Metalpaths recently had the chance to make an interview with entire Ross The Boss band. The interview is available in text and video format as well
We’re here with “Ross the Boss”, after their show in Thessaloniki, at 8ball club. Nice to meet you guys!
Nice to meet you too!
You had a great show last night! Did you enjoy it as well?
Ross “The Boss” Friedman: That’s what we look for. It’s metal! I mean it’s being one with the band, one with the people on stage. That’s what it’s all about!
Carsten Kettering: It’s our second time here in Greece and I can say that the more shows we play here in Greece, the more familiar it is for the people. The people in Greece are great! We love it! It’s amazing! It’s like our second home!
Matze Mayer: It’s unbelievable!
After that you’re playing in Larisa and then Athens, right?
Ross: It’s an amazing thing! We are the first metal band to play five shows. I couldn’t imagine something like that. I mean, how is that possible?! Most bands play two shows or one show…
Yes; two shows tops!
Ross: Yeah! I said: “There are many places around here. Let’s play for more!”
Carsten: Next time we’ll play for six! (laughing)
So, have you seen any difference regarding the fans and the scene since the last time you were here?
Ross: The thing is that the last time we were here, we had no cd out, so the whole concept was brand new, the show was very new, even to us, cause we were just starting… Now that we have a cd, we’re playing more of our own songs and it’s more comfortable for us. It’s not just playing old songs.
I noticed that the people seemed to know every single one of your songs. That was amazing!
Ross the Boss: Yeah, definitely!
And you were really enjoying yourselves up there.
Ross: That’s dedication. Every time we try to get a little better
A couple of days ago, in Crete, you Ross were awarded a commemorative plaque by “Stargazer” metal radio show and Nikos Athineos for your 35-year career. How did you feel?
Ross: Well, it’s great that someone noticed that! (laughing) It doesn’t seem to be that long to me. Time goes by… It was a great honor!
How do you guys feel playing with this guy?
Carsten, Matze: Quite old! (laughing)
Carsten: We are a band and we are one team on stage… There’s understanding between us.
Ross: I’ve been in bands where it’s not a democracy… And that’s not good. It’s unpleasant to be in something like that. I wanted this to be something that everybody would be proud of doing! So, we can go through our hard times together. And go through valleys and peaks… So when Matze plays his drums, Carsten his guitar and Patrick writes his own lyrics, everyone is doing their own business. If someone writes all the songs, let’s face it, I don’t care! It doesn’t matter. As long as it’s great and everybody has a share in it. That’s what makes a band great! Bits and parts; that’s what’s great!
On stage, you guys look absolutely great! You have such energy and unity…
Ross: We know that when a band goes on stage it is like a fist! It’s not just four metal guys doing their metal thing… What we do on stage is become a fist! No matter where we are that’s what we do.
Matze, I was watching you last night and you seemed to enjoy it the most! You seemed so thrilled to be on stage!
Matze: Definitely! Yeah, that’s what I do!
You enjoy yourselves and it shows! You bring this out and the fans understand it and they have an even better time at your shows.
Ross: What’s worse than going to a show and seeing the guys playing at the show and being able to tell that they’re not having a good time? That minute you go like: “Oh, God!”
Carsten: The point is to become one with the people, to sing the songs with them…
Ross: You try to make a thirty thousand people show like last night; like a small place. You try to shrink the crowd like you’re playing in your room. That’s how you get that one-on-one kind of thing! People go like: “Oh, God, they’re playing to me! He’s playing to me!” That’s what you want! There are too many bands out there not communicating with the fans! We’re not scared for people to see us! (laughing)
Ross: What you see is what you get there!
I want to ask all of you guys something: what do you think of the metal scene nowadays in respect to, let’s say, ten years ago?
Matze: It’s always metal! (laughing)
Ross: I’ve noticed throughout my years, that whenever there’s something good, people tend to pile on it! Like back in the ‘80’s with the glam bands. In America there were some very good, like “Mötley Crüe” and “Poison”. And then, all of a sudden, there were a hundred more on each label! Every day they would sign new bands and spend thousands of dollars! They were throwing them up against the wall and nothing would stick! And they were wasting their money signing all these bands… And all of a sudden… “Nirvana”! And it was over! And it was great! And then all of the bands followed them and “Soundgarden” and other great bands. But all the rest were just followers… And the same thing happens in Europe now. If you open up an album you see a million bands that have the same look and the same sound!
What would you say is the key ingredient that makes a great band? There are as you said a million bands that are more or less the same with one another, but there are also a few that distinguish from the rest… Why?
Ross: It’s called songs! I mean, if you write songs that people can remember… I think in the music business that’s always been the thing; the songs! In the ‘60’s and the ‘50’s… As soon as bands started writing their own material, it was always about the songs. The songs is what will set you apart! That’s my opinion.
What about you guys? Do you agree?
Carsten, Matze, Patrick: We agree! (laughing)
Carsten: There are so many styles, but I think it’s all metal! Pagan Metal, Power, Epic, Gothic, Thrash, Nu… It’s all music! Good songs, bad songs, but always music!
I saw a new one recently…Pirate Metal! I have no idea what that is…
(Matze, Carsten and Patrick singing pirate songs and dancing)
Ross: If you’re a thrash metal guy and your album is being reviewed by a doom metal guy, the doom metal guy pins the thrash metal guy saying: “This is shit!”
It’s all metal after all!
Ross: Is it? (laughing) No, it is… But people won’t take it any more! They’re not going at the shows, they’re staying at home, they’re not buying cds and only when big bands are playing they go out!
So, after all, is it really about the music or is it perhaps about the bands?
Ross: Well, maybe they don’t know about the good bands… But the cream will rise to the top! I guarantee you that! It will! It always does! It may take a little time, but the best bands will rise to the top!
Carsten: I would say: “Follow the underground scene!” There are so many signed bands, but in my opinion, let’s forget about them for a while and look in the underground. There are many great bands there! Just follow the underground!
Ross: There are so many good bands in America! In Texas for example there are many good bands! Like “Vallient Thorr” for example. I’m giving you a hint now… (laughing)
So, you’ve been in Greece for four days now. Is there anything that struck you the most and you’d care to share with us?
Ross: Getting that plaque, definitely, that was beautiful!
Carsten: I’d say Greek food!
Ross: Also, going to the see and Patrick almost going swimming!
Ross: No. We went there yesterday, when we were out in Chania, Crete.
I freaked out for a moment, ‘cause you said swimming and I assumed you meant here in Thessaloniki, but the water here is filthy so I freaked! (laughing)
Ross: The weather here is great! When I left New York it was raining for ten days straight!
Oh my God! It’s almost summer here in Greece now.
Ross: Yeah! It feels good! It’s very nice.
So, you’re coming back in the summer?
Ross: We’ll stay away this summer. We’ll be back next year, hopefully with a new record!
Are you already working on a new album, or not yet?
Ross: We’re thinking about it. We have a few pieces set though, like names of songs, stuff like that. It’s been not even a year since our first album and already AFM is calling for a new record! That’s the problem. You see, that’s another problem. Why does a band have to bring out an album every year? It’s impossible to write great songs in a year! I mean we’re not the “Beatles”! The “Beatles” used to do that. To come up with masterpieces! I think a year is too much, especially if you include touring. I have to tell you that we’re not going to do that! We’re not going to write the same album! A lot of the bands do that – I’m not going to mention names – but we’re not going to do it!
So, are you doing something completely new?
Ross: It’s just that the songs need to be very good. I’m not going to put out a bad record!
Carsten: We present our ideas to the band and if the band likes it, I mean if the sound is good, we play it!
Ross: I’ve got some old songs, that I want us to try and if it works then that’s fine, but I’m not going to put out a bad record! No way!
So, I hope to see you guys again next year.
Ross: That would be great!
Do you promise to come back soon?
It was great talking to you. Thank you so much!
Ross the Boss: Thank you too!
Interview by: Rena Kostopoulou.