Interview with Lenny Wolf by Classic Rock, 2007

Ten albums on from their debut, and now a very different band, but the ‘Led clones’ millstone still hangs round their neck.

If truth be told, Kingdom Come committed musical suicide a long time ago; in 1988, to be precise, when their self-titled debut album was sent to American radio stations, attached to a rumour that this was Led Zeppelin secretly back together. Compounding that ‘felony’, the band amazingly denied there was any Zep influence in their music. Cue the end of a promising career and the start of a lengthy exile from the mainstream.

Ironically, a virtually non-existent profile has allowed frontman Lenny Wolf to develop a unique musical style that, in the past few years, has seen the band match atmospherics with modern hard rock dynamics. If they were hot-shot unknowns, the latest Kingdom Come album, Ain’t Crying For The Moon, would have been hailed as equal to anything from The Mars Volta. As it is, vocalist Wolf, guitarists Eric Foerster and Yenz Leonhart, bassist Frank Binke and drummer Hendrik Thiesbrummel are left out in the cold. Wolf, the only constant since the band began in 1987, remains philosophical.

Has the indifference toward the band for so many years allowed you to go your own way?

We just do what we do – and always have. Nobody’s ever told me what music to make. We seem to polarise opinions. Some love KC while others don’t care about us at all. But nothing forces me in any musical direction. Whatever you hear is honest, spiritual and from the soul. You may hate what we do, but never challenge the fact that it’s real.

Are you irritated by still being known in the UK as ‘Led Clones’, to borrow the title of an 1989 Ozzy/ Gary Moore song about Kingdom Come?

Yeah, it’s still a problem, but mainly with people in the music business who won’t let us forget about it. I admit we made mistakes back then. I was cocky and thought I knew it all. Now I wish we’d toured harder and more often in some countries, including the UK, and been a little more careful about what we said to journalists. But I’ve no regrets. This band is what it is.

In 2000 there were British dates booked to promote the Too album, but they never happened. Will we ever see Kingdom Come live here?

We’re just finalising a show in Birmingham for next April and I hope that’ll lead to a tour. Why have we been away so long? I’m not gonna bullshit you. Promoters don’t wanna know because they think we’ll pull nobody. But we’d come over for no money if that’s what it takes. What I won’t do is to tour and lose money. Still, at last, we might be back in 2007.

Where do you tour these days?

Very few places, because people who book bands still think we’re the same lot who made those first two albums. But this is now our 10th studio record. We did just go to Russia, and that was an amazing experience.

A huge success, with more fans turning up than we dared to hope. And I will say this: live we are incredible. Once you see what we can do on stage, that’s it, you’ll be hooked.

You seem to go through a lot of band members. Is Kingdom Come really a solo project for you?

Well… yes it is. I have to be honest. I like my bandmates, but creatively it’s down to me. And I enjoy the independence. I was forced into doing this, because so many musicians were unreliable. But I can’t now imagine it any other way.

Have you ever thought of changing the band’s name? These days your music has so little in common with that of Kingdom Come’s early days.

My former manager did suggest it and we did consider the move. But then I thought about it and how this would look like we’re trying to jump on any trend of the moment.

How would you describe the Lenny Wolf of 2007?

Happy and content. I learnt a long time ago that money doesn’t make you a decent person. I had it all in the late 80s, but emotionally I’m in a better place today.

Author: MALCOLM DOME

March, 2007

www.classicrockmagazine.com