The Metal Mystique of Velvet Viper
Velvet Viper present their own brand of heavy metal filled with spirit and intrigue. Founded by German vocalist Jutta Weinhold of Zed Yago fame, Velvet Viper would release their first Self-Titled album in 1990. This early incarnation of the band would feature Lars Ratz on bass, who would later be part of the Metalium legacy. After 1993’s The Fourth Quest for Fantasy magnum opus, all would turn quiet on the Velvet Viper front. That is until now, with a grand and glorious return of the band through the unveiling of their third auditory epic entitled Respice Finem – now available worldwide via GMR Music. Jutta Weinhold and her new guitarist Holger Marx wrote eleven songs which were produced by the one and only Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, Helloween). Highwire Daze Online recently caught up with Jutta Weinhold and Holger Marx to find out a whole lot more about the metal mystique of the almighty Velvet Viper. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Velvet Viper and how long the band has been together.
Jutta: Ok, I hope you give me enough space. -smile. I’m into music since 1969 and into metal since 1985 first with Zed Yago and later 1992 with Velvet Viper. I’m a singer, composer and creator for the concept and I’am writing my lyrics. Last year the spirit was right when I met Holger Marx our guitar player. He has amazing guitar riffs and a lot of fantasy to follow my ideas about lyrics.
Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
Jutta: I live in Hamburg and Holger in Hannover, in the north of Germany. I think the local music scene is the same like everywhere. Not enough clubs to play live music.
Is there any overall story behind the album title Respice Finem.
Jutta: Respice Finem = Latin based on a mythological greek fable. -Quidquid Agis Prudenter Agas et Respice Finem – Whatever You Do, Do It Wisely and Consider the End. Was immer du tust, tue es klug und bedenke das Ende. I love the classic poetry, literature mythologies and of course I like fantasy.
Select two songs from Respice Finem and what inspired the lyrics.
Jutta: Oh, it is very hard for me to select songs. We have eleven songs on the album. I just love them all. Let’s see if Holger can write a few words to that question.
Holger: I think the lyrics of the title track are somewhat special. The song (as I understand it) is about aging and being in the second half of life, when you start thinking about the end and realize that a lot of years have already gone by. So that one is rather personal. One of my favorite songs lyric-wise is “Eternally onwards” which is about freedom of speech and thought.
Who produced Respice Finem and what was it like working with them?
Jutta: I’ve known Kai Hansen a long time – we both live in Hamburg. He is a great musician and a very understanding guy. He knows what to do in metal music. We are very proud that he found the time to work with us, although the start of rehearsals for the Helloween world-tour needed his time too. I had a lot of lyrics on a big pile with ideas for melodies and song structures at home and I sat together with Holger, our guitarist, who had a lot of riffs and ideas for solos and so on, and then we started making demos. Kai joined us in the rehearsing room to arrange the songs and then we had the final concepts for recording.
What could one expect from a live Velvet Viper show?
Jutta: -Dramatic Metal- head banging for all ages -smile. We play the whole new album plus old stuff from early Velvet Viper and some of the Zed Yago songs people still asking for.
If Velvet Viper could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Jutta: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath. Because this people created the basis for HM music. Holger, what do you think about it?
Holger: Me being from Hannover, opening up for the Scorpions would naturally be really cool. Those bands from the 70’s and 80’s are still the greatest.
It has been quite some time since the release of the last Velvet Viper album. How frustrating was it to wait so long to release new music?
Jutta: All the years I was busy in my other music projects. But you know. I found out that music must expect your own mentality and this to me is the hard and heavy beat. Since Zed Yago, it’s my passion and power. From the moment I meet Holger I wanted to make a new album and using my old name Velvet Viper. It was just the right time.
The debut Velvet Viper album featured Lars Ratz from Metallium on bass. What was it like working with him and do you still keep in touch?
Jutta: I have the talent to find musicians who are on the edge to become a good one. Lars was in 1990 such an talent. He invited the whole original line up for his 50 birthday party to Mallorca this year. Because I was involved in the rehearsals for the upcoming Velvet Viper shows I could not go to see him.
When you look back on the earlier Velvet Viper albums for the 90’s, what do you think of them now?
Jutta: I like the first album. The only thing….the time wasn’t right. The music style changed a lot and we were, lets say back dated. But I still love the album, like I also love the second one: The fourth quest for fantasy from 1992
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Velvet Viper?
Jutta: Yes I’m working for a music school and leading a Gospel-Rock-Choir. I also have a acoustic band: Akustik Randale two acoustic guitars and percussion. We play: songs of the time, when all boys had long hair. The 60’s and the 70’s. From time to time I also give vocal-workshops.
What’s up next for Velvet Viper?
Jutta: We are playing shows and working on new songs for another album. It is very satisfying to create new songs and new lyrics. Holger and I we love doing it.
Any final words of wisdom?
Jutta: Music is not only commerce and consuming not only party or entertainment, it has ideal values which are very important to suffer in our material world.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thank you so much for your interest.
-Rock ‘n roll is bigger than all of us
With passion and power “this song is never ending”
Jutta Weinhold and Holger Marx of Velvet Viper
Velvet Viper is:
Jutta Weinhold (Vocals)
Holger Marx (Guitar)
Fabian Ranft (Bass)
Micha Fromm (Drums)
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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