1993 - Chameleon
Information about Helloween album Chameleon
1992 Recorded in Chateau De Paup Hamburgo/Germany.
1992 Mixed in Scream Studios Los Angeles USA.
Michael Kiske: "I just remember that we were thinking about covers and we had this thing where everybody would go home and think about covers. I did about two or three covers and that was one of them. I just thought about colours and about chameleons. I thought about the songs we had written for it, they were very colourful, didn't really sound like the previous record and we were almost like a chameleon there showing lots of colours. And they liked it and picked it, that's how it happened. They didn't have any ideas (laughs). Nobody showed up with any covers, I was the only one with a couple of covers and they picked that one."
New musical direction
Kiske: "The band didn't make big decisions about changing the style or musical direction. Everybody really loved Chameleon when it was done. The doubts came when the album did not sell. We lost our EMI deal and the band looked for someone to blame. And that had to be me back then. But I am just responsible for my four songs on Chameleon and nothing else.
I'm sure the next record would have been more in balance and more Helloween like anyway, but the band decided to do the full ass-kiss for the Metal-Industry. We should have done at least five more real records, I think. Kai Hansen was a big loss. The whole band-chemistry was gone after he left."
Song by song
Weikath about this song: "I was 19 when I wrote it. A nice blonde chick inspired it hahahahaha she was my girlfriend by that time... when I first wrote it the lyrics were entirely different and they were pretty stupid, very naive and very dumb. Well I wanted to do something like Rainbow at that time because like the Rainbow "On Stage" came out and I was looking for musicians in Hamburg and we had a nice February and had so much sunny weather by that time and we were looking for rehearsal room and I could have found a nice one with a stage in there and I had been contacting a few guys cuz I wanted to have another new band basically and that took some time to make it up. Well this happened when I was 19 and we played that in my old band too and it was the opening track for most of our concerts and when people heard it for the first and only time they wouldn't understand it heheheheheh, it was good enough to be the opening track on Chameleon you know?"
Michael Weikath about this song: "Well it has that country touch and that is not the way I wanted it to sound. I wanted some orchestrations in it, I wanted it to sound like a 'Long and Winding Road' from the Beatles or something, a bit more evergreen like and this version is more country like so you can imagine Michael Kiske loved the idea. I played the Eric Clapton like guitars on there but its not what I wanted to do with that song. So later he was coming up with this Longing track on the Chameleon record and it was obviously he wanted to use all of the orchestra people we invited to record in the studio which was expensive and someone has to write the orchestrations, it also seemed like Michael wanted to keep all of those people for his productions because I had no chance to come up with the idea to use some of those people in 'Windmill'. On the other hand I didn't think we needed it since the sounds could have been made by a synthesizer. Just for that track we got a hold of an old selena or strings instrument and not a sampler. It was the real instrument and it was used just for 'Windmill'. We had to force Ingo to play it because he hated it. We did a recording of 'Windmill' during Pink Bubbles. Many people hate it but I think its a nice ballad to be honest."
Michael Weikath about this song: "I was merely complaining about how things are going down in the modern society we have right now. You can take going down anyway you want to take it and the life quality goes down and senses and feedback etc. How people communicate etc....its all going down and is worse than the decade before.....and I want a revolution and want to renew what I had in the past."
'Step Out Of Hell':
Weikath about this song: "It was one of the older tracks Roland had done with his old band Rampage. Which was released originally as a track called 'Victims Of Rock'. So he changed the lyrics and he remade it as a song with Helloween. The lyrics obviously dealt with Ingo. Part wise.....I mean in general views and general thinking......but focused on Ingo maybe..."
Kiske about 'Longing': "There is already a classic arrangement before, and now they need to hear what's going on and put it into notes. At the time I worked on the keyboard, then a professional transfered to the corresponding instruments. In the studio we have something changed, because a few things were not quite optimal, and then we recorded it."
'Get Me Out Of Here':
Weikath about this song: "The funny thing is that Michael Kiske liked 'Get Me Out Of Here' so much that he said I should always write stuff like it.....even for albums. And I said "Yeah well that's taking it a little bit to far maybe" and he said "Why?" , and I said " Cuz we simply cant do it...so lets close the subject please". I mean he may have had a point but on the other hand I'm quite happy that its on the b-side. I also took a lot of shit because of the song "Heavy Metal Hamsters" which was intended on being a b-side for the Pink Bubbles album and instead it ended up being an album track."
Weikath said about this song: "I actually wanted to create some kind of Spianl Tappish impact like a German rock star who has lost track of reality and also I wanted to take some shit out on some people I knew. Which is more or less a private way to take it out on them, so it was basically fun. During that time I was so unhappy with many things and I was not behind the whole Helloween thing because I thought we were going in the wrong direction, and well being in that situation I just wanted to have some fun. There's some bootleg videos you can watch from shows in Japan where I behave very odd, and still I played my stuff but it was quite obvious that I wasn't with the thing or with the game and this was merely aggression in between Michael Kiske and me with fronts being built up inside the band with different camps that made the whole time very hard for everyone. Especially for me in particular and Michael Kiske as well. Then I tended to do a lot of stupid stuff to irritate him or anyone else. and that's how the "Introduction" came about and the whole song."
Musicians about Chameleon album
Markus Grosskopf: "The recordings were very strange. It was a record where a couple of members wrote individual songs for themselves. It wasn’t such an album we did together. It was just like a bunch of solo album, album tracks from the members. They didn’t fit together. It’s an interesting album, but it wasn’t an album we worked together [on]. It sound great and good, but the songs are different, which isn’t a bad thing. At the end of the day, in a band like Helloween, none of those albums are sounding the same, it’s good to have an album like Chameleon in the back catalog. If you see it in the big picture, it’s still an interesting album."
Michael Kiske: "After my departure Helloween was always trying to put it that I was trying to force them to do pop or whatever which is bullshit. I mean look at who wrote what songs on that album. Weikath was writing 'Windmill' not me. I didn't force him to write that song with a gun to his head, it's just very silly. The only thing that I was always up for was just do what you wanna do. If you feel like it go for it, I support you."
Michael Kiske explaining the false arguee that he would be the "guilty" of the musical style: "If Helloween would want to make a heavier album after Chameleon I wouldn't have cared. Whatever they wanted to do, I would go for it. The thing is, that was one of the things, you are even influenced by their propaganda in that manner, because that was never even a discussion. That’s just the way they sold it to the people, especially Weikath who wanted to be The Beatles. He wanted us to sound like…whatever, but not like the old Helloween. It didn’t work out. I never thought that way. I just write a song and I like to fool around with the song with the band and see what they can do with it and if it turns out functioning, I’m happy. If Weikath can do an 'Eagle Fly Free', I love it. If he comes up with 'Windmill', I support that too! I just go in my Elvis mode. In those years, if we had a meeting and they said “We want to do a Keeper III,” I’d say “Fine! If that’s what you want to do, where are the songs?” If the songs are good, yeah, if they’re bad, they suck. That’s how I deal with these things. These discussions were never there; don’t believe their crap. They believe it even themselves now, they have meditated themselves for so many years now that I’m 100% sure they believe it’s true."
Rumours about Chameleon
- During that years, there were rumours that Kiske, Weikath wanted to make a solo album.
There were rumours but it was not true. Weikath talked about that in an interview to DeadRhetoric.com. Journalist:"Karl Walterbach (Noise Records boss) told me that you, Michael and Kai each approached him about doing your own solo albums. Is that true?" Weikath: "There was simply no way to do that, because he wasn't interested in that. That could have prevented stuff, like for instance the Chameleon record. If everyone would have been able to try like a solo record, we wouldn't have needed to do something like the Chameleon album."