Iíve been wanting to talk to the great Stefan Weinerhall ever since his days in the mighty Mithotyn. Well better late than never, as his current band Falconer is on their third album featuring an all new singer. Mr. Weinerhall possessed a fine sense of humor as we talked about their past and new vocalists, the lovely Britney Spears, why all the pigs in Sweden have reason to fear himóbut not for longÖ
Is there any storyline behind the new album The Sceptre Of Deception?
Itís a concept album about when a Swedish king died in 1290. Itís pretty much like a Swedish Macbeth but itís a true story. Itís a story about greed and deception and wars Ė all kinds of dirty deeds.
What fascinates you about that time in history?
Iíve always been interested in all kinds of history. I think it started with the American Civil War and then the Indians and the Roman and the Egyptians and Vikings and everything. I think, in many ways, itís kind of a way to flee the present time by something like a dream Ė to escape reality.
If there was any time in history you could live in, what time would it be?
I could give you an answer, but then you really have to keep in mind that living in the medieval days would probably also mean a lot of diseases. And youíre probably going to be quite poor and everything. So I think this time is really the best time to be living in Ė but of course I would love visit the medieval England for example Ė London in 1353 or something. That would be really something. I would also like to see Sitting Bull for example Ė to speak with him Ė that would be fascinating!
How do you think this new album compares to the previous two?
I think that you could hear that itís a Falconer album. But of course we have changed the vocalist and thatís quite a big difference. But a part from that, I think this one is Ė thanks to that this is a concept album, I had to adapt the music to the lyrics instead Ė and that made this one a bit more heavy and dark. Itís a bit more varied too. There are some more unexpected turns within the music just to fit with the lyrical concept. Otherwise I think itís as before.
How difficult of a time did you have sticking with the storyline?
Sometimes I had quite a difficult time, because I had a couple of other kinds of riffs and ideas for songs that I knew wouldnít fit the lyrics I had left to do music do. For example, when I did Hear Me Pray, which was one of the last songs I did Ė I had a couple of ideas for a soft song but I really couldnít use that for a ballad. Normally I do the music first and then just write some kind of lyric to it, but this time I had to adapt the music. And thatís different for me Ė so it was the first time and probably the last time too, because Iíd like to concentrate on only the music.
When performing live, are you doing the entire album?
That is not our idea to do, because I think some of the songs will not be good to do live. Itís seems like most fans prefer fast songs instead of slow songs. And some of the songs would be hard to do in the right way live Ė for example Hear Me Pray which has a keyboard and Andy La Roque does the solos Ė and that would be quite difficult to make good live. But I think weíll do most of the songs.
What happened to the previous vocalist?
The thing was that we started out as a studio band only, but then we did Wacken Open Air and a couple of other summer festivals, we had started to do something that we knew would be great to continue doing Ė and try to get a tour for the next album and as many gigs as possible. But then Mattias said he couldnít really have time to do that, because he would rather concentrate on musicals and theatre and just have Falconer as a hobby. That was pretty much the idea from the start, but it grew into something more important for the rest of the band. We couldnít really let one guy hold four guys back from doing what they really wanted to do.
So did Mattias ever force you to go to one of his musical plays?
(Laughs) Oh he didnít force us. I think he gave us tickets to a pre-show of Jesus Christ Superstar. And we thought it was really mighty with the orchestra and everything. That was really an experience to see it. And we also saw that Mattias actually belongs on the musical stage, because he has that kind of voice and heís schooled to do that kind of singing. So I totally understand that he would rather put this time on the musicals instead of some kind of heavy metal band. Itís so far apart from the metal scene.
Do you remember what character he played in Jesus Christ Superstar?
He played Peter I think. And currently heís doing West Side Story in Finland since July, so you could imagine how hard it would be if he would still be in Falconer.
Where did you meet the new vocalist and what made you decide to use him for the project?
It was actually Anders who went and saw a cover band in Gothenburg. He liked the vocalist and he ended up talking to him. And it turned out the vocalist knew about Falconer. Anders mentioned we might be looking for a new vocalist and he was just fascinated by the idea to try out for Falconer. I didnít really know what kind of vocalist we were looking for when we decided to go our separate ways with Mattias. But when I heard Kristoffer, I knew that I could do some stuff that I wanted to do and tried to do in the past Ė but it didnít work out with Mattias because he didnít know the metal kind of singing with a more bluesy feel in the vocals. I got back inspiration when we got Kristoffer because I knew I could start doing some different things. Apart from that, heís also the lead vocalist in the band Destiny.
Is that going to be difficult sharing him with Destiny?
It hasnít been this far. It hasnít collided in any way. I donít think Destiny is as active as Falconer. I just hope that it wonít collide in the future either.
At least heís not going to run off and do Hello Dolly or something like that. So how do you pronounce Kristofferís last name Ė it looks like Gobble, like a turkey.
In Sweden, we say ga-bell. Itís a German name Ė I think they would say go- ball or something. It sounds like Gobels the Nazi leader Ė but Nazi leader. But he has no connection to him.
Oh good, from turkeys to Nazis. So did you guys recently do a show here in the US?
Yeah, we did the Six Pack weekend in Cleveland in June. It went very good, I think. Although at the start we were a bit surprised by the American audience Ė they are not like the Europeans Ė the European audiences are more drunk and thereby more wild too. It seems like most of the American audience are more interested in going to a show and listening to the music. When we went off the stage we had so many people coming up to us and congratulating us. I think it went well. I just hope that we can return to the States for some kind of tour in the future.
Well I promise to get very drunk when you come out here.
Every time I hear your music I have this impulse to get a big mug o' beer.
Yep! Letís just hope that we can do it.
Have you ever thought about playing a show like the Milwaukee Metalfest?
Yeah, we have talked of that. That might be a good start anyway to get up the interest to do a tour in the US. Just go over and do a festival. Weíve done one Ė so maybe a Milwaukee or Prog Power or something.
When you look back on your albums with Mithotyn, what do you think of them now?
That most of the songs are too repetitive. We play the same riff eight times instead of just four. The songs are just too long. But some of the songs have pretty good ideas. But it would have been so much if we had a proper vocalist, because Black Metal vocals just destroyed the ideas I think. But thanks to Mithotyn that Iím doing Falconer now. Itís the progress in my life you could.
Would we ever hear a Mithotyn song like Hail Me done in Falconer style?
Maybe. Maybe. Weíll see. I have that idea too and something might happen in the future.
Do you keep in touch with any of the other guys from Mithotyn?
Most of the guys live in the same town, so I happen to see them at parties and so on. And Karsten of course is in Falconer. Itís not on a daily basis I see them, but we keep in contact in some way.
Are you involved with any other musical projects?
Not at the moment, but Iím go to be unemployed in two weeks. Then Iím going to have more time on my hands, so something might turn up. Maybe things that wonít fit into Falconer. The possibility is out there anyway.
You must be psychic. My next question was if you had a day job when not in Falconer.
Since Falconer is very much a non-profitable hobby, we will have to have 7 to 4 jobs. And I am still a pig butcher, and thatís not really a clever job for a guitarist.
No not really. Not too much creativity going on thereÖ
Nope, especially all the threats of the knives and everything. I have a couple of colleagues who have limited hand mobility. I would not like to cut my own hand. But they are going to cut me out of service, so Iíll just be unemployed. And Iíll try to be that for at least half a year.
So youíre not a rich rock star?
No Iím not. I think Falconer actually costs me more money than I earn. When we are going to record an album, I have to take five weeks off from work getting non-payment, so thatís a big fucking loss. And then when weíre going to on a tour, Iím going to lose more money.
So whatís gonna happen to all those pigs in the meantime?
Theyíre going to be butchered in other towns.
Oh I see. So what was your favorite album for 2003 and why?
Honestly I donít really buy that much albums anymore. I think most of the good music is already done. But I think Masterplan -- itís great because I can hear some parts of Rainbow and so on in it. I can really feel the old times in that music. And of course the vocalist is superb. And oh yeah, one more album Ė I think itís called the The Sceptre of Deception.
Oh yeah, Iíve heard that one! So if Britney Spears asked you to quit Falconer and join up with her band as a guitarist for her tour, what would you do?
I shouldnít answer that one.
Okay. Why not?
Because I want to make a living out of my interest, which is playing music. I donít want to kill pigs for a living and I canít really live out of Falconer.
But you wouldnít be Britneyís guitarist?
I would take the job because then I really wouldnít have to do much. The best thing I think would be to write the songs for her Ė to do three songs and then to live for five years out of it. Thatís quite a good job!
Hey there you go! Maybe you could fashion her into like a metal diva chick or somethingÖ
The new vocalist of Falconer! Britney Spears!
No, I donít think so. Not that far.
So do you have any messages for metal fans here in the States or people who might be into checking out your music?
Yeah, I really hope they can check out the new album, and that the American fans will scream really loud so we can come over there and play for them. They really deserve it I think. And I hope all the fans can hear the music beyond the new vocalist. Of course itís a big thing to change vocalists in a band, and that sometimes can stand in the way of the music. But I think they will love it Ė they will just have to adapt to the music. And I hope not too many fans will be angry with me about the Britney Spears stuffÖ
The Sceptre Of Deception by Falconer is now available from Metal Blade Records!
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