Gotthard (Leo Leoni, Marc Lynn, Hena Habegger, Freddy Scherer)
Last year, October 5, the news of Steve Lee’s passing goes around the world and brings grief among all Gotthard fans, music lovers, and people who were lucky enough to know the singer. But most of all the band is shocked about what happened, because Gotthard are a family first and foremost, and Steve’s tragic end suddenly takes away from the band (or better said, the family) a friend and a brother.

After thinking it over for months, Leo Leoni, Marc Lynn, Hena Habegger and Freddy Scherer decide to hold their head up again and go on along the path undertaken more than twenty years ago with Steve. A way to honour the vocalist and carry on with a dream called Gotthard, which everyone gave their everything for from the very first day, to bring the band among the most acclaimed ones in the whole world of hard rock.

The Gotthard show held in their hometown, Lugano, on July 17, 2010 is the last tribute to Steve Lee from the band and a gift to all the fans who supported the band during the past year, the hardest one. Leo Leoni and the band chose Riforma Square, precisely the venue where Steve’s last show with Gotthard was recorded, to present the album called “Homegrown - Alive In Lugano” to the press.

SpazioRock couldn’t miss it of course, so you just have to find out what Gotthard said at the press conference. Enjoy!
Article by Daniele Carlucci - Publish on: 26/09/11

Translation made by Elisa Bonora

Leo
: Hi! First of all we would like to thank the city of Lugano for giving us the chance to do this press conference. Thank you for coming. The main reason we wanted to do it here is that it’s probably the first time we hold a press conference where the show was recorded, in that square you see in front of you. It was important for us to do so. Another very important thing I want to say is that this CD is a tribute to Steve, to remember him in one of the most beautiful evenings we spent together out of thousands shows we made. And this was something special, because we had recorded the whole tour and the show in Lugano wasn’t even taken into consideration, because we already had enough material; among the shows we had already recorded there was the one we wanted to release.


Marc: But this show ended up to be so magical that we wanted to record it, so that all fans can feel some of the magical atmosphere of that night.


Leo: Most likely because, as we said, we thought we already had the material for this live album,  in the end we said “Ok then, let’s record the show in our hometown too, even if it doesn’t come out well”, because the feelings there are always a bit stronger than elsewhere around the world. So we’re happy we did it, and we’re really happy we managed to capture the real magic in that special show, for us and surely for the fans who were there that night.


Marc: We came up with the idea to release the live album and then, later on, “D-Frosted II” in the summer at the end of the tour. After what happened we thought we’d postpone the release of “D-Frosted II” and release this live album now, at the same time as the first anniversary of Steve’s death. In a way, it’s like closing a chapter after almost twenty years working together that were ending in Lugano. It’s a gift to all those who wanted to hear Steve’s voice again.


Hena: And it’s also meant to thank all the fans who have lived with the band.


Marc:  Fans have supported us a lot, they’re very special.


Question (SpazioRock): I was there that day, it was a wonderful show. You said the CD is a tribute to Steve – is the cover a tribute to Steve too, and if so, how? And most of all, I would like to know the real reason why you felt you had to go on without him.


Freddy: I think it’s important for us to end this twenty years with Steve with this album. The cover of this CD is not especially for him.


Leo: I think the questions about the reason why we are going on will find an answer in a bonus DVD that goes with the upcoming live CD. We started all together, Freddy joined us some years later and, you know, we tend to try and close books with a nice ending and not a sad one. Unfortunately, this is a chapter none of us would have ever wanted to write. But I think our fans expect this book to go on telling stories that we still want to tell. We still have stories to tell, the four of us with the one who will join us one day. I think this is only fair, and I think that if one of us were not here now, Steve would have probably done the same.

gotthard_press2011_break1

Marc: I can add that we talked a lot, of course, after what happened. For us, a very important reason is that we are musicians as well as friends. The four of us who are here are friends, and we like doing music together, and we’re still able to write good songs. With Steve we always fought for the name of Gotthard, to bring it to a certain level. First of all for our friendship, and for our friendship with Steve, we want Gotthard to go on. Also because he fought for this name himself, so that Gotthard would become something important. And our decision is to carry on with Gotthard in Steve’s name. We want to carry on because our story is not over yet, we haven’t yet reached where we want to be.
As for the cover, I can say it’s important for us because there’s people up and down, growing together. And that’s how it has always been when we play: halls and squares have always been special, magical, with the fans. There has always been something special, most of all that evening in Lugano, that’s why “Homegrown” was born here. It’s our hometown, we’ve often played here, our heart is in Lugano and we wanted the memory of that special evening to be a gift for those people who grow up together and become one, like you see in the album cover.


Leo: Also, it’s nice that you turn the cover upside down and you don’t understand the right way to look at it.
We can say Gotthard started from here. The dream was to fill the square, and if I remember it correctly we’ve done it a couple of times. Gotthard want to fill it again and that’s one of the reasons why we want to go on.


Question (other media): There’s a lot of talk going on about that – what can you say about the new singer?


Marc: We got 500 applications from people who wanted to be the new voice of Gotthard, we selected 20 of them, we invited them to Lugano, but we haven’t been able yet to choose who our voice will be. We want to take some more time because it’s an important choice.

Freddy: But our search is over, we know our singer is among those 20 people. We will let you know shortly, as soon as we make up our minds.


Leo: I think we’re here to talk about our upcoming album today, also to show respect for what we did in the past twenty years with Steve. Anyway Mick Jagger called a while ago and I said: “Mick, you’re definitely not going to be the next Gotthard singer” (laughters).
We want to talk about the album most of all to respect Steve, because this is a tribute to him and the 20 years we spent together.


Marc: There’s nothing else we can say about the new Gotthard singer at the moment, we’ll let you know as soon as we choose him.

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Question (other media): You said a chapter is closed, a new one begins, and Gotthard haven’t reached yet where they want to be. Which goals are you aiming for?


Hena: What drove us in the past twenty years is the wish to be well-known, to become even more famous and be discovered in more countries. And most of all, we aren’t ready to retire.

Leo: We still have some years before retirement. The next generations of young people who want to play will know that it’s actually possible to make music until retirement, and this is a very important message to convey.


Marc: You never know when an artist’s career will end. Inside yourself you’re hungry and this makes you go on and look for food always. That’s why we’re still here and there’s only one way – the straightforward way to go on.


Freddy: We must also say we had two or three years planned ahead with Steve, and after the accident we found ourselves cast in the future, and we’re living that future now.


Hena: Steve loved playing at home, he didn’t like touring very much. That night he was so happy to be here and that joy, the joy to be home, is felt throughout all the recording.


Leo: We tried to keep the show as real as possible. Unfortunately, Steve’s speaking parts were partly cut because we couldn’t put the whole evening in the album, but we tried to catch the essence of what he was talking about, what he was feeling together with us. You can feel this in the album, he speaks Italian, French, English and German like he always used to do, and it’s magical because it’s the last live thing we have with him. Nothing could be more magical and important than this.
It’s surely a very honest album, just to show respect and as a tribute to that wonderful evening and that great man, Steve.


After a thank you the band leaves with a long, sincere applause from all those who were there. A veil of sadness for the passing of a special person like Steve is still there and will never go away, but the story of the Swiss band goes on and it’s good to see Leo, Marc, Hena and Freddy back on track. Welcome back Gotthard.

Many Thanks To Hilde Persyn, main responsible of Offficial International Gotthard Fan Club.




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