Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger,Hellryder) on RockOverdose:’We released Hellryder album,start recording new Grave Digger & I started producing albums!’


RοckOverdose and Zisis Petkanas had the chance to speak with Chris Boltendahl, frontman of teutonic metallers GRAVE DIGGER, on his new project - supergroup HELLRYDER. 

Chris Boltendahl
, veteran of the metal music scene talked about the idea for forming Hellryder as well as the future plans of Grave Digger and much more.


Read & Listen below our friendly chat.




RockOverdose: So, we are here at RockOverdose and we are hosting Chris Boltendahl, the singer of Grave Digger and a new project supergroup Hellryder. How are you?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
I am very fine. I had a lot of work. I built a new studio here now, and we finished recording a new album for Hellryder in February. And I am producing for a band  Lonewolf. And then we start in a couple of weeks a new Grave Digger album.


RockOverdose: So I guess you are really busy now.

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger): 
Yes, I started producing and mixing albums now. It is great fun. I started with a band from my hometown here in Cologne called Lonewolf. They sound like Iron Maiden, from the Powerslave era.



RockOverdose: Sounds very interesting.

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
It’s the first time I produced a band. At age of 59 years old I started producing haha, lot of fun and work too but it’s a great experience. As you know, you can never learn a lot.


RockOverdose: And you decided to become a producer during the quarantine?

Chris BBoltendahl (Grave Digger): Yes, more or less… Cause when we got into the Hellryder thing I got in trouble with my neighbors, cause I did all the vocals at home. Near the end the neighbor called and said “Mr. Boltendhal, what are you doing” and I said “singing” hahaha. Then I started to prepare a room here in my roof and built a studio, and it became really great. Then a friend of mine told me about the new band Lonewolf and I wanted to produce them, and I said “yeah, of course”. At the moment we finished the demo tape, and then we start with a preproduction besides the Grave Digger production.

RockOverdose: How did you have the idea for forming Hellryder?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
Axel (Ritt: Guitars) and I had this idea in 2017. As you remember when Grave Digger made the Hangman album (Ballads of a Hangman 2009) we had this Motorhead cover from Overkill, and on Return of the Reaper (2014) and the Exhumation album (Exhumation - The Early Years (2015) we had a couple of songs that sound like Motorhead. So I said “hey Axel, lets do something like Motorhead!”. That was in 2017 so we already had a band name and a logo and everything, but Grave Digger took over our time again. So now during the pandemic we had a lot of time, so we said “let’s do it now” and yeah, we did it.


RockOverdose: Is this the only project you was involved with besides Grave Digger, during your musical career?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
For a couple of years I worked with a band called Firedogs, and we made some rock n roll / hard rock music, but the Hellryder project is something we wanted to do since 2017. We said lets do something like Motorhead. And if you listen to the first two songs, they sound really like Motorhead. But then, the complete record developed in another direction. I think it sound really unique now. It sounds like 70’s hard rock / metal, everything is inside. It sounds like a band, like a whole product, not like a Motorhead cover band.


RockOverdose: When is the release scheduled for?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger): End of May.

RockOverdose: And it is realeased by ROAR (Rock of Angels Records) which is a Greek record label.

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger): I never denied that I’m in love with Greece. And now I am on a Greek label haha.


RockOverdose: I think you have a house in Creta?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
No,no I have friends. But I hope in the next 5-6 years that I will have a house there.

RockOverdose: And which part of Greece? Chania?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
When we come, we go to the South, near Plakias. Our friends live near there, about 10klm’s away, up to the mountains. And we want to buy a house there, as in 5 years our son will be 20-21 years old and we said OK, that is the moment to move from Germany to Greece.


RockOverdose: So you love Greece!

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
More than Germany haha


RockOverdose: Are you going to release any videos for Hellryder? 

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger): We will released on Friday (9th of April) the first video and then the second video on Mid of May, for the song Nightrider.




RockOverdose: Would you like to introduce us the members of the band?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
Yes, Mr Axel Ritt of course from Grave Digger, I think needs no introduction. And then we have Timmi Breideband (Drums), he worked with Bonfire and Freedom call and now he is playing in this Pop rock band  called Gregorian, some monks singing classical stuff. It is very famous here in Germany and all over Europe. And then we have Steven Wussow (Bass) he is an old friend of Axel, he is now the new bass player of Orden Ogan.


RockOverdose: So you got yourself a Supergroup.

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
Grave Digger is also a Supergroup haha



RockOverdose: So what about Grave Digger? You said you are going to start a new album.

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger): 
Yeah, we are starting. I think in 2-3 weeks I will start with concept, and we start writing new songs. And we will finish the album end of December, to release it on April next year.


RockOverdose: I wish to have the opportunity to promote it with live shows.

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
Yeah, we want to play. It’s been more than a year that we are stuck home and can’t do anything. I hope we can start with some German tour again in January and then can do a lot more shows in 2022.



RockOverdose: Lets pray we can get back to normality soon.

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
Yes, we hope so. With the vaccine that everybody should get.


RockOverdose: You have a new drummer in Grave Digger.

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
Oh, he’s been in Grave Digger for 3 years now. Markus has been longer with the band (Editor: He was a drum tech and roadie), he’s just the drummer for 3 years. He was also there at the Greek shows too.



RockOverdose: Do you have any song titles on the upcoming Grave Digger album?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
No haha. It is too early. I know what the concept will be about. We now are two bands, Hellryder and Grave Digger. Hellryder will be more brutal, like the rough side of Grave Digger. And with Grave Digger we will continue with the concept CD’s.


RockOverdose: So Hellryder will be a side project

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
Well, yeah, it is a full band. But our top priority will be Grave Digger.


RockOverdose: Can you tell us more about ROAR records and how the deal was made?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger): More or less the reason we joined ROAR was the guy from Mystic Prophecy, Dimitris Liapakis. He called me and told me he was working with Akis from ROAR, and I saw what they did for Mystic Prophecy here in Germany and, it was quite a surprise, cause the went on the charts on #20, and they did lots of promotion here. So we started discussions and visited Akis at Thessaloniki last year and now we are like brothers you know haha. And the first product we will release is Hellryder and then Grave Digger next year.



RockOverdose: How do you feel that Rebellion is an all time classic song?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger): I love this song. I love to play it live. Noone expected it to become a classic when we composed it, but it is. I think Grave Digger have a lot of classic metal tunes like Excalibur , Heavy Metal Breakdown, Night of The Cross, Ballad of a Hangman. And the new songs from Fields of Blood album, they have to be classics in the next 1-2 years.


RockOverdose: Can you tell us about the direction of the new album and the differences between the older ones?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
No no haha. Ohi haha


RockOverdose: haha. Do you know any other Greek words?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
A lot of. Do you want to know the first word I learned in Greek? It was “Bouzi” (μπουζί) cause on my first trip to Greece I was on a motorbike and needed a new bouzi. I know a lot of Greek words. I am not good at grammar or building sentences but I know a lot of words. Karpouzi, Kotopoulo, and many more. I want to learn so much more, It is important to me when I move to another country to learn the language


RockOverdose: Are there any other news you’d like to reveal now?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
I think there are lot of news now haha.


RockOverdose: Yes, we covered most of them now. Any other news you’d like to share?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
Not really. Because I told you everything. Not the title of the album but everything.



RockOverdose: Do you plan about doing a live stream show during the pandemic?

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
To be honest we had this in mind for February and then we had a new lockdown. We then talked about April but we are moving here from lockdown to lockdown. And now we said if Wacken do it live stream on summer time, we will do it but on our own terms. We are missing the energy of the live shows. Live stream has nothing to do with a live show. You can see our DVD from Wacken 2010. That is more fan than seeing Grave Digger at live stream.


RockOverdose: So what are your memories from your live shows here in Greece.

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
A lot haha. I think our first show here was in 1997 at Rodon Club. And it was nearly Sold Out and it was a great show, cause we never expected Greek fans to sing like hell. Everytime we are really happy to play. Now we play smaller clubs, but the audience is really the same. Its always fun.


RockOverdose: How about your last visit here in Greece and your cooperation with Kostas Mylonas (Demons Gate Productions).

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
It was great! I think Thessaloniki was nearly Sold Out and a lot of people in Athens. Both shows were “Wow!”, much better than the last shows we did a couple of years ago. We did some shows with Harry (Katinakis) together, but the last shows with Kostas were really really great. We enjoyed a lot. Last time in Thessaloniki I think we did shows for 100-150 people, but now we had like 300-350 people at Eightball club. It was packed and a great atmosphere there.


RockOverdose: So, do you have a message for the Greek fans.

Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger):
Yes. First, stay all healthy my friends. Don’t get this shit. Cause if you get it, there is a possibility you can get really ill or not. Everybody should stay healthy, stay at home, until you got the vaccine, and then one day it will all be over and Grave Digger will return.




For RockOverdose,

Zisis Petkanas