Interview with Matze Grün
(ex-Protector, ex-Square Waves, ex-Headshot)
(Questions compiled by Andrey Tolkowiec and Georgius)
(Protector live, 1992)
Hallo Matze, hope you are doing fine! It’s a big honour for us to talk with you here.
Andrey: I’m so thankful for your 2 awesome packages (incl. vinyls, CD-s, tapes) I got recently from you. What should we know about Protector reissued versions by High Roller Records?
- High Roller Records did a great job. The Protector-Rereleases come with cool extra-stuff like cover-poster, lyric-sheets, different vinyl-colors and the cover-inside is printed in black. Missy, Olly and I put some cool pictures out of our archives together, so everyone can share our memories from the past. For me it’s very important that the re-release of “The Heritage“ looks different to the major records release in 1993 because the sound is although different.
Enlighten the readers please how and when did you join the forces of Legendary Protector. It had happened after the release of “A Shedding of Skin”?
- It actually happened during the studio days in Summer 1991. After Hansi had to retire because of lymphoma (cancer), Michael Hasse decided to continue with Olly Wiebel (on the guitar & vocals). Olly played the guitar before his time with PROTECTOR. He shared the vocals with the second guitarist of his band HERITAGE. He had a lot of ideas, but the studio date came way too fast. The hardest thing for Olly was to write the lyrics. He asked Missy and me for help and so I was actually in Berlin in Harris Johns' studio every weekend for a total of 4 weeks. At the end, Carlos of Major Records came over with the cover design and dates for the tour. Exactly at this time Ede decided to leave PROTECTOR and the guys asked if I could imagine playing the tour. I did not have to think long about this chance :-)
Would you be so kind to share all the important information about the brilliant Protector LP ”The Heritage” album? (recording process, etc.)
- "The Heritage" is special in that no founding member was involved in it. After the recordings for “A Shedding of Skin” we only played 4 concerts with Michael Hasse on the drums. At the beginning of 1992 Olly decided to continue with Marco Pape with the agreement of the record company. That gave us a big boost and we started to write new pieces right away while Marco was training our set-list. The gigs in Istanbul in May 92 and the mini tour with Crusher (F) and DVC (US) spurred the plan to record the next album. Thanks to Marco we finally had a really awesome rehearsal room. HEADSHOT rehearsed next door and their singer Andy had a pretty fat hobby studio (16-track analog tape machine). A 4-track pre-production that we produced there paved the way to the T&T studio in Gelsenkirchen and to work with Tim Buktu.
Andrey: How and when you met Marco Pape? Did he bring a new blood replacing legendary Michael Hasse?
- Olly knew Marco from Steelhunter / Shooting Gallery and knew that he had a crazy way of playing. They met to jam and he simply asked Marco if he would like to join PROTECTOR. It all happened quickly and Marco definitely put his stamp on the songs. He made everything a lot faster. “Paralizer”, for example, is a song that Marco actually wrote. You can hear his brutal drumming and I can say that I have never seen a louder and more powerful drummer.
Andrey: Michael Hasse (R.I.P.) was the founder of Protector and the only one of original line-up. He got a pressure to leave the band or he just had a decision himself to quit with Protector? When it had occurred? (in 1991 or 1992?) Share us your thoughts about last Protector- show with him….
- I think the last show with Micha was in Krumpa with TORCHURE and INCUBATOR. Micha was already addicted to drugs at this time, and behind the scenes it wasn't fun for Olly and me. On stage he always did his part quite well. He also thrilled the audience in his very special way (between the songs he got up behind the drums and encouraged the audience to bang or stage-dive), but we realized that we couldn't continue to work professionally with him.
Andrey: Legendary Michael Hasse crossed the river of death in February, 1994…What he did after his leaving Protector? From whom you were informed about his departure?
- Micha had successfully survived withdrawal and moved to Braunschweig. It was part of the therapy to get out of the familiar environment. Unfortunately, he relapsed and died of an overdose. The news came to Wolfsburg through his sister and quickly spread among people who knew him. My short time with Micha was a tough piece of life experience. Since then I have been saying the slogan “No one does to use the drugs” with deep conviction. It's so hard to help or get someone out of it. As a friend or family you are simply powerless. Protector was Micha's ‘Herzenssache’ (labor of love) and he is sure to be proud that Missy keeps the spirit alive. Rest in peace my friend!
Andrey: What was the main reason the split-up of Protector? Who was the initiator to disband Protector? (Protector planned to play in Minsk (Belarus) but you unfortunately ended with the band before it)
- Hmm, that was a long time ago ... after “The Heritage” came out, it didn't seem like much progress. The reaction in the press was really good, but sales continued to decline. We only played a few concerts. Most of them in the new federal states (East-Germany), where our fan base has been impressively loyal over the years and still are today. The offer to play in Minsk was made through a Berlin band. Unfortunately we didn't get any support from the record company and no professional booking agency was involved. Our income with the band was very low at the time. Olly and Marco also had problems getting off their regular jobs (I was studying at the time). The question arose whether it even makes sense to continue with PROTECTOR if 2 out of 3 members can't even go on tour for two weeks.
At that time we thought about adding a second guitarist to the band. Marco had found his dream candidate in Thomas Haase. I suggested Thomas Jacob from INGRAIN. Olly couldn't imagine being on stage with either of them. After over two great years the three of us were really at odds. Olly suggested a break, Marco wanted to continue with his friend. I then got out and founded SQUARE WAVES with Thomas Jacob.
After the split up of Protector you formed a great German Thrash metal horde, called Square Waves in 1994. You recorded 2 demos and a promo CD. Share us some thoughts about your past band and releases. It is possible to release these old materials someday? Why disbanded Square Waves?
- Yeah, putting the different recordings back together is definitely worth considering. Maybe in the future there will be a homepage with mp3 files to download. I have to look for the recordings ... Well, after PROTECTOR I just wanted to continue and luckily I quickly found the right people. There were still some goals I wanted to achieve. The SW time was very intense and as a band we did a lot together in our free time. I'm still close friends with Thomas and Raimund. In the years 1994-1998 Thomas Jacob and I organized various concerts in Wolfsburg & Ehmen (a suburb of Wolfsburg) under the banner of Alien Concerts. We mostly booked packages of three bands (1st local + 1st national + 1st foreign band). This often resulted in national concerts for SQUARE WAVES, whereby I still vividly enjoyed Emden with CRUST, Kiel with GIMCRACK and Schenefeld in “Highnoon” (unfortunately we didn't make it to Wacken, like VOCATION from Neumünster). Aahlen with TRAUMA and crazy pyroshow was also awesome. The last show SQUARE WAVES played in 1997 was on the 1st Fuck the Commerce Festival. Stephan Kern from WASTELAND jumped in for this gig because Raimund and Alma were no longer in the mood. We saved ourselves the search for a new guitarist and split up the band. Olaf (drums) and Daniela (Vox) then founded UPPERCUT.
(Square Waves, 1998)
You played then in 2 materials of German Thrash band, Headshot as a bass-player: Emotional Overload (1999) and Diseased (2003). How do you remember Headshot-era?
- From 1996–1999 I had an apartment in Braunschweig. I knew the guys from HEADSHOT through the rehearsal room neighborhood and the recordings with Andy Bruer (singer). When their bass player got out, Andy invited me to rehearse and that worked from the first second. By the way, we recorded the 2nd album "Emotional Overload" in the White Line Studio in Braunschweig. The ‘Misanthropy’ EP was also produced there. We recorded the 3rd album "dieseased" in Berlin with Peter Oz in the headquarters studio. Viewed from today, that was my masterpiece and the end of my music career. My dream is to bring this album out on vinyl one day. Well, until 2004 I was out with the guys and there were a lot of great little gigs. We will always remember our performances in Lucerne at the Wärchhof. Nowhere were our songs sung as loudly as there. I think it's really cool that HEADSHOT is still around. By the way, the singer from SQUARE WAVES and UPPERCUT has been singing there for a few years now. They are currently working on their 6th album and in terms of playing technique they have really developed a lot. I couldn't play the new pieces, but it's still unmistakably HEADSHOT. At the last PROTECTOR Show in Wolfsburg, they impressively demonstrated what they can do in the preliminary program. I keep my fingers crossed for them to find an official label for the next output - they would have more than deserved that!
(Headshot live 1999)
According to Encyclopaedia Metallum I’ve read you played in a Death metal horde Ingrain (Olly Wiebel’s band). When it has happened?
- Ingrain was the band of my friend Thomas Jacob. Olly only played bass at a concert once. That was "just for fun". Later I wrote the lyrics to the guys and sang them in the studio. But I think that it was never published. I don't even know if I still have the song for myself...
Andrey: What is your job currently? Do you have a thirst for return to glorious days of your frantic youth?
- I am a freelance media designer and do layouts for books, magazines and covers. For Defying Danger Records, for example, I do the layouts for the DDR-tape-series. Image processing, corporate design and logo development are further focal points. For example, the logo for the Fuck-The-Commerce Festival and the t-shirt designs were mine. I am currently working on my own homepage and will probably not start with an own band anymore. Collecting vinyls has been my hobby for over 30 years. From time to time I play as a DJ at parties. With the setup and dismantling my turntables it always feels a bit like a concert. I'm more than happy with that, but you never know what's coming.
What is your favourite football team and in Germany?
Recommend us some interesting places, local drinks from your hometown.
- I have a season ticket from 1. FC St. Pauli (2. Bundesliga) and I always hope that Bayern Munich won't be champions. When I think of Wolfsburg, I actually think of Fallersleben. I grew up in this small town, which is part of Wolfsburg. There is a beautiful park with a church, castle and brewery. Whenever you are there, you should try the Fallersleber Schloßbräu. The city is certainly known to one or the other through the poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben.
Andrey: Are you in touch with old and current Protector-members nowadays? Do you visit metal-shows?
- Actually only with Olly and Missy, but since I've been living with my family in Hamburg since 1999, that's rather rare. I've talked to friends from SQAURE WAVES and HEADSHOT on the phone quite often. Interesting bands are usually guests in Hamburg all the time. I hope that we can get the corona pandemic under control and go to concerts again soon. But I prefer the small gigs, like in the Bambi Galore in Billstedt.
(Matze in September, 2020)
Vielen dank, Matze, it was a pleasure. Your thoughts from the old Protector heritage at the end.
- Ich habe zu danken/I have to thank you and can only say that I am proud to have been part of the PROTECTOR history. I'm happy that there are still a lot of people out there who love the PROTECTOR sound. The story doesn't end here..../Die Geschichte ist noch nicht zu Ende...