An Exclusive Interview With:

knightbat.gif (21495 bytes)Hailing from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, KNIGHT CRAWLER have been around for a decade, first as a Deep Purple cover band, and later becoming a great new band blending classic hard rock and AOR influences and styles. The band's disc World Of  Make Believe is available on A2 Records [reviewed previously at Universal Wheels],  and the band is preparing a 2nd album at present. Knight Crawler also has a 3 track video collection available.  Check out the band's site for more info

Thanks to keyboardist Roger Anderson for taking the time to getting this interview completed [even if he lifted a good bunch of info from the band's Bio!]


Q- Please introduce the band and the members.

Lead vocalist: Rick Gingerelli from Duluth, MN
Keyboards: Roger Anderson from Peoria, IL
Percussion: Billy Thayer from Minneapolis, MN
Guitars/vocals: Dave Wing from Owatonna, MN
Bass/vocals: Bret Deising from Detroit, Michigan
Live - Bass/vocals: Bobby Thayer from Minneapolis, MN

Q- Tell us more about the history of the band.

Press release:   "In the Upper Midwest region of the United States in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minneapolis, Minnesota, KNIGHT CRAWLER, a 5-piece Classic  and Contemporary Rock band emerges.  In contrast to Twin Cities' predecessors such as the "Artist" aka "Prince", "The Replacements", "Semisonic" or "Bob Dylan" (up the interstate aways), "Knight Crawler" puts forth a melodic mainstream hard rock edge.  Knight Crawler came together on New Year's Eve, '91, at The Mirage Concert Hall presenting a Deep Purple tribute.  Deep Purple overtones and shades of Uriah Heep are prevalent in their musical style.  In fact, a cover of "Stealin" by Heep is recorded live, which is a highlight as well as closer for the CD.   The "North Coast" music scene has supported their debut release of "World of Make Believe" in the States and the group has been acknowledged by the Minnesota Music Academy with nominations for "Best Rock CD" as well as "Best Rock Group" at the Minnesota Music Awards.  With an A2 Records release in Europe, the whole world will be watching to see if this winter wonderland "dream team" has got what it takes. You be the judge!

The "World of Make Believe" is the opening track and sets the groove.  It is written by standout lead vocalist, Rick Gingerelli.   Rick's lyric-writing ability also shines through on the cut,  "If U Want Me 2, " which surely is destined for success with airplay or possibly a movie soundtrack and is proof that these guys can write, play and sing.  Ruta Sepetys, Steve Vai's manager, was quoted as saying, "I listened to your album and really enjoyed it."  "Especially track #2, "If U want Me 2."  "I'm a firm believer that good music and the rock n'roll spirit will soon make a comeback.  Knight Crawler is obviously already ahead of the game!"

"Sweet Mary" is a ballad that keeps you singing chorus lines with catchy lyrics over and over again.  "Sweet Mary" debuted on "The Moshing Pit" CD, a compilation disc of Midwestern artists, which is also available on video in the States. "City Boy" and "Tumblin' Dice" were co-written by Roger Anderson, keyboardist and a former band mate, David "D.T." Stanton.  Roger performed with National recording artists "Crow", Nick St. Nicholas of "Steppenwolf" and Pete Rivera of "Rare Earth" prior to the formation of KC.  He also has been honored by the Minnesota Music Academy as "Best Keyboardist" and is heavily influenced by Jon Lord of Deep Purple.  "Seventh Son", cut #9, drum solo by Billy Thayer, is evidence of why Billy has earned an International Sabian endorsement.  Billy also has performed on tour with Badfinger/Joey Molland, who is also a resident in the Twin Cities.  On the opening of  "Heartbreaker," Dave Wing performs some rip-roaring lead guitar work, which is very noticeable throughout the entire CD.  Author of "Heartbreaker" and bassist, Bret Deising adds variety and versatility in the lead vocal department.   Bret's strong vocals compliment the lead vocals of Rick Gingerelli and are strongly apparent throughout. 

Knight Crawler's live performances are just as exciting.  Having performed in concert with the likes of Poison, Ratt, Ronnie James Dio, Night Ranger, Slaughter, and Firehouse to name a few, Knight Crawler is no virgin to the big stage.  Live appearances with much theatrical appeal with gargoyles, candelabras,  etc.  presents almost a gothic appeal, but with their high energy and lyrics, the dark theme is toned down and more or less just sets the mood.  Knight Crawler is also a major festival attraction performing many biker events, including the world famous Sturgis Bike Rally, which is becoming a regular mainstay.  Crawlerpalooza has been an annual festival which KC headlines and promotes similar to that of Lollapalooza.   

Keep your eyes and ears open for Knight Crawler, who are preparing to tour in support of WOMB.  You can rest assured that when least expected this US export, or European import, depending on where you rest your head at knight, will be ready to kick ass  and will let the music do the talking.  In the year 2001, Knight Crawler will prevail!"

Q- What musical background do you have? 

(please pardon any duplication of info from press release)
Billy Thayer has been an award winning drummer of various contests with a current Sabian Cymbal Makers endorsement. Billy also has performed on tour with Joey Molland & Badfinger.  Roger Anderson, keyboardist, was with Crow, with hit Evil Woman Don't Play Your Games for Me which was also recorded by Black Sabbath, & has perfomed tours with Nick St. Nickolas of Steppenwolf as well as concert dates with the Super Rock of the 70's Tour with lead vocalists such as Pete Rivera of Rare Earth, the deceased Cub Koda from Brownsville Station, Alex Chilton, of the Box Tops, Dave Waggoner of Crow & more.  Knight Crawler, (formerly Machine Head- not to be confused with the current MH) was formed as a Deep Purple Tribute with a debut in Minnepolis on New Year's Eve in 1991.  Prior to that, Rick, Billy & Dave performed together in Playground, who toured nationally.  No one in the group has any formal training - just on the job, non-stop touring experience.  

Q- How would you describe your style?

Dave says "Classic Contemporary Rock" - most of the press & media calls us "Melody Rock." Roger is more specific in comparing the group to a cross between Deep Purple/Uriah Heep and REO/Styx, kind of a Midwest melodic rock with a harder edge to it.  Definitely relatable, hook line & sinker, mass commercial appeal songwriting showcased with a vocalist that has a great voice and range with clarity that won't insult your parents. Power ballads, aggressive, and sometimes even complex arrangements similar to Kansas- pretty versatile and very relatable.  We feel we are contemporary and that, hopefully, our time has finally arrived.  Our music would fit a lead track for a major motion picture, or could represent a revival of the style of 70's - 80's hair bands, but we would probably best prefer consideration as a group aggressively attacking the trenches and approaching the dream rather than surviving it.  Billy-Very eclectic and powerful!  Rick-basically very melodic not afraid of the power ballads- in tune always with strong vocals and harmonies at the forefront.

Q- Who are your musical influences?

Rick - Tony Bennett, the Beatles, Ian Gillan, Burton Cummings, Chuck Negron
Dave - The Beatles, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and especially Pink Floyd
Roger - Jon Lord (Deep Purple), Lee Michaels, Jimmie Smith on keys & for songwriting -  REO, Styx & the Beatles
Billy-Ian Paice, John Bonham, Buddy Rich, Keith Moon

Q- What are your 5 all-time favourite albums?

Dave - "Wish You Were Here" Pink Floyd
Roger- "Beatles 1" the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac's, "Greatest Hits", "Hi Infidelity" REO Speedwagon, "Steppenwolf Live" & Deep Purple's, "Machine Head"
Billy- "The White Albumn"-The Beatles, "Made in Japan"-Deep Purple,"Love Drive"Scorpions, "Van Halen One" Van Halen, "World of Make Believe" Knight Crawler
Rick-the Beatles any 5 or Montrose by Montrose, or perhaps Judas Priest,"Screamin' for Vengeance"


Q- What are your current favorites?

Dave- Stone Temple Pilots, U2, Radiohead, 3 Doors Down
Roger -Sheryl Crow, she's great, the New Rascals, Alanis Morrisette, Aerosmith
Billy-Tool, Dido, Sherly Crow, Tab Benoit, Green Day
Rick-The Mavericks, Dwight Yocum

Q- Tell us more about the songwriting and the recordings of your current CD.

"World of Make Believe" KC's debut was a combination of some new collaberations and a solo "Best of" library of individual members.  Everyone writes, which is why the material is so diverse.  The harder task is that of whose songs makes the cut.  The group has never been short on material.  WOMB was recorded and mastered in approximately 8 days.  Recorded at Logic Studios with Brian Bart, a well known local Minneapolis -producer,engineer, musician, and teacher at Music Tech, WOMB received a lot of attention from Twin Cities' media, with airplay immediately upon release. At times a writer will come to rehearsal with the entire song mapped out with all the parts together and other times as a group we start from scratch, take an idea and run with it.  We fine-tune, record on a boom box, take individual tapes home to work on leads, etc., throw the material into the live show and, after a few gigs, it really starts taking shape and tightening up.  With "If U Want Me 2", the song evolved from an extension of a segment of a live keyboard solo where everyone jumped in and hung on in a jam, so to speak..  In other words, we don't have a formula or set way of doing things, we just go for it, which keeps us on our toes and fresh.  Rick is the primary lyricist, with Roger and Dave writing most of the music.  Billy does most of the arranging, but is becoming more involved in the composing of the music..  However, on our upcoming release, Dave Wing, our guitarist has written the majority of the songs.  We are very diplomatic in our efforts and follow a majority rule - very rarely is someone not willing to listen to compromise.  Everyone is open to individual creativity and, sometimes a part is created in the studio which makes the recording in the zero hour, even though we may have played the song for months a different way.  Again, majority rules  - if you can get 2 other guys to go for your idea, you've got a shot.  We all get along and have similar musical backgrounds which allows us to communicate easily. 
Q- What are your lyrics dealing with?

Dave- "the spectrum from sleazy, trippy, broken-hearts to spiritual, with a twist of humor"

Roger- "travels, personal experiences, starts with usually a positive theme - happy stuff, I  try not to get too political or dark"

Rick- "my lyrics basically always tells a story reflecting my mood at the time- they use to be more industrialist."

Q- Where and how do you distribute the CD?

A2 takes care of everything overseas.  Following is a list of distributors to our knowledge per our communication with A2:  Recognition/Universal in the UK, Brennus in France,  Frontiers in Italy, Disques Office in Switzerland, Town Music in Germany, Austria, Luxenbourg, Belgium & the Netherlands, and Record Heaven in Scandinavia.  Recently, a distributor in S.Africa has taken the A2 catalogue and Japan is in the works, potentionally with Megarock.  For additional info, contact A2 via internet @ or contact Rupert Withers at Assassination Music Promotions Limited of Tudor House, Pinstone Way, Gerrards Cross, Bucks, SL9 7BJ, UK - +44 1753 893665 In the US, it's mostly out of the suitcase at the gigs, over the internet, mail order and with a few distributors in the Upper Midwest-  Note:  In Minneapolis , "World of Make Believe" was nominated for "Best Rock CD" by the Minnesota Music Academy.  Based on the current success with A2, we are considering  turning over US distribution to A2 and Valley Distribution via Las Vegas on our second release unless one of the majors picks us up.  We currently have an exclusive deal with A2 in Europe on our second release and, if the momentum continues upward as it has been, we figure on having an extended relationship with A2, which will be good for everybody.  We like their attitude, commitment  and enthusiam that they have displayed out of the gate and they like our music.  European press and radio has been very positive as well.  I'm sure Rupert @ A2 has taken note of the good reviews.   

Q- Do you have more finished songs? Do you already have plans for the next CD?

YES, Second Nature is in the final stages and due for US release in mid September.  We have used the same producer, Brian Bart at Logic Studios here in Minneapolis, and we are extremely pleased with the results.  The material is versatile as always, a bit more produced with a few more overdubs and ready to kick some butt.  The title track, "Second Nature" is an instrumental .  -"Don't Ask" is a production number which could be considered stylistically similar to Styx. "Beyla"  might have a Rob Zombie feel, which is a new twist for us.  The CD also includes a blues jam and a remake of the Uriah Heep classic, "July Morning".  The opener, "Rock N' Roll Knight" - may be a bit too much pop, but what the hell, it's a good time party dance song and, wait until you hear "Papparazzi", with its interesting, deeper lyrics.  "Jane" is for you slut rockers.  Does it sound like we're excited?  Hopefully, you will experience Knight Crawler music before the end of the year.  
Q- Do you regularly play live? Tell us more about your gigs.

Knight Crawler perform on a regular basis at festivals, openers, etc. and on mini tours, commuting to and from Minneapolis.   Just recently we performed at the 61st Sturgis SD Bike Rally performing 7 shows in 6 days.  This past weekend, KC performed with BTO and Warrant.  We love openers and have had a problem with upstaging the headliners (as we've been told by our fans), ha ha.  We like a captive audience.  Bike rallys seem to be very common place.  Occassionally we do a Steppenwolf or BOC cover and they amp out.  We're an alternative for them - stepping away from the overexposed Southern rock genre.  ARM is our agency out of Minneapolis, and they are very supportive of our efforts and continued exposure.  FYI  Also check out our web site,  For upcoming schedule information, we have a 24 hour hotline in the states  at (9KC) 996-LIVE .

Q- What has been your biggest musical achievement / success so far?

A2 Contract Signing!

-Knight Crawler being nominated for "Best Rock Artist, Best Rock CD, Best Keyboardist" @ the Minnesota Music Awards by the Minnesota Music Academy of selected Twin Cities authorities.
-Billy Thayer receiving international endorsement with Sabian Cymbal Makers
-Rick Gingerelli performing the National Anthem for the Minnesota Twins & Minnesota Timberwolves professional sports teams.
-Roger Anderson nominated by Twin Cities Blues News Popularity Poll for "Best Keyboardist"
-Bret Deising performing vocals on Miller Lite Beer Commericals aired during the SuperBowl
-Bobby Thayer performing solo concert for the Mayor of Minneapolis
*(Note: Knight Crawler has an "Awards & Achievements" page at our website)

Q- How can you be reached in the internet?

email: Roger
Q- Is there anything else you want to mention?

We appreciate your support and interest.  Knight Crawler is very anxious and excited about  breaking into and touring Europe.  Your exposure will contribute toward helping us achieve that goal.  Knight Crawler thanks you. Our live show is very powerful and entertaining as we cut teeth on the road.     

Q- What are your plans for the near future?

Continue the effort with A2 on promoting the record as well as to start promoting the upcoming second release in the States.  Nonstop touring and collaborating on material for a third CD with a projected Summer of 2002 release.  In other words, persistance, visability and hard work with no compromise -  to break into the Billboard Top 100!  Attention lately has been rewarding and growing at a consistent pace.   Of course, always a little partying and fun on the way -  we do have a reputation to uphold.      

Thanks again.


Interview: Kevin J. Julie (Universal Wheels) Feb. '02