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Phil Anderson interview with Tom - 2001
Modify date 2008-02-13 11:27:24 | Print Page | A | a
- Where did your band name come from?

- The name `Sodom`? It was about 20 years ago, when we first started to form the band, we were looking for a special band name. I can remember when my mother came to my room - when I was a little child - she would say that the room is looking like `Sodom and Gomorrah`. This name Sodom has always been stuck in the back of my brain, so when I started the band and we needed a name, I said, `Why don`t we call the band Sodom?` Now everybody knows the band.

- Was it always Sodom or ever Sodom And Gomorrah?

- Just Sodom. At this time there was another band in England called Gomorrah. So we just took Sodom.

- Did you ever tour together?

- No, never. I think it was not a professional band in England. I think they had just one album. It would have made a very good tour name, yes.

- Where did you get Tom Angelripper, the name, from?

- That was also kind of fashionable. When we started the band, we were trying to play kind of Black Metal music. We thought, we didn`t want to take our original names, so we started to do Witchhunter and the guitarist Aggressor and I was Tom Angelripper. There was nothing special about it. It was the fashion in the Black Metal scene.

- Who were your influences when you were forming the band?

- Umm... I think when we started, we didn`t get inspirations from other bands. I mean, I was a big Venom and Motörhead fan. I liked the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands. We tried to create a brand new style for ourselves. At this time... our music could not compare to other bands. We just wanted to create a new style that was called `Witching Metal`.

- How many albums do you have to date?

- About fifteen albums.

- And are they all based on war?

- No. In the beginning it was the Black Metal band. At the beginning I was really inspired by Satanic things and Aleistair Crowley. I read a lot of books by Aleistair Crowley. But this gave me nothing. I just got a sick brain. Then we started to take the lyrics and tried to make an album without any Black Metal lyrics. When I started writing lyrics, I wanted to write about things that really happened in the world. These Black Metal lyrics, I don`t like them. They gave me nothing. I always tried to write the fantasy lyrics in a special lyrical way, but always played for historical facts. World War II, or World War I, or Vietnam, is history.

- As a German band, do you ever get any flack for writing about WWII?

- That`s something... I cannot write something about WWII or against Adolph Hitler because I am a German. There would be too much misunderstanding. We get all kinds of problems. On the `Persecution Mania` album, we did a song in which we played the German National Anthem. They said, `Why are you playing a German National song?` I said, `Because I am German.` Germans have a big problem with it. We cannot write something about `this thing.` A lot of people think we are Fascist. You will never find any political opinion in our lyrics.

- So you can`t write anything good or bad about Adolph, can you?

- I just described the things. We did a song against WWII, against Fascists, and against Adolph Hitler. I find that most stupid people don`t read the lyrics and are just not interested in it. They just know to say, `Ah this song is about WWII. This band is a Fascist band.` The most of them, they don`t understand enough to read between the lines. We always describe a war in a pacifist way. Everybody hates war, and we do too.

- You seem to have some humor in your lyrics.

- Yes, all the time. I think Sodom lyrics are always a bit funny, because we are not so serious and not so strange. It`s the same when you`re going onstage. It`s like a party. The reason why I formed by side project, Onkel Tom [`Uncle Tom`]. It`s about German drinking songs. We support the German drinking culture. Always partying and always funny. It`s between Sodom and the completely other metal scene in Germany.

- If you already have a problem with misunderstood lyrics because you are German... what does the term Onkel Tom mean in America?

- Onkel Tom itself is to make a party. The whole metal scene in Germany is splitting into too many different sides. But everybody likes to drink beer. So we`re here to make German cover songs, very old songs, most of them about beer drinking. Everybody likes to drink beer and Germany is a big beer culture. That`s what we go to support onstage. When we go onstage, as Onkel Tom, people are always coming up on the stage singing the songs with me and drinking with me. They get beer for free. It`s always a big party.

- Sounds like a fun party to me. When is Onkel Tom going to play again?

- We played last week in Germany. It was a really big party. You have to know, we are not really rock stars. When we make a concert there, after the concert we want to talk with the people and drink with the people. I sign my autographs. I know that a lot of bands play their shows on stage, do the set list, and then they go. I want to talk with the fans. I want to make contact and get more information from the fans. That is typical for Onkel Tom, but also for Sodom.

- Are you ever going to bring Onkel Tom to America?

- I don`t know. I don`t know if that`s a special market for America.

- There are plenty of beer drinkers in America. Just go to any college town.

- Yeah. I just was in one part of America. It was just one show, at the Milwaukee Metalfest. I met some people in Milwaukee. There were a lot of Germans living there. They like the German beers, they like the culture. We also talked about Onkel Tom at a beer festival or beer drinking convention, or anything. Why not? If somebody would be interested, then we would go.

- Well, Milwaukee is the land of beer.

- Yes, I met a lot of people there and they were speaking German to me. It was really crazy. But at this time we are going to promote the newest Sodom album and get a chance for a tour in America. When we play as Sodom, then we also play some Onkel Tom songs in the set list. But now we just started a European tour with Kreator and Destruction, and I hope that we can keep this package together and do an American tour. We are looking for serious booking agencies to support us over there.

- You have quite a fan base out here. That`s for sure.

- When we played in Milwaukee, it was really bad. We were playing in America and we got nothing. We got half an hour, one hotel room for the whole crew, and at the airport we got no papers. Nothing. So our management and booking agency in Germany are looking to get a more serious booking agent for America. We would like to come for two months. That`s a lot of time. But it has to get more serious.

- So about the new CD... How did you come up with the title of the first song, `Among The Weirdcong`?

- It was a special idea. When we started to write Viet Cong, that is not funny. You see Sodom as always funny. (laughs)

- Well, I was never really into thrash metal until I just got your CD and Kreator`s new CD [`Violent Revolution`]. Now I really like both of them.

- What do you like most [on the new CD]?

- I would have to say `Among The Weirdcong,` `Napalm In The Morning,` `Little Boy,` and.... `Surfing Bird` I thought was funny as hell.

- That is a cover. It`s from a band called the Trash Man from the Vietnam movie `Apocalypse Now`. It`s really funny. This was one of the first punk bands ever. It`s funny that Destruction has a new album out, Kreator has a new album out, and we have a new album out. We`re real big fans. In Germany, I think the thrash metal bands are amongst the biggest bands. But now everybody is talking about thrash metal revivals and reunions, because.... Kreator makes a new album in a more thrashy way. I never mind. Sodom was always into thrash metal music for about 20 years. The fans never get disappointed. We always do thrash metal music and never try to get trendy or commercial. This tour, this would be a really good chance - when we go on stage, it would be definitely a historical moment because this is the first time that we have played together with these two bands.

- I also like the song `Marines`. That`s a good one.

- Yeah. For a lot of people, this is the best song on the album. I don`t think so. I like song. I like the Marines. I like the soldiers and all. I think the Marines are the best soldiers in the world, so I thought the Marines needed a song. But my favorite song is `I Am The War` and the heavier songs like `Little Boy` and `Mine Jumper.`

- What is `Little Boy` about?

- That is really funny. When we went to Vietnam about three months ago, we visited the War Crime Museum in Saigon. There was a big, fat nuclear bomb. You can see all the weapons that they used during the Vietnam war.

- Oh, is that the `Little Boy`?

- That was the `Little Boy`. That was really funny that Americans give such funny names to these really dangerous guns and bombs.

- Well, it makes it `cute`.

- To visit the War Crime Museum is really not funny. I`ve seen so many pictures and movies that I have never seen before. Pictures of Napalm victims and Agent Orange [victims]. We got a lot of information. That makes me really sad. War is a really sad thing, and then to see all the pictures.

- I remember, as a child, having to watch movies about the victims in Japan after we had dropped the bombs.

- Yeah. I don`t know why the Americans call it `Little Boy`. I wanted to write the lyrics and try to understand why someone would call this big bomb a `Little Boy`. What is the [similarity] between a little boy and a really dangerous bomb? It`s typical for Americans. (laughs)

- `Napalm In The Morning` is from the film [`Apocalypse Now`], right?

- Yes, yes.

- What made you go out to Vietnam? To learn more?

- To get more information. I wanted to talk with people. It was really interesting. If you go to Vietnam, to Saigon, the war is getting really commercial. You can buy T-shirts, you can buy Coca-Cola... you can also shoot with M-16 rifles or shotguns or whatever you want. Now, in Vietnam, they are going to make money. It was really interesting talking with people who were fighting in this war. But, from these people I don`t get all the information because they don`t want to talk about the war. For them, the war is over. I talked to one guy who said, `From what I can say, I have killed three American soldiers in this war, but that`s it. I don`t want to talk about it.`
There is also a rock disco called `Apocalypse Now`, like the movie. We also talked a bit with American veterans. American veterans go back to Vietnam. We want to make a concert there. We want to be the first metal band to play Vietnam. But this is impossible because of the political system. It`s a kind of communism. It never allows European or American bands to play there. Also, the metal scene is just in the underground. You cannot buy CDs or the official stuff there. Some kids there have never heard of Motörhead. It`s really poor and really sad. We want to try to gear up the metal scene in Vietnam, so we are going to try to make a concert next year. We also played in Bangkok in Thailand. There was no problem.

- You just made a good point. You said that in Vietnam, they don`t want to discuss war anymore. That is funny considering how many people want to go on and on about the Holocaust. To people who went through that or are involved, that seems to be all they ever want to talk about.

- Yeah. That`s Germany. I don`t know why. I talked to some [Vietnam] veterans who said that `It`s too private to talk about things, really bad things that happened.` For me, every war is bad. I know, for example, my grandfather - he died years before - he was fighting in World War I. He talked all the time about the war. Also, in World War II, my uncle was fighting in it. He was all the time talking about it. But in Vietnam, they don`t want to talk about it. I don`t know.

- I guess it is just different ideals. Now, you said that your favorite songs on the new album are `I Am The War` and `Little Boy`. What is your favorite song overall that you have done in your career?

- First, I would have to say that on the new album, I like more than those two songs. On the `M-16` album, when we arranged the songs in the studio, it was important to write better songs and better refrains. I think songs are going to be really classics. I think the best song that we have done is... I don`t know... a lot of people say it`s `Nuclear Winter`. Some say it`s the German lyric songs. A lot of people say that the best song is on the best album which is `Agent Orange`. I know that `Agent Orange` was the most successful album in my career, but it`s not the best album. For me, the best album is `You Get What You Deserve,` or `Masquerade in Blood` because it`s really, really heavy. `M-16` is a typical Sodom trash metal album. When we made the `You Get What You Deserve` album, people said that there was too much punk influence in the songs. and on `Masquerade In Blood` there was too much hardcore music. But now with `M-16`, you can compare it to `Agent Orange` because it is the typical Sodom sound, Sodom music. There is no special song that is my favorite from all the albums.

- What is something that you personally listen to that fans would be surprised to know?

- There is nothing special. I`m a metal fan. I don`t like the new metal bands coming out. In Germany, there are hundreds of new bands coming out every month. I don`t buy it. I don`t have time to listen to all the music, and the money to buy it. I listen to all the old NWOBHM bands. I like Raven, old Venom, old Motörhead material... I like Tank, from England. I also like AC/DC, just like everybody.

- You mentioned Raven... what a great band.

- Yes, Raven. A wonderful band. Also Exciter. I saw Exciter last year. There are no special surprises. I`m a metal fan. My favorite band is Slayer, definitely.

- So you don`t have any closeted Olivia Newton John or Genesis albums?

- No, no. When I started to listen to music, I also liked bands like the Police and Led Zeppelin. I also listened to Dire Straits in the beginning. (laughs)

- How old are you?

- I`m 38.

- So we come from the same era. What`s your favorite beer?

- It`s a special brew called `Diebelsalz` (sic). (Trying to spell it out)... It`s difficult to explain. OK, it`s called Alt beer. This beer is a special brew and it is really dark. It`s not so strong - about 5% alcohol in it - but you can drink a lot and, when you wake up in the morning, you feel like a newborn baby. It`s a wonderful beer. I think in Germany, all the beers are really, really good. They are the best beers in the world.

- Have you ever done film soundtracks?

- No. I know that there is one movie, I forgot the name, that used `The Saw Is The Law` for it. But there are none specially for movies.

- Anything new about the new album or tour?

- About the tour, I can tell you that I hope we get to America. This one concert in Milwaukee is not enough. I want to do an American tour. We have also gotten offers to do a South American tour. I know we have a lot of fans in America so we`ll have a big party and drink a lot of American beers together. I think this package are the three best bands in Germany and will definitely be a historical moment onstage, especially for the fans. In Germany, they get a really low ticket price to get to see all three bands in one evening. I hope they will not be disappointed. And with that we went off to discuss the intricacies of booking agencies in the U.S.

Written by Philip Anderson - November 2001 kaos2000

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» Pressure Magazine
Magazin für Musik und Lifestyle Themen

» Sodom Live In Monterrey Mexico
Image Gallery.

» Soulfly

» SODOM live in Bangkok 2007
Full picture gallery.

» www.metalhead.ro
Great pictures from Metal Days.

» City Of Gods
Video from Sodom titled album

» Onkel Tom
Tom and his friends.

» Deftones

» Prong
Looking For Them.

» Agent Orange
Video myspace.

» Fuck The Police

» Sodom - M16
The promotion video.

» Sodom Web Squad
Official Sodom site.

» SPV Amerika
The Sodom called album site.

» Tuska Open Air 2006
Image gallery from Sodom show.

» Onkel Tom
Tom Angelripper website.

» Sodom Brasil
Brasilian fan site.

» Messenger
Official page.

» Left Lane Cruiser
LLC At Wooden Nickel Music.

» ChroniX Radio
Aggressive Radio Network.

» Sarkkör Klíma
Airconditioner and service.

» Summoner
The classic RPG game hungarian site.

» Slayer Corps
Hungarian Slayer fansite.

» Hellnoise
Metal directory

» Electric T-Shirts
UK online store for official Megadeth band t-shirts and merchandise.

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