To honour our 4th anniversary, Steel Mill visited the very first fan featured on Fan Profile! Markus from Germany shed light on his current situation and shared some new images from his amazing collection!
Name: Markus aka Maniee in Rob Halford’s Quorum
Occupation: Database and Systemadministrator
It’s now four full years since we did this Fan Profile with you the first time. How are things in Germany right now? Have you already recovered from the ‘Epitaph news’ from the Priest camp?
Things are rough, to be honest. And the “Epitaph news” didn’t make it any better. It was a tough pill to swallow, to say the least. The only thing that made me digest these news a little better was when we all could read on Glenn’s site that it isn’t the end of Priest and not the final tour. It’s just that they won’t do those huge world tours anymore.
You even started a petition against Priest’s retirement in Rob Halford’s Quorum…
Oh yeah, and I had to take a lot of flack for that. I had to take everything from never being satisfied to being disrespectfull and not a true fan. And you couldn’t hurt me more than by saying I wouldn’t be a true fan. What I really wanted to say is that I couldn’t see the necessity to quit.
Priest is still going strong, in my humble opinion, and Rob already said at that time that he would continue to tour with the Halford band. So feeling too old couldn’t have been the reason for them to call it a day. But in the end, there is nothing we can do, if the Band decides to retire. It’s just that after 30+ years of being a fan, it feels like you are losing a friend, and only memories remain.
Tell us something about your history as a Judas Priest fan?
My history as a Priest fan started when my older brother came home with a brand new record called “Stained Class”. I liked metal already, but what I heard that day just blew me away. I didn’t know what that guy was singing about, cause I only new a few English words back then, but how he was singing just nailed me to my seat. It is hard to explain. Those screams gave me goosebumps… and they still do.
Then I saw the famous Dortmund show on TV – my parents didn’t let me go to the show with my brother, something he is still teasing me with today – and I thought Rob Halford was the coolest person on the planet. Not that I changed my mind much till now. And then that blond guitarist doing all these crazy moves on stage…
I was just hooked. Unfortunately, for several reasons it took me until 1991 to see the mighty Priest live on their Painkiller tour. An experience I can’t put into words. And from that tour on I have seen them a couple of times each tour.
Among devoted Priest collectors you’re well known for your extraordinary collection. When did you start to build this ‘Judas Priest museum’ of yours?
Yeah I guess some do know me for that. Well, I started my collection… actually I would say… with my first album back in 1979. But really collecting everything about the band was in the early 90’s.
And it became so muh easier to collect when ebay started business. Before that it was flea markets and trading fairs and such. I probably drove a million miles in the beginning to get a collection going. Today the collection has its own room, and I hope very much that it keeps growing. Something that is not a 100% sure right now.
But my dream and my goal with my collection is to have at least one member of Priest here in my collection room and take some pics with me. So I do everything to keep my collection.
There must be some cool additions to your collection since we last talked?
Probably, but you know, I really couldn’t tell. There are only a few items of which I can say exactly where or when I got them. But I think you will see a lot of new items in the pictures I sent you today compared to the ones from 4 years ago.
At least, it would be interesting to know where you got that Dave Holland’s drumcase from?
Oh, I got that one from Buddy Thornton. He was an assistent engineer on the Defenders of the Faith Album. He put it on ebay and I was lucky enough to win the auction. We sent some emails back and forth, so I learned that for some reason Dave left that drumcase in the studio after the recording. Buddy took it home and had it ever since.
I don’t remember how much I paid for it exactly, but I think it was around 400 $. What I didn’t think about was the shipping and especially the customs. I think that was an additional 250 €, and a lot of running around at the airport, where I had to pick it up. Now the drumcase holds my vinyl Priest bootlegs.
Are there any special items in the collection you perhaps consider more valuable than others? For example some rare hard-to-get records?
To tell you the truth, the items I cherish the most are some of the cheapest ones. It’s a couple of regular, right-out-of-the-store CDs. The reason why they are so special to me is that I got them signed by Rob when I met him. Speaking of value though, yes, there are some records that I bought for up to 400 Euro. I don’t know if I would ever get that kind of money back, but since I wouldn’t really want to sell them, it doesn’t matter.
Well, and then there is this one pic disc … a funny story, actually… as you can see in one of the pics I sent in, I feel the need to own every picture disc there is not only once but twice…
Cause if you are displaying your stuff like I do, I think you should be able to see the front and the back side of the disc at the same time. So, one of the rare pic discs (Live in Suisse 18-2-84) was so hard to get, let alone to find a second one. I waited so long for it to show up on ebay. But it never did.
But I knew a friend of mine, who is also a huge Priest fan with an outstanding collection, Andy “Bez” Berry from England actually had two of the specific picture discs. But he is also known to be very “delicate” if it comes to parting with any item of his collection. No matter if he has it once or twice or a thousand times…
That’s when my personal challenge started… It must have been more than a year that I needed to talk him into selling this pic disc to me. He really has gone through hell with me. I don’t know why he still accepts me as a friend. I mean I really bothered him every day. And I mean every day. Whenever he was online I hit him on aol and asked him if he is ready to sell. Can you imagine? Every day for a year? I would hate me if I was him. 🙂 But one day he agreed and sold me that album. To complete the story, you should really ask Andy how that time was for him.. I am sure you would find some of his points of view very amusing…
Is your record collection already complete, or are there releases you’re still hunting?
Oh boy. Something you’ll learn very fast as a collector is the fact that you never complete anything. You have an album on black vinyl and soon you’ll find out it exists in another color as well. So you aim at getting that color as well, but as soon as you get it, or are on the way there, you’ll find out that there are even more colors, and as a collector, you need to have them all. So it is a lifelong hunt.
And no, my record collection even in the black vinyl department isn’t complete. There are still some very rare albums that I don’t have. The only thing that is complete is the pic disc collection. As far as I know, there are no more picture albums out there… yet.
So you’re aiming at getting also all the bootleg releases?
Sure. As soon as I will be able to spend money on that again, I will most certainly try to complete the bootlegs, or at least add as many items as I can. Of course that is only if I am not forced to sell the entire collection in order to pay some bills.
Could you mention some of those ’still missing’ records?
Sure, there is for example the “Fuel for Life World Tour 1986” that I’ve been hunting for quite a while, or the “High Treason” album. Or the colored vinyl version of the “Devils Work” bootleg. There are quite a few things I’d like to have, and I started an online wishlist a couple of years ago. Not that the wishlist shows any item I’d like to have, but it is a start. You can find it here: http://robhalford.de/maniees_wishlist.html
Besides Priest, are you collecting material from any other artists or bands?
I kinda do, yes. I am a huge fan of Jon Oliva’s Pain. They are such nice guys, so down to earth and always there for their fans. Really cool. They hang out with you before and after shows, so it is very easy to talk to them and get your stuff autographed. So, yeah, I have some items and CDs of them. But that is it. No other bands.
Last time you mentioned the Royal Albert Hall charity concert as the coolest Judas Priest gig so far. Any change to that?
Well, the great thing about that show in the RAH was that so many people, who only knew each other from conversations at the Q or other boards, came together from all over the world and finally met and had an awesome time.
Now back in 2009 when Priest played in the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany, I invited some friends over to stay at my place before and after the show. So I had people from all over Europe here and we had a great time, as well. So this concert is also up there in my favourites. Besides, the performance of the band that night was one of the best I have ever seen.
How many Priest concerts have you seen?
Unfortunately I lost some of my early tickets, so I am not sure anymore. But I think somewhere between 10 and 15 times is a fair guess.
I guess there will be a few more gigs to add to your list after next summer…
I am afraid you are wrong. I lost my job about two years ago, and I can’t afford anything at the moment. So I really doubt I am going to see any show this year.
That I have money issues on their farewell tour hurts even more. Especially since I planned to see as many shows as possible on this tour. No matter how much travelling is involved. A friend of mine and I even planned to go to the States on Priest’s final tour to see some of their shows there.
But that is definitely not going to happen, which makes it even harder to digest the fact that this is the “Epitaph tour”.
Speaking of concerts, Germany has a reputation as a heavy metal country with many great bands around. How is the metal scene there nowadays?
Is that so? I thought Scandinavia, and especially Finland, is the Heavy Metal capital. And, to be honest, I have never been a fan of German bands. I think I don’t own a single Scorpions album…
Although I gotta say the latest Accept release is a good one, if not their best. And I admit I liked Restless and Wild, as well. I’m kinda weird with German bands. I never check them out.
Here are two questions from your old Fan Profile. Have you anything to add to these answers now, or do you still agree?
What does the music of Judas Priest mean to you?
‘Priest is a big part of my life. Like no other band they have the ability to deliver what I need at every moment. If I’m mellow, they have the power to get me on track, if I’m excited they know how to calm me down. There is a song for every situation in their repertoir.’
Uhm no, nothing to add here. I’d still answer that question the same way.
What is your favourite Priest album and song?
‘It is incredibly hard to pick only one album and it is absolutely impossible to pick just one song. Sad wings of Destiny, Stained Class, Painkiller. Three totally different albums but each one is a masterpiece and I love them equally. If I have to pick one: Stained Class. But I would miss the others.’
Here is something I’d like to add. I like Nostradamus a lot and I can’t understand why somebody wouldn’t like it. There is nothing wrong with that album. It’s quite the opposite. I think it is a brilliant piece of music, and it is definitely up there in my top 5, I think.
And I am convinced that everybody who bashes it just didn’t like the idea of a concept album and already refused it before it even came out.
Last time you told you haven’t met K.K. yet, but in 2010 you received a very special phone call…
Oh man what a day…Something you’ll never forget as a fan. Our friend and Millworker Pete Alander was stuck in Germany due to that volcano and the ashes it spit out. No flights, no nothing. So I told Pete he could stay at my place as long as he wanted to.
So, shortly after his arrival, we were sitting at my kitchen table, both with our notebooks in front of us trying to figure out a way to get him home to his family. While I made a phonecall after phonecall and being totally busy with that, Pete must have contacted K.K., cause shortly after I hung up, my cellphone rang. I knew by the number that the caller must be from England, which confused me a bit. Thinking it was my friend Andy I answered the phone saying “Hello” and the caller said: “Hi, this is K.K. Downing, are you Markus?”
I was totally flabbergasted, to say the least. And K.K. thanked me for helping Pete out, and we had a nice little chat. I tried not to make a fool out of myself, and Pete assured me afterwards that I didn’t. So that was a really big thing to me. I mean come on, how often do you get a call from a member of your favourite band?
As the Steel Mill now celebrates its 4th anniversary, it’s a perfect time to ask you how you see the past and the present of this site?
All I can do is congratulate. The Millworkers developed a great site and awesome ideas for it. Congratulations Steel Mill and many many more to come.
Any suggestions how to develop Steel Mill in the future?
I remember when the Steel Mill went online I suggested a message board. I am so glad you didn’t do that. I don’t think the Steel Mill needs a message board. What it needs is motivated Millworkers, great fans and K.K. to answer their questions… As long as these three components are there, the Steel Mill will live long and prosper!
Your message to K.K. and Millworkers?
Thanks to the Millworkers for doing an awesome job and taking the time for it. Keep it up. The fans thank you!!!
To K.K. also thanks for taking time to answer our questions. Oh, and K.K., if you are around, come over for a beer, I’ve got a special room to show you…