Edguy just released their new album ‘Monuments’, celebrating 25 years of Edguy. I talked to lead guitarist Jens Ludwig about the album and the journey he has experienced with Edguy.
Annet: First of all, congratulations on the 25 years with Edguy! How does that feel?
Jens: Thank you. It feels like we are older than we actually are. We’ve been together for 25 years. I mean, I’m still not 40 years old, so yeah. I feel quite comfortable with it, and of course it’s been an amazing journey that we had the last 25 years. I think it’s really good to celebrate that anniversary and I also think that we have a good compilation, a lot of good pictures to celebrate this anniversary with our fans. I’m looking forward to the next shows we’re going to do.
Annet: The slogan of the album is: ’25 years of the best’. How did you select these songs for the album?
Jens: It’s a mixture of all the hits, if you can call them that. They are the songs that the people like to hear most on the shows like ‘King of Fools’, ‘Lavatory Love Machine’, and so on. But there are also a lot of songs that are on EP’s for example, ‘Judas at the Opera’, ‘Spooks in the Attic’ and ‘Holy Water’. It was a combination of suggestions from the band and suggestions from the record label (Nuclear Blast). Of course, you can never satisfy everybody. Even within the band. For example there are songs that I would’ve liked to be on this compilation and others maybe not so much, but it’s a good overview over the last 25 years of making music.
It’s really hard to choose the songs that go on the album, but we’re used to it. It’s the same like choosing a setlist for a concert. Because you have so manny songs to choose from and you know that people will always complain. Like some people want to hear some songs that have never been played before, and others want to hear the songs that we always play. So, it is difficult, but you get used to disappoint people. We do what we feel is right and we know that some people like it and some people don’t. We can not be the band that everybody expect us to be. Some people are always disappointed of a new release form their favorite band because they have a very clear vision of what their favorite bands should sound like, and if the band doesn't sound like the way they expected then they are disappointed. You can’t do anything about it. That’s the way it is. People have opinions and they have internet, so they spread their opinions.
Annet: The five new songs you wrote for the album are in the very beginning of it. Is there a specific reason you put them in the beginning of the album?
Jens: Right at the beginning when we were thinking about this compilation, there was the idea of making one or two new songs. But the flow was really good, so it ended up being five songs. Which is in my opinion much better than two. If you have that compilation, the 25th anniversary, it’s of course a lot of looking back. We also wanted to point out like ‘Hey, we’re still here’, it’s not our funeral. We are going to keep on going and that’s why we put the five new songs in the first place, because that should be the first impression of the people. Like ‘Okay, there’s still the band going on, there are still things happening AND they are celebrating their 25th anniversary’.
Annet: Do you have any favorite songs to play live?
Jens: Recently, I really enjoy playing ‘The Piper Never Dies’ live. That’s one of my favorite tracks. From the recent album, we unfortunately only did it once in 2014, ‘The Eternal Wayfarer’. I pretty much love that song live, but it didn’t make it to the regular setlist. ‘King of Fools’, ‘Lavatory Love Machine’, the songs that we are always playing have so much routine and they are also fun to play.
Annet: Does it ever get boring to play the same songs over and over?
Jens: Not ‘Lavatory Love Machine’ and not ‘King of Fools’, but I sometimes get bored playing ‘Vain Glory Opera’ because that’s a song I wouldn’t do this way if I would write it today. But it’s still a classic and part of our history.
Annet: I read on Instagram that Tobi (Tobias Sammet, lead singer of Edguy) said that he wrote ‘Open Sesame’ after looking back at the journey throughout your career. A door went open and basically your dreams came true. What was the moment in your career that you thought: ‘Wow, Edguy is getting big’?
Jens: There were many moments like this. I call it ‘first timers’, they have been great. The first time that you hold your own record in your hand, the first time that you support a well known band. For us, that was the first support tour in 1998 with Iron Savior. The first time that you meet your idol, like Kai Hansen. The first time you have a record in the German top 10, the first time you have your headliner show, so there have been a lot of these moments where I thought ‘Wow, this is going somewhere’. I remember one day, the first time that we were standing right in front of the BB Blues club in New York, when we played a show there. I was standing there and looking around to this crowded place and I thought: ‘Wow, we have made it to New York’. ‘This is really going somewhere’. There were many of these moments, and I really enjoy every one of them, but the New York one is the most memorable one.
Annet: ‘Reborn in the Waste’ is a previously unreleased recording form the 1995 album ‘Savage Poetry’. Why didn’t the song make it to the record then?
Jens: Because there was a guitar missing on the intro. There was supposed to be a guitar theme over the bass guitar intro, and we simply forgot to record it back then. So I said: ‘Ok, we don’t put it on the album’. I personally forgot about the song during the years. Then Tobi came up with the idea and said: ‘Don’t we have one song form the original ‘Savage Poetry’ that is not released yet’? I was going through the master tapes and found the song and it was pretty interesting to listen to the song. The song can not compete to the productions we do nowadays, but it’s the kind of curiosity of ‘Monuments’. I think the only chance to release this song was in the context of this compilation. For the fans it’s maybe quite interesting and for people who are not that die hard fans it’s more a curiosity, a kind of easter egg on the album. I think it’s funny.
Annet: In the promo video for ‘Monuments’ it reads: ‘They celebrate their first part of the journey’. ‘Does this insure that there’s going to be another part of the journey in the future?
Jens: I really hope so. I mean, it’s not my decision alone but I’m really up for it and I think the other guys too. There are five new songs on the beginning of this album instead of two, I think we’re still not done with everything. So you can expect something from us in the future. I’m looking forward to that.
There are no concrete plans for the future right now. Our planning right now ends at the end of September when we finish the tour, and then we will just sit back and see what happens.
Annet: There is a ‘Monuments’ tour this year, from July till September. Most of the shows take place in Germany. Are you planning to visit other countries in the future with the ‘Monuments’ tour?
Jens: We already did, we did some festivals like Sweden Rock Festival. Last weekend we played Masters of Rock festival in Czech Republic, which was pretty awesome. We’re going to do some other festivals in September in eastern Europe and Italy. I don’t know. The tour starts in Germany and Switzerland and the first shows are already sold out. I really hope that there are going to be more promotors form other countries who are interested and taking the 25 years/best of set to other places. I would be up to it.
Annet: That would be cool, because I checked the Graspop festival in Belgium and the last time you played there was in 2006.
Jens: I don’t know how, but Belgium and the Netherlands are like dark spots in our touring history. We’ve been a couple of times in Belgium, in Verviers, and in Bebop in the very beginning of our career. Since then years after Graspop in 2006, we haven't been in Belgium or the Netherlands. I don’t know why that is, maybe the people don’t like us there or it’s a lack of interest (laughs)? I don’t know, that’s just the way it is.
Annet: I’m going to write an e-mail to Graspop and tell them that Edguy has to play the 2018 edition.
Jens: Yes, that’s a good idea.
Annet: Graspop, you reading this? You’ll hear from me :)
To me, Edguy really proved that you can achieve your dreams, no matter where you live or where you come from. That, to me, is an inspiration to achieve my own dreams.
Jens: We worked really hard, but looking back, I think our career has been the prove of Chaos Theory somehow. Because there are so manny little moments that really changed our life big time. The best example is when we met our first record company boss from AFM records, Andy Allendörfer. We were at the railway station in Cologne, Germany, where a music fair was happening. We didn’t know how to get to the fair and we just asked the first long haired guy we saw at the railway station if he knew the way to the music fair. He said ‘yes’ and we started talking. It turned out to be that he had a record label and we were a band looking for a record label. That’s how things came together. There are many of those tiny little moments that had such a big impact. Of course working hard is always good, but to be honest, you need a little bit of luck to be in the right place at the right time. That’s a matter of fact I think.
I think people do realize that we really enjoy what we are doing. We are five guys together on stage and we’re making music and we are really enjoying it. We express that joy. We smile, we have a good time. We just let ourselves enjoy what we are doing.
Annet: Thank you so much for you time, and hopefully see you at Graspop 2018.
Jens: It was nice talking to you. Yes, please write 10.000 e-mails and we will probably make it happen.