Awaiting the upcoming live gigs of GAMMA RAY in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece - in a few days, RockOverdose greek rock/metal webzine, had the chance to speak with their drummer Michael Ehré, both for his evolvement so far in the band but also for various other aspects of his personal career. His example is a proof that talent and commitment sooner or later are rewarded in the best possible way and in his case is not at all accidental.
RockOverdose: You portfolio as a drummer is remarkable, you have toured with Uli Jon Roth, Vinnie Moore and Kee Marcello among others, how is being with Gamma Ray at the moment?
Michael Ehré: It´s perfect! To join Gamma Ray was really the best that could happen to me. It´s not that easy nowadays to be in a band and being a musician because of the bad economic situation. But Gamma Ray is a well-known band, so this was like a lucky punch for me and I´m really, really thankful that they gave me the chance and chose me.
RockOverdose: Less than two years ago you have replaced Dan Zimmerman, who was in the band for 15 years, given that you are also slightly younger than the other guys do you feel like the new guy or are you fully incorporated by now?
Michael Ehré: The band accept me as a full band member. They wanted me to bring in my ideas for the new album and always ask for my opinion. I can tell you that was not always the case in former bands. I mean that was okay as I was the “new guy” in those bands but I can tell you that it´s more comfortable when you know that you´re really accepted. And by the way: I´m not that much younger…(laughs)
RockOverdose: As far as I know you are a multi-instrumentalist and a producer, but do you contribute at all in the Gamma Ray song-writing process?
Michael Ehré: Yes, when they ask me if I´m interested in joining Gamma Ray, they also told me that they want me to bring in ideas and write songs. They knew that I was able to write stuff and I think that was one of the reasons why they chose me as their new drummer. I mean there are thousands of really good drummers out there but nowadays it takes more than only playing drums.
RockOverdose: I suppose, you would be excited about the new album, can you tell us some cool stuff about it?
Michael Ehré: Now that we get the first reviews for the new album it´s unbelievable for me as it seems that we created something special. We got tons of really good reviews. The making of the album was not that easy. We toured a lot last year and our studio burned down. That gave us a real hard time. All these circumstances make it even more unbelievable that we managed to make a strong album like “Empire Of The Undead”. During the prdouction I knew that we got cool stuff but I never expected it to be that cool in the end …
RockOverdose: What are your major influences and inspirations as a drummer? Who were the drummers who made you grab a pair of drumsticks?
Michael Ehré: It was actually my uncle who made me grab a pair of drumsticks. He´s just a few years older than me and when I was nine or ten years old he bought himself a guitar and wanted me to be in his “band”. That´s when I started to play drums. My influences were Ian Paice, Tommy Aldridge and Tommy Lee...just to name a few. I grew up with bands like Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Rainbow, DIO, Judas Priest and so on. These are still my favourite bands and I guess that won´t ever change…
RockOverdose: Can you tell us your weapons of choice? Which drum-kit do you prefer and what kind of cymbals and why?
Michael Ehré: I´m playing a DIOS-Kit from Ddrum. It sounds absolutely fantastic. Every soundengineer that I worked with was really amazed. My favourite cymbals are the cymbals from the 2002-series from Paiste. When I was kid I always wanted to play Paiste, simply because Ian Paice played them, too.
RockOverdose: I was watching some of your videos online and I love your drum work on the instrumental track called “Seven”, I want you to tell me about your preference on the right hand hi-hat and what’s your position on the grand debate of double bass drums or twin pedal?
Michael Ehré: For me it always feels better to play the hi-hat on my right side as I don´t have to cross my arms. At the moment I´m practicing the open hand technique, what means that I also play my left hi-hat with my left hand, so I don´t need to cross my arms. That makes a lot of things a lot easier and more comfortable. I prefer to play two pedals instead of a double pedal because it has a great effect on the sound of the bassdrums. Especially when you play the fast stuff as we do with Gamma Ray the bassdrums still have a real punch.
RockOverdose: How you got any advice for new aspiring drummers?
Michael Ehré: The most important thing is to practice, practice and practice. You also should be open for other music-styles as this widens your musical range but also has an effect on your prefered style, no matter if it´s rock, pop or jazz.
RockOverdose: Are there any weird, funny or even embarrassing stories from your career that you could share with your Greek fans?
Michael Ehré: The whole music business is weird, funny and even embarrasing...like in everybody´s real life, hahaha...but if we´re talking about the best things that happen I am always surprised how these things happen. In 2009 I played with Uli Jon Roth in Italy and we had Tobias Sammet from Edguy and Kai Hansen as guests on stage. We performed some Gamma Ray/Helloween-tracks which was really cool...a few years later I became a member of Gamma Ray. Isn´t that cool?
RockOverdose: Is there anything that you would like to add, as a concluding remark?
Michael Ehré: I hope to see you all on tour as we´ll play two shows in Thessaloniki on March, 28th and in Athens on March, 29th! Stay metal my friends!!!