Sabina Classen: A Timeless Warrior Of Metal

Greetings brothers and sisters! We are in the presence of greatness today, as we will be chatting with a living legend in the Heavy Metal genre. I am speaking of Sabina Classen, the multi-talented vocalist for the thrash metal band HOLY MOSES. One of the most impressive things about Sabina and this band is that they have stood the test of time, while a lot of their counterparts have fallen by the way side. In fact, HOLY MOSES is stronger than ever with a growing legion of rabid fans affectionatley named the ‘Bloodbound’.
At this moment the band is on tour with BENEDICTUM and about to unleash their latest metal classic, named "Agony Of Death" within the next couple of weeks. Ok, without further delay I give you Miss Sabina Classen....

Hello Sabina, on behalf of myself and Metal Maidens, I want to say it is an honor to finally get to speak with you today and thank you for taking the time for us in the middle of your tour....
Sabina: “It’s my pleasure, thanks for being interested in HOLY MOSES!”

How is the current tour going and where will you be traveling to?
Sabina: “The current tour is going all over Europe. From Germany to Spain to Slovenia. We have just finished our fifth show and hope to play for many of our great fans in the next few weeks!”

Veronica Freeman from BENEDICTUM is a pretty talented woman in her own right. What has it been like sharing a stage with her?
Sabina: “Yes, why not, I heard, I will also sing with her on the 25th anniversary of Doro Pesch, so I am looking forward to that.”

Any plans for a major tour of the US in the near future?
Sabina: “Funny that you ask. We have actually just received an offer to play in the US in the beginning of 2009. We have never done that yet, so you can probably understand we are excited to finally play there for the first time!”

HOLY MOSES performed at the Wacken festival this year. How was that experience for the band?
Sabina: “We’ve played Wacken a few times and that is always a great party. Our fans are always there, but we also have the opportunity to present ourselves to a lot of people, who don’t know us or our music. That is always a great experience.”

The band has done probably hundreds of live shows over the years and with that comes all the countless hours of riding on buses and sleeping in different hotels. Can you tell us some of the craziest things that have happened to you on the road in your career?
Sabina: “Oh, so many things have happened...but I can tell you one thing, which happened on the most recent Wacken Open Air... A fan in the audience asked one of our fans: Did you see? The singer of Holy Moses has tits, is he a transvestite?”

Can you tell something about your new album “Agony Of Death”?
Sabina: It’s been released since the 26th of September in Germany, since the 29th in Europe and in the States it will be released on the 07th of October."

Can you give a small hint as to some of the song titles on the CD?
Sabina: The titles vary throughout the various versions of the CD, but as you might have seen, there are a lot of psychological conditions in the song titles. So you can expect a sick album!"

If I am not mistaken, the band has released eight demos, three EPs and this will be the 12th full length CD, in what is a long and impressive resume of metal classics. Trying to improve upon greatness can never be easy, but in your opinion how does the new CD differ from your previous work?
Sabina: “The new CD is different from our other albums, which are also all different from each other, because we tried some new things. If you have the digipack or the vinyl version, you will hear a lot of atmospheric intros and outros to the songs, something we haven’t really done before. The actual songs are something special for us too. If you listen to a song like “World In Darkness”, it’s something we have never done before, musically and lyrically.”

Do you compose all the lyrics and the band does the music or is it all a shared effort?
Sabina: “The lyrics are all mine, but the music is really a shared effort. The band does write all of the riffs and rhythms, but we all arrange it together. I might not write any riffs, but I know what the band should sound like!”

Does the band have alot of freedom in the recording process?
Sabina: “We had a lot of freedom and time for this new record. For our last record “Strength, Power, Will, Passion”, there was some time pressure, but we could do all we wanted to do this time!”

Any new videos on the horizon?
Sabina: “End Of Time” is still our newest video at the moment. Keep an eye on our site for any news on possible new videos!”

HOLY MOSES for the most part has managed to keep its members mostly intact in the almost thirty years it has been together. At times has that been difficult to do?
Sabina: “We have changed members quite some times through the years. We have actually just counted it a couple of days ago, if you count all the members together, there’s thirty-nine of them. But that’s okay, if it’s not feeling right with someone in the band, you shouldn’t try to hang on to it just for the sake of keeping a lineup together. It might even help keeping your sound fresh and inspired!”

Your ex-husband Andy was actually in the band before you. Did he recruit you or was singing with a band something you always wanted to do?
Sabina: “Actually, I didn’t want to join the band. Andy was already in the band and I went with him, because he already was my boyfriend then. I heard they were crazy guys and I didn’t want to be in the band with them. So I did this bad growl in the microphone, when the bassplayer Ramon asked me to sing for them. He was happy with it. And now it’s twenty-seven years later and I’m still doing it. Life can be surprising!”

I am sure at times it was very difficult being in a band with your spouse?
Sabina: “As long as you are able to keep business matters business and private matters private, it’s not much of a problem. It was kind of hard when we divorced, but I have never stopped loving the music.”

There was a period for about five years, when the band was inactive. At that time did it cross your mind to let everyone go their seperate ways and maybe start something new?
Sabina: “I was actually doing something completely new at the time. I left the band after “Reborn Dogs” and started doing TEMPLE OF THE ABSURD. I needed to do something new back then, but I’m sure glad to be back!”

You have worked with a wide variety of talented musicians over the years such as Dan Lilker (NUCLEAR ASSAULT) and the legendary DORO, just to name a few. Are there any side projects planned for you sometime in the future?
Sabina: “There aren’t really any plans, but there are a lot of great guest musicians on our new album!”

It had to be very cool working with DORO. Have you two know each other a long time?
Sabina: “DORO and I have been great friends for about twenty years now. I have just recorded guest vocals for DORO’s new single “Celebrate” and we will perform on her 25th Anniversary show.”

Tell us about the ‘Bloodbound’?
Sabina: “You mean our fan club, Bloodbound? Bloodbound is a great group of people, who do lots of things for us. They are truly my family and I love them dearly. The song “Bloodbound Of The Damned” off the new album is for them!”

As one of your fans myself over the years, one word I always hear when your name comes up is respect. You seem to have commanded the respect and admiration of your thousands of adoring fans not only for being a pioneer in metal, but for also being a strong woman, who has never sold out her fans. How does it make you feel when you hear those things?
Sabina: “It’s always really great for me. I am very happy, that people see it like that!”

The current metal scene is bursting with talented females more today than at any time in history. What is your opinion of women in metal today?
Sabina: “It may not be what you want to hear, but I really don’t care. If the music is good, it’s good, regardless of the gender of the musicians. If the whole female thing was important to me, I wouldn’t have been in a band with four men!”

With your outstanding resume, you must know you are a role model for alot of young women getting started in metal music. Do you have any advice for them?
Sabina: “Follow your dreams and don’t let anybody keep you from trying to acheive them!”

I have been very fortunate in having made friends with a few other German bands in the scene, like RECKLESS TIDE and ORPHAN HATE. In your opinion Sabina, why is the metal scene so strong in Germany today?
Sabina: “Because there are a lot of good musicians, who want to play. And also because there are fans who want to hear it. You mentioned RECKLESS TIDE, in which our guitarist Olli also plays and our new bass player Thomas also plays in a cool thrash band, called DESILENCE. The scene has always been strong in Germany and it seems like it is getting stronger now. And that is just fine!”

Not only are you involved with HOLY MOSES, but you are a lablel manager for Armageddon Music, have your own radio show and now I hear you are writing a book. I only have one question for you... When the hell do you sleep?
Sabina: “When the tour bus is driving!”

Can you tell us a little about the book and when it might be finished?
Sabina: “I hope, it will be finished before our 30th anniversary in two years at latest!”

The demands of this business can take its toll on individuals both physically and mentally and it is very hard to have much of a life outside of a Metal band. How have you dealt with not falling into some of the trappings as so many other bands have done throughout the years?
Sabina: “My love for what I am doing and the love the fans give me is more than enough to make up for all the hard times I have had, physically and mentally.”

Has there ever been a time when you regreted not having a traditional lifestyle?
Sabina: “No. I have the best job in the world!”

As a young girl you made the decision to try out for HOLY MOSES. Did you ever in your wildest dreams think you would be doing this today and to have been such a big success at it?
Sabina: “As I told you earlier, I never made that decision! But when they heard me growl, I was hired on the spot and I started to love it so much, that there was no turning back anymore at some point.”

I know this is a lot to ask, but over the years are there any of your songs that have a special meaning to you or that have been some of your favorites?
Sabina: “It is hard to pick only one, because all of the songs (especially those on the new album) mean something special to me!”

Where can we get the new CD "Agony Of Death"?
Sabina: “In Europe, haha! I’m sure, there are plenty of stores on the internet, where you can order it! There will be an American release date on the 7th of October, and I hope you will get it with the great distribution of SPV.”

Is there anything about yourself that some of your fans may not know. Don’t hold back now?
Sabina: “Maybe that I’m still studying?”

What is in store for HOLY MOSES in the next few months and into 2009?
Sabina: “Well, as you have said before, we are now on tour promoting “Agony Of Death”. In the beginning of 2009, we have had an offer to finally tour the US for the first time in our existance. We can’t turn back now, can we? It would be great to finally play for our American fans!”

It has been an amazing experience getting to talk with you today Sabina and on behalf of Metal Maidens and myself, we want to thank you for taking the time for us today amidst all that you have going on right now. I cannot wait to hear the new music and maybe someday soon, I will get to see you on tour in the States. Good luck to you and the band in the coming year. Horns way up, Nick.
Sabina: “You will see us on tour in the States! Thanks for your time and thanks to all the readers for being interested. We hope to see all of you on our first US tour in the next few months!

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Nick Rohm, Metal Maidens 'zine / November 2008.

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