LINE UP from left to right:
Axel Rudi Pell (guitar), Jan Yildiral (drums),
Roland Hag (bass), Peter Burtz
(vocals). Tom Eder (guitar)
emerged during a particularly golden period in
the history of german metal and
would provide a worthy legacy of some finely crafted
in best period of NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy
Their distance to most of known german metal bands
and their own style and sound are characterizing.
STEELER took place in a small time slot but have influenced
docends of bands until now. Their abstinence and the
surrounding secrecy made them even more special and
wanted by their fans.
The band was founded by first
two band members Axel Rudi Pell (guitar) and Volker
Krawczak (bass) in 1982 in
the industrial area of Bochum/germany.
The fledgling group recorded their first demo during
1982, utilizing the services of vocalist Karl Holthaus,
on loan from local act NEMO.
STEELER took the first demos to SCORPIONS producer
Dieter Dierks who chose not to pursue his
original interest in the band, although there must
have been more interest in the tape that fell
into the hands of Accept who were having problems
with Udo Dirkschneider at that time and
were covertly auditioning possible replacements. Accept
auditioned Holthaus, but eventually
settled their differences with Dirkschneider without
the press getting wind of the original problem.
The '82 Demo containig the songs 'Love For Sale' and
'Call Her Princess' almost got huge radio-airplay
and was also played in Tony Jaspers legendary BBC-"HM"-Show
- a real honour in that time. Being noticed around
many rockmusic mags in europe the band continues to
work hard for recognition. Prior to that time the
band had been
called `Sinner` but was quickly changed into `Steeler`
later on after Yngwie Malmsteen`s similar US-formation
had split up. In 1983 the new band members Peter Burtz
(vocals) who was known of other local heavy metal
bands and Tom Eder (guitar) of `Fallen Angel` joined
the band. Peter and Tom were close friends and knew
each other very well since they went to school together.
Peter was a young outstanding frontman and singer
with extraordinary mental talents in motivation and
management. Soon he was covered as the bands leader
and voice in lots of directions. Tom grew up - guitar
under his pillow in the nighttime and on his neck
in the daytime - doing playalongs and compositions
all the time. A matter that should prove very worthy
later on. He is said to be `Mr. Jukebox` for playing
any song you like by heart. The fact that there had
been no good drummer within the formation at that
time had been stopped when former `Avenger` Drummer
Jan Yildiral (drums) who already was well known in
that time for playing several rock and metal bands
was invited to join the band in 1983. Peter and Jan
had already recorded some demo tapes together with
german heavy band Avenger (which is RAGE nowadays)
who were looking for a solo singer in 1983. Jan as
a foundation member of Avenger who was also known
for his similarity to Iron Maiden`s drummer Clive
Burr, wasn`t easy to get at first when he was offered
to join the band. He started drumming at age 7 being
very inspired by his father a professional percussionist
and early drummers such as John Bonham or Carmine
Appice. After first auditions he was convinced especially
with axeman Axel Rudi Pell`s outstanding rhythm guitar
and heavy riffing. The complete first line-up was
found and after refitting songs and arrangements there
were lots of offers concerning record companies and
editors on the new demo material.
The first record contract was signed at the legendary
european recordlabel `Earthshaker Records`. Axel Thubeauville
was the producer of the first STEELER album in 1984
who was also the editor of german chapter of Aardschok
Magazine in that time. The first record had been recorded
in STEELER`s hometown Bochum at Studio Wahn in hands
of soundengineer Ralph Hubert with small budget but
nevertheless engagement and passion. The composition
material was fantastic and can even be felt through
the poor production circumstances. The good songwriting
and hooklines were soon (dis)covered by others. You
can simply find elements that are very close to STEELER
songs on records of other metal bands. A promiscous
example for which it is said to be plagiated by another
famous german metal band is the STEELER song `Hydrophobia`.
These first songs headed to be real live-shooters
exciting the crowd whenever presented. Although recording,
production, sound and distribution of this first album
hadn`t gone too well it became a desired classic album
which found a lot of positively astonished fans and
listeners. During that time the first gigs took place
and the STEELER guillotine-logo is created. It originally
looked very sharp and deep as first promo-pic but
isn`t really visible on the printed covers later on.
One of the best concerts in 1984 took place at Stadthalle
Bochum-Wattenscheid/Germany together with former Dieter
Dierks (Scorpions) favourite new band `Bullet` in
early 1984 when the smashing new german heavy metal
sound of STEELER hit the crowd with premium-metal
livesongs like `call her princess` and `love for sale`.
The Top act `Bullet` wasn`t very enthusiastic of their
support act doing and performing so well smashing
the 3000 people crowd in excitement and headed up
to bad manners when they cut off stage lights and
sound during `Steeler`s famous song `Chains are broken`.
There was definetely a little bang after the show
when Tom Eder hit a `Bullet` responsible for this.
This little incident has never been forgotten at all
for being an absolutely premium example for that kind
of topact behavior. You can find something about this
cheek as a running gag on all following Steeler album
The first album: Steeler/Steeler
01. "Chains Are Broken" 02.
"Gonna Find Some Place in Hell" 03. "Heavy Metal Century"
04. "Sent from the Evil" 05.
"Long Way" 06. "Call Her Princess" 07. "Love for Sale"
08. "Hydrophobia" 09. "Fallen Angel"
releasing the first album Steeler played a lot of
shows in and out of germany.
Steeler was in everyone`s mind in that metal-springbreak.
Several rock and metal magazines
such as the famous english `Kerrang`, dutch `Aardshock`,
german `Bravo`, american `Hitparader` and other early
metalmags had started reporting intensively about
the new german heavy metal band. Steeler headed towards
becoming a real newcomer in european and german metal
scene. The tough show and rough sound was very memorable
to most of the fans. Pyrobombs and open fire in a
massive stage acting and lots of surprises included
their shows and were soon covered by others.
The band became a desired german and continental metal-act.
Most of club or arenashows were
STEELER soon toured benelux and switzerland where
they played a lot of shows like famous Dynamo/Eindhoven,
Zurich, Groningen or Amsterdam together with other
bands of that time like Warlock, the brandnew released
Metallica, Helloween, Bullet, Vengeance, Running Wild,
Pretty Maids, Stormwitch, Trance or Gravedigger. First
big festival gigs were held in 1986.
A proposed tour with Doro`s WARLOCK turned into a
disaster due to problems with WARLOCK's manager and
pretty jealousy existing between the two managements
although some band members were good friends often
visiting each other in Düsseldorf and Bochum`s
local metal clubs. Especially Doro is said to be addicted
to STEELER in friendship. Finishing lots of concerts
and compositions the band is ready to record a new
album, The band's second album 'Rulin' the Earth'
took almost 25 days of recording time and was laid
down at Horus Sound Studios of `ELOY` owner and singer
Frank Bornemann in Hanover. Sound and production had
been improved this time. It sold more than 30.000
known copies up to now as the group proceeded to play
every 'toilet' and stage they could in a bid for greater
Many small or big shows took place and the band got
more and more experienced and professional by the
rough life on tour. With the Earthshaker deal now
over STEELER signed to SPV record company, although
legal problems with Earthshaker would persist for
some time afterwards especially concerning the payment
of royalties and the old label naturally not being
2nd album: Steeler/Ruling the Earth (1985)
01. "The Resolution"
02. "Ruling the Earth" 03. "Shellshock" 04. "Let the
Blood Run Red" 05. "Heading for the End"
06. "Maniac" 07. "Run with the Pack" 08. "S.F.M. 1"
09. "Turning Wheels"
46 Shows in the next 14 month they took a time out
and paused unfortunately for other reasons. Having
begun working on demo tapes of songs for the proposed
third album STEELER parted company with Volker Krawczak.
As the subject of the band's image had come up it
had been decided that the unfortunate bassist, a big
man, did not particularly fit into the scheme of things
and the band felt it had no choice but to replace
him. This circumstance should prove as a mistake later
on especially for the fact that Volker Krawczak was
a very honest and mentally good person. For shure
he would refuse to speak with his former colleagues
for a good three years afterwards. Volker's place
was taken by French bassist Herve Rossi, previously
with ANTHRACITE and a friend of drummer Jan Yildiral
who had been asked by the band to look for a substitute.
Anthracite was a heavy band from Frejus/southern France,
who were known for their company to guitar-wizard
Nono Grieve of french metal band `Trust` who had recently
lost their drummer Nicko McBrain to Iron Maiden before
this time. Whilst Rossi certainly fitted STEELER's
concept on the image front, it was quickly discovered
that he was rather lacking in any prowess as a musician.
Rossi may have been hired for looking like the renowned
Mötley Crüe bassplayer Nikki Sixx, but he
didn't manage to cope with the hard and rough bass
arrangements that were necessary to hit the feel for
the songs. Therefore the job was vacant again soon.
The 3rd album was produced by ELOY's Frank Bornemann,
although Axel Rudi Pell claims the majority of the
work was in effect carried out by Czech born engineer
Jan Nemec who was very engaged. A brillant and very
innovative sound technician of that time, already
adding masterpieces out of early ATARI-STF computer
programming, sampling and triggering in his works.
He was also known for
his good work with Pretty Maids and Helloween. Ex
SCORPIONS axeman ULI JON ROTH was in the same studio
at the time and Axel took the opportunity of inviting
him to play on a track that appeared on a 'Metal Hammer'
compilation album at the time. Having dispatched Rossi
back to France STEELER recruited ex AXE VICTIMS rhythm
guitarist Roland Hag as the band's new bass player
and hit the road, managing to add some shows in Holland
and Switzerland to the regular german commitments.
'Strike Back' benefitting from better material, improved
musicianship and a polished production,
picked up worldwide sales in the region of respectable
124.000 copies up to now setting up the mood for a
big tour together with several opening acts round
europe in the time during Decembre 1986 up to Summer
1987. That time can be described as the highlighted
part in STEELER`s timeline when they reached the top
positions of european metal bands touching german
and european charts and were likely offered a lot
of different directions concerning management, touring,
and record company. The ballad `Waitin for a star`
and the stamping `Night
after Night` gut huge airplay and can be found on
separate single and lots of compilation albums like
`Metal Ballads`,`Best of metal` and similar releases
worldwide. The `Strike Back` Portrait coverwork is
done by Julia M.Goode who is also known for her artwork
to Ozzy Osbourne`s covers like `Bark at the moon`
and `Diary of a madman`. Especially Japan, the US
and Asia is a big sale market for this. It hadn`t
been mentally easy for the young band mates to make
big and right decisions during that period of time
unexperienced in business
focussing music and lifestyle.
3rd album: Steeler/Strike Back (1986)
01. Chain Gang 02. Money Doesn't
Count 03. Danger Comeback 04. Icecold 05. Messin'
Around With Fire
06. Rockin' The City 07. Strike Back 08. Night After
Night 09. Waiting For A Star
touring germany with english SAXON after releasing
the 4th album `Undercover Animal` in
a co-headlining tour 1988 that is mostly unmentioned
by SAXON historians for some reasons
the fourth 88/89 album 'Undercover Animal' which also
has been recorded in Hanover under directions of Victory`s
Tommy Newton only wound up selling known 64.000 copies.
The preproductions and the sound had once more been
improved and been well organized but anyhow the powerful
STEELER stamina and mind directions had been changed.
It would be during the writing of songs for the planned
fifth album that AXEL RUDI PELL decided to leave the
group, disenchanted at the band's more pop chorus
oriented direction, officially departing on November
11 1988. STEELER opted to continue without Pell, hiring
a guitarist from the Frankfurt area known as Vic.
Before that time in July 88 JAN YILDIRAL left STEELER
not satisfied with egocentric situation of some bandmates
and more commercial music directions that had turned
them back after successful `STRIKE BACK` album. First
he played with Udo Dirkschneider`s brother and singer
Peter in his new formed band `Venice` the next year
after leaving STEELER. Former guitarplayer AXEL RUDI
PELL offered him to join his solo project but he wouldn`t
at that time for other reasons and refused. Later
he joined former tour comrades DARXON with singer
Massimo de Matteis and guitar wizard Tom Dielewski
reformed band and recorded latest DARXON `Shout`-album
in 92. That group tended to be very promising but
had just one main show and split up before first touring.
Being offered to record with `Blue Velvet`, a german
Dokken-like metalband, he`s also playing together
with at `Wacken-Open Air` festival in 1995 and joined
up for a period. Meanwhile STEELER recorded a three
track demo together in with two new band mates Vic(g)
and Franco(d) and tried a comeback show at their favourite
club Zeche/Bochum without AXEL and JAN in 89, but
did not really fit and split up three or four months
down the line which is the last official live action
of the band.
Wheras Pell chose to pursue what turned out to be
a very successful solo career nowadays
(having teamed up with his old pal Volker Krawczak
once more and several american musicians like
Malmsteen`s ex-singer Jeff Scott Soto and later on
nevertheless Jonny Gioeli(v) or Mike Terrana(d)) his
former bandmates have engaged themselves in a variety
of other careers. At one time Peter Burtz was the
editor of german metal magazine 'Metal Hammer' before
taking the opportunity to work in the upper echelons
of the EMI record label founding his own very successful
production company later on. He is nowadays one of
germanys best comedy producers and hosts a lot of
different famous artists and comedians. Drummer Jan
Yildiral started traveling the world finishing his
studies in tourism. He moved to Miami/Florida later
on and is now running an international travel and
event agency in germany. He is still playing drums
in his industrial project `MORGENSTEIN` becoming an
industrial metal drummer. Axeman Tom Eder is working
for a radio station in Bochum reporting
on events in the local courts playing several bands.
Roland is working as an editor of a famous german
magazine also returning to his guitar in local bands
in his home town Wuppertal and Cologne.
It is often said that if STEELER hadn`t split after
4th album they would still continue and be
one of best and origin german bands nowadays. Several
reunion offers for doing some
european metal festival shows in the original line-up
had recently been denied.
the stamping STEELER-sound and spectacular powerful
metal shows that
can nowadays be compared to german RAMMSTEIN somehow
- even if they hadn`t been
that width - will still be unforgotten and a class
apart in classic german heavy metal music.
LATEST NEWS/EVENTS 2014/2015
Steeler has done 30th anniversary reunion show at
one of germany`s top metal festivals
at Balingen/Germany `Bang Your Head` festival 10-12th
July 2014 within 25th anniversary show of hosting
Axel Rudi Pell in front of nearly 20.000 people together
with bands such as Twisted Sister, Europe, Anthrax,
MSG, Exodus and many more.
The whole show has been audio and video recorded in
dolby surround quality and will soon be released as
DVD/Blueray/Audio and video disc by Axel Rudi Pell
in April 2015.
Go for it and enjoy this wonderful event including
all original Steeler members and a number of various
famous guest artists such as original members of ARP,
Dio, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Yngwie Malmsteen, Pretty
Maids and many more.
We will keep you up
with latest news whenever it is indicated.
Heavy Metal is our passion :-)
4th album: Steeler/Undercover Animal (1988)
01. "Hunter or Hunted" 02. "Undercover Animal" 03."Shadow
in the Redlight" 04. "Hard Breaks" 05. "Criminal"
06. "Rely on Rock" 07. "Stand Tall" 08. "The Deeper
the Night" 08. "Knock Me Out" 09. "Bad to the Bone"
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