Archive for the ‘Hobby’ Category

Swedish comic book WESTERN consisted of all sorts of good stuff from the archives and existed between 1976-1993. Always 100 pages. Looking back at it now, it really was a magnificent publication. This is #6 1990 and 1 1989. The cover shots were never credited.

(My shot of said comic books)

I published DEEP PURPLE MAGAZINE #14 in July 1980 so it has been 40 years. I actually published two of them that month so I will be back with another cover a couple of weeks from now. Not the prettiest version of Whitesnake, but man could they rock! “Ready An´Willing” was out at the time, first album to feature Ian Paice.

Good times.

(Cover shot courtesy of EMI)

I am 59 years old as of today so one more year to go before the big 60. Not that I care much. It is just a number. It will mean that I am one year closer to retirement though, which will happen (the way I see it now) at 65. We shall see. I consider myself a pretty lucky guy. Born in a country like Sweden in 1961 was a blessing. It was a very safe environment. We had a library closeby when I was a kid and that was a blessing too. I read books when I was 10, not just comics and stuff like that but thick books on history and of all the wonders and the mysteries of this world. In the 1960s I listened to the radio because it was the only outlet, but I was lucky in that my mother bought records that I enjoyed so I used to raid her collection. So much great stuff, Elvis, Tom Jones, The Hollies, Cliff Richard. Then you saw Elvis on TV and he certainly made an impression. Then it was The Monkees, also on TV. The first album I ever owned was an album by The Monkees. Then I got “Jesus Christ Superstar”, and without knowing it at the time (this was probably in 1970) I had now touched on the Deep Purple Family (as singer Ian Gillan sang the part of Jesus on that album). In 1971 I discovered Deep Purple and so at age 10 I dived deep into the wonderful world of rock music and radio was the natural outlet still. And friends in school that had older brothers and sisters whom owned great albums (that is how I stumbled across Purple). It was the age of great discoveries, but Deep Purple would remain the heroes.

On TV, you had a lot of Westerns. I know now that the boss of the two channels that existed back then was a huge fan of the genre, and he made sure that the Swedish people got to see all the classics (still love that stuff to this day), and we also got High Chaparral (which, along with The Addams Family surely added something to my cultural DNA). Once a week you had a detective story on TV that everybody watched. There was a bunch of them over the years that everybody loved – Columbo, McCloud, Baretta, Kojak, Cannon etc etc. The 1970s was awesome. I recall a summer (could have been 1973) when TV aired all the classic horror films and we all watched them. That introduced horror comics. The comic book scene was fantastic. So much to chose from, and so I collected a lot of titles. I used to draw comics myself, just for fun. But this interest gave way to music and in 1978 I created my first publication, a magazine called DEEP PURPLE MAGAZINE. Within a year I started to write for newspapers. In 1981 I got to meet Whitesnake in Stockholm (interviews with David Coverdale and Jon Lord can be found on this blog). That changed things and within a year or two I met a lot of the artists that visited Sweden. By 1986 I started to write for major publications abroad, like METAL HAMMER in Europe and METAL (published by CREEM) in the States.

Did radio, did a lot of things. It is all a bit of a blur now but I recall a lot of it. At 30 I was a bit tired of it all so I slowed down and started another Purple fanzine, this time it was a publication called DEEP PURPLE FOREVER. This went on for 13 years and then I started to publish magazines with a much broader content (basically anything I wanted to include, with one foot in the past and one in the present). This only ended after me having done over 100 magazines a few years ago. I never gave up on music. I never stopped reading magazines and books. I felt that good bands were still coming along although the 1990s had been pretty brutal. There will always be good stuff out there. Always. If you can not find it you are not looking.

That attitude had me check out Babymetal in March 2017 (I mentioned it on this blog that very day) and My God did they surprise the hell out of me. It was like 40+ years of Rock and Metal had to happen before this could even be considered. And a lot of other cultural stuff coming out of Asia as well. Babymetal came out when the time was right and we suddenly had this wonderful weird thing that defied all logic. But it worked and it was beautiful. And they are now pulling in yet another generation into the music that I have loved for 50 years now. It will never go away. Hell, I hope it lasts forever. I need it until the day I leave this earth and I think it will always be there. The classic bands will go away but new music will come along. Just look at all the talent. Look at all the young kids that are playing their instruments on YouTube clips like they have been at it for decades. They will hopefully be in bands some day and of course many of them will. All this stuff is like positive energy to me. I think I share that feeling with a lot of people.

Wow, this turned into a bit of a rant. I guess when you look back on a lot of great things it is only natural to look forward too. I do think that art and culture is good for the soul, for our very wellbeing. I spend some time almost daily with this blog, because it is fun. Maybe some of you are here because you share some of my interests. All I know is that, for the moment this is my outlet. This is my little universe. At 59 and with everything I have seen, I think I should be allowed to rant a bit every now and then. It is like half of me is a grumpy old geezer (I loved that TV show, if you know the one I am talking about), but I still have a lot of positive energy. I try to stay positive on this blog. There is way too much negativity out there as it is.

Of course, one year from now, we either live in a normalized place again, or we are well and truly fucked…

(My top image – had to have one for this rant)

Got to love Japan. They were always big on guitar heroes over there and here we have a couple of knockout covers from the old days. Player #276 (1989) and Viva Rock (Deep Purple Family Special from 1980). Eddie Van Halen shot by Steve Jennings, the Ritchie Blackmore cover is uncredited. Powerful images, they really capture some excitement. 344 and 140 pages. My old friends in 220 Volt are featured in the Player magazine. Had forgot about that.

(My shot of said publications)

Old School Hobby

Posted: July 4, 2020 in Cool stuff, Hobby

Have not built anything in nearly 30 years but I have a hobby room now and I have been ready to go for years. Figured I would ease myself back into it with one of these nice 1:72 Airfix kits and the first I picked (from my collection) was this Hawker Typhoon. Easy enough build, but the real learning curve is when you paint the thing. I want it to look at least fairly good. Got to get some more paint and brushes to get it just right (I thought I was prepared but I was not) but it will be worth it even if it will take a few days. I am getting things done on my holiday so a bit of fun on the side is a good thing. And this is very relaxing on so many levels. Guys from my generation will understand. The key is that hobby room.

(My shot of work in progress)

Well I showcased the Swedish version of Classics Illustrated a few days ago on this blog and today I have good reason to show you these. You see, the Swedish publisher Williams had the rights to publish adventures set in our history, written and drawn by local talent. In fact, the story about the ship Wasa was inspired by real events as broken down in a well known book by author Lars Widding. The adventure to the right was drawn by Bo Vilson and had previously been published in a magazine called Levande Livet (he never lived to see it in Illustrerade Klassiker, he passed away in 1949). Big names though, you can say it was all done in the spirit of the original. It worked.

(My shot of said comic books)

Morgan Kane

Posted: July 3, 2020 in Books, Cool stuff, Hobby

Louis Masterson may not be a household name outside of Scandinavia, but this Norwegian author sold millions of books with his Morgan Kane series. At home, he is one of the all time greats and his classic catalogue is still published to this day. No wonder then that there exists a huge book on Morgan Kane in Norway, “Den store boka om Morgan Kane” (Aller Forlag, 2014) by authors Atle Nielsen and Kjell Jörgen Holbye (in collaboration with the Louis Masterson and others). This has to be one of the best put together books about the legacy (he wrote 83 books) of a Western author. All the covers, the big picture, everything is in there. And man, the covers were awesome. Highly collectable.

(My shot of said book)

I have always had a soft spot for smaller sized comic books and I would say that I probably own way more of these than any other. The Swedish scene has been dead for decades but it used to be pretty active from the 1950s to the 1980s. Bajonett Serien was one such title, it sported WWII adventures and artist Chako had many of the covers (like these two, 12 1975 and 2 1976). I mean, he had hundreds of them. Bajonett Serien existed between 1965-1976. Other titles from new owners reprinted these very adventures again and again later on, until the scene was finally over. If this had been handled better, like Commando in the UK, maybe it could have still existed?

(My shot of said comic books)

I published DEEP PURPLE FOREVER #3 in September 1991 and I will translate a couple of pieces from it in the next couple of weeks (this being the first). I had just spent a decade writing for magazines and newspapers so I had a lot to draw from that I could use in this publication. I enjoyed it all very much and it is good fun to look back on this stuff now. I printed 32 issues of DEEP PURPLE FOREVER. #3 had a great cover shot of Ian Gillan by my friend Michael Johansson. The first story is titled “Toto and Deep Purple”. Enjoy…

TOTO AND DEEP PURPLE

Toto is the musicians and the artists favourite band. When they perform you will see loads of familiar faces in the VIP section. Trust me on this. I have seen it again and again. Having said that though, even guys like these have idols themselves, and this is were Deep Purple comes into the picture.

I have met Toto several times in the last few years, Steve Lukather on six different occations. We have certainly chatted about past influences, music that has mattered. We also have an interesting detail that draws Toto into our sphere of interest even deeper as drummer Jeff Porcaro actually played with Tommy Bolin on his “Teaser” album.

So let us begin there and pretend that you are with me at the Hotel Sheraton in Stockholm a few years ago with the band at a press conference. They will play at the Johanneshov Arena later that night and after the press thing I ask Jeff if he would mind posing with a copy of the UK Deep Purple Appreciation Society magazine Darker Than Blue which sports a nice Tommy Bolin cover. He politely agreed and as I took a couple of snapshots keyboard player David Paich popped by and said “Is that Tommy Bolin?”. It turns out that they have a good deal of love and respect for Tommy. Jeff also mentions that he played on some tracks for “Private Eyes” too, but that it was not used. It is well known that Tommy recorded quite a lot of stuff at this point which Jeff can confirm.

I tried to get confirmation on a story that Iron Maiden (and former Gillan guitarist) Janick Gers had told me back in 1982, that Tommy had been in pretty bad shape during these recordings and that a guy that had been in the studio at the time had told him that he even fell off a chair at one point when he was doing a solo and ended up on the floor unconscious. Jeff was not inclined to answer the question and I could tell that he did not like it. “There are things that is nobody elses business”. Clearly, Jeff is still disturbed over the fate of Tommy and very protective to this day.

(I just want to insert here that I am not proud of that question, I was way out of line and Jeff was right in his response)

Steve Lukather, one of the top guitarists in the world today, recalls his influence of Tommy. “My roots in jazz rock is Jeff Beck and Tommy Bolin. I still remember the first time that I heard “Spectrum”, it was just unbelievable. They all performed so well on that album, Jan Hammer, Cobham… and it was all live, which makes it even more incredible. You can even hear Tommy lose a guitar string in one of the tunes. I was also a big fan of James Gang, both with Joe Walsh and Tommy and I still love to jam songs by them with my friends”.

Steve is also a fan of Deep Purple. “I was a big fan in my teens and I still listen to them. I love these guys. I love Ritchie Blackmore. He has a very distinctive feel. So many guys are copying him now but he is the greatest. I have no idea how he deals with that but in a way it is complimentary although it would be better for these guys if they tried to find their own thing”.

Then our conversation turned to Glenn Hughes. “He used to date my wifes sister a few years ago so I know him well. Have you met him lately? Do you know what he is up to? He sings on the new Whitesnake album? (This chat was had when Whitesnake was about to release “Slip Of The Tongue”). I have heard that David Coverdale is spending a lot of money on Whitesnake now. I heard that Steve Vai got 300,000 dollars to join”.

Another time, when we meet backstage at the Globe Arena after a Toto show I ask him if the rumour that he plays on an upcoming Glenn Hughes solo album is true. Sadly, the answer was that this is not the case. “I have not met Glenn in a while now. I have called him a few times but he has always been out. Had he asked I might have done it, even though I am a bit tired of guesting on other peoples records”.

I can understand where he is coming from here, since the critics have always loved to hate Toto and that they have looked down on them as being nothing but a bunch of studio musicians (how crazy is that?). The truth is that they have certainly played with a lot of people, but only because they have been in demand because they are so good. And how do you say no to friends? Living in Los Angeles, you are in the thick of it. “I did sing a little on the new Van Halen album”, he said in our last conversation. “But we are neighbors and close buddies. Eddie gave me a song for my first solo album and played on that”.

I will end this piece with a few words and thoughts about Toto. The critcs in this country, and pretty much everywhere, have always hated them. My take is that this has occured because they came along when everybody was praising the punk movement. So they had to hate something and Toto became a part of that hatred. This is pathetic beyond belief. We now have a second generation of critics that are just repeating the same old crap. The fact remains that these guys can play, they have it all down and they bloody well know how to rock. This is never going to be accepted though, which is a shame. The critics will just follow the gospel, that Toto are boring session musicians and nothing more. Well I have seen them play Jimi Hendrix stuff and they crushed it. Just over the top superb versions. Steve is a rocker, trust me.

Michael Eriksson DPF 1991 / Trinkelbonker 2020

I want to add that it has been nice to see Steve Lukather support the Deep Purple family in recent years, praising them on camera and playing on a Tommy Bolin tribute album. Kudos Steve.

(My shot of said article in DPF 3 – “Teaser” ad on the right side)

More from Sweden. Here we have a couple of classic publications that experienced their commercial and creative peak in the 1960s and 1970s, FIB Aktuellt and Lektyr. They were basically geared towards men but women read them too. FIB Aktuellt 6 1970 has the lovely Christina Lindberg on the cover (along with three guys), she was a model that would also become a movie star. Shot is credited to Siwer Ohlsson, one of the greatest photographers we have ever had in this country. Lektyr 52 1974 has Brigitte Bardot on the cover. No photo credit in this one. Both these titles still exists but the magic is long gone.

(My shot of said publications)