Crusader

Crusader: Logo

I will never forget this moment.... Moment when I heard Crusader's music for the first time. I thought then that they sound like Virgin Steele, Running wild or Manowar, the bands which are very important for me. What can I say, Crusader is a band that is playing real Heavy Metal, so if you don't know their music yet, you should listen to them very soon! What's more, guys from Crusader said that they don't play Heavy Metal, but they are Heavy Metal. So I decided to talk with them...

Hail. In the beginning I want to ask you why do you apologize for your lyrics? You said: "...we don't fight with christians and any others religions". It's important for me because I write lyrics for my band, and I think we don't have to justify our creations. Maybe you guys are damned of people who just don't like your lyrics?

Teun: Well I don't know of anyone who has problems with our lyrics. It's just that we don't want to be labeled as being for this or that religion or for this or that political party. Our lyrics tell the truth about medieval facts or they can be complete fantasy. But there is always a lesson in it. You can always put the "medieval" lyric in a today-situation.

The second thing about your lyrics... Where are you looking for inspiration? History?

Teun: Well we like to stick everything in a medieval "coat". This does not mean that problems or situations we sing about are no longer happening or relevant today. There will always be people with power and those without, child abuse, injustice, rich/poor, ... To give an example : "Dragon's tears" talks about metalheads or people in general who are being looked at, laughed at, stigmatized, ignored because they look different (they listen to "aggressive" music, dress in leather, have long hair...). The lyrics of "The 7th Crusade" then tells the story of how the Christian knights and soldiers slaughtered and raped their Moslim enemy and in the end they got it all back. This text for example is historic fact. But it also is a warning/lesson of what religion is capable of and we see it on the news every day (like the situation Israel - Palestine).

I know that two members of Crusader are playing in another band - I'm talking about Joost and Filip. Didn't they neglect their duty in Crusader? It often happens that one of two bands goes into the second plan...

Teun: Here you are mistaken. It's Joost and Dries that play together in another band. The things they do in Monster Joe (name of that band) are not getting in the way of the things we do in Crusader. So there is no problem. Most of the songwriting is done by Filip. I (Mark) write an occasional lyric and do the bookkeeping and the merchandise. So most of the Crusader "duties" are done by us two. The others jump in to help when they feel like it. David does the website.

While listening to your music, I always see the leather, torn denim, banging heads with long hair and crazy musicians on the stage. Your sound reminds me Heavy Metal bands from the 80's - do you agree with this?

Teun: Yep, we were brought up in the 80's, we listened to 80's metal (we still do) and we still love the metal clothing from the 80's. There are practically no new bands who play heavy metal like we do. You have a lot of power- and heavy metal that sounds "German", meaning very melodic like Freedom Call, Iron Saviour, Gamma Ray, Hammerfall, .... Great bands of course, but Crusader sounds different. It's more in the tradition of bands like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Omen, Manowar, ... Not that we want to be a copy of one of these bands. Filip has his own recipes, but use ingredients of those days. :-)

Between which Heavy Metal bands I should look for your inspiration - maybe Running Wild, Virgin Steele or Manowar? Am I right? Did you start to play real Heavy Metal because of bands like those?

Teun: I listen to Thrash Metal, Death Metal and Hardcore, but my favourite music is and will always be Heavy Metal. Why do we play heavy metal? Because it's the best fucking music around. We don't only play it, WE ARE HEAVY METAL. It's a way of life.

Filip: The first song I ever wrote for Crusader was "Call of the white Wolf" and to be honest, yes ... my inspiration came from Manowar for that one, but the second song I wrote ("Dragon's Tears") already had a very different sound and that's where the Crusader -sound was born. From that day I've been writing the songs as they come to me naturally. Trying to clear my mind and let nothing influence me. I don't try to look for unique and original stuff, and that's probably why Crusader reminds of other bands here and there ... I have nine songs ready for the next album. The guitarworks will again be a lot more technical, and there will be very unexpected elements in some of the songs. It will be different but will still be Crusader. As I said ... I let it come to me naturally, and that can bring forth all kinds of stuff. I'm a very emotional person, and in the third album it will show...

Do you have constant fans which you can recognise on your gigs? It happens quite often, that we are going many times on the concert of the band which we like a lot. Maybe some groupies, ha ha...

Teun: Well it happens more and more that people recognise us when we go to see other bands, and we take the time to talk to them and drink a beer together. I have the highest rescpect and deepest sympathy for a fan. Yep, we have a group of "hard core"-fans, that come to most of our shows and it's always nice to be with them. In fact we no longer see them as fans, but as friends...

Not too long ago I've heard that Epic Heavy Metal is full of daub and too exaggerate. What do you think about it?

Teun: Well everyone has his own taste of course, and you can't argue about that. But I don't think so. If you don't like it you should not listen to it or don't go to see the band; it's as simple as that. I don't see ourselves as being Epic Heavy Metal, I'd like to call it good old 80's Heavy Metal. Our fans and the audience love it; we see that each show we do. That's what matters! 

I want to ask you about other style of Metal. What do you think about Sleaze / L.A. / Hair Metal bands? You know, nice guys with make up, and in colourful clothes... The "real" fans of Metal didn't treat them seriously. But I think that this is also a live, real rock music. What is your opinion?

Teun: Well it's not my kind of image. I'd never wear sparkley clothing or poofy hair, but if they bring good music, I don't care about the "glamour"-look. The music is the most important thing. If they want to go on stage and make fools of themselves, well that's up to them.

Your albums are a great Heavy Metal pieces for me. Didn't you think about vinyl release? Maybe just some picture disc or EP?

Teun: Well we thought about it, but as we finance all our own merchandise, we haven't had the money yet to do something like that. Maybe in the future when things are a bit more quiet, we can take the time for releasing something on vinyl or picture disc.

That's all I wanted to ask you for, I think... Thanks for an interview and I wish all the best to Crusader! The last word is yours. Heavy Metal forever!

Teun: Well the last word, as you already said : Heavy Metal forever!!! I hope everyone who likes Heavy Metal stays truth to his or her choice. Don't let other people treat you less because you listen to Heavy Metal, they know no better. Heavy Metal is our music, our way of life. It controls our hearts and dwells in our souls. That's Heavy Metal for ya!

Filip: And always taking the last word (hiaah): Crusader started out as a hobby. Something fun to do in our free time. I didn't expect it to grow this big at all. It's no longer a hobby. It's a second job, but a very creative job full of passion and emotions. The best job there is on this planet! We won't give up our day-jobs. It won't grow THAT big, but now that we've had a taste of the possibilities, we will work even harder. Not for the money, but for all those people that appreciate what we do, because no amount of money can replace the tears in our eyes after a great gig before a hundred of our greatest fans...

Interview done by Marta Kroczak-Gabriel in August 2004.