Running Wild is a German heavy metal band, formed in 1976 in Hamburg, Germany. They were part of the German metal scene to emerge in the early to mid-1980s. Over the course of their career, they have released sixteen studio albums, three live albums, five compilation albums, and six singles/EPs. Although their earlier releases contained Satanic themes and imagery, Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke, the guitar player of the band, was studying theology at the time and is now a pastor in Cologne.[1][2]

Running Wild
Running Wild live in Bonn (2005)
Background information
OriginHamburg, Germany
GenresHeavy metal, power metal, speed metal, pirate metal
Years active1976–2009, 2011–present
LabelsGUN, Noise, Steamhammer
Associated actsGrave Digger, Accept, Helloween, X-Wild
MembersRolf Kasparek
Peter Jordan
Ole Hempelmann
Michael Wolpers

In 1987, the band released the album Under Jolly Roger, which was a switch to pirate-based and historical themes, creating and influencing the later named pirate metal subgenre of heavy metal in the 2000s in the process. While the historical lyrics were very superficial at first, the lyrics for later albums were intensively researched, by Rolf Kasparek in particular.[3]

After this album, from 1988 to 1992 (for the albums Port Royal, Death or Glory, Blazon Stone and Pile of Skulls), Running Wild mainly wrote historically based lyrics. In addition to lyrics about pirates like Calico Jack, Klaus Störtebeker, or the little-known Henry Jennings, the band also addressed subjects like the Wars of the Roses, the Battle of Waterloo, or the colonization of the New World by the Conquistadors.[3]

On 17 April 2009 Rolf announced that Running Wild had split up. Their intended last show was at Wacken Open Air on July 30, 2009. It was recorded for CD and DVD release and appeared as The Final Jolly Roger on June 24, 2011. The split would prove temporary as they reunited in 2012. Running Wild played live for the Wacken Open Air festival in July 2015.

As of 2016, the band have released 16 studio albums, with their most recent being Rapid Foray.

Since the band's formation they have sold nearly five million albums.[citation needed]

Early years and first albumsEdit

The band formed in 1976 under the name Granite Heart, but they would change their name in 1979 to Running Wild after the Judas Priest song of the same name. The band recorded their first demo in 1981 and featured the songs "Hallow the Hell", "War Child" and "King of the Midnight Fire". The first two of these tracks appeared on the compilation album "Debut No. 1" on the Raubbau Label. In June 1984, the band started work on their debut album Gates to Purgatory, which was released by Noise Records, featuring satanic lyrics. The album proved to be a success, and the band quickly gained a cult following. Guitarist Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke left the band soon after the album's release. The band soon recruited Majk Moti to take his place, and soon recorded their follow up Branded and Exiled in 1985. The album sold 250,000 copies, expanding the group's fan base. This album would prove to be the final release of the band with satanic imagery in their music.

Rise in popularity, success and later albumsEdit

For the following release, the band shifted their sound and image and adopted a pirate theme. The band released Under Jolly Roger in 1987. This would prove a significant change because the band would be more known as a "pirate metal" band, with lyrics dealing with pirates and historical events. With this album, the band found their identity, and the pirate theme would be prominent on their future releases. Their 1988 follow-up release Port Royal featured a more mature style of songwriting and expanded on the pirate theme explored on their previous album. The album featured one of the band's first epics, Calico Jack. In 1989, the release of the band's fifth studio recording Death or Glory, proved to be the band's most successful album to date.[citation needed] The tour was also a success and a concert during the tour was filmed and was released as Death or Glory Tour. This album and tour would be the final release to feature guitarist Majk Moti and drummer Ian Finlay.

Upon the departure of Moti and Finlay, Kasparek recruited guitarist Axel Morgan and drummer Rudiger Dreffein (better known as "AC") to record the band's first album in two years, Blazon Stone, released in 1991. The album continued the band's trend of writing about historical themes, and according to band leader, Rolf Kasparek, it was to be the band's best-selling album of the 1990s.[citation needed] The album proved to be a slight shift in their overall sound, as the band brought a more speed metal approach to their songs, which would be prevalent throughout their releases during the decade. In 1992, the band began work on Pile of Skulls which was regarded by many as one of the band's strongest efforts.[citation needed] Around this time, Kasparek started becoming more interested in conspiracy theories, becoming the basis of the next album, 1994's Black Hand Inn.

1995's Masquerade was the first in a trilogy of albums dealing with a specific theme. The album would go on to be one of Running Wild's worst selling albums up to that point. The second album followed with the 1998 album The Rivalry under their new label GUN Records with the conclusion of the trilogy culminating with 2000's Victory. It would be the final album featuring drummer Jörg Michael. With so many line-up changes, Running Wild was considered a solo project due to the fact that guitarist and main songwriter Rolf Kasparek remained the sole constant member of the band. The album The Brotherhood was released in 2002. It was to be another three years before Running Wild released another album Rogues en Vogue in 2005.

The Final Jolly Roger, hiatus, reunion and futureEdit

The band performed at Wacken Open Air, which at the time was supposed to be the band's final performance. The show was recorded for a live album and DVD The Final Jolly Roger, which was released on June 24, 2011.[4] The band split up after the Wacken concert. Rolf soon shifted his attention to writing a new project Giant-X with his Running Wild bandmate Peter Jordan. Running Wild reunited in 2011, signed to Steamhammer and released their first studio album in seven years Shadowmaker on 20 April. The band's performance at Wacken Open Air in 2015 was their first show since 2009. Since then, the band have released two more albums, 2013's Resilient and 2016's Rapid Foray. On 20 May 2016, a compilation album was released under the name of Riding The Storm: The Very Best Of The Noise Years 1983-1995.[5] On the official Noise Records Facebook page, the label announced that they have released the band's first nine albums on August 11th and 25th respectfully.[6]



  • Rolf Kasparek – vocals, guitars (1976–09, 2011-)
  • Peter Jordan – guitars (2004–09, 2011-)
  • Ole Hempelmann – bass guitar (2015-)
  • Michael Wolpers – drums (2015-)









  1. ^ "Wacken Open Air 2015 starts with Metal worship". Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "Ev. Gemeinde Sürth/Weiß - Kontakt". Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "RUNNING WILD - the official website". Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  4. ^ "RUNNING WILD To Release 'The Final Jolly Roger' In June". April 29, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  5. ^ "Running Wild - Riding The Storm - The Very Best Of The Noise Years 1983-1995". Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  6. ^ "Running Wild Noise Reissues Teaser Trailer". Retrieved November 21, 2019.

External linksEdit