BERNE – The IIHF World Championship has been blessed with many catchy theme songs over the years, but “Live for the Action” by Krokus just might top them all.
That's not to downplay the likes of “Den Glider In” (Tre Kronor & Nick Borgen, Sweden, 1995), “H-O-C-K-E-Y” (Alan Frew, Germany, 2001), or “Kaikki peliin” (Fintelligens, Finland, 2003).
But this year's hard-rockin' official anthem by a classic Swiss metal band that's sold some 13 million albums worldwide combines a instantly memorable, sing-along chorus with a driving riff that's straight out of the glorious tradition of AC/DC, Accept, and, of course, Krokus itself.
The five-piece group, which has seen musicians come and go over the years, recently reunited with the lineup featured on 1982's One Vice at a Time: Marc Storace (lead vocals), Fernando von Arb (lead guitar), Mark Kohler (rhythm guitar), Chris von Rohr (bass), and Freddy Steady (drums). They've signed a new worldwide deal with Sony and an international tour is in the works.
Apparently, the old chemistry is intact, too, based on the early reaction to the song by fans in Berne, who were left “Screaming in the Night” (to reference Krokus's biggest hit). “Live for the Action” was based on a von Arb guitar lick, with von Rohr providing the title and some early lyrics, and Storace finishing it off.
“We wrote 'Live for the Action' especially with ice hockey in mind, and also rock,” Storace explained backstage after the band's energetic performance prior to Switzerland's 1-0 win over France at PostFinance Arena. “When we go on stage and give a performance, we also warm up beforehand. When the lights hit us, we break into a sweat and the adrenalin is high. We have our 'passes' and our 'shots' in a different way. It's all metaphorical, but there is a similarity there. We score our 'goals' and get our cheers. That's why it wasn't so difficult to find the right lyrics to fit the music, which would be usable for both ice hockey and rock. And that's why this song will also go on our next album, which we're planning to release toward the end of 2009, if we're lucky, or the beginning of 2010.”
Krokus also has a prior history of offering musical inspiration in the Swiss National League A.
“We wrote a song called 'Lion Heart' in 1995 that was released on the album To Rock or Not to Be,” said Storace. “And it was adopted as a fight song by Zurich's ZSC Lions. They asked me to come and sing in the playoffs: “Lion Heart!” The whole stadium sang along. And then I stayed and watched the game, and met the players and got a signed jersey from the whole team. I've still got it at home.”
The band was founded in 1974, and has often turned to hockey for a diversion, particularly during the epic tours it undertook in the 1980's.
“Over all the years that we spent together in tour buses and hotels and so on, if we ever had days off with time to kill, if there ever was a hockey game, we switched the TV on and watched the game and opened a few six-packs,” Storace recalled. “Ate some pizza, and got into the spirit of things. But I'll be honest: none of us is a 'fanatic' ice hockey fan or anything like that. We enjoy a good game, and know a few names of people, especially on the Swiss team, like coach Ralph Krueger, who's been doing a really good job for so many years, and Mark Streit, obviously.”
Visit the webshop of the 2009 IIHF World Championship to buy the tournament compilation CD featuring Krokus's “Live for the Action”, plus songs by eight other artists.