Letís start from the very beginning when in 1993 MASTER was put together as a band.
Well, those days we were playing MOTORHEAD and BLACK SABBATH. It was a complete struggle for us. At the end we recorded a demo tape which sold out like fifty copies. But somehow some ten thousand people got the copy of this tape.
Did you record that demo yourself?
Yeah, actually my father passed away and left me a small inheritance. And so I spent money for the band.
The music you played back then was quite ahead of time. Why did you decide to play that sort of music?
When I found my first band we played heavy metal, RAINBOW and something like that. But I heard VENOM and MOTORHEAD and we just wanted to be the heaviest band in the world! We tried to sound as aggressive as possible.
So you did!
Oh yeah, we did, ha-ha!
And it was the beginning of death metal...
Yes, but back then I called the music we played as power metal. And even now I call this music ęlife metalĽ, I donít particularly just sing about death. I sing about life, death, politics, religion, real world. And for the reason that it was so extreme and aggressive they just classified this as ędeath metalĽ. But it more deals with life to be quite honest with you.
So, we have got ęLIFEĽ metal?!
You got it!
OK, you sold fifty copies of you demo, what happened after?
People started writing me, and magazines wrote that we were a rip off of SLAYER! Which we found interesting and quite funny. But soon in late 1984 we received a record contract... And we threw it away. We were naive, too young, idiots if you will, ha! We were waiting for a million dollar contract and the contract we got offered us very little money for five albums. We should take it because other bands took the same contract and now are making it huge. I think if we took the contract we would have done much further today.
How did you think of the name MASTER?
We definitely believe in ourselves, and this is pretty much the whole concept of the name MASTER.
So you are the masters of your own lives?
You are definitely correct! We are the masters of our destinies.
What were your actions afterwards?
I started rehearsing and put together the band called...er...I got to check my notes out there, ha-ha! Goddamn dates, you know! OK, so around 1987 I started rehearsing with the band called ASSAULT. We recorded two demos and Kerrang! magazine reviewed the two demo tapes. And they put a picture of me and signed it ęSlow down, dude!Ľ. They definitely thought our music was too fast and too aggressive! Two-three years later this music was called grindcore and brought millions to the musicians who played that sort of music. FUNERAL BITCH was playing grindcore in 1987 and we got the video tape live to prove it, you know! Shortly afterwards I was jamming with FUNERAL BITCH and doing some shows. And I also played with some other local bands in Chicago. One of the bands called ABOMINATION. Once we were jamming with FUNERAL BITCH and ABOMINATION. It was three or four in the morning, we were doing a lot drinking and coke smoking. We were young and crazy! Soon I quit FUNERAL BITCH and joined ABOMINATION and we recorded two demos as well in 1987 and in 1988. I sent the second demo to Nuclear Blast records and in 1989 Nuclear Blast signed MASTER and ABOMINATION at the same time. They offered me two contracts and it worked.
Could you compare the two scenes: the one of the Ď80s and the one of the Ď90s?
The scene was incredible in the Ď80s and things are a lot different in the Ď90s. The smaller crowd at the shows. Back then we could pack the house. It seems that the scene in America died down for death metal or speed metal or life metal. But I wanna say that a few month back I toured with MASTER in America and it was like the early days. There were thousands kids at the shows, at the smaller shows there were five hundred kids, they gone crazy, and then they were all standing in the line to get the photos signed.
And what for the musicians, what is the main difference between the two generations?
OK, the musicians in the Ď80s believed in the music and were honest with you. They put their soul. And in the Ď90s lots of bands are copying MASTER, POSSESSED and KREATOR. I think these bands, they are not into it. It seems that everything started to sound the same. Unfortunately. But then again I am trying to play the same stuff that I played fifteen years ago. I havenít really changed that much and that is one of the reasons I am still here.
Thereís also another ęschoolĽ of death metal in the States - Florida. What do you think of its representatives?
I think the best band which came out of Florida is DEATH. DEATH began to play that style of music for Florida and MASTER began it for Chicago. Actually SEPULTURA and MORBID ANGEL asked the sound engineer in the studio we recorded our two albums how Speckman recorded the vocals and made the sound.
So, if I have understood you correctly, MASTER and DEATH were the very bands that started to play death metal in the States?
Yeah. And there were also HELLHAMMER, POSSESSED and some other awesome bands back then.
What do you think about DEICEDE, OBITUARY, MORBID ANGEL?
I donít care for any of those groups. Speaking about MORBID ANGEL and originality, they have just copied MASTER many times! Many bands copied MASTER. Thatís ridiculous!
So you confirm the major part of the bands in the US just copy MASTER?
MASTER and DEATH, you got it. Most of them are copying both of us, itís true. But fortunately many people like originality in this business.
But Paul, why all these MASTERís copycats have become even more popular than MASTER?
You know why? Because they have good promotion. You see, thereís a problem with Nuclear Blast - I got little or no promotion for years. Nuclear Blast spent tons of cash for our first album and the album sold tons of copies! But then they said: ęYour next records will be sold by the name alone. We donít need to promote youĽ. So what they did, they took money from MASTER to promote other bands. Thatís rock Ďn roll, believe me! With good promotion we would have sold million copies, no problem! Promotion is 90 percent of the game.
Are you going to sue Nuclear Blast for not giving you money?
Oh yeah! Nuclear Blast at the beginning was the super offer. I signed a contract within two months and the album was recorded two months later. Then we made MASTER and ABOMINATION European double tour at the same time. ABOMINATON opened the show and MASTER headlined the show. We played twenty six concerts and some of us played for two bands! In those days Nuclear Blast treated me really well, I was always sent money, they took care about me. But I came to find out this year they didnít pay me anything for the last twelve years. So itís a big problem right now as they owe me a lot of money, ha-ha! They were really good people but toward the end they started getting greedy putting out all these records at one time thinking they could make a million dollars.
And why did they change their attitude toward you?
Itís a good question, I really canít tell you man!
May be money is the root of all evil?
Yeah, I think so. Many record companies are greedy, they do it for money, but for me music is the heart of the soul, itís what I believe in.
Has Nuclear Blast ever imposed its musical tastes on you?
At the end Nuclear Blast offered a fifty grand to do away the record they wanted. But I didnít do it! I will not start compromising with my artistic freedom.
Why did you start so many side projects?
First of all you can experiment with lots of things. If I did my experiments with MASTER all the time, people wouldnít like it. And labels wouldnít like it and wouldnít promote it. I like the side projects because the side projects give you a chance to explore new territories. And I am making a new side project and we will release a new recording in few months. But MASTER is number one focus for me.
By the way, where did you get the money to record all these albums?
All the demos we recorded ourselves, we got jobs and Nuclear Blast paid for all CDs.
Having a job, how do you manage to find spare time for all your projects?
I move furniture, I am a hard working bastard, ha-ha! There are three offices and I work for them. But somehow I find time for everything.
What side project you consider to be the most successful?
Judging by the titles of your albums and songs, one can admit that Jesus is one of your favorites names! What is your attitude toward religion?
I like to make fun of it, fun of people who give money to church and think it can buy them the way to heaven. I was twenty one when my father died. And I asked the hospital preacher: ęWhat have you got now?Ľ And he went away, he had nothing to say, you know. This is hypocritical, a bunch of crap.
Do you just make fun of the religion or do you also confront it?
Both. That is what music all about. Questions and answers. Thatís what I do. In songs that I write I am questioning and giving my own opinions. I donít try to convince someone to believe my opinion. I want people to go out and explore, to figure out for themselves. ĎCos I have.
What things besides religion really piss you off?
The government, the lows, preachers...
How could you explain the now-mature sexual activity of Bill Clinton? ęOral Sex Is In SeasonĽ?
Hey, you are the first man who asked me about that! Because I was dreaming about that! You know I donít care about Clinton. I think his private sex life is his private sex life. Heís a man like every other man. And in his age I can imagine that many other men would do the same thing. There are more important problems in the world than Clintonís sex life. And they made a kind of a circus in the United States. And thatís what I hate about America. I got to be honest with you, thatís why I write songs about America. You got good questions, this is the best interview so far!
Thanks Paul. Is there a place for drugs and alcohol in your life?
Drugs suck, they ruin your life! I still drink beer... Hey, come on! I am German, Iím Irish too. And English, ha-ha! I enjoy my beer. But I am not the guy sitting in the pub seven days a week drinking beer. I drink a few beers at the show, but then I have to drive to another show and be responsible for the band.
It seems to me that you are a hard working person who takes responsibilities and cares of everything around you!
Youíre right, thatís true. But I am not a saint, if you know what I mean, ha-ha!
Yeah, itís still rock Ďn roll! Do you have a family of your own?
No, no kids, no wife, no nothing. You know, pretty much my kids are the musicians in the band, my family is the band. Iím pretty much married to MASTER. Itís my own little family.
But would you like to get married some day?
Of course, Iíll be looking for a wife in Germany or Poland.
We havenít heard anything of you since 1993! What have you been doing all these years?
I split with Nuclear Blast in 1993. They stopped calling me, stopped giving me money, stopped being my friends. In 1995 I put out a demo, and in 1996 I put out a demo as well. And I showed the demo around the US and Europe and nobody was interested. I think after Nuclear Blast nobody was interested. Such things happen sometimes in this business. Then I was offered a contract from Julios Polkvinski, from Poland. And I recorded a record actually for him. And he didnít contact me. But now I got a good record deal with Pavement and good promotion. Promotion is very important for me. Some shittiest bands in the world are making millions dollars because of promotion.
So you released the latest album ęFaith Is In SeasonĽ on Pavement. What are we to expect this time?
The album is a mockery of religion as usual. Everybody is living in faith. In faith of false religion. The US is full of preachers, they charge you in twenty dollars and send you a bible. Itís a bunch of crap, you know. And the scary thing is that the millions of Americans send their twenty dollars to these preachers. They become reach and people work their ass up to support them... But I believe in MASTER, as MASTER is in season!