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Τρίτη, 8 Ιανουαρίου 2013

FATAL ATTRACTION (GR) Interview

Fatal Attraction from Thessaloniki, Greece is a very special case of a band. Starting in the mid 80s they managed to compose and record some really inspired Prog Metal, however their material was never officially released but their name was getting more and more attention among the fans due to their live shows and the quality of their music. The important facts on the band's saga are so many: First of all they worked with two of the most important singers of the Greek Metal scene (Panos Dimitriou and Giannis Koutselinis), they supported Manowar in their Athens show back in 1992 and there are a lot more interesting topics that you would be able to read in this in depth interview that the bassist of the band Vangelis Notopoulos was kind enough to give. Please take some extra time and focus to the answers of Vangelis. You will be able to read some of the most enthusiastic and informative answers you have ever read on an interview! It is THIS type of enthusiasm and THIS plenty of information that I am searching every time I am interviewing a band. Hey bands out there: take the answers of Mr. Notopoulos as an example! Hey readers out there: grab a beer and dive deep into the saga of a marvelous Prog Metal band from Greece!
 
Forgotten Scroll: Welcome to the Forgotten Scroll interview and thanks very much for accepting the invitation to answer our questions. accepting the invitation to answer our questions.

Vangelis Notopoulos: My pleasure.

F.S.
: So let's take things from the start when the band was formed? Under what circumstances? Which was the initial line up?

V.N.: Well, the real story began back in 1985 when I, Vangelis Papageorgiou and Thodoris Mantzios we decided to form a band. We were school friends with big love in music. I just have started lessons on classic guitar, Vangelis played the keyboards already so he was the keyboardist, Thodoris played the guitar already so he was the guitarist and soon I turned to bass (ha, ha, ha), it was that simple. So, that was the beginning. For a couple of years we were just the 3 of us rehearsing Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin songs, trying to find a drummer and a singer. In 1987 Thodoris left the project. Then Vangelis and I started to jamming for about a year with Lakis Ragazas on guitar and Sakis on drums, a guy I knew from the music school, but it was in the beginning of 1989 when we’d jammed for the first time with George Markousis on guitar and it was fatal. It was the time that “Fatal Attraction” was born. The chemistry we’ve had it was some kind of magic, our first song as “Fatal Attraction”, even the name of the band were both born in this jamming. A couple of months later Panos Dimitriou from the band “Denial Price” joined us as a session singer and Thanos Sarketzis from the band “Deceptor” joined us as a session drummer. So, you can say that the initial line up was: Panos Dimitriou on vocals, George Markousis on guitar, Vangelis Papageorgiou on keyboards, Vangelis Notopoulos on bass and Thanos Sarketzis on drums with Vangelis (Papageorgiou) and George as the main composers and Panos as the main lyricist.

George Markousis - Summer 1989
F.S.: Is there any specific concept behind the band name?

V.N.: Yeah, for us the name of the band had double meaning. We thought that our attraction to music and our magic chemistry was fatal. And you know, sometimes, after all these years I feel that I’ve never had the same chemistry in music with someone after, more than with these two guys (Vangelis and George) back then.

Vangelis Notopoulos - 1991
F.S.: Tell us about your musical style. Was it a result of jamming in the studio or it was your initial goal to deliver this special kind of Prog Rock / Metal?

V.N.: Well, we’ve never and still we’re not thought our selves, and I mean Vangelis, George and I, as a metal band. We were always more like some kind of psychedelic, prog hard new wave thing to our minds if I have to categorize it. Our style emerged naturally from our chemistry in jamming. We’re never said, oh well, lets play this kind of music or the other kind of music. Actually we’ve never liked to categorize music. It was and still is like building walls inside our minds to us. Maybe the fact that Panos Dimitriou, Thanos Sarketzis and later John Koutselinis (Vocals after 1991), Dimitris Asteriadis (Guitar after 1991) and Alex Dimarelis (Drums after 1991) were in metal bands, they gives us some kind of metal identity in the then music scene.    

F.S.: Tell us about your first recording effort. It was a demo recording right? When it was recorded and where? Which was the line up of the band?

V.N.: Yes, it was a demo and the recordings began near the end of 1989, I think it was December, at Pandelis Deligianidis’ recording studio. The line up was the first line up that I’ve already told you about.

F.S.: If I remember well it took you almost two years to complete your first demo. From 1989 until 1991. Why it took you so much to complete the recordings?

V.N.:
Money, money sweet honey. As a matter of fact the recordings lasted one year and a couple of months actually. We finished the recordings in February 1991. We didn’t have the money to record all the songs at once and the studio was pretty expensive at the time. So, we’ve had to do one song, then when we’ve had enough money do another song and etc.

Fatal Attraction - At Pantelis Deligianidis recording studio (with Pantelis Deligianidis) - 1989
 F.S.: As far as I know there was never an official release of the demo. There was not an official front cover or title? Am I right? So can you know identify this recording by giving the exact tracklist?

V.N.: Yes, there wasn’t an official release or title but for the cover we’ve had a photo, sawing some kind of a plier tool grabbing a bleeding flower... but we’ve lost this photo. It was George’s idea. Anyway! Now about the songs, there were three songs:

1. King of July
2. Without a dream
3. A Lost Inner Call

Lyrical there were some kind of a dark love story concept trilogy.

F.S.: Why there was never an official release of this demo recording? Were not you satisfied enough with the result or what?

V.N.: No, no, the result was ok with us back then, but soon after we’ve finished the recordings George and Thanos left the band, so we’ve had more serious problems to solve.

Panos Dimitriou - 1991
F.S.: Panos Dimitriou was -and still is- a very active person in the scene back in the early 90es; he used to sing in many bands. How did you come in touch with him and how he ended up singing on your first demo recording?

V.N.: Well, we were at a bar one night and Panos came in. George knew that he was a singer and we were looking for a singer at the time, so he told to us, me and Vangelis, “hey, he is a good singer, what about ask him to join us?” So, we asked him to join us, he said ok, that was it.

F.S.: After the recordings of the first demo, what happened inside the band? Were there any member changes?

V.N.: Yes, well, immediately after the recordings Vangelis and I we went at Germany in Spring of 1991 for a couple of weeks to search if there was any interest to our work, you know, to find a record label for a deal, we didn’t had Internet at the time. Anyway, we didn’t find any interest except the fact that one guy from a big studio wants to buy “Without a Dream” for 10.000 marks for personal exploitation and we said NO. After that we end it up totally drunk in a German bar. When we came back George told us that he’s going to leave the band because of some personal problems he had at the time, nothing to do with the band and Thanos Sarketzis didn’t had the time to continue with us. So, we’ve had to find a new guitarist and a drummer. We spent a few months with Lakis Ragazas on guitar and Alex Dimarelis on drums. Alex wants to be a full member. Panos decided that he wants to stay as a full member too, but Lakis felt that he didn’t fit in the project so he left in the end of summer (1991). Here we go again (ha, ha, ha). The next approach for a guitarist was Dimitris Asteriadis, a “Ψ” dimension guy from the band “Deceptor”. He has just left his band and HE WAS PERFECT for us. He’d fitted immediately, well, not immediately (ha, ha) but pretty soon after he joined us we felt like we’ve played together for a long time. For the record, a “Ψ” dimension guy is a slag we used to use for a guy who lives totally inside his own personal world and sometimes, specially in Dimitris’ case, this world seamed very hilarious to us. Hmmm, I will stop here before I start laughing till my eyes drowning in tears (ha, ha, ha). 

F.S.: How you came in touch with Giannis Koutselinis. He is singing on some other recordings of the band that have been done after 1991. Right?

V.N.: Right! After a couple of gigs with the new line up in spring of 1992, Panos had difficulties with some professional obligations he had at the time that forced him to leave the band. He felt that he couldn’t follow the band’s plan for upcoming gigs. Giannis Koutselinis from the band “Deceptor” was the most logical choice at the time because he was the only singer we knew with a vocal range similar to Panos’. We approached him and he was ok to join us as occasional singer.

F.S.: To my knowledge t-as I already pointed- here is an existence of some recordings that have been done after 1991. Can you spread some light about those songs? Was those recordings an official demo, or there were used just inside the band? Perhaps the truth stands somewhere in the middle and you just made a hand by hand release of those song unofficially? So what have happen? When have you recorded this stuff? Was it 1992?

V.N.: Yes, it was summer of 1992. Well, the demo we’d already recorded it had no point any more, three of the band’s members had changed already. It was awful for us. We thought that we have to saw the new line up in a recording level but we didn’t have the money for another professional recording. So, we decided to rerecord the three songs of the first demo and two new ones (“Stargazer” and “Game of life”) in our rehearsing studio on our own, with a four-channel tape recorder in order to make at last an official release. In addition it was also a demo recording in order to give a snapshot of our music to a famous Greek producer (Akis Golfidis). It was the first time we were close to achieve our first official release in music industry. But the resulting recording quality was very poor. It was only for the bands personal and secret shit’s file (ha, ha). Unfortunately, some copies have found the way out. You know, we gave some copies to some friends and that was it.

F.S.: Can you give the exact tracklist of this recording?

V.N.:
1. King of July
         2. Without a Dream
         3. A lost Inner Call
         4. Stargazer
         5. Game of Life

F.S.: With Koutselinis you recorded some common songs that were recorded back in the first demo days, why this?

V.N.: As I’ve already told you, we wanted to saw the new line up in a recording level. We hadn’t anticipated releasing the first demo before the changes inside the band and we didn’t want to release something that we’ve felt it didn’t represents the band’s sound any more. Now I thing it was a bad idea. I thing that it should were better if we had released the first demo no matter what. 

F.S.: Focusing on the songs themselves, I always wanted to ask who was responsible about the lyrics and the titles? Can you make a small reference to the "topics" of your songs?

V.N.: In Panos’ area the lyricist was Panos himself. The lyrics’ themes in this area were dark, hopeless love stories with a lot of pain, tears, darkness and rusty razors to cut your bloody veins. In Giannis’ area the lyricist was a good friend of Giannis (I can’t remember his name, shame on me), and the themes were more social with an inner self-psychoanalytical point of view.

F.S.: Have you ever tried to approach a record label in order to release your recorded material?

V.N.: Yes, in Germany. I told you how it ends it up (ha, ha, ha). In Greece back then the majority of the record labels want Greek lyrics, so it wasn’t an option. It was very difficult to find a record label in Greece if you were a band with English lyrics.

F.S.: Back on your active days was there any feedback? I mean have you done any interviews on fanzines and / or magazines, was your material presented in any publication or got any radio airplay and apart the most important what was the feedback from the fans?

V.N.: There wasn’t any official publication in any kind of form but yeah, there was a feedback and started hopefully very soon. Before Panos even came in for the first time in late 80’es. It started with a rehearsal recording at power studios in spring 1989. It was an instrumental recording, an early version of “Without a Dream” included. The purpose was to give this tape to some singers for listening in order to give them a snapshot of our style and let them decide if they want to join us. Actually, I think Panos didn’t have to listen anything before he came in, because he knew George and trusted him. Anyway, somewhere in the middle of that rehearsal recording, we saw a few unknown guys outside the window of the booth room looking at us totally shocked. It was a surprise to us because we realized instantly for the first time that our sound seamed very strange to others at the time. This was the first feedback I could remember we had from fans. Maybe it sounds a little beat silly and natïve now but those days the thinks for the bands worked this way, you know, mouth by mouth. Anyway, we had some airplays of the first demo with Panos in some local radio stations like radio Acropolis and “Without a Dream” was the fans’ favorite at the time. Because of these airplays we became pretty much known in Thessaloniki before even finishing the three songs of our demo. In our first gig in cine Elispondos in spring 1990 we had 350-400 people and we were only two new bands playing that evening (the other one was “Drums and Stories” then named “Rubicon” and that was their second gig at the time I think). Day by day more people started to talk in parks and bars about a new band in town with strange sound. Now about magazines and fanzines, yeah, we had a feedback from them too, but only from fanzines like “In Rock” and others. I think the only magazine ever wrote something about us was Metal Hammer for the first and last time in 1992. One think I would like to share with you and your fanzine is that I’ve never had a clear picture of how we looked and heard as a band to our fans; I’ve never had a clear picture even who or how many they really were. We didn’t made many gigs in our days because of our continuous changes inside the band and difficulties to find places to play. Moreover it was very difficult back at the ‘80’es and the beginning of the ‘90’es to get a clear picture of the feedback by the fans as there was no Internet and there was a luck of places to have a gig so, I have some kind of a blank picture about them except the fact that when I talk now to someone who knew the band or he / she was at a gig back then, almost always he / she talks with awe about us. In this point I would like to thank them all for their love wherever they are. They are very important to us.

Fatal Attraction - Live at Cine Elispontos - 1990
F.S.: Have you done any live shows to promote your music... You already mentioned the first one. Are there any others you may want to share with us?

V.N.:
As I was told you we didn’t made many gigs in our days, but we made good ones with an exception of some gigs with bad sound. Some of the good ones were: Cine Elispondos Thessaloniki 1990, festival radio Acropolis Thessaloniki 1992, support to Manowar’s gig at Peace and Friendship stadium Athens 1992, live club Pyrgos Thermi 1994, live club Live A Thessaloniki 1995, live club Theatraki Thessaloniki 1996, Rolling Stone bar Thessaloniki 1996, Bad News bar Thessaloniki 1997, Ekkendron bar Thessaloniki 1997 and some TV appearances between 1994-1997 at Comfuzio and Jamming TV shows.     

F.S.: Was it easy to transfer this special atmosphere of your songs on stage?

V.N.: Yeah, I think it was, most of the times. You know, we were just moved our asses on stage and played our songs, we were totally in our world (ha, ha, ha). We didn’t try to pretend anything. We were only our selves trying to give our best.     

Fatal Attraction - Live at Radio Acropolis Festival - 1992
F.S.: There is a TV appearance of the band back in 1997; can you give more info about this?

V.N.: It was our “swan song” appearance. It was the last time we’d played together as “Fatal Attraction” and we didn’t know that yet. Sad! It was on Jamming TV show, we’ve played two new, unnamed instrumental tracks and two covers (Don’t Chain My Heart from Toto and Bad Company from Bad Company) with Vasilis Papadopoulos on vocals.

F.S.: What was the band's activity from 1992 until 1997? A real long time...

V.N.: Well, the positive point of view is that it was a very creative and challenging period for us. We had the chance to play with some of the best musicians of the city and make some good gigs. The negative one is that we’ve started to get a little bit tired with all of these changes inside the band. Anyway, the core of the band was I, Vangelis Papageorgiou and Dimitris Asteriadis. On vocals: George Baharidis from the band “Breaking Silence” (1993-1994), Giannis Koutselinis again (1995), Vasilis Papadopoulos from the band “Conan” (1996), George Simeonidis from the band “Sarissa”, “Long Live” (1997), Vasilis Papadopoulos again (1997). On drums: Chris Tokatlidis (1993-1996), Alex Dimarelis again (1997).

Fatal Attraction - Live at "Live A" Club, Thesaloniki with Giannis Koutselinis - 1995
F.S.: How long did the band last and when did you split? Which was the main reason of your split?

V.N.: Eight fucking years. Well, there was never an official split up really. We’ve continued together for a couple of years in another project called “Phaos” with Greek lyrics. Vasilis Papadopoulos was on vocals and Kostas Poulis on guitar shared guitar duties with Dimitris Asteriadis. It was a kind of a slow split up if I look at it now. As I was told you the last time we’ve played together as “Fatal Attraction” was in 1997.

F.S.: Which was the best and which the worst moment in the band's saga?

V.N.: A lot of moments were good and a lot of moments were bad. One of the best moments, if I have to choose only one, was when we’ve played support to Manowar in 1992 at Peace and Friendship stadium Athens in front of 18.000 people. I remember that we’ve had only a half an hour to kick their bloody asses away and they were the most extreme and dangerous crowd I’ve ever played in my whole life (ha, ha, ha). It was like, “you will eat me alive or I will blow your fucking minds away first, motherfuckers”. When we’ve started to play, in the beginning they’ve started yelling at us, throwing coins and all of this shit, but somewhere in the middle of our set, I swear, I heard them singing our songs with us man. Fuck me, it was awesome! Now about the worst moments, for me I think they were all these fucking changes inside the band man.      

F.S.: Are you in contact with other members?

V.N.: Yeah, I’m pretty much in contact with all of them. Especially with Vangelis Papageorgiou. He’s a bad ass motherfucker but I love him (ha, ha, ha). As a matter of fact, he and I were the only permanent members of “Fatal Attraction” from the beginning till the end; we’ve eaten all the shits and the honeys together.

F.S.: After the band's split did you remained involved in music? Speak for yourself or about any other band member you may know about, are there any other bands / project you -or other members- took part after Fatal Attraction?

V.N.: Yes, as I was told you the first project after “Fatal Attraction” we’ve involved in all together was “Phaos”; it was some kind of a “Pink Floyd” tribute band in the beginning. We’ve made and presented “The Wall” of “Pink Floyd” translated in Greek lyrics and Greek reality. We’ve presented it at live club Ydrogios Thessaloniki for about 9 times in the end of 1997. After that we’ve made some new material with Greek lyrics too but we’ve split up slowly after a year and a half I think. After that I’ve played for a couple of years with “Long Live” a classic rock project with George Simeonidis, Lakis Ragazas and Alex Dimarelis. In the same time I’ve started to play with “Un-Named Little Spotted Woodpeckers” [Αβά-Φτυστοί Μικροί Πιτσιλωτοί Δρυοκολάπτες] as the singer with Vangelis Papageorgiou on keyboards and Stavros Rosopoulos on guitar, actually it was Stauros’ project. It was some kind of a satirical semi-theatrical project near the Frank Zappa’s “Mothers of Invasion” thing with Greek lyrics. Then, somewhere in the beginning of the new millennium, I’ve started to play with “Babes on Fire” [Μωρά στη Φωτιά] an old post punk band from the ‘80’es with Greek lyrics. I’ve played with them for about almost a decade, till January of 2010. From 2010 till now I’ve played in some short lived projects one of them was “Mr. P.I.N.K…and the…G.I.R.L.” with Vangelis Papageorgiou on keyboards and now I’m playing with a “Pink Floyd” tribute band called “The Great Gig” and I have also my own project called “More For The Heart” recording new material. Vangelis Papageorgiou played and still plays in several bands till today; some of them are: “Encore”, “Xaxakes”, “Noema” and more. He also composes music for films and theaters. George Markousis is in Australia now. He has a big recording studio there and he is still composing music but he never played with a band again after he left “Fatal Attraction” back in 1991. Alex Dimarelis never played with a band again I think after “Long Live”. Dimitris Asteriadis plays now with “Blank Inverse”. Panos Dimitriou still plays with several projects. I think one of them is “Black Juju”. Giannis Koutselinis is in England now for about more than a decade. He’d played with several projects there; one of them was “Biomechanical”. Now I think he is not playing with any band but he is composing music scores for films. Lakis Ragazas still plays with several projects like “Devil’s Train”, “Blank Inverse” and with his own project called “Killer Six-gun”. Thanos Sarketzis still plays with several projects. I don’t know about George Baharidis. Vasilis Papadopoulos still plays with several projects; one of them is “Radio Dayz” with Vangelis Papageorgiou on keyboards. George Simeonidis plays now with “Sarissa” again, he is making occasionally unplugged versions of “Long Live” and he is also the owner of a small bar-tavern thing called “Little Trap” [Μικρή Παγίδα]. Chris Tokatlidis still plays with several projects I think. I hope I didn’t forget anyone.            

F.S.: Is there any possibility for the band to reunite and get back in action one way or another?

V.N.: As a matter of fact yes. I mean, we’ve discussed about it the last few months and maybe we will make some kind of reunion for some gigs, but nothing is for sure yet. We don’t even know the line up yet but probably it will be the following one: Panos Dimitriou on vocals, Dimitris Asteriadis on guitar, Vangelis Papageorgiou on keyboards, Vangelis Notopoulos on bass and Alex Dimarelis on drums. But I repeat, nothing is for sure yet, we will see.  

F.S.: Thanks a lot for your time, that was it!

V.N.: Thank you for remembering us! Bye!

Chris P.

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