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Interview: Sir Christopher Lee

vom 22. Juni 2013
Wer fällt einem spontan so ein, wenn man an die Darstellung des personifizierten Bösen in der internationalen Kinogeschichte denkt? Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Gary Oldman, Peter Cushing oder Alan Rickman? Das waren gewiss alles Schauspieler mit einem Hang zur genialen Diabolik, doch ein Name darf auf dieser Liste auf keinen Fall fehlen: Christiopher Lee.
Was viele nicht wissen: Sir Christopher Lee, der schon als junger Mann als Opernsänger aktiv war, hatte mit über achtzig Jahren erstmalig an einem Metalalbum mitgewirkt. Damals noch als Gast auf dem Album "Symphony of Enchanted Lands II – The Dark Secret" von Rhapsody of Fire, legte er den Grundstein für eine musikalische Leidenschaft, die nach mehreren weiteren - auch solistischen Veröffentlichungen - in der neusten Scheibe "Charlemagne - The Omens of Death" mündete. Mit dieser Platte hat der nun 91 Jahre zählende Rocker am 27. Mai seinen Geburtstag zelebriert.
Im Zuge der Veröffentlichung des nunmehr zweiten Charlemagne-Albums bekamen wir die Möglichkeit, Sir Christopher Lee fünf Fragen zum neuen Album, seinem Weg in die harte Musikszene, aber auch zu seiner fast sieben Jahrzehnte umfassenden schauspielerischen Tätigkeit und ihrem Einfluss auf ihn als Musiker zu stellen.
Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

The Interview:

MT: It surely is something very special and noteworthy that you’re still involved in the production of metal songs. How did you prepare for the new Charlemagne album "The Omens of Death"?
Sir Christopher Lee: I knew a great deal about the life of Charlemagne, read books about him and I happen to be a direct descendent through my mother’s side. Emperor Barbarossa granted my family the use of the Coat of Arms of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 1970’s I had a production company called “Charlemagne Productions Limited”, which I produced the movie “Nothing But the Night”.
From my point of view, given my age, I could only possibly sing the part of Charlemagne as a ghost. By doing so, I was able to go over his life, while analyzing his actions in a way in which I could not have not done if I was singing in present.
I met with the composers, musicians, producers and we discussed the project in detail before embarking in the recording. Due to my many commitments and limited availability, it took over five years to complete.
MT: You’ve already co-operated in production with very high-rated and famous bands like Rhapsody of Fire or Manowar for a couple of years now. When and how did your interest in this kind of heavy music arise and how did those co-operations come to be?
Sir Christopher Lee: If my memory serves me right, I started to work with Rhapsody in 2003. I became very interested when they had sent me samples of their work. The music was epic and powerful, resembling a movie score, but what impressed me the most is that their songs revolved around a story. So really, it had similarities with fantasy movies and that appealed to me, not to mention that the members of the band could not have been nicer. This created a great working atmosphere and therefore I started to learn and discover more about the genre.
For me it was something that I had never done before. So, it was a welcomed challenge.
MT: In 2010 you received the “Spirit of Hammer Award” from Tony Iommi. What does an award like this mean for you?
Sir Christopher Lee: It was very different from receiving any other award. The reception that I received when I walked onto the stage, was unlike anything I ever experienced before, the decibel levels were very high!
I guess that because this award is so different and awarded for music, it will always hold a special place.
MT: What aspects of your acting career or your acting abilities could you use as a musician to somehow improve the CD productions you’ve been participating in?
Sir Christopher Lee: As an actor, I have a great deal of imagination and the ability to be the character that I am portraying in the songs. In my case, relating the story is the main aim.
Not many people realise this, but some of the best actors tend to be opera singers. They certainly have a much harder job than those of us in the acting profession.
MT: As a character actor you have influenced whole generations of actors. Most notably you’ve performed evil yet fascinating personalities. How did you manage to play all those quite similar characters without repeating yourself or drowning them in stereotypes? Or, in other words: What has been your method or “trick” of avoiding playing them in a similar way?
Sir Christopher Lee: Evil, villains, the bad guy, are still people. They each have a different personality and their reasons for being or becoming evil are not the same. The villain is not always born that way, it is society and certain events in that person or creature’s life that influences their mind. Sometimes good or bad, can be a state of mind and depends on what side you are on.
What people do not realise is that throughout my career, I have played the good guy more times than the villain, but I guess that the villains are more interesting and have a more complex personality and is what the public tend to remember.
Wer in das aktuelle Album „Charlemagne: The Omens of Death“ von 2013
reinhören möchte, kann dies hier tun:
[amazon "Sir Christopher Lee – Charlemagne: The Omens of Death (2013)"]B00CF4HAIY[/amazon]

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