Krokus singer Marc Storace says the band shouldn’t have followed their record label’s advice in the 1980s – because instead of leading to big-time chart success it led to their split.

And he reveals the Swedish veterans were satisfied when 1983 album Headhunter reached number 24 in the US chart.

They’re back on track with well-received 2013 album Dirty Dynamite, and their revitalised lineup includes Storace, bassist Chris Von Rohr, guitarists Mandy Meyer, Fernando Von Arb and Mark Kohler, and drummer Flavio Mezzodi.

But their career looked more shaky three decades ago after 1983 release Headhunter gave them their highest chart entry and saw them touring as special guests of Def Leppard, who’d exploded with classic album Hysteria.

Storace tells Mitch Lafon in the interview below: “We charted at number 24. Def Leppard were pissed off they didn’t get to number 1 with Michael Jackson being in the way.

“We were happy as pigs in shit at number 24 – there had never been a band from Sweden, or Malta, where I’m from, to even reach the top 100. So we were happy.”

By the time it came to work on 1986 album Change Of Address, Krokus’ label wanted to take them in a different direction. Storace recalls: “The company comes in and we start hearing this, that and the other about softening our image, being less wild-looking, less raunchy, less biker-like – in order to sell more.

“They were saying, ‘Instead of going platinum you’ll go double or triple platinum next time.’ And that’s when Chris left.”

The vocalist admits: “Our hardcore fans were disappointed that we came out with a production that was too polished. They weren’t used to that from Krokus. But the songs themselves were pretty good. They just needed to remain as raw as when we had recorded them as as demos.”

He believes Krokus didn’t need a direction change – all they needed some time off. “We came back with Heart Attack, but then we all left the band,” he says. “The band should have had a rest. A year off compared to one month off, which we’d had since 1979.

“We needed a break. How many times can you be the hamster in a wheel?”

Mitch Lafon interviews Marc Storace