MICHAEL KISKE (singer Helloween, Avantasia, Unisonic and More)
The Naked Truth
We all remember how the eighteen year old singer Michael Kiske in 1987 sensationally debuted on Helloween’s second album `Keeper Of The Seven Keys: Part I’, being the new frontman of the Hamburg based power metal band because original singer Kai Hansen had a hard time singing and playing guitar at the same time. Helloween’s career took off sky high, Kiske got world famous, made his mark in metal history but unfortunately left the mother ship in 1993 after too much tension was present in camp Helloween. For a few years Kiske moved around in the music business as a solo artist, doing various guest appearances but made a full return to the metal scene with Avantasia, Unisonic, Kiske/Sommerville and Place Vendome. Recently Kiske even made peace with Helloween and the long awaited reunion world tour is scheduled for later this year. But Kiske is not the guy who is only interested in heavy metal, he also has a deep interest in philosophy and the spiritual world and he sure as hell knows how to use his time. HeadBangers LifeStyle spoke with the very likeable frontman to find out more about his daily routine, which lead to a very inspiring conversation.
First thing you do in the morning?
,,I always wake up pretty early and I like to get up between 6 and 7 o’clock in the morning. If I go up after 8 I feel pretty much I am wasting time. First I always get myself a green tea or a coffee and then I read for about 3 to 4 hours. This is like a ritual I do every morning.’’
What do you mainly read?
,,I don’t read entertainment. I read literature books from Rudolf Steiner for instance, who originate the philosophy of anthroposophy and died in 1925. He was targeting at the spiritual behind things rather than at the materialistic or political side. He was also a scientist and he studied nature science and philosophy. I am much more interested in all this because that is where the truth lies. People haven’t picked it up yet but I am sure they will in the future. I also like to read books of German philosophers of the Idealistic Phase, something that not only physically but also mentally makes me get away. I need that and it is almost like a ritual for my life. Very often this goes over in writing myself, writing down my own thoughts. So, that is how I start the day. Then either I do some singing later on when I have to do recordings. Sometimes I play a game at daytime or I go shopping or meet a friend. In the evening either I go back to the reading and writing or I watch something on TV.’’
What do you like to watch on TV?
,,The last couple of days I was doing a marathon of Seinfeld. I love it! Especially the first couple of seasons are so brilliant. The guy has such a talent of seeing the stupidity of life. The stupid behaviour, the stupid manners that we don’t even realize because we are so used to it. But he has this mind of a child that sees the stupidity in it and how weird it really is when you look at it from the right angle. Every episode is good and there is always some interesting theme going on. If you start watching series like that on video on demand it is hard to stop [laughing].’’
What has been your biggest shopping mistake?
,,If there is something I would like to have I first inform myself on the Internet and then I buy it when I know what it is. So usually I am really well prepared, but I bought a wrong shaver. But that is not really a big deal. I just realized that I need the cleaning machine for it. Because without the cleaning machine you don’t really get the best shaving result [laughing].’’
What dish do you like to cook when you invite friends to stay for dinner?
,,Yeah, I am the one who picks up the phone and order something [laughing]. I am just too lazy. If I don’t have a girl in the house that cooks there is no cooking going on.’’
What do we mainly find in your refrigerator?
,,Stuff that you can quickly throw on bread. Eggs. Milk, for the coffee mainly. So it is not very full, there are just a few things in there because I usually go eating somewhere in a restaurant or order something.’’
You are a sucker for…
Who did you gave a compliment recently?
,,I do that actually a lot [laughing], because I tend to see what is beautiful in people. So I give a lot of compliments, but not empty compliments. I gave one yesterday to a very special friend of mine, Suzanne. She is just the most honest person you can meet and she would die for you. I am not in love with her, it is not a relationship or what ever, it is just a friend. She is a friend on a spiritual level and I just told her that I always will love that about her. She is so pure and real to the core.’’
What kind of neighbour are you?
,,Very friendly. I actually have a very good relationship with my neighbours in all directions. I go over to their houses, but it is not that I am searching for it. I actually am doing something every day, I am great alone and I never feel lonely. I always know how to use my time, I always have something to do and I am never bored. But I get invited quite often and I go over and we have a nice time.’’
What gives you sleepless nights? What do you do when you can’t sleep?
,,I actually do have sleepless nights because everything that I am dealing with goes not just in the head, it goes deep into my soul. If I deal with something serious, either it is a book or a conversation, it can go through the whole night. It just lingers on. I have nights that I am actually sleeping but also thinking during the whole night. Sometimes it is wonderful but sometimes it is even very self-destructive the next day. I have that often that I don’t sleep well. Then my day is screwed. I am an early person, I need to be early then I am good.’’
For what can we wake you up in the middle of the night?
,,If something important happens or if someone, a friend, is in need or whatever, they can always wake me up. But other than that I rather sleep.’’
What do you do to save planet earth?
,,I am trying to clean my soul. I am trying to become a better person, because I think the pollution that we throw out spiritually is much worse than anything else. I think the world is in a pretty difficult state at the moment. People get more and more radically, materialistic and ignorant. Religions go insane. That is why I am not a big friend of religions anymore. I give everything about spirituality. No doubts about God, the spiritual beings or Christ, no doubt at all, but I don’t give a damn about religions. I don’t care about the church. I don’t care about Islam. I couldn’t care less because they are just misusing God. They create an image, which is actually a satanic image. Islam Allah to me that is not God. That is a tyrant, a murderer. It is the opposite of God. Religions can go to hell but spirituality is important.’’
What worries you the most these days?
,,I worry a lot about humanity because I know it has a big effect on the afterlife. Caring about each other, being interested and respect each other is so important. We all want this for ourselves so we have to give it to each other too, otherwise you don’t have the right to expect it. I really think people should have to think over our lifestyles. We create karma that is going to be painful.’’
What or who makes you laugh?
,,Seinfeld. I love it when he laughs about himself. But also Zach Braff he is one of my favourite comedians, he used to be in `Scrubs’. It is a sitcom, a comedy in a hospital. You got to see it.’’
What is your favourite late night snack?
,,Too many actually. I have a problem with weight. I am so easily gaining weight these days. It is just another thing I have to work on during this year. As soon as the weather goes better I have to do some outdoor activities. I don’t have to be the prettiest boy on the planet but I don’t like being so fat. I love chips and all the crap you shouldn’t eat. Especially when you start eating them in front of the TV it is getting worse. I think I love the shit everybody loves.’’
Are you the sporty guy or the lazy one on the couch watching Netflix?
,,When the weather is right I love taking my bike and go through Hamburg. Last time I biked 55 kilometres so after that you are quite tired. If you do that twice a week it is a great way of losing weight and gaining some condition. In the last 3 years I am noticing my condition is going worse, before I didn’t. I am not as flexible as a little boy anymore. I just turned 49 so now I have to really do something. Health has a lot to do with being in balance as well and happiness for instance is part of that.’’
Which song is stuck in your head at the moment and you can’t withstand whistle?
,,I always have a lot of songs in my head, but the most beautiful female voice on this planet for me is Cara Dillon, an Irish vocalist. She has not a big voice like a Whitney Houston, she has actually a sweet voice and there is so much beauty in it. To me she has the most wonderful voice and my heart is melting when she sings. I am always listening to the track ,,Garden Valley’’. I have heard this song maybe a few hundred times but I am still dying when I hear it. I think her best record is `Hill Of Thieves’, the music is basically acoustic, with flutes and violins, and great storytelling and it is very, very spiritual. Actually I like everything she does.’’
What is the biggest misconception about you?
,,When you are in this business people make up their own mind. That is part of the game. Either they idolize you or demonize you and everything in between. You have to live with it. Most people don’t know me. When I was younger it was more difficult, now I don’t really care because this doesn’t change who I am. And if they make me a god, well I am not a god. Never! I am not better than anyone in the audience. But I take it as love, people are excited for what I did here and there and that is wonderful.’’
Shadiest job you had in the early days of your musical career and never told anyone?
,,I started very early as a singer, I got my school band and when I just barely got out of high school Markus from Helloween showed up in the rehearsal room telling me they were looking for a singer because the guitar player always lost his voice after the third show. And that’s how it all started. I just started a mechanical working training a few months when I joined Helloween and took off. Even during my off time I always was financially okay. I always had the blessing of freedom for that matter which I am really thankful for.’’
Is there anything in particular you bring home from every country you visit on tour?
,,Memories basically because if you take something with you, you need three extra bags. That is also the problem with gifts. It is wonderful when fans give you gifts and sometimes it is so beautiful, but then you go straight to the first post office you can find and send it to yourself because you don’t want to carry it with you all the time. If I buy something it is just very little things like a necklace or a pendant. Or some clothes but never anything that wouldn’t be of any use on tour, because you just carry it with you all the time and most of the time you have too much with you anyway.’’
Most silly prank you did on a tour?
,,I just remember we did a lot of stuff like that in the early Helloween years. It was not on tour but in the studio. Weiki [Michael Weikath, guitarist] was always late and he was always sleeping way too long, I don’t know if he still does it these days, but he really switched his timing around, sleeping during daytime and awake at night-time. Of course when you are in the studio you record at daytime so you had to get him out of bed. One day the guys placed a Marshall stack in his apartment and woke him up with loud guitar playing. Another time Markus [Grosskopf] recorded bass guitar in a sandpit here in Hamburg. I am sure we did lots of things on tour and it will probably pop into my head after this interview. But we still do a lot of silly stuff like with Avantasia. When you are on tour you always have to go through customs and security check. You really go insane after a while and you can’t stand it anymore. Also nowadays everybody is treated like a terrorist. I know during the first tour of Avantasia the guys made a joke out of it by putting a sex doll in the suitcase of Olli [Oliver Hartmann]. To make sure that it was going to be picked out they put also a knife in it [laughing], which was clearly on the X-ray. But when they opened the suitcase the sex doll popped out and they were laughing their asses off. I thought that was a great story.’’
Cartoon taken from the Helloween `Pumpkins United World Tour’ 2017/2017 Facebook page
How would you like to close this interview?
,,By saying I would like to see everyone who ever cared about anything that had to do with Helloween, showing up at the upcoming reunion tour. None of us would be where we are today without that band. Helloween was the mother ship and this tour somehow sums it up to me. It is almost like a circle that gets to the starting point. I got off the band, I have been through a lot of experiences and I don’t want to miss any of it, because I know how important it was to go through all this. I am not angry anymore and I can forgive and forget. I hope we are going to pull something wonderful off. I do have a good feeling about it and I would like to see everyone there.’’
Follow Michael Kiske on Facebook and visit the Michael Kiske Website.