This is the entire story about how I got into music , how I started to love Heavy Metal and how I got to the state where I am now:
When I was about 9 or 10 years old I always sung along with songs in the radio when my mum used to listen to a German Schlager radio programm. In school I listened to bands like Sweet or Bay city rollers hahaha...
I started to listen to Heavy Metal in late 1978 when I first heard the live album Tokyo Tapes from the Scorpions. Then I heard Unleashed in the East from Priest and it totally knocked me out !!
After visting many Heavy Metal concerts and headbanging to bands like for instance: Maiden, Accept , Priest, Saxon etc. etc.... this heavy stuff really got into my blood !! I started to get in trouble in school as I kept on singing during the lessons ...... so I decided to team up with musical friends just form a fun school band. (The funny thing is that Klaus our drummer from Primal Fear was doing this with me..... so we met very early). After that I joined another hobby band where I used to play the guitar (rythm guitar but not really good hehehehe) and where I shared the vocal abilities with another guy. But this was no real heavy metal stuff so I looked out for a band who was playing my kind of thing. So I joined a band from Stuttgart called Beast of Prey. They really forced me to push my way of singing as I had to compete against those fucking loud Marshall and Hiwatt amplifiers !! So it happened one day that Beast of Prey gave a concert in a school hall. As a surprise the musicians from Tyran Pace have visited the gig ! This was somehow a great honour for me in those days as I heard them playing a long time before and they were really good !! They somehow have gotten a similar style like Priest and covered the song The Sinner as well. So after the show of that band called Beast of Prey they came up to me and asked me if I wanted to join Tyran Pace !! This was like a dream come true to me when I was just 18 years old. I got an offer from a german band called Helloween as they heard the second album of Tyran Pace and liked it very much but I didnt join in as they were coming from Hamburg which is in the North of Germany and I am coming from the South. And of course I didnt wanna leave my friends in Tyran Pace. Some years later they had huge success with the album Keeper of the seven keys Part 1 with Michael Kiske as vocalist !! So of course in the end I regreted it that I didnt join Helloween.... but thats the way it goes......
After recording 3 albums with Tyran Pace and collecting many experience in playing live or recording in the studio we had some bloodseeking so called managers which got us in such a bad situation moneywise that we just had to quit Tyran Pace. The guitarplayer Oli Kaufmann and me joined a cover band 150 miles away from our homes where we coverd songs from GunsnRoses to John Miles ... somehow we were musical prostitutes but we had to do it to pay back money to courtfighting assholemanagers, T-shirt companies, banks etc etc... Then Kai Hansen called me up to sing a demo for a band in Hamburg when Helloween was recording the Keepers Part 2 album. So we got to know each other personally and he very much liked the way how I sing. Some years later Kai left Helloween but wanted to continue in making music so we teamed up and formed Gamma Ray. We recorded 3 studio albums, 1 live album and 2 live videos. We did 3 videoclips as well.
With Gammay Ray I somehow really stepped into the heavy metal scene of the whole world. We were touring around Europe, I got over to Japan for the frist time in my life. It was just another great moment to perform in the same concert hall where Judas Priest recorded their live album Unleashed in the East in the famous Koseinenkin Hall!!!
After being together for 5 years the guys from G-Ray wanted me to move up to Hamburg. I said okay if you offer me the chance that I can live up there (I mean having a flat and something to eat means to get money) I will come. But nothing happend ! No offers !! So I didnt move. On the other hand I found out that Kai wanted to sing on his own again as he did in the early Helloween days. He sung a song of the 3rd G-Ray album Insanity and Genius. Then Dirk the second guitarist wanted to sing his song on his own............. so I really thought ... these guys dont really want to have a vocalist. We went seperate ways.......
I knew for one year already that Rob Halford left Judas Priest but I didnt do an application so far as I never thought they will ever take me. But then Edgar my former bandmate from Tyran Pace called me up and gave me the phone number from, the personal manager from Priest.. Mrs. Jayne Andrews. She said that I should send some material ..... so I did.... sending three albums of G-Ray and the live video from Japan. After one month a letter came in saying that the band (Priest) like the way I am singin so they put me one the short list............... oh my God.......... what a long short list !!! After several of promises like: I promise you right now that you will definately gonna be invited to do an audition............... it never happened !!! I didnt even have contact to one of the bandmembers......... nothing ......... just waiting............ reheasring Judas Preist songs with some friends of my hometown.................. waiting...................... singing Priest songs 2 and a half hours every second day...................waiting................ getting promises.............. waiting.................waiting for Glenn Tiptons solo album....................... promises................. waiting ............. this whole process was taking two and a half years of my precious time as I couldnt join another band ........ and there were many offers.......... but what should you do if you wait for an audition for one of the top heavy metal bands in the world ?? You cant just team up with some hungry musicians to create a new band ..............
Then another letter came in:
I am very sorry to have to inform you that we will not be holding any auditions for the position of vocalist for Judas Priest as the band have found their man. We had always intended to audition as I told you, but this singer came totally out of the blue and is everything the band were looking for, so they do not feel the need to try anyone else out.
The band send their apologies and thank you for being so patient they know its no consolation but they would like you to know that out of thousands of applicants we received your vocal abilities stood out and you were amongst the final ten who they felt had something special.
Once again, we are very sorry about this, but wish you luck for the future.
WOW !!! What a hammer of disappointment !!!! I had no more Gamma Ray, I had no Judas Priest , I had nothing ............... just sitting in a black whole of disappointment !!!
One year later I got a phonecall from Tom Naumann the guitarist of Sinner. He asked me if I want to join them in the studio singin some lines for the choirs for their new album. I had nothing to lose and said yeah of corse........
Somehow this is funny........ I knew the members of Sinner for 15 years as were living in the same city but we never really got in touch as they were concentrating on their stuff and I on mine with Tyran Pace and Gamma Ray.
So I had a great converation with Mat (Sinner). He just told me: Hey Ralf ! You have such a great voice............ you cannot just sit around and do nothing !!! We joined forces and composed some songs.............made a demo..........sent it to Japan (JVC) as they were waiting for some material from me anyway.......... and........... here we go............. had another contract.
Thats the way how Primal Fear started and I am saying it over and over again we are a real band !!! No project !!! After all these years of disappointement I am back with my new freinds from my hometown !! WE ARE PRIMAL FEAR and we are about to kick ass with some agressive melodic heavy metal !!! Showing everybody that we have something to say in the world of heavy metal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THIS STORY HAS BEEN WRITTEN BY RALF SCHEEPERS HIMSELF AND THE REASON I ADDED IT HERE- EVEN THOUGH IT CAN BE FOUND ALL OVER THE WEB-WAS THAT THE FEBRUARY 2002 ISSUE OF THE STEEL EAGLE WILL BE ALL ABOUT MR. SCHEEPERS-FEATURING AN INTERVIEW THAT WILL BE THE FOLLOWING TO THIS STORY, HIS OPINION ON THE NEW ALBUM AND SO ON...