Interview with Tom Angelripper before ROCK IMPERIUM

Interview with Tom Angelripper before ROCK IMPERIUM

Despite the pandemic and the fact that their latest album is almost two years old, SODOM is still up to date. The band released a reissue of their album “M-16” last fall, and now they are starting to play live after two years of forced rest.

Next June the band will visit us at the ROCK IMPERIUM FESTIVAL and we talk to Tom Angelripper about his performance at the event and about the group’s future plans, some very interesting.

– To begin with, you are already doing some dates, but besides, what is SODOM doing nowadays?

Tom.- Well, last weekend we played in Austria, it was very good and I trust that we can start again. The last two years have been all cancellations and postponed concerts. I hope we get back to normal for good.

For the summer we have a lot of festivals, and for the end of the year we are planning a special tour.

SODOM

– The main reason for this interview is your upcoming visit to Spain as part of the ROCK IMPERIUM FESTIVAL. We have spent two years of pandemic, but if I am not mistaken, you have not visited Spain for a long time. 2019 at the Z LIVE festival I think.

Tom.- The truth is that I don’t remember when was the last time we played in Spain, but whenever we’ve been we’ve had a great time. We love the audience, the festivals and concerts are well organized, we have good memories. Sometimes I compare it to South America, people go crazy, and speaking of Europe, you only see that in Spain and Greece, it’s the most dedicated audience.

With respect to ROCK IMPERIUM FESTIVAL We’re really looking forward to it, there are a lot of big bands on the bill and we’re looking forward to going back to Spain.

– Your last album “Genesis XIX” was released in 2020, in the midst of a pandemic. Will you take the opportunity to present that new album whose tour was cut short by Covid?

Tom.- The truth is that I still don’t know how much time we have, so we don’t have a very defined repertoire.

That’s always a problem, you’ve just released a new album and you want to promote it and play songs from the album, but it’s hard to decide what to play and what not to play. We have many issues after so many years.

– Nevertheless and being a festival, I imagine you will review the whole career of the band.

I know that people want to listen to classic material, and in Spain there is a lot of old-school vibes, so we will have to do a mix with everything, because we also want to include some rarity. It’s hard to choose.

– Will there be some kind of montage or being a festival will you go with what you are wearing as they say?

Tom.- Well, it’s a festival and we’re not headliners either, so I guess we’ll go a bit with what we’re wearing. But come on, enough (laughs).

SODOM - Interview with Tom Angelripper before ROCK IMPERIUM

– SODOM are a band with more than 40 years of career, I guess it’s difficult to choose a repertoire when playing live.

Yes, it is very hard. Fans always ask you why you don’t play this song or that song, it’s always complicated, but we try to find a good balance. There are things you have to play, “Outbreak Of Evil”, “Sodomy And Lust”, but we also want to include things from the new album, rarities from albums like “M-16” or “Code Red”, something from “Obssessed By Cruelty” … there are many songs and we also have a new album.

Anyway the fans know what’s up, a festival is not a concert of ours where we play two hours or even more.

– You are preparing a book for your 40th anniversary, something with texts from the fans about what the band means to them. Tell me a little more about that.

Tom.- Well, it’s not a book. It is a box for the fortieth anniversary that will include a booklet with discography and some other things. We’ve re-recorded a few songs with the new members and it’s for that special box set. To celebrate 40 years on the road.

I know there are people who don’t like boxes too much, and I’m not a big fan of reissues myself, but there are fans who don’t have the old records and can’t find them or they’re too expensive.

We are also going to make a box for the “Tapping The Vein” reissue.

In any case, for me, 40 years is just a number. We’ve already started writing new songs for the next album and for me, that’s what matters.

– You said before that you have planned a tour for the end of the year. How it will be? Will it be a special anniversary tour or something?

Tom.- Well, more or less. We want to do a special concert at the Zeche Carl in Essen, in my area. It is a very special room and in it we did our first big concert. I want it to be a concert with all the classics, lasting three hours and then having a big party. It’s like a disco and sometimes it’s like going back to the 80’s. It’s something I’m really looking forward to.

In December we will tour again with DARKNESS and TRAITOR. Maybe with a special repertoire, I don’t know.

– SODOM as a band, and you as a person who has been pulling the bandwagon for all these years, how have you seen the metal scene evolve? You lived through the golden age in the 80’s, the hard years in the 90’s, and the resurgence in the early 2000’s. Now you can say it’s settled, but I guess it’ll be hard to survive especially with poor record sales.

Tom.- Yes that’s how it is. The music scene has completely changed. If you compare it to the 80’s when there were only a handful of bands making this kind of music, at that time Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal was something really special, we wanted to shock people, our parents, our teachers, there was a kind of revolution. Now I see many bands that call themselves Heavy Metal but they are not. I know what is the true meaning of Heavy Metal, what is behind it. I believe that SODOM is the only band in the whole world that has never changed. We never follow any dictates from external people about what to do, to be more commercial. I know there are many labels that suggested bands to change something to get more popularity, to make more money.

I think today it’s a much tougher business. There are hundreds of bands coming out every month, and who has the money for all of that? I am a metal fan, and I have played my music all over the world. For me SODOM is the ultimate metal band. We never cared about what other bands were doing or what the company wanted.

Since I started my career, from the first day in SODOMI haven’t changed my mind. I see my music as a fan, I like VENOM, I like MOTORHEAD, they are bands that have influenced me a lot and continue to do so today.

In any case, I am very proud that we are still alive after 40 years. I know what my fans want and I know what we have to do when it comes to writing. I don’t like to look back, I want to think about the next concert, the next album, etc. And as long as you have energy and are still creative, keep going.

Going back to the scene, I’m not a big fan nowadays, there’s a lot of shit, it’s unbelievable. I was lucky enough to spend my youth in the 80s and for me it is still something very special.

SODOM - Interview with Tom Angelripper before ROCK IMPERIUM

– As we have mentioned, your last album was released in 2020. Have you already started thinking about your next release?

Tom.- We have a couple of songs prepared. It will come out next year. This we are with the anniversary, the box, the reissue of “Tapping The Vein”, other things.

Now we have a great formation and we improve day by day. And that happens with the material we compose. We want to be close to the old school… nowadays people compose very differently, and I’m very interested in that, the differences in the composing process between the 80’s and now.

We want to rehearse like three times a week and compose on the premises. Do not send MP3 to each other. The four of us get together, have a beer and start playing. I want the next album to be the most powerful thing we’ve ever put out. Something as cool as “Get What You Deserve” or “Masquerade In Blood” but with a more eighties vibe. If you like SODOM you will like it for sure.

– Do you envision retirement or is it something you don’t even think about?

Tom.- No, no, not at all. We have many plans. I’m still healthy, I’ll be 60 in February, and it’s a long time, but this is what I want to do, all my life. Although sometimes the party is over, when the time comes when I can’t play live, or have to change things to be able to play, at that moment, it’s over.

I see these pictures of Ozzy Osbourne and… I really like Ozzy, but he has to stay home and retire. You don’t have to go on stage if you’re 80 and can’t, I think.

As long as I have health and desire, I will continue.

– What are your most imminent plans?

Tom.- Now we are going to focus on turning. We want to start playing again, it has been a two-year break and it has been very long. The good thing is that we have been able to compose, but you have to make a living and nowadays the only way to make money is to play live. I don’t know how to sell records anymore, that happened a long time ago.

We’re also thinking about reissues of “Get What You Deserve” and “Obssessed By Cruelty”.

But now the priority is turning.

And of course, compose and prepare the next album. I’m already starting the lyrics a bit, I’m very attentive to everything that happens and I’m following the war, which is very likely to be an inspiration for the lyrics. We continue with our thing, I make music, it’s my thing, I can’t change anything, I’m not a political activist, so I keep doing my thing.

– Well that’s all Tom, thank you very much for your time. To conclude, something you want to say to the Spanish fans.

Tom.- We really want to return to Spain, we have always had a great time and there are memories that you will not forget. Also I think we have a great fan base there and I want to thank everyone for 40 years of support. We really want to go back.

Anthony Cerezuela