Danish ‘Artillery’ finally landing on US shores

The Danish thrash metal pioneers, Artillery, will be coming to the US for the very first time in their three-decades-long career this summer to play just a couple of shows. One of those stops will be at the Maryland Deathfest. Via email, I interviewed one of the group’s founding members, guitarist Michael Stützer. Together with his brother, Morten, they launched this European mainstay of thrash in 1982.

Michael is probably one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic rockers you are ever going to encounter. Don’t be surprised if you see him headbanging along with everyone else in the crowd either before or after Artillery plays on Friday, May 25. From his replies that follow, it is evident he loves what he does.

Michael Stutzer

Artillery has been around for so long! What is the key to your longevity and resilience despite changes?

We love playing this kind of music. You know when you stand on the stage and feel the response from those die-hard thrashers, you are still being motivated so much so you overcome all troubles. We feel so grateful for this support through almost 30 years and are looking forward to hitting the USA for the first time ever.

What genres of music do you listen to?

We listen to a lot of music including blues and 70´s rock, but basically metal and hard rock like everything from Jethro Tull to Slayer. Bands like Black Sabbath, Exodus etc. are on my record player almost every day. I have a collection of around 3000 CDs. And none of them are downloaded.

I was surprised to learn that you had not toured the US (or anywhere in North or South America, for that matter.) Is that correct? And why not? What do you plan to do while you are in US? I see you have a show at Saint Vitus. What else is planned?

We are only playing the Maryland Deathfest and one show at Saint Vitus Bar in New York, then we are moving on to play South America with (German thrash metal band) Exumer. We tried for many years to come to the US, but it never really worked for us until now. But it´s never too late, and hopefully we will come back soon to play Texas, California and some of the other great places in the USA in the nearest future. We will stay in America between the 24th to the 28th of May, so I hope we will see a lot both in Maryland and New York.

Tell me about the metal scene in Denmark. What styles are popular now?

The most popular band in the “metal genre” at the moment is Volbeat. Bands like Mercenary, Hatesphere, King Diamond and newcomers in thrash like Impalers are also getting attention these days. Even old bands like Pretty Maids still have a lot of fans, but in my opinion the best metal act is still the defunct Mercyful Fate. As for Artillery, we are gaining more and more attention back home, which is great.

Are the Danes really the happiest people on the planet? 

I think Denmark is a very good land to live in. We really don’t have those big problems and mostly people care for each other and help where it’s needed. Denmark is a very small land with only 5 million people so it makes it easier to have a good security net. So maybe that’s why!

You are scheduled to play Barge to Hell. Have you ever played a musical cruise before? Have you ever gone on a cruise at all? What do you expect?

Yes, we played the Sweden Rock Cruise in 2009, and it was one of the highlights in our career so far. So we are looking forward to sail in the ocean between Florida and Nassau in good weather with all the other bands and the headbangers. Also the food I have heard is totally delicious. So we expect five great days away from the cold weather in Denmark!

What sort of merchandise will you have available for sale at the Maryland Deathfest?

We hope that we can have all our merchandise with us, T-shirts from all our albums, CDs, etc. You can check out our merch here or on our Facebook site.

Is there anything special that you think people ought to know about Artillery?

Yes, we really are so excited to see how the American thrashers are gonna react to our music. We will promise that we will deliver it 100%!


Thank you Michael! See you at MDF X!

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