It’s a warm September day in Georgia. I’ve got my recorder, mic, and a friend’s LPs in hand. I’m nearing the end of my hedonistic holiday, I’m almost late to my interview, and freaking Waze is sending me south when I need to go north because it doesn’t realize I’m not driving.
I arrive at the Demons & Wizards tour bus with about ten seconds to spare, and after a number of unanswered texts and calls, I do what journalists of yore did back when the crust was cooling and actually banged on the bus door.
“Oh hey, come in.”
Hansi Kürsch, frontman for the band, is courteous and affable as he welcomes me into the remarkably tidy Demons & Wizards tour bus. Offering me a bottle of water before offering me a seat, Herr Kürsch looks rested and completely at ease. He has, after all, been doing the album-tour cycle almost non-stop ever since his main band, Blind Guardian, released their debut album in 1988. Soothing his throat with hot ginger tea and speaking with great deliberation and restraint, Kürsch is the antithesis of the rowdy rock star archetype: he is thoughtful and reserved, taking much inspiration for his lyrics from the mountainous stacks of books that surely accompany him everywhere he goes. I didn’t even see a single groupie or line of coke on that bus. Nerds.
Kürsch, you see, was taking great care to save all of his aggression for the moment he and his old friend Jon Schaffer take the stage to close out the twentieth edition of the most prestigious metal festival in the United States: ProgPower USA. That performance would also be the final show the very first tour Demons & Wizards had made in North America, and it was taken in commemoration of the group’s twentieth anniversary, in celebration of the reissuing of both of the duo’s records, and in preparation of their upcoming third album, due sometime next year.
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Slideshow photographs by Norrsken Photography and Design