Only a year after their previous release, Bonfire returned with their new studio album “Temple of Lies” and they take no prisoners. This is indeed one of the band’s best releases to date! Grande Rock had a very interesting & fun chat with the bass player Ronnie Parkes about the new album, the live shows and the band’s music among other things. Read for more below…
Bonfire band pic

Hi Ronnie and welcome to Grande Rock. First of all, kudos on your new album “Temple of Lies”, which is one the band’s top works in general.
R: Thank you very much! And hello to all the Grande Rock Rockers!
It’s not so “common” to release a new album every year, but it seems to work out well in your case. What’s the catch? How do you manage to release an album that’s better than the previous one each year?
R: Well thanks, I guess you are right it isn’t so common, there were a lot of reasons to release an album again so quickly, the main reason was that we switched to a different record label. AFM Records and we are really happy with the choice. It is a great record label and they have an amazing roster of talent. So that was the main reason to release “Temple of Lies” so quickly after the last release. Whenever you make a new album we pour everything we have into and it’s always “the new baby”, so you always hope for the best. But you also learn from previous releases, so in theory they should always be better. In the end sometimes something really great comes out, all you can do is try your best.
Where did you get the music and lyrical inspiration for “Temple of Lies”?
R: We have a great writing team with Hans Ziller, Frank Pane, and myself. Hans was always the main songwriter for Bonfire and Frank and I just add to it, as well as Alex and Tim. But the inspiration comes from life’s lessons. I feel songs should always have a meaning they just can’t be to sound cool or something. That’s what songs are supposed to be, musical stories that people can relate too.
What is the “Temple of Lies” and where does the album title refer to?
R: We are very much a touring band, playing something between 80 and 100 shows a year. The title and inspiration for the title song was our relationship with a previous manager. It ended really badly with us really getting hurt and ripped off. So it was the perfect inspiration for the album. The title track is the story of that relationship.
“Will he make you famous
Will you be a star
Will he take your dreams from you
The truth is always far”...
What’s the connection between the album’s cover artwork and the title?
R: We tried to maintain a theme with the past few albums we had this skeleton on the “Glorious” album it was basically the Phoenix from the ashes concept skeleton with wings rising above all the drama we were going through at the time. So, we kept the skeleton guy and incorporated him into the album concepts. With this one “Temple of Lies” it was not only our story of being lied to and ripped off, it is also that everyone is lied to by politicians and leaders every day. So, that is the idea with three of them making the plans and feeding the lies to everyone.
Since you’ve only been around 3 years with the band, did Ziller think that this is the best line-up Bonfire had in a while and why’s that?
R: It is really a great chemistry we all really get along well; there is no drama between us. We are all friends like a band should be; we have fun and laugh, so it really works exceptionally well. Alex was the final piece to the puzzle and really completes the circle.
Do give us a hint about each track:
R: “In the Beginning”: With every album comes a tour. So we wanted an intro for the album and tour. So, this is our intro for the album and tour. A biblical tale of where Lies originated in the universe.
“Temple of Lies”: This is completely about our relationship with our ex-manager.
“On the Wings of an Angel”: We were on the road for a while and some people very close to me had passed away. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to say goodbye. This song is about losing someone close to you.
“Feed the Fire (Like the Bonfire)”: This song is about addiction. We know people with this problem and a few of us have been there ourselves in the past.
“Stand or Fall”: This one is about war, and standing up for your beliefs. At the time we wrote the song the state of the world was very chaotic, not that everything is all “Rosie” now but North Korea was testing Nuclear weapons, change of power in the United States conflicts in different parts of the world, England leaving the EU...
“Comin’ Home”: This song is about being away from home. It’s a letter from a parent to a child and the child gets the letter and replies back. The idea was kind of like “cat’s in the cradle” a conversation between the two.
“I’ll Never Be Loved By You”: This track is about being in a relationship with someone that you really care about and then they go and do something that they never would have done if they really loved you.
“Fly Away”: This is about a girl that is not happy with her surrounding whether it be her life, or her relationship. Basically it is saying if you are not happy, go be happy… everyone deserves that.
“Love the Way You Hate Me”: This song is saying be proud of who you are “f*%#” the haters”! You are not here to make anyone happy but yourself.
“Crazy Over You”: This is a breakup song. Being in a relationship where you know it’s not working and you know you should leave but you can’t because you are infatuated with the person.
The album’s production is full and heavy. Hans did an exceptional job once again. Did you plan to have a heavier sound on this album or what?
R: We all like the classic power metal and a few of us have been in some power metal bands. So it is just part of the mixture and natural progression of the band. We like it with a little edge but still maintain the catchy melodies and big choruses Bonfire is known for. I love both power metal, hard rock and seventies rock, I love great melodies and catchy pop songs but they have to have some meaning and tell a story. So. it’s all just a big happy mixture of what we are.
Did you have in mind to make an opening to a more traditional metal audience with the new album “Temple of Lies”, or you didn’t care about that at all?
R: We are not really trying to please a metal audience but we are big fans of metal and it just comes out naturally. We are not trying to squash the metal in us to have a commercial pop song we like both, so we incorporate both. We are happy if people who like power metal like it. I think live we have a pretty heavy sound with good melodies.
You’ll be on the road in a few days again, so I’d like to ask how the touring has been so far. What are the fans’ impressions on the new album?
R: Yes, actually we played at Wacken too. People are really liking the new album we hit number 29 on the German charts also we made it onto the charts in Switzerland too. People are really digging it. As far as the shows go we still play all the classic Bonfire stuff people expect to hear at a Bonfire show.
Do you prefer to be on the road rather than in the studio? What are the best moments you had on the road on this tour so far?
R: I like both, I love the whole creative process and being in the studio, but playing live on stage is also great. There have been some really great shows and festivals already this year, but I think the best for this year is still to come. Tomorrow we are at Wacken which is the mother of all metal festivals with 80,000 people from around the globe. We are doing some other great festivals in Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, Belarus, U.K. still to come this year, then in November we have the Bonfire and Friends tour. 20 dates in Germany and Chezch Republic with Bonfire as the backing band and some great guest singers, Joe Lynn turner, Phil Mogg, Dave Bickler, Geoff Tate, Bobby Kimball, Johnny Gioeli, Chris Bodenthal, Quaster, my good friend Paul Morris on keys. It will be amazing to get to play all their amazing songs with them. “Lights Out” and “Doctor Doctor” with Phil Mogg and “Jet City Woman” with Geoff Tate and these classic Rainbow with Joe. It will really be amazing on so many levels.
Do you plan to release a new studio album in 2019 or so?
R: There are no plans at the moment for that. We did start and actually almost finished recording all these songs from these great singers on the Bonfire and Friends tour. Really legendary songs we recorded them with Alex singing and it is coming out so good we are talking of releasing this as an album for the Bonfire and Friends tour. So, it looks like this will happen. Probably released around October this year.
What are your expectations from “Temple of Lies” and what do you wish to achieve with Bonfire in the next years?
R: I would like to have as many people hear it as possible there are some really great songs on there. With Bonfire I would just like to keep doing as we are doing, in general. Everything is rolling along great and who knows what the future will bring.
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
R: Rockstar: David Lee Roth…
Heavy Metal: Judas Priest…
Rock & Roll: The 70s…
Music: Life…
Arts: Artists…
If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
R: I would erase a lot of it if I could, but mostly the over abundant use of auto-tune.
Which are the best 3 Heavy Metal albums according to you?
R: “Screaming for Vengeance” (Judas Priest), “Number of The Beast” (Iron Maiden) & “Reign in Blood” (Slayer).
Fill in the phrase: “Heavy Metal music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
R: Metallica…
Top 3 epic movies of any era?
R: “Vanishing Point”, “Jaws” and “Star Wars”.
If you had the opportunity to invite any famous person, living or dead, over for supper whom would you choose and why?
R: Motzart, why not?!
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
R: Pink Floyd – “Dark Side of the Moon”, just an amazing album!
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
R: Beatles – “Abbey Road”. Humans at their best!
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
R: Unfortunately, I don’t think I will like what I will see in the future. I love history, so I would travel back. Most likely I would travel to my past there are family that have left this world and I would love to see them again.
What are your views on Artificial Intelligence (and its scary-as-Hell implications!), which is seemingly around the bend and could be fully developed sooner than we think? Are we, as humans, technologically going off the deep end (like lemmings)?
R: I can say this… I am old enough to remember the times before home PC’s and cell phones. The world is a completely different place. No one knew where you were back then. Now everyone knows where you are all the time. Even if you aren’t aware of it like google tracking you. People are addicted to their phones and willingly will go off the cliff. Younger people will because they will know nothing else.
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
R: I am on the road so much I don’t have a record collection anymore. But if I did that relationship would be over without a doubt.
Thank you very much for talking to Grande Rock Ronnie. Just say anything you feel like saying before we close … take care dude!
R: OK, thanks for the chat, and I will just say if you are a Bonfire fan I would like to thank you for the support and keep an eye out for Bonfire and Friends this November it will be an amazing tour!