WELCOME TO THE MACHINE – with German metal band Mob Rules

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I saw Black Sabbath twice at Newcastle City Hall in 1982 on The Mob Rules tour. Neon Knights, Heaven & Hell, Ronnie James Dio – once wasn’t enough. One of the nights I remember waiting an age for them to come on stage – then lights out…the roar…Neon Knights. I mentioned this to Jan Christian Halfbrodt, keyboardist for German metal band Mob Rules…
‘No, to be honest. Our name has nothing to do with Black Sabbath, but Lynch Mob

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In 1989 guitarist George Lynch left American metal band Dokken and formed the hard rock band Lynch Mob…’It was a guy with a Lynch Mob Rules cap that was the inspiration for this name’,
Mob Rules are from Oldenberg in northern Germany. They formed in 1994 and over the next 5 year they built a fan base and released debut album Savage Land…Mob Rules had their first deal in 1998, since that a lot has happended’.

Further albums quickly followed ‘Temple Of Two Suns’ (2000) ‘Hollowed Be Thy Name’ (2002) and ‘Among The Gods’ (2004). In 2005 they released a live album ‘Signs Of The Time’. They have recorded a further 3 studio albums since then. But going back to the start who were your influences Jan? ‘Hard to describe, because everyone of us listens to a wide variety of music. It seems hard to deny, that we all love bands like Iron Maiden, Queensryche etc., but we also have some folk influences in our newest albums and also a progressive touch. For me music started when I was seven years old and my mother played me a cheesy old organ. When I was ten, I saw David Gilmour‘s live performance of The Wall on late night TV. It was again my mother who woke me up to show me. Since then I knew what I wanted to do!’

Are there any other musicians/bands who you admire ? ‘Oh of course! If you want my favourite albums are Remedy Lane by Pain Of Salvation, Human Equation by Ayreon and Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime’.

Where do the ideas come for your songs ? ‘Most of the songwriting is done by Klaus and Sven, since the last album I am responsible for the lyrics. Sven has built his own studio, this is our new center of creativity. The most part of recording is done by ourself, that gives as time to work on every idea. Usually we produce a complete pre-production before the final recordings. The vocals and final mastering are done by Markus Teske at Basement Studio who does an awesome job’.

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Touring has taken the band to the USA, the UK, Spain, France, Scandinavia, Belgium, Austria and a few festivals along the way… ‘We started playing in our home area, we went on to tour with bands like Savatage, Gamma Ray, UFO, Axel Rudi Pell. We played around Europe and twice in the USA, even twice at Wacken Open Air in Germany some years ago. It’s really fun to be part of this journey and get to see all these places and people !’
‘Before I was in Mob Rules, I played in a band in my local area, so for me it was the first time to travel so much for making music. But this is great, I love this part and enjoy sightseeing as much as it is possible on tour. One day on tour, I was making a phone call at a rest stop on the highway and the bus suddenly started without me inside ! Good luck they saw me in the rearview mirror, or else on the next show they would have to play without a keyboarder ha ha’.

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Have you filmed any TV appearences or filmed any music videos ? ‘Of course, there are several videos that you can mostly find on You Tube but have also been aired on TV. We also have two live DVDs, the latest is a recording of our live show in Atlanta 2011’.

What are the future plans for Mob Rules ? ‘We are currently recording our ninth album that is scheduled for 2018. This means a lot of work right now, we also want to play some festivals then another tour after the release. Keep the machine running!’

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The full line-up of the band is Klaus Dirks (vocals) Sven Lüdke (guitar) Markus Brinkmann (bass) Jan Christian Halfbrodt (keyboard) and Nikolas Fritz (drums).
For more info contact the band on the official website http://www.mobrules.de or on social media through facebook.

Interview by Gary Alikivi November 2017.