We met with Freddy, one of the guitarists of Gotthard, last week in Baar before the beginning of the band’s third concert in Switzerland. He talks openly about the 2014 Bang tour, next year’s projects but also about the Gotthard fans and how he started in the music world.
For Freddy, who joined the group 14 years ago, it has been a wonderful musical and human adventure. As a musician to be able to live from his music is a great accomplishment.
VIVAMOST: You are on a world tour and have been at some festivals since April, how has it been?
FREDDY: It went really well. We started in April with the presentation of the CD in Zurich at the Volkshaus and we had a few festivals especially in Switzerland. We played in front of many people. We played with the Scorpions at Muerten and at the festival of Arbon. There were about 15,000 people so it was super. For us the real tour started in September in Japan and after we did a big part of Europe, Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, etc… We had a really good time, many people came to see us. That was our biggest tour in Germany ever with 13 concerts. Now we are here at home in Switzerland before leaving for South America.
VIVAMOST: What is your biggest souvenir?
FREDDY: There are many good ones. I can’t say there is one best one but all the tour since we started; since we left for Japan it was one good tour. When you leave with many people, the technicians and all the people helping there is always a dynamic and this time it worked so well. There was no problem, we all understood each other well. We are always together in the bus, we sleep together. It is very narrow and it is not normal that everybody goes back home happy.
It is one bus for everyone, we have two floors, one where we sleep and the other where we eat lunch. We were 18, so 6 from the group and another 11 and the driver. Of course, we hire people locally.
VIVAMOST: How different or similar are the days on tour?
FREDDY: The towns change. It is different if we go to Tokyo or to Barcelona. What makes the tour interesting are the different people, different towns and the different rooms, sometimes small or bigger. Almost everything changes. There is never one concert which is like the precedenting one. You think you know it all and always something new happens.
VIVAMOST: Are the Swiss fans different from the other fans?
FREDDY : Like people, nationalities are different. I won’t say it changes completely. If you go to Japan, there everything changes, the culture, the people, the behavior. In Europe, it is about all the same. The Spanish are the ones who scream the most. In Switzerland we have the most diversified from the youngest to the oldest one. Our audience in Switzerland I would say goes from 10 to 70. We have almost 3 generations that come and see us. That is typical Swiss and a little from Southern Germany.
VIVAMOST: Do Gotthard fans have different tastes in songs depending on the nationalities?
FREDDY: There are different reactions. There is a public more weekend, who likes to party more, maybe they expect less ballads. There is no rule. Each concert is different and there is always a dynamic which develops itself depending on the region, if it is a weekend or not, the ambiance, if the room is nice or if the people are all standing close to each other. Many things influence an evening. Those who come and see Gotthard know that it is a rock group who plays some ballads….We always had 3-4 ballads in our setlist and we still do that today.
VIVAMOST: Bang is the second album and the second tour with Nic Maeder, can you say that the fans have accepted him well now?
FREDDY: What really changed is that during the first tour many came to see. They did not come to a concert to party but rather to see how the new Gotthard is. This time has changed. People come to the rock concert to have fun, to have a good evening. They don’t have a controlling look, but it is normal. They did not know what to expect, what comes after Steve. There were many people who had mixed feelings, who like Gotthard but who did not know what the future would be. I would say that the people who come to this tour, come to have fun. We always have a really good ambiance.
VIVAMOST: You did not lose too many fans?
FREDDY: We may have lost a few, but have gained some. We have certainly more young people now than 5 or 6 years ago. But logically Gotthard exists since almost 25 years, it continues. There are always new people who rediscover it. It is like a machine which continues to work.
VIVAMOST: Did you compose some pieces of music on the new album?
FREDDY: We all did the entire album together, the three of us, Leo, Nic and me, almost with no exception. 1/3 each.
We started last February, finished the CD I think in December and we worked hard almost all year. We took 6,7,8 months to write, rearrange, make a demo, rearrange. It takes time but we were really happy with the result. I think it is a CD which is really positive. There are many diversities with the piece called THANK YOU with the orchestra, which lasts 11 minutes, the songs really rock typical Gotthard. There is really, really lots on this CD, which makes us really happy with the result.
VIVAMOST: How did you start with the guitar and at what age?
FREDDY: I started when I was about 13. I started a bit before one time but I did not like at all because my mother bought me an acoustic guitar and it is not what I wanted. I wanted another sound, so I stopped and bought an electric. I formed a rock group with some school friends. Most would go play football and we would play music.
VIVAMOST: Which guitarists influenced you? Are there any guitarists who you admired and you still admire?
FREDDY: Yes, naturally, they are many. The first group, who influenced me a little, was Sweet and after that AC/DC arrived and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. After that I rediscovered Led Zeppelin; and there was also Queen, whom I loved a lot. The oldest groups before my time I discovered them many years later.
VIVAMOST: Gotthard opened for Bon Jovi concert in 2001, do you like Richie Sambora?
FREDDY: Richie Sambora, he is genial! Absolutely.
VIVAMOST: Can you give advice to young kids who want to become professional guitarists like you?
FREDDY: Most of all do what you believe in. Don’t go back and forth. Don’t stop after two years. Continue and follow your path. Do what you have in your head, listen to yourself.
VIVAMOST: What can we look forward to for Gotthard for 2015?
FREDDY: It will be the second part of the tour. We are going to play at festivals and outside of Switzerland. We have not decided yet if we are going to start writing for the next album at that time. At the moment we are really focussed on this tour and to finish it. We are going to South America. It will be really the finale. 2015 we finish what we have not done this year. The tour won’t be as long. We will discuss after Christmas when we start with the next album.
VIVAMOST: Does a life with Gotthard makes you happy?
FREDDY: Oh yes, genial, super. I can’t complain!
VIVAMOST: Thank you
Gotthard will be playing in Frauenfeld on December 19th.