Archive for December, 2012

Happy New Year

Posted: December 31, 2012 in My western gals, Retrofuture


Well, that was 2012 then – looking forward to a good 2013. Working on three publications at the moment, the first to see the light of day will be the Montana Blue comic book. Then RETROFUTURE 6 (the double issue) is next and that will be my contribution in print for 2013.

I wish you all a Happy New Year.

(Pictured above, posing with my Montana Blue model Nina in 2010)



Here is two interviews with Black Sabbath dating back to 1987 and 1989. The first was made with Tony Iommi over the phone in October 1987 when he was busy doing press for the “Eternal Idol” album and the second was made in Stockholm on September 14 1989 with Tony Martin at the bands hotel in Stockholm, when they toured for the “Headless Cross” album. The images above was taken by me in Solnahallen in Stockholm in 1989 (inserted in a nature shot from my neck of the woods).

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Here´s the Tony Iommi chat…

When we spoke the last time you said that “Seventh Star” was originally meant to be a solo album and that you had other songs written that sounded more like Black Sabbath in the can. Has some of that stuff ended up on this record now?

– Yes, tracks like “Born To Lose”, “The Shining” and parts of “Nightmare” existed at that time.

So what happens now? Have you made a video for one of the tracks on the new album?

– Yes, we did a video for “The Shining” down at the London docks last week. On November 22 the world tour starts in Germany and from there we go to Italy. Then we take a pause before playing Britain and in January we´ll go to the States. There´s talk about Japan and Australia and possibly more shows in America after that, but we have to wait and see.

Lets talk some more about the new record. On “Seventh Star” you wrote the bulk of the lyrics yourself for the first time, did you do that for “Eternal Idol” as well?

– No, very little of it this time. Bob Daisley actually wrote most of the lyrics for this album. He spent three weeks with us in the studio. He also played some bass on the record.

What is the title track about?

– It´s named after a famous sculpture that I found at an exhibition in London. Originally, I had another work by the same artist (Auguste Rodin) called “The Gates of Hell” in mind, but that one would have been tricky to get down for a good album cover, so we did “Eternal Idol” instead. I´m very interested in the arts.

Which songs have been selected for the show?

– We´ll decide that next week when we gear up for the tour. I think we´ll do the title track and “The Shining”. Most of them I guess. From the last album I think we´ll just keep the blues track, “Heart Like A Wheel”. The rest of the set will be classics like “Paranoid” and “Iron Man”. I didn´t really like the last album, the new one is a lot better I think.

What about the stage show? Gigantic or more down to earth?

– We´ll trim it down a little, there´s no reason to go crazy with that. That was a lesson that we learnt on the “Born Again” tour. We could only use the entire set for one show on that entire tour.

Have you been in touch with any of the old guys recently?

– Only with Geezer Butler. He actually rehearsed with us for three weeks about a month ago, but decided not to do it in the end.

But the door is open for a reunion at some point in the future?

– Probably, yes. I don´t have any problems with Geezer and the others.

Lets talk about other things. Most musicians I meet seems to be big fans of John Cleese, is that true of you as well?

– Yes, I love Fawlty Towers. A friend gave me that on video for my last birthday as a matter of fact. I also think that Get Smart is brilliant, but I think that has only been shown in America.

Have you ever been involved in a film score?

– They asked us to do the music for the latest “Nightmare On Elm Street” movie but we didn´t have the time to do it. They eventually asked Dokken and they did it and now it´s a huge hit in America.

If anybody actually offered you a part in a movie, would you do it?

– No, film cameras make me ill at ease. It´s enough to do a four minute music video. All I want to do is play the guitar, that´s what I live for.

You played in Sun City in South Africa a while back, I assume you took some heat for that?

– Yes, but only from the press! Lots of artists have played there so I didn´t think it would be a problem if we did, but I was wrong. Personally, I don´t think that politics and music belongs together at all. We´ve fans in South Africa as well and we played for them and not for the politicians or anybodys politics.

Frank Sinatra was recently denied a working visa here in Sweden for playing in South Africa, did you know about that?

– No, that´s news to me. We certainly hope to visit Sweden on the upcoming tour so I hope that this doesn´t spoil that for us.

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Here is snippets of a chat I had with Tony Martin in 1989, I thought it would sit well together with the Iommi chat…

How did you get the job to sing in Black Sabbath?

– My manager went to school with Tony Iommi so because of that we´ve known each other casually for years. So when Ray Gillen left during the “Eternal Idol” sessions Tony called us and asked if I would be interested to have a jam with them in the studio. So I did and that was it.

The new album, “Headless Cross”, is regarded as a classic Black Sabbath album even at this early stage by many, that must be a good feeling for you guys to hear?

– Yes, and the great thing with Black Sabbath at the moment is that this really is a fresh start. We´ve even realised that we have a brand new audience out there that supports us, and they weren´t even born most of them when this band started, or even when “Heaven And Hell” came out. We´re proud that we´ve fans that care deeply for the band in spite of all the changes in the lineup, the problems with managers and record companies and all the bad stuff that has been negative for the name. We had fans in England that travelled with us from city to city to catch as many shows as possible. Rockfans are a lot more faithful to their music than discofans. A rockfan will sell the shirt of his back to catch a show. He´ll support his band for many years come hell or high water.

You wrote the lyrics to “Valley Of The Kings” on John Sykes first Blue Murder record. What happened there?

– I did help him out in the studio and one of the lyrics was for that song. He wanted me in the band but my manager read the small print in the contract and he adviced me not to take the job because the deal was not a good one. Then the Sabbath thing happened again and I got involved with the new record. But John never told me that he was going to use my lyrics so there´s a song on the Sabbath-record that has a few lines that are almost identical. John has a good voice, he´s inspired by Glenn Hughes, but I wonder if he can do it live? I´ve played the guitar myself since I was seven, but when I started to sing I concentrated on that.

What is the plan right now?

– Well, the tour continues here in Europe, then we´ll pick up more equipment in England before we travel to Japan. Then we´ll go to Mexico and then we go to the Soviet Union for 10 shows in Leningrad and 10 shows in Moscow. We´ll perform twice a day as a matter of fact. It´s going to be tough but I´m sure it´ll be worth it. We´ll play to 500 000 rockfans and that can only be good for us if the Soviet Union opens up more in the future.

You kicked off the tour with four weeks of shows in America, will you go back there for a second tour later on?

– No, we should have played six weeks in the States but we cancelled the last two when we discovered that the promotion wasn´t very effective. The record company did nothing and that is important if you´re on the road. People didn´t know that we´re out there. You know, it´s a bit strange because America used to be Sabbath´s strongest market and now that is not the case anymore. We´re getting the big support in Europe now, and “Headless Cross” has sold over 100 000 copies in West Germany alone. The priority now is simple, we have to establish the name Black Sabbath again and make it as great as it was before all the hassle started. So we just have to work our asses off now. “Headless Cross” is the most important record that Black Sabbath has released since “Heaven And Hell”. That one was also made during a pretty critical time for the band and I have to say that Ronnie James Dio did an excellent job back then, especially if you consider the pressure that he must have felt. I mean, he was the first guy to replace Ozzy.

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Michael Eriksson (c)

(No part of these interviews may be used without permission)

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This interview with Johnnie Bolin, the late Tommy Bolin´s younger brother (and one time drummer in The Tommy Bolin Band), was done by e-mail in November 2012, as I´m currently gearing up for the 100th celebration issue (which happens to be RETROFUTURE 6 – due out in the summer). If you are new to this blog, I used to run a Deep Purple club in Sweden for many years, but I publish RETROFUTURE these days, for my personal enjoyment really. This interview (and another with David Coverdale) will be published in English in the magazine, just for the hell of it. Why not? I want to thank Johnnie and Trace Keane for making this possible. Enjoy the interview, consider it a Christmas gift from me. MIKE

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Let us start with the Tommy Bolin exhibition at The Sioux City Public Museum. What is the story about that and how long did it take to set it up?

– In 2008 we had a small display in the old Sioux City Museum, we only had a few items: Tommy’s red velvet suit, his platform shoes, and a few other items. It was so well received that when the exhibit was over I offered a much larger array of items. We decided to wait until the new Museum opened so it could all fit in one display. Steve Hansen worked with me for months putting it all together and it really turned out great! They treated us first class all the way and I have been really proud of the outcome. We hope to have a permanent display up this spring.

Can you tell us a little bit about the reactions to the exhibition?

– When the people from the museum came over to my home we weren’t sure how much of the many materials they wanted to use, when they returned for a second visit I asked how much they wanted to take and they said all of it. The response has been terrific, people who came from all over the world to see the display. People are amazed that he accomplished so much in his 25 years. The staff at the museum have been so wonderful and supportive it really is a dream come true. The museum did over 65,000 people in the first half of this year, compared to 20,000 the entire year before they moved into the new facility. When we had the Bolin Fest last summer, fans from all over the country spent most of their day there and I received so many kind compliments on it I could not have hoped for more.

It ran from June to October 2012 with the promise of a smaller permanent exhibition. Can a tourist that visits the museum now still find something to view?

– At his time the museum still has many items in storage, beginning next spring there will be a permanent display of Tommy’s items that will be up for fans who come to town. We’ll be adding and subtracting items from time to time to keep it fresh.

I seem to recall having seen images of Tommy´s red suit on display before, is this your favorite piece to show if you are being asked to bring something along?

– Tommy’s red suite just got returned to us after being on display at the Atlanta Hard Rock Café. It is one of the fans favorites, along with his Gold Record Award from Deep Purple. That one is always requested by the fans when they come to town. The Prairie Prince shirt that is framed up is always something people enjoy.

Tommy´s sense of fashion was strong, do you know if somebody helped him create some of his stage gear or did he find the clothes he wore in regular stores?

– Tommy’s girlfriend Karen Uliberri (later married to Glenn Hughes) designed and made most of his outfits. She designes wardrobe for Kiss, Patty La Belle and many other well known artists. Tommy also loved to shop at Goodwill for used clothes.

It seems to me that there is a new interest in Tommy these days, is this something that you can sense as well?

– With all the CDs, guitars, fuzzbox, DVD documentaries and other projects, Tommy’s music is as relevant today as ever. It would have never been possible without the internet. We’re always looking for new ways to reach our fans throughout the world. The Tommy Bolin Archives was a great starting point in the 1990’s, it was very timely the way it has all worked out.

The “Great Gypsy Soul” project was amazing, with so many great players adding their touch to the music. Can you tell us a little bit about this, how long it took to make it happen etc?

– It started with Greg Hampton, Warren Haynes, and I in 2007 had the idea to do this, on April 17th 2010 the first session was complete. For some of the musicians that were hard to reach we had to do some traveling, a lot of it came together at the NAMM show in Los Angeles.

Do you have any favorite moments on the record?

– “Savannah Woman” with John Scofield, it was real jazzy. I also thought Steve Lukather on “Homeward Strut” is excellent. Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa on “Lotus” really sticks out to me.

The press was very positive in Europe, do you feel that this release has been a key release as far as renewed interest and credibility is concerned?

– It’s done really well, and stands up as a really strong release. The fact that so many relevant players contributed to. Joe Bonamassa waited 5 hours to play his part, he was supposed to be on a plane to San Diego and stayed to make sure he was included.

There was also the “Phoenix Rising” project on the Deep Purple side of things. It won a prize for “Best documentary” in a German magazine poll. How do you feel about the documentary on this release, is there something that you would have liked to add to it?

– I thought it was very interesting the incident in Indonesia was covered. I was very pleased with the way the documentary was put together. Tommy was so busy traveling it was hard to understand all that was going on, I think “Phoenix Rising” helped clear that up.

There is this footage of Deep Purple MK4, in which Tommy wears the red jacket, that first saw the light of day on the “Heavy Metal Pioneers” video many years ago. The studio version of MK3´s “Stormbringer” has (sadly) been dubbed over it. Do you have any idea where this might have been filmed and if there just might be another MK4 concert in a vault somewhere?

– I know Glenn Hughes is working on locating a show tape from Hawaii. I’m not sure where the original footage was taped.

How common was it to film with Super 8 back in the day, how much material have you seen and would a proper DVD with history be a project that could happen someday?

– Every once in a while some footage will surface, I often wonder if some better quality video will surface. I hope someone will put together more projects of this nature.

In 2008 Greg Prato released a book about Tommy, “Touched By Magic”, what is your opinion on this book?

– Greg did a very nice job, many people had talked about writing a book on Tommy, but he actually followed through. I also thought he brought to light a lot of interesting stories I had never heard before.

Martin Popoff gave Tommy the cover to his first book on Deep Purple in 2009, it seems to me that many journalists really love the “Come Taste The Band” album. Is this something that you have seen as well over the years?

– A lot of people didn’t care for “Come Taste The Band” at first, with time I think it has become recognized as a time honored classic. It broke a lot of standards at the time, as years go by I feel it has become more appreciated…like a fine wine.

I find it a little bit odd that the old James Gang albums that featured Tommy are hard to find (I have never seen these on CD here). Have you heard anything on this lately?

– Recently Atlantic Records have re-released the two albums on their Flashback label. That is now out of print.

Are you aware of any live recordings done by the James Gang, outside of that tv-performance that we have all seen?

– The only ones that I’ve heard are the Central Park tapes, other than that most are audience recording bootlegs, very poor quality.

Are you aware that Ritchie Blackmore saw Tommy on tv (must have been the James Gang show because he mentions the golden outfit in one of the interviews) and that he liked him? I have a magazine from early 1975 in which Blackmore gives Tommy a positive nod (and this was when he was still in Purple, before Tommy was invited).

– I’ve read articles about when Ritchie went to Tommy’s house and met him, but I don’t recall Tommy ever mentioning it. He had a lot of respect for Ritchie and his music.

Also, when Tommy passed away Rainbow (or Ronnie James Dio, as he was the singer) dedicated “Mistreated” to him in Japan where they were touring, and Blackmore plays it like I have never heard him before (or since). That guitar screams in pain. That touched my heart when I heard it many years ago on a bootleg, it was so obvious that Blackmore cared. Have you heard about this?

– I’ve heard that song any number of times, what a fine compliment to Tommy, one of my favorites.

How many concerts did you see Tommy perform with James Gang and Deep Purple and what do you recall from them now?

– I saw the James Gang in Sioux City, and with Johnny Winter in Des Moines, and Wayne Nebraska, three times total. It was after the “Spectrum” sessions, he was playing really well. I remember Roy Kenner sprained his knee in the Sioux City show. I saw Purple in University of Illinois, we went out for dinner with the band, my whole family went to the show. It was a great show for the whole family.

Incredibly, it seems that Purple broke up without their management telling Glenn and Tommy that it was over. The last show was in Liverpool on March 15, the official announcement came in July. Is it possible that Tommy wrote some tunes with Purple in mind during this brief period, for a possible second album?

– I think after the Liverpool show Tommy had quit in his own mind and had moved on.

Looking back, do you think Tommy felt compromised as Purple moved into 1976 and the US Tour? Since he had no time to plug his own record “Teaser” until the summer at the earliest?

– I think Tommy would have liked to promote “Teaser” more, he always wanted to be a solo performer. The opportunity with Purple was just too tempting to pass up as it all happened at the same time.

Overall, do you think Tommy would have stayed on for a couple of years had the band not split? I know that David Coverdale´s contract lasted another couple of years, which is why he didn´t perform until 1978 with his own thing. Did Tommy had a contract for three years in Purple?

– I think Tommy would have moved on regardless, he liked playing with Purple. I think he had a contract for other albums, but with the breakup there wasn’t any thought of moving forward with Deep Purple. When “Private Eyes” came out we went to Ian Paice & Jon Lord’s house partying all night listening to “Private Eyes” over and over.

To me, “Teaser” is the real start of what became the LA scene 8-9 years later. I know that members in Mötley Crue were great fans. Would you agree that “Teaser” has that underground perception among certain musicians?

– Tommy stood out in every band he was in, many knew him from “Spectrum” or Zephyr. Many, many, guitar players to this day cite “Teaser” as being their great influence.

To me, “Private Eyes” is a much darker album than “Teaser”, although it has some truly beautiful moments in it. In what direction do you think he was heading at the time of his passing musically? Was he talking about it?

– “Private Eyes” is a reflection of where Tommy was in life at the time, most of the material was worked up in the studio. He was to go into the studio again in March of 1977.

He jammed with Lynyrd Skynyrd in Wisconsin in 1976, did they have an interest in him joining the band? Did you hear about any offers like that after the Purple thing?

– We had 4-5 days off when that happened, no plans to ever join Skynyrd.

You were part of the Tommy Bolin Band, which must be considered your first proper gig. Can you tell us about your career since and what the future might involve?

– Mile High Stadium in 1976 opening for Peter Frampton, Steve Miller Band and Gary Wright, Natural Gas. I’ve been with Jim Dandy and Black Oak Arkansas for 23 years and we’re still going. I also recorded with DVC, The Richard T. Bear Band, and Rocky Athas. Black Oak has a new record coming out in 2013 called “Memphis Meantime”.

You played Sweden Rock Festival a few years ago, any memories about that trip? Was it you first trip to Europe and Sweden?

– Sweden Rock Festival was great! We were with Motorhead, Skid Row, and Focus, great reception from the fans. It was my first trip to Sweden, hopefully not my last, we weren’t there nearly long enough.

Is it true that the Bolin family has some connection to Sweden (?), it is a common name here.

– My grandparents were from Sweden, our family name was Erickson, my mother’s family was Syrian.

I always heard that your family treated fans that came into town to pay Tommy´s grave a visit and see his town of birth with a very open and friendly attitude. Very giving, caring. Is this an ongoing thing? How do you feel about it?

– My family has always had an open door policy to the fans, we’ve had countless people from around the world come and tour the family home. It’s kind of a museum to our family’s musical career.

Thank you for this interview, and for keeping Tommy´s legacy alive. Is there anything that you would like to add to this interview?

– I’d like to thank you and the fine staff at RETROFUTURE, I’m so excited about Tommy being on the cover of your publication, I’ve never been so flattered in my life. Thanks for everything!

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Michael Eriksson (c) / Top image courtesy of Trace Keane

(No part of this interview may be copied without permission)


RETROFUTURE (issue 6 – 2013)

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This shot was taken on July 30 after a few hours shooting for the upcoming RETROFUTURE 6 issue. In fact, the session was over, we were losing the sun and I had snapped a few final shots down by the lake with model Ellinor showing off an alternative outfit for the Tornado Blaze character. We were actually on our way to our car when we stumbled across a young lady who were preparing a party down there, by the looks of it. She had just started a fire and I asked if I could take a few shots which was OK. Got a few decent ones and it was an interesting experiment, worthy of repetition.

I was asked by the young lady if I was shooting for RETROFUTURE, which was nice. She asked if she could blog about it and like a complete idiot I said “Sure, but could you wait until the magazine is out?”. If you read this, sorry about that. I should have said “I wouldn´t have it any other way!”.

In any case, one of many good memories from 2012.

(My image)

Meet Wilma

Posted: December 20, 2012 in My photographs


Here´s a snapshot of Wilma, taking it easy (and probably wondering what that flashlight in my camera is all about). She had a rough time this summer when she hurt her back (lost the use of one of her legs for a few weeks), but is fully recovered now. Something to be grateful for.

Luv that cat.

(My image)