Jimmy Kay from Canada's The Metal Voice spoke to Helloween singer Michael Kiske as the band prepares to embark on their North America Pumpkins United tour starting on Sept 7, 2018 in Las Vegas
Kiske goes into the details of the Pumpink reunion, the new album sets the record straight on the Iron Maiden past rumours and he also talks about the use of vocal playback on the first couple of shows on their tour.
When asked how did the Pumpkins United reunion come about
"For a long time this was totally impossible for me because I was hurt and full of anger and I didn't want anything to do with it. For a long time I didn't want anything to do with the Metal scene, it went very deep. But in the last couple of years before the reunion, without me noticing, things changed and I realized something is different when I ran into Michael Weikath in 2013. It was a festival in France and suddenly I was standing in front of him and he said something like, Michael what have I done that you can't forgive me? I then said, you know what I think, I have forgiven you a long time ago. There was no anger that is how I felt, we talked a little bit and this is how it all started. "
"I was not aware that during the years something had changed in me. I have learned so much during the years outside of Helloween being my own man without a band and not even management. All those years I learnt so much and after a while I could not be angry anymore about what happened in Helloween. I think it was kind of meant to be the reunion."
When asked why there was such bad blood between in the past with him and the band
"When I talk to Weikath or anyone else from that was part of the past and I realized that everyone had a different view of the past situation, everyone has experienced something completely different. To me that was a clear sign that there was nothing really going on, there was no objective reason for anything, it was subjective, it was just meant to be over. "
When asked specifically what was the starting point for the reunion
"Kai Hanson always wanted to do it, he was always saying he would love to do a reunion at least once more and I remember after talking with Weikath in France in 2013 and I realized that something had changed in me. After a Unisoinc gig in Spain we were back stage changing and Kai looked around and looked at me and said Michael if we don't do something once more under the name of Helloween that would be so stupid and I said you know what I am open to the idea. "
When asked about his thought on sharing the stage with Andy Deris
"When I started to bring up this idea I was not thinking about sharing the stage with Andy, I was thinking we could do a sort of a Keeper of the Seven keys reunion tour . But management was making it clear to me you can't really do that, you can't create another Helloween band that would be in competition with the present Helloween band, it doesn't work, we have to do something together. I slowly realized he is right and then I started to like the idea because it sends out a nice message with both singers. I didn't know Andy Deris, I never met him before I was his pain in the ass for a number of years getting criticized by my fans and he was my pain in the ass because he took over my job. We didn't know each other but we had an effect in each other. We both were very nervous when we first met and it was very interesting to see how good we get along just as people, we like each other now which is so helpful. I like hanging out with him"
When asked about details on the new Helloween Pumkins United studio album set to be released 2020
"That wasn't the original plan, it step by step. Since everything worked out on tour and we got along we said let's make a record with two singers. Artistically its an interesting thing to do because we are different type of singers and you can work with that in terms of songwriting."
"In regards to musical direction I am not a main songwriter, I have an opinion and I don't even know if I will be writing any songs but there are other musicians in the band who I consider the key songwriters. The songwriters are Andy, Kai, Weikath and Sasha in the end. The musical direction will depend on what they come up with. I would love to sing some stuff in the Keeper vein. We are writing next year and we are looking at releasing the record in 2020, there is no hurry."
To set the record straight was he ever asked to join Iron maiden when Bruce left
"No, with Maiden the situation was we had the same management and we toured with them, there was never any discussion. I was in Germany watching Music TV and the music show said there used to be rumours but now it's a fact that Michael Kiske is the new singer of Iron Maiden. It just shows how little you can believe what is on TV. To be honest with you I love Maiden but I wouldn't want to sing with Maiden I wouldn't want to be in Bruce's shoes. I want to hear Bruce in Maiden."
When asked about the lip singing playback when the tour first started
"It was not all playback. I'm quite glad I did it once because I never done anything like that and I am certainly not going to do it anymore because I can't, it just doesn't work. The situation was I had an infected throat already before the first show. I wanted to skip the shows and the management said we cant start this tour with cancelling shows. So they talked me into it, the whole band made that decision and then management came to me and said Michael we have recordings of you from six weeks earlier, it was recording we did in some rehearsal and they said you just go out and sing and if the sound guy sees you are losing your voice he will sneak the playback track in. I didn't want to do it but I said i will give it a try. I'm so used to singing live of course so I messed it up. I pulled the microphone to the audience when the sound guy had my voice out there. I did it cause they talked me into it. We only did a few bits here and there. I am not going to do that anymore. the next time when I don't have a voice I will either cancel the show or I do it the way i can. "
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