By Carl Begai
While preparing for the release of the new Leaves’ Eyes album, King Of Kings, vocalist Liv Kristine announced some dates for what has become a traditional year end European solo tour. She then revealed that her former Theatre Of Tragedy bandmate, vocalist Raymond Rohonyi, would be joining her as a special guest for the duration of the tour, performing several songs from the band’s catalogue with her. A very surprising development considering the bad blood stirred up when Liv was fired from Theatre Of Tragedy in 2003 – she was replaced by Nell Sigland – and Rohonyi’s disappearance from the music scene when the band called it quits in 2010. The last time the duo shared the stage was 2002. During our interview for King Of Kings, Liv discussed how she reconnected with Rohonyi.
“Ray is back in Norway and moved to Trondheim recently with his Brazilian wife,” Liv explains. “At some point I tried to get in touch with him by phone, then via Facebook, and many weeks later he got back to me and said that he was back in Norway. We caught up a bit, and I asked him about rumours I heard that Theatre Of Tragedy would be having a reunion some time soon. Rumours that came with the Northern winds, let’s put it that way (laughs). I just wanted to know if I was in or not. Ray said that nobody had asked him so far about a reunion and wondered why I was asking. I told him I had a solo tour coming up and that I’d been playing Theatre Of Tragedy songs at a number of gigs, that the audience really seemed to love it, and then I asked him if he’d be my special guest. He was very happy about the offer and he said yes.”
“When The Sirens supported Nightwish in Trondheim recently I finally met up with Raymond again. We talked about everything, about the beginnings of Theatre Of Tragedy. It was good to clear the table and our history, because we were the ones who formed the band and came up with the whole Shakespearean thing. It was really good talking to him, and we parted in Trondheim on great terms. Alex (Krull / vocalist, husband) is happy everything is clear now and there are no hard feelings whatsoever. I’m really looking forward to the tour, and I think Raymond might be looking forward to it even more (laughs). He’s so excited.”
“So, there are indeed rumours that Theatre Of Tragedy will do a reunion,” Liv confirms, “but that’s not going to happen with me. I’m out of that, so the only way I can play those old songs is to invite Raymond on a solo tour. We start off in Russia with four shows and then we go to Europe, and there’s a show in London. It’s a short tour but it’s not about money. If it was about money we’d never do this. We’re making enough to cover the costs. The good thing is the band I’m bring along is The Sirens’ band, so they know most of my stuff already. Anneke (van Giersbergen) doesn’t need them at the moment so she said ‘You can have my band…’ (laughs). So, between having Raymond on the tour and The Sirens band it’s an awesome package.”
As an aside, I spoke with Theatre Of Tragedy drummer Hein Frode Hansen and keyboardist Lorentz Aspen about the reunion rumours. Both of them made it clear the band won’t be getting back together any time soon.
Lorentz: “Well, there’s a very big chance that there will NOT be a reunion, but the Liv and Raymond show might be something coming to any town near you in the future. Any talks have been over a larger quantity of brewski, and how that caught fire I’m not sure.”
Hein: “Sadly, a reunion is as likely as a Doors reunion with the original lineup. No one has been approached or not approached.”
Liv will be saying goodbye to 2015 with solo shows, but 2016 will be busy with a Leaves’ Eyes world tour and dates with The Sirens, a project she shares with vocalists Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) and Kari Rueslåtten (ex-The 3rd And The Mortal). Launched in 2014, The Sirens have become an in-demand live act boasting a live schedule that is constantly being updated. Liv admits to being surprised by how well they’ve done thus far.
“It’s amazing because the whole thing is just based on the live concept, keeping the spirit of Theatre Of Tragedy, The Gathering, and The 3rd And The Mortal alive. The Sirens is really just about the live experience. It was about a year ago when we hit the stage together for the first time, and it was magic from the very first moment. It was easier for Anneke and myself to go on stage and do this because we’ve both been performing live for more than 20 years, whereas Kari had a break in between of eight years. She was feeling kind of insecure at the beginning, so we really made sure to try and build her confidence and make her comfortable in a crazy live situation. She did the show in Mexico (in January 2015) in front of 800 people and was like ‘Okay, I don’t know my name anymore…’ (laughs).”
“It’s so charming somehow, how this whole thing has grown together, and now we’re always excited for the next Sirens show. We’ve fallen in love with each other, and the fans are just an amazing group of people. Lovely people, all of them. After we supported Nightwish in Trondheim (in August 2015) we weren’t really sure what was going to happen next because we need a new booking agent. We need to avoid double bookings because all three of us are doing separate solo shows, and Anneke has The Gentle Storm as well. So, we have to try and find a good schedule for everything. We already have some nice requests for next year that we never would have dreamt about, so 2016 is going to be good for The Sirens.”
Go to Liv’s official website here for information on her upcoming solo tour and Leaves’ Eyes.
For information and updates on The Sirens go to this location.