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FEATURE:

June 21, 2014

Katja Rieckermann Interview

Conducted by Martin Heidt (June 2014)

posted by Mike Walton



Shortly before the start of the tour in Germany, we have conducted an extensive interview with Katja. She talks about the tour with Rod Stewart, her new album, about the life of a musician in general and a very special birthday party. But read for yourself:


In July and September last year, you came with Rod Stewart to two special concerts to Dortmund and Hamburg. Did you think that you would come back so quickly?

I am pleased that we again visit Germany this year. That's always something special for me. I always like to take the opportunity to meet my family and friends. Of course, I also hope this year to be able to experience one or the other game of the World Cup in my home. That is a very special experience! Although I live in Los Angeles since 1997, I am in my heart but still very German.


What are you looking forward to most when you come back to Germany?

I look forward to spending a little time in Berlin, Mannheim, Munich and Cologne. Since I originally I'm from Hamburg, I know these cities are not so good. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to black bread and salty liquorice.


The North is your home, but you also have to Cologne somehow a special relationship. What's it all about?

In Cologne I bought my old saxophone long time ago. I then - that would so about 20 years ago to be - we took the train to Cologne, have tried there saxophones and there my "Mark 6" found. I still play it and my heart is very.


You are touring with Rod for many years around the world. Which performance was the most impressive?

That was the "Concert for Diana" at Wembley Stadium in 2007. Was broadcast live in 140 countries.


Tagged fright. Are you nervous before a performance?

That depends. When I play in Germany, I'm mostly nervous because I have many friends in the audience. Even with television appearances I feel a lot of pressure, because they mostly live and since you can not correct a possible error. I was also very excited to play in front of the Queen of England. This was in a very small frame, maybe 100 guests, and the Queen sat in the front row. We were told not to look her in the eye. And in the middle of this concert, it happened. I looked up from my note paper high - we were playing jazz standards - and my eyes met hers. Since I was totally shocked, but of course nothing happened.


Was there a show in front of you the most excited were you?

Yes, that was the just mentioned "Concert for Diana". I was so nervous that my lips trembled. And that's why I then blow a tone during my solos and played a note that I had not intended. But hey, that's showbiz!! You have to learn those things not to be taken seriously.


Now get away from Rod and the tour. What makes Katja Rieckermann else? How can we imagine your life as a saxophonist?

If I'm not on tour with Rod, I play in Los Angeles with several different bands. Since there are even my own little jazz band, the I perform regularly in the "Vibrato Grill Jazz" in LA. It is a very nice jazz club, the Herb Alpert (Editor's note: Herb Alpert is an American trumpeter and including the founder of the record label A & M Records) belongs. Otherwise, I play in a so-called "Burlesque Act" and am a very long time member of All Star Jam, which consists of musicians who are otherwise with known quantities of the music scene on the stage. Now and again studio jobs are on the program, eg with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. This results in always new projects, as in December, when I performed with the Latin American superstars Amanda Miguel and Diego Verdaguer and have also performs with Mary J. Blige in a TV show.


You made two albums of his own on the market. The release of "Horn Star" is already back but almost four years. But all may rest assured: the end of the year will appear a new, own your third album. Tell us about it.

Yes, that's right. Since February I am working on my new CD "Never Stand Still". The album includes this time exclusively his own compositions in the style of Memphis soul and Motown. I have the last spent time writing songs. The songs are now all written, in July, when we take a break in the tour, we want to go into the studio and it is planned that the album will be released in November.


So the new album will be in the foreseeable future. Are there any considerations you, they want to start their own tour in Germany, for example in a similar framework as for the regular jazz sessions in LA?

That would be nice and I also want to make sure. But only after the release of the CD and then when we have a little break with Rod Stewart, what the beginning of 2015 will probably be the case.


Is there an artist with whom you really like to be on stage want?

Currently I only have my own CD in the head. We have so much fun just writing songs ... This creativity I missed in the last few years. But of course there are many artists with whom I would love to be on stage. Since I live in the U.S. for 17 years, I do not know exactly who is it fashionable at the moment in Germany. But I can think of in any case Marius Müller-Westernhagen or Peter Maffay.


Now we are drifting a bit. Your brother Ralph was many years bassist for the Scorpions. Is he "blame" that you've been looking your way in the music business?

Definitely! In my parents' house music was actually never heard of until my brother Ralph started with 13 years of playing guitar. He also constantly record belongs - Earth, Wind & Fire, Genesis, The Who, Weather Report, etc ... just about everything at the time was just then in. I immediately liked the music of the wind best. TOP, Steely Dan, Chicago, Maze ... that has drawn me into the spell. While my friends were singing the lyrics, I was buzzing with the parts of wind. In the 70's the sax solo was indeed very popular. Mir is noticed during my first live concert immediately. That was Al Jarreau. He had David Sanborn as a saxophonist, who then made a very big impression on me. I think I was starting 17 right to play sax, but I have until 21.


Your music career did come at the beginning is very difficult to roll. Who made you the most support in the first heavier years?

As far as I can remember, no one except my brother Ralph. With him I was then living together already and we shared a rehearsal room at the slaughterhouse us in Hamburg. My parents wanted me to do something decent and everyone else I thought would be wasting my time. Besides my personal life suffered greatly. Because while my friends met at the weekend and had a lot of fun, I've been sitting in the rehearsal room and practiced scales.


Was there at that time also thought to throw everything and turn your back on the music? May adopt a very "normal" office job or something similar?

Probably not. When I started playing with the saxophone, I did an apprenticeship as a foreign language secretary at the same time. After a year I had finished and had then half day jobs in various companies. And I have but found that office life is really not something for me. My main focus was therefore always also at this time the saxophone. In the first years I practiced eight hours a day and financed by the half-day jobs my first years in the music business.


Many think the word "musician on tour" yes equal to a great life and the well-known slogan "Sex, Drugs & Rock'n'Roll". Is it really?

Ha, the days are gone. Anyway, with us in the band. Some of the band members are in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), so they have their party times long past. Others are married and have children. Many of us are big Netflix fans (Editor's note: Netflix is ​​a large, US-based online video store). For example I have all the seasons of "Breaking Bad" seen last year during the tour. By the way: The best TV series ever ..... If I may mention just ...

We spend so much time in the tour bus. Since the options are not so great. On days off I go in each city also like to once explore, look me in the sights along or visit a museum. I'm looking forward to that castle in Heidelberg when we play in the summer in Mannheim.

Rod does not travel with us. He is also happily married and has two small children. Mostly he flits immediately after the concert from the stage and into the limo that takes him directly to his private jet and go home to his family.

Basically, this is touring with the Rod Stewart band like living in an extended family. We all get along great and are there for each other. During the last tour in South America, I had a birthday. It was a free day in Montevideo. Rod has organized a birthday party for me and invited us all to dinner. With gifts and birthday cake. It was an unforgettable evening.



At the end yet again back to Rod Stewart Tour. What does the people who attend the concerts must, look - apart from your sax solos?

The show is visually awesome, to describe it once straightforward. We have three video screens and for each song there is a different design. Each musician in the band is fully involved in the show and of course Rod is still absolute peak. It will be a hit play after another and there are some outfit changes during the show. And who has a lot of luck, can catch a football at the concert.


The interview was conducted by Martin Heidt(June 2014)
Visit Martin's fantastic Katja site http://www.katjarieckermann.de/
(June 2014)

Top Photo Marcy Braunstein
Bottom Photo Jim Pietryga



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