Andi Deris states Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch not part of ‘Pumpkins United’ as they betrayed Helloween
Helloween frontman Andi Deris was recently interviewed from his home in the Canary Islands by David Araneda for Metal Shock Finland. Deris was asked why guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch weren’t part of Helloween‘s Pumpkins United World Tour 2017/18 that featured Deris, lead vocalist Michael Kiske; guitarists Michael Weikath, Kai Hansen and Sascha Gerstner; bassist Markus Grosskopf; and, drummer Dani Löble.
Deris replied (as transcribed by Sleaze Roxx): “Well honestly, we never made a big secret out of it. They had to leave the band because they betrayed the band. And this is sad but that’s the truth and I would not like to stay on stage, to go on stage with some foul pundits, you know what I mean? So these boys have proven to be not cool, and they really started to [inaudible] and betrayed the band back in the day. Well, they had to leave because the trust was gone and why would I invite foul vegetable [laughs] onto stage. So I am very sorry because it hurt a lot because Roland was, I suppose, he was a close friend of mine and I really thought he is. For me, it was a world breaking part when I realized that he betrayed the band. And he betrayed myself so why would I invite people that had to leave the band because they went out with [inaudible]?”
Sleaze Roxx interviewed Grapow back in early February 2016 and the guitarist stated as follows about his end in the band back when The Dark Ride was released in 2000: “I think the main reason was my well-being at that time because we were having a lot of fights in the band for the reasons I told you already. Jealousy — I was jealous about not presenting my songs to the press and to the fans. And then you know, the problem with the lack of songwriting for these two albums ‘[The] Time Of The Oath’ and ‘Better Than Raw.’ And then maybe they talked behind my back because they always had like a lot of private meetings — Andi Deris and Weike [Michael Weikath] — because when they were in Hamburg [Germany], they were always in the pubs talking and I was getting home! I had a wife and family. After rehearsing or something, I went home.
And then everybody was talking and after some years of always talking behind someone, then there’s big trouble coming and it came! And then I said, “OK. Sorry. [I’m] really sorry to the band.” Because I was following too much my solo career. I was following too much the path of Yngwie Malmsteen — I was a big fan of his. I said, “OK. I will change. I will go back to my old style when I was 20.” because that’s why Weike loved me so much. So I went back to those Gibson guitars — the Flying Vs. I played a lot of melodic [stuff] on ‘The Dark Ride’ and the inspiration for the good guitar sound and this down tuning and this songwriting — the way to write lyrics, everything was inspired by Roy V, which I loved so much that I was feeling so comfortable after that. So relieved that I was thinking “That’s the future I want to follow.” And then, all these fights with Weike! The whole band loved this album. Only Weike hated it [laughs].” Grapow added: “That’s why I think I was fired.”
In terms of not getting invited to participate in Helloween‘s Pumpkins United World Tour 2017/18, Grapow advised Sleaze Roxx in an interview back in early August 2017: “Nobody asked me, but I heard these news a long time before it was officially announced.”
In regard to whether he was disappointed not to get that opportunity, Grapow indicated: “My first reaction wasn’t disappointment, but I felt a bit upset just like a boy that didn’t get the invitation to his classmate’s birthday party. But after a while, I realized that I would not like to do this. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with these people around. And I would have had to sacrifice many things, which are very important and valuable for me such as the Masterplan band, my studio work and free time with my family at home. I worked too hard just to skip it off.”
Interview with Andi Deris by Metal Shock Finland:
Nine months after the end of the successful “Pumpkins United World Tour” and a month prior to the release of their newest live album “United Alive”, we had the chance to talk extensively with Andy Deris about the current chapter in the history of the legendary German pumpkins.