from Cancer, listening to all those blast beats from the stage, wondering “what are WE doing here?” [ed. note laughs]. And in the end it was a great show with a fantastic audience. There was a tattoo convention in the city at the same time and the hotel was full of metalheads, musicians and tattoo artists/models. I guess regular visitors were frightened to death. [ed. note laughs]

Metalfan: Do you consider to play again in the near future in Romania if you'll get an  serious offer?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": Of course! We are willing to play wherever we can and I hope we will come back one day. Our two agancies, one in the USA and one in Germany, are working on future shows but of course we need a routing that makes sense to the organizers and to us. Playing one club show in a country and then flying home of course is not cheap. So we need to collect all offers right now and then plan a routing that makes it possible and senseful. We are not a bunch of 20 year old kids who tour the world in a little van but we are also not the rockstars who need the best hotel in town. We don´t want to get rich from touring but we also don´t want to “bring money” with us to play. If this is fulfilled… we are there. [ed. note smiles]

Metalfan: Thank you for your time and answers Neudi! In the end would you like to add something or to send few words to our readers?
Andreas Neuderth "Neudi": Thank you for this interview and asking interesting questions! Of course Mark Shelton is the better partner for an interview when it comes to Manilla Road and lyrical concepts etc., but I hope some of your readers like it though.
Photo: Richard Cathey
Autor: H.
   June 05, 2015  | 0 Comments  | 7990 Views « BACK

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