Archive for the ‘Classic Rock – Interviews’ Category

When I discovered Crystal Viper a couple of years ago I bought the entire back catalogue within weeks and it was obvious to me that they were going to be held in high regard by many people and that vocalist Marta Gabriel was an amazing talent worthy of recognition. Formed in 2003, they now have a string of studio albums under their belts that are all powerful and highly entertaining. To me, Crystal Viper are now on my list of bands that I will support forever, and it is nice to find such talent out there when the old school bands are slowly riding into the sunset. Heavy Metal will never die and Crystal Viper is proud to wave that flag, hopefully for decades to come. This is the first interview since my decision to get back into the game again and I am glad that Marta Gabriel accepted my request. It was the first I sent out to anyone. Special thanks to manager Bart Gabriel for your help. All pictures are by Tim Tronckoe and are used by permission. This interview was made via e-mail.

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I have to say that you ended the last decade with a bang with the ”Tales Of Fire And Ice” album. How has the response been so far?

– “Well thank you. I would say that the response was very, very good, it’s without a doubt the most popular Crystal Viper album. Lots of old fans like it, and we have many, many new ones. We are very proud of this album, as it represents the new chapter for the band”.

The production is better than ever and I think you have a shot at the big leagues in the 2020s. Do you have any favorite tracks on the album?

– “I totally love how this album sounds, and I also agree that it’s the best production we ever had. We worked with the same producer as always, Bart Gabriel (who is my husband), he did an amazing job with this one. My two favorite songs are “Still Alive” and “Under Ice”, but there is also one song on our new album that means a lot to me, because of its lyrics. It’s “Neverending Fire”. The lyrics are based on a Cowichan legend (Cowichan was an Indian Tribe) “Who Was Given The Fire”. It’s a song about being true at heart, being good to the others, about respecting life and nature, about doing good things, not being an egoist, and giving a helping hand without expecting something in return. These are very rare features nowadays, which I value a lot in people”.

”Tears Of Arizona” is about the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Have you been in Hawaii and seen the Arizona?

– “No, unfortunately not. It’s one of my biggest dreams to visit Hawaii one day”.

What is the story behind ”Tomorrow Never Comes (Dyatlov Pass)”?

– “It’s a song about the Dyatlov Pass incident that took place in the Ural Mountains in 1959, but the story on our album is told from an unusual perspective – it’s told by the force that killed the hikers, the force that was afraid or was protecting its own territory. The case hasn’t been resolved and as far as I know, the Russian government reopened it at the beginning of last year. I’m very curious about the results of the reopened investigation”.

This is Swedish blog and I understand that you are a fan of Heavy Load, tell us a little about that.

– “Yes, that’s true. A few years ago, just before Heavy Load reunited, I was invited to sing a few songs with a Heavy Load tribute band, named “Heathens From The North”. I performed with them two times in Greece, and I was singing “Take Me Away” and “Heavy Metal Angels”. Good times! And it was a great feeling to hear nice words from the Heavy Load members themselves after the show, as they were present there. After that I’ve seen Heavy Load live two times, one time in Germany and one time in Greece. I love them!”.

How about 220 Volt and Treat, whom played a televised festival in Poland in late 1985?

– “I don’t know those two bands I’m afraid, and it wasn’t possible for me to watch that festival, because I was a newborn back then. I’ll check them out. When it comes to Swedish bands, I’m a big, big fan of Candlemass and of course Bathory”.

Can you recall your first record that you bought and how you were introduced to music?

– “My music journey started when I was six or seven years old. I saw a symphonic orchestra on the TV and I told my parents that I want to be a musician. They sent me to music school, to a piano class. Later, when I was a teenager I discovered rock, punk, and metal, but everything came very naturally, so I don’t remember the very first metal record or band. I remember that some of my first metal and rock bands that I was listening were Virgin Steele, Scorpions, Queen, Iron Maiden, Helloween, Black Sabbath, Blind Guardian, Metallica, Type O Negative…

When did you realize that you had to be in a band and did you sing in any bands before Crystal Viper?

– “I realized that music is one of the most important things in my life right after I started playing piano. I was composing my own music already at the age of 10. Except playing piano, I’ve always loved to sing, and I joined my first band in high school, I remember having rehearsals in our school’s basement. After that I was singing in one more band, and later, with the help of my husband, I decided to create a real heavy metal band that I was dreaming about. That band was Crystal Viper”.

I guess that singers like Ronnie James Dio, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford are heroes. Can you tell us a little bit about early influences?

– “Yes, all three of them. My vocal heroes were (and still are) Tony Martin, David De Feis, Leather Leone, Jutta Weinhold and Doro… I also like voices of Gigi Hangah from the first Phantom Blue album, and Janet Gardner from Vixen. I also love the voice of Noora Louhimoe, she is an amazing and talented singer”.

What do you think about the old school bands, like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath?

– “I like them, and I’m very much into classic rock. I also like Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, Queen, Status Quo, Thin Lizzy, Electric Light Orchestra, Rush, Jefferson Airplane, UFO, Scorpions, Janis Joplin, KISS, and many more. I also listen to a lot of blues music, especially with piano. My personal favorites are are Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, Pinetop Perkins and Roosevelt Sykes”.

Who would you love to collaborate with if you had a chance?

– “Mike Oldfield! This is my biggest dream as a musician to record something with him one day”.

Do you prefer indoor gigs or festivals?

– “It’s not possible to answer that question, because these are two completely different types of shows, with totally different vibes. When you play a live show in a small venue, it’s mainly your fans there, people who came to see you and people who know your music. When you play at a festival, you play to a lot of new people, who see and hear you for the first time”.

You also play guitar, what is your guitar of choice and why?

– “I started playing guitar to be able to compose music not only on my piano, but on a guitar as well. It was sometimes difficult to show my band mates, especially guitarists, how to play guitar riffs composed on piano. I was checking out and playing many, many different guitars through the years, but I feel the best with the LTD / ESP guitars, and I own a few of their models. I’m also endorsed by them for some time, and I’m very happy about it!”.

Can you mention some guitarists that you appreciate?

– “Yes, the one and only Glenn Tipton. He’s my guitar hero from the very beginning, even from before I started to play guitar myself”.

I think that ”When The Sun Goes Down” from the ”Queen Of The Witches” album has tremendous power and I think legions of Dio fans would love that tune if they heard it. What is the lyrics about?

– ““Queen Of The Witches” is a concept album, and “When The Sun Goes Down” is part of the story. It’s a song about secret knowledge, and about spiritual and mental development”.

Did you ever meet Ronnie James Dio?

– “I saw him live one time, with Heaven And Hell, but I sadly never met him in person”.

As a collector of Vinyls I could really appreciate the Limited Edition ”At The End Of Time” release. Might we see more of them later on as well?

– “Crystal Viper is a hyperactive band from the very beginning, and we have many ideas all the time, so I’m more than sure we will release more stuff like that in the future. We are actually planning something very special right now!”.

Where do you stand on Vinyl versus CDs?

– “Well, it’s nice to have the vinyl album in your hands, with that big cover art, big pictures and so on, and vinyls are usually released in a more exclusive way, so you feel like you really own something unique, something special. But they are sometimes less comfortable than CDs, because it’s not always possible to listen to music from vinyl. Just like it nowadays became easier to listen to streaming services instead of CDs. But vinyls are and always will be special. We sometimes listen to vinyl records together with my husband, it’s like watching a movie – you focus on the music, without thinking too much about anything else”.

I can sense that Classic Rock/Metal has a huge resurgence coming and that the 2020s will be a good decade for your music. Can you sense this in the air as well?

– “Classic heavy metal seems to be an underground genre of metal right now, and I think it will remain like that. Just see how many classic heavy metal bands you can see at the big festivals? They’re usually headlined by younger, more popular bands, and sometimes you have just a few classic bands, playing early in the afternoon or something like that. It is how it is, but to be honest I don’t think much about it, I just keep on doing my thing”.

Can you mention some bands that you want to give a shoutout to as we head into this new era?

– “I really like Idle Hands, and I think the new Ram album is awesome! Check them out!”.

How about Babymetal? I have been a fan of hard rock and Metal since 1971 and I just love them.

– “I remember checking them out because someone sent me a link, but it’s not kind of music I personally enjoy, so I would say it’s not really my cup of tea. But I know they have their fans and people enjoy their music, so it’s cool”.

What do you have in store for us in 2020?

– “We will try to play as many live shows as possible, which isn’t that easy to organize, as members of the band live in four different countries. It’s too early to think about a new album, as “Tales Of Fire And Ice” is still hot (and it’s actually coming out in Japan this month), but I’m thinking about a few other projects”.

If you were granted a secret wish to come true, what would it be?

– “Well, if I would tell you, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore (laugh)”.

Thank you for your time. Anything else that you would like to add to this chat?

– “Thank you for the interview and for your support!”.


(No part of this interview may be used without permission. If you want to quote something in a book or a magazine, let me know)

Mike Eriksson (Trinkelbonker 2020)

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For fun I decided to raid the Classic Rock Interviews on this blog for some quotes from the stars for this post. You will find these interviews on the Classic Rock Interviews tag, so there is plenty of good stuff to check out here should you want to (and more is coming, as I said the other day). So here we go…


– “Sacred Heart”, that took almost half a million dollars to put together. And the one before, “The Last In Line” was about $250,000. So we kept spending more money, but we wanted to be special, and you have to spend money to be special. It is one thing to construct, the other thing that costs money is to bring it on the road. And we took the “Sacred Heart” show twice to Europe, twice to Japan and four times in America over two years and it was very, very expensive. We had about nine to ten trucks and seven to eight buses and about seventy-five people on the road but it was wonderful at the end of the day. But all that counts is the reaction from the people, that is all that matters. (Ronnie James Dio 2001)


– “What happened was that after Liverpool I went down to stay with my mother in London, she had this pub and thank God she just left me alone. My nerves were shot to hell. I was completely drained by the whole experience. I just sat there and stared into the fireplace and my mother just gave me sandwiches and she never asked me what was wrong, which would have been her normal reaction. Then I wrote a resignation letter that was seven-eight-nine pages long and handed it over to the management and then I flew to Munich were my wife Julia was living. I just could not go on. I told them that I did not want to drag the good reputation of Deep Purple through the mud and they said “We understand and respect your opinion but can you please keep this quiet until the original members have decided what they want to do?”, so I did. We talked about me doing PAL, or Coverdale, Lord, Ashton, Paice, which would have been CLAP (laughs), so I did spend some time just thinking about the future at that point”. (David Coverdale 2000)


– “Mark Nauseef is a musical snob and he thinks that he is above people that play hard rock, so I knew that he would be disappointed when I wanted to do “Smoke On The Water”. The record company wanted some Purple stuff for the sake of increased sales so we ended up playing “Woman From Tokyo” and “Child In Time” as well. But the guys did not want to perform them like the original versions so we ended up doing them in this horrible way. But I do not want to say anything bad about the Ian Gillan Band, I learnt more in that band than I can ever use. But I was so bored by the time we did “Scarabus” and that is when I decided to end that and start what became Gillan instead”. (Ian Gillan 1983)


– “My function normally is to throw out lots and lots of ideas in different directions. The ones that the band hear that they like they say “Yeah, lets work on that”… So that is… I am not so much a person that chooses direction as much as a person that just throws out a lot of possibilities”. (Steve Morse (1998)


– “Well, the Donato thing was done in haste, it never should have gone that far. We went public before we were sure about it. This is typical, we have made so many mistakes like this in our career. In the old days everybody used to come to me, I used to handle everything. I picked up the lads to get them to the rehearsals and so on. I was a little older and they were always asking me for my opinion. I was like the father in the band and I think we needed that at the time. The period of the first three records were like that, they always came to me and asked for my thoughts on things, but I really did not want it to be like that. I just wanted to be a guy in the band. I wanted everybody to be involved. Once that finally happened, everything turned into chaos. No decisions were being made and it was past the point were I could have the final say because now we were a band. I do not want to repeat old mistakes again and the last band was so false. I want to do it right this time. The guys I am working with now are very eager to prove themselves. A lot of well known people were in touch with me but I wanted hungry guys with me, people with no past. Glenn has a reputation, but he still has the hunger that I am looking for. He has something to prove on his own”. (Tony Iommi 1986)


– “I did not like it, I thought it was false and filthy. Los Angeles really is a bad place. I have been known to call it “the armpit of America”. I live in Miami now and you can hardly compare the two places. But I have lived in America for seven years now and I feel alright about it now. I still hang around Swede´s a lot and my visits to Sweden keeps me from missing the old country too much”. (Yngwie Malmsteen 1990)


– “We have three telephones in the house and they all went off at the same time, even the private line that is only available to a select few, like my manager. They told us about the plane that had crashed into World Trade Center. My manager said “Turn on the tv, you are not going to believe this”, so I turned it on and all the channels showed how one of the towers was burning. I live outside of New York and there is a hill behind our house that has a view to the city so me and my wife rushed over there to see the fire from there. At that point the second plane came into view and as it crashed into the second tower I said to my wife “We are under attack!”. Everybody was afraid and people were running around. I mean, we lived there and what would happen next? It was horrendous. The phone kept ringing because people knew that I was supposed to be on a flight from Newark at that time”. (Joe Lynn Turner 2001)


– “We have never had any problems in Gillan but when I was in Strapps we had it all the time. They used to come up to us and say “You can not continue to view us as sex objects”. And they were right, because the only women that ever complained looked like the door over there…”. (Mick Underwood 1982)


– “Well, to be honest, I have to say that I hate the people at Columbia Records, I think they are a bunch of assholes. They just look at what is on the Top 10 at the moment, and then they tell their artists to copy that. They essentially want you to sound like everybody else and that is one of the major problems in the industry right now. I mean, what the hell happened to originality? Zeppelin did Zeppelin and The Stones did The Stones – it was their own thing. Thank God that The Stones are still around. I love the new album, you can hear right away that it is them. But look at all these Metal bands – they all look and sound the same. Boring!”. (Steve Lukather 1989)


– “The great thing with Black Sabbath at the moment is that this really is a fresh start. We have even realised that we have a brand new audience out there that supports us, and they were not even born most of them when this band started, or even when “Heaven And Hell” came out. We are proud that we have 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. Rock fans are a lot more faithful to their music than disco fans. A rock fan will sell the shirt of his back to catch a show. He will support his band for many years come hell or high water”. (Tony Martin 1989)


– “The thing with me, and you know this, I have got two sets of music. Lets call it the Deep Purple sounding rock, which is easy to play for me. Simple! And I have the things I am growing with all the time which is like Rock and Jazz and Funk and Soul, which to me is Glenn Hughes. It is all me. It is definitely me. At some point I am going to have to say goodbye to one or the other. We gotta be honest with each other. Lets just be really  honest now. I am not in Deep Purple and this is a working unit that does reasonably well. I am a solo performer and I want to compete. I am going to throw a few names that might have you go “WHAT?”. I want to compete with Elton John and George Michael. I want to compete with these people that sell millions of records. I am not gonna be doing it making this kind of music. You know that. For arts sake it would be interesting to do this kind of music or this kind of music, but I want to sell millions of records and I believe my voice is capable of selling those records”. (Glenn Hughes 1996)


– “My family has always had an open door policy to the fans, we have had countless people from around the world come and tour the family home. It is kind of a museum to our family’s musical career”. (Johnnie Bolin 2012)


– “…Since Ritchie is the leader of the band, all the talk that Deep Purple is a democracy is pure bullshit, I have to assume that he was in on the decision. I think that he acted like a coward, letting the manager do it for him. If they felt that they had a problem with me in the studio, why not just say it, point out the problem. Maybe that could have helped. Now I can only assume what they were thinking. Maybe I was just too eager in the studio? I know that they did not like that very much. I presented a couple of songs to them that was written by a guy from Survivor. These songs sounded 100% Deep Purple. The others barely wanted to listen to it. I also believe that Roger Glover got annoyed at me, whether he wants to admit this or not now, for suggesting that the band should work with an outside producer. The band had not done this since the seventies. Bringing in Thom was partially my idea. I think that Roger may have felt that he was now reduced to just playing bass. But you know, to reach the kind of success that Aerosmith have now you need to be able to focus pretty hard on what you are doing. You need to see reality for what it is. Deep Purple did not want to do that. They seem to believe that they can record anything at all and the world will still fall to its knees and worship them. Those days are over. The world has changed and nobody wants to see that. Roger used to say “When we quit we are going to do it with a bang” but I do not believe that they can anymore, I really do not. We had an opportunity to build on the reputation with a strong second record but that did not happen”. (Joe Lynn Turner 1992)


– “Actually, we talked quite extensively about it, and then we recorded 18 tracks for a double album, which we wanted “Turbo” to be at the time. Then we picked nine tracks that we thought were a bit different, sat down and rearranged them and really tried to capture a slightly different feel. We wanted a change, but not too much of a change either, we just wanted to do something different. But, of course, when you do that you have to expect a bit of apprehension from people, which we got. But I guess “Turbo” is eventually turning out to be our most successful album to date, so we can ignore them anyway. Also, in retrospect, everybody has come back to us and said that they had been a bit sceptical at first, but now they realise it is really the way to go. We are proud of the fact that some people look at Judas Priest as frontrunners, really!”. (Glenn Tipton 1986)


– “I think it is vital that there is always something that grabs you in a song. It should be easy to remember and the melodies themselves are of tremendous importance for us. A lot of bands today write their songs without the notion that the vocals has to be right there playing an important part. Many singers just scream on top of the music with no regard to melody. To us, melody is all important”. (Tuomas Holopainen 2002)


– “We were under pressure. The office, the record company, the publishment company. And surely there had to be somebody out there in this big world that could fit us well. We had always been a hard working band, because that was the way that we wanted it to be. When Ritchie left in, eh, 1975, we had been working like that for seven years, which is a long time. We were living in California and David had heard Tommy Bolin play and he said “He is amazing, unbelievable”. So we asked him to come over for a jam and he said “Yeah, I would love to man” and he came over, with colored hair and things in it, and with this amazingly beautiful woman with him… and we all said “He´s in the band!” (laughs). She was so amazing, we all said “Can we borrow her for half an hour?” (laughs). He played with us and it was great”. (Jon Lord 1981)


– “I want to be the guy that you see dance behind Madonna!”. (David Paich 1988)


– “Paul Morris was filming it. I was actually sitting up the stairs working on some lyrics, I had an upstairs room with a desk, and it was looking over big flat hills… all the way to the horizon you could see. It was a clear evening, the sun was going down, the sky was sort of crimson and purple. I was looking out the window, and right in the middle, for no apparent reason, there was this bright glow, it was like a really bright car headlight or something, in the middle of the sky. And I was sitting and watching this, it was not moving, it was just sort of sitting there. I am going “That is very strange”. Paul had just bought his video camera the day before, so if it moved he was filming it! So he thought we could film the sunset. And we were sitting and watching this thing, and I shouted out “Paul, are you getting this?”. He said “Yeah, I have got it”, and he has got it on video camera. Now, this thing did not do anything, and then it moved slightly to my right, and then it went… it just was not there any more! You know? Now, for the whole time it had moved very very slowly, and Paul was like “I am bored with this” after a minute, and he went back to the pond, and when he came back up five seconds later this thing was completely gone”. (Doogie White 1995)


– “Deep Purple was big everywhere! To this day, Deep Purple is the biggest band in the Soviet Union. I am not joking, the Russian embassy in London contacted us and gave us the news a couple of months ago. Feels a bit strange”. (David Coverdale 1981)


– “We may not have been angels but we always avoided the hard stuff. We toured with Deep Purple in the States in 1976 and I worried about Tommy Bolin. He was a beautiful man and a good guitarist but he did not want to listen to people that warned him about that shit. I tried to talk to him and he said “Jimi Hendrix did it and look how good he was”. I said, “But Tommy, Jimi is dead!”. I actually saw Hendrix early on and it was way better than the last time I had a chance to see him. Tommy Bolin was one of these guys that this business just eats up. It was a good tour for us, we did better than Purple really”. Dan McCafferty (1989)


– “It looks bright to me. If you compare us with what you see coming out of, say, America at the moment, we are way better. Poison and Cinderella is all image and they can not play well or write good songs. Scandinavian bands are taking their cues from the old school bands like Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and UFO, and so the difference is very clear”. (John Norum 1988)

(Top image by me, I gave that signed/framed David Coverdale promotional shot to guitarist Micke Mojo later on)

The following article was in print in Swedish newspaper FOLKET on March 11 1988 and I have decided to translate it exactly as it was written back in the day. Enjoy!

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 -“I do not care if I make money or not on this tour. I just want to play to people and give them a good experience. If things get tight I will rather give up my own cut rather than compromise with the show”.

These words comes from John Norum, a 24 year old guitarist with a great past and a very interesting future. The former member of Europe is currently on the road (in Sweden) for the first time in over a year with a fresh new band. And things are going well with 70,000 copies sold of his first solo album “Total Control” in these parts alone. The enthusiastic crowds are probably ensuring that the financial end will take care of itself. It hits me as I see this show that John has got quite a lot of integrity. His past is not used much and he is not touching “The Final Countdown”, the super hit, at all. He is also an honest and down to earth character when you interview him, a pleasant man. But the future is not carved in stone. Draw your own conclusions as you read this interview.

Are you alright with having your home base here in Sweden and not, say, London or Los Angeles?

– “Yes, it works fine as it is. I might buy a house abroad though, maybe in Zurich? I get royalties from Europe in March or April and then I will do the things I have always dreamt about, like getting a house etc”.

What do you think of the pospects of the Scandinavian Hard Rock scene in the future?

– “It looks bright to me. If you compare us with what you see coming out of, say, America at the moment, we are way better. Poison and Cinderella is all image and they can not play well or write good songs. Scandinavian bands are taking their cues from the old school bands like Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and UFO, and so the difference is very clear”.

Your solo career then, how important is it for you to go out in your own name? What happens if, say, David Coverdale gives you a call and asks you to join Whitesnake tomorrow?

– “Then I will be a member of Whitesnake tomorrow! David is one of my favourite singers and Whitesnake is one of the few bands that I would feel at home with musically. I would also have appreciated to work with Thin Lizzy, but that can not happen now after the tragedy with Phil Lynott. I heard a rumour that Ronnie James Dio was interested in me before Craig Goldie got the job, but I can not see myself in Dio”.

There is talk about a possible future collaboration with Glenn Hughes, can you talk about that?

– “We have talked and he wants me to play on his next solo album. He basically wants to call it Hughes Norum, like he did with that album with Pat Thrall that went out as Hughes Thrall five years ago. We will meet in London and have a chat when we play with Ace Frehley at the Hammersmith (on March 19), so we shall see. Glenn is one of my heroes, I basically own everything that he has made from Trapeze to Deep Purple and all the rest of it. He has had a string of bad luck in recent times and he is sitting there in Atlanta fishing and wants to get going again”.

What happens with your solo career if this happens?

– “I am contracted for two solo albums to CBS so I have one more to deliver. That I shall whatever happens. Sammy Hagar could do it when he joined Van Halen. If he could then so can I, it is just a matter of time”.

You have had two hit singles here at home so far from the album, are you contemplating to put out a third?

– “Yes, well the American label has decided to put out “Back On The Streets” as their first single now as they are set to release the album over there, so we will follow up that here as well a bit later on I think. Their version will be slightly different from ours and the rest of the worlds. They have decided to replace the last song on the record, the instrumental, to the Thin Lizzy cover we did with “Wild One”. I am fine with that”.

What are the plans to promote this album outside of Scandinavia at the moment?

– “Well there is no point in talking about that until the paperwork is done. Of course I would love to back this album up as much as humanly possible, so if things turn out alright then we will go. We may do some gigs with the Scorpions, we will see”.

Why have you not made a video to push this album, that seems to be pretty important these days with MTV and all that?

– “I actually do not know the answer to that question. The only thing out there on film is from that TV show (in Sweden), Listan. Maybe they could recut “Love Is Meant To Be Forever” so that it could work as a video? To be honest with you, I have not thought too much about it”.

Where do you sell most of your records outside of Scandinavia? Any more Gold albums on the horizon?

– Well the numbers for, say, Germany is so high but we are doing well there and Holland and Japan is good too. I was in Germany to promote the album recently and the people at the record company were surprised that I was not anti Europe in any way, and that I was OK with stickers on the album that says who I am and where I am coming from. I do want to reach out to as many people as possible and I am proud of the past”.

Do you think that your current band is giving you the security that you need when you are on that stage?

– “Yes, they are very professional and most of them have previous touring experience going back so everything is very tight. I do appreciate performing live again”.

Obviously, the question remains how long this band is going to exist. If a collaboration with Glenn Hughes comes up, changes will undoubtedly occour. I am just happy to have seen this band on stage in this version and considering that I really saw one of the very first shows I have to say that they show a lot of promise. No matter what happens next, I can make two points here. John Norum is a bonafide guitar hero for the future, and when anybody is mentioning his name I think of one thing. Integrity”.

Michael Eriksson (1988)

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“Total Control” was produced by Thomas Witt, whom had recorded three 220 Volt albums at that time for CBS. 220 Volt drummer Peter Hermansson played on the album, and so did Volt bassist Mikael Larsson on one track. John did join 220 Volt on stage and jammed on their song “Firefall” not long after him having left Europe. Singer Göran Edman (ex-Madison) sang on a few tunes and he later went on to join Yngwie Malmsteen. Bass player Marcel Jacob had been with Yngwie in the very early days. The touring band of 1988 was Norum, Edman, Jacob, Mats Olausson (keyboards) and Hempo Hildén (drums). John had a false start on a project with Glenn Hughes in 1988 that was quickly aborted (I did one of the few interviews that they ever made, you can find it on this blog if you go back to September 2013), but they eventually did collaborate a few years later on Johns solo album “Face The Truth” in 1992. John worked with Dokken and reunited with Europe in 2004. To date he has released seven solo albums (plus some live albums).

No part of this interview may be quoted without permission. I often see this sort of thing in books etc. Just let me know that you are interested.

(Top image shows FOLKET, March 11 1988)

After a few years of inactivity regarding interviews etc I have decided to get back into it again in 2020. It is simply way too much fun not to be active and as it happens I can really appreciate some of the new music that I hear now and that helps. I will add more of my Classic Rock Interviews here (see the tag on this blog) and on top of that I will now present brand new interviews. I am also open for collaborations with Classic Rock and Metal publications out there. My archive from the old days (going back to the early 1980s) is there for the picking and is quite extensive (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Judas Priest, Ronnie James Dio, Nightwish etc etc). I will not go back to travelling the way I used to, but in this day and age you really do not have to. I can take it in my own pace and follow my own heart. I always did anyway. Good things are happening out there now and I want to support some of the good bands out there. I guess Babymetal would be the ultimate deal in this day and age and I would certainly love to get them some day.

(Top image shows me with Jon Lord back in 1982 – photograph by my friend Michael Johansson)

I have met a lot of interesting people in my day but I have to say that jazz drummer Alphonse Mouzon stood out a mile. This was back in August 1983 and I was in Stockholm to see him at a jazz club called Fasching (and Iron Maiden/Rock Goddess too elsewhere). My good friend photographer Michael Johansson was with me as was often the case back in the day and we had a good time seeing Mouzon play at the club. As big fans of Tommy Bolin, we really wanted to meet him and see what we could get out of him about his 1975 album “Mind Transplant” so after the set, as we spotted him in the bar, we ambushed him as soon as we could be nice about it (some woman who obviously wanted to shag him spotted him first). Anyway, we were invited to interview him the following day at his hotel and when we arrived he was obviously ready to play some tennis. So you have to picture a jazz guy who is in a hurry and he can clearly figure us out as Deep Purple fans (not sure what T-shirt Johansson had on, but I had a Purple shirt for sure!). And here comes the twist, the part that blew us away (and pretty much shot us down in flames). I had planned to kind of pretend that I was interested in his career (I was not, although I respected him), so I started things off by asking something about his early days and how many records he had done. He then answered the questions (it was 14 and one more was on the way), and as he did this he swiftly presented a bio and tossed it over. Curtains. Oh screw this, lets just ask him about Tommy Bolin then. So I did, and we got his take on him and what they had done back in the day in a few minutes. Then he was off, “hoping to run into Björn Borg” so that he could “encounter some real competition”. I still have to laugh when I think about that meeting.

In any case, since fans of Tommy Bolin often dwell here, here is what he had to say about him.


– “I first met Tommy in Colorado. I had my first gig there in the late 1960s and we jammed together one night. He was about 17 but he was already very good”.


– “He really could touch on anything, he was very open to different styles. He was a good jazz player but he was good in Deep Purple too. I liked his use of echoplex, he was a pioneer using that”.


– “Well we did “Mind Transplant” in 1974 and I warned him about that stuff, but he was kind of listening with one ear. He would take anything and it worried me. I think he got a 500,000 dollar deal with Columbia after Deep Purple, but obviously it did not end well”.


– “We used everything we recorded with Tommy on “Mind Transplant”, there is nothing rare to unearth in the vaults. I have had thoughts about reissuing it with a new mix and different cover art”.

Some other comments…


– “We played an instrumental set yesterday because it was a small production and I did not perform with my own kit. Some of my stuff has lyrics, there is going to be a song on the next album that is dedicated to my son, “The Lady In Red”. At the moment I pick stuff from the three last albums, “By All Means”, “Morning Sun” and “Step Into The Funk””.


– “I moved from New York to Los Angeles in 1975 and I have a tennis court on my property. I play with Jeff (a member of his band) when I am on the road and I always win”.

And with that, he was off hoping to spot Björn Borg.

(Top image shows an article from Swedish newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad that was in print on August 13 1983, the photo of me and Alphonse was taken by Michael Johansson)

PS. I had nothing to do with the silly headline of that article!

Today it is a distinct pleasure to present an interview with my good buddy Staffan Eriksson of the Artomus Friendship project. The album “A Day Of Celebration” is available on major platforms and physical copies (including a Limited Edition Vinyl+CD release) still exists. This is one of the better albums to have come out of Sweden in recent times, not to mention Jämtland County. In this interview I let Staffan get into the details about the album and as a bonus he has added a track-by-track overview with additional information. Enjoy.

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Staffan, we have known each other since the mid 1990s when I asked you to assist me with the DEEP PURPLE FOREVER magazine. I know you as a major fan of both 1960s and 1970s music and I know you played in bands as a youngster that were influenced by the guitar driven rock of that era. Still, your Artomus Friendship record ”A Day Of Celebration” takes us back almost exclusively to the 1960s, why is that?

– Well, it is nothing I planned in the beginning. I really got into music in 1973 when I really listened (LISTENED!) to Deep Purple for the first time. Of course I had heard them on the radio before, and even played ”Black Night” on the juke box at the local café but that year I became a huge fan. I am still a fan but not as fanatic as in those days when the release of a new Purple-related album was like Christmas, almost a religion! But in the 1960s when I was a little boy my father used to tune in Radio Luxemburg on Saturday night and we used to listen to The Beatles, Hollies and other bands together. The music that came out  around 1965 was really fresh and I loved (and still do) the vocal harmonies of the bands of that time. Beatles is in my heart and soul ever since. I have written in various kind of styles over the years but this time it felt right to concentrate on the 1960s. As I said I am a Beatles fan and so are my collaborators Michael Klemmé and Anders Kronlund. Those two great guys inspired and encoured me to write for a whole album.

I know that you feel that you sort of have done your bit with this album as far as records go. But I know that you have been writing stuff for decades. Which song on this album goes back the furthest?

– ”Criminal Minds” and ”Chasing A Treasure” was the first songs written, ca 2011. I did not know Michael and Anders then, it was basist Lars Ericsson that suggested I should get in touch with Anders. I knew that Michael was a great vocalist, I had heard him do the Glenn Hughes part in Lars Deep Purple tribute band Mark 3, so he was number one on my list, but I did not know him then. My favorite Beatles period is 1965-67. ”Criminal Minds” was written with those years in mind.

When did you decide that this had to be done and why? Was it a legacy sort of thing, for yourself and your family?

– At first I recorded five six songs in different styles just to see if my ideas was good enough. And that was it. I thought.  A few years later Michael asked me if I had more songs he could sing. And I thought the songs in the spirit of the 1960s from that earlier session, ”Criminal Minds” and ”Chasing A Treasure” was the best ones. The puzzle bits came together on those, and I had quite a few more loose ideas that could turn into something. And when I decided to give it a go, the songs kind of wrote themselves. It is partly a legacy, it has to be for me. It must come from the heart. But it is great if the message can reach people outside the family, and it obviously has. Many people have told me the songs touches them, it is their story too, which feels great.

To me, and I know I share this opinion with many others, this is a damned good album. It stands heads and shoulders above the competition and yet you had to release it yourself. Did you even try to go to labels or do you feel that the business is dead these days?

– Thank you very much! I am sorry to say I think the business is dead. I have been in contact with an independant company in Sundsvall, Massproduction, they liked the songs but they had no time to do anything since there is just one person working on that label.

How many copies were printed, CDs and Vinyls?

– I printed 250 CDs and 100 Vinyls.

It is a testament to your credibility around these parts that you got so many elite musicians to join you, first class players. Tell us about the process, how did you pull this off?

– Well, once I got in touch with the boys, Michael, Anders, and drummer Björn Höglund, and they liked the songs and wanted to work with me, I thought I must do this with these great boys. If I had the chance to pick anyone from the whole world I would not chose anyone else than these guys! They understood my material and took care of my music with love and respect. And about the recording process, it is easier now to record at home on Logic so that is what we did. I wrote the songs and arranged them, then I sent them to Anders for him to re-record the guitar parts and put his ideas into each song if he wanted. On some songs I play the guitar myself though. Anders sings lead on some songs and he also did the harmony vocals together with me and Michael. Michael sings most of the lead vocals and I had the same correspondence process with him. When the songs were ready they sent the files back to me and I listened and cleaned it up. On some songs I contacted guest musicians to complete the songs. Then I sent the files to Björn who played drums and mixed. The last thing before sending the material to make records of it was to get the material mastered. Björn suggested Aral Suurna, a legend in the music business who have been an engineer for Roxette, Ulf Lundell and some of the biggest artist of Sweden. And a very nice guy as well.

For a fan of guitar driven music, was it hard to hold back on the guitar solos on this album to stick to the late 1960s era more than the early 1970s?

– Strangely enough, no it was not. I love guitar and organ solos and I really enjoy extended live versions of songs by for example, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Mountain. But the songs on the Celebration project did not have that anatomy, the songs ”told me” they wanted to be short. Instead I have worked really meticulously on the bass lines and the vocal harmonies. I would like to say that every note is carefully conceived and analyzed as far as the basslines are concerned. I play the bass myself and I have always admired the way Paul McCartney plays that four-stringed instrument. Melodic and imaginatively! Imagine ”Come Together” without Pauls characteristic basslines…

It is a happy sounding album and yet there are moments that are kind of dark when you describe the journey (see the track by track section below). Maybe one reason that the album is so great is because it has been done by somebody that has a lot to say. And here was your chance to say it.

– Absolutely! When you are 60 you have gone through both bright times and dark. I understand that many can relate to the lyrics. In this way the message is universal. It is another reason why I just had to do this album.

Some tracks has enormous radio potential. Have you got any feedback from media so far in these parts?

– No. I have sent records to the local media, both radio and newspapers but there is total silence from them. The only radio station the album is played on is Radio Krokom, that is because the editors there love the album. Radio Jämtland P4 does not seem to care, which is sad. It seems that you have to be 20 years old and have names like Benjamin Ingrosso or Molly Sandén to be played on radio. Most of the new songs heard on the radio now sound like AVICII I think. The radio stations, for example P4, plays ”modern pop” when most of the listeners want classic pop and rock. The stations are not in tune with the listeners. And the paper press do not give a rats ass which is strange. I mean, how many vinyls are released in the County of Jämtland every year, one? Or even less some years?

I think it was a good move to add the album on YouTube and other platforms. Will there be a music video at some point for one of the songs?

– The album is now on Spotify, Amazon, Youtube, Soundcloud and other media. I am working on the first video, ” A Day Of Celebration”, it is almost finished and my intention is to release it sometime in November. I will release it on Youtube. And I will make more videos, maybe ”Brand New Day” is next.

That would be great. What made you pick that particular image of yourself for the cover, and what did you do with it for effect (that car is called LOVE which is pretty cool, but surely that was added for the cover for fun)?

– I found that image when I was searching for another photo and I had totally forgotten it existed. It was my sister who took that photo on the last day in second class at the school in my village back in 1968. The school closed that year, in fact that day when the photo was taken so it is very emotional for me. Those two first years in school just one km from my house was very idyllic, we did not know the word ”bullying”. But we became aware of that when we moved to a much bigger school in a bigger village the following year… But about the photo, on the original there is not much colour left, but I liked it. So I used Photoshop and hand coloured it and that gave that surrealistic expression. The car is our old Opel Kadett. I tried to make the colours work as a composition; the red, the blue, the green and the yellow in the right position to keep the balance. And the colours is very saturated. The word ”love”, I got that idea because three of four letters are the same on ”love” and ”opel”. I switched the letters and changed the P to a V. It is a good message. If you have not noticed, my year of birth is on the number plate, and the Z is the letter symbol that our County of Jämtland used those days. A little Photoshopping there as well…

Your idea to incorporate images of family members from yesterday and today is such a moving and bold move. It is a wonderful idea.

– Thank you! Well, it could be anyone but many people in my age seem to have quite a similar story as me, so I figured the images in their photo albums must be quite similar. I hesitated at first but the lyrics are personal so I thought if I used images with the same feel to it, they could enhance the music and the lyrics. The album is personal but not private, even though it is a fine line in between.

I can see that you poured your soul into this project. What else are you doing these days?

– I am currently working together with my great friend since 1968, Glenn Eriksson, on a project that will be released in the spring of 2020. It will be five six songs on an EP. It is music for a sports event that takes place every spring in the area I live in. It is called Häll race and it is a running competition that takes place at the end of May every year. It is the skiing club Offerdals SK who arrange it. It has become very popular and attracts more and more people every year. The ski club wants to make a video. No pop-music on this project, this is folk-ish in style. But really heavy! And Glenn and I have two or three more projects we are working on. One is folk music, one is more in soul rock blues style.

Tell us about your early work with drummer Peter Hermansson (220 Volt).

– It was a great time! Peter and I got on good together. I think we ”thought music” the same way. I remember I got a call from Bo H Persson who played guitar in Peters band. They needed a bass player. A few days later Peter called and told me with his characteristic enthusiasm about a song they had just written. I auditioned and they liked my style. Besides of Paul McCartney I admire basists like Pete Way, Geezer Butler, Glenn Hughes and other melodic bass players. I guess I incorporated these great guys styles into mine. I remember the band, that was called Stargazer, was very structured and worked through the songs carefully. The first gig was on Lugnviks Fritidsgård and the place was packed with people shouting for us! The gig went down well and I still remember the evening and the great feeling I had! Peter wrote most of the music and I remember being impressed by him because he could play the intro to Rainbows ”Lost In Hollywood”, in my ears, perfectly!

How many songs do you have in the archives with old bands that you played with?

– Oh it must be 150-200 in different styles. Most of it are shit but there are ideas that has something.

Any chance that we could get to hear some of that stuff on, say, YouTube?

– It might be in the future.

I recall filming your band around 1991 in Östersund, some contest (Rock SM was it?). I remember meeting you then, knowing that you had bought the old DEEP PURPLE FREAK SOCIETY magazines in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

– I remember I was happy finding your Deep Purple magazines! And I still got all issues in my archive! Back in the late 1970s almost no media in Sweden wrote about hard rock, at least not in a positive way. Sweden was very trendy and it was punk only in the media, all along. It is different now thank God. But I almost stood by the mailbox waiting for the magazine every month or so!

What happened with that film I made, did you get a copy?

– I have not seen it. It could have been Royal but that was during the first part of the 1980s, one year or so after Stargazer.  I played in various bands in the second half of the 1980s. I temporarely replaced bassplayers in a variety of dance bands that period and in the first half of the 1990s too.

I can totally see why you feel that the time has come to look back. Time is a strange thing, the older you get the faster it disappears it seems. I guess I did it with my magazines.

– Yes, I agree. Bruce Springsteen said recently that you always come back to your roots sooner or later. I guess that is why the ”Celebration” album is in the style of the late 1960s.

Having said that, I do hope that I will have reason to come back to you someday in the future, if you ever should feel that a second album would be a good idea. Maybe a 1970s tribute?

– I could do another album in the style of the 1960s quite soon. I have quite a few ideas, but it is very expensive and I would like to give Christmas presents to my daughters this year. A 1970s tribute is a good idea but I think The Summit made that kind of an album, which was a great one,  a few years ago and I would not dare to compete with them! And I have a huge respect for riff driven music. It is impossible to match riffs from the 1970s, I am thinking of the Deep Purple and Rainbow albums and songs like ”Burn”, ”Smoke On The Water”, ”Stargazer”, ”Man On The Silver Mountain” and many others. But then again, I might make another one and concentrate on the late 1960s. If that happens I need good hard rock guitarists, a great singer and an awesome drummer to work with… that would be the same people as on ”A Day Of Celebration” I guess! Glenn has loads of great riffs and I also would like to recruit Mats Karlsson (220 Volt, The Summit) into that project. We will see what the future brings. But I know the title of it already, it will be called ”A Pebble In The Shoe”, a quote I heard from the film director Lars von Trier. I might release a folk music inspired album together with Glenn with my wife on vocals and various guests on violin, cello, accordion, saxophone, and maybe another album with Glenn that will be blues-soul rock oriented. Songs for those albums are already written but not yet recorded properly. But those thinkable projects will only be released on digital media.

Where can people buy your album?

– They can buy it from me if they visit on Bengans and CDON, Jämtlands musikarkiv, Hamm & Nilsson Östersund, iTunes and Apple music, Amazon and others.

Is there anything that you would like to add to this interview?

– Appearently ”A Day Of Celebration” is an underground album. To be honest, I thought the radio would be interested because of the fact that it certainly is quite radio friendly. But it is not the kind of music that you hear on the radio these days, as I mentioned before. The lead singers are great, the very best I think. And the sound is a bit ”ín your face” and it has a certain atmosphere. Not many people have heard the album yet, but those who have get surprised because it is way better than they expected! It is better than I expected too! It seems like those who have not heard the album think it is amateurish. It sounds cocky, but I do not want this album to be compared to local amateur music, I want it to be compared to the big bands in the same genre. The album tells the story of an outsider who has always struggled to gain recognition, to belong to a community. But invaluable friendship has been found among other outsiders, other eccentric persons. I can see that my elder daughter is that kind of person. The ones who likes the albums most are women in general and male musiclovers. That feels good!


”A Day Of Celebration” – The whole album is about reflections, personal and in general, of a man ”surviving” life, he is now in his 60s. The title track starts with a pop-riff in E and the lyrics tells the story of a boy back in 1968 with a flower bouquet in his hand, celebrating last day in school in his home village. Little did he know then that in the new school there would be bullying. Some say that things that do not kill you make you stronger. But is it always like that? Maybe those days a long time ago did not kill you, but did the hard times really help you to grow? But, this man survived, battered but not beaten. But not everyone does that. It is the last song written for the album with help from my dear friend since 1968, Glenn Eriksson, a great guitarist who is, like me, a Ritchie Blackmore-fan. It is a simple riff, but so what, most great pop and rock songs are simple. The bass on all tracks is carefully composed, not a single note is randomly played. The title ”A Day Of Celebration” is bittersweet, dark irony. We celebrate many occations, but are these days really worth celebrating?

”Give It Back” – I sometimes feel like a stranger in my own home country. It is not the hopeful and caring country I grew up in. It has become a cold country without self-confidence, and to where will it lead? What kind of country will my children live in in the future? Someone has stolen my dream, will it ever come back? A song based around the bass riff with a dark fate-filled chorus kicking it all off. The bass lines form the body of the song. The first verse has another melody than the second, a typical hallmark for my songs. There are rock and pop in this song but there is also a little reggae in the second verse and a slight jazzy feel in the verse just before the final chorus which is a reprise of the first lyrically and melodically

”You Are Not Alone” – This is a song with more modern approach. It is a soft and piano driven song. As with many of the songs on the album there is no solo, instead of an instrumental part, there is a choir. It is a comforting song, almost religious, there is always a friend no matter how dark life seems.

”R U My Girl” -When I was a little boy in the 60s I could not afford to buy records with the exception of the odd EP I used to get as a Christmas present. But on Saturday nights my father used to tune in Radio Luxemburg on our radio and we sat together and listened to Hollies, Beatles and other great bands. The music in ”R U My Girl” is a tribute to that era, I wanted the song to capture the atmosphere of those days. And the lyrics is a tribute to our wifes, mothers, daughters who who are struggling to make the life puzzle work.

”Grand Salute” – I bought a mandola from my friend Glenn. I had not learned how to play that instrument, it is tuned in another key than guitars. I put my fingers on it and the first thing that came out was the chords in the verse of ”Grand Salute”. In this song there is a reversed guitar solo part and one part is a cello solo, again in the spirit of the Fab Four. The song has an encouraging text for all the underdogs, all the heroes of the heart, all those who receive less praise than they deserve.

”Brand New Day” – Noone knows what life brings tomorrow. Suddenly a dark cloud comes and parks over your head. And there is nothing you can do about it other than let it take the time it takes. You do not think it will pass but suddenly you are on the other side of the cloud and the sun is shining again. It can happen to anyone. I had this riff in my head for several years and suddenly it suited this song. No solo again but two different bridges instead. Inspired by Beatles ”Tomorrow Never Knows” and influenced by the orient sounding scales of Ritchie Blackmore.

”Criminal Minds” – ”Criminal Minds” was written early for this project, in fact before there was a plan to record songs for an entire album. I tried a few vocalists but Michael Klemmé was the one. He impressed me and he liked the song and became the main singer in the band. Songs in this style was not unusual in the mid 60s and I like the tempo, it is fun playing bass to these kind of songs. Gustaf Hylén played the trumpet that gives the song the atmosphere I looked for. It is a story about not following what is expected from you.

”Tell Me” – This song is very much a taste of the 60s. In my opinion it was not good enough for the album but then Anders Kronlund, guitarist and my right hand through this production, came with the wonderful slideguitar parts, and the song suddenly took off. Anders sings lead on this one and Katharina Åhlén plays the cello. ”No matter what will happen, the show must still go on”, that is what the song is about. No matter if you deserve it or not, it is great to be loved by someone.

“Chasing A Treasure” – This is a slow Van Morrison-ish song, with a slant of gospel. Michael sings great and Gustav Hylén plays the accordion. It is about searching for love or happiness, truth… If you do not find it on the other side of the world, dig right where you are, you might find it when you stop searching.

”You And The Girls” – At first this one was a little slower, a bit like ”Sunday Afternoon” by the Kinks. But I speeded it up and the up-tempo seemed to be the right thing. The instrumental part has a jazzy feel combined with the ooo-choir. This is a celebration to my wife and my two daughters. They are good to have when one feels like a stranger in a foreign land.

”It Is Alright” – The song had another opening riff in the beginning, similar to ”R U My Girl”, but it did not fit, but I think this one did. In fact, the old riff is in the end of the song but in the playground rather than at front in the sound. It is quite a light fluffy pop song with a touch of later Lennon feel to it. My favourite part here is the bridge, it is dramatic with Anders singing lead and the lalala choir in the background. This song is about forgiveness and reconciliation. It feels good to have as few enemies as possible in the end.

”A Chance To Live” – The last song on the album,  sung by myself. My friend Glenn plays the guitar on this one and I play the bass plays, a melodic line on top of it. The guitar solo here is great and has a taste of Irish folk which I like. The story of the man ends here, he reflects on his life, ups and downs, considering that there is a lot to be thankful for.

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By Michael Eriksson (Trinkelbonker (2019) – Feel free to quote this interview.

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I thought it would be good fun to add one of the old interviews I did back in the day to the blog (again) since it is obvious that the classic stuff (Purple, Sabbath, Coverdale, Dio, Turner, Nightwish, Priest, Toto etc) is a major draw. I located a press cutting from September 2 1989 (LT, Jämtland County) with Dan McCafferty of Nazareth so that is 30 years ago right about now (not sure exactly what date they played in Stockholm, but I met Dan at a hotel outside of the city, that much I remember). If I had a camera with me I have no recollection of it now (I do recall an earlier photo shoot some years before, but I sent them to CREEM Stateside and never got them back). Nazareth had their 17th album “Snakes´n´Ladders” out at the time. The shots used in the article was from a gig in Östersund back in 1984 (credit to Hans Ohlsson). I just snapped a quick shot with the article surrounded by some classic albums for this post. In any case, here is his opinions and answers to some of my questions.


– The press bores me at times. They have ignored us and given us bad reviews for so long, but that does not stop the kids to come to our shows. I think the journalists forget that it is just entertainment. What colour your hair is should not matter, the fashion of the day. I have had people ask me “Are you not going to quit soon?”. Then I say something like, “Look, we have done this since you were in school and we are still here”.


– I have given up on the press but the radio is another matter. It looks like the radio ignores you if you have been around for a while. That is sad because we need air time as much as everybody else in this business. An album can live or die depending on the radio.


– We may not have been angels but we always avoided the hard stuff. We toured with Deep Purple in the States in 1976 and I worried about Tommy Bolin. He was a beautiful man and a good guitarist but he did not want to listen to people that warned him about that shit. I tried to talk to him and he said “Jimi Hendrix did it and look how good he was”. I said, “But Tommy, Jimi is dead!”. I actually saw Hendrix early on and it was way better than the last time I had a chance to see him. Tommy Bolin was one of these guys that this business just eats up. It was a good tour for us, we did better than Purple really.


– The band started in 1968 and the first album came out in 1971. I guess we really established ourselves between 1973 and 1976. We have had our ups and downs and a few lawyers got rich on the way. We got totally screwed by two managers on different occations. Now we do not even know how many records we have actually sold.


– We go out for about six or seven weeks now, then we take some time off. Longer tours are not good for you. You get sick of it and that goes for the crew too. On the last couple of albums we have concentrated on material that works live. When we did “The Catch” (1984) a few years ago we really thought it was a bold direction. Then we started rehearsals for the tour and it did not work. That taught us a lesson. We try to catch as much as possible live in the studio now. It is all about being properly prepared when you walk into the studio.


– We still live in Scotland in this small town. The music scene has always been good there. Some people have succeeded, like Big Country and Ian Anderson. I check out the younger bands if I can. We tend to meet bands more than we see them live, in hotels, airports, trainstations… When I have time off I do ordinary things, I paint the house, spend time with the kids, go the the movies.


– A necessary evil. Some videos out there have budgets that are criminal. Five bands could record an album for that kind of money so you start to wonder. Some artists live on videos. Rock acts are still building their careers through touring, meeting the audience face to face. We tried to make an effort to get the new live video to look good. It felt right because some of the songs are quite serious. I am not trying to force opinions on people, but we have songs about nuclear weapons and how crazy it all is. “Donna – Get Off That Crack” from the new album is a song like that. An anti drug song.


– We will do this for as long as we enjoy it. Or as long that we have an audience. We have learnt that the band comes first, not the individuals in it. If somebody is in a bad mood we just give him some space. Let him read his book at the hotel or whatever. In a couple of days it will be fine. Some bands split as soon as they have a few arguments. We figured it out a long time ago. For us, Nazareth is a way of life.

(My shot of said article & the classic albums)

Interview by Mike Eriksson (1989)