Ill Prophecy Biography
At age 15, he began to listen to the classic stuff of Iron Maiden with his friend Karsten Nagel. Michael said about that, "When I was 15 years old I heard Iron Maiden's 'Run to the Hills' on the radio and it blew me away. That was the first time when I realized a man can also sing woman tones if he practiced enough." He also was influenced by bands like Judas Priest, Queensryche, Accept, Black Sabbath, Scorpions and the first albums of Metallica at that moment. But he never stopped listening to other artists like Pat Benatar, Eurythmics, Kate Bush, The Who, U2, and Barbara Streisand.
After those first steps in music, Michael decided to form a band with his school friend Karsten Nagel at age 16. Since they really loved Iron Maiden and Queensryche, they tried to maket a sound like those bands. At first Karsten and Michael created a band named Breeze which was changed later to Ill Prophecy. In that first band, Breeze, Karsten played the guitar and they had a drummer who started to bother so he left and Karsten took his place on the drums and they decided to change the band name to Ill Prophecy and they started to search another guitarist.
Ill Prophecy era
Karsten and Michael chose the name of the band Ill Prophecy before searching for other musicians. Michael said about it, "It’s a funny name, isn’t it? We played Heavy Metal! We were angry kids!"
Michael made an advertisement in a small music newspaper in Hamburg, called Oxmox (one of Hamburg's leading magazines) to find more musicians to complete the band. The advertisment said, "Metal band looking for rhythm guitarist." The guitarist Raico Ebel was the first to answer the request and he went to Kiske house in Mümmelmansberg. Raico said, "After reading the magazine, I phoned him and he gave me his address and that evening I visited him, but it was difficult to find his house because I had the wrong address. A friendly taxi driver tried to help me using his radio, but it didn't work so I checked house by house hoping to discover the name on the doorbells. Finally a guy who knew him gave me a hand. Michi was there with Karsten and they played some CDs of Iron Maiden, Dio, Saga and The Warning album by Queensryche and they explained to me that they were trying to make a mix of those styles. I liked it very much because I was a Queensryche fan." After this meeting, the three guys met the other Ill Prophecy members Patric Hampe (bassist) and Ulrich Schulz (guitarist) at a Mümmelmansberg school. The school headmaster allowed them to rehearse there; it only cost one symbolic penny if they would play at the graduation ceremony. So, Ill Prophecy played at the graduation and the show was a resounding success, even if they only played four songs.
Before starting to play live, they wanted to record a demo tape. They did it at a little studio in Barmbek (Hamburg). It was not very good, but it wasn't too expensive either. They recorded and mixed the demo in two days. That demo contains five songs written by Michael: 'A Little Time', 'You Always Walk Alone', 'Heroes', 'Riding the Wind', and 'The Way of Life'. He wrote those songs when he was searching for members of the band. That's why he was the main composer, but when the lead guitarist Uli Schulz joined in the band, they started to compose more songs together. In that moment Michael wrote another classic - 'We Got The Right'.
Limp (ex-manager of Mania and Helloween) was looking for a band that could play some concerts together with Mania, so he visited the band in their rehearsal room with a couple of band members from Mania and they listened their music. The next day he came again with Markus Grosskopf (Helloween's bassist) and they both listened to the band again. When the rehearsal finished, Markus and Limp went out to eat with Michael and Markus asked him to join Helloween. They were searching for a vocalist because the current vocalist and guitarist Kai Hansen was finding it difficult to sing and play guitar at the same time. Markus gave Michael a copy of Helloween's Walls of Jericho album and told him if he was interested in joining, to phone him. But Michael didn't like the album and never called back. So Helloween tried to add Tyran Pace vocalist Ralf Scheepers who also refused. After a second attempt, Michael accepted because Helloween's guitarist Michael Weikath promised him they would make more melodic sounding metal. Kiske said: "Markus told me Kai Hansen couldn't sing for more than 3 hours and he just want to play guitar now. So he gave me a copy of Walls Of Jericho, which I hated! (laughs) So I never called back. I thought the album had only one song played 10 times, one faster than another (laughs) but two weeks later, Michael Weikath called me and told me he was looking for a guy like me because he was writting new stuff and I would fit perfectly."
Tryin' to keep on
Now without singer, the four members of Ill Prophecy tried to keep on, and they started to search a new singer, and the first try was Chris Klauke, but he didn't stay more than a few months because he left Prophecy and went to Mania who released Wizard Of The Lost Kingdom EP (1988) and Changing Times LP (1989).
Ralf Scheepers era
Kai Hansen tried to help Ill Prophecy after Chris left. Kai recorded some songs with Ill Prophecy in their rehearsal room. One day, he phoned Karsten and told him that there was a potential new singer for Ill Prophecy. So the band traveled to Hannover to the studio where Helloween were still working on the Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II album. Kai introduced Ralf Scheepers to the band. And there, Ralf sang some of the Ill Prophecy's songs.
When Kai Hansen finished the Pumpkins Fly Free Tour with Helloween, he phoned again to the guys of Ill Prophecy and they recorded another demo, with Ralf Scheepers as vocalist, it was only one song. Kai Hansen left Helloween and when he started to make his own project he did with Ralf so Ill Prophecy lost again the vocalist and they decided to split.
What did happend with the other guys?
Well, the guitarist, Raico Ebel, joined briefly in the band Not Fragile. He released with them, Who Dares Wins (1988), and later a limited edition Track EP (1989). After this little collaboration, Raico left Not Fragile and he asked to the guys of Ill Prophecy if they would be interested in joining on his project Mad Alien. Patric agreed, but Karsten and Uli only as guests. Together they did the album We Are Alive EP (1989), and later a little collaboration in some tracks of the full-length Qui Habet Aures Audiendi, Audiat (1995). Karsten Nagel and Ulrich Schulz left, but Raico Ebel and Patric Hampe were together doin' the demo of Husk And Pride in 1997.