Who doesn’t remember the beginning of “Whole Lotta Rosie” on “If You Want Blood You’ve Got It” from AC/DC?? It starts with the crowd shouting “Angus, Angus!!”. Of course they cheer for guitar player Angus Young here. When we recently saw the Dutch heavy metal band ANGUS play in Almere, I also shouted “Angus, Angus!!”, just to let these guys know, that I was glad to have them back on stage. ANGUS has been quite successful in the eighties and recently drummer William Lawson resurrected his old band. After a short talk with guitar player Patrick Kruijer in Almere, we arranged the following interview, that marks the comeback of one of the most promising Dutch heavy metal bands from the eighties. ANGUS is back and they are ready to rock out - even harder than before. Ladies and gents, we proudly present you ANGUS, a whole lotta ANGUS !!
ANGUS is back together again. Who came up with the initiative for this reunion, and how did the band get back together?
William: “I called Rene, who is an old friend of mine, with the question if he knew a band who needed a drummer. After some years being out of business because of a back problem, I was looking for a new band. Rene was pretty straight forward and told me he knew a singer and, a guitar player. So why not reform ANGUS? A week later ANGUS was back together again. It was that simple.”
Rene: “William is a long time friend of mine. Last summer he asked me, if I knew a band for him. Because of problems with his back, he wasn’t able to play drums for many years. My answer was: Yes, your own band Angus! I knew Patrick also for many years and I thought that he was the right person for the guitar job. Pat said ‘yes’ for the job, but the major problem was how to find a singer, who sounds like Ed. On the internet I found Nollie. He was looking for an ‘old school’ heavy metal band. I was very impressed about his voice and stage-act and after only one rehearsal, we all knew that Nollie was the perfect person for ANGUS. I picked up my bass and ANGUS was complete.”
What can you tell us about the reactions towards the comeback of ANGUS?
William: “The reaction of the audience has been great. We still have a lot of fans out there who like our music. I was amazed about all this. But we won’t let them down and give our fan what they want. We will blow the roof of the building we play!”
Nollie: “I spoke with a lot of fans after the shows and to be honest I am really overwhelmed by their wonderful reactions. I had my doubts if we were going to be accepted, because the original ANGUS singer Ed Lois is so hard to replace. His sound is just so distinctive. I did my best and I’m really thankful for all the blessings I received from new and old ANGUS fans. But we are not there yet, there are still a lot of metal heads to convince that we mean business!”
Patrick: “With only one original member left I was a bit worried to be honest and sometimes I’m still, but so far only great response indeed!” Rene: “I think the old fans has accepted the new line-up very quickly. The response is great, and the crowd is going mad when we do our thing on stage.”
Was there a special reason for this reunion or did William Lawson long back to the early days of the heavy metal, when ANGUS was part of the rich heavy metal scene in Holland?
Patrick: “I don’t think there was a deeper thought except that William wanted to play drums in a band again, so why not in his own band again! But it’s up to him to tell.”
William: “There was no special reason, other than playing as loud and as fast as I possibly can. Now that ANGUS was back together again, we can play our good old songs again. But, we are working on new material as well.” Nollie: “I just love heavy metal and when Rene asked me to sing in the new ANGUS line-up, I didn’t hesitate one second. ‘Track Of Doom’ and ‘Warriors Of The World’ are two great records that deserve to be played live!”
Are you also working on new material for a brand new album?
William: “We are working on a few new songs, which we will play live as soon as possible. If the audience likes them, we will write more songs en make a brand new CD.”
Nollie: “We would love to make a new record when the time is right and yes, we are working on new material. For now we just want to give the fans what they want: the old ANGUS repertoire.”
Patrick: “We are working on some ideas right now. Like Nollie says, most people want to hear the old classic ANGUS songs and we have no problem playing them since we are big ANGUS fans as well! So the focus is on the old songs right now, we will fit in some new songs into the set, but very carefully, we want to stay true to the old ANGUS sound. The old guitar player (Bert Ettema) was a great guitar player and also a great composer. I think the biggest challenge will be to come up with new songs, which are as good and unique as the old songs. That won’t be easy for sure.”
Where do you get the inspiration to write new songs?
William: “Inspiration? Hmmmmm, sex, drugs and rock n roll…..(lol)”
Nollie: “Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes you have to get really drunk to write a good song, and sometimes it just comes naturally. I’d say that inspiration is everywhere around us…“
Patrick: “Inspiration can come from anywhere. Usually I hear tunes in my head all day long. But trying to turn them into good songs is another thing!”
Who are the biggest musical inspirations for ANGUS nowadays?
William: “I like bands as BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE for modern inspiration. In fact, I’m listening to YOUR BETRAYAL, as I write these words!”
Nollie: “As far as vocals concerned, I think JUDAS PRIEST’s Rob Halford is my main inspiration. That guy is just amazing! I also like every ICED EARTH singer! Jon Schaffer really knows how to pick his vocalists…”
Patrick: “Right now I really get inspired by the old ANGUS songs. I like all kind of music, pop, rock, metal and lots of classical music. But I don’t listen to music to get ideas from there, only for pleasure.”
Rene: “I think, that ANGUS was very inspired by MANOWAR, JUDAS PRIEST, SAXON, etc. in the early days. Nowadays they still are.”
What can we expect from the new material and in what way will it differ from the material we know already from ANGUS?
William: “Fast melodic, double bass, screaming metal songs….”
Nollie: “As far as vocals concerned I am not here to imitate Ed Lois. What he did was great, but I’m just a different singer. I’ll be keeping the old ANGUS style in mind, when writing lyrics and melodies for new ANGUS material, but yeah, it’s going to be a little different… But I think that’s a good thing! This is who we are now and it’s up to the fans to decide, if they like it or not!”
Patrick: “With three new members in this ANGUS line-up of course it will sound a bit different, but we want to stay true as much as possible to the old ANGUS sound. We want to give the fans what they want!”
Rene: “The new material we’re now working on sounds just like ANGUS. We won’t come up with a total different sound.”
You are playing live again for a while now. Can you introduce us to the recent members of ANGUS?
William: “Nollie is a great singer with a perfect stage performance. Rene is as steady as a rock on stage and Pat is one of the best guitar players I’ve ever played with. That should do it!”
Nollie: “Hi! I’m Nollie, the new lead singer! I have been singing since I was sixteen years old and played in different hard rock bands. A year ago I discovered the greatness of heavy metal and now I am true to it for the rest of my life!”
Patrick: I’m the guitar player in ANGUS right now. I discovered the greatness of heavy metal already thirty years ago!”
Rene: “I’m the bass player. I’ve been metal head since my father introduced me to BLACK SABBATH’s “Paranoid”.”
What’s your favorite song to play live and why?
William: “For me “When Giants Collide” is my favorite song. It’s a classic structured song for metal music.”
Nollie: “For me personally, it’s ‘Warriors Of The World’. The song is put together perfect and the lyrics are about the great heavy metal scene!”
Patrick: “I can’t choose, I like them all!”
Rene: “When Giants Collide”.”
Do you have any touring plans for 2012 and if you could go on tour with any band of your choice, with whom would you like to go on tour and why?
William: “Sure, we have touring plans for this year and we are still looking for foreign promoters, who can help us tour abroad. On tour with METALLICA should be nice.”
Nollie: Yes, ANGUS is going to play as much as possible! We have already met some great bands in the last few months..”
Patrick: “We want to play live as much as possible. It would be great if we can support a major act like SAXON or JUDAS PRIEST!”
Rene: “This year we play a few times in Germany and we will see what’s coming on our way later. A gig with BLACK SABBATH. They are my ‘metal-roots’.”
I also have a few questions about the past of ANGUS. I would like to know so much more about the past, but I’ll narrow it down to only just a few questions this time, if this is fine with you. Maybe William can answer them (briefly is fine, but it would be very nice if he could react a little bit more detailed if this is possible)? You have played with a lot of different bands in the hard rock and heavy metal scene in the past. With which bands did you share the stage in those early days?
William: “We played with most Dutch metal bands in those days. But also with bands like DEATH ANGEL and the late Phil Lynott.”
I guess, you must have some very nice (juicy or funny) stories about touring or playing with some of these bands. I hope, that you will share some of these stories with us here.
William: “Well to be honest, in those days I was mostly intoxicated. Most often, before performing live. In those days ANGUS was one of the bands who lived a truly sex, drugs and rock n roll lifestyle. I can remember being in jail overnight after our singer stole a bottle of whiskey at a venue, I can remember our bass player Gerard was so drunk he forgot to plug his bass into his amp on stage. So we performed half a concert without bass sound. Ah, our singer broke his foot at some point during a gig, because he was drunk, and had to go on with his leg in cast on a barstool. At one point I fell of the drum stage, because I lost my balance during a gig. And so on..”
I read in your biography, that you also became famous in Poland around 1986. Which songs appealed to the Polish fans, that actually hit their local charts?
William: “Please bear in mind, that this was during the cold war and Iron Curtain. Poland was an unknown communist country, which we did not know much about. We had some Polish fans, because we send our first demo to a illegal metal radio station. This station had a metal top 20 or 40.”
Who came up with the wonderful idea to cover the MADONNA hit “Papa Don’t Preach” and recreate your version, which was called “Papa Don’t Freak”? After all, everybody seemed to like the idea, and only ANGUS dared to take this big step doing it.
William: “It was the idea of Megaton Rec, our record company at that time, who came up with this idea of reforming a hit by making a metal parody. ANGUS was always into things like this while most metal bands did not dare to do things like this, we embraced it.”
Where did you buy the lingerie for the photo shoot of the front cover of this 12”? Any good suggestions to look as charming as the ANGUS guys on this picture are welcome (lol)?
William: “We did not buy the lingerie, but borrowed it from our girlfriends and female band followers… Any good suggestions? Hmmmmm, just be yourself…(lol)!”
Who was behind the fan club of ANGUS, that existed in those days and did they also release a special fan club magazine or something like that? (I know that bands like PICTURE, GILGAMESJ, etc. etc. did bring out their own fanclub magazine…)
William: “A friend of mine called Leon Z did our fanclub in those days. He is still a friend of mine.”
“Track Of Doom” was added on the Heavy Metal Maniacs compilation CD in 1999. Are there still any ‘leftovers’ from the “Track Of Doom” and “Warrior Of The World” records or is everything that was ever recorded, released by now?
William: “There are no leftovers I am sorry to say.”
There isn’t much video footage of the band on the internet. Is there any more footage that you know of or is this all there is?
William: “Back in those days there was no You Tube of M4 recorders. So, a video was something special. It seems that there is a video of our HMM performance from 2001, but I have not seen it yet. There are some videos of our last gigs on our website and You Tube.”
Patrick: “I know, that William doesn’t have this, but I read somewhere on the Heavy Metal maniacs forum, that there must be a video of our reunion gig at the HMM festival in 2001 with William and Bert. I would love to see it!”
Recently, we have restarted the Holland Heavy Metal Website at www.truemetalfan.org/hollandheavymetal.htm Do you think, that the bands that are still there, need this kind of promotion or do you feel that everybody knows what they are up to nowadays?
William: “The metal scene is more backward nowadays than twenty-five years ago. So we need you!!!! There are still people, who think they can book a metal band for fifty Euros. That’s bad, really bad. I mean, I do not have to get rich of being a metal drummer, but a whole band playing for just fifty Euros is less than we got back in the eighties.”
Rene: “It’s always good to make promotion for metal bands. Even if bands split up long time ago, it will be interesting to know what they did and what happened later. Are they together under another name? Which band was the offspring of a nowadays famous band? etc.”
Patrick: “I think, that the Dutch metal bands really can use any help these days.”
What’s your favorite Dutch heavy metal band from the early days, besides ANGUS?
William: “LOST GRAVITY. Those guys were crazy and made good music. We toured with them after the release of the compilation LP “The Heavy Touch”.”
Rene: “PICTURE and VENGEANCE.”
This is an important question for my website, where I try to inform the people about the status of the Dutch heavy metal scene from 1980-1990. Can you give us an update about the (musical) activities of the former band members of ANGUS? Are they still active in the music scene, in which band do they play right now or what are they doing these days after leaving the music scene?(Edgar Lois, Bert Foxx. Mike Schults, Gerard Carol, Ed Sprey, Andre Versluys and maybe I forgot one or two people???)
William: “Andre was and still is a session player. He’s still a professional musician. Ed Sprey is alive an does still play his guitar. As for as I know he does not play in a band. Gerard Carol I spoke recently. He does not play anymore, but is doing fine. Ed Lois works in an Amsterdam bar, but does not sing in a metal band anymore. Bert Foxx still plays his guitar and has his own band. I never spoke to Mike Shults again.”
I attended your show in Almere at Meesterlijk Metaal X, where you played together with GILGAMESJ and DIAMOND DREAMER. Any comments about this show?? For me, it was really awesome seeing you guys back on stage and Patrick really deserves a big compliment for being such an amazing guitar player!
William: “It was great to play for HMM’s in Almere. Nollie was feeling sick due to some bad food. But otherwise, I had a great time. Like to do it again.”
Nollie: “I got sick from the Chinese food, that we had at the venue. Just a few minutes before the show I was in the restroom puking my brains out! I was sick for three days after that. But the fans there were amazing. I was really happy and relieved to be accepted by a lot of old fans. Too bad I was so fucked up on stage I could not perform at my best!”
Patrick: “This was the third gig that we did with this new ANGUS line-up. Great bands and audience! Had a great time there! Hope we will be invited again! Thanks for the compliment, but too much honour really! I think I owe it to Bert, who should up there rocking with ANGUS imo! Also my guitar playing is nothing new really. Eddie and Randy already played like that more than thirty years ago! (lol).”
Rene: “I live in Almere, so it was very nice to play in my hometown.”
Is there a latest news flash about ANGUS, that you want to share with us?
William: “Yes, keep in touch with us through our website. We will post news as soon as possible. We’re headlining the Swordbrothers Fest on the 10th of March this year and we will play in Oppenwehe (Germany) on the 12th of May at the HMM fest.”
Nollie: “There’s our brand new merchandise! Check it out on http://www.angus-metal.com.”
Patrick: “I’m really looking forward to play at the first German Swordbrothers festival edition in March! It’s a bit funny to play there as the only non-German band! [Note from the editor: The bill of Swordbothers is ANGUS, ROXXCALIBUR, ALPHA TIGER, DOOMSHINE, ETERNAL REIGN and IRON KOBRA]”
Rene: “Stay tuned on our website for latest news and gigs.”
The world famous last words for this interview are for ANGUS…
Nollie: “The Warriors of the World are fucking back!“
Patrick: “That’s exactly right!”
Rene: Hell “Yeah!”
William: “The earth is flat!”
Interview by: Toine van Poorten, exclusively for Holland Heavy Metal / February 2012.
Visit their official website at: www.angus-metal.com/