We have had the opportunity to ask Mr. Axel „Ironfinger“ Ritt of GRAVE DIGGER a couple of questions to reveal his opinion on the currect situation related to the crisis and, of course, to introduce their brand new record and much more.
Hello Axel. So nice to have the opportunity to ask a couple of questions. How are you? How are you dealing with this crazy situation we have to face these days?
Beside the disaster regarding the life situation, I’m fine, thank you. Fortunately, I do have a lot of work regarding different musical and music business activities, but a lot of my colleagues will not survive that crisis. The situation in Germany is the worst disaster you can imagine. There are some music industry organizations like GEMA for example, where you can tell how much money you’ve lost because of no live shows, but the money you get is just a credit and completely billable with your further income. Germany is a very rich country and the government pays from the tax income 9.000 million Euros for Lufthansa or close to 7.000 million Euros for the Deutsche Bahn for example, but not a fucking cent for solo self-employed. Of course politicians are only interested in supporting companies, which will give them a job, when they were kicked out of the government at the end of their career, so they take the taxes from the poor, give it to the rich and the rich will take care of you. Simply an indirect corruption works fine for the politicians since decades. Everybody knows, nobody cares. Musicians are not „system-relevant“ and it’s a lot cheaper for the government to kick thousands of artists to social care, instead of supporting them. The devil only throws his dirt always on the biggest pile, you know. Most of my colleagues will not survive the crisis, so the venues will do as well. The complete music scene is slowly dying, everybody is watching it, but nobody cares. Live music is dead and gone!
Basically all of the summer festivals have been cancelled. What are Grave Digger´s plans during this long period of ´nothing´? I can see that you interact with fans online. Is there anything else you plan to do, you want to try?
Today is the release day of „Fields Of Blood“ and yesterday, we got the first draw of the cover artwork of the upcoming album. Chris and I are already collecting new ideas for the upcoming album and the songwriting will start soon. We’ve decided to release a new album every year, as long as the shutdown will effect the live music scene.
And what are you doing these days?
I am the CEO of different companies, for example my own record and publishing company Humbucker Music GmbH, I’m the owner of the Meadow Studios, I work as an author for guitars, studio and stage equipment for Germany´s leading online music magazine amazona.de , I developed my own signature IRONFINGER distortion pedal and signature cable together with Cordial cables, I’m the representative for Grave Digger for all of our cooperation partners for example the Aureum Grave Digger whiskies, the Stonewood Heavy Metal Breakdown beer, the Grave Digger red wine and many more. And I have to take care of my 12.000 square meter estate which means a lot of gardening ;-)
What will be the first thing you would like to do after all these restrictions are gone?
I’ll sit down and do some accounting to see how much money I’ve lost because the Chinese are torturing and eating everything that had arms, legs or wings.
This might be a bit hypothetical question but I´ll try to ask. Do you think the world will change after the crisis is over?
No, to change people´s mind, a lot more people should have been died. The only way to make a change, is facing the death. The fact that most of the people are able to survive the virus doesn’t scare the people enough. If the virus killed you for sure would change the world, nothing else. Maybe there will be some more home office here and there, but everybody wants to forget everything as soon as possible and wants to get back to his „normal“ life, which means more environment destruction, more meat consumption and more traveling by plane. Only the fear of death will stop this madness.
Let´s turn the page. Your new record is already out. Fields of Blood is the name of it. I can see really great reviews! Congratulations! How does it feel?
We are very proud and very happy that the fans liked the album that much. It’s a great feeling when you mention you did something right.
Could you introduce your new album to our readers a little bit? How would you describe it? Perhaps in comparison with the previous releases?
„Fields Of Blood“ is not like the album „Tunes Of War“, where the lyrics are some kind of history teaching, you get in school. This time it’s about a guy, who’s working in a museum and he got his day dreams about his family, which has been located in Scotland and he travels back to the themes described in the lyrics.
Lyricswise, the album is in Scotland, in the bloody history of this country. Am I right?
You celebrate the 40th anniversary of Grave Digger! That´s seriously amazing! I wish you all the best. Have you done any plans of celebrating it? I know there´s a tour to celebrate it but is there anything that can commemorate this really important milestone in the history of your band? I mean...a new live record, a book perhaps.
All that had been planed for 2020, but the virus killed all plans we had for one year. We’ll try to catch up the anniversary shows in 2021, but I’m not sure, if we have the chance to do so.
This January you were part of the 70.000 tons of metal cruise ship event. Can you compare this unique kind of event with the normal tour/concert? Do you have any interesting stories to share with us?
The first time we were on that cruise, we had to perform at noon on the pool stage. It was so hot on stage, that the whole band was all pretty close to collapse and my black pants, which were made of artificial leather, went that hot that they started to burn the skin of my legs. I had to tip 1 liter of water after every song INTO my pants, otherwise I would have been cooked alive like a lobster.
I´ve noticed you don´t like the way people treat animals. Am I right? What´s your opinion and attitude to it? Are you somehow active on this ´field´?
I was a vegetarian for 30 years, then I went vegan 10 years ago. It’s the main focus in my life and it’s the base of treating humans, animals and the complete environment in the right way. Animals are treated in horrible ways and the meat and dairy industry does everything, really EVERYTHING to avoid that people see the unbelievable truth behind slaughterhouse walls. The main fact is, you don’t need animal products in no way to live a very healthy life, so what’s your argument that you pay people to torture and murder animals in the most horrible way you can imagine?
I am asking this because this issue very close to me. And I also try to spread the truth about how horrifying the animals are treated. But artists and musicians like you have the voice that can be heard by so many people. Do you ´use your voice´ in order to help the animals?
Yes, a lot and I know this will lower the success of my career a lot. I would have more followers on Instagram, Facebook, you name it, if I would just post cute pictures of my cats like some colleagues do. Sometimes, I have to show the brutal truth in pictures and movies, so that people have to face their behavior. Don’t give the people money to kill animals and it will all stop immediately. No money, no torture, it’s as simple as that.
That´s right. We are coming to an end. Here are my final questions. Describe Axel Ritt in 3 words.
Consequent, diligent, impatient.
Can your fans and listeners expect to see Grave Digger in Slovakia?
I hope so for 2021, it all depends on the governments.
Is there anything you would like to say to your fans in Slovakia?
Become vegan! If all people were vegetarians / vegans, we would have no AIDS, no SARS and no CORONA!
I want to thank you so much for answering all my questions.
You’re welcome, my pleasure!
Axel „Ironfinger“ Ritt