“Born Free” has been released as the second song and video from Kai Hansen’s show at last year’s Wacken Open Air. The performance of Hansen and his band can be watched on WackenTV and the song is available as an instant gratification track as part of the iTunes pre order.
Enjoy “Born Free” on WackenTV:
Filmed & recorded on a muddy vibrant summer evening at last year’s Wacken Open Air Festival, ‘Thank You Wacken’ is a unique snapshot in time as this was the first and only performance of Kai Hansen’s band, with whom he recorded and co-wrote his 2016 solo debut “XXX – Three Decades In Metal”. He was joined on stage by Alex Dietz on bass (Heaven Shall Burn), Eike Freese on guitar (Dark Age; and one of the most promising new talents in Germany in the recording studio as producer and engineer) Michael Ehré (Gamma Ray) on drums, Corvin Bahn on keys (Crystal Breed; who has also worked on records by bands such as Neopera, Lord Of The Lost & Beyond The Black), Clémentine Delauney (Visions Of Atlantis) and Frank Beck (Gamma Ray) on backing vocals. A special treat was the performance of Michael Kiske (Helloween, Unisonic) who joined Kai on stage to perform Helloween classics that for a few minutes set Wacken on fire.
This memorable concert will be released on the 23rd of June via earMUSIC and will be available on CD+DVD (Digipak), Blu-ray+CD including exclusive bonus tracks as well as on gatefold 2LP and digital.
1. Born Free
2. Ride The Sky
3. Contract Song
4. Victim Of Fate
5. Enemies Of Fun
6. Fire And Ice
7. Burning Bridges
8. Follow The Sun
9. I Want Out
10. Future World
11. All Or Nothing
12. Save Us
Power metal legends HELLOWEEN have announced the sensational news that they will be embarking on an epic tour starting next year, joined by past members Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen. The band stated on their official website:
“Here comes the sensation for all HELLOWEEN fans: You believed in it for years and con-tinued to ask for it – now is the time: In fall 2017, Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen will once again mount a HELLOWEEN stage together and resurrect the band’s legendary original line-up. Yes, it’s official: Weikath, Kiske, Hansen, Grosskopf are going to play HELLOWEEN classics live and on a joint tour. Massive news. Awesome. But you might want to sit down again, because that’s not all of it! Under the flag PUMPKINS UNITED all pumpkin heads will step up – meaning Andi & Michi on vocals, Kai & Weiki & Sascha on guitars, and Markus & Dani in the rhythm section.
PUMPKINS UNITED WORLD TOUR 2017/2018: GOOD. AS. IT. GETS.“
The band go on to explain further details:
Undisputedly, HELLOWEEN are one of Germany’s most respected metal exports and considered the founders of German melodic speed metal. As godfathers of the genre, they have grown to become one of the most influential metal bands of the planet. In an unbelievable career reaching back as far as 1984, HELLOWEEN have performed at innumerable metal festivals around the globe such as Rock in Rio, Loudpark in Tokyo, Wacken, or the Woodstock in Poland, which they headlined in front of over 500,000 fans.
The band has delivered countless headliner world tours, spectacular shows with the likes of Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Dio, Slayer, or Ozzy Osbourne to name just a few, and played at exotic locations in Borneo, Indonesia, Manaus, Brazil, or, at over 10,600 ft in the world’s highest capital, La Paz, Bolivia. The band’s spectacular show at the »Monsters Of Rock« festival in Castle Donington in front of over 100,000 metal heads in 1988 was just as memorable as the massive MTV »Headbanger’s Ball« US tour with Anthrax and Exodus. Including genre masterpieces »Keeper of the Seven Keys« Part I & II, they’ve released 15 studio- and three live albums to date, selling over eight million records and earning fourteen gold and six platinum awards. For 30 years, HELLOWEEN have been delighting their fans with fantastic riffs, great songs, and haunting melodies – three decades of a global career they officially celebrated with the »Hellbook« in 2015. This is when the idea for PUMPKINS UNITED was born: The ‘Anniversary Bible’ as well as touring with Kai made them realize that this band’s story is demanding its next chapter. Or, as Michael Kiske describes it: »Playing an original HELLOWEEN track with Unisonic was quite a flashback already, but rocking with the original line-up and Andi will be something really special. The time has come!« The chemistry between Kiske, Hansen, Weikath, and Grosskopf is singular – and sees its revival not least because of you: You’ve never stopped asking for it – now the mega event is coming up live, with the complete cast, and heavily wired!
The super tour’s first confirmed date is October 28, 2017 in Sao Paulo and takes the full PUMPKINS entourage across selected cities and venues in Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the US. An extremely big deal, which, including a few secret surprises, will present almost three hours of the biggest hits from three decades of HELLOWEEN as the band will obviously insist on performing a full-speed trip through the HELLOWEEN repertoire. »We already had an awesome time on the Hellish Rock part 1 & 2, but this time we’ll definitely double down on it« says Kai Hansen, and Markus Grosskopf adds: »There’ll for sure be songs that we haven’t played in a very long time or even ever before.« Whoever doesn’t secure tickets for this tour, probably doesn’t have all their pumpkins in a row: The original line-up wants to celebrate a global party with you, which is also going to be highly emotional because this SPECIAL WORLD TOUR is actually not a reunion and most probably won’t happen again. Andi channels our metal hearts when he says: »I’m so much looking forward to playing Michi’s and my tunes together with him live on stage. It’s going to be absolutely exceptional.«
Coinciding with the exclusive one-time performance at this year’s Wacken Open Air Festival, Kai Hansen has premiered the official music video for his first single “Born Free”.
It is the first time fans are able to listen to a song from Hansen’s solo debut “XXX – Three Decades In Metal”.
The album will be released as 1CD, 2CD Special Edition incl. all 11 songs with Hansen on vocals, 2LP and digital on September 16th on earMUSIC.
Shot at Chameleon Studio in Hamburg where the album also was recorded, the video for “Born Free” perfectly captures the essence of the song. Starting with the line “Born in the city of Hamburg, in 1963…,” Kai sets the direction for his solo debut – a reference, a bow to his home town which is also represented in the images. Hansen roars into the mic like his life depends on it – like a wild, unleashed beast – and breaks free with liberating screams. Add explosive guitar solos, heavy riffs and the stellar line up that is Alex Dietz (guitar player of Heaven Shall Burn) on bass, Eike Freese on guitar and phenomenal drummer Daniel Wilding (Carcass) to the mix, and you get everything you ever searched for in metal/hard rock. Or as Hansen puts it in “Born Free”: “It made me feel so groovy – it gave me instant heat.” And thus a new metal hymn is born. A hymn that will get fans all over the globe to stand up proud and shout “I am BORN FREE – NO LIMITS IN THE SKY”.
Watch the official music video for “Born Free” here:
KAI HANSEN, earMUSIC and WACKEN Foundation are happy to announce the release of “XXX“, the first “solo project” album by Kai Hansen, one of the most influential guitarists and singers to emerge from Germany during the first part of the 80s. First with ground-breaking band HELLOWEEN (of which Hansen is one of the founding members) and later with GAMMA RAY, one of the bands that contributed to define the genre power metal, bringing it to generation of devoted fans worldwide since its first album.
“XXX” is, in pure Hansen tongue-in-cheek style, a reference to over 30 years of involvement in the world of heavy rock, as explained with the album’s sub-title “Three Decades In Metal“.
The album will be released in August 2016 on earMUSIC with further news to be shared soon.
“XXX” is a magical journey. It is the story of how powerful dreams can be.
Dreams and passions big enough to bring a teenager from Hamburg who is in love with rock music, glam rock and the first heavy metal sounds from the practicing space in his bedroom and rehearsal rooms to the biggest stages in the world practicing, and ending up influencing and sharing the stage with the very same bands he admired in the first place.
Not strictly autobiographical, “XXX” is without doubt the story of Kai Hansen but it could very well represent the story of anybody who is not afraid to believe in dreams, with passion and dedication. It is the story of the ups and downs that everybody faces at some point during the journey of life: the lost and found-again friends, the glory, the tragedies and the joys.
After the achievements enjoyed by Hansen lately with Unisonic and especially Gamma Ray’s recent work “Empire Of The Undead”, Kai Hansen has started working on the album with no precise commercial masterplan. Just playing music with the same spirit as in the very beginning.
This certainly was the reason for Hansen to communicate to his label the intention of donating the first advance payment he will receive for XXX – which in the meantime was shaping into a proper album – to the Wacken Foundation. A foundation which helps and supports young hard rock and heavy metal bands for over seven years now: Musicians full of hopes and dreams, exactly as Hansen had in the beginning of the 30 years story told on this album… in the hope that one day, somebody could tell another 30 years long magic story, also thanks to this album.
Together with Hansen, a stellar band of musicians gravitating around the Chameleon Studio in Hamburg has formed spontaneously: Alex Dietz (guitar player of Heaven Shall Burn) on bass, Eike Freese (who already worked as engineer and co-producer with Hansen on the last Gamma Ray album) on guitar and phenomenal drummer Daniel Wilding (Carcass). The four will be joined by various guests, ranging from friends to followers to heroes – some having played a significant part in Kai’s career, some who have expressed the wish to join the project with the same spirit that is leading Kai, Alex, Eike and Daniel to create loud music with joy, freedom and determination.
Kai & friends will do an exclusive one-time performance at this year’s Wacken Open Air Festival, introducing the songs from the album to the audience for the first and only time.
Watch the video of Kai Hansen and Eike Freese discussing “XXX” here:
Talking about XXX (while in the studio, recording guitars) KAI HANSEN has declared: “30 years in metal, that’s a damn long time. Over the course of all these years, I never recorded a solo album. It is quite nice and a hell lot of fun to create something without any boundaries and to get a fresh view on music. I am celebrating 30 years of being able to do what I like best… On ‘XXX’ I am reflecting on my roots, where I come from, how it all started for me. I believe you need a certain drive, passion and of course a bit of luck and coincidence to make it in the music world – and of course some financial support. This is where the Wacken Foundation came to my mind. They are helping people, musicians just like me, who want to make it. And I remember having had help myself, from my family, the families from the other band members – and by doing a paper round. So hopefully, with my donation, young musicians are given the same chance that I was given a long time ago, too. And who knows, maybe we all will be playing together at Wacken in 20 years…”
Wacken Foundation’s Thomas Jensen adds: “This is really generous donation to the Wacken Foundation. Heavy metal is a way of life – and with this this amazing gesture Kai showed what it stands for: selflessness, thoughtfulness and most of all the passion and love for music. The goal of the foundation is to keep this kind of spirit going. With Kais doing we are one step closer to this goal.”
About Wacken Foundation:
The Wacken Foundation was founded in 2009 and is a non-profit foundation which dedicates itself to the support of hard rock and heavy metal music. Basically every artist and every band from the heavy metal scene can be supported by the Wacken Foundation. More information about which requirements have to be fulfilled can be found here. If the name Wacken Foundation is a bit misleading, the promoters of the Wacken Open Air do not receive a single cent of the donations. The entire assets of the foundation are solely used to support artists from the metal scene.
German metallers GAMMA RAY have made a special announcement via their official Facebook page. Read it in full below:
“The band has decided to further on work with two singers for several good reasons.
So from now on the vocals there will be Mr. Kai Hansen as usual plus and welcome please Mr. Frank Beck with whom the band has done already a good amount of shows in the past. We found out that Frank is not only a great singer that very much fits into the band from his voice and from his temper of the voice and his kind of singing but as well as a very very good human being that is fit to live up to the extreme expectations that we as a band have for people joining.
Mainly this guy cannot only sing, he can party, too and that’s very important. So that was reason one.
Another good reason was that Kai just felt that it’s time for him to cut a bit shorter on singing because he found out that his long touring especially headline shows after a while always tends to fuck up the voice and end up with something that is not a hundred percent. So sharing the vocals makes things much easier and much more pleasurable.
It will not only give the band a new dimension soundwise or vocalwise but it will as well – and here is reason number three – give Kai the freedom to move around on stage a lot and plus create a bit more action on the live performances and be more free to play the guitar which actually he does like a lot.
So ladies and gentleman please welcome the new GammaRay and please welcome Mr. Frank Beck.”
It was with great surprise that in 1988 Kai Hansen decided to leave HELLOWEEN: the band he co-founded and that in a very few years reached a very high level of success, ending up influencing and challenging the bands that were once their original inspiration.
Hansen left Helloween just when the band had finally reached international stardom and after having won the appreciation of metal giants such as Iron Maiden who often publicly championed the German band. Hansen, GAMMA RAY and HELLOWEEN are now very good friends, often sharing the stage, but in 1987 the divorce was a proper rock and roll acrimonious one: a true shock for the metal scene. The reasons that brought Kai Hansen to leave the band are still the subject of interviews and fan debates, despite listening to the forthcoming reissue of “Heading For Tomorrow”, 25 years after its original release, it looks very obvious that Kai Hansen destiny was to lead his own band.
“Heading For Tomorrow (Anniversary Edition)” will be released on July 24th, 2015 on earMUSIC.
25 years after the official debut, Gamma Ray and earMUSIC have started a monumental work to re-release the entire production by Gamma Ray in deluxe double CDs.
The original albums will be re-presented in new shining, remastered version on the first disc (with the inclusions of all B-sides) while the second CD will be dedicated to old live recordings, demos digitalised for the first time from the original tapes saved by all members of the band, alternative versions and recent studio and live recordings.
“Heading For Tomorrow” was initially released as a Kai Hansen solo album. By extracting the LP out of its sleeve, “Heading For Tomorrow” revealed its “secret intention” (it was still the days of LP, or is it again?) revealing a second cover, introducing Kai’s new baby: GAMMA RAY.
After the global critical success of “Empire Of The Undead”, Kai Hansen has decided to continue the collaboration with Eike Freese and Alex Dietz (Heaven Shall Burn), the production team. Kai Hansen has spent hundred hours, digitalising and remastering hundreds of tapes, alternative versions and ideas that were so far jealously hidden in Gamma Ray’s private archive.
Adds Hansen: “I am incredibly thankful that after 25 fantastic years of Gamma Ray, I am still standing here, making music and performing on stage. It’s awesome to see that fans from the first days keep on supporting us and that we still make new friends. It’s something you can’t take for granted. After my departure from Helloween, it all could have gone the other way as well. Instead, we continue to make albums and tour the world. That’s close to unbelievable!
Working on the first reissue for ‘Heading For Tomorrow’ brought back so many great memories and Ralf and I dug out some funny stories.
Two years ago, our studio, our harbour in Hamburg, burnt down and a lot of memorabilia and original tapes were lost, but we all searched our private archives and managed to find some great rarities and hopefully some highlights for the fans. We are proud to release our little babies in a new style with a brand new cover artwork done by Hervé Monjeaud and a new sound, a fantastic remastering done by Eike Freese and Alex Dietz.”
Kai Hansen is today the voice of Gamma Ray but it is important to remember that in the beginning of Gamma Ray’s history Kai had planned to focus on his role of songwriter and guitar player. If the original album still shines also thanks to the vocals of Ralf Scheepers, the second CD offers real treasures for all Gamma Ray fans, like the original demos of songs like “Money”, “Sail on”, “Heaven Can Wait” or “The Silence” featuring Hansen on vocals.
To celebrate their 25th anniversary in style, Gamma Ray is touring in Europe this autumn.
2. Lust For Life
3. Heaven Can Wait
4. Space Eater
6. The Silence
7. Hold Your Ground
8. Free Time
9. Heading For Tomorrow
10. Look At Yourself
11. Mr. Outlaw (Japanese Bonus Track)
12. Sail On (B-Side from “Heaven Can Wait” EP)
13. Lonesome Stranger (B-Side from “Heaven Can Wait” EP)
1. Who Do You Think You Are
2. Heaven Can Wait (Demo)
3. Money (Demo – Kai on vocals)
4. Sail on (Demo – Kai on vocals)
5. Heading For Tomorrow (Live)
6. Space Eater (Live)
7. The Silence (Demo – Kai on vocals)
8. Mr. Outlaw (Instrumental Version)
9. Heaven Can Wait (Demo – Kai on vocals)
10. Heading For Tomorrow (Karaoke Version)
11. Space Eater (Karaoke Version)
12. Lonesome Stranger (Demo)
BEST OF THE BEST – PARTY TOUR 2015
with special guest Serious Black
28.10. Wilhelsmhaven – Pumpwerk (GER)
30.10. Hamburg – Markthalle (GER)
31.10. Berlin – C-Club (GER)
01.11. Bochum – Zeche (GER)
03.11. München – Backstage Werk (GER)
07.11. Lucenec – Sports Hall (SK)
08.11. Budapest – Club 202 (HUN)
10.11. Graz – Explosiv (CH)
11.11. Milano – special guest to Scorpions – Mediolanum Forum (ESP)
13.11. Pamplona – Totem (ESP)
14.11. Santiago de Compostela – Capitol
15.11. Porto – Hard Club (PT)
17.11. Lissabon – Paradis Garaje (PT)
18.11. Sevilla – Custom (ESP)
20.11. Murcia – Gamma (ESP)
21.11. Madrid – San Miguel (ESP)
22.11. Barcelona – Razz 1 (ESP)
24.11. Lyon – Ninkasi Kao (FR)
25.11. Pratteln – Z7 (CH)
27.11. Memmingen – Kaminwerk (GER)
04.12. Aschaffenburg – Colos-Saal (GER)
05.12. Paris – Trabendo (FR)
06.12. Vosselaar – Biebob (BEL)
08.12. London – Islington (UK)
09.12. Tilburg – 013 (NL)
11.12. Gothenburg – Musikens Hus (SWE)
12.12. Stockholm – Klubben (SWE)