Q & A with JUTTA WEINHOLD - VELVET VIPER (01/08/2020)

Jutta Weinhold is one of Germany's top female heavy metal vocalists with strong roots in blues and gospel music. She's been a professional singer for many decades now and started her carreer as part of the official German cast of the sixties musical Hair. She put her name on the map with Zed Yago which was a true heavy metal force in the eighties. Then she moved on with Velvet Viper and the Jutta Weinhold Band. She also recorded some solo albums. Today she's back with Velvet Viper and on August 21, both Zed Yago albums on which she sang are being re-released in remasterd form on Massacre Records. The albums are released under the monicker of Velvet Viper, with new artwork and bonus tracks. The albums will be available in digital form, on cd and on vinyl. I had a nice Q & A with Jutta in full covid-19 time. (Geert Ryssen)

How did you cope with covid-19 so far?

Jutta: We used the “gig-free-time” writing new songs and right now we're in the studio to produce it. Its gonna be a real heavy album.

How did the idea come up to re-release the Zed Yago albums?

Jutta: A lot of people where asking for the release of the Zed Yago material.
Massacre Records decided to release remasters on August 21, 2020.
I'm sure people need such good things to get over this corona times.

What’s the reason that both Zed Yago albums are re-released as Velvet Viper albums?

Jutta: You may know about that Zed Yago had big trouble going on in 1989. I did not have a private copyright for my personal invention Zed Yago. You know, I created the concept and I started the band. We founded a GBR and when you leave a GBR everything you brought in stays with the majority. So I lost the right to use the name Zed Yago. But I did not lost the right on the songs. And that was a little cold comfort for my loss.

Who’s idea was it to ask Alexander Krull to remaster the albums?

Jutta: Alex is a connection from Massacre Records. We believe he really does a great job. It sounds excellent. Remember more than 30 years ago we released Zed Yago.

There’s some bonus tracks on both re-releases. Did you have a lot of material to choose from?

Jutta: I had a few live-cassette recordings not much, only a few we could use from England and Munich.

Do you have any full concerts recorded by Zed Yago?

Jutta: No, there is only this few live takes.

When, how and when did you decide to start Velvet Viper again a couple of years ago?

Jutta: When I met Holger Marx in 2015 I thought, this is the right guy to start again and make it right. He is a good musician, very creative, honest and trustful.

Will both Velvet Viper albums from the early nineties also get a re-release?

Jutta: I don't know yet, but thank you for a good idea Geert.

Why did you leave Zed Yago after the second album?

Jutta: I mentioned that we were in trouble, understanding and friendship were gone. I wanted to continue playing Zed Yago with other musicians and then a court decided that I shouldn't use the name Zed Yago anymore. This tragedy almost killed me. For a whole year I wrote a book based on the Zed Yago songs and the concept. The daughter of the flying Dutchman in search of the lost imagination. Writing saved my life, Geert.

What gives you the energy to keep on fronting a rock band?

Jutta: I like to say thank you to my parents for my health and thank you rock'n roll for the spirit. That's my live and I never wanted to do anything else. I wanted to be a part of the rock'n roll family since 1969 and so it happened. Professional for more than 51 years now.

Considering the lyrics of your songs, I suppose you do a lot of reading. What kind of books do you read?

Jutta: I love the classic poems, literature, legends and mythologies and last but not least fantasy. Right now I'm in to the Dragonriders of Pern...... I love it.

Where does the fascination come from for the themes you sing about.

Jutta: I never wanted to be on the rock'n' roll fast food scene. I love the old topics and that's how it came to make lyrics with them. I can only do what I really like.

You said you are already working on a new Velvet Viper album. Can you reveal something?

Jutta: The first decision was that we produce this time ourselves. Second, the members of the live band play on the CD: Holger Marx, guitar, Micha Fromm, drums and Johannes Horas Möllers, bass. Because of these decisions, it already feels and sounds really good. Plus: there will also be a surprise.

What are for you the essential ingredients for a good Velvet Viper album?

Jutta: good compositions, a good feeling of friendship in the band, true and honest togetherness.

How do you keep your voice in good condition?

Jutta: singing, singing, singing. I have a gospel-rock-choir in the local music school and this is a perfect training for my voice. But sadly now the school is closed cause of corona.....so I do my exercises at home.

Personally I think that the second Zed Yago album ‘Pilgrimage’ is the strongest record you ever made (although I also like the others very much!) and in my opinion it is one of the best metal albums of all time. Do you agree?

Jutta: Yes, I can agree with that. Its a shame and such a sad thing, that we couldn't go on with Zed Yago.....actually, we had good times, but after a while to many bad times....., I feel sorry, that we could not hold it.

Your kind of metal is labeled ‘dramatic metal’, did you label it that way?

Jutta, 1987 we were looking for a description for our music and I thought in case of the classic themes and the connection to Richard Wagner’s, Flying Dutchmadran, 'dramatic metal' would fit. For Velvet Viper we use 'epic power metal'.

Besides Velvet Viper you are still busy doing other musical things, like a gospel choir and … Can you tell more about that?

Jutta: The gospel-rock-choir is going on since 1994. It's always good thing for me to sing. And to teach people what you can do with your voice, whether you have small or big talent, there is a way for everybody.

To me you are the female equivalent of Ronnie James Dio!

Jutta: Thank you Geert. That for sure is an honor. The number 1 of the top 10 singers of all time: Dio R.I.P.

Feel free to add any information that you want to share …

Jutta: to all the readers, stay healthy -ALL do something for ALL.
We will only survive this corona plague, with discipline and respect for other people.
Take care and don't forget our music, the clubs 'till we're sharing better times again. And thank you for your support of our music.


Bio Jutta Aug. 2020

Timetable of Jutta Weinhold's music career up to 2020.

Alle CDs 2020 pdf

Full discography of JUTTA WEINHOLD up to 2020