JURGEN BREFORTH (MAD MAX): “We Were The Very First Hard Rock Band In My Hometown To Release An Album At That Time, So We Were Like Local Heroes”

Mad Max band photo

Munster, Germany natives Mad Max released their self-titled album in 1982. Nearly 40 years later Max Max is still around and making music the way they want to… for the fans. The group released their 14th album Stormchild Rising on August 21, 2020 (read our review HERE). Mad Max guitarist Jurgen Breforth has been there from the beginning. Metal Express Radio interviewed Jurgen about the classic sound of the new album, his favorite songs, what it was like to record their first album, and how Mad Max broke up and reunited.

Metal Express Radio: If I knew absolutely nothing about Mad Max, how would you describe the band’s music to me?

Jurgen Breforth: Scorpions meets Def Leppard with a shot of Dokken. Guess that sums it up pretty good.

MER: Mad Max just released their 14th album entitled Stormchild Rising. Is this a sequel or companion piece to your 1985 album Stormchild?

JB: The songs on the album are all brand new but the overall vibe of the album is kind of a sequel to the album of 1985. We created the Stormchild character as a warrior who is fighting for the good, but he’s not fighting with weapons or violence, he is fighting with rock songs.

MER: The album’s production sounds like it was recorded in the 80s. Was this a conscious effort by the band?

JB: I founded the band in 1982 being a huge fan of the early music of the likes of Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. Guess this 80’s kinda sound in the production is a trademark of Mad Max. If the production would sound too modern, we might lose the characteristics of the band.

MER: The first single released from the new album is “Hurricaned.” Can you tell us the meaning behind the song?

JB: The song is written before Covid came, but has kind of “prophetic” lyrics. The song deals with the fact that we’re all in a social media overkill feeling like we’re in a hurricane of “breaking news” 24 hours a day. And with Covid this feeling got even worse.

MER: Rainbow/Vandenberg vocalist Ronnie Romero makes an appearance on this song, how did you get him involved?

JB: We met Ronnie Romero when we toured Europe in 2018 with his former band Coreleoni (the band fronted by Gotthard guitar player Leo Leoni).

MER: Mad Max covers “Take Her” by Rough Cutt on Stormchild Rising. The song also features Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino. How did you get him involved?

JB: Our singer Michael Voss and Paul Shortino are very close friends and when Paul heard our version of the song he was immediately in.

MER: “The Blues Ain’t No Stranger” sounds more of a title for Whitesnake than Mad Max. Tell us a little about the song…

JB: This song is very special because it’s the very first Blues song we ever did with the band. When I wrote the lyrics for the song I was really worried if I could use the word “Blues” in a Mad Max song. But finally I followed my intuition and the reaction of the fans is overwhelming.

MER: Oz Fox from Stryper plays a solo on the song. How did you get him involved?

JB: In 1987 we had the pleasure to tour with Stryper in Europe and since then we stayed in touch with the guys. Oz Fox shines on this song with an outstanding blues guitar solo.

MER: Are there any other songs on the album that stand out for you personally?

JB: The song “Ladies and Gentlemen” means a lot to me personally because on this very song I had the honor to work together with a kids choir and with Germany’s most successful writer for kids music. His name is Detlev Joecker and he sold more than 17 million albums in his career. Musically the song has a Def Leppard kinda vibe. Lyrically the key message is that only the young and older generation together can solve the problems of “Mother Earth.”

MER: Will you be touring in support of the album at some point?

JB: Due to Covid there will be no chance of larger tours in 2020. We already have scheduled a lot of shows for 2021. Let’s hope we can do it.

MER: Mad Max released their self-titled debut album almost 40 years ago. What do you remember about making that album?

JB: We were the very first Hard Rock band in my hometown to release an album at that time, so we were like local heroes. It was recorded in a tiny studio and we had no experience with studio recordings at all. So we were all pretty nervous but totally excited. The songs were all written before we entered the recording studio and the most difficult thing was to bring the live power of the songs onto the tape (remember it was analog recording on a tape machine). At the end we were pretty happy with the result.

MER: The 80s rock scene was known for its excess and debauchery. What’s the craziest “rockstar” thing you or someone else in Max Max did back then?

JB: In the early 80’s we toured the UK for the very first time (which was a sensation at that time for a German band). One night we had to stay on a campground with our little tour van. We arrived very late at night and we were all pretty tired. The campground was closed. Nobody there who could let us in. And there was this gate. Guess what I did with the little tour van? I drove the barrier down (and no, I was not drunk …ha ha).

MER: What lead to the bands break-up around 1992?

JB: At that time, we were offered a major record contract for the USA. We were like the next big thing from Germany. Like a German version of Dokken. But our former record company blocked the deal and we were like in a state of shock. Our singer Michael left the band overnight and me and the rest of the band were paralyzed.

MER: What lead to the band reuniting in 2006?

JB: Michael Voss and I had written a couple of songs together (mainly for other artists) and that brought us back together on a personal basis. Various record companies were offering us deals but they all wanted to have Mad Max back.

MER: Will the band’s back catalog ever be available for streaming or as reissues?

JB: Some of the old stuff is already available but the rights situation for the old albums is quite difficult. We are working on that.

MER: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about that I missed?

JB: Thanks so much to all our friends in the USA for supporting Mad Max over so many decades. Hope to play some shows in the USA as soon as Covid will allow that.


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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