A few weeks ago a highly anticipated album hit the shelves. The ‘old’ Rage line-up, the one that ended in 1994, came together as Refuge and launched with ‘Solitary Men’ a terrific debut. After the trio performed a show in Herne, Germany some years ago, the powerhouse received very positive responses, which have been the first step towards Refuge. Markus’ Heavy Music Blog talked to Peavy Wagner about the history, the new album and future activities.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Hello Peavy, great that you could dedicate some time for MHMB. I can imagine that, based on the new Refuge album, it’s a quite busy time at the moment for you guys. But before talking about the new record, let’s take it step by step. Refuge dates back to 2014 when you guys started as Tres Hombres and played a show in your hometown Herne. This show was a big success. Have you been surprised by all the positive response?
Peavy Wagner: Honesty, we didn’t expect such a feedback and for sure we didn’t expect what happened afterwards. We received requests for shows from all over the world.
MHMB: Can you tell us a bit about the background of this show in Herne?
Peavy: All became possible after Chris and myself got along with each other again, which was in the summer of 2014. We parted ways in dispute in 1999 and we haven’t been in contact in all the years. I didn’t want to have bad feelings anymore and I knew that he had a similar thinking. So I called him and we buried the hatchet. The guys from the Musikertreff am Stennert in Herne picked up all this rather quickly and they invited us spontaneously to this gig, which we also spontaneously agreed to.
MHMB: Tres Hombres turned relatively fast into Refugee. Why the name? Is it the old Rage song from the ‘The Missing Link’ album inspiration for the moniker?
Peavy: Of course. In addition, it is the same initial- and end letters as Rage, which allowed us to make the logo fit. It should be obvious that Refuge belongs to Rage.
MHMB: Talking about ‘The Missing Link’; ‘Solitary Men’ sounds like a sequel to your last common Rage album. As if time would have stood still. Was it the same old vibe you guys felt when going into the songwriting- and recording sessions?
Peavy: Yes, and we were also amazed that we found our old groove very quickly. We worked the same way as we did then, working out the ideas together in the rehearsal room.
MHMB: How did the songwriting go? Was it a collaborative effort?
Peavy: At first we worked on some old ideas that haven’t been completely finished, songs such as “Hell Freeze Over”, “Waterfalls” or “Another Kind of Madness”. But I also wrote a lot of new songs that perfectly fit with Refuge. Manni came with some cool stuff too and we combined all this until songs were ready to go.
MHMB: The album will be released via Frontiers Music, which is more known for AOR and Hard Rock releases. Refuge is certainly one of the heaviest bands in the Frontiers portfolio. How did you made contact and how did things lead to a contract with Frontiers?
Peavy: The guys are big fans of our lineup and made us a great offer. Although we were initially skeptical whether it makes sense to record a new album at all, it was them convincing us with being persistent.
MHMB: Refuge is the ‘old’ Rage line-up, which released excellent records until 1994. Nowadays there is, next to Refuge, also the current Rage line-up. How easy is it for you to work with both bands?
Peavy: It’s not a problem. Rage is of course my main band and it will always be. This band helps me to pay my bills and Rage will always have my main attention. Refuge is fun for us and a “next to…” band that we do not run for commercial reasons. We all live on a different income. For me it’s Rage and Manni & Chris have their jobs and their families as their priority. Therefore, it was never a question to operate in this lineup again as Rage. Refuge is a way to spend our spare time, for joy and based on friendship.
MHMB: How would you describe the difference between today’s Rage and Refuge?
Peavy: Rage has always evolved and perfected its sound over the years. Refuge is a small part of this, so to speak the vintage- or “old school” version of Rage.
MHMB: What can we expect from Refuge in the future? Do you see Refuge more as a project or has Refuge meanwhile turned into a band?
Peavy: We’re already a band, but we just do it for fun. We’re never going to do any bigger tours or anything like that, but let’s see. Time will tell what will happen next.
MHMB: How about future live shows? Is something planned already and if yes, will the setlist include old Rage songs?
Peavy: Yes, we will play some festivals this summer / fall and of course we play our old Rage songs since it was the initial intention of Refuge.
MHMB: Thank you for this interview. I wish you success with Refuge (and of course with Rage).
Peavy: Thank you! Greetz to all.