måndagen den 31:e oktober 2011

Nu jävlar ska det spelas!
















Kan det här bli årets julklapp?


"Rock Sci­ence är ett nytt, svenskt brädspel som släpps 9 december 2011. En grupp svenska rockare, däribland legenden Nicke Andersson (känd från bl.a. Imperial State Electric och The Hellacopters) har skapat ett frågespel om hårdrock. Målet har varit att skapa unik underhållning ur det alla rockers snackar om över en bärs på förfesten. Med 2 500 frågor om hundratals tongivande rockband från 60-talet fram till idag har man lyckats med precis det. Spelet täcker klassisk hårdrock, heavy metal, NWOBHM, thrash metal, glam, grunge och extrem metal med frågor om band som Kiss, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Guns N’ Roses, Venom, Pearl Jam, Sex Pistols och Rolling Stones för att nämna några.
Hur många gånger har inte rockers världen över suttit och käftat om vem som gjorde vad på vilken platta, hur en viss låt kom till, vilken stjärna som dog på det mest spektakulära viset – ja allt det där som gör hårdrock till något mer än bara musik? Svaret är: väldigt ofta. Få älskar sin musik lika mycket som hårdrockare och nu får de chansen att omsätta sin kärlek och kunskap på spelplanen. För alla äkta rockers lär Rock Science bli lika oumbärligt som skivsamlingen, elgitarren, skinnpajen och basguran.


THE ROCK SCIENCE ANTHEM
Inte särskilt många av världens brädspel har en egen signaturmelodi. Det kan till och med vara så att Rock Science är det enda brädspelet i världen som har fått ett alldeles eget, specialskriven anthem. Helt klart är att Nicke Andersson (även känd som Nick Royale) i alla fall aldrig specialkomponerat en låt till ett spel förr. Nick Royale har dessutom rollen som Art Director i det sex man starka teamet i Rock Science-labbet. Ett team där Jorge Bravo, mannen bakom banden Skintrade och Roachpowder, håller i taktpinnen som Creative Director.
Nick Royale har bland annat spelat i Nihilist, Entombed, The Hellacopters och The Solution. Nu är det Imperial State Electric som i huvudsak är Nickes hem. Där ingår även bl.a. basisten Dolf de Borst från New Zeelands fränaste rockband, The Datsuns.


SÅ FUNGERAR SPELET
Rock Science är ett brädspel för 2-6 spelare. Målet är att genom rockkunskap, smart vadslagning och lite tur vara den som först går ett varv runt spelplanen. Man besvarar frågor om anekdoter, myter, rockers, album, låtar och Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll. Spelarna kan också få nynna riff från kända rocklåtar.
• Alla frågor har tre svårighetsnivåer – Poser, Fan och Scientist. Poser-frågorna är lättare så att vem som helst kan vara med och spela.
• Alla spelare är hela tiden involverade eftersom man dessutom “bettar” på varandras kunskap.
• Spelet innehåller regler på svenska, engelska, spanska och tyska.
• Spelet kan lätt omvandlas till ett smidigt road trip-spel eller ett vansinnigt dryckesspel med hjälp av instruktionerna i boxen. Kom ihåg, rockare smuttar inte!
Rock Science är den mycket förlåtande familj varje sann rockälskare alltid önskat sig. I den här familjen får man bara bannor om man inte drar volymknappen i botten.
Nuff said…"

Spelets hemsida här

/Niclas
Recension av Bangaloregiget!












Indisk journalistik lämnar en del att önska. Frågan är om journalisten i fråga var på konserten överhuvudtaget?

The Times of India här

/Niclas

söndagen den 30:e oktober 2011

Intervju med Tony Speakman i Hell!
















Hell är ju det brittiska bandet som i början av 80-talet var på gång och delvis räknades in i NWOBHM, men allt gick åt skogen. Skivbolagsstrul, sångaren begick självmord och bandet upplöstes.
Nu är de tillbaka med hjälp av framförallt Andy Sneap och plattan "Human remains" är faktiskt inte pjåkig alls.
Jag ringde upp Tony i England och fick ett mycket trevligt samtal med en pratglad britt som nu äntligen lever sin dröm efter att plattan hyllats världen över och arbetet med uppföljaren är redan på gång. Vi snackade bl a om influenser från KISS, hur de hamnade på Nuclear Blast, arbetet med Andy Sneap och likheten med Anvil.


Hey Tony, it´s Niclas!

Tony Speakman: How you doing Niclas? How´s it going?

I´m good! How are you?

TS: Oh, not so bad mate, not so bad!

It took me forever to figure out how to call you.

TS: Well, that´s why I´ve got my e-mail up in case you couldn´t get through and you´d have to e-mail me in a panic.

I wanna start with the beginning of all things and the beginnings of your musical career. What were you up to before Hell?

TS: Before Hell? Basically, I met a guy through an ex girlfriend who was playing guitar in his front room. At the time, obviously I was into rock music and metal music, bands like Deep Purple, UFO and Wishbone Ash, the early rock bands. I basically used to stand there pretending to be a guitarist and wishing I would one day be a guitarist or a musician. Through this ex girlfriend I met this guy who was playing guitar. His parents were away, so he had dragged his amplifier into the front room and I was just spellbound by him. I just walked into the room and asked “Would you give me a lesson?” and he said “Yeah!”. We got together and we formed a small band called Fluff, who incidentally contained Tim, the drummer from Hell. Tim and I have been together right from the very start of our playing careers. That then formed into a band called Tokyo Road. We were young and full of testosterone and full of ego and we sort of split for a bit. I left and joined another local band and they were doing fairly well on the local circuit, called Sovereign and from there, that´s when I met Kev. We used to rehearse at this lovely local pub and I went into the pub one night to rehearse and this guy came up to me and said “You´re gonna be asked to join Paralex!” and sure enough there was Kev and he asked me to join Paralex, who at the time had a record deal with the “White lightning” EP out and everything. I then went off to join Paralex and spent a few years with them doing the rounds and we made quite a name for ourselves. When we were in Paralex we used to work with Race Against Time, David Halliday´s original band. It was basically like today´s tour packages where three local bands go out and play bigger venues rather than all struggling in tiny little pubs. Proper gigs with bigger stages, better lighting, better everything! Then we became friends with Dave and then Dave split from Race Against Time. I don´t know the full story of what happened there, but when that happened, Kev was adamant that he wanted to work with Dave, so he approached me and said “We´re gonna put this new band together!” and he approached me and I said “Yeah, I´m up for it!”. Back again to Tim, my old friend because Tim and I were social friends even though for a couple of bands we didn´t play together and I said “How about Tim on drums?” and that´s how Hell formed.

Who came up with the name?

TS: I believe that was myself! Not the logo. The reason being, in 1976, I think, I went to see KISS in Manchester, one of their first ever gigs in the UK and I only went to see the support band Stray. I´d never heard of KISS. I was working in my cousin´s record shop at the time and I saw that Stray was playing in Manchester, I was living up there, so I borrowed some money from my auntie and bought myself a ticket and off I went. I didn´t know who KISS were, but I wanted to go and see the support band Stray. Well, I came out of the place, as you can imagine, a completely different person! The next day I went to my cousin´s shop and there were loads of KISS albums there, so I just bought the lot and became a big KISS fan. The idea behind Hell was… I believe I´m right, but the others may say I´m wrong here, but I seem to remember I sat in these girls conservatory conceiving this idea for this band where basically there was no backline or anything on stage. It was like a big theatrical set as you would imagine hell. A lot of red lighting and the idea that the monitors were gonna be like rocks and lots of dry ice and creating the stereo typical vision of hell. The devil´s domain! I think that´s where it came from and then the logo, I believe was another one of Kev´s brothers who came up with the logo and then the image just evolved. We wanted to do a show that was just totally different to any of the other local bands. There was a lot of local bands around and we wanted to take it one step further. What you see now of Hell is not that dissimilar to what you saw before.

Back then, who would you say were Hell´s influences when it came to listening to other bands?

TS: That´s an interesting question actually. Really in those days there was two sides to Hell and as Kev is a genius now with his song writing, he wasn´t really a social guy then. He didn´t go out much and he didn´t go to all the local rock discos and he wasn´t influenced particularly by anybody. There were bands he liked and in the early days of Paralex he was into Pat Travers and very into Rush, but he wasn´t really influenced by the trends of the time. Likewise with Dave. They wanted to do something different, whereas Tim and I were the social party animals! We went out and lived the rock and roll lifestyle and we were out every night drinking. We were the ones, just like every other local musicians out there doing it. I suppose we were influenced more by of what was in the trends at the time. Certainly the NWOBHM, Priest, Maiden, were all favorite bands of ours. In those days and I´ll drop this now, Mercyful Fate! I´d certainly never heard of them, but I did later on hear of them and obviously became aware of King Diamond, but I never really got into them. I never really listened to them and I don´t know why. It´s not until Hell got back together again that I thought “Who is this Mercyful Fate? I better have a look at this!” and “Wow, what have I been missing?”. I didn´t realize how close we were then although they were on the other side of the world. It´s amazing this genre was starting up.

Were there other bands that you came across while you were out touring and so on, that became bigger bands later on?

TS: Not really, no. We did a couple of gigs with some of the guys from Thin Lizzy and we did some gigs with Uriah Heep, which was great for us because they were one of my favorite bands of the time and we got to know Mick Box quite well actually. A great bunch of lads! They were brilliant to us on the gigs because they just looked after us. We weren´t getting any money and we always found there was a bit of food for us and a big case of beer in the dressing room. Really nice lads! All the bands that we were with? No, not really! There were a lot of underground bands who were around at that time. We were around at the end of the NWOBHM and before the thrash thing. I mean, Andy with Sabbat basically took what Hell was doing, because of his connection with Dave and everything, and took it to Sabbat and they were doing thrash music. The image and the ideas and everything, they took with them and carried it on. We were in a bit of a no man’s land really. Live we went down a storm, but the press just didn´t get the music because it didn´t sound like Saxon and mainstream NWOBHM. And it certainly didn´t sound like thrash, because that wasn´t what we were about. We were totally in no man´s land. It was the wrong time, if you like.

I´m looking at the demo versions and the rehearsal versions of the songs and in the booklet there´s all these refusal letters from record labels…

TS: Yeah, it´s on the cover of the vinyl of “Human remains” of course. I mean, we got the deal with Mausoleum… it was the best deal offered to us for one thing, but I think we were sort of grabbing because we recorded the original “Save us…” single up at a… it was part of Avenue Records and we recorded it at the studio, but Avenue weren´t really interested. It´s because the press didn´t really… we weren´t a cool thing to be around, you know. Word of mouth in this industry is everything. If there´s a good band knocking about, people hear about it. We just weren´t vogue and nobody was really getting it. The press, and I remember a particular character in Kerrang, slated the single and it was “Hilariously inept amateur hour demonic ramblings!”. He later, in an edition of Record Collector, hailed us “One of the bands that should´ve been a super group!”. Thanks a lot mate, you owe me a career! He was part of the scene then and I don´t hold anything against him and he was just doing his job at the time. I wouldn´t buy him a pint if I ever saw him! (laughs) I think he also was involved with an album of that era that came out and we were on that. Hindsight´s wonderful, but you can´t change history!

Where did the idea for blowing up bibles come from?

TS: It didn´t come from anywhere! I used to do the fire breathing back in the day and when we can use it, it´s still part of the set now. Obviously with a name like Hell, you´ve got a certain vision. People are gonna have this preconceived image of what the band´s gonna look like, so we said we wanted to go all out. We used a lot of pyrotechnics, a lot of big flashes, smoke and we had this thing where we used to blow this powder, Kev used to blow this powder out. Things like that and it was basically the whole thinking of things we could do that were different and would create a visual thing or shock people, if you like. Not just an audio thing. What would somebody in Hell do? `They would blow a bible up! It wasn´t actually a bible. It was a wooden box with pyro in it, dressed up as a bible and it´s still there now.

The album´s been out now for a couple of months now. How do you feel about it now? There´s been some raving reviews all over the world.

TS: It went straight into the German chart at number 12. Somebody told me it charted in Sweden, Finland and France. How do I feel? I´m living the dream! When I left school, this is what I wanted to do, to play in a band! I love rock music and I love being part of it and this is what I wanted to do. At the moment it´s strange, because I can´t think of another band who´s been in our position. We´re just leaving school again and we are literally living our dream. The response to the album… I always used to ask Andy “How many do you think we´ll sell?” and it´s exceeded everybody´s expectations! The press from it has been amazing! Can you imagine when this album first came out and we´re looking at the reviews on the computer and in the magazines and we´re being hailed in the same sentence like people like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. “The best album to come out of the UK since this!” and “Album of the year!”. It was kind of shocking and an amazing feeling! I can´t describe what it was like, because it really is like a fairytale.

It´s not the same, but if you look at a band like Anvil, the released albums but they went nowhere and then they did this movie and everybody loves them and hails them. You come along, release this album and everybody are into you as well.

TS: I think really, it´s a case of… when we were out before it was the right band at the wrong time. A lot of people have said it and we were ahead of our time. I didn´t realize that we would become as, if you like, through the tape trading industry and the underground, as big as we have. That was a shock to me, because those tapes were never ever meant to be released! They were literally done on a cassette player in a rehearsal room. Some of them were proper demos, but it was on a cassette player in the rehearsal room for us to hear how we sounded and that was it. Somehow they got out and it´s been like an advertising campaign going on worldwide that we knew nothing about! What was the question again, I´ve digressed a bit?

Just that it´s a bit similar to Anvil.

TS: Yeah, I suppose it´s similar to them. When the movie came out… I mean, in the old days… I saw them a couple of times, but they were one of those bands that came and went. I don´t know where they went, I have absolutely no idea! I enjoyed the gigs and they were great! The movie came out and it´s one of those things where it probably came out at exactly the right time. People were probably looking for something a little bit nostalgic, something that´s got a name and something that´s sort of instantly accessible. There ´s a bit of something there that they can look back on as well, there´s been a history to it and I suppose it´s the same with us. There is this history that´s surrounding it. A lot of people think this whole 1980´s thing was a big marketing ploy. It´s not! It´s all absolutely true! It really was and it is.

After Dave was gone and the whole thing with Mausoleum Records and the band ended and all that, what have you been up to during all this time?

TS: I was the only member of the original band who carried on playing. After Hell split up, we lost the deal and it basically destroyed our morale. Kev disappeared from the band because he just couldn´t carry on doing it and we got this young lad in, Sean, but like with a lot of bands, when you get new members in the chemistry of the band completely altered. Dave was down in the dumps and we were just destroyed. Basically all of a sudden you´ve got your childhood dream, you´ve got a record deal and you´re out doing it and then you fall off the ladder, if you like. That´s basically what happened to us and we just didn´t recover from it. Instead of dusting ourselves down and think “Alright, we need to go out and start getting another deal!”, it all just went completely crazy. The band split, Dave, very, very sadly… what a loss, committed suicide which was a tragedy and I still to this day remember when Tim told me and it was horrible! Hell was dead and buried as far as we were concerned. I got into a local band with some friends which was basically just a “drink a lot, play a lot, have a lot of fun band” to cheer me up. It wasn´t gonna go anywhere. We did one little single, but it was a good time, good fun. We all look back at it and enjoy it. Then I got into the tribute scene which was a big thing over here in the UK at the time. That´s where the money was! I spent years in a Status Quo tribute band of all things. I was earning really good money and we were out doing all the holiday camps and gigging very regularly. It was a good living! After that I got fed up with the Quo. I mean, I love Quo music and I grew up with it as a kid and it was the heaviest we could do to get on holiday camps, but then I got involved with a Deep Purple band who then transformed into a Rainbow tribute band and spent several years playing the circuits and festivals and doing Rainbow music, which I really enjoyed because it´s the kind of music I like. It was great fun!

When Dave committed suicide, did you ever get a real answer why he did it? Did he leave a note or anything?

TS: It´s a very personal thing, but I know one thing. Dave always said that if he hadn´t made it in a rock band by the time he was 30, he would commit suicide, but nobody took him seriously! We didn´t! I honestly think that Dave planned for Andy to find him because Dave was very, very close to Andy and he taught him how to play. They were more like brothers and Andy´s quoted in the past that he could´ve gotten off the rails but Dave was the one that sorted him out. Andy´s got so much respect for Dave and a lot of what he´s doing now is in honor of Dave, if you like. Andy as a kid was star struck watching us guys up on the stage and he sort of gone on and overtaking us and become the guy he is in the production world. He sort of wanted to honor Dave for giving him that opportunity and for being such an influence. Andy´s living the dream as well. He would´ve never have thought that one day he´d be in the band that he started out admiring and he´s now the main man behind the band, production wise and the guitarist. He´s enjoying it as much as we are. He´s loving it and he wants to get back into being a guitarist again. He´s done the production thing for years and he loves to get out there and play!

What else did he bring production wise to the band?

TS: Andy knew the band from the very early days because he basically spent half his life with Dave so he had that, like root into the way the band was. The feelings and the atmosphere. He obviously knew us all, but also, Andy has been involved in the industry ever since and he´s seen the changes, the growths, the goods, the bads and everything through it. When he came to do the album, he got this picture in his mind of how he wanted the music to sound. He didn´t want to make it ultra modern and he didn´t want to bring in blast beats drums and everything. He wanted to keep it as much as it was, but give it that modern edge. Everybody´s labeling us as NWOBHM and it´s bound to be that ilk to it because the music was written in the early 80´s, but I think he wanted to transcend then and now and try and be that bridge between. He just wanted to make it sound how it should´ve sounded, but of course he´s got all the modern toys to do it with.

How come you ended up on Nuclear Blast? Did they approach you?

TS: Nuclear Blast actually, was the first label who… when “Human remains” was being recorded, Andy sent some rushes out because obviously Andy works with Nuclear Blast and for what I remember, they said back “When it´s done, give us first refusal!” and they wanted to straight away and then it went quiet, so Andy said “Well, we´re gonna take it somewhere else!” and various labels came onboard like Century Media, Metal Blade and by the end of it we got five labels literally arguing and fighting and tailoring the deal to suit us, which again “Hang on a minute! What´s happening? This wasn´t in the script!” and we were just about to sign up with… we were talking with Metal Blade or Century Media and all of a sudden Nuclear Blast came back to us “No, we want it! This is the deal, tell us what you want! There you go! Sign, sign, sign!”. I think because Nuclear Blast had originally said “This is great!”. People there love the music and they knew of the band of old and if you´ve got somebody like that, you´re not just a product. There´s a little bit more intimacy there and a bit more feeling and I think Andy felt that Nuclear Blast was the right people to go with and they´ve been great! Absolutely fantastic! Great to work with and have done the business for us.

There´s obviously gonna be more albums?

TS: Oh yes! We´ve got a couple of songs that we´re starting to work on at the moment. One is just about in a playable state. I´m not gonna tell you which one it is, but at New Years Eve we´re doing a local gig and we´re hopefully gonna be demoing three or four songs at that gig, which should be nice for the local fans to hear. The next album is gonna be… we believe about 50 percent old and 50 percent new and the new stuff is being written and it sounds killer! We don´t wanna try, as a lot of modern bands do, and jump on the band wagon. We´re trying to keep it as near… can you imagine if the band had carried on and we´d had “Human remains” out in 1983, then we want to try and write music that would´ve been what we´d have done in 1984. We certainly don´t wanna jump on anybody else’s band wagon, because we´ve got a unique sound and we wanna keep it that way! I think we´ll be working on the older material before we start on the new ones. We´re in that groove. The idea is to try and keep it as Hell as possible.

Good to hear! Touring wise then?

TS: At the beginning of December we´re doing a London show with Sabaton and we´re really looking forward to that! Then we´re doing “Darkness over Christmas” and then we´ve got a bit time off. We´ve got Hammerfest in March and then we´ve got Rock Hard and there are other things which are on the verge of confirmation which I cannot disclose for obvious reasons. We expect to be quite busy next year, both writing and recording and touring.

I guess we can see you next summer at Sweden Rock?

TS: Well, we´d love to come and do it! We really enjoyed the cruise! The Swedish people are fantastic! It was a really good gig. Every now and then you get gigs that are kind of special and this was one. It was really great! Same as the one we had in Greece as well. On all the gigs, the response has been phenomenal! We´ve gone down so well. I think every time we do a show there´s a spike in album sales and we do well on the merch.

Finally, about the artwork for “Human remains”. Is that anyway close to the original idea+ had you discussed the artwork the first time around?

TS: It´s one of the original ideas we had. We never got to the point with Mausoleum, but I know at one point in time, we had an idea and the album was originally gonna be called “The devil´s deadly weapon”. That was one of the working titles and one of the ideas that we were talking about… and it´s later what became a very historic album, and that was just a plain straight forward black cover with an embossed Hell logo on it! Something that was different. So many bands do these cliché fantasy monster type things and I suppose to a point the cover to “Human remains” fits slightly in that ilk, but it´s not totally that way, because of London burning in the background you´ve got a connection with “Plague and fyre”. We just wanted something that would visually stand out in adverts for one. How close is it to the original? That´s difficult to say. A friend of mine did a painting that he would´ve liked to go on the album cover, which I suppose is very similar, certainly color wise it is very similar. The vinyl package… I´m so proud of it because it´s one of the best triple vinyl packages I´ve ever seen! The artwork is something…. We´ve all had a lot of input, “Color it like this! Do it like that!” and the guy who´s done the artwork has done a killer job! 99 percent of the people love it and as far as I´m aware, he will be doing the next cover as well. What that will be, I have no idea! No working titles or anything yet! Some people say the album cover is cheesy, but we never had our bit of cheese! This is our slice of cheese! We´ve just done what we think is right and that´s what we wanna continue doing.

Well Tony, I thank you so much!

TS: Thank you!

/Niclas

lördagen den 29:e oktober 2011

Kan man kalla det kulturhistoria?








Annonsen som Peter Criss satte in i Rolling Stone 1972, vilket ledde till att han blev medlem i vad som kom att bli KISS.

/Niclas

fredagen den 28:e oktober 2011

Veckans Henry!
















Henry delar med sig av sitt nuvarande liv "on the road" och hur viktigt det är med sömn.

Henry här

/Niclas
Peruvian marching powder!

Efter jobbet bär det idag av till radion och en intervju med bandet Rock N´ Roll Allstars, som lirar på finalen i tävlingen "Released and Unsigned" den 17:e december på Göta Källare i Stockholm.
Ikväll ringer jag sedan upp Kee Marcello för att få hela storyn kring boken, hur det känns att snorta upp halva Peru samt allt annat som kretsar kring "rockstjärnan som gud glömde".
Nästa vecka blir det som tidigare nämnts förhoppningsvis en telefonare med spanska ´77 och på torsdag, om allt går vägen, intervju med Machine Head och Bring Me The Horizon.

/Niclas

torsdagen den 27:e oktober 2011

Bokrecension

"Rockstjärnan som gud glömde" 2011

Kee Marcello med Stafan Johansson



















Jag hade inga förväntningar alls och tyckte väl som så många andra verkar ha tyckt, vad i hela världen kan Kee Marcello ha att berätta?
Men, det visade sig ganska tidigt i boken att det här blev något av en överraskning. Kee skriver roligt och rakt och på sina ställen även rörande.
Efter att i tidig ålder ha knockats av Deep Purple plockar han upp gitarren och sedan är vägen mot stjärnglansen given, även om han kör ner i diket vid olika tillfällen. Via en sen upplaga av Noice bildar han Easy Action med Peo Thyrén och det är då det riktiga rocklivet tar sin början. Det partajas och liras rock and roll, som om det inte fanns en morgondag.
1986 hör Thomas Erdtman av sig och värvar Kee till Europe som då är på väg ut i världen med stormsteg. Detta blir början på både framgång och motgång. Europe säljer skivor som smör, turnerar världen över och Kee anammar rockstjärnelivet med allt vad det innebär.
Erdtman roffar åt sig pengar, bandet flyttar till Västindien av skatteskäl och historien som följer sedan är till viss del känd sedan tidigare efter spaltmeter i kvällspressen genom åren. Men att Kee utvecklade allvarliga drogproblem är nog mindre känt för de flesta. Han krökar och suger i sig koks dygnet runt och tappar givetvis senare fotfästet rejält.
Det bjuds på mängder av riktigt roliga historier, där snedtändningen i Stockholm på tidigt 80-tal är hysteriskt kul, även om Kee själv tror att den ledde till mindre hjärnskador. Han krökar och snortar med Steve Lukather, skrattar i kapp med Gene Simmons och hamnar i säng med silikonstinna amerikanskor. Som Kee beskriver sitt rockstjärneliv, ligger han inte alltför långt efter exempelvis Nikki Sixx eller Anthony Kiedis.
Dock bjuder Kee också på en del smärta, där hans pappa Hildings och bäste vännnen Svens bortgångar, är djupt rörande. Faktum är att man verkligen känner för Kee i dessa svåra stunder.
De andra medlemmarna i Europe ges inte allt för smickrande porträtt, minst av allt Joey Tempest, och hur Kees stämning av bandet kommer att gå återstår att se.
"Rockstjärnan som gud glömde" är en riktigt bra och intressant bok om en av Sveriges få rockstjärnor som turnerat på stora arenor världen över. Den är en mycket positiv överraskning och bör tilltala de flesta som är någorlunda intresserade av musikerlivet, oavsett vad man tycker om pudelrockarna Europe.

/Niclas 
Q&A med Mario och Anders i Nightrage!















För några veckor sedan gjorde jag en radiointervju med Mario i Nightrage. En trevlig grek som brinner för sitt band.
Jag skickade även iväg lite frågor och fick svar från både Mario och Anders.


What are you up to at the moment?

Marios :Right now we are on a North American tour with Firewind, Arsis and White Wizzard. The tour goes really well and we are getting a cool response for our new album and the live shows that we are doing. Right now we are traveling in Canada to play in Kelowna and we can’t wait to make another cool show. There is a couple of shows to get done and so far we are really happy with the tour and we can´t wait to come back to North America for more shows.


Why is Olof sitting out the tour and how is he doing?

Marios: He couldn’t do the tour because of financial reasons and also he has to do shows with his other band. Other than that he is doing fine and he can’t wait to come back to the Nightrage shows.


Tell us a bit about the upcoming tour?

Marios: The upcoming tour will take place in Europe at February 2012, and we are going to be co –headliners along with Deadlock. Threat Signal will also be on the package and some other support acts. We are working on this idea right now with our booker Wietze from Armada Agency and we can´t wait to play those shows and meet all our European fans.


How did you pick Bill Hudson to fill in?

Marios: Antony knew him and we just asked him and he was really interested and willing to play with us, I have showed him all of the songs through Skype and then we took 4 days in our hotel in Tampa Florida just before the tour, and we jammed all songs and fine tune all parts together. He is doing a really great work and he is a very cool guy and amazing guitarist. We have the most of fun here on the North America tour.

Where did the title "Insidious" come from?

Marios: It’s a title that Antony had from a long time and when he showed me, I instantly liked it and then after some time we felt that this is also the title for the new album. It fits really well with the lyrical concept of the new album. We are speaking about the darker side of human beings and the way that they treat other people. This title inspired me to write the most of the lyrics for this album and it was the right idea at the right time to make this album.


Tell us a bit about the artwork?

Marios: Well I sent the title track “Insidious” to Gustavo Sazes, (he also did the last cover of our previous album “Wearing A Martyr´s Crown”) along with the lyrics and then he sent us this cover, I think he really understands our music and lyrics and he has the ability to transfer and capture this on a cover idea. We are happy with his work and also the fact that he is fast, precise and very focused.


Any fun stories from the recording sessions?

Anders: We recorded the album in Athens, so we often went out to eat and met friends who live in the city. One night we bought a lot of beer and walked all the way up to Akropolis and sat there drinking and looking at all the illuminated Greek temples. That´s a memory that will last a long time.


Were there any leftovers from the recording sessions that didn’t make it unto the album?

Anders: No, everything we recorded made the album


What was it like working on this album?

Anders: We recorded in Zero Gravity Studios in Athens and then we mixed the album at home in Studio Fredman, in Gothenburg. We worked with a guy called Terry, in Greece. He did a great job with recording everything. Then of course, Studio Fredman are masters when it comes to getting a great metal production.


How do you go about writing songs for an album? Do you ever use stuff that didn’t en up on the previous one?

Anders: Det är mest Marios och Olof som skriver musiken. Absolut, ibland kommer det med gamla riff som har skrivits för flera år sen.
It´s mostly Mario and Olof who write the music. And yes, sometimes old riffs that we´re written years ago, are used.

Where did you get the idea for the Def Leppard cover?

Anders: We wanted to make a cover of something that wasn´t metal to begin with. On our previous album we did a Metallica cover, which was loads of fun, but it´s more of a challenge to pick a song like “Photograph”. We probably chose it because of the chorus, which I think fits our overall sound.


Was it a difficult song to record?

Anders: We worked a lot on the vocals, but fortunate enough, Apollo from Firewind helped us a lot with the choruses.


When can we expect Nightrage to hit Sweden?

Anders: We have plans to tour Europe in 2012 and if they want to book us somewhere in Sweden, it would be awesome to play on my home turf.

/Niclas

onsdagen den 26:e oktober 2011

Just nu!

Jobbar sent idag, men beger mig sedan direkt från jobbet in till Warner HQ för intervju med Skinny och Andreas i Deathstars. Ska bli kul att höra vad de har för sig och hur de ser på den stundande turnén med übertyskarna Rammstein.
På måndag bli det troligtvis en telefonintervju med Armand i spanska ´77. Ett oerhört kul band som lånar friskt från AC/DC, men ändå får ihop egna och dessutom enormt svängiga låtar. Jag säger det igen; Kolla upp nya plattan "High decibels"!
I helgen siktar jag på att skriva ut mitt snack med Tony Speakman i Hell och kanske blir det ny intervju med Machine Head när de gästar huvudstaden nästa vecka.
Glöm inte utlottningen av Kee Marcellos självbiografi! Intresset för boken visade sig vara stort. Lottningen kommer jag låta dottern utföra på måndag och då utses den lycklige mottagaren.

Hail Satan/Niclas
Vill ha!










Ny och väldigt påkostad bootlegbox med KISS. 95 dollar är priset för dessa uphottade klassiska liveinspelningar.


"A BOXSET FEATURING 6 CD’s WITH NEW MASTERS OF VINTAGE KISS VINYL RELEASES FROM THE 70’s
HOUSED IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL LAVISH TRIPLE-GATEFOLD ARTWORK PLUS: • ADDITIONAL RARE BONUSTRACKS
• COMPREHENSIVE LINER NOTES
• NEVER BEFORE SEEN PHOTOS
• A SIXTEEN PAGE BOOKLET
• 8 CARDS WITH"

                              

CD 1
Long Beach Auditorium, Long Beach, Ca, USA May 31 1974 - KNAC Broadcast
1. Intro & Deuce
2. Nothing To Lose
3. She & Solo Ace Frehley
4. Firehouse
5. Strutter
6. 100.000 Years
7. Black Diamond
8. Baby, Let Me Go


The Parthenon Theatre, Hammond, In, USA October 18 1974
9. Firehouse
10. She & Solo Ace Frehley
11. 100.000 Years
12. Black Diamond
13. Let Me Go, Rock & Roll
14. Cold Gin


CD 2
Calderone Concert Hall, Hempstead, Ny, USA August 23 1975
1. Intro
2. Deuce
3. Strutter
4. Got To Choose
5. Hotter Than Hell
6. Firehouse
7. She
8. Solo Ace Frehley
9. Nothing To Lose
10. C’Mon & Love Me
11. Solo Gene Simmons
12. 100.000 Years
13. Solo Peter Criss/100.000 Years -cont-
14. Black Diamond
15. Cold Gin
16. Rock & Roll All Nite
17. Let Me Go, Rock & Roll


Fremd High School Gymnasium, Palatine, Ill, USA April 19 1975
18. Room Service


The Bayou, Georgetown, Washington D.C., USA March 25 1974 (evening show)
19. Love Theme From KISS









CD 3
Hammersmith Odeon, London, England May 16 1976
1. Intro
2. Deuce
3. Strutter
4. Flaming Youth
5. Hotter Than Hell
6. Firehouse’
7. She
8. Solo Ace Frehley
9. Nothing To Lose
10. Shout It Out Loud
11. Black Diamond
12. Detroit Rock City


San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego, Ca, USA February 27 1976
13. Rock & Roll All Nite


L.A. Forum, Los Angeles, Ca, USA August 28 1977
14. I Stole Your Love
15. Firehouse
16. Love Gun
17. Hooligan
18. Christine Sixteen
19. Shock Me
20. Solo Ace Frehley
21. Calling Dr. Love









CD 4
Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, Ca, USA August 20 1976
1. Pre-show announcements
2. intro/Detroit Rock City
3. King Of The Nigh Time World
4. Let Me Go Rock & Roll
5. Strutter
6. Hotter Than Hell
7. Nothing To Lose
8. Cold Gin/Solo Ace Frehley
9. Shout It Out Loud
10. Do You Love Me?
11. Solo Gene Simmons/God Of Thunder/Solo Peter Criss
12. Rock & Roll All Nite
13. Deuce
14. Firehouse
15. Black Diamond


Lafayette’s Music Room, Memphis, Tn, USA April 18 1974 - WMC-FM-100 Broadcast
16. You’re Much Too Young


Music Hall, Cleveland, Oh, USA June 21 1975
17. Let Me Know


Mid South Coliseum, Memphis, Tn, USA December 2 1976
18. Strutter
19. Hard Luck Woman










CD 5
Nippon Budokan, Tokyo Japan, April 1 1977
1. Intro/Detroit Rock City
2. Take Me
3. Let Me Go Rock & Roll
4. Ladies Room
5. Firehouse
6. Makin’ Love
7. I Want You
8. Cold Gin
9. Solo Ace Frehley
10. Do You Love me?
11. Nothing To Lose
12. Solo Gene Simmons
13. God Of Thunder
14. Solo Peter Criss/God Of Thunder -cont-
15. Rock & Roll All Nite
16. Shout It Out Loud
17. Beth
18. Black Diamond


National Guard Armory Rockford, Rockford, Ill, USA November 15 1975
19. Ladies In Waiting


Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, Nj, USA July 10 1976
20. Watching You/Solo Peter Criss
21. Flaming Youth










CD 6
L.A. Forum, Los Angeles, CA, USA August 26 1977
1. Intro/I Stole Your Love
2. Take Me
3. Ladies Room
4. Firehouse
5. Love Gun
6. Hooligan
7. Makin’ Love
8. Christine Sixteen
9. Shock Me
10. Solo Ace Frehley
11. I Want You
12. Calling Dr. Love
13. Shout It Loud
14. Solo Gene Simmons
15. God Of Thunder
16. Solo Peter Criss/God Of Thunder -cont-
17. Rock & Roll All Nite
18. Detroit Rock City
19. Beth
20. Black Diamond


Roberts Municipal Stadium, Evansville, In, USA January 23 1978
21. Deuce

/Niclas

måndagen den 24:e oktober 2011

Utlottning av bok!


















Kee Marcello har nyss gett ut sin självbiografi som förtäljer om livet som firad stjärna i Europe, men även om livet före och efter bandet.
Han skriver ärligt och riktigt roligt och det är lite kul att för en gångs skull få läsa om en svensk "rockstjärna" och inte bara de amerikanska. Det bjuds på ett galet missbruk, sex och groupies i klasar och den alltid så självklara baksidan med ångest, förlorade pengar och inte minst, förlorad stjärnglans.
Jag har ett exemplar av boken att lotta ut och kanske blir det just DU som får ett paket i brevlådan. Allt du behöver göra är att svara på nedanstående enkla fråga!

Vad heter Kee Marcello på riktigt?

Jag drar en lycklig vinnare bland alla rätta svar. Maila svaret samt namn och adress
till: metalshrine@hotmail.com Sista datum för svar är måndag den 31:e oktober.

/Niclas

söndagen den 23:e oktober 2011

Intervju med Danny Vaughn i Tyketto!





















Jag har ett svagt minne av att jag köpte Tykettos debut "Don´t come easy" till min bror, men han menar att han själv köpte den. Hur som haver är det väl det närmsta jag kommit till att lyssna på bandet.
För några veckor sedan fick jag ett mail av en glad norrman vid namn Geir, som skriver för Norway Rock Magazine, och han undrade om jag skulle vara intresserad av en intervju med Danny.
Eftersom jag tycker alla former av intervjuer är roliga tackade jag ja. Någon dag senare mailade Danny mig och sedan blev det dags för ett snack.
Han var självfallet ännu en trevlig bekantskap och samtalet kom att handla om kommande plattan med Tyketto, bandets historia, turnéminnen, låtskrivande och en del annat.


Hola Danny, how are you?

Danny Vaughn: Not too bad! What´s going on?

Not too much, just sitting around drinking coffee in a pretty dark Stockholm.

DV: Yeah, it´s getting to be that time isn´t it?

Exactly! It´s darker in the mornings and it gets darker earlier in the evenings. Winter is just around the corner.

DV: Somebody told me that Denmark is expecting snow in the next week.

Yeah, and the last couple of winters here have been horrible.

DV: Yeah, I´ve got some good friends in Finland and they had a rough one, but they had a great summer as well. It´s been kind of extreme.

True! What´s up with Danny Vaughn? What´s going on at the moment?

DV: Well, it´s turning into a busy time that´s for sure. The biggest thing is all the stuff that´s going on with Tyketto now, which has kind of been happening quietly and now of course all of a sudden when you´ve got your travel plans in your hand and the new schedules are up and it´s like “Oh shit!”. (laughs) This is really going on. I don´t even know how widely it is known that we´re actually doing an album, because we just kind of approached it so quietly initially. We really kind of started talking about it almost two years ago and it was just a thing of “Let´s get a few of us together first and see if it´s even gonna happen!” because people had been asking. You just wanna make sure you can still write songs and whether or not you´re gonna get along and all that stuff, so that was in February of last year and we got together and shelled out some ideas and then everybody went home feeling pretty good about it. That´s leading us up to… I guess we´re in the studio at the end of this month, about the 20th or 25th of October and we´re recording in Millbrook, NY where I did two of my slolo albums, so I´m really happy about that because I know the studio well and more importantly we know the owner and the producer and all that and he knows exactly what where after and how to do it, so it´s gonna be fairly stretch free, I think. It´s gonna be for Frontiers and probably released… I don´t have a date, but we´ve made them promise a spring release, so I would think April, May. We´re gonna be looking to do a full on European tour if we can, sometime in the summer and of course we´re gonna be banging on Sweden Rock´s door again and see what we can find out from them. They´re getting a bit harder to get answers out of them. I used to know more people over there, but they´ve changed personnel around, which was kind of a shame because the people I knew aren´t with them anymore, but none the less, we´re gonna have good reasons to be out there playing. It´s the first new album and it´s all done with the original line up. It´s kind of bizarre. We have this strange relationship, in that Brooke would´ve been involved before but he was in a position where he couldn´t tour because of his job and so we got PJ and Brooke and PJ are great friends and in fact Brooke recommended PJ and PJ had already played in my band, so it was real easy. Now he´s got all this stuff going on and it´s a little bit sad, because PJ is on the backburner at the moment. It´s just a fact that the fans really would like to see Brooke, so basically the new album will be him. We´re gonna do four shows in the UK and the last of which is Hard Rock Hell on December 3rd. We´re gonna play a few new songs and that´s just because we got the offer to do Hard Rock Hell, but that´s really an event we should be part of. If you´re gonna take a band over from America, it´s just crazy to do one show, so we threw in a London show and Sheffield and Southhampton and that will all be with Brooke as well. First time for everybody to see him since 2004 and then the big thing and the original reason that I contacted you and which I´m trying to make as many people aware of, is that we´re trying something new. This live show webcast and that is November the 26th.

From New York, right?

DV: Yeah! The trick is figuring out what the time frame is, but it´s 3 pm New York time, so that´s gonna be roughly 9 pm in Sweden. We´ve kind of designed it so Europe would get the better time. Hopefully some people in Japan will tune in, but it will be something like 3 in the morning. (laughs) We´re doing that and basically the way for people to find out about it and to get all the proper information, is to go to our website which is www.tyketto.de and there´s a banner right there about the webcast and if you click on it it´s got all the information. We´re doing it through PayPal, so when they sign up through PayPal, within four or five days they´ll get a special code that gets e-mailed to them and then that´s what they use on the day. You´ll need a pass code to get in. What I´m trying to do is to avoid everybody getting it done 20 minutes before the show starts and it´ll be overload. It´ll be a full show with the original band plus our keyboard player, who´s been playing in my solo band and also with Tyketto, so we´ve got really strong sound and it´ll be a full 90 minute show and it´s gonna be interactive so people can write in and ask questions, request songs and stuff like that. It´s scary, but it´s exciting! (laughs)

Well, you´re embracing the latest technology, I guess.

DV: Yeah and kind of out of necessity. I´ve heard of one or two other bands at our level trying this. For instance, and I didn´t even know they were doing it, but Chickenfoot just did it so obviously it´s something pretty damn big if a band that size is doing it! With us, it was more along the lines of… it´s frustrating that there´s so many places that we can´t get to play. In America the situation is… let´s say, we´ve got plenty of fans in the Chicago area and we´ve got fans in the Dallas area and it´s a long, long way in between and unfortunately it´s all logistics. You can´t sustain a band and a crew and travelling and gear, so you´ve got to find places in between and if those don´t exist, that means I can´t get to those places, so for me it´s exciting because people who are scattered all over can see us and the same with… we haven´t played in Germany for a long time and Scandinavia, it´s kind of slim so I´m really hoping we´ll get people… I´ve got a good feeling we´ll get there, but it´s very difficult to find the right promoters and somebody that doesn´t disappear on you and also South America, that´s another big one for us and they´ll be able to watch as well, so we´re really gonna give this a shot and see how it goes!

It´s pretty cool! It´s kind of like going back to what music videos were really about in like the early 70´s and late 60´s when bands made videos for those countries that they wouldn´t visit, so they would get a glimpse of what the band looked like. It´s kind of the same, but updated. You really don´t need a video these days, like you did in the 80´s. A really cool way to reach out to people that you might not get to see for a long time.

DV: Yeah definitely! The thing is, that as it becomes more of an idea that bands are getting into, I think the cost of doing it is gonna come down and hopefully it will mean a lot more opportunities for people to see the bands that they love. I mean, I hope it doesn´t stop people from going out to see live music, but the internet has changed so much and we´re entering a generation now where people are now coming out of being teenagers into their 20´s and they´ve never paid for anything! It´s been around long enough where… my generation, I still buy cd´s and I like having them and the artwork and reading ever damn word, but people who weren´t brought up with that, they don´t feel the same way. It doesn´t mean as much to them. It´s a mystery where it´s all going and the only thing I do know is that nobody knows! Record companies are clueless and they don´t have an idea what to do.

Signing with Frontiers Records, was that the obvious thing to do? They´re getting big!

DV: Overall what it comes down to is that there´s only a couple of labels that we would be talking to, for the music that we´re doing. There´s a couple of others and they´re also very good, but to be perfectly frank with you, they don´t have the budgets and that was kind of important to us. One thing I´m a little frightened of is making a record that sounds like it cost five grand. You don´t wanna do that after you´ve not made a record together for 16 years. This is how much things have changed. The first Tyketto album cost… I think it was $250.000 when it was all done. Something mad like that. It´s the typical story, you´re a new band, they go “We´re gonna put you in A&M studios!” and you go “Great!”, but you don´t think “Yes, but you´re paying for it!”. (laughs) It was a wonderful experience! A&M studios was $3000 a day back then! I remember later on, we got sort of a look in at some of the bills that we had. We paid Richie Zito´s (producer) assistant´s salary for the entire two months that we made that album. Her salary was $700 a week and while she was lovely and occasionally made nice sandwiches, she didn´t do anything for the band! Her job was looking after him! It was that kind of mental bending that was going on and you just sit there now and then everybody assumed that in order to make a great sounding record, you had to go with the best of this, the best of that and now of course, everything has changed. You can make a great sounding record on a laptop, which I think is great because that means that there are so much more possibilities for even guys who don´t have record deals, to be heard! You at least stand that chance. There´s websites that specialize in unsigned bands where you can listen a bit and download it and that´s great! The other side of course that´s worrying, is that nobody´s paying for music and how can anybody afford to make it? It´s a bizaree double edged sword.

You signed with Geffen Records back then and they were a major label. How come you signed with them?

DV: Back then… well, I´m proud to say that we kind of had the choice of the litter. We had done several kind of key shows and the last one was a full on showcase, we basically opened up for Skid Row in New York City at the Cat Club and there were at least three or probably four labels there. I think Capitol was there and Atlantic was there, so we were one of the last of the lucky ones that had that kind of thing going on. Geffen was there and they made a very strong pitch and seemed genuinely excited and we kind of looked at what they were doing and we really liked what we saw of Geffen records over all, as a company.

Gerry Gersh, do you know him? (Gersh is a good friend of some distant relatives of mine. Editor´s note)

DV: By name…

Was he involved in Geffen back then?

DV: I don´t know, you know! I´m not sure! We were under John Kalodner´s wing, eventually. We were signed by Mary Gormley and when we were in LA he took over. We were moving with the big boys.

Back then, were you based in New York and then you wound up in LA or…?

DV: Yeah, we were based primarily in New York and New Jersey. We recorded in LA, but yeah, we always stayed in New York. New York and people from LA don´t get along! (laughs) It´s two entirely different worlds. The way I generally describe it to people who don´t know, is that I say “When a person from LA shakes your hand, his other hand has got a knife behind his back. When a person from New York shakes your hand, his other hand has got a knife right where you can see it!”. (laughs)

That´s a good one! Were you born and raised in Cleveland?

DV: Born yes, raised no. How did you find that out?

I don´t know! I just read it somewhere and I just thought of Gilby Clarke and Eric Singer and Derrick Green are from Cleveland as well. I asked Gilby if he ever came across Singer, but he didn´t and then he said that he later found out 20 years later that they lived on the same block.

DV: I can add another guy to that list which is Pat Torpey. I met him last week and we were just chatting and he goes “Yeah well, I´m originally from Cleveland!” and I go “Get out of town!”. (laughs) A lot of music from Cleveland, historically speaking too. I think I had early on hippie sort of parents because I was born there and my dad worked for General Motors at the time and not long after that, because he´s a painter and still is, he decided that he needed to see all the great museums of Europe, so they just packed up everything that they had and we left for Europe when I was two years old and he dragged me all over Europe for about three years. Living half the time in a Morris Mini. I don´t remember any of it! (laughs) Too early! But it definitely had a contribution to who I am now and probably why I feel very comfortable in Europe.

But prior to Tyketto and all this, at what age did you get into music and singing in bands? The early teens or…?

DV: As far as music in general, I think that started pretty young. My mum said I was singing Beatles songs before I came out. I used to sing Beatles songs all the time. My parents listened to a lot of music and my father played piano for a little while, so there was music in the house. At some point, when I went to a particular school in New York City that had a really good music and choir program, I was obviously a lead singer from the start because they really couldn´t control me. It was like “We gotta do something with this kid! He´s driving us nuts! Stick him in chorus and at least he´ll make noise constructively and it kind of stuck from there. They had a music program and like most kids I started playing recorder and that kind of took too and I ended up doing that for several years and doing proper quartets with it. I just kind of fell in love with that and my first band… I think I was about 15 and probably one of the most powerful record executives in the world, Jason Flom, was the guitar player. It was his band and we knew each other from school. Our first school band had… let´s see, our drummer´s still playing and he works with a lot of jazz artists and the bass player was a classical guitarist and we´d hand him a bass “Go with that!”. They´re all still out there in various forms or another. It started there and I´ve had a few breaks, but it hasn´t really stopped.

Where did the name Tyketto come from?

DV: Oh, the question! It doesn´t mean anything. We saw it spray painted on a wall and it happened in one of those weeks where we had spent the previous months trying to figure what the hell we were gonna call ourselves and it comes to the point where you get so punch drunk that you´re just naming shit in the room, like “Let´s call ourselves Guitar stand!”. I think Brooke had spotted it and it was just spray painted on a wall and he said “I saw this word and I don´t know what it is!”. We looked it up to see if it was something Spanish and we never did find anything. There were things that sounded like it and the more we kicked it around, “Yeah, that´ll do!” and it sounds kind of cool. Every now and then someone comes along and I think “What a great name for a band”, but not too often anymore. I think they´re all done. As great as the band is, but Def Leppard! What kind of name is that? I couldn´t even imagine these days… the band that´s opening up for us on tour, Fighting Wolves, not bad!

Back then when the first album came out, did you do a lot of touring where you were sort of the main act or did you do a lot of support slots?

DV: I think it was about half of each. Probably the best supporting tour we did was when we supported Nelson I the States. They had “After the rain” going and it was number one in America.

They never made a splash in Europe, as far as I can remember.

DV: Yeah, not so much. I think the UK a bit, but not at that level. We were playing 15.000 a night and it was… I´ll tell you what! You ever meet any of those old road dogs who are roadies that have toured with everybody? They usually don´t have all their teeth and they´re rough guys. When Nelson would hit the stage, there were a couple of those guys in the crew that had been there, done that and they´d worked with Motörhead, with Zeppelin and whatever, but when Nelson hit the stage, the sound of 15.000 girls all in the age of 12, these guys would just hold their hands over their ears and scream “I can´t take it!”. It was this unbelievable high pitched sound that was so loud, but the tour was made like that. It was a little strange, because you were playing to them and their mums. They were fantastic guys and we´re still friends. It was a great double bill and each band made the other work harder. The great thing about Nelson, which people didn´t know unless they went to their shows, was that those guys were smart. They put together the most kick ass live bad! Their guitar player was Brett Garsed and he´s the legendary best guitarist out of Australia. Bobby Rock was on drums and Matthew is an exceptional bass player as it happens and all the guys sang, so all the vocals were live. I used to watch them rehearse and go “Man, these guys have got their shit together!”. We just had to go out there and work as hard as we could. It was a great tour! The first band we opened for was Blue Öyster Cult and that was before we had a record deal. We opened for Skid Row and the Bulletboys and we opened for Yngwie. Most of these are just one offs.

How was Yngwie?

DV: Hhmm! (clears his throat)

The talk about Yngwie is that he´s kind of a dick.

DV: (laughs) I gotta remember I´m talking to Sweden! Well, he isn´t kind of a dick, he really is. (laughs) He didn´t like us because his wife liked us, that´s what I was told. I just heard stories, but the show was fine, no problems there. We did a lot of stuff! The White Lion tour, that was the big one, because they were quite big at the time. It was the first time we went overseas and we did seven shows in the UK opening up for White Lion and that really cemented Tyketto´s reputation in Europe and thank god! European fans have a much longer memory and attention span. Americans, I don´t know what´s wrong with us? It just goes out the window quickly, but I´ve always been able to come and play and it doesn´t matter if it´s big or small numbers. It´s people that know that when they come, they´re gonna get their monies worth and they´re going to hear what they wanna hear. That was our strength, that when you came to see us live you went “Wow, ok!”.

Ted Poley recently played here and I talked to him and we talked about the old New Jersey scene and your name came up.

DV: Now, Ted and I go so far back it probably scares us both! He was in a band called Legend and I was in a band called Allied Forces and actually I was in a band before that, that opened up for Legend. We were in an area called Rockland county, upstate New York. We all knew each other from then and I always kid Ted about that. I never forget opening up for him. For one thing, he was a drummer back then and he played this very bizarre drum company called North Drums and instead of the tom tom coming straight down, it scoped, so the tops of the heads were where they normally were and then you had this tube shape and suddenly the bottom of the drum was in your face and he played these bloody things. That´s where he started out, as Legend´s drummer and a good singer as well! We go further back then we really wanna remember. You had Skid Row, you had us and Kip Winger and Reb Beach were working on an album in New York and these were all people that I knew, they were all our peers and we all worshipped Twisted Sister, who got there before us.

Cool! This new album of yours, it is all new stuff or are there fragments of stuff that´s been lying around since way back?

DV: Not since way back, no. I would say it´s almost all new. There´s a few things that might have been floating around in our separate briefcases over the last year or two, but it´s not like “You know this idea we were working on for Don´t come easy?”, those ideas I think have been exhausted. I don´t think there´s anything left over from that. As a matter of fact, the last of them probably went on my solo album “Traveller”, where we had a song called “Restless blood” that Tyketto came really close to putting on an album and then it just didn´t quite make it. There´s a few personal ideas that´s been floating around for a little bit, but overall we´ve been really sort of creating under pressure and it seems to work for us. The closer we get to actually having to be in the studio together, the better the ideas are getting. Some of the stuff that we were enthusiastic about at the very beginning, a couple of those might end up not making it because now everyone´s in a really creative mood. It´s so bizarre, because the thing that I thought was fairly unique about Tyketto in the beginning, is that we all lived together. We´d work on songs, like a rock and roll boot camp. We get up, we scratch together something to eat and then we´d go next door because we rehearsed in the same building. Everybody would just play and play and play until something happened. Occasionally you´d actually need to buy food, so you had to go off and work a job or something for a few days, get some money and then back we´d go. Now we don´t even live in the same country anymore. (laughs) The other day was the strangest experience. Brooke and I were working on some stuff via Skype and he´d play me stuff and say “Then I change it to this!” and I say “What´s that?” and he has to hold up the guitar so I could see what his fingers were doing.

The age of technology!

DV: Yeah, I guess we just gotta use it! If you´ve told me this is how you´re gonna make an album, I would´ve said no! But luckily I´m wrong.

Writing songs, does it get easier getting older or…?

DV: No, it gets harder! I´m very passionate on this subject. I´ve got this huge book of songwriters on songwriting and you read about people like Paul Simon and Burt Bacharach and heroes of mine like Tom Hiatt and Tom Waits, guys that I think are real artists, for me what gets harder is that you´ve got to learn to shut off the person inside you that says “That´s been done!”. For one thing, say I´m widely in love and I´m gonna go write about that, what possible angle can up with for that? It´s only when you write very unusual songs, that you can gain a little uniqueness and that´s when you go to somebody like Tom Waits. Nobody writes songs like that! That´s very hard, because I´ll sit down and write and stop myself cold because everything I´ll play, “Ah, I´ve heard that! I´ve done that!” or so and so did it. You gotta shut that voice up because there are no more notes and there are no more combination of notes. The only thing unique that can happen, is what happens when you kind of put all the personalities together with a band and then maybe you stand a chance. Some people, if they´re truly gifted can write a song, and I´m thinking more from a lyrical standpoint, where they can say something in just such a way that you´ve not heard said before, but there aren´t many! The guys that do that, I hate to say, are normally not rockers. It´s gonna be… well Frank Zappa was pretty damn unique so there´s an exception to that rule, but he had to go so far in that outward direction to be unique, so songwriting gets hard from that aspect. I´ll give you kind of an image that I always keep, because for some guys it seems to come easy. Some guys are very, in a way, smarter than I am about it because I´m one of those people that doesn´t like to write unless I´m starting to feel something. There are other people that I think actually have a better attitude where they do it as business, like Gene Simmons who said, “I don´t understand people who say I couldn´t write today, the spirit wasn´t on me. Fuck that! This is your job and I´m going in from this hour to this hour and I´m gonna write something! Some of it´s gonne be crap, but not all of it will be and that´s the stuff you keep!”. He´s got the right idea, so I´m trying to take that aspect, but life doesn´t work that way. (laughs) Unless you´re independently wealthy. (laughs) What´s funny is… do you know the old steam trains?

Sure!

DV: The ones that have these massive wheels and the first five to ten times, those wheels have to turn and take unbelievable amounts of energy and then the friction starts to kick in and it smoothes out, that´s to me is what it´s like. That´s what´s happening to us now. My wheels are greased basically, so I´ll be walking down the street and without realizing it, the gremlins in my head have been working on an idea and they kick it forward and a couple of lines will come to me and that´s the great part of songwriting. You get an idea and you know where it´s suppose to go. You don´t know how to get there yet, you don´t know what words are involved, you haven´t got a clue what your guitar is gonna sound like, but you´ve already got the idea sort of from beginning to end and that´s the good stuff. Another thing that I´ve read from songwriters of all kinds is that they all feel that their best songs were like taking dictation. Some people feel it´s a religious thing and I don´t really know, but it is as if the song was already there and they just wrote it down. I´ve heard that from just about every songwriter that I admire, so I think there´s something to it.

Cool! Excellent talking to you Danny!

DV: Yeah, thank you so much for doing this!


/Niclas

lördagen den 22:e oktober 2011

Bokrecension

Ika Johannesson och Jon Jefferson Klingberg

"Blod Eld Död" 2011




Personligen har jag alltid haft svårt att ta banden inom black metal på allvar. Hur ondsinta de än viljat påstå att de är, har det för mig alltid varit nära till Spinal Tap och "None more black".
Ika Johannesson, känt namn från bl a SVT´s Kobra och tidingen SEX, har tillsammans med gamle Whalegitarristen Jon Jefferson Klingberg, skrivit en utmärkt bok om det svenska mörkret inom musiken.
Under sex år intervjuade duon åtskilliga nyckelpersoner inom death och black metal genren, bevittnade konsertupplevesler utöver det vanliga och fick ihop en bok som Aftonbladets Markus Larsson menar kan få samma betydelse för svensk hårdrock, som Strages "Mikrofonkåt" fick för svensk hip hop. Jag är nog benägen att hålla med.
Boken börjar med bröderna Hårdrock och deras Trygg Hansareklam, som numera får anses vara en svensk klassiker. Vidare tittar man närmare på brödernas band Nifelheim med nitar, spikar och barnkistor och det allvar som faktiskt ligger bakom bandet. Dock tycker jag personligen att Nifelheim, som så många andra band inom genren, är så överdådigt teatraliska och onda, att det fullkomligen slår över och bara blir kul.
Boken ägnar flertalet sidor åt legendariska Bathory och bjuder på mängder med intressant fakta om personen Quorthon, som dog på tok för ung, och hans pappa berättar med kärlek om sin son och deras samarbete i skapandet av Bathory.
Riktigt spännande blir det när boken närmar sig de senaste 20 åren och de strömningar som tilltog i Sverige med Entombeds framgångar och framryckningar världen över. Senare ploppar det upp death metal band till höger och vänster och Sverige hamnar verkligen på den musikaliska kartan.
Den svenska och även norska black metalscenen avhandlas och väldigt givande och intressanta intervjuer med allehanda personligheter radas upp efter varandra. Ett exempel är Jon Nödtveidt, som kom att begå självmord i ondskans tecken och framför allt Niklas Kvarforth, en sargad individ som tagit performanceartisteriet till nya nivåer med skärsår och ärr. Lägg därtill analyser om den norska scenen och mängder med givande fakta om exempelvis Deads självmord och efterdyningarna. Utan tvekan har genren en hel del individer som inte mår så bra och skulle säkert behöva professionell hjälp, vilket även en del av dem fått under åren.
Ika och Jon skriver utmärkt och boken naglar sig fast. Jag hade ytterst svårt att lägga ner den om kvällarna och kunde knappt bärga mig till nästa kväll då ytterligare ett kapitel kunde betas av. De skriver ärligt och allvarligt och förlöjligar aldrig banden eller personerna, trots att en del av musikanterna i mina ögon, är väldigt nära komedi.
"Blod eld död" är en given läsning, inte bara för de redan insatta, utan egentligen för vem som helst med ett musikintresse och en nyfikenhet för den musikform som rör sig i mörkret och där blod, uppochnedvända kors och Satan själv, är en del av vardagen.


Läs, läs, läs!

/Niclas
Senaste Ebayköpet!



















Ett Van Halen i högform under "1984-turnén". Diamond Dave i sitt esse med den ena onelinern efter den andra. Hela Madison och delar av Winnepeg.

"I don´t know where people get this idea about conservative Canada? You people make Texas look like Pakistan!"

‎"This chick was pounding and kicking at my door. She was kicking and screaming bloody murder till about 5.30 maybe 6 o´clock this morning and finally I just said Fuck it! and let her out of my room!"

/Niclas

fredagen den 21:e oktober 2011

Occupy Henry!












Henry kommenterar det numera världsomspännande fenomenet "Occupy Wall Street".

Henry här

/Niclas

onsdagen den 19:e oktober 2011

Intervju med Steffan Chirazi, chefredaktör för Metallicas tidning So What!

















(Foto: Bea Chirazi)


För en vecka sedan ringde jag upp Steffan i San Francisco. Det hela började med att jag hittade honom på Facebook, skickade en förfrågan och så bestämde vi dag och tid.
Jag ringde hem till Steffan och hans fru svarade. Fick ett mobilnr, som sedan visade sig vara hans frus, vilket hon beklagade och gav mig sedan det riktiga numret. Efter lite ringande fram och tillbaka fick vi slutligen kontakt och intervjun kunde börja. En timme senare sa vi hej då och sällan har någon pratat så mycket som denne britt.
Det blev ett samtal om hans karriär, jobbet för Metallica, "Lulu" och en hel del annat. Kanske är intervjun i längsta laget, men jag orkar inte fixa till den.


How´s San Francisco today?

Steffan Chirazi: It´s beautiful! I moved just outside the city. I´m about 10 minutes outside the center of town. It´s kind of like a little enclave village almost. It´s a bit of a secret in the area and it´s in a valley and a pretty old school town. It´s the sort of town where you´d see a zombie invasion. (laughs) You know what I mean? It´s kind of small and sleepy and rural and with the locals and all that business, but there´s always the feeling that it could go horribly wrong. (laughs)

Sounds nice!

SC: It´s very good and it´s a great place. The weather is always nice here and I love the place. I´m waiting for my visa for India and that´s a bit weird. It´s taking them a while to get that stuff going, but we got a week and a half so I´m sure it will happen. It´s taken about three weeks to come through. Anyway? How are you? Are you in Gothenburg?

No, I´m in Stockholm! How´s the weather?

SC: Wow! Time for those wonderful blankets that you use for your knees outside the bars right?

True, it is! It´s getting cold and it just went from being pretty warm and then it just switched and it´s getting colder and colder every morning. Winter is just around the corner.

SC: You´re getting fog?

Yeah, that too!

SC: That´s fantastic! I´m a bit of a Goth at heart, you see, and I like all that. I like a bit of fog once in a while, to be honest. I like the seasons. Anyways?

I was wondering about your name, is Chirazi Italian or something?

SC: My father was a… he´s a British citizen now, but he´s Persian and born in Iran and Steffan, that´s what happens when a young Irish hippie and a young Persian hippie get together. They come up with names like Steffan with two F´s. Nothing glamorous about it. I´m born in Britain and actually probably disturbingly happy about that. (laughs)

Have you ever been to Iran?

SC: No! Actually, the closest I´m ever gonna get is going to Dubai right across the water. That´s probably the closest I´m ever gonna get at this point. It would be very nice to go over, but it would be foolish to do so with a child. You know, with a couple of kids at home you´ve got to be a little more responsible and less gung ho. There´s no doubt that things can go very weird. They really do seem to keep on shooting each other in the foot and there´s always something going on. This latest business is not very helpful and you can´t help but feel it´s über politically motivated, but let´s not go conspiratorial.

Sounds Magazine, was that your first real job as a journalist?

SC: Well yeah… I did some interning with a paper called Soundcheck before that, which is a free paper and run by a very good writer called Pete Markowski, whose name you might know from the old days.

Yes, he´s good friends with Ross Halfin!

SC: He is indeed! The first thing I ever published was in a school magazine and that was on Motörhead and I´d written to their management and they had put my letter to Lemmy and he basically said yes and “Invite this young man down to the studio and I´ll entertain him!” and he was great. Wonderful and very, very cool! That was for the “Another perfect day” record, so that was in 1982 and they released it in ´83. Even before Soundcheck I was interning at Sounds and Gary Bushell helped me get a piece published on Motörhead again in 1983, but that was strictly as an intern. The first paid gig I did was a review for Pete Markowski´s Soundcheck. It was five quid and my thoughts on a Manowar show and then from that, Sounds came back to me in 1984 because they needed a heavy metal correspondent and “Do you wanna be that person?” and I said “Sure!”. I was still in school, but it seemed like a really good thing to do and before you know it, I´m getting sent all over the place and it´s fun. Actually, go back to 1983 and the piece I did as an intern on Motörhead, as a consequence of that I went to a festival in Dublin where I saw Motörhead play with Black Sabbath with Ian Gillan, which wasn´t that great actually at the time, but now that you look back it was´t that bad I suppose, but it wasn´t Black Sabbath anyway. Being that I was a young man and I was there with my girlfriend, we obviously got violently drunk on the ferry coming back and half of the alcohol went down my trousers which wasn´t pleasant, but I do remember struggling back up the stairs at my parents flat and it was like nine or ten in the morning and there, sitting on the door step was a brown envelope the size of an album and it was the first free album I ever received. I opened it and it was “Kill ém all” and I was really excited about it because I had actually at the end of 1982 gotten hold of the demo, “No life till leather” and that was through our little tape trading network and I was like “Wow, cool! Here´s the album from that tape!”. I was very excited, so then when I got into Sounds and they asked me “Ok, here you are and we´re taking you on as a freelancer. What do you wanna do?” and I said “I wanna do something on Metallica!” and they were just coming out with “Ride the lightning”, so the first official paid piece I did for Sounds, was a review of “Ride the lightning” and my first feature for Sounds was on the guys in Paris which was also coincidentally the first time I ever went on an airplane. Quite a few firsts!

After that, you worked for Kerrang and Rip and other magazines, I guess there was a greater access when it comes to doing interviews with bands and meeting bands, than it is today?

SC: Well, number one, when I got the executive position when I was 18, I was gonna move to America. I was getting trips back and forth and I just started my A-levels at that time and I realized that I was gonna get shot down if I stayed in Britain. If I stayed in Britain I would get shot down. There´s a little bit of a weird culture of jealousy and something and I got a lot of that as a kid. Instead of “Great, you´re 15, 16 and doing it!”… some people were amazing, like Sandy Robinson, Robbie Miller, they were really cool! Malcolm Dome was great and Dave Ling! These guys are awesome! They were really nice and I love seeing them and hanging out with them. Phil Alexander! All those guys are great, but then there was this whole other click that I felt really wanted to… one was Tony Stewart, who took over at Sounds. He was pretty oppressive to me and would say things to me like “I need you to go do an interview with KISS!” and I said “Ok, what are you looking for?” and he´d go “I don´t know Chirazi, but it better be the right thing otherwise we might have to say goodbye.”. I said “Well, can you tell me what you need?” and he just said “You´re the writer, you figure that one out!”, so that´s basically a set up and a fuck you. I mean, it was fine and I hung in there, but I then suggested on doing a cover story on Metallica to introduce the “Master of puppets” album. I said “This band is huge and you´re gonna miss it!” and he looked at me and he said “Steff, Steff, Steff, you´ve got it all wrong! You need to grow up and you need to understand that it´s bands like “Hüsker Dü that are where the future is and Metallica is just a bunch of grumpy heavy metal people!” and I always found that really amusing. That was the time I realized that I had to move, so Gary Bushell who had just gone to The Sun, he was a week into his job and he really didn´t have to entertain you at all, but instead he said to me “Meet me at noon outside Charing Cross McDonalds and I will give you a letter that will give you a visa to work in America!” and basically sponsored me, so I moved. I saw America as a huge opportunity because you could get better access. Nobody else was really doing it other than Mary Anne Hobbs. She´d been the first person of my generation to do it and there was only one other writer that I knew of who had successfully moved from Britain and made a great career out of it and that was Sylvie Simmons. Another really tremendous supporter and all round great, great lady. Really, really cool! So yeah, it was much easier then. People gave you access, but you also had to hold your own in terms of, that you had to be careful… I made a pact with myself very early on, that I would not report scurrilous bullshit. If I saw people getting fucked up and whatever, that was not gonna be the beginning of the end of my report. As a fan it´s ok to read about that stuff, but I wanted to know more. I wanted to know who the people were, so I always tried to do that. Slowly you get the reputation of someone who… Well, he can ask difficult questions, but he´s honest and he won´t stitch you up.”. That certainly helped, so suddenly I found myself in this position. Before I moved, I didn´t know how it was gonna work with Sounds because Tone was pissed off with me. I was actually praying there would be an editorial change, but it all got accelerated when Tony Stewart decided two weeks before I moved, “You know, I can´t have you here anymore!” and I said “Ok!” and he said “No, you´ve got to go now!”. I said “Pardon?” and Tony said “Get your things and I want you to leave the building!”, I said “You´re joking?”, but “No, out!”. So he ordered me out of the building and had a security guy come and walk me out. I walked out and they basically made sure I left the building and it was quite humiliating because their offices was right at the back, the back in this long building at Mornington Crescent and the only other offices that were further that theirs was Kerrang´s office. As I hit the lobby, Geoff Barton´s walking in and he goes “Hello Steff, what´s going on?” and I said “Tony Stewart´s having me marched out of the building.” And he said “What? That´s absurd! How ridiculous! You´re joking?” and I said “No!”. He said “You wanna write for Kerrang?”, “Alright!”, I said so we walk passed the security guy and Geoff goes “It´s alright chap, he´s with me!” and then Geoff walks me right passed Tony Stewart, who´s standing with an open mouth and “It´s ok, Steff is with Kerrang now!”. (laughs) You can put Geoff Barton very close to the top of the list of people who have always been super cool! One of the great things with Geoff I must say, as an editor he encouraged and subsequently tolerated some of my quite ludicrous alliteration and phrases, but he enjoyed the enthusiasm in me and he was very encouraging and it was like “Wow, this is really fucking fun!” and he really trusted me, so Geoff Barton, take a bow always! To this day and I don´t do much freelancing anymore, but if he calls me and says “We´d really like you to do something, can you do it?” even if Classic Rock doesn´t pay particularly well, it´s alright, but if he needs help, I´m happy to do it. He´s a top man! I think somewhere in there you got an answer. (laughs)

Sure, cool story! Eventually all this leads up to you becoming the chief editor for So What magazine. What was it that made the Metallica organization pick you? I guess there were others they approached?

SC: No, not at all actually, that was not the case. Let´s go back to 1986 or so. I moved here and Cliff introduced me to a lot of people when I moved here and was super cool. We used to hang out in the city and he introduced me to people and then he passed and I started hanging out a lot with Lars and I started doing a lot of freelance stories on them for Kerrang and actually ended up syndicating… these were the days in the 80´s when one story could go to 10 different places in various forms. The internet wasn´t around so… but one of the things I always made very sure I did was that, despite our friendship, I would always separate that, which is difficult to do and you need two to tango. They were totally onboard with it and I would make it my job to ask more difficult questions and perhaps try to get into things other people wouldn´t, in terms of the way they wrote and who they were and so on. I remember on the Guns N´Roses tour, Lars and I did a huge thing for Kerrang on that tour and we got into it over the white leather jacket he was wearing and I asked him “Come on, you only got that because… why can´t you say you worship the guy (Axl Rose, Editor´s note) and fucking get it over with? Why do you worship him? What is that about? Isn´t he a bit of a tit?” and Lars was like “Well, you don´t understand!”. “Well, make me understand!”, so there was a lot of that sort of stuff and we enjoyed it and he was very honest and I never fucked them like I never fucked anyone! I did think that I really tried to give the kids and inside curve on who they were. The magazine (So What, editor´s note) was initially started in ´93, Tony Smith, god bless him and another man that I would have to say deserves a gold medal of thank you very much from me, Tony was running the magazine and the fan club and he knew what I did and he knew I could do it, so I ended up doing the majority of editorial even while he was there, as a freelance writer. It was interesting. I was doing a lot of work there and then they wanted to move the fan club from Knoxville in 1999 and Tony was the one who turned around to them and said “Why don´t you just hire Steffan full time as your magazine editor?” and Lars and James said “Yeah, that´s a great idea!”, so they asked me and I was like “Yeah, it would be fantastic, but one thing I can´t do is please don´t ask me to come into an office!” and they were like “Well no, just do this magazine four times a year!” and I was like “Ok, I have an idea of what I´d like it to look like and be and I don´t think that´s gonna be cheap.” and they´re like “This is not about the price! We want to give the fans something that is really high quality.”. They allowed me to bring in the designer that I´ve worked with to this day and we changed the paper stuff and we did a few things where I thought they would go “Hey, hang on buddy, you´re going to far!”, but they were really into it and thus it began. I felt when I came in, that as fun as it was to have loads and loads of my sort of sarcastic essays, I really felt that if you´re a fan you want to know who these people are and I didn´t think there was enough of that, I really didn´t. I thought we gotta aim for two things! Number one, really bring people into their world at the time we´re talking to them and obviously that changes per year, but really give people an insight to what is happening and who they are. Number two, really try and produce and get top quality photography. Make an effort, like make people feel they really get piece in their hands every time it comes through the door. Those were my aims initially.

But since “Some kind of monster" and these magazines and the So What book, do you think there´s a risk for the band being to accessible for their fans and too private with their fans?

SC: I suppose it´s a good question! It´s a good question in term of… well first of all, let me categorically say, no I don´t think so! But that´s because my nature is to be curious, so I want to know and I like to know what makes people tick and I always think that if you´re fan you have a choice. You can either look for that information or you can choose to put it on the back burner and dip into when you want to. If you don´t have access to it, you don´t know who people are. If you don´t know who people are, especially artists, you may miss some of the finer ingredients of their personality that make the work what it is. I think it´s very relevant and let´s fast forward to the “Lulu” project, which is causing great controversy, but the bottom line is, when you understand who these guys are and who they are now, I think hopefully, add a lot more to why this project has happened. If you just approach it from “Hang on, this is Metallica who did ‘Master of puppets’ and ‘St anger’ and ‘Death magnetic’!” and that´s not good enough. You´re not giving yourself a fair shot of understanding where their appetite and hunger for a project like this, comes from. The other thing is I have to tell you, you look at society and society itself is so utterly invasive, so if we didn´t do it in and in a tasteful fashion… if you didn´t have “Some kind of monster” and sometimes the revelations in So What or whatever, if you didn´t have Jeff doing the wonderful work he does on the web with the video stuff, someone else would do it and if they´re doing it, you know, what are they saying, what are they putting out? At the end of the day mate, all the material that comes out is subjective to a degree and the one thing you can guarantee with Metallica is, that it is the least subjective material you´re gonna see. They are the least afraid of showing their warts and all, but they will show the end all as well as the warts. They´ll show you the full spectrum whereas I think sometimes, especially in this sound bite world, some people only want to show a tiny portion of the spectrum and it´s usually the dirtiest bits they can find and that´s no good, because that doesn´t tell anyone anything. I actually think it´s very important to make yourself accessible, I really do. The other answer to that would be, I think that when you´re as large a band as they are, in terms of volume of their success and so on, you leave yourself open to people saying “Well, they´re aloof now!” and I also think it´s equally important to remind your fans and everyone that “Hey, we´re human beings just like you are!”. Another thing, we´re talking about a time when a new album came out, but you´d go and sit at your mates house and you´d sit and listen to it and talk about it afterwards. I mean, does that happen anymore, amongst people other than fanatics? People don´t take the time! Generally speaking it´s a bit sad, but it´s a new era in that sense, a new world… which one of the things and I´m gonna go back to “Lulu” here, but one of the things I fucking love about the “Lulu” project is that it demands that you listen to it from start to finish. Anyone judging that project on one song or a 30 second clip, no way! You´re missing the entire point! This is something to sit down and take in. If you still don´t like it, great, but it is a piece of work, not pieces and I wonder if we´re in a generation that can´t handle that? That´s my fear.

I work as a teacher and when you talk to kids today and when they´re 13, 14 or 15 and the stuff they listen to, they listen to one song and that´s pretty much about it! Then they switch and listen to another one. They never ever listen to an entire album! They´re not interested. It´s one song here and another on there and when they´re done with it, they throw it away and get the next new one.

SC: Which is so sad! You think about albums like, and I´ll give you three right of the top of my head: “Dark side of the moon”, “Sgt Pepper´s” and “The Wall”. These are records that really… when you listen to the first song you´re sucked in and if you´re not, I think there are certain parts of your brain´s development that´s being stumped by electronics or whatever and you´re missing the wonderful delicious journey. You really are and it´s sad. Now I sound like I´m 60. (laughs)

Again. I check around on all kinds of different discussion forums all over the place and you read about peoples thought on “Lulu” and for me, I don´t think it´s the greatest thing they´ve ever done. But I can see… it´s the same thing that Cliff Burnstein said in the movie, “They´re famous rock stars and they´ve got gazillions of dollars in the band and they need something to get them out of bed every day!” and I guess this is a thing they need to do to stay excited. They could probably do another “Master of puppets” I guess, but they need to keep it more exciting and to be adventurous in a way when it comes to music. A lot of people don´t like what they´re doing right now, but I can understand why they´re doing it.

SC: Go back to what we previously talked about! First of all, a lot of people don´t know what they´re doing and they know one song and this is another problem that I think we have. It´s both a collective responsibility and a collectively sad thing that we are all conditioned… and I´m not different, I sometimes have to sit back and go “Oohhh!”. We react and the internet allows you to react immediately to thousands of people, so you kind of just blurt things out sometimes and it´s a shame and it can be quite destructive, but it is of course also based on what you expect and one of the things that is the most obvious element of Metallica´s career and yet the most secret in a way it seems to many people, is that they do things for themselves when it comes to the creation of music. They do not do what people necessarily think or want them to do. One of the things I always say is that they refuse selling out! They did the “Load” record, there was some makeup, they cut their hair, had weird clothes and all that, but that sell out is by what definition, I wonder? Actually, for Metallica to have sold out at that time, they would´ve made “The black album” 2. That would´ve been selling out! That would´ve been the easy way out. Look at it at the context of history, they did possibly the single most perversely 180 degree opposite thing they could ever had done, which by anyone´s definition is not selling out! Again with “Lulu”, I haven´t done any interviews yet with anyone about it and I won´t be probably until November, but what I did do was that I had access to them recording, so I was actually in the studio and that is the nature of the report that is coming out in the next So What that we´re putting the finishing touches on. You´ll see a lot of elaborations on what I saw and what I personally observed and again, all I can say is that I´m so delighted that these guys follow their hearts and do what is artistically exciting to them and challenging to them. I don´t want to get into too much more. My full perspective will come in the magazine. I think and I hope, that it will explain a lot of stuff. I´ve listened to it a fair few times and there´s gonna be some stuff on there that really fucking blows people’s minds! There is beautiful stuff, but there is absolute is excessively aggressive stuff on that record as well. These guys will fuck you up! They will! There is stuff on that record which is gonna… but it´s a journey and it must be taken as such. An artist that I like a lot is David Bowie and you can´t love everything that your favorite artist do, but you need to respect it in the context of their volume of work. Not everything Pink Floyd touched was brilliant and with Rush you can possibly say the same, but by god, when they were good they were fucking great! It´s an art and that´s the journey of an artist, like our journey, right? We´ll see. Again, let´s look at “St Anger”, at the time I thought it was the perfect record for where they were at. It may not have been the perfect record for what people wanted, but for where that band was at and what they´ve been through, it was about as raw and just fucking abrasive as it can get. I remember thinking “This is great! It´s exhausting to listen to and it´s an exhausting 73 minutes!”. It´s really fatiguing which Mike Gillis, the band´s longtime studio engineer explained to me, a lot of that was to do with the levels at which it was recorded and they actually fatigue you. These are seven minute songs and I always felt this would be the blueprint for future stuff and if you look at “Death magnetic” and look at the format of the songs, you´re really looking at possibly “St Anger” part 2 or definitely related. You can see that they´re siblings. You can see that they´re related. I don´t know if they´re cousins or direct brothers, I´m not sure, but there is a direct relation. You´ve got two albums with long songs, lots of parts, lots of changes and very intense. I think that once people get over the “snare sound” on “St Anger” and stop snickering around about little things… take it as a body of work and listen to it now and tell me what you think? Give it another five years and it will be considered a classic! It will, it´s the truth and I firmly believe that!

I just read the book “This monster lives” by Joe Berlinger. Then I watched the movie again and read your “So What” book and finally I listened to “St Anger” from start to finish for the first time in a few years. I still find that album difficult, but it all made a lot more sense after reading those books and watching the movie again. It was quite interesting.

SC: Yeah! Some of the best riffs are hidden and possibly the only complain I can have, is that there was some riffs in the middle of those songs that could´ve been extracted and turned into fucking great songs by themselves. You know what? I´ll take that. If that´s a complaint, that there are too many good riffs in the middle of things here and there, hey, it´s better than listening to most of the garbage out there which doesn´t have a good riff anyway!

Definitely!

SC: And again, perspective is everything and I appreciate that when you´re a fan, you don´t know much of what is going on and suddenly this thing comes out, I can understand that you´re possibly expecting something different than what you get. That makes total sense to me! Obviously I had an inside view to everything of what was happening to the band, so I was able to perhaps again to relate to that journey more, but I really hope that the magazines at that time in some of the content helped. I tried really hard at that time to make sure people were tuned in to at least how everyone was feeling at that time. One of the things that I´m most proud of that we ever did with So What was… I had been talking to James and finally we started to discuss a couple of work things about a year or so later and I said to him “You know, it would be really great if you did something to just let the kids know you´re alright! I think people are concerned!” and he said “Let me think about it, that might be a good idea.”. it went a week or so and then he sent me this fantastic hand written note as we ran as a double page and that was actually the first thing he actually really said since he´d gone to rehab and it was really great that he trusted the magazine to be able to express what he wanted to express. I was really proud that we were able to tell how the guys… to tell the hardcore fans “Hey, this is straight from the man´s hands, what more do you want?”. It was really cool! I recently read back the cover story we did probably six months before that. We did a cover story with just Lars and Kirk and I read back and I was kind of alarmed to read the quote where they say “Well, we´re not too sure what´s gonna happen? We don´t know if there´s gonna be a band!”. Like “What?”. I read that back and I think at the time I said to them “Well, there´s nothing to worry about! It will happen!”. For a variety of reasons I didn´t think breaking up was ever a possibility. When someone can only express themselves with their work… if that´s their voice, unless you wanna be mute for the rest of your life, you might want to be quiet for a while but… I read back and it was kind of funny, you know. I remember doing that piece and it was not “Wow, this is kind of strange, it´s just the two of them!”. They were joking and saying “And then there were two!”. But looking as an overall chronology which I think So What is a living archive of, I look at that and I´m really proud. We managed to keep people informed at a time when there was uncertainty and a lot of silence.

These round table interviews you did with the band, it was interesting reading them now knowing what came later and you asked them some difficult questions and they were supposed to say things about each other, good things bad things and it was like the pre therapy sessions of what would become with Phil Towle. Great fun reading those!

SC: I think the first one we ever did was in Sausalito and it´s always weird to discover… I think we all think that bands talk to each other about everything like best friends do, but actually I came to learn, not just through the round table but through just life and living, that bands are very much like families in the sense that you don´t actually tell your family everything you´re doing. Sometimes your brothers or sisters are the last people to know about some peculiar feeling you might be having. That´s often the way it works and I think it was really, really fascinating to discover that with them and the tension with Jason. It was pretty interesting stuff! The second one we ever did he left early. “I gotta go!” and we were all like “What?”. Jason was always fantastic and really cool. I´m not questioning anyone´s reaction or anything, it is what it is. I think it was James who wrote that in the So What book that “These were the beginnings of therapy.”. It didn´t look like that when you were doing it, but nobody was doing that with bands. I don´t remember anyone getting bands together for round tables, then of course, now it seems that that´s a format that has become more and more people do it. It required a lot of balls, I think! I think there´s still things they don´t tell each other. I´ve been shot down on doing a few, well not shot down but it´s like “This isn´t the right time! Let´s do it in a few months.”. They might be in the middle of something or maybe they haven´t been together long enough. Generally speaking, they know that when the tape goes on, we run everything. That’s one thing I must make very clear, these guys don´t fuck with what´s written! Lars will make some suggestions and when he makes suggestions they are, number one, suggestions but they are 99 % of the time on the money. He is actually probably one of the best quote unquote editorial minds I´ve ever worked with. He´s excellent! He really gets it. Obviously he´s not short of a brain cell or two. He´s a smart man, but he´s also… people think he can be very dictatorial, but he´s absolutely not. He actually encourages you to be quite… I did a story following him around in Denmark a few years ago and he was fucking exasperating at one point, like you know, he was being a prick, but then you sat and you thought about it. Look at his life, it´s insane, so you came around somewhat, but he was quite happy to let the whole the whole article flow. He doesn´t mind, because as long as you justify what you say, he accepts it. He will make suggestions now and again like “You might wanna explain this more clearly!” or “This might not be the most necessary description and maybe you can make it a little plainer?”. He´s very good indeed.

Is he the most accessible of the guys?

SC: They´re all accessible! No one is more accessible than the other, no. Well, I can find Rob probably easier than anyone and I don´t know why that is actually, but Lars is great. I have no complaints. It´s a very weird bubble I float in. I just get in touch with directly and you see each other. James is wonderful and he´s always right on it. But the key there as well is that I don´t ask them questions every day. (laughs) They know that when I´m asking something, I need to know.

How many people are involved in making the magazine?

SC: Two! It´s me and mark Abrahamson. Well, I must admit that the person who runs the fan club, Vickie Strate, she´s very helpful with some preproofing stuff because I´m an awful proof reader! It´s a skill and I wouldn´t fix my own toilet either. At proofing she´s a skill. She´s very at good helping with that and she´ll chip in. I like to involve her in the process and she likes to be involved, but putting the magazine together is me and Mark all the way. The one thing that I think only I have a really good grip on is, you can plan four issues ahead but you have to be ready to flex and get something in it. I´s a very tough life to balance and one of the biggest problems/complaints/self complaints would be that we do not manage to… it´s not a clockwork thing where you´ll see every quarter. Sometimes that fourth issue doesn´t come out until January, but sometimes it has to be that way. The one thing I don´t ever wanna do and I fought it hard, is that I don´t want filler. If someone´s telling me I have to get the fourth issue out on schedule, because we have to get it out by December, I will not fulfill that by just throwing in a bunch of crap. There has to be something of value in there. I have to be able to stand behind the lead story in every issue.

How often are you in touch with the band? Is that on a weekly basis?

SC: Well, I speak to them a lot. I speak to whom I need to speak to and it´s definitely weekly I would think. I mean, sometimes it goes a couple of weeks where I don´t speak to people. Again, it´s a very strange and wonderful relationship because I always thought when people said “Oh, you´re a family man!”, that´s Hollywood stuff, but it is true! These people are my family or a part of my family and I´m a part of theirs. We´ve known each other for 28 years. I´ve known them since I was a teenager and since they were teenagers. I remember when they lived in shitty apartments in the East bay and they remember when I… you know what I mean? Everything has happened in a sense… I´ve been there to see most of it and nearly all of it and we developed friendships and trust and everything. They really are like family and with that comes the good and the bad. You grumble about each other sometimes and I´m sure they´ve grumbled about me. I talk too much and “Will you shut the fuck up?”, but I would be disappointed if that didn´t happen. I recognize who they are and I recognize that to a lot of people they´re on a pedestal, but I don´t see that and I can´t see that. I have to do my job. I did some photos recently from Yankee Stadium and put them up on the web and that´s the stuff. I wanna get stuff of them going in and out of the dressing room and stuff in the dressing room. Those are the moments and that´s what I think is the classic moments to capture. It may just look like a simple picture when James is holding his guitar up to the camera and smiling, but believe you me, there´s 28 years of trust gone into the fact. I don´t know! We speak when we need to speak and we´re in communication a lot.

It´s pretty cool that they have these relationships with two British guys, you and Ross Halfin?

SC: Yeah! Well, they like their English and one of the things that I think Tony Dicioccio said in this story… I always like to do one story involving the elements of the actual crew and in the middle of the last tour we did an interview with Alan Doyle who is their stage manager and Big Mick, who obviously speaks for himself and Tony who sets up the tours from the management perspective, but Tony said… he´s grounding is from working with people like Judas Priest and all these Birmingham road crews and those are the same people around Metallica and Big Mick is a Brummie and Any who was James guitar tech for years is from Sheffield and Justin is British and then Flemming, Danish, but drier than a car´s water piston. They grew up with all this sort of Eurocentrisms. Don´t worry, James still an American! (laughs) He has a fantastic sense of humor and I have to blame some of that on his immersion with the now British culture. Yeah, Europeans man! And Niclas (Swanlund) is Swedish.

Do you think the band will do any kind of theatrical show or anything with the “Lulu” album and Lou Reed?

SC: I honestly have no idea! They could do it, but I just don´t know! Right now, I have to tell you, it´s one of the weirdest times in their career in terms of… there´s a lot of stuff going on, but nobody is really too sure what, because it is changing from week to week. There´s a hive of activity going on and you can say “Well, this may happen in two months!” and then next week it´s completely cancelled, so I honestly can´t tell you what´s gonna happen. Who knows? I´m guessing like all of you. They love the record and the lyrics are actually fantastic! Say what you like about Lou Reed and it seems like many people will, but the man is an original and the man is unique and the man is a fantastic writer, a fantastic writer! He doesn´t need alliteration! (laughs) This stuff is hardcore with a capital H, oh yeah!

You mentioned India before. Is that gonna be a first time for you as well?

SC: Oh yeah! Providing everything goes through.

I read the other day that the promoters hadn´t spoken to the police about playing at that place, that it was kind of up in the air?

SC: When was that?

Just a couple of days ago. The promoter hadn´t cleared with the police that they were playing there or something like that.

SC: Really? Fucking hell! There you are, you know more that I do! (laughs) That´s pretty interesting. All I know is I got my shots and hopefully all I´ll get is a bit of the Dehli belly. (laughs) It´s exciting!

It is! I saw them in Gothenburg at the Big 4 and they were awesome!

SC: They certainly have been turning it on and that´s one thing with them that they get even better… a lot of people say “Oh, you should have seen them back in the day!”, but let me be very blunt. I think now they´re playing better than they ever have! People roll their eyes and say “Oh, that’s sucha fucking copout!”. You can think that this is hype from an employee but go and see for yourself and you tell me!

Are you in touch with Jason in any way?

SC: I haven´t been in touch with Jason for a long time, but I hear he´s doing great and he´s in a great place. He was always great! He was wonderful to work with and very, very helpful and incredibly friendly. There´s no reason we´re not in touch. Life keeps you busy and he´s doubtless in a bunch of projects himself. I saw him at the Hall of fame and it was great! He´s a really good guy and an exceptionally talented musician. His scope of musical interest is really great. He loves so many different things.

Any new books from you?

SC: I´ve been batting it around for a while now, because people have asked me if I´d ever put out a collection of the stories I did. There´s been one part of me that says “Who gives a fuck?” and the other side of me that says “Get off of yourself and stop being stupid and do it!”. My fear is that you can seem like a self celebrator, but I think I´ve come across a format that will work well. I´ll reprint the stories and on the following pages write 1000 words about what the assignment was actually like to do. Then you get 24 or 25 good stories. And would I include David Bowie and so on and I´ve come to the conclusion that the first one I do should be a total rock, punk book. It doesn´t always have to be the big stories. Like I spent three weeks on tour with Death Angel in 1988, which is one of the funniest fucking tours I´ve ever done. One armed roadie, chipping teeth on pizza, getting their head kicked in. All sorts of weird stupid shit. Actually very, very Spinal Tap, but in a very innocent way. I hope when it surfaces that people will like it!

Thank you so much Steffan!

SC: Thank you!

/Niclas