Biography

„A NEW BEGINNING“

ROUGH SILK ARE BACK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FERDY DOERNBERG, who should be known as a member of the chartstorming AXEL RUDI PELL-Band and as sidekick of the legendary guitarplayer MATT GONZO ROEHR ( BÖHSE ONKELZ ) but has also worked with many different artists like ULI JON ROTH ( ex- SCORPIONS ), DESTRUCTION, HELLOWEEN, TOM ANGLRIPPER ( SODOM ), CRIMSON GLORY, JEFF KOLLMAN ( UFO ), JOHN WESLEY HARDING, GAMMA RAY, BRAINSTORM, DOMAIN, TARAXACUM and many others and has also released 5 soloalbums as a singer/songwriter so far has reformed his first and main band ROUGH SILK in 2008 after a 4 year hiatus.

The new bandmembers ANDRÉ HORT ( bass ), MIKE MANDEL ( guitars ) and ALEX WENN ( drums ) are young and hungry musicians from the Hanover-area who bring fresh blood and ethusiasm into the band and after the 2009-reunion album “A NEW BEGINNING” now the time is right for the new masterpiece “THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UNDEAD”.

ROUGH SILK have definitely created an own style. The name says it all : „Rough“ stands for the real heavy ( sometimes even trash-, hardcore- and punkrock-influenced ) metal ´side of the band and „Silk“ for the unusual singer-songwriter-elements and progressive rock-, folk-, jazz-, streetpunk- and often very weird-parts that made the band unique.

ROUGH SILK were founded in 1989 by FERDY DOERNBERG ( keyboards, slide-guitars & vocals ), HILMER STAACKE ( guitars ), JAN BARNETT ( lead vocals, guitars ), RALF SCHWERTNER ( bass, vocals ) and HERBERT HARTMANN ( drums, vocals ) and have released 8 albums ( “Rough Silk” – 1991, Roots of Hate“ 1993, „Walls of Never“ 1994 , „Circle of Pain 1996, „Mephisto 1997, „Beyond the sundown“- 1998“, “Symphony of Life”- 2001 and “End of Infinity” 2003 ) and one best-of-album ( „Wheels of Time“ 1999 ) before they split up after some line-up-changes in 2003.

After the success of the first albums ( especially the band´s 1994-breakthru-album “walls of never” ) they could build a good reputation as a live-act by suporting bands like DEEP PURPLE, DIO, SAVATAGE, MANOWAR, FATES WARNING, SPIN DOCTORS, LACUNA COIL, RIOT, THUNDERHEAD, TERRY HOAX, FURY IN THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE, EMERSON, LAKE and PALMER, MIDNIGHT OIL, THE SCORPIONS, STEPPENWOLF, FARMER BOYS, BLIND GUARDIAN, JAMES BROWN, MOTÖRHEAD, HEADHUNTER, JINGO DE LUNCH, KREATOR, HELLOWEEN, ACCEPT, MAMA´S BOYS, WHITESNAKE, AXXIS, EUROPE, SAXON, CROSSROADS and VICIOUS RUMORS as well as artists like BOB GELDOF, RORY GALLAGHER, ROGER CHAPMAN, KATRINA & THE WAVES, HANDS ON THE WHEEL or JEFF HEALEY

The original members JAN BARNETT and HILMER STAACKE left the band after the 3rd and the 5th album and had been replaced by THOMAS LUDOLPHY ( vocals ) and ANDREAS LASCHEWSKI who was later replaced ( after just one album – “circle of pain” ) by NILS WUNDERLICH ( guitars ). The original drummer HERBERT HARTMANN left the band after the 4th album in 1995 and got replaced by Ferdy´s brother CURT before he rejoined the band in 2001 for the album „Symphony of Life“ , that was co-produced by JON OLIVA, the mastermind of the legendary US-metal band SAVATAGE, who also sang a duet with Thomas on the album. The band and Oliva became friends as ROUGH SILK were supporting SAVATAGE on two European tours.

In March 2002 THOMAS LUDOLPHY left the band due to personal reasons but only a few minutes later it was clear, that they would not look for a new singer. On the band´s last album before the split, “End of Infinity”, Doernberg, Hartmann & Wunderlich shared the lead-vocals. That worked pretty well and in the live-situation it also did but after more than 40 shows as a four-piece it was obvious, that Doernberg, who wanted to stick to the roots and keep the band heavy and the other 3 bandmembers, who were more into prog-rock and pop, had no common vision anymore.

So after a successful show at a metal-festival in Peine where they had performed the “old” metalsongs from the first albums plus some of the heavier newer tunes one more time, it was definitely over.

Doernberg stayed busy playing in the studio and on stage with acts like ULI JON ROTH ( ex- SCORPIONS ), DESTRUCTiON, CHRIS CAFFREY ( SAVATAGE ), WARREN DE MARTINI ( RATT ), BOBBY RONDINELLI ( RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH ), ROBBIE KRIEGER ( THE DOORS ), GRAHAM BONNETT ( RAINBOW ), DON DOKKEN ( DOKKEN ) , ROY Z, POWERGOD, TONY FRANKLIN ( BLUE MURDER / WHITESNAKE ), CHRIS POLAND ( MEGADETH ), JEFF SCOTT SOTO, DAVID PAICH ( TOTO ), BRAINSTORM, DOMAIN and many others as well as he toured again with AXEL RUDI PELL & JEFF KOLLMAN but even though he also performed his original music doing many solo-shows as a singer/songwriter something was missing.

So he started looking for young and hungry musicians to form a new metal band :

ANDRÉ HORT, who had been ROUGH SILK´s webmaster for a few years already, was an obvious choice. André had opened up for ROUGH SILK with his band A.O.D. a few times and after the band had split up, A.O.D.´s guitarplayer MIKE MANDEL, who is now also the bassplayer for MATT GONZO ROEHR, also joined the newborn group.

A few month later they found the perfect drummer : ALEX WENN, the longtime drummer of the famous German singer GUNTHER GABRIEL, – a true original who plays with a lot of soul and also has a big heart. That was very important because they wanted to form a real band and not just another project.

They started writing together and after a while it was obvious, that the music still sounded a lot like the metal-side of ROUGH SILK combined with some fresh new influences but definitely without the pop-experiments of the last albums.

Originally they had planned to give the band a new name but now Doernberg had to realize, that his songwriting style makes a metal-song automaticly sound like ROUGH SILK. So they decided to become the “new” ROUGH SILK !

Only one month later they gave it a try opening up for the legendary american speed-metal-band AGENT STEEL. And it went very well !

Because Mike and André come from the trash- and death metal-scene their way of playing is very agressive and up to date and makes the old songs sound fresh and new. Alex´s pounding drumstyle brings an exciting contrast to their playing while Doernberg, who plays more slide-guitar and less keyboards, is now the only lead singer and the frontman of the band and because of the experience of his solo-shows and from the last Rough Silk line-up he surprisingly became a very good entertainer who really seems to enjoy his new position in the center of the stage a lot.

The reunion album “a new beginning” was released in 2009 and there was one special song on it : “A song for Hilmer” – Ferdy Doernberg : “I wrote and right away performed it in L.A. on an old piano in the dressing room ( thanks a lot to my friend ROY Z for helping recording it right away! ) the day I got the news, that our original guitarplayer, Hilmer Staacke, had died the day before because of an asthmatic stroke. I was in L.A. playing with Uli Jon Roth, Warren De Martini ( RATT ), Roy and Robbie Krieger ( THE DOORS ).

Hilmer and I went to school and had founded Rough Silk together, and after he had left the band we still were getting along very well, even though we didn´t have so much contact anymore, which is something I regret a lot now. Musically Hilmer was an underrated guitarplayer , who had a great tone and was more into melodies than the “shredding”-thing.

Besides Jeff Beck one of his favorite guitarplayers was Warren de Martini from Ratt.

As I was now playing with Warren in L.A. I thought of Hilmer and told Warren, that I had a friend who was a big fan of his playing. The next day Warren brought a poster to the show that he had signed for Hilmer. I wanted to give it to him on his birthday on the 5th of June. But 10 minutes later my cellphone rang and Ralf ( the original bassplayer of Rough Silk ) told me that Hilmer had died.

Of course I was totally shocked. 2 days after I got back I went to Hilmer´s funeral and that was really tough.

People I knew had died before ( like a few month ago Peter Wells ) but nobody so close.

Hilmer and me grew up together and shared so many things.

For Rough Silk he was very importand and he definitely left his mark on the songs of the first albums. In the first years we rehearsed 6 times a week for 8 hours and all songs got worked out together in the rehearsal room. The basic ideas were always by Hilmer, Jan and myself.

Hilmer´s songs ( like for example. “Don´t leave me now” und “Ups and downs” ) had a very strong seventies-touch ( way before the Seventies-revival ) and were very different from the typical riff-orientated songwriting-style of the end of the eighties.

His always present disease was one reason for him to leave the band in 1995 but also he was very shy person wo didn´t like to be in the spotlight and also hated the business-part of being a professional musician a lot.

On the very long European tour with Helloween ( 3 months ) he already had problems with asthma and allergies.

Hilmer was a very sensitive and intelligent person and after he had left the band the “innocence” was gone. Even though all the people that played in Rough Silk later were great or at least good musicians this special “us against the world”-feeling of the original lineup was gone. ( I don´t mean the new line-up – I´m talking about the line-ups in between !!!! )

Hilmer later recorded an instrumental-Solo-CD called “wild desert” ( I played keyboards on that one, too ) and he also played a solo on my “Storyteller´s Rain”-CD.

After leavng the band he worked as a sessionplayer ( for a local radiostation, for example ) and gave guitar lessons.

He married and got a now 8 years old daughter who became the main focus of the last years of his life.

Hilmer only got 38 years old but his music will survive him.

I will never forget him and from now on when ever I´ll play songs like “walls of never” on a stage somewhere out there in this strange world I will think of him….”

The outro of the song also features Hilmer´s guitarplaying one last time – Ferdy and Hilmer had recorded some ambient-music in 1995 and never used it – so in the end of the album Hilmer can be heard one last time !

Since then ROUGH SILK have played many shows with many different bands like SICK OF IT ALL, VOLBEAT, DEMON, NIKKI PUPPET, AXXIS, KINGDOM COME, TANKARD, W.A.S.P and JADED HEART.

Now the time is right for a new chapter in the history of Rough Silk !

The new album “The Good, The Bad & The Undead” will be released on Rebellion-Records/Germany. It leads the Rough / Silk-contrast to the extreme !

Some parts are even “Jazz-Metal” and there are a lot of Metal-, Streetpunk-, Thrash-, Hardcore-, and even Deathmetal-influences on the album – on the other hand you can hear a russian accordion, trumpetparts, jazz, folk, tango, a “metal-samba”, stoner-rock, blues, punkrock……

If you call yourself an openminded-rockfan : This one´s for you !!!