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Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Michael Tenten of Ayscobe from 2011

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

Yes sure! I started to play violin in the age of seven but lost the fun on that instrument at 13 and started to learn guitar. I got a great Oscar Teller classical guitar from my mother. The first song was “Wish You Were Here” from (Pink) Floyd. It was a pleasure to hear a G major chord the first time done by myself. After some years I bought a Fender Strat and involved my knowledge in playing solos and riffs and stuff. The first band I formed was Headless when I was 15 years old. That time we tried to write something that sounds like Floyd, another member and I were great fans of them. With the band Headless we got some great funny concerts in town so I decided to go on after the end of that band. I played with some musicians and bands the years after. I played some blues gigs with Richard Fürst in Munich and some clubs and then I started Ayscobe. That was the time I began to write some progressive songs and started the idea of that project. I studied music in the FMZ Stuttgart that time. My teacher was Andreas Fetzer a great jazz guitar player and great guy! It was a hobby for me first, but then people got interested in the music I wrote. We had some nearly sold out concerts so it became more and more a part of my life.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

I painted oil pictures before and the people said they are beautiful - maybe that! Or a normal working guy but I don’t know. There is nothing I can imagine to be in normal work, I like working with wood. Maybe a job with animals or people or stuff like that, I never thought about it.

MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
Oh a long story: we where out in a youth club and wrote the word “Kaleidoscope” on a paper, searched for some words to replace the meaning. The first was "eyes" and we want to hold "scope" so we wrote “eyes” in every possibility we could imagine and in the end there was "Ays." But it looked strange with "cope" so we wrote a "b" instead of that "p" and the result was "Ayscobe.”

Who would you see as your musical influences?

Pink Floyd, Ritchie Blackmore (studied his style for years - great guitar player), Savatage, Rainbow, Dream Theater, some Mozart and Bach pieces and Dio (my greatest idol at the moment, he takes care for every note)! Since the last year Debussy I am playing Clair Du Lune on the piano. He got great chords and melodies in his music. I know that this piece isn’t the best one but with long nails on the right hand you can’t play the hard stuff from him but he wrote very beautiful music.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Music! I don’t care `bout money. I know we need it to eat and live that is all. I lost so much in my live and the only friend that is left is music. I lost the trust in love or things like that. I stand up in the morning go to work teach guitar and go home do the things for the band like this interview and then write some new songs. It is a part of me and there is nothing I will change! What do you have from a big house or a fast car or something like that? Nothing! Love: I got a girlfriend for nearly ten Years and what is left? Nothing, just a memory! So I learned to believe in one thing that is there for me in good and bad times and this is music!

I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?

Easy - I work with a lot of elements I studied! The music is a mixture between classical elements and metal or rock stuff, some changes in rhythm to get some interesting elements in it. If I would describe it in one sentence I would say, “Put everything in a pot, cook it for some time take good spice and taste it!”

Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

Of course maybe someday with Arjen Lucassen and an ever lasting dream to support Deep Purple and jam with Ian Paice! But in reality, yes I ever wanted my chef Andreas Winter to play piano for us. He is a great musician, and I want the sax player Alexander Pogolishvili in the band in the future. This guy is awesome!


Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

Hard question, maybe good or bad! Good to get your name in the ears of them but bad for the artist who needs money for studios and musicians and the show. I think for a beginning band it is good and for the musicians chosen to get food and stuff from music and concentrate on that work it isn’t good. Another con of that is, that the way to the record store and the search for a album you like isn’t the way it was and I like this thing to go into the shop search for a record that seems to be good, listen to it and when I like it, to pay the money!

In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

Oh! I like it and I think artists ever like it, you stand on stage and love it! They are recording you to remember the great show it is an honour. Everyone knows the quality of a professional take can’t be reached, so I like it! And I also watched "The Wall" from Roger Waters on "you tube" and I must thank these people because they made commercial for him and I liked all the videos it was a great show so it is OK to show it before the DVD is on the market!

If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

Django Reinhardt, he is playing the coolest melodies. Ritchie Blackmore got a lot of feeling. Ian Paice the rhythm machine, John Lord and his aggressive Hammond sound, Ronnie James Dio and his nightingale voice, Stuart Ham and his very great bass lines and a lot more Cozy Powell if Ian needs a break. Dough Aldrichs to fight with Ritchie and a lot more but these guys are my first choice!
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Whitesnake, DIO, Deep Purple, Ayreon, Dream Theater, Uriah Heep, Roger Waters, Savatage, Tool, Airborn, Iron Maiden, Marillion, Pavlov’s Dog, King Crimson and some cool bands never known from anybody, living the dream of rock and roll!

What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

It was a Grave Digger CD for a friend as a present! I have been listening to Whitesnake lately. We were on a concert of them before Andreas Gilman a classical violin player!

MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Yes, of course.  Last Chance to See from Douglas Adams. I like the books of him, great stories but this book is special. It tells about the last animals of their kind and is written in a very special way. You laugh with both of them doing that travel and cry with them. It has no happy end and is no story, but it as book everyone should read - a pleasure to be with them on that fascinating travel around the world!

What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

As I had told Whitesnake and Alexander Gilman in my music school!

Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

Of course, "Monty Python" soundtracks!

MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three (or four) people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

Edgar Allan Poe, Douglas Adams, Dio and Syd Barrett!

MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Vegetarian! Some artichokes and fresh mushrooms with fresh bread and good cheese! I hope they would like it!
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Be yourself and if everything hurts, remember yourself not as a loser. Think of yourself as the guy who lived his live all the years and think about what he would do!
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at
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