lördag 31 mars 2012

Äntligen!



















Besöket vid stenen, som jag så länge mumlat om varenda gång vi rullat på E4:an på väg till hemlandet Skåne, har nu äntligen blivit av. Idag, lördag den 31 mars 2012, kunde jag med hjälp av GPS svänga in vid Gyllene Rasten och ta en titt på minnesstenen.
På asfalten nedanför stenen låg en blöt och smutsig CD-skiva med "Kill ém all". På åkern rakt över vägen spatserade två tranor omkring. Inte en mäsnklig själ syntes någonstans.
Hail Cliff!

/Niclas

torsdag 29 mars 2012

Oh Henry dear Henry!











I veckans krönika handlar det om eBay och alla dessa falska autografer som cirkulerar. Givetvis bidrar Henry med egna upplevelser.

Henry HÄR

/Niclas

söndag 25 mars 2012

Intervju med Josephine Forsman i Casablanca/Sahara Hotnights!





















För ett antal veckor sedan hade jag nöjet att bli uppringd av Josephine för att snacka om nya bandet Casablanca, men även Sahara Hotnights och annat som hör musiken till.
När samtalet skedde visste jag tyvärr inte om att hon skulle börja sända TV i "Låtarna som förändrade musiken", så om det blev det inget prat, men däremot om Casablancas debutalbum, Saharas 20-årsjubileum, skadade fötter och tips från Lars Ulrich.

Tjenare! Jag intervjuade Ryan och Anders någon gång förra året på radion och vi spelade ”Downtown” och en låt till. När var plattan klar egentligen?

Josephine Forsman: Ja, just det. Jag lyssnade på det. Alltså, den var ju riktigt klar för två år sedan, skulle jag nog säga. Jag är ju den sämsta att fråga om tid. Det är ju Erik man ska göra det med, men jag är rätt så säker. Det var i samband med Schlagerfestivalen då vi gjorde ett uppträdande. Då var den ju klar i princip.

Vad är det som har gjort att det tagit sådan tid att få ut den då?

JF: Nu har vi ju hittat ett bra bolag och rätt bokare och allting. Det kan ju ta tid att hitta det.

Så det är mer sådana saker som dragit ut på tiden?

JF: Ja absolut! Uteslutande sådana grejer.

Hur blev det att denna samling männsikor möts och bildar ett band?

JF: Jag tror att det är som så att... vi är ju sprungna ur band som har något litet element av rock i sig, men medan de kanske har utvecklats åt olika håll så har det stannat kvar hos dem som är med i Casablanca. Det är lite svårt när man en gång har väckt det där till liv, så är det ju svårt att inte ha ett band som får uttrycka det. Jag tror att vi alla kände så när vi startade det här.

Ni kände också direkt att det var den typen av musik ni skulle köra på?

JF: Ja, det var väldigt klart från början. Det inleddes ju med Erik och Anders som ett sådant där typiskt krog påhitt. De snackade och hade exakt samma referenser och sedan kom vi andra med in och det visade sig att vi föll på plats.

Jag minns när jag snackade senast med Ryan att vi pratade en del om Cheap Trick och så.

JF: Ja precis. Det är ju mycket Erik och sedan har ju alla sina element. Jag lyssnar mycket på Black Sabbath och jag är övertygad om att Anders har lyssnat mycket på Phil Lynott och Thin Lizzy. Det är mycket samma referenser helt enkelt.

Sedan är det ju ganska intressant med en fotbollsspelare som tycker om bra musik.

JF: Ja det är ju det och sedan någon som är bra också.

När det är en musikfråga till en sportsnubbe så är det oftast Dire Straits eller Bruce Springsteen.

JF: Eller hur? Han har kanske gått igenom det också, men Mats är ju... han imponerar ju och han är ju en talang på två helt skilda håll. Det är coolt och jag är glad att Anders hittade honom. Det är ju hans förtjänst.

Om nu plattan har varit klar så länge, så måste ni ju ha hunnit skriva en hel del nytt sedan dess?

JF: Ja det finns jättemycket nytt. Å andra sidan vill man juu att de här ska komma ut. Det är ju verkligen en skiva som låter som en miljard dollar, tycker jag. Det låter väldigt bra och det vore ju synd och skam om den inte kom ut, även om vi har mycket nytt också. Men det får man ju bjuda på live helt enkelt.

Ja, ni ska ju ut sedan.

JF: Det ska vi. Så mycket som vi får och kan.

Det är väl ett pussel med tanke på att ni består av människor från flera olika etablerade band?

JF: Javisst. Med Sahara Hotnights blir det rätt enkelt eftersom vi kommer att ha ett halvår helt off nu, så för min del är det lätt. Det som har visat sig ändå att det funkar, har prioriterats ändå och tid finns ju bara man vill det tillräckligt mycket. På något vis har vi alltid fått ihop det och det är bara att hoppas att det inte krockar allt för mycket med allt annat.

Kör ni först och främst Sverige eller tänker ni hela Skandinavien?

JF: Vi kör framförallt Sverige, men England är också på gång och har varit ett tag. Det ser man ju fram emot mycket.

Hur många gig är det snack om i England då?

JF: Det har ju varit snack om en turné där, så det är på gång. Det kommer vi inte låta rinna ut i sanden för det är vi ju alldeles för sugna på.

Köra själva eller öppna för något annat band?

JF: Lite paket tanke har det varit på tal, men vi är ju öppna för det mesta där borta. När man har en historia i Sverige så är det alltid lite kul att åka någonstans där man inte har det. Så är det ju.

Du känner inte till Bonafide?

JF: Eehh, nej.

De har blivit väldigt hypade i tidningen Classic Rock och de körde ett gäng gig och det gick väldigt bra.

JF: Jo, men jag känner ju igen det där... Det scenariot skulle man ju inte tacka nej till.

Jag såg att Kleerup var med på en låt på plattan, ”Secret agents of lust”. Vad bidrog han med?

JF: Han gjorde refrängen på den faktiskt. Han var ju med och gjorde lite diverse saker på en del andra låtar. Han var någonstans i periferin ett tag. Det var skoj och jävligt intensivt. (skrattar)

Hur hamnade ni ihop med Chris Laney? Han är ju också lite av en hot shot nu.

JF: Ja och jag är ju så jävla glad för det. Jag tyckte det var... han fick till trumljudet så bra. Ryan var faktiskt den som tyckte att vi skulle testa honom. Jag vet inte om han hade gjort det förut, men jag tror det. Vi spelade in i Polar med honom och det var jäkligt kul.

Vad bidrog han med mest då?

JF: Jag skulle nog säga att han bidrog med att det låter så pass... vi hade ju någon tanke med att vi inte skulle låta retro även om våra referenser inte är så moderna. Vi ville att ljudet skulle vara mer Foo Fighters och jag tycker att han förstod precis det. Han bidrog till att det låter hårt och explosivt, faktiskt. Jag tycker att han fick fram den energin.

Men är inte Polar nerlagt?

JF: Jo men det lades ner inte långt efter att vi hade varit där. Det är ju uppköpt, tyvärr.

Jag tänkte på ditt andra band. Det är väl mest du och Maria som skriver låtarna och det är ju lite som Hetfield och Ulrich.

JF: Ja. (skrattar) Just det! Jo, men det är inte alltid dumt. (skrattar)

Vem är det som gör vad?

JF: Det är väldigt mycket så att... vi brukar väl säga att Maria är nog den som kommer på riffen och sedan så glömmer hon oftast bort det ganska snabbt, men jag är där och samlar ihop det på något vis. Sedan jobbar vi ofta lite var och en för sig med låtarna och kommer ihop oss igen, men framförallt tror jag att hon är mycket mer den som sätter igång det och jag är den som samlar ihop.

Men skriver du på gitarr då också?

JF: Ja, jag skriver på gitarr, det gör jag.

I Casablanca då, var du lika stor del av låtskrivandet där?

JF: Nej, jag var inte det på den här plattan, men det är tanken. Det är verkligen tanken och särskilt nu när vi kommer vara lediga med Sahara Hotnights så kommer det ju att klia i fingrarna. Det kommer jag vara, absolut. Det var mycket för att just då fanns inte den tiden för då var vi med Sahara på turné och Anders och Mats var mest hemma och drack vin (skrattar) och skrev, så det föll sig rent naturligt att det blev så. Jag var ju med och arrade.

Med Sahara, är det inte 20-årsjubileum i år?

JF: Jodå, helt klart!

Då borde det väl bli någonting?

JF: Ja, man tycker ju det! (skrattar) Vi är ju inte så nostalgiska av oss, men vi får se.

Men då blir det framåt hösten?

JF: Ja precis.

Har ni någon tanke på att skriva en ny platta?

JF: Ja, det är väl det som... det skulle jag kunna tänka mig, om det inte händer någonting och att vi vill kolla utomlands lite grann. Jag tror att det är det som lockar för det var ju rätt länge sedan. Vi gjorde ingenting på coverplattan och ingenting på den här, så det är väl i så fall det, skulle jag vilja säga. Eller så är det att skriva nytt.

När var första gången då du kände att ”Nu har vi breakat! Nu är vi rockstjärnor!”?

JF: Ja, det måste ha varit när vi körde ”Cheek to cheek” på någon gala. Vi hade varit borta ett tag och ingen hade hört någonting och så spelade vi den. Då minns jag att på kvällen där så hade låten klättrat på Itunes. Det var mycket suurealistiskt så där och vi var nog inte alls beredda på det, men med all den feedback vi fick så kände jag att ”Nu är jag nog mitt i det där.”.

Härligt. Har du några egna trumfavoriter? Några hjältar när du själv började?

JF: Ja, när jag började när jag var elva så... det enda som egentligen gick att få tag på på vår mack i Robertsfors var väl Nirvana och jag hade den i lurnarna och spelade efter Dave Grohl. Det var väl han just för att jag var extremt lättpåverkad då och för att han spelade på det sättet han gjorde. Man kunde följa med i det han gjorde. Han är jävligt teknisk också, men han var ändå så att man kunde känna ”Det här kan jag också göra.”. Det är absolut den första och största. Gamla klassiker? Tja, jag vet inte. Egentligen har jag inte någon sådan. Vinny Appice i så fall, om det ska var någon. Det är väl den som jag har lyssnat mest på.

Det finns ju så många olka sorters trummisar, men blir man impad av en sådan som Neil Peart, Rush trummis? Är det bra eller tycker man bara det är jävligt tekniskt?

JF: Jag har ju alltid varit en liten sucker för när det är... jag gillar inte riktigt det spartanska. Jag gillar att det är en klassisk uppsättning. Jag tycker inte man ska plocka bort någonting eller att man ska lägga till så djävulskt mycket. En klassisk uppsättning och det viktigaste för mig har alltid varit att det finns något explosivt. Att man märker vad som händer och att man drar blicken ditåt. jag har ju inte varit så jättemycket inspirerad av tekniskt snabba och skickliga trummisar. Det har mer varit en timing fråga och att man spelar mycket tillsammans med musiken och att man inte spelar för sig, som trummis. Man kan höra ofta när trummisar är med och skriver och när de är mer delaktiga. Det blir något speciellt då.

Kör du med att snurra trumpinnarna? Jag fascineras över att varenda trummis gör det. Är det det första man lär sig?

JF: Du, det tog mig jävligt lång tid. Det är en sådan grej man borde lära sig innan man spelar. Jag tog det efteråt. (skrattar)

Speciellt inom hårdrocken så finns det ju inte en trummis som inte kör med det.

JF: Nej nej. Jag tror också att till slut så blir det som tics. Så är det.

Det kan säkert stämma. Jag tänkte på Sahara, att ni är fyra kaxiga tjejer i en mansdominerad värld. Ni sneglade aldrig åt The Runaways, eller ni är kanske för unga?

JF: Nej, jag minns ju första gången när vi fick höra att vi lät som Blondie eller The Runaways, då gick vi ju hem och googlade banden. (skrattar) jag kan inte säga att vi varit mycket... nej. Det fanns ju där, men vi hade andra inspirationskällor. Hade vi behövt kvinnliga förebilder då hade vi absolut kunnat leta upp det, men det var aldrig så. Vi utforksade nog mycket den manliga sidan.

I och med att den är en så mansdominerad business, har ni fått kämpa mer för att bevisa er? Stöter man på mycket skit?

JF: Jag kan nog inte säga att vi har stött på mycket sådant alls. Det är därför det är så svårt att uttala sig generellt om hur det är för tjejer i branschen. Vi har alltid haft ett sinnessjukt självförtroende, även när vi varit riktigt dåliga, redan från början. Det har varit svårt att sätta sig på det och sedan har man haft mycket hjälp av varandra. Snarare som tjejtrummis så har man fått extremt mycket positiv feedback. Jag har aldrig lidit av att inte ha någon kvinnlig förebild. Det finns ju jättemånga bra tjejtrummisar för de som letar, men nej, jag känner inte att det har varit ett problem.

Just när jag sett Sahara live eller annat, så ser du alltid ut som att du ska slå ihjäl trummorna.

JF: Ja, det känns lite som att jag vill det ibland ja.

Sedan sitter du ganska högt upp på pallen, gör du inte det?

JF: Ja det är många som påpekar det. Det finns säkert någon psykologisk förklaring. (skrattar) Det stämmer.

Att vara trummis och spela live i en och en halv timme varje kväll, måste ju slita enormt på armarna?

JF: Jo det gör det. Jag pratade med Lars Ulrich om det och att hålla sig i... det är så jäkla viktigt att vara... han sa i alla fall ”Never practise, just stay in shape!” och det var ju otroligt förenklat, men det ligger någonting i det. Det som är viktigast är att hålla igång den typen av muskler som behövs. Det är inte mycket, men det behövs ändå för man måste ha någon slags kondis för att hålla på. Innan en turné måste jag... innan vi ens träffas i bandet, så måste jag sitta själv bara för att komma upp i den kondisen som behövs, så det stämmer.

Ja och rena förslitningsskador måste det ju vara då man gör samma rörelser varje kväll?

JF: Det som är bra med att röra sig mycket är ändå att det inte är enformigt utan det är snarare att man får en väldig all round träning. Däremot så har jag ju totalt slitit ut främre delen av fötterna i och med att jag har spelat i högklackat. Det har jag ju börjat märka nu, så det är snarare sådana som... ja det är det som skulle vara min förslitningsskada. (skrattar)

Det var ju intressant med Lars Ulrich för han får ju ofta mycket kritik för att han är så otight. Han har lite svårt med takten ibland.

JF: Han har lite svårt med det ja, så man kanske ska passa sig för att ta råd från honom. (skrattar)

När träffade du den lille dansken då?

JF: Vi spelade med dem i fransk TV och sedan har vi träffat dem i USA när vi spelat där. Det var extremt kul att prata trummor med honom och sedan behöver man kanske inte ta upp att man inte gillar allt han gör. (skrattar)

Sedan läste jag att Frida Hyvvönen är din kusin.

JF: Jo men precis.

Ingen tanke på samarbete där? Hon är ju skitbra!

JF: Ja men visst och den nya plattan fick jag höra i juul och den är ju så bra. Jo men alltså det tror jag kommer att hända. Det vore så extremt kul! Jag ska lägga upp det för henne.

Helt klart. Mycket intressant och mycket trevligt Josephine. Jag tänkte väl se er i Stockholm.

JF: Ja, på Debaser. Då får du absolut komma!

Helt klart! Det här Rocket Songs, är det skivbolaget, eller?

JF: Ja det är det.

Är det nystartat?

JF: Ja, det är helt nystartat. Det är startat av... vet du vilka Houston är?

Ja ja.

JF: Trummisen i det bandet och de släpper ju även Houston. Det känns jättekul och helt rätt att ligga där.

Kanon! Lycka till med allt, så syns vi i rockvimlet någonstans.

JF: Ja det gör vi.

/Niclas

fredag 23 mars 2012

Oh Henry my Henry!



















I veckans krönika befinner sig Henry i mäktiga Memphis och minns inspelningar i Sun Studios.
Själv hade jag det stora nöjet att få vandra omkring i denna historiska byggnad 2008. En enastående upplevelse för en musiknörd.

Henry HÄR 

/Niclas

torsdag 22 mars 2012

Intervju med Jack Blades i Night Ranger!

















Jag blev ett fan av Night Ranger när jag inhandlade den då nyss utgivna "Big life" 1987 i Berlin. Sedan dess har jag alltid haft den som en 80-talsfavorit och tycker det är det bästa som bandet någonsin presterat.
Herr Blades har många järn i elden och är just nu aktuell med ett nytt soloalbum och till sommaren spelar Night Ranger på Sweden Rock.
För en tid sedan blev jag uppringd av Jack och fick en kortare pratstudn om allt han just nu håller sig sysselsatt med.

Hey Jack!

Jack Blades: How are you?

I´m good, how are you?

JB: Good. Who´s this?

This is Niclas from Stockholm, Sweden.

JB: Well hello Niclas! How´s Stockholm, Sweden doing?

Stockholm, Sweden is doing pretty good. It´s Friday evening and the weekend is just around the corner. It´s all good.

JB: Weekends are always good.

True. This album of yours? Are you constantly writing music?

JB: Well, I like to keep busy. I´m kinda lucky in the fact that I can just keep writing and recording and producing and playing and singing and dancing and jumping. I like doing it all, so I´m pretty happy and excited about the “Rock and roll ride” record.

When you write an album like this, do you start off with a fresh plate or do you use ideas that you´ve kept in store over the years?

JB: Well, it depends. Sometimes it´s a song that I liked but never fully finished or ideas that I had, but never took it to the end and that kind of thing. In that respect it´s kinda always fresh and new to me. I can have good ideas in the back of my head and sometimes I pull that out and write it. Sometimes I´ll write a song with a friend that didn´t seem to be… we didn´t use it as a Night Ranger song and maybe it´s more me than Night Ranger and that´s kinda how it works.

Right. When you write, do you specifically think that this might be a Night Ranger song and that might be a Jack Blades solo song?

JB: It depends. A lot of the time I just create and write a song just to, you know, write a song and not knowing where that song is gonna go and when it´s finished, you look at it and go “Ok, where could this song fit?”. A lot of times it fits with Night Ranger, a lot of times it fits with my personal stuff and sometimes for another artist. That´s how it works.

A song like “Back in the game”? I´ve seen the video and read about it and there´s a bit of a patriotic feel to it. Did you start out with the intention of writing a song like that or did it just happen?

JB: No. Actually, the song was written and then I came up with the idea for the video. I always wanted to make a war movie. (laughs) Had you seen the video?

Yes I have.

JB: Ok, good. Well, I always wanted to do that and that´s my son Colin who´s the star in it.

Cool.

JB: He´s the one that dies and gets killed in the end. (laughs) And I actually co wrote “West Hollywood” with Colin. The chorus in “Back in the game” is myself and Colin and Will Evankovich singing Back, back, back in the game.

Where did you shoot the video? A video like that, did you write the script for it?

JB: I told the video director what I wanted and how I wanted to do it and he kinda pulled it all together and sort of made my idea into a reality. That´s all filmed on the backside of my mountain. That´s my property where I live.

Writing a song like that and then the video with that patriotic feel to it, do you do that knowing that it will probably create some kinda buzz? Especially for the American audience.

JB: Not really. I mean, really what I wanted to do was that I´ve always wanted to sort of a war movie. I always wanted to be in a war movie and that´s about as close as I´ll ever get. (laughs) To be able to do something like that with your solo record, that´s half the fun of having a solo record. That´s really the idea behind that. Patriotic or not patriotic, it´s about anyone fighting in a war and dying and serving his country, whether it´s Americans or Swedes or Germans or whatever. You need to honor freedom and stuff like that. In fact, the medals that are in the video and also the original telegram, were my mother´s first husband who was killed in WWII. These are in the family and I have always wanted to do something with them. That´s actually on my wall in my studio and these have been in our family since my mother´s husband was killed in 1944. Those were his medals and he was killed going into Germany.

Fascinating.

JB: It´s interesting, because if she hadn´t have to deal with all that pain, I wouldn´t have existed because she met my father like three years later and then I was born. And just thinking that if he hadn´t been killed, I never would´ve been born. It´s funny how life is.

Sure is. The band playing in the video, are those the same guys that are on the album?

JB: Yeah, that´s Will Evankovich playing guitar and actually Joel Hoekstra, the guitarist from Night Ranger, did the solo on “Back in the game” and it´s our keyboard player from Night Ranger there, Eric Levy and the drummer on the record was Brian Tichy who plays with Whitesnake, but that´s actually Anthony Focx (in the video) who engineers and does all the work with Aerosmith and everything. He´s a good friend of mine and he mixed the record and he used to be the drummer for Alice Cooper back in the late 80´s, early 90´s. He´s a real buddy of mine so I had him do the video.

Are you gonna do any touring with this line up?

JB: I´d like to. I just have to figure out how I can fit it in with the Night Ranger schedule and everything we´re doing, but yeah, I would like to.

I was a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to Night Ranger. I got into the band around 1987 and I was in Berlin with my school and I picked up “Big life”.

JB: (laughs)

“Big life” and KISS “ALIVE II” and I was instantly hooked and that record has meant so much to me and it´s always been my absolute favorite Night Ranger album, but I always get the feeling that it´s kinda overlooked. People usually talk about “Seven wishes” and “Dawn patrol”. That is just such a great album.

JB: Well, thank you! I appreciate that. “The secret of my success”, “Big life”, there´s a lot of good songs on that record, but people focus on the records with the biggest hits like “Dawn patrol” with “Don´t tell me you love me” and “Sing me away”. “Midnight madness” with “(You can still) rock in America” and “Sister Christian” and of course “Seven wishes” with “Goodbye”, “Sentimental street” and “Four in the morning”. It´s nice that people kinda think about all our records. I do like that “Big life” record also.

What was it like working with David Foster?

JB: David´s great! David´s a musicians musician. He relates to everything and he´s just a great guy. He´s a friend of mine and I´ve been with him a lot since then. He´s a good guy. He´s so talented.

And you worked with Robin Zander this time around.

JB: Yeah, on “Anything for you”. Robin flew into California and pulled up to my house in this old stretch limo, hopped out and for about four hours. It was the most creative four hours I´ve ever spent in my life. It was unbelievable. Robin is so talented and he´s so amazing and then all of a sudden he turned around and hopped into the limo and off he went. I was like “Wow, what happened?”. We wrote the song “Anything for you” and we wrote two other songs and we did all this other stuff. He sang on the chorus for “Anything for you” and just the whole thing. It was just fantastic. I´m really proud of that track.

A guy like that, is he in your phone book or do you go through management?

JB: No, he´s a friend of mine. I know Robin and Rick pretty well. I´ve played shows with them and I´ve known those guys for 20 years. Night Ranger toured with Cheap Trick back in 1985 back on our “Seven wishes” tour. They were the special guest for Night Ranger, so I´ve known them for a very long time. He lives in Florida so whenever I´m down in Florida, he comes to the shows and we hang out and whenever he´s out west, we get together and do things. It´s pretty neat.

Cool! All the other stuff you´re doing then? Are you working on a new Shaw/Blades album?

JB: Yes, in fact Tommy Shaw is showing up to my house on Tuesday or actually Monday night.
We´re about half way through the new record. I´m pretty psyched.

When is that coming out?

JB: Well, I have to release at least one or two records a year. (laughs) You gotta keep going, man!

What about Damn Yankees? Any plans on doing anything at all?

JB: Well, there´s some talk of doing some things and I hope it comes to fruition because I love the Damn Yankees. Damn Yankees is a great band! It´s such a fun band and a great musical experience and a great musical journey and I would hope that something comes about it.

What about Ted Nugent then? Are you producing anything?

JB: Well, I produced his last album “Love grenade” or co produced it, up here at the Ranch. Ted and I are great friends and we talk on the phone all the time. Ted is going out on tour this summer and I think he´s gonna do some shows with REO Speedwagon and Styx and we might come out and do a few of those shows with him to do a little Damn Yankees action.

Cool.

JB: I think we´re gonna play Sweden Rock?

Yes you are.

JB: I´m excited about that.

Yeah, that is actually a really cool festival.

JB: Fun concerts, right?

Yeah it is.

JB: Are you gonna be there?

Hopefully I am. I´ve been there several years and I´ve met a lot of cool rock and rollers there. It´s a blast and a good mix of old and new stuff.

JB: Excellent!

Are you working on anything else? Any soundtracks?

JB: Right now I´m staying busy and focusing on this record. Neal Schon and I… I wrote a bunch of lyrics with Neal for one of his solo records that he´s mixing right now. Neal and I are pals and do a lot of stuff together, so I did that and then of course the Shaw/Blades record that´s gonna be out. I´m keeping pretty busy.

Looking back on the whole scene in LA in the 80´s, what would you say was the most fun? I was a teenager back then and I was never in LA. It seems like a really different place from a different planet.

JB: You know, it was just like that. Everything you read about it, that´s the way it was and then more. It was just so much fun. We´d be recording an album like “Big life” and then we´d go out to the Rainbow on Sunset and hook up with Vince Neil and Tommy Lee and they´d come down to our studio and sing on our record and we would go over and sing on these peoples records and we´d run around and do this and run around and do that. It was just so much fun. It was just one big party and pretty crazy back then. Everything you read about that, it really was that way.

Sounds awesome! Thank you so much Jack.

JB: Thank you! I haven´t been to Sweden in years so I´m really excited about it. I don´t know who´s more excited, the people over there or me? See you in a few months!

/Niclas

tisdag 20 mars 2012

´Nuff said!



/Niclas
Ondska på film!



















Den 7:e maj smäller det. Watain är numera även film.
Är inget fan av bandet som så och har lite svårt att ta genren på allvar, men postern är urläcker.

Mer info HÄR

/Niclas

söndag 18 mars 2012

Intervju med Michael Kiske i Unisonic!

















Michael Kiske gjorde sig ett namn via Helloween och den tyska våg av power metal som sköljde över världen i slutet av 80-talet.
Han hoppade senare av och var sedan under en väldigt lång period inte aktiv eller speciellt intresserad av musik.
Nu är han tillbaka tillsammans med sin gamle vapendragare Kai Hansen i bandet Unisonic och har hittat glädjen med att sjunga igen. Jag fick nyligen tillfället att snacka med herr Kiske och det blev ett samtal om bl a det nya bandet, om att sjunga och hitta glädjen igen samt hur det var med det där Iron Maiden-ryktet.

Guten abend!

Michael Kiske: Oh, hallo, do you speak German?

No, that´s pretty much all I know. I took German classes for six years and a big part of my family speaks German and my aunt lives in Oldenburg.

MK: (laughs) I see, I see. You know you don´t need it anywhere. It´s only useful in Germany, so it´s much better to learn English.

Right. First of all, what made you put Unisonic together? What was the idea, the whole plan that started it?

MK: It actually started with Kosta, who is also the manager for Helloween, he´s part of Bottom Row, which is like a managing team. He contacted me and the first thing he said was “Michael, I think that in the last couple of years you have not been properly managed.” And I said “I agree with you.”, because I have not been managed at all. Last management I had was Rod Smallwood, who´s managing Iron Maiden and who was the head of Sanctuary Music. A great guy and I love the man, but he just didn´t know how to handle me musically, because it´s very difficult to put me in a box. In the 90´s we decided to go our separate ways, but in a good way. There was nothing bad going on. Rod Smallwood is great, I love him. But that was the first thing, they approached me for the management side and quickly I had a meeting with him (Kosta) and Dennis, who I knew from the Place Vendome productions, and they said “How about a real band around you?”. The good thing is that they asked me at the right time. I have been going through a lot of phases for a number of years and there was even a time when I didn´t want to hear anything from the hard rock music scene. Too many disappointments, you know. But they asked me in a time when I was ready for it, so I said “Yeah, let´s do that!”. Very quickly we had Mandy in the boat, because Dennis knew Mandy. When we talked about a guitar player, we talked about one first and Dennis immediately said Mandy Meyer. He knew him form the past and it was a great decision because Mandy is the sweetest person you could meet. A beautiful man. Big heart, no destructive ego, great musician, perfect. That´s how we started this band in around 2009. We had the plan to actually release the first Unisonic record in the beginning of 2010, which didn´t happen. We had some great material, but we didn´t have enough to make an album. In 2010 I was already thinking “We need another guitar player who can also write songs.” And I was thinking about a friend of mine, Sandro Giampietro, who helped me out with a lot of my solo records, but Kosta was kinda afraid of him I think. A great person but very different. It seemed like he didn´t like the idea that much, so it didn´t happen. Then I went on tour with Avantasia and Kai was part of that tour too and from the moment Kai and I went on stage together, it was… and I don´t wanna mystify things here, but there was a special chemistry between Kai and me. It was great and just felt really… we fell in love with each other. We never had any bad feelings about each other and we always liked each other, even after Helloween we were always good with each other. We just never made music together. I sang on a Gamma Ray record and he helped me out with my first solo record, but we didn´t think about putting a band together. When we were on stage again on the Avantasia tour, we felt the reactions from the audience and the vibe between us, so we started talking backstage “I think we really have to do something together again.” and Kai is like me. I have a very strong head but I make my decisions with my stomach. Music has nothing to do with the head. You should never make music with your head, you should try to make music out of pure emotions. When we both felt that magic going on and we said we gotta do something together, Kai said “Yeah, but let´s not make a project. Let´s do one final real thing and see where that leads us. I wanna o a band.”. I wasn´t thinking about him joining Unisonic and I don´t know why. Maybe I thought he wouldn´t like it or whatever. It just didn´t come up. Of course he mentioned Gamma Ray, but I said “Well, I don´t wanna join a band with a 20 year history. You always piss somebody off.”. It´s too much metal for me. I like some of the metal stuff they do, but some of it is just too much for me, so that was not really an option for me. Then we were in a taxi somewhere in Germany at the end of the Avantasia tour and he said “Michael, do you still just have one guitar player in Unisonic?” and I said “Wow, yeah that´s true.” and from that moment on I knew that was it. Even as a four piece band it was an interesting band and we had some good stuff and I don´t wanna sound like I think the others aren´t good enough or anything like that, but I don´t know if you´re aware of how bands are functioning? It´s a chemistry thing and you need one extra person. Sometimes you need one less, but with that one extra person, suddenly it works and all of a sudden we had too many songs. There was a great chemistry going on and at the moment it´s perfect. You have a great chemistry going on between me and Kai. We like each other and we enjoy this and we don´t even have to think about it, it just happens and Kai has a great chemistry with Dennis and they just throw around ideas and within seconds they make a great song out of a good song. Kai enjoys it very much, I can tell. For him this is like a holiday and he will even bring some extra fresh energy into Gamma Ray out of this, I´m sure. That´s how it all came together. It just happened.

Could you kinda say that Avantasia played a big part in you two guys ending up in a new band together?

MK: Oh yeah, absolutely! It was just such a great experience. Like I said, Kai is a lot like me when it comes to making decisions. It comes out of the stomach and if you´re excited about something, you want and need it to go on. You feel like “That feels so good, let´s do something together!” and that´s the best way of making a band together. Not so much as “We could make a lot of money together!”, even if you can. You will not make exciting music if that´s the reason why you´re doing it. We could have done it ages ago. I didn´t even think people would still care, but for some reason they still do, which is great. But after 17 years and not even releasing records that suits that particular metal scene, I didn´t expect that response. It´s overwhelming to be honest with you. We just needed to be on stage together and to feel the reality of it and Tobias from Avantasia, he was making it possible.

Cool. The songs for the album, is it all fresh and new ideas or did you all bring old stuff that was lying around?

MK: Not really. Kai brought in some old ideas that he had lying around, but he made new songs out of it. Usually they didn´t have a lot to do with the original song anymore. Three years ago I wrote a song for my solo record but they liked it and they said “Let´s do it here!”, but most of the stuff has been written now.

I was listening to the album and the song “Star rider”…

MK: I love that song!

Yeah, it´s a good song, but the thing is that there was this one song that straight away came to mind while listening to it and that´s John Farnham´s “You´re the voice”.

MK: Yeah, yeah that´s true! The verses have a bit of that, yeah. It isn´t really the same melody but it has this sort of epic feel to it.

Yeah and it´s also the way the song builds up with the vocals and all that. There´s a bit of a resemblance to it.

MK: Kai did the chorus actually. Dennis wrote the rest of it and he had a chorus that was not so strong. It was good but it was not the peak of the song. Kai heard the track and said “I don´t like the chorus. What if we do this?” and within 20 seconds he wrote that chorus. That´s the good thing with being in a band.

You´ve been doing this for such a long time and Kai too, does it ever happen that you come up with ideas or a riff for a song, then just to realize that you did that in like 1998 or whatever?

MK: Probably, but not as much as I remember. I have been doing it as much as Kai of course, but I think Kai is a lot more in danger of that happening. But then again, it´s a question of how you do it. Johann Sebastian Bach for instance, he was fooling around with a lot of the stuff that he did before. It was a way of writing songs sometimes. You take something you liked from before and you just see where it leads you. Pretty often it starts off with something that sounds familiar and then it leads to somewhere else and you get something new out of it. In those days it was a pretty common thing to do that. If you have something, but you make a completely new song out of it, it is pretty ok.

Absolutely.

MK: In the end it´s always what you do with it and how you do it. You will not reinvent music anyway. I think the future of rock and roll music and anything you can call original will a lot more depend on individuality rather than finding a never heard sounds or making funny arrangements. If you look at music in a superficial way, you have arrangements and instruments and you can kill all sorts of structures which work in terms of song arrangements and make like symphonies and move part after part, which is actually the easiest thing to do. It´s a lot more difficult to make a song which has a nice balance and sounding fresh, but all this stuff I´m totally convinced about that the more interesting thing is the personality you put into it. A good example is Elvis. He was not a creative person in terms of songwriting, he was a great entertainer and he was a great vocalist and performer, but any song he picked that he wanted to record, he made his own thing out of it. Usually it didn´t sound a lot like the original version anymore. Some of the tracks he recorded, especially in his good years… my favorite years are from ´68 to ´71 when he was in his 30´s and his voice was perfect and he was getting his fire back. He was out of the movie contracts that he hated so much and he was ready for hitting the stage again and he recorded some of the tracks that were already hit singles in the 60´s, but he made it so much better. “You´ve lost that loving feeling”, when you listen to the track from 1970 it just blows you away. So much energy. When you listen to the original track, with a black vocalist, it is also good, but it doesn´t have that energy that Elvis put into it. Or look at John Lennon when he recorded some of his solo stuff! (sings and hums) It´s like a simple rockabilly rock and roll tune, but the way he does it, you get goosebumps because he gives it this sort of magic and I think that´s where the future of music lies. You give it personality that nobody can copy.

Right. Have you heard the new Van Halen album?

MK: Not the album, but I´ve heard “Tattoo” and I like that one. I don´t know what the rest is like.

Well, the thing is that at least half the album is made up of old demos from ´76-´77 which is pretty cool and it´s got that Van Halen vibe to it instead of just writing all new music. Could you see yourself doing stuff like that? Do you have like tons of demos and old ideas lying around?

MK: I hate everything when it gets old. With me, even when I produce the record, it usually doesn´t even take a year and I´m not… there are few songs that stay. Usually you disagree with it after one or two years which is a good thing. It just shows that you´re still growing and that you can find new things and different ways of doing things. When I sing a melody into a tape recorder, usually even within a couple of days later, I don´t like it anymore. If I don´t make a song out of it right at the moment when the idea comes, it probably never becomes a song. Kai is a little different. Kai actually does collect rough ideas and he´s very capable of making a good song out of it. I´m bad with that. It either happens or it doesn´t.

The name Unisonic, where did that come from? Did you have other names floating around?

MK: Yeah, we had some shitty names. I was really frustrated. It was in 2009 and we were fooling around trying to find a good band name and we were coming up with some stuff that I really didn´t like and the others liked it and I was like “No way!”. For a while I thought we would never find a good name and then we had something like blah, blah sonic and unison something. Something where those two parts were in it and Kosta put them both together and I said “That´s cool!”. It´s a new word in a way and it has a good meaning because you can read it as being sonic in unison or you can read it as universal sonic. It has a nice feeling to it and not over blown and it doesn´t sound like you wanna pose around and it could fit to any sort of music and I was really happy with it. I think I was the only one who was totally sure about it and also when the guy who did the logo, I was the only one who said “That´s great!”. The rest needed a little longer to get into it.

After the release, are you gonna do some heavy duty touring?

MK: We won´t over do it. We certainly don´t wanna overkill it. We just play in special places. I´m not 20 anymore. If this record really sells big time and we can do big tours, of course we´re gonna do it, but we won´t overkill it. In about ten weeks or so, we do a little South American tour and then we´ll mainly do festivals here in Europe and at the end of the year we might do a little tour, but that all depends on how the record does.

Just wondering, you started out fairly young… when did you realize that singing was your thing?

MK: Singing really is my thing. I need it. There was a time when I had this long break, which tells you the state that I was in. I was sometimes not even singing for two years. I was totally not interested and I was dealing with other things, science, philosophy and I was totally on a different track. It was good, but it´s not good for a musician to be that little interested. You can tell something was wrong. I was frustrated and disappointed and I had too many negative experiences which turned me in that way. Now it´s totally different and I have sort of regained my passion for singing. I like to sing almost every day and even if I don´t have to sing because we´re not practicing with Unisonic, which we don´t do a lot anyway, I just pick up the microphone and I throw in some karaoke tracks and some Elvis and so some Elvis singing, just for myself. It makes me feel good and when I sing for just half an hour, I feel great. It´s medicine and I recommend it to everyone. Especially when you´re frustrated or depressed, try to sing a song! It really helps. I got into singing by Elvis. When I was nine years old, that was the year Elvis died and that´s when they showed all the stuff on TV and I just thought “What a cool guy!”. Before that I didn´t even care that much about music. That´s when I started getting into music and obviously I bought all these Elvis records or had my parents give them to me at birthdays and Christmases and stuff like that. That got me into it and at the age of 12 I got my first acoustic guitar and I started to sing with an acoustic guitar. I was always able to sing in tune and I always had a musical ear and it didn´t take very long, like three weeks, before I was able to sing my first couple of songs and stuff. I quickly started writing songs and at that time it was in German and when I was like 14, me and a friend of mine, who´s still a friend, we got into The Beatles and we started to play all The Beatles tunes. There are not many Beatles songs that I haven´t been playing on the acoustic guitar. I learned a lot from that phase and when I was 15 I got into metal and Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. The bands that were big during that time. I was into bands with vocalists like Sabbath with Dio and Rainbow with Dio and Priest with Halford and of course Queensryche was also very inspiring with Geoff Tate. My room was covered with Eddie posters and that´s when I discovered that sort of singing. I always had an ear for how to do it right without killing your voice. Obviously vocalists like me or like Halford and Dickinson, who sing in a certain key, we sing in a key that is not actually normal for a male vocalist. It´s more like a female key, a lot higher. You have to find a way of doing that. You shouldn´t just shout. If that´s the way you do it, you´ll just kill your voice. You have to learn how to do it right and I was always able to hear it, to hear how it was done and it didn´t take very long before I was able to sing that stuff.

Did you ever take classes?

MK: NO, I never did that. I just remember that I had… since I never had lessons, I didn´t know much about warming up my voice and I remember when we did the first European tour in ´87 and I got the flu and I had a vocal cord infection, I lost my voice. That was the only time I had with a teacher and she told me how to warm the voice up. What to do, especially when you get sick. But technically she told me that there was nothing she could tell me. She said “You´re doing it right.”, which was great.

Since you´ve done so many things. A lot of guest appearances on albums and you´ve been in a lot of different bands and projects, have you ever thought of putting together some kinda Kiske box set?

MK: Nah, the reason I did this was because I didn´t have a proper band. I was a singer on his own. When you wanna do something you do whatever interesting comes in. There were a lot of offers, but I just picked the ones that I thought… usually I picked the ones where I liked the person. That´s pretty much how I make my decisions. I don´t know. Like I said, I don´t care that much about records when they´re finished. I´m always interested in doing a better one.

Finally, was there a plan for you to join Iron Maiden after Dickinson left?

MK: Nah, not really. Obviously we had the same management and I knew the guys. Bruce was always sitting in the offices. He was not only singing in Iron Maiden, he was also managing bands and when you showed up at the Sanctuary offices, very often he was sitting there doing business stuff. Even after he left Iron Maiden, he was there. I never thought about it but the funny thing is that those were rumors flying around. I never forget, I was watching TV in Germany. It was arock show and there was this female host who actually said that I was the new singer in Iron Maiden, which was interesting because I didn´t know about it. It was really funny. It still comes up. The only explanation I have is that once I had an interview with a French journalist and he told me that he had interviewed Steve Harris before that and Steve Harris had said that I was one of three vocalists that he could imagine. I don´t know if that is true, you´ve got to ask Steve Harris! Maybe that´s where it came from, I don´t know.

It might be. Thank you so much Michael! Any plans for Sweden?

MK: I think so. We have played Sweden Rock before we even had a friggin´record out, so why shouldn´t we do it now? Maybe it is already booked, I don´t know, but I´m pretty sure we´re gonna play in Sweden. Sweden Rock was my first real concert after 17 years and it was really nice with the feedback from the audience. It was a good start.

Well, thank you so much and good luck with everything!

MK: Thank you and I´m sure we´re gonna talk again. Have a nice evening!

You too!

/Niclas

lördag 17 mars 2012

Så oväntat...



















Nedanstående uttalande är en väldans snygg omskrivning för bristande biljettförsäljning.

Arrangören, Entu Event, säger i ett uttalande:

"Rockstjärnan gud glömde" är ett ambitiöst projekt på flera plan, med en vilja att åstadkomma ett nyskapande koncept. Vi har kommit till insikt om att showen, som den är tänkt att bli, behöver mer tid än vad som var planerat från början. För att ge publiken den upplevelse som den och artisterna förtjänar måste den tiden ges. Turnén har därför senarelagts och närmare besked om turnéstart lämnas längre fram.
Vi beklagar självfallet detta beslut och hoppas att de som sett fram emot showen har förståelse för detta. För återlösen av köpta biljetter, kontakta respektive försäljningsställe.”

/Niclas

torsdag 15 mars 2012

Oh Henry my Henry!


















I veckans krönika bjuds det på en liten historielektion i samband med ett besök i Alabama och Henry funderar åter igen på musikens kraft.

Henry HÄR

/Niclas
The mighty Opeth!



Helt gig med Opeth filmat i Sydney 16:e december 2011.

Bara att luta sig tillbaka och njuta.

/Niclas

tisdag 13 mars 2012

Seriously good shit!

 


Fantastiska Metalsucks.com streamar hela kommande plattan med If These Trees Could Talk.
Underbart vemodiga ljudlandskap.

Lyssna HÄR

/Niclas
McIver om Cannibal Corpse.

 

Eminente författaren/journalisten skriver om bandets texter. Mycket läsvärt.

CC HÄR

/Niclas

lördag 10 mars 2012

Intervju med Bobby Blitz i Overkill!






För några år sedan mötte jag Bobby Blitz och DD Verni på Vampire Lounge i Stockholm för att lyssna på deras då senaste alster och även göra en intervju. Det bjöds på öl och mackor och jag fick ett trevligt samtal med DD.
Samma år mötte jag Bobby Blitz som hastigast på Sweden Rock, men först nu fick jag möjligheten att snacka med New Jerseys mest pratglade sångare.
Självfallet blev det prat om nya "The electric age", men även om bl a politik, girls and beer, maskoten Chaly och hur det var när det hela började.

Bobby Blitz: Hey man, it´s Bobby Blitz!

Hey, how are you?

BB: Good.

Are you calling from New Jersey?

BB: Yeah, I´m in my office. A home office obviously. DD and I manage the band so this home office has been existing now for 20 years. It´s pretty interesting. It´s got a little studio in it and a whole bunch of Overkill paraphernalia. My wife made me take down the naked pictures of girls. (laughs) Nah, she´s nuts. She couldn´t even care less. (laughs) It´s actually Overkill and hockey in here. I´m a big hockey fan.

Cool! How´s New Jersey these days?

BB: We had our warmest day on record yesterday. We were at 70 degrees yesterday which is about 21 degrees Celsius, which is really outstanding. It looks like it´s an early spring and they´re calling this the winter that never was. Zero snow where normally we have a minimum over the course of the entire winter, we usually get about two meters, where I am in north western Jersey. A bit of mountains and there´s skiing and lakes and more outdoors, but there´s been no snow. Normally I´m on a snow plow, on a 4x4 snow plow 10-15 times, but not this year.

There you go. First off, what´s an “Electric rattlesnake”?

BB: Well, you know… When I was looking for a title for this, it was just something that made me smile. (laughs) The best thing about the rules in music is that there is no rules and I always thought that Overkill had, is not always the norm when it comes to titles and topics or even approach in thrash. So does it fit? Of course it fits, since there´s no rules. “The electric rattlesnake” is quite easily that… I like symbolism and if you look at it there´s the serpent that´s being sinful and that kinda makes me smile a little bit. (laughs)

“The electric age” then, is that a reflection of the times we live in now?

BB: I think it´s more a reflection of the times that we collectively have lived in, with regards to this music. I really only have come up with this more so in hindsight when I started thinking how the title fits the album and I think there´s always been an electricity here. One of the things that Overkill has always done is being able to generate electricity or energy and I think that one of the things that´s been positive over these 25 plus years, is that the people that are attracted to this energy, generate more energy back and that´s kinda where it feeds off of. I think it´s kinda a subliminal title with regard to a career or a life, but not necessarily mine or ours, but our collectively.

How long did you work on this album?

BB: You know, we´re always working on stuff. We´re very blue collar. Nobody sits down and pines over how we´re not being treated like pampered superstars. We´re happy with our tools on and off. DD collects the riffs and I think if you´re a riff collector, you never let one go by. I mean the guy´s always has some kinda recording device on him and he´s either always humming into it or playing acoustic guitar into it or collecting a riff at a soundcheck or on the bus. That started as soon as “Ironbound” was released and we were on the road, he started collecting these things, but the actual assembly started in June 2011. That´s when the demos started happening. Songs started developing from riffs into full songs, so from a period of June 2011 until we delivered in January 2012, this was the assembly process.

How do you usually write songs? Is it mainly you and DD?

BB: Primarily. He starts them and I finish them. It goes through a metamorphous at the centre. You know, Dave Linsk is the longest standing guitar player in this band and he´s got great input. He´s got almost the exact studio as DD has, in Florida. So DD is in Jersey and Dave´s in Florida and they can exchange ideas via web, wavefile, but we also have to be in that room I think. We´re a combination of what was and what is. What was is, in a room I remember a boom box and somebody hitting record and the tape started rolling and that´s how we started getting ideas. Now it´s a little bit more advanced than that, but we have to be able to be in that room and sweat. But then afterwards we use that technology to trade ideas back and forth. I have a small home studio where I download the idea to my computer and boom, it´s off to these two guys. I think we´re a good balance between old and new.

It´s pretty fascinating. I´ve talked to a lot of bands and a lot of them have members scattered all over the world or all over the country and these days you don´t need to be in the same place to record, which is really cool.

BB: It´s interesting, but I feel that if it was only the internet it would be sterilized and this is only my own opinion, one of the things we talked about earlier was the electricity vibe. Electricity has to happen from close contact. What we do, even over these last few records while we´re recording, is that we break up that recording with live performances. We´ll record and demo it in June, but boom we´re down in Mexico doing three shows and then back into the studio and then we´re over in Europe doing some festivals and then back. I think that really adds to that live feel that we wanna capture on the record, because live is excitement and how do you make that happen with regard to the technology and the internet while writing songs. You have to be in a room together, so I think we need that balance. I don´t know for all, but for us I think it would sterilize it.

Usually for an album like this, do you go into the studio with ten songs already done or do you end up picking from 15 songs? How does it usually work?

BB: Well, I usually walk in, clear my throat and spit in the glass and say “Let´s get this going!”. (laughs) It´s a very simple process. We´ve always been, to some degree, focused. I think that ten songs is enough. We´re on a regular consistent clock when it comes to releasing. Some of those records are timed very well. It´s something that the scene emulates or eats or wants, so ten songs is plenty. It´s always been our process so that we can focus on them. Really what we´re doing is that we´re exploiting the motivation that we have. To sit there and focus on more, I think would be unnecessary. It´s always been our process to look at the ten and dissect those as opposed to saying “Oh, we have ten and five maybes.”.

Seeing how Nuclear Blast loves all these different versions of an album, are there gonna be different bonus tracks and stuff like that?

BB: No we didn´t do that. Nuclear is a great label and we dig them and they´re fans of the music that we play, but we still like to play by our own rules. We have recorded other things in the past, but they´re cover songs. I remember for “Ironbound” we actually covered kind of a metal country version of Johnny Cash´s “Man in black”, but we never released it and they keep asking us for it, but maybe when it´s ready. (laughs)

Cool! I know you also shot a video recently. I´m thinking, videos these days gotta be mainly for YouTube, right? There are no other channels for it.

BB: Absolutely! But isn´t that what we talked about earlier with regard how bands write songs these days? It´s really all about the internet, isn´t it. I´m sitting here thinking to myself some days, “I don´t need cable TV or satellite. I can watch what I wanna watch on the internet and then I can at least choose to do so.”. I think that´s what it´s about is that people can now choose to watch it when they want to watch it. It becomes even a more personal type of promotion with these videos because it´s not jammed down your throat with regard to advertising. You actually have to log on or go to that site if I wanna see Overkill´s “Electric rattlesnake” to see what they came up with. I think it´s a unique time right now when it comes to video and probably much more personal than it´s been in the past. It´s about choice.

Touring wise then and Sweden? Any plans for Scandinavia and Europe?

BB: We just… I´m on my computer and I can´t find the dates right now. If you just… I don´t think we´ve booked anything in Sweden as of yet. There will be two European tours. We´re I Scandinavia for Tuska in Finland and obviously these German shows. Hold on here…

You´re doing Wacken, right?

BB: Yeah, we´re doing Wacken and the other one is in Portugal. Right now I have Germany, the UK, Italy, Switzerland, but nothing in Scandinavia yet. But we´ve had some good success there over the last few years. We´ve done Gävle and Sweden Rock and a couple of headliners. It´s been good success.

Let´s just go back in time. What was it like when you started out? You started out fairly young, singing and playing. What was the scene like when you started out?

BB: Well you know, for this part of the scene it was just about being creative. There was no high expectations or goals. It was really about instantaneous gratification and making it up as you went along. We were punk rock fans and fans of the NWOBHM and we did covers of both type of genres and from there… I´m not saying we invented some thrash, I´m saying that we were kinda there from the beginning and that was how our version of it came about. We were listening to Angel Witch and Diamond Head, but we were also listening The Ramones and The Dead Boys and the Sex Psitols and somewhere in between there became this genre. Obviously it was quite different. This was pre Al Gore, pre global warming and pre internet. (laughs) We were running around putting up flyers on telephone poles and in windows and on the windshield wipers on cars and promoting by word of mouth what we were about and trying to gain a following out of it. But again there was no rules. It was really just chaotic, because nobody knew what to expect or what the next move was and I really think that the next move was made by Metallica. The stamp of this genre was obviously, in my opinion anyway, created by those guys and then there was a lot of us who were doing similar things. To this day I´m very proud of the fact that we never… the west coast Bay area sound was fantastic, but we never really bought into it. It still remained that kind of punk rock, NWOBHM riffing type thing and I guess that was our contribution to it back then and to some degree to this day. We´ve kinda kept that rooted feel throughout our career. The original characteristics.

Right. But prior to Overkill, had you done any recordings?

BB: No, I did no recordings. I played in cover bands and I was in the university and in high school and my father used to like to say “Ah, it´s girls and free beer!”. (laughs) And you wanna hear something funny? I dropped out of the university, so I didn´t start necessarily with Overkill in my late teens, I started in my twenties. I dropped out of the university and my father said “Is this still about girls and free beer?” and I said “No, we´re pursuing our artistic career here.” And it was about 25 years later and this sports figure in New York, who was a big thrash fan, gave us tickets for my father´s birthday, to his personal box at the Stadium. Sitting next to my father and he looked at me and said “I knew this Overkill thing would fucking work out one of these days!” and then I looked at him and I said, “Dad, when I dropped out of the university, it WAS about girls and free beer.”. (laughs) I think dad always knows. (laughs)

Definitely. That´s a good story. Have you ever had any regrets dropping out of the university, even though things worked out?

BB: No, I don´t think so. There´s something about practical experience that´s really exciting and you learn as you go along. You afford yourself the opportunity to make mistakes. I think mistakes are huge when it comes to… as long as they´re not devastating or career ending, I think they´re huge to the building process. We talked earlier… you know, I´m talking from my office where I manage the band with DD and he has an office in his home and that´s leaps and bounds from girls and free beer. It´s quite far and this has given me… I´m actually talking to you from the house that Overkill bought for me, that overlooks the lake. The point is that, because I don´t have any regrets because of where it´s brought me and I never knew it would bring me here, but now that I´m here or have been here along that journey, I obviously appreciate that learning experience because it has given me a lot of other personal happiness and success in my life. My wife I met on the road and I´ve started other businesses and all of them to some degree are satisfying, so I don´t have regrets. I´m very lucky and I don´t think it´s for everyone but in retrospect even those mistakes helped kinda build the character or the foundation that I stand on.

Who came up with the original idea for Overkill mascot Chaly?

BB: The name first and foremost… we had a stage manager named Bob and Bob Gustafson was in the band and Bob Blitz was in the band and there was a drum tech named Bob, so instead of calling us all Bob, he used to call us Chaly. He used to go “Hey Chaly singer!”, “Hey Chaly guitar player!” and when it was created I remember it written down on a cocktail napkin or a piece of white paper and it looked like Pop Eye with wings and it was just fucking ridiculous. (laughs) We loved it, because Iron Maiden had a mascot and we should have a fucking mascot, it´s just that simple. This became an identifiable image and we gave it to an artist who made it into what it was originally and we were so happy with the whole thing. But one day we´re standing there on the stage and our stage manager yells to two of the crew guys “Hey, put Chaly up in the back!” and nobody knew what the fuck he was talking about and the drum tech said “What are you talking about?” and he goes “You know, the mascot! Put Chaly up behind the drums!”. (laughs) That´s how it got its name. Everybody was Chaly back then.

Cool! Finally, I read that you´re not an Obama fan. What do you think about the US election?

BB: It´s unique. I can´t say I´m not a fan. I mean, I never rooted for the guy to do not well. You want them to do well regardless of what they´re political affiliation is. We also talked about me working for myself for a 20 year period of time and also my father. My father sat me down when I was about 17 and he goes “You´re gonna be able to vote next year.” And he said to me, “I work for myself and it makes me a republican. They want smaller government and they wanna take less of your money. I f you´re not like so, you probably wanna be a democrat.”. As time went on, I started working for myself and saw that. I really have a distinct view of what republicans and democrats are and I´m really a blend of both. Obviously I wanna help people and I don´t wanna see people do bad. I do think a change is necessary. When a guy stands up and pounds his fist and says “Not one dime will I raise your taxes!” and the first thing he does is do it. (laughs) It´s just not fucking ok. (laughs) I think his attentions are correct, but I think a change is obviously necessary and to some degree I lean myself towards Ron Paul and doing this whole thing like a business.

Have you ever thought about writing a book? Everyone´s putting out their autobiographies these days.

BB: I´ve been asked. I´ve been asked by a pretty good journalist. The guy sat down and I think we were having a couple of Newcastle Brown Ales and he said “I love talking to you because you never fucking stop and all your goddamn stories are great! We could really write an interesting story here and you´re not afraid to name names and you´re not afraid to say if it stinks and you´re not afraid to say you´re not the best but you try the hardest.”. I said “You know, that would be so much fun, but the other side of it is that my feeling about a book is that it´s a staple to say it´s over and from this point on I have nothing current to offer.”. If I feel I have nothing current to offer, I may sit down with this guy and we may open a few more Newcastles. (laughs). But at this point I feel that a record like “The electric age”, though rooted in the past, really has a contemporary value and I think that I´m always more proud of what we are as opposed to what we were. When I get to sit down with people, primarily we´ll talk about the new release, sure we´ll go back and do the historical thing, but that values the band in the present and that to me is probably my proudest badge.

Well, if there ever is a book, I´ll really be looking forward to it.

BB: (laughs) We´ll do all these chapters, the near death experiences, the girls and beer… (laughs)

Yeah, there´s gotta be some good stories there.

BB: I´ll never claim, like Nikki Sixx, that I was dead for six or eight minutes. (laughs) I was sitting there with DD one day and I was looking at the picture of his book going “How can a guy who died for six minutes look this fucking good?”. (laughs)

(laughs) Really good question! It´s been really good talking to you Bobby. It´s a great sounding album and I really hope you come over to Sweden real soon and kick some Swedish ass.

BB: I hope so too. It´s always fun to get to Scandinavia. I still love to travel and I still love the different cultures.

Definitely. Thank you so much and have a great weekend Bobby!

BB: See you on the road Niclas!

/Niclas
Nielsen Soundscan

 


KISS FAQ har gjort en mycket intressant intervju med Paul Grien som driver bloggen "Chart watch" och kan allt om albumförsäljning i USA.
Intervjun handlar självfallet om hur KISS har sålt genom åren, före och efter Soundscan, men är lika intressant för vanliga skivnördar som inte direkt bryr sig om KISS.
Grein ger svar på väldigt många frågor rörande albumförsäljning och ger en bra analys av nu jämfört med då.

Paul Grein HÄR

/Niclas
Vad händer?

Tja, en hel del verkar det som. Den senaste veckan har varit ganska intensiv vad gäller intervjuer.
I tisdags begav jag mig in till Scandic Continental i City för att sitta ner med Marc och Herman i Dragonforce. I onsdags blev det en telefonare med en mycket pratglad och trevlig Michael Kiske och igår fredag, blev det telefonare med både Overkills Bobby Blitz och Night Rangers Jack Blades.
Alla dessa hoppas jag ha fått upp inom de närmsta två veckorna och först ut blir Bobby Blitz, som jag just i denna stund sitter och skriver ut.
Annars är det mest Van Halen som har gällt de senaste veckorna. Nya plattan är formidabel och efter att ha sett oändligt många klipp från de första gigen på USA-turnén kan jag inte göra annat än att hoppas på att de kommer till våra breddgrader inom en snar framtid.
I senaste Classic Rock antyder Diamond Dave att Europa, Asien och Australien definitivt finns på kartan, så vi får väl se.
Just det, har även efter många om och men fått tag på en av hjärnorna bakom fantastiska De La Cruz från Australien, Casey Jones, och hoppas att vi ska kunna styra upp en intervju relativt snart.



/Niclas

fredag 9 mars 2012

Go Morello!


Tom Morello går lite hårdare fram än Rush.

Mer om Rush och Limbaugh HÄR

/Niclas

torsdag 8 mars 2012

Oh dear Henry!

 


Henry fortsätter minnas gamla tider. Nu senast om Texas och intressanta möten med bl a Roky Erickson och Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Henry HÄR

/Niclas
Norrmännen vet hur man rockar loss!



Taking it to the streets in Indonesia.

/Niclas

onsdag 7 mars 2012

But of course...













Är den autentisk är den fullkomligt underbar.

/Niclas

söndag 4 mars 2012

Ronnie Montrose
19471129-20120303




Ännu en legendar har gått ur tiden. Ronnie Montrose dog igår endast 64 år gammal.
Idag kommer debutplattan med Montrose gå på repeat i Rock and roll-rummet. Jag hade turen att möta Ronnie på SRF 2004. Någon månad innan mötet hade jag haft mailkontakt med honom och även gjort en mailintervju. Han visade sig vara en riktigt trevlig man och vi skrattade gott åt allt möjligt under vårt möte. Har för mig att vi båda kommenterade den überaktiva James Kottak som sprang omkring backstage och gav ett högst underligt intryck.

/Niclas

fredag 2 mars 2012

Oh Henry dear Henry!


















Henry är tillbaka i LA efter sin lilla runda genom Europa och han lyssnar på Al Green.

Henry HÄR

/Niclas
Intervju med Isaac Delahaye i Epica!




För en tid sedan blev jag uppringd av Isaac i Epica och fick ett litet snack om senaste albumet "Requiem for the indifferent", inspelningsprocessen, producenten Sascha, belgiska metalband
och en del annat.

Isaac Delahaye: Hi Niclas, this is Isaac from Epica. How are you doing?

I´m good. How are you?

ID: Very good.

Where are you calling from?

ID: I´m calling from Home. I´m home at the moment, in Belgium. I live in Belgium. Everyone else in Epica is from Holland, but there are two members from Belgium and Simone lives in Germany.

Right. It´s gotta be kinda hard to just show up for rehearsal?

ID: Yeah exactly. (laughs) That´s why we never rehearse. Basically, for the new album we didn´t even rehearse before going into the studio. We just did everything via e-mail and stuff like that.

The age of technology.

ID: Exactly. If it wouldn´t be like that then basically we wouldn´t have a band.

This new album of yours, when did you start working on it and how long did it take to put it together?

ID: Well, let me just explain how we work. First we work on songs individually where you just write stuff at home and whenever you feel comfortable with what you already have, you put it on the table and then everybody can take that song and wok on it, so the first process of doing something individually… for me personally, I started writing right after “Design your universe”. You go on the road and you fiddle around and whenever I´m at home, I record my ideas and basically it´s not like half songs or anything, it´s just riffs and then whenever we´re thinking of making a new album, I just go through all that and you make riffs here and there fit with each other and make songs like that. Mark, who´s the main composer in the band, a part from the intro, he wrote eight songs. We´re basically three band members writing the songs, Mark did the majority and then Coen did two other songs and then I also wrote two songs. After you have the basic stuff, you give it to the other guys. For instance, between Mark and me, we are both guitar players and I really write music from a guitarist´s point of view so I write the technical riffs and the melody and the solo, whereas Mark will start with the orchestra. Just have some basic guitars and then put more emphasis on the orchestration and then he gives his song to me and says “Ok, that´s your job. Make the guitar more interesting!”, so that´s how we work and that basically started around June last year. We started sending stuff to each other and during the summer festival season it was mainly weekend shows, so we were just flying out to wherever we were playing and during the week was when you really had time to work. By the end of summer or by the end of August, we were finished with the preproduction and in September we started recording and the whole thing was finished halfway into December. Basically we have everything and then we go into the studio and do it for real.

There´s six of you in the band and the more members, the more opinions and stuff like that. Does it ever get difficult because there´s so many of you?

ID: Yeah, sometimes. But you can have the same thing with only four members, for that matter. The only difficult thing we have is that it´s an even number, so we could end up with three against three and for that case we kinda made a special rule and that rule is that the one who… let´s say that it´s my song and we have different opinions and we don´t agree on something, then basically because it´s my song, I have the final decision. It doesn´t happen that often. Being in band… we´re not old time friends and we don´t live in the same city and we don´t even live in the same country for that matter. It´s like the right people in the right spot. When our old drummer left and we got Arien, I haven´t played with a better drummer than him. You just kinda have to trust each other and if we have these little arguments, it´s never about the song itself but about the smallest details you can think of and sometimes if we send it to Sascha the producer and we can´t agree, he´s like “Guys, come on, you can´t be serious? It´s such a small detail.”, but that´s the thing that in the end makes it worthwhile and interesting. There´s quite some stuff going on and maybe you never notice as a listener, but for us it´s super important if it´s this or that note.

Of course. You worked with Sascha Paeth again. What is it that he brings to the table that have made you work with him for such a long time?

ID: Well, basically he´s the Epica judge. We work on stuff and then we go to Sascha and he´s the one who has fresh ears and who hasn´t heard anything about the music and he then says “Well, this song is not even Epica, so don´t waste your time and focus on other songs!”, because we always write more songs than what actually ends up on the album. Or he could say “This part is too long.” And so on. He can really listen to everything since he´s outside the band and he also has very instant creative moments, like he can come up with a melody on the spot and it´s much better than what we thought of. He thinks differently apparently, than most other people and therefore he is of big value for us and that´s why we keep going back. We had two of these Sascha rounds where we went there and then changed stuff and then went there again and changed stuff and then the eventual recording. Basically it´s the whole Gate Studios team, because it´s not only Sascha. They really have a good team there and Miro Rodenberg is the guy who does all the orchestration for us, so it´s like we have our own studio with our own sound. Miro has so many good sounds and he makes it sound really good and that´s a huge part of the music of course. The whole studio team is very important for a band like Epica, but not only Epica. Epica decided to go there because of Kamelot and they also still go there and then other bands like Rhapsody. There are so many bands going there and it´s because the whole team is really good.

I was reading up on the album and there are five different versions of it. When you record songs do you think that you need extra tracks for bonus songs on different editions?

ID: Yeah, that´s something we think about. As I said, we have more songs than what will fit on the album so we know we´ll need extra songs and that´s not even talking about the songs that didn´t make it to the studio. We make albums and not songs. It could be a brilliant song but if it doesn´t fit on the album, so then we won´t include it on the album and maybe that´s a big mistake. But anyway, then it might end up as a bonus track, but it´s all marketing and part of Nuclear Blast. But of course you need special things for fans out there to get their attention and to make them buy it.

Yeah, especially these days when people don´t buy records anymore.

ID: Exactly and also in the US they always love to have these extra tracks so they feel important or something. (laughs) These are the rules so to speak. After the mix we had doubts… or we disagreed… it was one of the songs, “Deter the tyrant”, one of the songs I wrote and we have a version where Simone is doing the verse and we have a version where Mark is grunting the verse. The grunt version was first, but then I said “I wrote this verse with Simone´s vocals in the back of my mind.” And when I heard the grunt version I was like “Nah, it´s not what I want.”. But then we decided… it´s now what I want, but it also sounds cool, so why would you skip it? The music is the same, you just do it with grunts or with Simone. Then you have “Twin flames” which has two versions. You have the epic one like “Chasing the dragon”, how it builds up or you have the very intimate atmosphere. It´s the same song but more intimate and it basically is a love song. It´s with an organ and something Epica´s never done before and it didn´t really fit in with the whole album, so that´s why we decided to not put it on the album and use it as a bonus track and because you have two versions you can do much more with it. For a label like Nuclear Blast, I think they´re really happy with that. They can have all these options like with a t-shirt or with this or that.

You have Simone in the band. Are there different dynamics in the band when there´s a woman, like being on the road and so on? Putting five guys together, there is a certain way of how they express themselves and stuff like that. Does it change having a woman in the band?

ID: Well, I have been in a different band with only guys and I´ve been on tour with only guys and no girls what so ever and it is definitely a different scene, but that was more the death metal scene. Let me tell you this, from the outside maybe Simone looks like an angel and that she can´t do anything wrong, but it´s no problem for her to be around dudes who are swearing or whatever we do. She can really keep up with that and sometimes when she says something, everybody turn their head like “Did she really say that?”. (laughs) Of course she grew up like that, she was barely 17 when Epica started and it has been a part of her world for a very long time and she just turned 27. For her it´s kinda a normal environment and it is of course different in a way like for instance I quit smoking because I couldn´t smoke on the tour bus anymore or backstage or on stage. I didn´t have that problem before, but now it´s also forbidden everywhere. Apart from that, maybe you have the opportunity to shower a bit more often. (laughs) She´s not a party animal because she can´t because she´s a singer.

What´s the Belgian metal scene like?

ID: Qui, qui. I don´t know how much you know about Belgium, but it´s divided into two parts. You have the Northern part which is Flemish and then Wallonia the Southern part where they speak French, so if there is a scene it´s already divided. Belgium is a very small country. Basically there is not a real metal scene in the South. I live in the North and there you kinda have a scene. Maybe you´ve heard of Channel Zero? They used to be pretty big, especially in Belgium and the surrounding countries in the 90´s and then they quit. They were on the radio almost every day here, but outside of Western Europe there was nothing. They worked really hard to become famous but it didn´t work. Now they have a new album and they´re touring again. Then you have Aborted, but they all live in France and Israel. I don´t know what it is with Belgian musicians? They all go somewhere else. (laughs) Isn´t the drummer in Soilwork from Belgium? (Dirk Verbeuren. Editor´s note)

Yeah, I believe he is.

ID: I think he lives in France. That´s the thing. Everyone lives somewhere else and then it gets mixed up like “Who is from which country?”.

As you mentioned, with the technology these days it works. You could be scattered all over the world and still make an album as a band.

ID: Yeah, like for the last two albums during the mixing process, we were on tour and checking mixes in our hotel rooms in South America. Back in the day it wouldn´t have been possible. You couldn´t even go on tour because you had to finish the album. Now everyone have their laptop and there´s internet everywhere, so it´s not a big issue.

The title “Requiem for the indifferent”, was that a title that came right away or did it get changed around?

ID: It got changed around, but the idea behind the title or what we wanted to say was clear. Another one was “Serenade of self-destruction”, which is a song on the album and we tried “Serenade of indifferent” and “Requiem of indifference” and stuff like that. It was pretty clear from the start what we wanted to say. The song itself is about the financial crisis in general and the album title basically represents the fact that we need to have a wakeup call for people who don´t give a shit. If you´re indifferent then nothing´s gonna change and we live in a kind of society where everyone gives their opinion on Facebook or Twitter or whatever. They sit at home and swear at everyone and everything they see, but they don´t do anything about it. It´s the internet but you can also use it differently like the Arab spring where people put up stuff that you would never see because the governments are hiding everything. They put it online on YouTube for everyone to see. Lately it was these US troops urinating on dead people. You can look at it all in both ways. If you´re killing people all the time and you´re traumatized in a war, then probably urinating on a dead person is not that bad, but for the outside world it´s kinda like “What the fuck are you doing guys?”. Every coin has two sides. We wanted to tell people that even if you think that something happening on the other side of the world won´t affect you, it might as well do affect you. Like the financial crisis. And we have stuff about dictators on the album, like Khadaffi and we have a short piece of a speech of his on there. We basically wanna wake people up. Not that we wanna have a perfect world with love, peace and happiness because that´s not possible, but maybe a bit more balance.

Touring wise then? You´ve got a lot of shows in Europe and one in Sweden at Rockstad Falun. Is that gonna be the only show in Sweden?

ID: Well, so far we have our eyes focused on this European tour and we got some offers for festivals and this one in Sweden is one of them. We wanna do a separate Scandinavian run. If you do it in a normal European tour it´s like one place and the same with the UK. You play London and then leave, so that´s why we didn´t include the UK. We wanna do that later on and take our time and play where ever we wanna play. We also have a US and South American tour coming up, so it´s gonna be busy.

Cool. Good for you.

ID: And we won´t forget Sweden. We will be back for the regular club shows, that´s for sure. But as of now there´s nothing confirmed yet.

Alright. Excellent talking to you Isaac. I think it´s the first time I´ve interviewed a Belgian guy.

ID: Oh really? You should drink our beer, man!

Oh yeah! Stella Artois is Belgian, right?

ID: Yeah, so now you only need the chocolate and the waffles. (laughs)

True. There you go. Hope to see you in Sweden soon.

ID: Yeah! Thank you!

/Niclas