top of page

Marc Storace: The Melodic Journey from Sliema to the World Stage

A Rock Legend's Path from Local Bands to Krokus and Beyond

Mark Anthony Storace Crockford, born on October 7, 1951, in Sliema, is the son of Anthony Storace and Edna Crockford. He is one of six children in his family. From a young age, he taught himself to sing and began his musical journey at the age of fourteen in 1965. He made his initial live performances with two local bands called Stonehenge Union and The Boys. Inspired by the influential WOODSTOCK Festival in the late 1960s, Storace renamed The Boys to Cinnamon Hades. The band started covering songs by Iron Butterfly, Jimi Hendrix, and various hard rock acts like The Who, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath while still including the popular Beatles "Abbey Road Medley."

Driven by his dream to pursue a career as a rock musician, Storace had to leave his homeland behind. In 1970, he relocated to London, and the rest, as they say, is history.

When it comes to Maltese artists who have made a name for themselves abroad, only a few can be mentioned alongside Marc Storace. In November 2021, Marc returned to the island with some friends to film a documentary about his life. During his visit, I had the privilege of interviewing Marc on November 2nd, where we discussed various topics, episodes from his life.

Thanks, Mark, for accepting to visit us at our studios. Hope you're enjoying your stay on the island.

Thank you. It's my pleasure to be here and do this interview with you. And yeah, we're having fun. I'm here with a couple of friends of mine from Switzerland, Serge and Sepp, and we're actually here mainly to film some footage for the documentary of my singing career from the very start, which is in the hands of Sepp, who came up with the idea a couple

of years back. And actually, we never really got started because COVID came. And so, we wanted to come to Malta two years ago already. But anyway, in the meantime, I did the album. So that was positive too.

Well, I am sure throughout the years you have been asked about your early life over and over again. So, we'll try not to dwell too much on that. But maybe a topic which is usually overseen is the fact that you left Malta at a young age and considering what family means to us, Maltese or Mediterranean especially, how hard was it at that time?

It wasn't easy at all, but it was a decision I had to take because I had not done too well getting myself a diploma here. So, I kind of held a dagger against my own back and I had to move, take a decision.

[And] I thought London would be the best place to go because I could speak English very well. [And] I went there, and I had some friends there. So, I could find my way around and met some musicians and jammed and stuff.

But then this thing happened [that] I met this Swiss lady and thanks to her, I made the step to Switzerland. But it was very hard for me all the time. I had these kind of lows where I would think of Malta a lot and miss my family, my friends and a good old hobz biz-zejt and lampuka, some pastizzi and lampuka pie that my mom used to cook and stuff like that. It's the homesickness. And when I went to Switzerland, of course, it became worse, this feeling.

The music got better, the situation with Tea and so on. But the feeling of missing the Maltese culture, Mediterranean culture, the fresh seafood and stuff like that walks along the promenade because I grew up in Sliema along the promenade.

That was my life, and the sea, of course, life in the Mediterranean on top and under it.

Skipping the bit about Tea going to Krokus, many know about you turning down an audition with AC/DC in ‘80 or ‘81. But few know, or at least it is less mentioned, that around the time Krokus asked you to join, you did an audition with Rainbow.

How did that one come about?

Well, I was at that time in London after the whole episode and adventurous seven years with Tea, which was my actually a pioneering hard rock, progressive Swiss rock band with whom I had come to Malta and we had done five phenomenal concerts. It was like Beatlemania. We didn't know what hit us when we landed at the airport and the support here was so great. And soon afterwards, we actually went our ways and I went back to London and formed a band called Easy Money. And we were close to signing a contract with Grizzly and going on tour in the USA as opening act for Genesis. You know, so it looked like a rosy future.

But within the band, I felt some insecurity and some turmoil and opposition, some lack of harmony within the musicians, which made me feel insecure about.., it's like when you go into a casino and put all your money on one number, you know. So, and then we were doing a rehearsal in London and this guy, he was a talent scout, Bob Adcock, took me into the direction room.

You know, these were different rehearsal rooms and he said, would you like to do an audition with Rainbow? I said, wow, Richie Blackmore. Great. Yes. Straight away, he said OK. I think it was a Thursday and he said, you fly on Saturday.

I said, what? So fast. I have to look into the songs and stuff. He said, no time for that. You know, they just want to know how your voice is. So, I said, OK, well, let's go for it. And I flew to Geneva [New York] that Saturday and I was picked up by, rest his soul, Cozy Powell. And the tour manager of Deep Purple was working with them as well. And we went over the border and Cozy was driving like a rally driver. I mean, he had a racing driver's license.

So, we arrived at this chateau and there was the Moulin Rouge mobile recording studio of Jethro Tull parked outside and stuff. And this was like a little bit over my head, you know, for I'd never been to the USA at that point, you know, I'd done Europe with Tea. And the thought of, you know, singing with Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover and Don Airy and Cozy Powell was like, wow, quite, you know, I was really nervous.

And anyway, so Cozy took me to his room. I chose the song Man on a Silver Mountain, which had been written by Ronnie James Dio. And then Ritchie came in, asked me if I want to have a shot of whiskey.

I said, I don't drink whiskey before I sing, but maybe afterwards. Thank you very much. And we went down into the basement where they had everything ready. And off we went, you know, first warmed up with a jam, just singing, whatever, and then we went into the Man on a Silver Mountain and stuff. And that was it. He said, man, now we're going to have dinner. You know, we had dinner. The whole crew was there, and it was a nice atmosphere. And then Cozy took me on the side and he said, you know, when you go to bed tonight, lock your doors because, you know, Ritchie gets up to his pranks, horror pranks, you know, and stuff like that. So, I said, yeah, thanks for telling me. And I locked both doors. There were two sides to the room, and nothing happened that night.

And then in the morning I flew back. And then a couple of days later they told me, sorry, we decided to take someone else. All fair and clear and no problem. I continued with Easy Money and we were still writing songs.

And then a couple of weeks later, it's amazing how everything happened around the same period. I got a phone call from Chris Von Rohr, one of the founder members and band leader of Krokus. And so, this was a call.

Switzerland was calling me back. You know, that's the way I felt, you know. So, we agreed to do a weekend jam and I enjoyed the weekend so much. And so, did they. And then I felt in a way, I felt like being back home in Switzerland because I had spent those seven years with Tea. You know, so it was back to Schnippo, you know. And the typical stuff you do there and yeah, like sitting in a Swiss pub, people talk with each other, whereas in London, you go into a pub on your own, nobody talks to you, you know. And this I found terrible; you know. This big city loneliness thing, you know. I prefer smaller places.

So, I ended up in Switzerland again and the rest is history. You know, the Krokus story.

Success was immediate when Metal Rendez-Vous was released. Did you personally expect that reception, considering it was your debut with Krokus?

I loved it. Wow, great. You know, at last. I've been trying so long, you know, since my dream started in Malta. Singing with The Boys and Stonehenge Union, [then The Boys] and then Cinnamon Hades and dreaming of bigger things. But because of the small size of the island and there not being a music industry here, which was big enough to support a musician's life, you know, where you have to pay your rent, buy a car, pay your taxes and all that stuff, you know, your insurances and stuff. I couldn't do that from doing music alone. And there's no way I was going to go and sing in a hotel or in those days we had the night clubs like The Caravel and Pialli and so on. And I had an offer from them, you know, with a good monthly salary and stuff, but I thought then I would stagnate and lose my chance. So anyway, yeah.

In 2018 Krokus announced the Adios Amigos World Tour as their last and retirement was to follow. It was sad news to the metal world, but when considering the band had been around for 46 years plus and 29 releases to date, 26 with your voice on them. I am sure you believe that was a good run. Any thoughts of putting out any back catalogued unreleased material?

I think that's too early to say. I think it's also too early to say whether Krokus will play again or not. I mean, we owe concerts to the USA and Canada and Mexico. And my hope is always very high. I'm a positive thinker, you know, otherwise I would have never left the island, you know. And I believe there's a chance that we can finish that tour, those gigs that we owe over the big pond and that there's a possibility that we could do something again in Europe, in Switzerland. I think where there is life, there is hope. And OK, rock and roll, a rock band needs a lot of energy. It's kind of almost like a sport, what we do, especially singing and playing drums, so as long as everything is there, then, you know, and from my end, I've just done a solo album. I'm feeling top fit to do concerts and stuff.

We'll talk about Krokus a little bit more before we come to the solo project. It would be impossible to talk about your years in Krokus in just one short interview. But I'm sure you have stories and episodes that you are fond of and you can relate to us.

Yeah, there's many. Where do I start? Well, you know, in the beginning, I was living in London, so I had my life there and I said I'm not going to come and live again in Switzerland until the whole thing is stable.

So, I kept my life in London going and I was flying over. I had to do rehearsals and the tour and at the end of that, go back home in London. And we communicated a lot by telephone and stuff. Of course, big telephone bills and stuff. But yeah, and then we when it really took off, we weren't at home much anymore. So it didn't matter where you live anymore for a while because you were living out of a suitcase and what counted was your passport and in those days you had a cheque book and a visa, you know, and life went on and on and on.

And yeah, there's a couple of funny accounts like when, God rest his soul, Tommy Kiefer, we were on I think, the second tour in the USA, Hardware, and we suddenly drove off.

We stopped at the fuelling station on the autobahn, on the freeway, and we drove off and then suddenly we saw that Tommy is missing and he's not in his bunk, you know. So, we had to turn back, go back to that station and see where Tommy is.

And where did we find him? It's where you always found Tommy, in the bar with a beer. And almost the same thing happened to me in Denmark.

Yeah, I got off the tour bus, it was like in the middle of the night, at about two in the morning, everyone else was already asleep except the driver, of course, they're not allowed to sleep.

Good thing as well.

And it was a female driver and she had a little dog who was always under the driver's seat, you know, and they went out. I thought, okay, so I'll go down to the toilet and she's gonna probably fuel.

But it wasn't that, you know, she was quicker than I thought, she just needed something quick. And I came back out and I saw the bus, you know, driving off, you know, I ran like, like an ass behind this bus.

And, it was getting further and further away from me and I thought, oh, shit, now what? You know, so I checked that if I had money and if I had, yeah, in those days, luckily, I had my mobile phone. [And, but I think] I had a prepaid card in those days. This whole thing got so complicated. But the guys at the tankstelle, you know, at the filling station, they helped me out.

They called the USA because the ex-Tea manager, Peter Waelti, who was also involved with Krokus, is usually still awake at two in the morning, you know. So, we got him on the phone and then he called the band and he got someone up and they sent me a taxi the next day to that tankstelle, you know. Oh boy. And I arrived at the gig in time for soundcheck, you know, I walked in, had a coffee and went straight to the microphone, you know, one, two, one, two, played something and amazing, amazing when stuff like that happens. We had another episode, which wasn't so, so funny, actually.

And it was also in Scandinavia on the tour bus, on the Hellraiser tour. And we came to this, the same place, it's like a bridge where, where the bass player of Metallica had, they had this accident and he died because the bus skipped over. The road was icy, and our driver lost control. You know, you go in a slide, there's not much you can do except calm down and hope. And he hit this other big truck full of metal, steel stuff, you know, and, and he nearly lost his left leg. And our bus went onto the side of the bridge against the running border, the planks, you know. And so, our doors were locked. The two doors were on that side. They were jammed against the planks and we couldn't get out. And our driver was screaming his head off. And I jumped out of my bunk and said, no smoking, don't light any, anything, just in case we have a petrol leak, you know. And they called the emergency and we waited about 20 minutes or half an hour till they could come. It's not easy, you know, you can't drive full blast on that, on those road conditions. They came and they told us to move away from the back glass, because that's the biggest glass you have. It's like a sitting room in the back and they smashed the window in and then they put blankets over the remaining glass and ladders. And we all got out from the back window, except the driver, they went in and helped him out and took him to hospital. And we, we waited then about another three hours in this place until [another] bus [arrived], they sent another bus to take us back to Germany where we had a gig to play the next day. And life went on almost as usual with a little bit of bitter taste, you know, and we kept hearing news about the driver that they're not going to amputate his leg, which was great, you know, and so all good, thank God, back to normal.

The number of singers whose voice is still very good after 65, if you don't mind them telling your age, is countable on the fingers on one hand. Apart from yourself, I can only think of Glenn Hughes. How did you manage to take care of your voice like that over the years?

Well, I, I just turned 70, actually. And I had a great birthday with my family. And yeah, I guess, you know, I've been through all the rock and roll parties and late nights and stuff and excess, but I never went totally overboard, you know, with stuff. And I guess that helped a lot. And the reason was always in the back of my head, I don't want to ruin my vocal chords, because that's, that's my capital, you know, it’s only a little instrument there, you know, which you can't repair so well, you can't go into a music store and say, I'll have a new one. You know, when it's gone, it's gone. So, this thought at the back of my head kept me balanced out, you know. So, thank God and touch wood. I'm still hitting [although] I'm not hitting the highest notes that I used to hit when I was younger, you know, which is normal. But, you know, I always had a very high voice. So now, I've lost maybe half a semitone. That means half a note, but it's still high compared to some singers anyway. And my lower notes have more character, you know, it's like an old bottle of red wine, which tastes better when you pull it out of the cellar, after 10 years or so, you know, 20 years.

As you mentioned, at the beginning of our chat, you're here doing a documentary about yourself. But before the documentary hit the screens, an album shall be released nearing the end of this year, which means that Mark Storace is definitely not hanging his boots. Can you reveal anything about the songs and musicians appearing on it?

Well, we'll soon be opening a new website, and all the information will come there. The release is going to be on the 8th December. And also, the first gig, it's like a showcase in Zurich, in this old club called Mascot, which is very popular. And we're going to have media people there and journalists and fans as well. And, you know, family and friends. And yeah, the music, you know, to hear pieces of the music, some streaming will be on the website as well. Plus, all the links and all the... like there's going to be a store for not only for merchandising, but also for where people can buy the album, the CD. The vinyl will come [out] later. You know, we're going to see how the CD goes and don't take things for granted in this funny age we're living in.

And but yeah, that's probably going to go in the normal direction. And December is going to be the big day for the live gig. But before that, Mr. Sepp here, Mr. Sutter, he did already the trailer teaser, which is on my Facebook site, you know, And that's already got the intro of the single on it, you know.

Really nice number, I think it's going to be the first single. And also Sepp made a magnificent video out of that song. And since I didn't have my whole band ready when we did the video, I only took one guitar player and he happens to be the co-writer. We wrote that song together. His name is David Preissel. So I find it fitting that he's on the video for the first, the debut, [the] first single. And the band members will be announced also very soon, hopefully with a photograph. We have to get them all together. But we just figured out now recently, I found the guitar player, lead guitar player, soloist who is going to be in the band and go on tour with us. And all this will be announced shortly.

In fact, there are some dates already booked. Among them, there's a noticeable one, which I'll let you explain why. But does that mean that you're still touring?

Well, we start before Christmas, you know, these four dates that we have before Christmas. They are important places in Switzerland, which are, real culture hotspots. You know, we have musicians from all genres playing there and kind of hardcore guests who follow and fill up the place. And the atmosphere is fantastic in every one of these places. And one of them is Koffmehl in Solothurn. And Solothurn is the Hochburg (stronghold) of Krokus. You know, it's where Krokus was born. And I spent a long, long time living there as well. And so I'm looking forward to every one of them. And I think we now can soon also announce a gig in Basel, it's where I live. And there's another one close to Bern.

So you've got Zurich, Bern, Basel and Solothurn, which is pretty covering the Swiss-German part. And I guess a lot of journalists will be filling up the VIP stalls, you know. So that's a good way to spread the news as fast as possible and get all the critics and reviews and get the ball rolling, you know. I'm really excited about that.

Well, the last question, you can understand where it's coming from. As a Maltese fan, I must ask, shall we see you back on stage in Malta?

Oh, definitely. I would come straight away. I'd love to come, you know. So I'll be waiting for the call, you know, from I don't know who it's going to be. I know there's a lot of Maltese rock fans out there, different kinds of rock, whether it's metal or doom or hard rock or progressive rock. Rock is rock. [So] And we live on a rock. Yeah. So this is where it started for me. So I would really love to come back. And if not before Christmas, then hopefully when we do the tour in beginning in around March, we're going to start and we'll take it from there. But I think the first gigs before Christmas will tell us a lot about what's going to happen in the future of 2022. Well, around March, the weather over here is fantastic.

Thanks, Mark, for stopping by and..

My pleasure.

For your patience, in answering my questions.

No patience at all. I'm glad to talk through you. I can inform the Maltese rock audience out there. And I always made it a point to do interviews each time I come to Malta, whether I have a new product or not, you know, so just to say hi, hi, everybody. Kif intkom? All right?

Footnote: The album ‘Live and Let Live was released on Cream Of Rock. Marc kept his word and performed at the Aria Complex on the 30th September 2022. In a post on his facebook page a few days later Marc wrote:” WOW - MALTA!!! Thank you for your warm & heartfelt "welcome" when I returned to my country of origin with my band STORACE. I left the island as a young man to spread my wings and returned "full circle" 50 years later with our last Friday's show at the Aria Complex here in San Gwann. My daughter Giuliana came along as well and contributed with some vocals. Some of you might remember when I returned for the first time in 1977 with TEA, then with the "Hellraiser" KROKUS line-up [including Dom & Tony that shared the stage with me last Friday] in 2006 & 2007, followed by another TEA show in 2010 and finally with the KROKUS originals in 2017 at this same venue. It's been a long journey during which I never forgot my original musical roots here in Malta! YOU ALL ROCKED!!”

In the meantime these last couple of days Krokus announced that they'll hit the stage on 25th August at the Riverside Festival in Aarburg.

  • Interview photos by Vica Mifsud and Serge Danis other photos personal collection of Marc Storace and Noel Mifsud

  • Interview held at ONE productions studios Marsa, November 2021

71 views0 comments


bottom of page