Running Wild (band)
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Running Wild live in Bonn (2005)
|Genres||Heavy metal, power metal, speed metal, pirate metal|
|Years active||1976–2009, 2011–present|
|Labels||GUN, Noise, Steamhammer|
|Associated acts||Grave Digger, Accept, Helloween, X-Wild|
|Past members||See: Former members|
Running Wild is a German heavy metal band, formed in 1976 in Hamburg. They were part of the German metal scene to emerge in the early to mid-1980s. Over the course of their career, they have released sixteen studio albums, three live albums, five compilation albums, and six singles/EPs. Although their earlier releases contained Satanic themes and imagery, Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke, the guitar player of the band, was studying theology at the time and is now a vicar in Cologne.
In 1987, the band released the album Under Jolly Roger, which was a switch to pirate-based and historical themes, creating and influencing the later named Pirate metal subgenre of heavy metal in the 2000s in the process. While the historical lyrics were very superficial at first, the lyrics for later albums were intensively researched, by Rolf Kasparek in particular.
After this album, from 1988 to 1992 (for the albums Port Royal, Death or Glory, Blazon Stone and Pile of Skulls), Running Wild mainly wrote historically based lyrics. In addition to lyrics about pirates like Calico Jack, Klaus Störtebeker, or the little-known Henry Jennings, the band also addressed subjects like the Wars of the Roses, the Battle of Waterloo, or the colonization of the New World by the Conquistadors.
On 17 April 2009 Rolf announced that Running Wild had split up. Their intended last show was at Wacken Open Air on July 30, 2009. It was recorded for CD and DVD release and appeared as The Final Jolly Roger on June 24, 2011. The split would prove temporary as they reunited in 2012. Running Wild played live for the Wacken Open Air festival in July 2015.
As of 2016, the band have released 16 studio albums, with their most recent being Rapid Foray.
Since the band's formation they have sold nearly 18 million albums.
Early years and first albums
The band formed in 1976 under the name Granite Heart, but they would change their in 1979 to Running Wild. The band recorded their first demo in 1981 and featured the songs "Hallow The Hell", "War Child" and "King Of The Midnight Fire". These two tracks appeared on the compilation album "Debut No. 1" on the Raubbau Label. In 1983, the band started work on their debut album, which featured a satanic metal sound. The band released their album Gates to Purgatory under the Noise records label. The album proved to be a success, and the band quickly gained a cult following. Guitarist Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke left the band soon after the albums release. The band soon recruited Majk Moti to take his place, and the band soon recorded their follow up Branded and Exiled. The album expanded the groups fan base and the album sold 250,000 copies. This album would prove to be the final release of the band where they would use satanic imagery in their music.
Rise in popularity, success and later albums
For the following release, the band shifted their sound and image and adopted a pirate theme. The band released Under Jolly Roger. This would prove a significant change because the band would be more known as a "pirate metal" band, with lyrics dealing with pirates and historical events. With this album, the band found their identity, and the pirate theme would be prominent on their future releases. Their follow-up release Port Royal featured a more mature style of songwriting and expanded on the themes explored on their previous album. With Port Royal, they were established as a pirate metal band in the metal scene.[according to whom?] In 1989, the release of the band's fifth studio recording Death or Glory, proved to be the band's most successful album to date. The tour was also a success and a concert during the tour was filmed and was released as Death or Glory Tour. This album and tour would be the final release to feature guitarist Majk Motti and drummer Ian Finlay.
Upon the departure of Motti and Finlay, Kasparek recruited guitarist Axel Morgan and drummer AC to record the band's first album in two years, Blazon Stone. The album continued the band's trend of writing about historical themes and according to band leader, Rolf Kasparek it was to be the band's bestselling album during the 1990s. The album proved to be a slight shifty in their overall sound, as the band brought a more speed metal approach to their songs, which would be prevalent throughout their releases during the decade. In 1992, the band began work on Pile of Skulls which was regarded by many as one of the band's strongest efforts. Around this time, Kasparek started becoming more interested in conspiracy theories and that would be the basis that he would use to write the next album Black Hand Inn.
1995's Masquerade was the first in a trilogy of albums dealing with a specific theme. The album would go on to be one of Running Wild's worst selling albums up to that point. The second album followed The Rivalry with the conclusion of the trilogy culminating with Victory. It would be the final album featuring drummer Jörg Michael. With so many line-up changes, Running Wild was considered a solo project due to the fact that guitarist and main songwriter Rolf Kasparek remained the sole constant member of the band. The album The Brotherhood was released in 2002. It was to be another three years before Running Wild released another album. Rogues en Vogues was released in 2005.
The Final Jolly Roger, hiatus and reunion
The band performed at Wacken Open Air, which at the time was supposed to be the band's final performance. The show was recorded for a live album and DVD The Final Jolly Roger, which was released on June 24, 2011. The band split up after the Wacken concert. Rolf soon shifted his attention to writing a new project Giant-X with his Running Wild band mate Peter Jordan. Running Wild reunited in 2012, and released their first studio album in seven years. Shadowmaker was released on April 20. The band performance at Wacken Open Air 2015, which was the band's first show since their show in 2009. Since then the band have released two more albums, 2013's Resilient and 2016's Rapid Foray.
- Rolf Kasparek – vocals, guitars (1976–09, 2011-)
- Peter Jordan – guitars (2004–09, 2011-)
- Ole Hempelmann – bass (2015-)
- Michael Wolpers – drums (2015-)
- Uwe Bendig (1976–84)
- Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke (1984–85)
- Majk Moti (1985–90)
- Axel Morgan (X-Wild) (1990–93)
- Thilo Herrmann (ex-Grave Digger, ex-Holy Moses, ex-Faithful Breath, ex-Risk) (1994-01)
- Bernd Aufermann (Angel Dust) (2002–04)
- Jörg Schwarz (1976)
- Carsten David (1976–79)
- Matthias Kaufmann (1980–83)
- Stephan Boriss (1984–87)
- Jens Becker (Grave Digger, X-Wild) (1987–92)
- Thomas Smuszynski (ex-U.D.O., ex-Darxon) (1992-02)
- Peter Pichl (2002–09)
- Jan S. Eckert (Masterplan, Iron Savior) (2009)
- Michael Hoffmann (1976–82)
- Wolfgang "Hasche" Hagemann (1982–87)
- Stefan Schwarzmann (ex-Accept, ex-Helloween, Paradox, ex-X-Wild, ex-U.D.O., ex-Voice) (1987–88, 1992–93)
- Iain Finlay (ex-Justice, ex-Demon Pact) (1988–90)
- Jörg Michael (ex-Stratovarius, ex-Saxon, Unleashed Power, ex-Axel Rudi Pell, ex-Avenger, ex-Rage, ex-Grave Digger, ex-Mekong Delta, ex-Tom Angelripper, ex-Headhunter) (1990, 1994–98)
- Rudiger Dreffein (1990–92)
- Christos Efthimiadis (Sub7even, ex-Rage) (1998–99, 2001)
- Angelo Sasso (2000–02)
- Matthias Liebetruth (2002–09)
- "RUNNING WILD - the official website". Running-wild.de. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
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