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The Heavy Metal Convoy Known As KAT

The Heavy Metal Convoy Known As KAT

The Heavy Metal Convoy Known As KAT

The Last Convoy by the Polish Heavy Metal Band KAT is now available via PURE STEEL RECORDS, and it’s a sonic adventure that music fans will want to experience time and again! From the release of their Metal And Hell magnum opus in 1985, the mighty KAT has amassed a fan base of true metal fanatics.  And now with The Last Convoy, KAT presents their own songs and the sources from which they took their inspiration. For the first time we hear KAT’s covers of classics by legendary bands such as Deep Purple, the Scorpions and AC/DC. Acoustic tracks like Dark Hole – The Habitat Of Gods also show a completely different side of KAT.  Now celebrating their 40th Anniversary as a band, KAT remains a driving force in the worldwide heavy metal arena.  Highwire Daze recently interviewed founding member Piotr Luczyk to discuss the legacy of the Heavy Metal Convoy known as KAT!  Read on!

Introduce yourself. Tell me what you do in KAT, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Piotr Luczyk. I founded the band KAT in 1979 and I’m the guitar player and composer. As you will know, KAT has been around for 40 years, but the first few years was all about learning to play together. We didn’t record our first album until 1985, and the last one in 2020. KAT has changed its line-up frequently. We started out in a communist country and now we live in the dictatorship of the Catholic Church! The world is changing, but KAT still exists, and that’s what counts. Currently, thanks to Pure Steel Records, our albums can be heard all over the world.

Where is the band based and what is your local music scene like there?
KAT comes from Poland, but our first album was released by the Belgian label Ambusch Records. Heavy Metal was not tolerated in Poland back then. Nowadays, the music scene is not exactly spoiling rock fans. The media and concerts are dominated by the so-called “disco polo” (crude chants to the rhythm of pop) and HipHop. The rest is about 10 bands fighting for the remaining few percent of the audience. In metal, the extreme species are the most popular. More refined and melodic music is not popular.

How did you wind up signing with Pure Steel Records?
I was looking for a label that was interested in Hard / Heavy metal music and could introduce our songs to the world. When I recorded the album Without Looking Back, I sent a CD of songs to several labels in Germany and England. The English informed me that the decisions in their company are made by Germany anyway, so I sent another CD to the German owners. After a week, I got three contract offers. I chose Pure Steel Records because we understood each other best musically and I was given the best conditions. We are satisfied with the cooperation. After a year, we are releasing another album. Everything is going in the right direction.

Is there any overall story or concept behind the The Last Convoy album title?
I think the current situation with rock or metal music in the world is not the best. Back in the Spotify era, bands stopped making money selling CDs and focused on concerts. In this situation, there is less and less time to compose, and albums are not that good anymore. They’re actually released as an excuse for touring. I think in the end some big old stars will remain in the metal market and the rest of the bands will melt into commercialism. The title “The Last Convoy” can be understood in two ways. On the one hand, as an indication that Rock is ending. There is a fear that when the greatest icons of Metal disappear, there will be no good successors. On the other hand, we can say that on the ashes of pop and passing fashion, Rock will remain, which for fans is more than just a music genre. There is one more interpretation of our cover. Apparently we are driving over the dead bodies of our enemies. It’s for the audience to interpret!

Select a few songs from The Last Convoy and what inspired the lyrics?
Satan’s Nights” – I have to start with this statement: I have never been a satanist fanatic or believer. To the contrary, I find it childish, and often dangerous as a mind mangling manipulation by the “prophets”. In this “rebellious” context, I use the term “Satan” as an artisic and sarcastic symbol of liberation. Some kind of a runaway from the everyday shackles of “political correctness” and our corrupt and corporate owned civilization. I refer here to the well known Faustian relations with the devil, but – again – in the form of a joke more than a serious philosophical statement. There is a strong erotic element in it, as well. I wrote about “my church” of sexual craziness which I try to attract and lure a girl into. The devine-devilish altar portrayed in this song has to be taken with humour and a pinch of salt.

Last Convoy”, although it has a different perspective, has a very similar character.

Flying Fire 2020” – The song was written for a movie about air force pilots fighting for freedom. It is a simple, but very energetic picture of the fight, with the romantic element of a safe return home to a beloved woman. I wrote the lyrics with the KAT’s vocalist Qbek Weigel.

How did Qbek Weigel become involved with KAT and what is his background in music and bands?
Qbek found his way to KAT through the Cover Festival. It is a Festival I have been organizing cyclically for several years. We play, together with musicians from various bands in Europe, the greatest songs in the history of rock, and whatever we like. Musicians from Scorpions, Vader and Jazzmen have already played at the festival. It’s cool. We play anything from Thin Lizzy to Deep Purple, Godsmack to AC / DC. I needed a vocalist to sing AC / DC. This is how we met Qbek. With time it turned out that Qbek sings almost everything. After 2 years of playing covers, I invited him to join KAT. As for the experience, I have to say that Qbek has been playing about 3 concerts a week with his cover band for several years. So I will say that such an experienced musician is rare.

What was it like working with Tim Ripper Owens and how did he become involved with the album?
I have been living in Manchester UK for a long time. K.K. Downing lives nearby. At one of the meetings, I introduced KK to our album “Without Looking Back“. I think he liked it :). As it turned out later, Tim Ripper Owens sings in the new band, KK (KKs Priest), I also introduced Tim to the album. I asked if he would sing any of these songs on our next album. Tim listened to the CD, accepted the offer, and chose a song. That’s all. I didn’t impose anything. After all, Tim sang in Judas Priest, and he knows what suits him best. That’s pretty much it. We’re very proud of it. The track with Tim is on the CD and we’ve already finished the music video.

One of your cover songs on the album is Blackout by the Scorpions. How has the Scorpions influenced your music over the years and has anyone in the band heard or commented on your cover of Blackout?
The Scorpions are an undeniable world star. In my youth, we all listened to Scorpions. New bands are formed, activities are shutting down, fashions change and Scorpions are still making very good albums and have millions of fans. Songs like Blackout are the foundations of Heavy Metal. I think that their influence in KAT can be heard mainly in the guitar, arrangement and in the melody which is an inseparable element of music. Of course, there are people who have heard our Blackout cover and write about it in the reviews. Our cover of Scorpions has very good reviews. We are happy because it is not easy to play good covers.

Who did the cover art for The Last Convoy and how much input did you have on it?
The creator of the artwork is Jerzy Kurczak. He has been our graphic designer since the 1980s. Regarding the contribution, I must admit that the idea was mine. I sketched what I meant and Jerzy did it. This has been the case many times during our cooperation. KAT covers have been using the same convention for years and we don’t want to change anything. They contain an idea and are supposed to be controversial to some extent. Of course, the cover was made in consultation with Pure Steel Records.

What has it been like to release new music right in the middle of a pandemic and so much social unrest in the world?
For us, nothing has changed. We are not detached from the world but we live a bit in our own bubble. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad. The pandemic is having an increasing impact on our lives, but people are already rebelling. The music industry had to change. Bands enter the studio. New albums appear. Interestingly Covid in some respects may also have a positive impact.

What could one expect from a live KAT show?
We can play everything from our history and much more 🙂 We are most interested in new songs, but we often come back to the biggest old compositions from Deep Purple to Thin Lizzy. We will definitely play a cover, but our concerts will be a surprise even for us.

If KAT could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
We will be happy to play with any big star. During our activity we played twice with Metallica, with Iron Maiden, with Motorhead. We played tours with Helloween, Hanoi Rocks, Six Feet Under. We played with a lot of bands and we always learned something. I like to watch. I would love to play with AC / DC, but would also love to play with Scorpions or Metallica again. However, the most important thing is who you play for, and the audience for these bands is our audience.

Your debut album Metal and Hell was released in 1985. What do you think of that album now in retrospect?
Metal and Hell is a melodic Heavy Metal album. On this album you can hear KAT’s original roots and inspirations. Considering it was recorded in 1985 it’s quite a good album 🙂 It’s been reissued many times and it has good reviews. For me, at one point, it seemed too sweet, and we didn’t play the songs from Metal and Hell in concerts. And yet it has stood the test of time. Years later it turns out that the most popular albums are music with a large dose of melodies. Even a heavy sound must have a melody, which is probably the whole secret.

What’s up next for KAT?
We are currently shooting a music video and are already thinking about the next album. We don’t know what Covid 19 will lead to, so it’s hard to plan, but we’re already working on the next album.

Any final words of wisdom?
First of all, I want to thank our fans for sticking with us for almost 40 years. They will definitely see the future albums. I also want to thank all those on the team who help us. I listed them on the album cover. I know the world is moving towards a workerless economy model using AI. But to create original and good music you need a living person. Therefore, let’s be of good cheer and enjoy life as much as possible 🙂

Thank you for the interview and best regards – Piotr Luczyk

KAT is:
Qbek Weigel – vocals
Piotr Luczyk – guitars
Adam „Harris” Jasi?ski – bass
Mariusz Pr?tkiewicz – drums

(Interview by Ken Morton)

KAT Official Home Page 

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