|Born on: 14.04.1976
Henning Basse belongs to the best and most successful singers in the field of rock and metal. Being front man of Brainstorm he toured throughout Europe, with his current band Metalium he has been on tour within and outside Germany for several times. Singing became his passion already when he was a child. At the tender age of six he started in the children's choir of Lüneburg, on recommendation of his mother. He stayed there for four years, having a couple of gigs in various churches. What followed were two years as a gospel singer, during that time he could hardly control his impulsive temper, being a notorious fidget. Nevertheless the fact was: Henning Basse had found his instrument (that is his voice)!
This was the reason why he then enjoyed a fundamental song training with a theatre-instructor, who taught him all necessary basic elements of classical singing. However, Basse was not really happy in this field either, searching yet for his very own personality as a singer. He dealt with the most different stylistics of music, and therefore he was nick-named "the wandering encyclopaedia of music" at school. Moreover he got a lot of metal- and hard rock-CDs from his stepfather, among others discs from Accept, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Queen, AC/DC or Judas Priest.
Basse remembers: "When for the first time I heard the intro-riff of Accept's 'Fast As A Shark', I only could stare with mouth wide open. At once I got a clear idea of the direction into which I wanted to develop in future." In the beginning he was smiled at by some of his school mates as a day-dreamer, who would anyhow never be able to realize his vision of a CD-production of his own. But still at school the ambitious singer met some like-minded mates who were also keen to make music and to write songs of their own.
So Basse's first serious group Bad Obsession came into existence by means of some of his mates, the program of which consisted by 50% of cover songs (above all from Guns N'Roses and AC/DC).
The first songs written by the band members themselves were from a similar stylistic direction. Rehearsals at that time took place at the then guitarist's, to be more particular in his parents' living room. However, an unmistakable "visit" of the police interrupted this event. The group found shelter at "1000 Steine" in Lüneburg, a project which places rehearsal rooms and equipment at the bands' disposal for free. "In return we were obliged to take part in their festivals announced under the motto 'Rock instead of Drugs', Basse remembers. "But we ourselves didn't hold on to it for too long and were soon caught with bottles of beer backstage."
But this slight incident, however, changed nothing at the band's activities. Bad Obsession had several gigs in and outside Lüneburg and produced demos by means of their first fees.
Frequently the band played in small pubs und so got to know a lot of colleagues from other rock groups. And this in turn unavoidably led to a rising interest in Henning Basse, whose giant talent could not be ignored from the beginning. "One night the bass player of a band named Bourbon Street handed me their demo and asked me to come around for a rehearsal." Although the band members looked clearly older than those of Bad Obsession, Basse agreed and went to an exceptionally successful audition: "After I had had my audition they all agreed that this was really rocking. And I was enormously impressed, too: the backline, the professionalism of the musicians. So I decided to join Bourbon Street." Rapidly Bourbon Street became the local heroes of the town, regularly playing at town feasts, in pubs and clubs. A new demo and a CD were produced in this phase, becoming secret tips in the North German scene of rock music.
By means of a new management Bourbon Street got the chance not only to play outside the town boundaries, but even to go on a first German tour. The group presented itself as a homogeneous unit even not leaving out any party after the gigs. During the group's first concert in Hamburg Basse became acquainted with the members of Iron Maiden Tribute-Band, founded 1993. Bourbon Street did develop step by step, but the band had to cope with some changes of cast, so Basse started searching for a more constant formation. He found his luck with Errantry (www.mp3.de/musik/genre/band/080000/606641), playing traditional German metal. At the same time he started helping other groups with writing songs and taking over choral singing in the studio for them.
The talented singer realized that he had not yet reached his limits, neither vocal nor regarding his popularity. "Everything had developed so well, but I didn't want to come to a standstill, and I wanted to get out off Lüneburg by all means," he admits. Hamburg scene was simply perfect to establish contacts and to orientate oneself newly. When Basse performed with Iron Maiden Tribute-Band in the Hanseatic town for the first time, he became acquainted with colleagues becoming very important for him, regarding both human and musical relations. Basse tested nearly 30 bands, meeting among others Henjo Richter whom he later suggested as a guitarist at Gamma Ray. Richter and Basse together composed some titles, originally thought for a mutual project, but finally ending in the program of Gamma Ray ('Guardians of Mankind', 'Winged Horse').
After visiting a band rehearsing next door to Gamma Ray, a closer contact arouse to Kai Hansen (singer and lead guitarist of Gamma Ray), who promptly invited him to a jam-session. "After Ralf Scheepers' retirement Kai had just recorded the songs for the latest album. He liked the records, especially as he knew the situation from his time as a singer and guitarist at Helloween. But he was somehow fascinated of my style of singing. That's why he wanted by all means to get an impression of how the material would sound with my voice. While he was on a promotion-tour through Japan, I invested in the studio all my passion for this music and recorded the material once more, singing it all again." Hansen was then totally enthusiastic about the result, but he had to take distance of engaging Basse firmly for Gamma Ray, because in Japan, after all one of the most important markets for the band, the fans insisted on Hansen going on taking over the singing himself, like in the old days of Helloween.
Nevertheless this was an important and instructive experience for Basse, who then, beside Errantry and his Iron Maiden Tribute-Band, joined another project: Catch The Rainbow, a tribute-band in spirit of Richie Blackmore's Rainbow. The line-up was really worth seeing: Henjo Richter, guitar (Gamma Ray), Ulli Kusch, drums (ex-Helloween, Masterplan), Jens Becker, bass (Grave Digger), Axel Mackenroth, keyboards (Masterplan). Catch The Rainbow not only performed great gigs in Germany and abroad, but also published an album with cover versions of Rainbow, which first appeared in Japan and then throughout Europe. By the way, except Basse you could find two more exceptional German singers on this album, Andi Deris (Helloween) and Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear).
Then followed Basse's engagement at Brainstorm, one of the most important and most successful German metal-bands. The contact came about by Gamma Ray bass player Dirk Schlächter, who had produced the latest album for Brainstorm and suggested the Lüneburg singer to solve Brainstorm's internal problems. Basse: "The group had personal difficulties with their singer at that time. Moreover they planned a Europe-wide tour as a supporting program to Iced Earth. So I took the place of the singer for the whole tour. The show including some additional gigs in Greece was a complete success for the band."
Nevertheless Basse did neglect neither Catch The Rainbow nor his two other formations, Errantry respectively Iron Maiden Tribute-Band, and had numerous gigs with them.
Short time before that he had met Lars Ratz, not only belonging to Zed Yago and Velvet Viper, but also leading his own booking-agency in Hamburg. Ratz at once realized Basse's incredible talent and, without hesitating, started forming a band around him. "One day Lars called me and declared: 'Guess who is on board: Chris Caffery of Savatage and Mike Terrana of Yngwie Malmsteen.' "Of course Basse was torn to and fro: On the one hand there was the lucrative offer of Brainstorm to remain a steady member of the band even after the tour, on the other hand the prospect of having his own band in Hamburg, with well-known co-musicians like Caffery and Terrana, was extraordinary attractive. Basse decided on Ratz and Hamburg. He freely admits: "Probably there would have been no problem to sing in both bands, but the far distance between Hamburg and the South German home of Brainstorm certainly played a role."
Metalium was born! Basse left Brainstorm and Errantry and turned to his new band with full ambition. Metalium without problems obtained a well remunerate disc contract, and with their first album they published the most successful metal-debut in 1999. Moreover Basse was elected best rock singer of the country by Götz Kühnemund, editor-in-chief of metal-magazine 'Rock Hard'. At the first go the group was the talk of the town, toured throughout Europe and provided furore overseas as well. Besides Chris Caffery went back to New York with the final mix of the CD and introduced it to success producer Paul O'Neill. The one promptly invited Basse to an audition for his extraordinarily successful rock-musical Trans-Siberian Orchestra. O'Neill was deeply impressed by Basse. "Up to now I have close contact to the boys in New York, so that at any time cooperation is possible at short notice." There was also the chance of being engaged by Savatage. Only three singers were tested to follow Zachary Stevens, one of them was Henning Basse. Savatage at long last decided in favour of an American for organizational reasons, but they expressed their great enthusiasm about the song talent of the North German.
During the past seven years Metalium have established themselves as a firm size in the European music scene. Up to now they have produced six CDs and two DVDs, which provided gigantic attention worldwide. Basse himself has worked as a song teacher for more than six years. "What seems to be more reasonable than to stay in my field and to pass my true profession to others," he says. He himself acquires his basic knowledge both autodidactic and through specific training at various schools, seminars etc. Since 2002 he has, moreover, been singing in the cover band Fahrenheit, whose repertory includes different styles like pop, soul, funk and rock. The band performs in various line-ups, either as a duet, as a quartet or as a big band.