Sweden Rock Magazine correspondent Daniela Pilic conducted an interview with former FIREWIND and current SPIRITUAL BEGGARS vocalist Apollo Papathanasio for her blog, In The Rearview Mirror. You can now watch the chat below.
In The Rearview Mirror: You’re known for fronting many bands, but maybe mostly for fronting FIREWIND. A few months ago you quit the band and fell off the map. Nobody really knows what happened. This is your chance to give your version of what happened?!
Apollo: It’s a long story… It started that I felt that many times I couldn’t give 100% of myself and I felt a little bit that… I don’t wanna be a guy that pulls the breaks all the time saying, “I can’t take that gig or do that tour.” So, I started to think about it and we talked about it many times. And in the end, I decided to step down and give my place to somebody else.
In The Rearview Mirror: You’d been with FIREWIND for 10 years. Did you think about this for a very long time or was there a specific moment when you decided, “This is it”?
Apollo: Yeah, I felt a little bit that sometimes you can’t combine different [things]. I wanna do a lot of things… And I also have my family and you have to make it [work] economically. It’s not easy to play in a rock band. There are some duties… You have to be [available] all the time. And, like I said, I felt a little bit that I wanna be more free to prepare something later, do something else.
In The Rearview Mirror: How did the band react when you told them that you were out?
Apollo: It’s not something new; it has been a process for a long time. We talked about it and there was no arguing. It was my own decision. I wish we that we had [played] more [shows], played 300 days a year, so you can make a living of it without playing in different bands — only [play with] one band and you can make it. But how it is today — many people play in different bands, and it’s not easy to combine all that stuff. And sometimes I felt even if I was there, I had my mind sometimes somewhere else. So it has to 100%, 110%.
In The Rearview Mirror: Did you know that you were going to quit the band when you did the anniversary shows in Greece back in December?
Apollo: Like I said, [it’s been] a process for one, two years. I almost decided that I was about to leave, so the guys knew. We didn’t [always] talk about it, but I think they felt that something was gonna happen, and they were not shocked or whatever.
In The Rearview Mirror: You never really made a “last show” or a farewell gig, you just somehow went “underground” and disappeared…
Apollo: No, you can’t say I disappeared, because I’m still gonna be a huge fan of FIREWIND and if they need anything, I’m there for them. We have always been like brothers. And I’m happy to have put my part in such a great band like FIREWIND.
In The Rearview Mirror: So you guys are, of course, still friends…?
Apollo: Of course, yes, yes! We don’t talk so much right now, but after a while, I think we’re gonna talk more. They are busy, I’m busy…. There’s no time sometimes for even a chat.
In The Rearview Mirror: Are you at a point in your life where you realize that it’s not just about becoming a rock star — you’re experiencing the harsh reality of the music business?
Apollo: Yeah. There are two ways [you can approach it]. You can go for doing it 100% full time and live in a tent or whatever to make it, or you do it, like in my case, you just do several gigs, you do some records and you don’t tour that much.
In The Rearview Mirror: But you’re still in EVIL MASQUERADE and SPIRITUAL BEGGARS. If you had decided to quit those two bands and made more time for FIREWIND, would that have worked? Was that ever a solution?
Apollo: No, actually, it has nothing to do with that; it has to do with how to make a living. If there had been more time for one band, [to make it] really a full-time job, of course, it would have been FIREWIND. So many people try to make it, I know many guys who are in seven, eight bands just to keep it up. But I don’t think it’s good to do that, because you put your energy in too many different things and sometimes you lose that energy because of it. It’s better to minimize and focus on less things. So, it was not about choosing, or whatever. It has to do with how big the job is.