[media stories: 2001: english]

Torsten Psychonaut:
Motorpsycho saved my soul

Interview with Torsten Walker (Germany / g35)
taken from the Norwegian e-zine
PULS, 2001-08-30.
The original answer in English.

In our series about Motorpsycho's so called Psychonauts - all hardcore fans - it's now the turn of German Torsten Walker og hvordan Motorpycho har vært med å bestemme hans bevegelser siden han først ble påtvunget dem i en bandbuss i '93.

variation of the MP logo

MOTORPSYCHONAUTS: #4: hardcore heads

name: Torsten Walker
age: 33
residence: Mannheim, Germany
occupation: Media Design Trainee

  Motorpsycho - «Demon Box» - cover - front

When did you discover MP, what was it that made you turn onto it, did it happen at once or was it something that took some time to develop. Was it one song, if yes, then what song?
I discovered Motorpsycho back in 1993. I was playing bass in a crossover band [yes, it's true ;-)] back then and one day our singer had a tape of 'Demon Box' (LP version) playing in his car ... at first I was not impressed at all but since he would play the tape twice a day from then on for several years: there was no escape ... ;-)
Every time when we were on tour we would blast the tape on maximum volume and soon we were all singing along, too... 'Demon Box' became our definite cult tour music in the magic Volkswagen bus; head for France: Motorpsycho; drive to Berlin: Motorpsycho etc. ...
Well, the passion didn't grow for the other guys in the band with further releases ... in the end it was just me, the most sceptical one in the beginning, who would never let this band out of his mind anymore ... glowing eyes with every new release on the horizon...
And no: it was not just one song which made me turn into a crazed teenager praying to some rock musicians again at the age of 25; it was this amazing schizophrenic album with a hell of a lot of good songs in the most diverse styles that got me hooked on the band ... my favourite song changed every week ...

  The Notwist

Have you discovered any other artists/bands because of MP's music or by things the band have said in interviews etc.?
As a guy who was at first indie-rock oriented and later deep into the HC scene of the end-80's and early 90's it was in fact vice versa: the German band The Notwist opened my mind again for classic melancholic songwriting played with ultimate passion – this was quite a development after so many years of 1-2-3-4, mosh, stop-and-go and in-your-face only ... without my passion for The Notwist, my interest for MP would hardly have developed in such a special way ...
But yes sure, since the mid 90s I was not only getting into (nearly) all other Stickman / Sticksister bands (35007, Fireside, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Slut and so on and so on) too, but also checked out stuff as diverse as Guided By Voices, Sun Ra, Supersilent, Kim Hiorthøy to name just a very few ...

MP have done mostly anything within the loose boundaries of the concept rock and have also been outside of the fences a time or two, in what direction do you hope to see the band go?
The main thing for me is that they stay true to their principle of never doing the same things twice. Without that philosophy the last – more than – ten years would have sounded different: definitely more boring.
But you were talking about the secret hopes one carries in himself of course: to be honest, I'd love to see them heading for more experimental terrain again, maybe in the vein of 'Tristano', an amazing yet unreleased instrumental tune played on quite a few dates of the last tour(s)... and to include less retro-60's / 70's and more contemporary influences in their typical own manner...
Even though I really liked the recent material live, I haven't listened to e.g. Let Them Eat Cake too much at home (maybe a hundred times), in no way a comparison to all the albums before... I'd love to listen to an album that burns itself into my mind again for many years like all the 90's albums did ...
But the most important thing is: they should do what they want style-wise as long as the quality of songwriting and live performances stays at their uniquely high MP level. I've followed them on all their style journeys so far, and there is no end in sight...

Name your three favorite MP-releases (including EPs)!
Blissard – the album without any weak parts
Motorpsycho / Alice Cooper-Split-7" – because of the cool sawblade look and the really funny idea to ask Alice Cooper to join in on a split
Timothy's Monster – it's not only a great album but also contains the grail of rock music: The Golden Core.

  an unofficial recording cover

What is your opinion on bootlegging?
I could probably write a complete book about this very controversial topic in the meantime, but that's not the appropriate length for an answer here, and: I will intentionally leave most legal elements of the topic out ... I'm not a lawyer, I'm a fan.
I have to divide 'bootlegging' (i.e. selling live recordings of music you have no rights on, neither in a legal nor in a moral sense) from – let's call it – 'trading with attitude' (i.e. uncommercial exchange of unofficial live recordings amoungst devoted fans) here.
A fan (my definition of it) will not try to make bucks on his favourite band's back and that's a part of the spoken attitude... bootleggers are not fans in my eyes, they are pirates who should be stopped. They hurt the band.
Traders are fans for whom the normal output of the band is not quite enough – they want more ... want to hear how the live arrangements of known and new songs develop during a tour – a passion. Motorpsycho with their diversity of live sets, styles and arrangements and their incredible jam abilities is just the band that was made to be listened to live – only very few fans can be everywhere... so...
Traders with attitude are opposed to commercial bootleggers and normally won't trade with people like that, and often act against these culture vultures, too. I'm aware that I'm drawing a very b/w line between good and evil here and that in reality it's hardly as easy as just discussed... more is not possible regarding the given space...

  Motorpsycho - live in 1998
Motorpsycho: Kick-ass

How many times (approximately will do, but if you have the correct number) have you seen MP live, and how many concerts are you planning to see this tour? Name the show you remember with most pleasure, maybe you have any bad experiences as well?
Less than forty times, there are many more crazier people around. I probably will be able to see around 10 gigs on the next tour.
I saw my best Motorpsycho show in 1996 in Offenbach's MTW (Germany). It had been just the perfect sunny day, the guys were just on the way back from Italy, in a good mood and simply played the perfect kick-ass show: everything included what makes a MP show an excellent MP show: superb jamming, an atmosphere that completely soaks you in... and amazing energy on stage and audience-wise ... I couldn't talk for a day afterwards ...
My only true disappointment as far as MP shows go was the 10th anniversary gig in Eindhoven rock city's famous 'Effenaar' club in 1999. Even though MP played their longest show ever there (at least it is said to be the longest), about 3 + 1/2 hours to be more concrete, the band seemed so burned out to me that I felt really sad. Audience noises like in a railway station main hall all over the complete gig did the rest to ruin my evening...

What do you think of the other bands that are playing at the Stickman Festival 13th October in Hamburg? The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Fireside, Isolation Years and 35007.
Except for Isolation Years who I'm not familiar with at all, I like all bands playing at the festival ...
I'm really looking forward to seeing The Soundtrack Of Our Lives live for the first time after digging their records already; same goes out to the Isolation Years: I don't know them, but since Stickman signed them, it must be a great band. I hope to see yet another good 35007 space rock show and and a energetic Fireside blast-off.

Are there any other bands/artist that you have the same relation to as MP?
As I've already mentioned I used to be quite The Notwist junkie in the 90's, I've seen them live around 70-80 times ... but that passion has cooled down the recent years since the activities of the band have become more rare. So nowadays the answer has to be: no! There's no other band (anymore) ...

Have MP influenced you to do something that has changed your life in some way or another?
Well for sure the music of the band saved my soul several times during various relationship disasters in my twenties. So it's more like it prevented me from doing stupid things... nothing too special... quite some people would tell you exactly this story;
And I started working on the Motorpsycho Unofficial Homepage because of my love for the band ... a nice way to give back at least a little bit of the energy they have provided me with, over all these years...

MP is well known for putting out collector's items, limited editions etc. Some say this is wrong because of the fans not being able to buy everything, while others considers this to be one of the great things about MP. Your opinion?
Music is always more important than its packaging. So a limited edition only for the sake of a limited edition (sticker): no, thanks!
On the other hand I cannot deny that a lovingly created release with great lavish packaging attracts me magically. And lavish packaging most of the times means: costly packaging and / or hundreds of hours of manual labour. A small label like Stickman can't afford to release 20,000 of something like this. Too bad, but I think I still owe you the final answer to that question...

  cover - front: Blissard; artwork: Kim Hiorthøy
Artwork: Kim Hiorthøy

Coverart. Kim Hiorthøy does most of the work on MP's releases and he does a great job most people would say. What's your favorite, and are there any covers you don't like at all?
My favourite one is the cover for the Timothy's Monster LP Box ... and nope, none I didn't like.

Define your view of MP with five words.
That's as simple as – and maybe as uninspired as: "The best rock band ever"!

At last (a bonus question): if you won a prize, and got to put together a setlist for a concert with Motorpsycho, how would that look? Let's say 3 hrs at most.
Line-up: the usual three + Deathprod with audio virus equipment galore
guest musicians: Matt Burt [not drunk like in '96... ;-)] Bård, Lars Lien
1. In A Gada Da Vida (acoustic!!!, guest appearance: Lars Lien on piano, hehe)
2. Mad Sun (at first acoustic, Bent all alone, starting with the c-part: full band force)
3. [amazing new experimental gloomy song]
4. [incredibly epic new tune]
5. A Shrug & A Fistful
6. President Block
7. Have Fun
8. Home Of The Brave
9. Grindstone
10. Back To Source (going fluently into)
11. Tristano
12. Flick Of The Wrist
13. Junior
14. Kill Some Day
15. Greener
16. True Middle (Matt Burt guest appearance)
17. Plan #1 (Matt Burt guest appearance)
18. S.T.G.
19. Vortex Surfer
20. Demon Box
21. The Golden Core

And then when said concert is scheduled, I want them to come on stage with the setlist in their hands, tell everybody it was all just a joke and it won't happen. I want to see them tearing the setlist apart and doin' something completely different, unexpected...
That's the way it has to be...
it's Motorpsycho!

Now you've read what Torsten from Germany answered on our questions. Visit www.puls.no tomorrow too, then you'll be able to find out what kind of psychonaut Elisa from Italia is.

Stig Aasheim