Rage's Peavy Wagner shows us his, erm, bone collection

a portrait of Peavy Wagner

So, Peavy, how did this bone collection begin? you’ve got loads of them!

“I was four years old when first I started. My very first specimen was my pet golden hamster. Hamsters don’t last for very long, so I buried his body in my sandpit, then I got curious what his bones would look like so I dug him out again later. My father was a biology teacher and he kept animal skulls from his studies, so I knew what they looked like from an early age. I studied bone preparation for three years at a school in Germany, focusing on biological preparation and taxidermy.”

Did your interests in the internal workings of animals influence the skulls we see on most Rage album sleeves?

“The metal jaw skull was invented by my friend Joachim Luetke, who did our album covers over the years. I handcrafted the specimen for our latest album cover Seasons Of The Black; it’s made from silicone and resin from a cast of an 11th century Incan skull I have. In Incan society, the wealthier population had a fascination with long skulls; they bound the heads of their babies so they would grow into this elongated skull.”

Your collection looks a bit creepy…

“It’s not morbid to me! It’s always been a scientific interest of mine to see how all these creatures across the world look under their skin, to understand how their morphological elements have developed. You can show me a skull from any animal and I can tell you right away how the animal lived and what kind of space it covered. The bones can tell you everything about their previous owner.”

Where do you keep this enormous stash?

“It’s a private museum in my attic because it’s so big – it takes up more space than other people have for themselves! I’ve made sure it’s big enough to become a workplace where I can make my casts and prepare the bones.”

Do you have many issues sourcing bones for your hoard?

“Some of this stuff is quite expensive, I can tell you! That’s why I specialise in casting bones in resin – some bones are so rare it’s impossible to buy them so it’s good enough to get a casting. I take great care when importing bones that are protected – you need to have the right papers to make sure it’s legal or you’ve got big problems. Sometimes I pick up bones at customs to take them home and I get some strange looks.”

What are the rarest items in your bone collection?

“I have a lot of Ice Age bones, even a femoral bone and parts of a skull from a neanderthal. I got them from a friend who wasn’t sure what they were, but he knew they were hominid bones. I only discovered how old they were when I took them to a professor from an anthropological institute here in Germany. I got them for a great price, but what price can you put on something so rare?”

Have you ever considered taking this hobby professional?

“Bone preparation is a hard job to make a living from. I’d need a job in a museum, so perhaps it’s better for me to stay as a professional musician. Sometimes I do preparation and skeleton moulding for museums in the area, but I couldn’t live on it.”

On a scale of 1-10, how metal is owning a badass bone collection?

“It’s a cliché connection with metal and skulls but I don’t think it’s connected to my music. I don’t think I’m any more metal because I collect bones – I collected this shit long before I even knew what metal was!”

Get involved

The training: Peavy recommends learning professional bone preparation techniques before starting a collection. Buying specimens ready prepared costs a lot more than treating them yourself. Start your search for bioarchaeology courses through WhatUni at tinyurl.com/ybjk75xy.

The search: Online auction sites are your friends when starting a bone collection. Learn the right keywords – and research what these bones would normally look like before buying. Before you start, you must read up on what you can and can’t legally buy.

The network: Peavy Wagner has a network of friends that trade bones and fossils to keep up to date with sales and trending topics. Scour social media for groups dedicated to your interests to find some helpful connections and ensure you pay the right price for your items.

Seasons Of The Black is out now via Napalm. Rage will be on tour throughout 2018

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