TONY CASTELL - Bass
1. What are your influences?
From a tender age on I was influenced by AC/DC, Aerosmith, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.
2. What bass do you play? (model)
On stage my favorite bass is “music man stingray”.
3. What amp do you use? (model)
My bass amp model is an ”ampeg svt II”.
4. What Speakers? (model)
That would be “ampeg cabinet” with 8/10 celestials speakers.
5. You joined KROKUS for the CD "Stampede". Can you explain the feeling of suddenly recording and touring with Switzerland’s biggest Rock Band in the early nineties?
It was an unbelievable experience to tour with the guys at that time. It was the first time I went on a structured, real tour. I was only 21 years of age and I learned first hand very quickly that groupies were still well and alive. I became a quick learner, if you know what I mean!!! (smile)
6. The original KROKUS members reunited in 1994-95 for a tour and released the CD "To Rock Or Not To Be". What where you doing at that time?
During this time I was a member of a band called “Ain’t dead yet” along with ex-Krokus guitarist Many Maurer. It was a crossover modern band, a cross between Dream Theatre and Judas Priest. The CD that was released during that time was named “Read Your Mind”, in my opinion a technically sound product. I established myself as a songwriter and contributed the majority of the material. Both a Swiss and German tour were very well received. I also was part of a project called “D/C World”, which featured a medley of AC/DC hits. By my side were also Dom Favez and Marc, lending his voice to the Bon Scott tribute parts.
7. What else do you do besides music?
I am a music teacher in a State School of Switzerland, teaching various genres like classical guitar, electric & acoustic guitar, bass as well as ukulele. Also music theory and music history. Prior to my teaching engagement I studied for 4 years at the music conservatory. I maintained a recording studio there and recorded all kinds of music.
I’m into fitness to give my fans not only great music but also “eye appeal” and that’s why I’m really into bodybuilding. As a Swiss I’m almost obligated to ski in winter and play soccer in summer. Anyone in the world (with maybe the exception of the USA) knows how soccer crazy we are! I also collected over 500 DVD’s, mainly movies. I maintain a huge garden to balance my crazy Rock life with some sanity.
9. You re-joined KROKUS before Marc’s reunion with the other only original member, Fernando. Can you explain the musician changes that followed?
At that time Fern was on tour with the British singer Carl Sentence on vocals, which resulted in the CD “Round 13”. But Sentence is no Storace and was not well received at all. I played only 3 gigs with this formation. And all along I wished so badly Marc would come back and join the band. The stars must have aligned perfectly, because Marc made the first step simultaneously and contacted Fern to move forward. Dom and Aeby were added which eventually resulted in the “Rock The Block” recordings.
10. "Rock The Block" was KROKUS`s ever No1 Hit in Switzerland, the band’s homeland. How did you feel about this success?
It was amazing!! Gold and Platinum Record Awards. Positioned at #1 in the Swiss charts! It was the ultimate reward for having done your job well! Left me with a great feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. Plus it set the stage for many other countries to follow and add on to our initial success in Switzerland.
11. Do you write songs?
Absolutely! Not only do I get to write songs, I also perform them. Can’t get any better! On “Rock The Block” I contributed with 2 songs, “I want it all” and “Hot shot”. On our forthcoming release “Hellraiser” you can judge my songwriting talents on “Angel of my dreams”, “Too wired to sleep”, “Rocks off!” and partially on “Love will survive”. Marc did good justice to my music with his catchy vocal melodies and exciting lyrics!
12. Play other instruments?
I guess you can call me a multi-instrumentalist. I play fluently all kind of guitars, bass, ukulele and piano. The latter two I doubt you will ever see or hear me play as part of KROKUS. I also play a little drums, nothing that could make Stefan worry about his job security within KROKUS. (smile) I used to be a lead singer in previous bands, but with a “voice” like Marc’s fronting KROKUS, who would be crazy enough to challenge him for that job. (smile)
13. Dream vacation?
There is nothing like home, and sometimes we forget how beautiful it is to live in Switzerland. And whenever I want to change the scenery from mountains to oceanfront, I escape to the Maldives.
14. How come you switched from rhythm guitar to playing bass?
I like playing both equally. It was more a matter of logistics that I played rhythm guitar on “Stampede”, because when I joined KROKUS at that time, Fern played bass. Later when Marc rejoined KROKUS on “Rock the block”, Fern switched back to playing guitar and it was a natural progression for me to take over on bass. When I’m on stage playing bass, it rocks the fans and the pounding rhythm of my bass rocks my balls. Not a coincidence when you hear us play my song “Rocks off!” on a concert stage nearby you in the coming months.
15. What made you give guitar lessons whenever KROKUS is not touring?
Music is my life! By giving guitar lessons I can give something special back to the kids, our future rock stars. Rather than the kids getting in trouble on the streets, I channel their energy to something productive and positive. In return it allows me a change of pace and provides a balance in between tours. And they love my stories from the road.