After WALLOP was disbanded, you joined the Frankfurt based thrash metal band GRINDER, do you still remember, how did you end up becoming the drummer of the band? Did you replace their previous member Shellshock, didn’t you?
In our German "Rock Hard" magazine, I was reading an add from Grinder, where they were looking for a drummer, ´cause "Shellshock" stopped playing drums. They seperated really peaceful and I´m still good friend with him and we see us sometimes.

Did they perhaps audition other drummers too or were you their first choice? Was GRINDER already an established outfit at this point?
No, I was first choice. Plus I had a rehearsal-room, where we from that day on practised. Grinder was not very established in those days.

How about the German thrash scene, that was burgeoned at the mid ’80s, a lot of newcomers were popping up, such as WARRANT, ASSASSIN, DEATHROW, EXUMER, DARKNESS, SUDDEN DARKNESS, ANGEL DUST, VIOLENT FORCE, BLOODSLAUGHTER/SLAUGHTERHAMMER etc.? What were your views on this?
To be honest, in those days, I had no clou about the german Thrash Metal scene. I knew Destruction and Tankard very personal, but all the other bands you named, I had no idea about. We played one festival in Essen and ASSASSIN were "headlining" and we were shocked, what these guys were for arrogant posers and assholes.

Did DESTRUCTION, KREATOR, SODOM influence and open the doors for them?
Like I said in anwer no.3 , I had no idea about all these bands. And the ones, who survived are Destruction, Sodom and Kreator. So, who cares.

What made you to join GRINDER, that was faster and heavier, than WALLOP?  Were you into thrash metal?
When I joined Grinder, my two absoIte favourite albums were from Flotsam&Jetsam (Doomsday...and No place...) and this was also the influence of GRINDER. So, it fitted perfect. I was the one, who wanted to be more heavy already with WALLOP, but the other band members denied my wish.

Was GRINDER perhaps more professional in terms of music, songwriting, enthusiasm, experience etc., than WALLOP in your opinion?
Yes, 100%

Were you perhaps familiar with their first demo „Scared to death”?
No. when I joined GRINDER, it was like a new beginning.

When you joined them, did they already write the material for their second demo „Sirens” or did you also have the opportunity to take part in the songwriting?
Some tracks were already done, some were happening with my influence. But don´t ask me for the titles.

Do you still remember how did the band got signed by No Remorse Records and Noise later on? Was No Remorse a new established label? Were you aware of their other bands, such as BLIND GUARDIAN, CENTAUR, HEAVENS GATE, LAWDY?

We sent our demo tape "Sirens" to all possible labels, also to No Remorse Records. The label boss Charly Rinne was visiting us in Offenbach, in our rehearsal-room and checked us "live" and signed us right that evening. We started our carreer absolute the same time, than Blind Guardian. We met the guys, felt really in love with each other and had so many shows, tours and parties together, absolute crazy.

How do you think, that „Dawn for the Living” was pretty top notch for a late 80's release and had the intensity and raw sound that thrash needed?
I really love "Dawn for the Living"also today, the intensity and the rough sond. And I still listen to it sometimes. The only thing I don´t like about, is the front cover. We told Charly Rinne a complete different idea, but he ignored it and came up with this bullshit qualitiy. There, we had the first time really trouble with Charly.

Was the variety, that really made the album?
Yes, absolute, our full creative energie you find in this album

Your second effort was „Dead End”, did this record have all of the speed and aggression that one expect from a German thrash metal band, but your precision and melodic aspect put you in the same realm as ANTHRAX or FLOTSAM AND JETSAM?
Flotsam&Jetsam was our pure influence and especially on "Dead End", you hear that. Even more speed, but also more melody. And the front cover I really love. One of the first artworks from now popular Andreas Marschall in the metal scene.

The opener of the album was „Agent Orange”, was it random?
It was funny, ´cause the same moment, SODOM released their "Agent Orange" album. We both knew for 100% nothing from each other.

Do you consider „Dead End” the band’s finest moment and highlight as a whole?
Yes.

Then you released the „Just another scar” single, the „The 1st Ep” and „Nothing is sacred”, could you sum up these materials? Could you give us any details on them?
Hm...what I remember is, that in those days, all german speed and thrsh metal bands tried to be the fastest and most complicated ones, but the quality was missing. And you hear that on all the last named releases from GRINDER.

How about the touring aspect? What were the most memorable/enjoyable shows, tours with GRINDER?
Naturally the "Fuck off and dive" tour together with Blind Guardian and some great shows together with Sodom (for TV metal show on TELE5), KREATOR and TANKARD.

Would you say, that sadly GRINDER failed to gain the attention some of their peers got? What were the reasons of it?
We were NOT able, to find a professional management, those as DRAKKAR Prom. for example. And also the support from No Remores Records and NOISE Records was absloutely missing. That killed all our chances, to go for a better carreer.

Unfortunately Lario Teklic committed suicide, what happened with him?
Äääääh...he got burried in his homecountry Jugoslawia, by a GRAVE DIGGER.

After GRINDER splitted up you continued as CAPRICORN, you took part in the X-MAS PROJECT, while nowadays you are playin gin GRAVE DIGGER, tell us please about these acts!
Our label boss Axel T. wanted to refresh his first version of this "x-mas project", so he asked us (Capricorn) if we would be interested, to take part in this project. To be honest, we had no idea, what other bands took part in it either

What are/were the highlights and lowpoints of your career? Are you satisfied with your course of life as musician? Did all of your dreams come true?
The worst parts were always the ones, when a band splitted, all hope and hard work dissapeared in this moment. With GRAVE DIGGER, I found my band and its a pleasure and honour for me, to be around and be able to present my way of drumming to the worldwide faithful and strong metal family. My wish is, to stay healthy.

Stefan, thanks a lot for your answers, any closing words for our readers?
Stay metal, ´cause we´re all ONE.

Interview by Leslie David


November 2016

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