......................................INTERVIEW
Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal - Logo
. with Stephan Weber the singer from German band TEA FOR TWO
. What is exactily the name "Tea For Two" and tell us some interesting history about the
band and members?
Stephan: The band Tea For Two was founded in 1984 by Michael Schumpelt and Oliver Sörup as a school band of the 'Max Planck Gymnasium Ludwigshafen‘ in Germany. Michael played the piano, flutes and keyboards, Oliver the guitars. Why 'Tea For Two'?
When they met each other to practice at Michael’s home flat, Mrs Schumpelt always brought them tea and two cups. Well, Oliver brought not only guitars, but beer and they drunk it out of the tea cups... A very special tea for two... But the last cup was always filled with (cold) tea. If Mrs Schumpelt really knew what happened? ;-)

The early music of Tea For Two was a mixture of known rock ballads, blues and folk and they wrote a lot own stuff. Every gig was a great success and they found a lot of fans. Listen to Highlands, yes, it’s that old! After a show in RPR  ( a local TV station ) they decided to have a band with vocals, drums and bass.
After I joined the band the style of music changed. Michael and Oliver begun to redraw the stories, situations and feelings I described in my lyrics with their music. It took much time to find additional musicians and more to compose and play a two hours set of songs which was the only way to get gigs in our area. Tea for Two became a live band, we lived our songs on stage, had lots of gigs and selled our 4 songs demo so very often that it seemed to be a good idea to record their first CD ‘dream or reality’ - unsigned.
Yeah and it was that good idea. It took only a few months to sell the first edition. And more FISH from Marillion then (nine months later?) decided to have some gigs in Germany with us. Even in following tours. Tea For Two was/is a live band and had a lot of big gigs (up to audiences of 5000!). We wrote many new songs and always presented them on stage. Sounding funny but we really had no time to go to a studio. After three years we recorded some of our shows and it was the smallest gig in a little pub at our home town which produced the best results. Maybe it was this special mood one has, when there is NO distance to the audience. This second CD ‘snapshots’ was released unsigned, too. By having our songs in the net since 1997 we found fans all over the world. Especially ‘all too late’ was a big success in the East and in Canada. By now the first edition of '101' is sold out after only four weeks. Great - isn't it?

Tell us about "101". How did that begin, the CD title and the history behind the songs?
Stephan: The 101 project was a very special thing. In 1997 we all finished our studies, have been busy with starting our new jobs and were spread all over germany.
No chance to meet or practice on a regular basis then. We all started projects with musicians in our new home towns. We recorded a CD with 'Zenobia', Oliver with 'Rachel's Birthday', etc. I remember Oliver's birthday party in 1998 after the official split in 1997. On this day we talked about that 101 project for the first time. We decided to compose the stuff by sending tapes around. All final recordings have been done at Olivers flat every two or three months - song after song (this is why it took so long).
101 is a very special symbol. I can't explain any details on that now as we just started a contest on our homepage where people should interpret the meaning. Some Years ago I had a series of dreams about a foreign dimension. At a first glance it was that old boy meets girl story with magic and science fiction content. In these dreams I experiences things to happen or I met groups of or individual people which I did not know yet but got to know sometimes later. Guess I should write a book about it... It was amazing. All the time I had tofight against some menace which went out to be a part of me. In the last scene where I finally left this strange world I layed down dying in the arms of my one and only dream girl and she whispered: 'we will meet again and 101 should be the sign' What the hell did this mean after all the other things that came true?
The album does not answer the question directly but there are a lot of hints 'between the lines'.
Do you have any favourite track on the "101" album and are there even passages or a
whole song which you like most of others one?
Stephan: Oops, never thought about that. If I listen to the cd I play all songs. It depends on my daily mood whether I prefer the one or another song. For me there are exciting moments in every track. What else should I say?
Plans for the future. What can we expect after the releasing the last CD?
Stephan:Oliver just sent me a tape with new ideas, we are about to plan a tour and I'm working on new stories and lyrics. In parallel to Tea For Two I want to participate in the 'Poor Genetic Material' Project who have just released a new album 'summerland' with alias eyes's vocalist Philipp Griffith. Very experimental stuff and I relly like it. So be sure '101' isn't our retiring album ;-)
Are there also plans for alive presentation of the songs from the album with some of the
guest musicians, and what do you think about "Tea for Two" gigs around the world?
Stephan: Last week we made the line up for the tour. Reiner Krämer, our former drummer is back, we have a new bass man and maybe an additional guitar player. Too bad, the guest musicians can't join us live. A world tour would be great but as we are not signed to a major label we have to find people who invite/support us and do the organizing in foreign countries. A hard job to find those people, but we'll do our best on that.
Would the Band like to play in South-America - Brazil? 
Stephan:Yeah, absolutely! I'm really curious about the country and lucky me, by now I only got to know really nice people from your country. Some friends of mine stayed in Brazil for a couple of months and they all have been very excited. Let's see, time will tell...
What do you want to communicate with Tea For Two music to all Fans of Progressive
Rock? 
Stephan:I write lyrics about the things that move(d) me. I want to involve as many people as possible in my ideas. Hmm, I'm not a prophet! I can't tell the world how to spin around but I'm curious if people made the same experiences and conclusions or have similar ideas. Tea For Two music is very 'mood-driven'. As things change, our music changes. And we would get bored if too many tracks would sound like the things we've done before. Isn't that the real meaning of 'progressive'? Guess, we won't ever change our style for commercial reasons. We try to be ourselves without making compromises to succed in format radio or whatever. We won't ever sign a major label who tries to make music business puppets out of us. So the message is: Live your life, maintain yourself, dare to be not on the main stream, dare to follow your heart and try to be open minded! Be sure, you'll find a lot of friends!
What are the reasons that explain the big and great activity of the German Progressive
Rock today? 
Stephan:When you switch on radio in Germany you hear the same 40 songs every day. Regardless which station you chose. Remakes of old Top10 songs, very boring mainstream productions of so called vocalists who are famous as tv actors but can't sing, songs from England, rap from USA but that's it. I once had a discussion with the 'top of the pops' producer. His show claims to only present live music. In fact, one out of three 'artists' are able to play/sing live the rest is playback. This all is very disappointing. With the internet artists have a new chance to expose their music to the whole world without getting involved into that professional music business mafia around here. Yeah, they try to be experimental, dare to have changes in the rhythm of one song, dare to have longer tracks, etc. If they can't find audience in Germany - so what? Now the world is listening! MMaybe there have been as many progressive artists as now over all the years in germany. If they didn't have a label which was promoting their stuff in foreign countries they were not noticed by prog fans e.g. in Brazil or elsewhere. Times have changed with the internet. Bands are able to expose theirselves without having a second party believing in them...
How do you think about the Progressive Rock And Progressive Metal climate today? 
Stephan:Hmm, is there a climate? Surely not around here. The professional music scene doesn't care about progressive rock. Imagine bands like Saga, Asia, Pendragon, Arena, etc. now playing with an audience of about 100 only in Germany. Marillion claims to be NOT a progressive band - you'll find their new song on mp3.com under the genre 'alternative general'... Why? A lot of bands tried to sound like old Genesis, Marillion, any famous late 70's dinosaurs. Some older prog fans prefer exactly this and wrote bad reviews about those who broke the rules. But the younger progressive rock fans seem to be bored. The older lost their interest in new releases. The younger want something new - really progressive by means of the word. If a band labels itself as a progressive rock band a lot of people think/find their style to be in fact 'conservative late 70's experimental rock remakes'. And this for sure is not very popular in Germany.
On the other hand Spock's Beard, Dream Theater and many more showed that there really can be a progress in progressive rock. Something new. They are original. No compareable bands in the past. Great ideas, charisma and great music. The major labels didn't pay much attention to that. Most times they signed rock artists after they succeeded. Meanwhile the music industry presented 10 times more puppet boy groups, girlies, rappers or whatever. Guess we all need changes both in our life and the music we listen to. Day after day. The majors presented us so many main stream and plain boring music that we are all hungry for new stuff. Rocking stuff. More than 8 chords and 1 beat per song. Not the 5th remake of a former top10 hit or copied chords. But real emotions, melancholy, rage, something exciting, original... So far the majors control fm radio and tv like a big, well organized mafia. The underground starts to get popular with the internet as a new media. No need to be signed. Without the net I wouldn't answer yo ur questions yet! The majors now wonder why they sell less cds. They hardly try to forbid free exchange of music. Is it because of piracy and copying or just because people want something different than the stuff majors provide, but they can find anywhere in the net? Now You can listen to artists who would never be signed, get air play and big promotion. Remember the last CD you purchased, your latest favorite song. Did You ever hear the track in the major's controlled fm radio/tv?
What Do you think about the future of Progressive Rock? 
Stephan:What is progressive rock? As I mentioned before in Germany this label has the taste of 'famous 70's experimental rock'. I think this does not really have a big future. We've had enough of that stuff. But there are so many artists who dare to break radio format, break old concepts and present new ideas - really progressive bands! They will find more and more friends all over the world. There are a lot of internet sites who suppot this progress, like your's. Many many music lovers who can't wait to listen to the new tunes. Guess we'll have a rebirth of rock, progressive rock, metal, progressive metal. Let's take the chance! Let's be open minded! It's our hearts that rule and we all have the chance to support each other!

Oliver Sörup - Guitars 
and Bass Pedals
Stephan Weber - Vocals
Michael Schumpelt - Keyboards and Flutes
Reiner Krämer - Drums
Uwe Haaß - Bass

Discography: 
Dream Or Reality - 1993
Snapshots, Live - 1996
101 - 2000

Contacts and Info.
www.teafortwo.de

The band Tea For two was founded in 1984 by Michael Schumpelt and Oliver Sörup as a school band of the 'Max Planck Gymnasium Ludwigshafen‘ in Germany. Michael played the piano, flutes and keyboards, Oliver the guitars. Why 'Tea For Two'? When they met each other to practice at Michael’s home flat, Mrs Schumpelt always brought them tea and two cups. Well, Oliver brought not only guitars, but beer and they drunk it out of the tea cups... A very special tea for two... But the last cup was always filled with (cold) tea. If Mrs Schumpelt really knew what happened? ;-)

The early music of Tea For Two was a mixture of known rock ballads, blues and folk and they wrote a lot own stuff. Every gig was a great success and they found a lot of fans. Listen to Highlands, yes, it’s that old! After a show in RPR ( a local TV station ) they decided to have a band with vocals, drums and bass.

After Stephan Weber joined the band the style of music changed. Michael and Oliver begun to redraw the stories, situations and feelings he described in his lyrics with their music. It took much time to find the remaining musicians and more to compose and play a two hours set of songs which was the only way to get gigs in this area. Tea for Two became a live band, living their songs on stage, having lots of gigs and selled their 4 songs demo so very often that it seemed to be a good idea to record their first CD ‘dream or reality’ - unsigned.

Yeah and it was that good idea. It took only a few months to sell the first edition. And more FISH from Marillion then (nine months later?) decided to have some gigs in Germany with them. Even in following tours. Tea For Two was/is a live band and had a lot of big gigs (up to 5000 visitors!). They wrote many new songs and they always presented them on stage.

Sounding funny but they really had no time to go to a studio. After three years they recorded some of their shows and it was the smallest in a little pub at their home town which produced the best results. Maybe it was this special mood one has, when there is NO distance to the audience. This second CD ‘snapshots’ was released unsigned, too.

By having their songs in the net since 1997 they found fans all over the world. Especially ‘all too late’ was a big success in the East and in Canada.

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