Every now and then it is good fun to put up some classic stuff from my freelancing days as a rock journalist and today I will add a chat I had with guitarist John Norum as he was about to start his first solo tour in Sweden back in 1988. Publishing date: February 20 1988. Newspaper: LT (Jämtland County, Sweden). Headline: “I promise to give everything that I got – John Norum is looking forward to his visit”. I will also add an earlier Europe review that is sort of connected historically since it deals with playing in Östersund as well. So here we go. Enjoy.

On Tuesday friends of guitar based hard rock will have a field day as John Norum and friends are about to shake the foundations of the Folkets Hus venue in Östersund. And when John Norum occupies the scene it will be a heroes return. After three visits in Östersund with Europe there will be a lot of fans that are eager to welcome him back with his new band. Count on success! In light of this event, which is the first here since 220 Volt performed at the Storsjöyran Festival last summer, I thought it was a good idea to have a talk with the young guitar hero. This was my first chat with the man (in Europe it was always Joey Tempest that did the talking) and he was just as nice as word had him be. An easygoing guy with a very promising future. Here is selected bits from the conversation. Enjoy.

You were a bit ill right before the start of the Swedish tour, what was it?

– “I had a bad cold and I can still feel it. I went to a doctor and he prescribed penecilin which I took for 10 days without it helping very much. Then I did a second check and it turned out that I had inflamed vocal cords. So this means that Göran Edman will have to handle more of the vocals than planned and that feels like a bit of a downer if people then thinks that I can not do what I did on the record live, which is certainly not the case. In rehearsals I sang even better than I had on the album. Maybe it is psychological? I am not sure”.

Name three reasons why it is a good idea to buy a ticket to a John Norum concert.

– “There is a lot to check out if you like guitar based hard rock, action on stage and a good show!”.

How did it feel when you sold Gold with “Total Control”?

– “I knew it might happen but I did not expect it to happen quite so fast. It went Gold in two weeks and so did the “Let Me Love You” single as well. But I knew that there would be some interest after Europe having sold 250,000 copies of “The Final Countdown” in this country”.

One out of every 32 Swedes own a copy of that album. Expectations ought to be quite high, so what can people expect?

– “That I want them to experience themselves. I just hope that we can squeeze in all the gear into the Folkets Hus venue”.

Can you actually make any money yourself when you go out with such a costly show?

– “I do not want to make any money on this tour! The people at EMA (the booking agency) could not believe what they heard when I told them that. I want the money to be spent on the show so that it is as good as it can possibly be. I have made enough money in Europe and I have said that if need be they can cut my salary. All I want to do is to play to people and give them a good show”.

In what countries has the album done the best outside of Scandinavia?

– “Germany, Holland and Japan. They have just started to promote it a bit more in Germany. I was there recently doing some interviews and the record company people were really surprised when I said it was OK to put stickers on my records saying I used to be in Europe. They had thought that I would not like that, but I think it is OK. The more people that get to know who I am, the better”.

How important is it for you to go out under your own name, to decide everything? For instance, how would you react if say David Coverdale gave you a call and asked you to join Whitesnake?

– “Then I would be in Whitesnake tomorrow! I would not hesitate for a second. It is one of my favourite bands. I did hear a rumour that said that Ronnie James Dio had an interest in me before Chraig Goldy joined the band, I still do not know if that is true. But I can not see myself in Dio”.

If you could say something to the fans up here, what would it be?

– “It is going to be great fun to see you all again! After the show we have a couple of days off and we intend to spend them in your fine city. We are looking forward to meeting people and to get new friends”.

Feel yourself at home – give it all you got!

(End of interview)

Michael Eriksson 1988 / Trinkelbonker 2020

EUROPE 1986 LIVE REVIEW. Publishing date: May 3 1986. City: Östersund (Sweden). Newspaper: LT (Jämtland County). Headline: “World class!!”.

This Wednesday, Europe kicked off their third show in Östersund very loudly with the title track from the last album, “The Final Countdown”. A sea of fists in the air from a nearly sold out Folkets Hus (venue) welcomed them. It was a given victory.

Europe is, along with Treat and 220 Volt, the cream of Scandinavian rock and the first thing you can see is how professional they are, and the great self confidence. They are a world class act and they know it. They still have to prove themselves outside of Scandinavia but they have time on their side. Joey Tempest has the same kind of charisma that David Coverdale has and when he takes centre stage he really shines.

Europe belongs to a scene that I would like to see carry the torch from the Purple-generation. They are building their success on good craftmanship and good visuals. And they can really play, they know how to utilise their craft and they keep to the traditional ways of how to present themselves. The volume was a tough thing to handle for parts of the crowd, but this music demands some balls, if you do not have that it will sound like a Gunnar Wiklund (famous Swedish folk singer) performance. Yes, this “general rehearsal tour” clearly indicates that this will be bloody brilliant soon enough. The world awaits – all I can say is Good Luck!

(End of review)

Michael Eriksson 1986 / Trinkelbonker 2020

(My shots of said articles)

CLASSIC ROCK INTERVIEWS ON TRINKELBONKER: ACCEPT 1986 (July 17 2020), DEEP PURPLE 1996 (June 27 2020), EUROPE 1986 (June 16 2020), DEEP PURPLE PODCAST 2020 (April 6 2020), KIMBERLY GOSS/SINERGY 2002 (March 31 2020), RAINBOW 1997 (March 9 2020), RAINBOW 1996 (March 6 2020), MICHAEL BRADFORD 2003/MAKING OF DEEP PURPLE´S “BANANAS” (March 2 2020), URIAH HEEP 1988 (February 18 2020), ANNE-LIE RYDÉ 1984 (January 21 2020), CRYSTAL VIPER 2020 (January 16 2020), JOHN NORUM 1988 (January 12 2020), ARTOMUS FRIENDSHIP 2019 (November 10 2019), NAZARETH 1989 (August 26 2019), VELVET INSANE 2018 (September 11 2018), JON LORD 1981 (December 15 2015), DAVID COVERDALE 1981 (November 13 2015), GLENN HUGHES 1996 (May 12 2015), TOTO 1988 (March 31 2015), YNGWIE MALMSTEEN 1990 (March 1 2015), MARTINA EDOFF 2009 (December 4 2014), MICHAEL MOJO NILSSON 2014 (January 21 2014), THE HUGHES TURNER PROJECT 2001 (December 29 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1996-1998 (October 9 2013), GLENN HUGHES & JOHN NORUM 1988 (September 21 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1994-1995 (September 9 2013), JOE LYNN TURNER 1993 (September 7 2013), STEVE LUKATHER 1989 (September 4 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1983 (August 22 2013), RAINBOW 1995 (July 19 2013), MICK UNDERWOOD/GILLAN 1982 (June 11 2013), DEEP PURPLE 2002 (May 2 2013), DEEP PURPLE 1998 ( February 25 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1986 (February 12 2013), BLACK SABBATH 1987-1989 (December 31 2012), JOHNNIE BOLIN 2012 (December 24 2012), MARTIN POPOFF & RICH GALBRAITH 2009 (November 12 2012), DAVID COVERDALE 2000 (October 14 2012), JON LORD 1984 (September 7 2012), JOE LYNN TURNER 1992 (August 31 2012), JUDAS PRIEST 1986 (August 22 2012), RONNIE JAMES DIO 2001 (August 20 2012), NIGHTWISH 2002 (August 14 2012).

And finally, we take a look at the Special Edition of “Legend – Metal Galaxy”, the LP sized Two Blu-ray Live Extravaganza with a Double Foldout cover. On the back and front you have the original CD covers (only larger and even more beautiful), and if you fold it out and turn it over you have a fantastic live shot of the entire stage (and it was, as I have said earlier, colossal – what you see is the enormous back screen and Babymetal including the three Avengers flanked by the two Kami bands). It is one shot, not three, but I guess you could be forgiven if you thought it was doctored.

I am listening to the second night as I write this and it is just unbelievably good. Babymetal is the best act in the world in 2020 and this live release proves it beyond any shadow of a doubt. Show me anything that can touch this and I will be astounded. The music in itself is killer, but when you add the show and the theatrics, there is nothing like it on Planet Earth. Kiss has been well and truly dethroned. Or maybe we just have the act that is carrying the torch of Classic Rock and Metal the very best here? They are surely waving the flags of this culture proudly.

Babymetal pulled out all the stops in these shows, showcasing both the Eastern & Western Kamis as well as all the Avengers (the gals that are there instead of the departed Yuimetal on a rotational basis) and on both nights everybody got to shine as these shows climaxed. The thing with Babymetal is that they make it all look easy. Well, you try to copy it, that is all I have to say. Babymetal will come out of the Covid-19 mess bigger than ever.

Earlier “Legend – Metal Galaxy” blog posts: The One (Fan Club) Edition (September 17), Standard Blu-ray & CD Editions (October 16).

Thank you Kalle for helping me out in securing these releases.

(Snapshots of said release by me – mega gatefold live shot was taken by Yukihide “JON…” Takimoto of Amuse, shown here with the greatest of respect and with no malice intended)

Burst Into Isomer

Posted: October 17, 2020 in Babymetal, Classic Rock, Cool stuff

In the September 25 post “Got To Love Japan” I mentioned the UK label JPU Records and how they are releasing Japanese music. This is one of the records that they have put out, “Burst Into Isomer” by Sin Isomer (the Seven track mini-album was originally released on the King Records label in Japan in 2017 and this UK release followed). Sin Isomer is a Japanese singer and this is a very good debute. As usual, you have crazy good (Toto class) musicianship going on, and I have to say that this is a cut above the rest. Sin is one of the finest singers coming out of Japan and I hope that we will see more of her in the future. Traces of Babymetal “Metal Resistance” era in the final song “Bang Your Head”, but there is nothing wrong in being influenced by the all time greats.

(My shot of said release)

Got these from Japan the other day, the “Legend – Metal Galaxy” Double Blu-ray and CD versions of these incredible Babymetal live performances (recorded at the Makuhari Messe over two nights on January 25-26 2020), released in several formats in September. Colossal shows, huge crowds, huge everything. And they did not repeat a single song from the first night in the second performance. Both nights ended with both the Japanese and the American Kami bands performing together, and it goes without saying that you need a certain skill set in place to pull that off without creating a sonic mess. No word yet if we will ever see this released outside of Japan. Only The Fox God Knows…

To be continued…

(My shot of said releases)

Commando 5375-5378

Posted: October 15, 2020 in Comics

Commando 5375-5378 is out today in the UK. Just search “Commando comics” should you want to subscribe.

(Covers courtesy of Commando)

Walking Tall

Posted: October 14, 2020 in Comics, Cool stuff

This is pure Americana, the very image of the free spirit. Every now and again I will buy a couple of reissues of the Classics Illustrated title, and as I browsed through the titles I just could not resist buying these two, “Davy Crockett” (issue 61) and “Daniel Boone” (68) together. Great nostalgia, so happy that this stuff is still around.

(My shot of said covers)

Added the Black Sabbath “Paranoid” Super Deluxe Box to the old collection (photographed here with Sweden Rock Magazine issue 9 2020 that celebrates the occasion). I love these boxes. People have finally figured out that my generation loves these editions, no matter what the cost may be. Just add enough goodies inside and we will by a happy bunch.

And I am happy about this one for sure. You get the original album in two versions (one being the Quad In Stereo edition) and then you get two unreleased concerts from Montreux and Brussels recorded in 1970. On top of that you have the 1971 UK Tour Programme, a huge (and super cool) poster and a book with loads of great stuff, including scans of some articles from the press. So all in all, this rates pretty high on the old cool-o-meter.

(My shots of said box and magazine)

Biggles Lives!

Posted: October 12, 2020 in Books, Cool stuff, Hobby

Bought a copy of the book “Biggles Defends The Desert” (Red Fox, 2015), basically for the cover and the old collection. I already own a Swedish edition (“Biggles i öknen”, B. Wahlströms Bokförlag, 1967), but it is good to see that the Biggles books are still being published in the UK. The original title was “Biggles Sweeps The Desert” and that was first published in 1942. I wonder how many books W.E. Johns has sold over the decades? Probably hundreds of millions.

(My shot of said editions)

In the mid-1970s you had this publication going for a while in Sweden, Soldat & Teknik (seen here is 7-8 1975 and 3 1974). It sported military history and was well written. It did not last but a magazine sporting the same title popped up decades later so they must have bought up the rights. I have not seen a military parade in Sweden since back then, our media would be up in arms if they did it now…

(My shot of said publications)

Babymetal is promoting the upcoming “10 Babymetal Years” compilation with a series of short films on YouTube (the first that went up yesterday, showing three men in skeleton suits discussing the early years, was eight minutes) that will air on their channel between October 11-15. Clearly these are aimed at the Japanese market, no subtitles in English. Still fun to watch though and we still have four clips coming up. 20,000 fans watched as the first episode went up live, as I write this it has been viewed over 120,000 times. The trailer for “10 Babymetal Years” has reached 114,000 views as I write this. No word yet on what songs we will see on the ordinary edition of the record (not counting the goodies that will be included on the other nine!) but it would be cool if they presented an unreleased song on it. We shall see. Me, I would have a hard time picking just 10 songs at this point.

(My snapshots from the first episode on YouTube yesterday)

Added after todays episode: We got a translated film today that dealt with the incredible success of 2014 (Sonisphere Festival in the UK etc). 10 minutes. I think these little films will serve the “10 Babymetal Years” release well.