Interview

PRETTY MAIDS (2017 - English Version) - Ronnie Atkins (Vocals)

One lovely thing with heavy metal is that age doesn't count. After the awesome PRETTY MAIDS show it's time to sit a little bit and talk with Ronnie about the band, music, and even a little bit about society. Here's the interview with one of the nicest guy I've ever met!

SBM: Hello Ronnie! First of all thank you for your time, you're finally back at the Hellfest, how do you feel?


Ronnie: Good, I have good memories, I think we played here once before, in 2010, it's been seven years! Well I've been here with Avantasia but now it's with PRETTY MAIDS, we're glad to play for our French fans, and whoever is out there, there's a lot of French people because it's a French festival. It's absolutely cool, I think the crowd was great, there where fuckin standing in, it's like 35į out there, it's rough and tough.

I totaly agree about the fact that the public was there, it was indeed a great show. And the French public has always been there for PRETTY MAIDS, so could you tell us more about the relationship you have with the French fans?

Well it's great to be back, I'd love to go back to France and play a full headlining show, like in the 80s or the 90s, France was always important for PRETTY MAIDS and still is. Back in the days we came here, we toured, did something like six or seven gigs on the "Future World" tour, or "Jump The Gun". So I miss the fucking French fans and today we were able just to play a 45 minutes set but it was better than nothing and I saw and heard people singing old songs, and newest songs, everybody in the band had a great time.

It's just a way to say "We're still here"!

Yeah we're still here and fans are still there so it's great!

During last decade, or something like that, PRETTY MAIDS seems to be back as a big band, do you feel it that way?

I feel that since we did the "Pandemonium" album, in 2010, we've been on the road you know, I think we proved the audience around the world that we're still capable of making a good album, and the three latest albums we've done: "Pandemonium", "Motherland" and "Kingmaker" have had good reviews and I can see it in the audience when we played in Europe, America, Japan, whatever, we can see old fans and we still get new fans coming along which is absolutely cool. It warms my heart, that's what it takes to go on and to survive and you're still relevant, still able to do a good album and to pull off a good show, so yes I'm happy!

You can be! "Kingmaker" is a great album, still using all the ingredients of your secret receipt which makes good music. Now that time has passed, what's your opinion about "Kingmaker"?

I think it's a good album, I love it, I feel the same with "Kingmaker" as I did with "Motherland" or "Pandemonium", and with "Kingmaker" we just tried to patiently do the same thing, like we do everytime we make an album, you do your best, try to write the best songs you can, and it's a good album and lyrically it's pretty relevant, maybe a little bit political I don't know. We're not from the right or the left, it's just... What happen in the world, and the world is on fire man, that's what a lot of the lyrics are about.

We can actually hear and feel that rage on some songs you know. And the title song "Kingmaker", always makes me thing about Trump, because I can believe a man like this is the president of one of the biggest power of the world. Still feeling that a "kingmaker" is pulling strings.

You know it came as a coincidence, when I heard Trump was elected I thought it was a joke, I would never, ever in my whole fuckin' life would have believed that he would end as the president. I think it's a fuckin' disgrace, seriously I think it's fuckin' horrible, saying what he said during its campaign and nobody knew what they were voting for... I don't think he's a bad person as such, he's just very very different. Now the Americans say "different president" but still, he's the leader of the free world come on!

Let's put it that way: the album was recorded about a year before he was elected anyway, but I'm not political, I think there are more serious issues on the album about the whole terrorist thing, the jihadist movement which really scares me, and you people of France really know about that.
You know I love every person on this earth, I think people should believe in whatever religion they want to believe in, but when it gets extreme that's when it becomes dangerous and that scares me.
That's what some of these songs are about, of course I was affected by seeing people burned alive, being beheaded, come on what's going on!? I'm just trying to open people eyes. I know a lot of people already opened their eyes, I like to write about things that are relevant. Weíre not a political band but we always do that.

Somehow itís a duty for a rock or metal band to open peoplesí eyes, to deliver a message.

I think people want to be entertained by rockín roll, it shouldnít be too negative, too depressive or political, but I canít help it I gotta write from my heart, thatís what Iím trying to do.

Youíre doing it good man!
All the bands from the 80s are still in a very good shape, and thatís a really good thing! Whatís your secret?


Oh me? (Laugh)

Yeah! You and the others if you know! (Laugh)

I think the most important thing is to mentally be on top, you have to decide a way to do it. Back in 2010 we did the ďPandemoniumĒ album, I had to decide and, personally speaking, I wanted to do this. For seventeen years weíve been on the road, we were having a good time together socially, and I feel, as a singer and performer, very good! I feel better than I did like fifteen years ago.

Good that means youíll last long! Obviously most of the bands from the 80s are getting to the end of their career. What do you think about the next generation of metal bands?

Oh you know Iím not much into new stuff that come out, I listen to it sometimes, like a link with me son whoís now 24 years old, but heís in all kind of music, and so do I, Iím pretty open-minded, but when I listen to hard rock back home, I listen to my old stuff, like Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Def Leppard. Thatís the music I love, I always go back to it because I think that during the 70s and the 80s, thatís when all really good hard rock and melodic heavy metal stuff have been written.

Thatís the point actually. All these bands youíve quoted can gather people from all generation. Itís hard, nowadays, to find such bands and somehow it scared me.

You know what I always said, and I mean, this is a clichť saying this because Iíve said it like a hundred fuckiní timesÖ Or a thousand times maybe. But a good song is a good song. Itís just a matter of how you package and how do you present it to the people.

I really like you philosophy!

Well Iím honest, seriously.

And talking about old and new: do you think that your journey with Avantasia has helped you reaching new fans?

Well I think yes. You know I made a name for myself and Avantasia, I was a part of that group and I still am and I see a lot of Avantasia T-shirts to the PRETTY MAIDS concerts so hopefully I brought some new people in. And I think that Tobias has quite the same philosophy that I am: A good song is a good song.
Heís done great songs, on the ďGhostlightsĒ album, and Iím not saying it because I appear on it, but ďLet the Storm Descend Upon YouĒ is one of the best song Iíve fuckiní heard in ages, itís fuckiní epic, I would consider it as a masterpiece you know. Heís a great song writer and I think we have quite the same kind of audience.

Iíll be honest heís the reason why Iím here today. I discovered PRETTY MAIDS through Avantasia.

Well so you didnít have to ask me that question! (Laugh)
Heís good, itís melodic stuff, melodic prog songs or rock metal, whatever it is.

And I totally agree with you !
So after the festival season, what are the plans for PRETTY MAIDS at the end of the year?


Well this summer weíll tour for festivals and weíre gonna make another part of the ďKingmakerĒ tour in December and January in Europe as well, weíre probably gonna hit France again, we hope so. And I also have two gigs with Avantasia, and in 2018 weíll probably do some festivals again and maybe start writing for a new album to maybe record it in 2019.

All I hope is that during the French part of the tour youíll come to south of France!

Iíd like to do a proper tour in France, like we did back in the 80s during ďJump the GunĒ you know, we toured in BesanÁon, Carcassonne, Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, NantesÖ

Every part of France.

Yeah! Thatís why it feels so fuckiní good to be here at the Hellfest today. As I said to the audience, I love to come back and weíd love to come back to play a full set like a headlining show in France.

Iíll just cross my fingers!! Iíd like it to happen!

I hope so too, itís up to the promoters!

Yeah Iíll talk to them !

Yeah do it! DO IT! (Laugh)

Well Iíll try to at leastÖ (Laugh)
Iíve reached the end of the interview so I leave you the final words, if you want to conclude, itís up to you.


I just want to say to our French fans that it was good seeing you here today at the Hellfest, and as I said I really hope we could come back to France for a proper tour, maybe two or three gigs with a full set, two hours and play a little bit more songs than we did today.
Thank you for coming!

Thank you man, it was a nice time!

Youíre welcome.
 
Critique : SBM
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