Hansi was born on August 10th, 1966 in Lank-Latum, the city’s name nowadays is Meerbusch. Up to now he has always lived in Krefeld and still has no intention to move anywhere else. It is his city. He grew up in the medieval village Linn, which is a suburb of Krefeld, where in his childhood he was always playing football in the shadows of an old castle, named Burg Linn. That might explain a bit. Apart from playing football and being attracted by fairy tales, Hansi was thrilled by good music very early.
He discovered his passion for classic rock bands such as the Electric Light Orchestra, Genesis or Queen when he was ten. But he was fully dedicated to the dark side after he listened to Deep Purple’s 24 Carat Purple album for the first time at the age of 12. The album shocked and amazed him at the same time. Already knowing „Smoke on the Water“ and „Black Night“ for a few years, he completely lost himself in mind-blowing songs like „Fireball“, „Speed King“ and „Child in time“ when listening to them for the first time. Led Zeppelin, The Who and many more bands followed afterward.
Along with his very tolerant parents, Hansi also profited from very tolerant neighbors who did not complain when he was playing Deep Purple over and over again as loud as possible. His turntable, which was rather a kind of sewing machine, destroyed every vinyl played on it, after a while. Back then, no one cared too much about sound quality. In comparison to the sound of his stereo equipment, even nowadays streaming would be considered a high-end listening experience. His parents, trying to make sure Hansi would survive his over-motivated passion for football, did not pay attention to his love for music too much. Apart from maybe being annoyed by the noise coming down from Hansi’s attic room they appreciated his passion for music more than his obsession with football. Apart from his love to listen to good music and maybe his simple tick that he was constantly humming, there was no interest in Hansi in becoming a musician at all.
Since his best friend’s father was the leader of a marching band, Hansi, together with his brother, joined this marching band named „Linner Fanfarenzug“. Destiny goes strange ways, sometimes. This day, for sure, was the proudest moment for Hansi’s mother in her son’s career as a musician. To be honest, Hansi sucked big time on fanfares and horns, and his brother was certainly more talented in it. They both did not enjoy German carnival marches nor traditional marches. So, they quit after maybe two or three years. In the meanwhile, Hansi had bought a classical acoustic guitar from another friend. At least the friend said, it was a guitar. Was it a friend at all? For the time, yes. He is not important for the rest of the story. Even though that guy played in Hansi’s football team for a while and sucked big time in playing football. Almost everyone did in comparison to Hansi. That is at least what he says.
Back to Hansi’s transformation into a musician… Different instrument, same story; Hansi failed big times But he loved to be a guitarist. He believed it could be great fun. He was sure, he was not getting better because of the guitar. But there is more than just one guitar on this planet. Soon after he had bought a new guitar, Hansi realized that this guitar wasn’t any good, either, and therefore bought a third one, which was a little pricier, though not expensive. That guitar also sucked. Not as much as the first two ones, but enough to be sold, again. Hansi was even more convinced, it had not been the guy behind the instrument, but the instrument itself. There was no doubt, he could be wrong. Unfortunately, this last guitar, which was electric, was not much better, either. But it at least came with a (far too quiet) amplifier. Volume would have helped tremendously. Bad luck. In the meantime, Hansi turned 16, 17 or 18, or maybe all of it at the same time and he should have been aware that he would never make it as a football player, but he was not.
Ok, he was able to play his version of „The House of the Rising Sun“ (when no one listened) and he had an impressive book which contained the scales of all Led Zeppelin Songs, but apart from this, his skills to become a Heavy Metal musician, or any other musician were highly limited. To his further defense he was able to play a punk version of Metallica’s „Phantom Lord“ as well as he could play some folk pickings around that time. He loved football, Heavy Metal and beer drinking. In the latter he was good. Not as good as some of his friends, but better than most other people he knew. With a bunch of these very talented beer drinkers, he intended to found a band called „Executor“. We all know the story, the will is strong, but the flesh is weak. Multiply that by 6 and you have zero as a result. The band never had one proper rehearsal, unfortunately. But the guys had a lot of fun, this much can be said.
Though there was one incident which could be considered as a rehearsal… almost. Maybe there still is a tape existing somewhere of this legendary and glorious rehearsal. Only God knows. The guys played Dead Kennedy’s „We’ve got a bigger problem now“ for hours and hours. The future looked bright for these young, talented bunch of people, but Hansi somehow had the feeling that Executor would not lead him very far. Yet, no one could have guessed his next steps. He immediately left Executor when he met André in school and was offered the job of a bassist and a vocalist in André’s band „Zero Fault“. Hansi knew that bass guitars have four strings, which is less than a 6-string and vocals were related to screaming. That he could do for a while. He had a plan – of course. A fairly simple plan… and that was to become the rhythm guitarist of this band; rather earlier than later. He would play false and hideous games to get rid of the other rhythm guitarist and then …
Maybe for the first and only time Hansi failed at a plan…
The band’s name was changed into „Lucifer’s Heritage“ and the rest can be told in fast forward: school happened at the same time, but was of no importance. There are a few school degrees that no one cares about. He also saved André a year in school (maybe Hansi’s biggest accomplishment in 14 years of school) by posing as André in one of his exams. The teacher was old and couldn’t tell the difference between two long haired guys anyway. André rewarded Hansi with lots of food and beer. He redeemed the prize and paid his dues.
On the same day Hansi met André for the first time, he also became aware of his future wife Andrea. André and Andrea – at the same day. This cannot be coincidence. Together with Andrea Hansi has one son, Jonas.
A little more than 40 years after Hansi has discovered his passion for music – things have not changed much, he still enjoys an easy-going life. Heavy Metal, fairy tales (now called Fantasy literature), having fun with his family and a glass of beer or wine here and there is what Hansi loves the most. Apart from a little more than a hand full of exciting guest appearances, Hansi has also joined forces with his friend Jon Schaffer and together they established a second band project „Demons & Wizards“. After two albums in 2000 and 2005, there was a bit of silence for the last fourteen years, but recently the two appeared on stage for a couple of shows in Europe and North America, where they were accompanied by Joost van den Broek (Ayreon Universe, After Forever), Jake Dreyer (Iced Earth, Witherfall), as well as Frederik and Marcus. After accomplishing their touring missions, Jon and Hansi will finish their third studio album.
While the BG camp is about to finish the songwriting for the successor of „Beyond the Red Mirror“, Hansi and André have finally managed to finish the production of „Legacy of the Dark Lands“, the ambitious orchestral project, the two have been working on for more than 20 years. Hansi considers this the most skillful and most important album of his career.