Kris Kristofferson

German Rockabilly band Rocket to Stardom signs to Kristofferson’s KK Records

Releases A Rockin’ Tribute To Kris Kristofferson with special guests Kris and Kelly Kristofferson

Street date - September 12, 2013

For immediate release

September 6, 2013

“Actually, we could call it a day now.” Duesseldorf-born Julian Wiethoff still needs time to grasp that his biggest dream has come true: his German band Rocket to Stardom is about to release its debut album A Rockin’ Tribute To Kris Kristofferson not only on the legendary songwriter’s very own KK Records label, but was also invited by the man himself to join him as support act and special guest on the four German dates of Kristofferson’s European tour in September 2013.

The story behind the story sounds so unbelievable and unlikely that even Hollywood’s top screen writers couldn’t have done a better job. At the end of November 2011, the two die-hard  Kristofferson fans Julian Wiethoff and Bojan Lutz boarded a plane from Duesseldorf, Germany to Las Vegas, Nevada to see their idol live at the Orleans Casino. 36 hours without sleep were taking their toll as they met Kristofferson’s wife Lisa in an elevator without knowing her. But all things happen for a reason. “We both had on self-made replicas of a shirt Kris got in the 80s from a fan and which he wore often,” recalls Julian. “That’s why Lisa started talking to us, and a few minutes later we found ourselves clutching two backstage passes in our sweaty palms.”

So they shook hands with their idol—unable to speak, weak in the knees, the whole fan-meets-hero hassle included.  But they did manage to hand him their album featuring 16 Kristofferson covers, Rockabilly style, leaving out the most popular ones for a good reason.  “What Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin have done with hits like ‘Me And Bobby McGee’ and ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’ is simply not replicable, especially for a little rock’n’roll band from Germany,” Julian says about the band’s song choice. Having been thoroughly familiar with Kristofferson’s back catalogue since their teens, the Rocket to Stardom band mates admire the wide musical range the now 77-years-old Texan native has put into his body of work. “In Germany, Kris Kristofferson is mostly known for his acting, but as far as we’re concerned, his deep lyrics and wonderful songs have made a strong impression on us since we were kids, no matter what was fashionable back then,” says the 39-year-old Julian.

In 2010—having already passed the legal drinking age for quite some time—there was a night of high spirits which would go on to change their lives forever. In the beginning “it was just one of those projects you get into to have fun,” but after a while the three talented rockabilly musicians found their way of presenting the material in the right guise. “It felt good to be different,” remarks Julian, “our bands are part of a subcultural, underground scene. We’re not in this for the money.” What pays the rent are their jobs as a lawyer, police officer and gardener. “But our real life is music, period. It’s not always easy to reconcile both worlds, I can tell you,” admits Julian. 

Those “Duesseldorf dudes,” as they are known in Kristofferson’s world, are getting ready to tour with their idol and label boss. Being able to perform their versions for the German fans and knowing that the man who wrote them will be behind the curtain is a thrill of a life-time and, yes, a dream come true. The trio, which obviously took the name from a 70s Kristofferson song, knows how to handle the situation, because “nobody has recorded an album of his songs in rockabilly style.” Kristofferson truly loves Rocket to Stardom—he even participated in the project by singing with the band on two tracks. Kristofferson goes rockabilly on “Under The Gun“ and “I Hate Your Ugly Face” and his daughter Kelly makes her recording debut here on “Between Heaven And Here.” Could there be a bigger compliment? “Well, if he booked us for a private garden party in Hawaii. But we might be too expensive,” laughs Julian, the lawyer. “Mind you, if he really did, we definitely would call it a day.” At the same time, they’re just getting started…

Line-Up:

Julian Wiethoff – vocals, guitar

Bojan Lutz - bass

Jens Feldhaus - drums

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