Interview LIZARD Volker Dörfler (février 2013)
Questions by Phil Archambeau and Yves Philippot-Degand
Hi Volker, first many thanks for granting us this interview for Road to Jacksonville,
webzine dedicated to Southern Rock.
Hi, Philippe. You’re welcome
First Volker, I'd like you to introduce yourself for our readers: where are you born and how did you discover the music?
I was born in Esslingen/Germany in 1968. Music has been around me since I started thinking.
At the beginning, what were your first influences? What band or artist did you listen to?
The bands I began with at the age of 8 or 9 were the Beatles of course.
Later were Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top and many more.
Is playing guitar your first choice, or have you tried other instruments before?
No, I didn’t. The guitar was number one!
You joined Lizard in 1996, can you tell us how it went?
George knew me since I was a boy, because he was a friend of my father.
So George rang me up, as he thought about re-form Lizard.
Can you for our readers, remind Lizard's beginning? How did the band set up?
Lizard began in the 80’s, I think about 83 or 85. This first line-up recorded ‘Rock’n Roll Refugees’. About 1990 they decided to kick out George, because they thought he wasn’t the right frontman for Lizard… No one heard anything about them since then. But they had the rights on the name ‘Lizard’, so George was forced to bring out the Boarderline-project (with Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody, Bruce Brookshire etc.). But it was too difficult to handle since the members of this project lived in Germany, UK and the USA. So in late 1995 George re-formed Lizard.
Can you tell us how was Georg Bayer who left us nearly 4 years ago now?
He was the ambassador of Southern Rock in Germany, possibly in Europe.
He knew everything and almost everybody about and in this genre. He was Mr. Southern Rock in Germany.
What happened then? How did you finally choose to go on?
The decision to go on didn’t last long, about one or two weeks. Everyone of us felt like something very important
was missing without that band. So the decision was clear: Lizard had to go on.
I think George would be proud of us, if he knew.
How went the choice of Ruben Killian for the vocals? Did you know him before?
I know Ruben since about 1990. We had a band back then.
We tried out several singers, and at the beginning we didn’t think about Ruben. So we checked different singers.
Each of them good, but none of them was perfect for us. So one night Wolfgang said: “What about Ruben?”
We knew he was a fantastic singer, but obviously we just had forgotten him…
Where and how did you record Big Road?
We recorded Big Road in the Italian Lawyer Studios, a synonym for our rehearsal room!
The recording procedure was very conventional: rhythm tracks, then guitars, keyboards …
How did you choose to have two drummers? According to you, what does it bring to the sound of the band?
Many years Wolfgang was sub for Helmut. Georg’s farewell-concert (DVD live in Wendlingen)
was the first concert with two drummers. So the idea was born.
Actually two drummers is more an event for the eyes than for the ears. Except the drum-solo…
Who composed for that record? What was the allocation among you?
The songs are written by Christoph and me. The lyrics are written by Ruben, Bruce Brookshire,
Thomas Busching and Frank Eppel.
Can you tell me how went the recording of Big Road?
Since we had no time limit, the recording was very comfortable. There was no need to hurry, there was time for experimenting a lot. We had almost conditions like rock stars. The only difference was the equipment:
low-budget instead of high-end…
I noticed first two boogie titles with « I Must Be Dreaming » and « Mercy Me »,
can you tell us more about those two tunes?
In fact ‘Dreaming’ was the first song I wrote for Big Road. I think it was in 1995…
‘Mercy’ is just a rock-tune.
It goes on with some upmarket « Southern Country Blues, that spreads out on the titles « No Matter How I Try »
and « No Goodbye Today », two tunes that make us want to see you on stage.
Can you tell us more about those two tunes?
No, I’m sorry. These two songs are written by Christoph.
I often talked with Georg Bayer by email, he came younger in my region of La Rochelle.
Can you tell me more about « Walking », this superb instrumental in the Allman style that is dedicated to him?
Several years ago Christoph came up with an idea of ‘Walking’. George tried to do some vocals on it, but he wasn’t really confident. He said: “This is a good song. Why don’t you make an instrumental out of it?”
Christoph picked up this idea later on during the production. So came ‘Walking’, a reminiscence to George.
How can we get your record?
Our record company is phoenix records (www.phoenixrecords.de) and it is distributed by soulfood distributions.
In addition to that it can be downloaded on the usual portals.
Can you tell us more about what Bruce Brookshire brought to your record?
He supported us with some vocals, e.g. (electric guitar, NdR) on ‘Dreaming’.
Bruce always supported you, or in return Lizard often accompanied him throughout those years,
can you tell us more about that? Have you some anecdotes to tell us ?
Hm … When rock-musicians are together on a tour, there often are funny episodes.
But most of them are too familiar to be told in an interview. Sorry.
For our friends guitarists, can you tell us what is your gear: amps, guitars, etc…?
On stage I normally play my Marshall DSL 100 and a 4x12 cabinet. I use several BOSS-pedals such as chorus,
delay, turbo-overdrive and a Marshall Guv’nor. Giutars: ’86 Fender Stratocaster, ’93 Les Paul Classic and a ’95 Takamine Santa Fee model.
In the studio I had additionally a Fender Telecaster and a Fender Blues DeVille amplifier.
How is the development of the very southern double lead guitar parts? How do you work them with Christoph Berner? Who has the initiative?
It depends on who wrote the song. Most of the double lead parts are is already done when we start. But sometimes it goes like this: “Oh, let’s do this or that with harmonies.” And then we just try out some lines.
Speaking about Christoph, he is the band's slide guitarist. Did you ever want to imitate him and to use a bottleneck ?
No, this is his trademark and I couldn’t do it better.
How do you divide your solos, including Klaus Brosowski, who handles keyboards ?
The songwriter is the one to say who plays the solo.
Have you the project of a new DVD with Ruben Killian singing? (The first DVD dates from 2004, N.dR.)
Not at the moment. Maybe later.
Did you play during the Torsten Starke’s festival (Spreewald)? Does it still exist?
We’ve been playing there about ten years ago. We would like to play there again, but this year
I think there won’t be a Spreewald Festival.
Have you contacts with other southern bands in Germany like Flatman or Almost Famous?
Not really. We held a little contact to Flatman some years ago.
Do you know if other Lizard TV appearances than the one recorded in 1991 in Stuttgart with Bruce Brookshire exist?
I didn’t know about that! Tell me!
Do you remember your shared date with Natchez in Germany?
Oh yes, of course! It was in ‘die halle’ in Reichenbach/Fils. Great band, great sound and ever greater guys! That has to be repeated!
Do you know other southern rock bands in Europe?
There are only very few, I guess?
If you’s have to stay on a desert island, what are the records you would haul with you?
Difficult question. I’ll try to make an all-time-top-ten:
AC/DC - Back in black
AC/DC - Highway to hell
Black Crows – Amorica
Black Crows – Three snakes and one charm
Pink Floyd – Wish you were here
Pink Floyd – Dark side of the moon
Van Halen – 1984
Deep Purple – Made in Japan
Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack
Sheryl Crow – Globe sessions
Thanks for answering our questions, and Fair Winds and Following Seas for Lizard in 2013.
You’re welcome. Thanks for answering.