Archive for the ‘Magazines’ Category

Here is another man cave snapshot from the music room/library, this time a recently framed article from English speaking The Japan News (dated April 16 2016). It deals with the massive success in the UK and the sold out gig at Wembley on April 2 that year (that broke all previous records of merchandise sales in the prestigious arena). I found this article on eBay and Babymetal also had part of the front cover, although that went into one of my Babymetal binders. This one cost me about 140 dollars to frame and I think it looks pretty good. It is certainly a classic Babymetal article from the glory days when the band cemented their popularity in the UK. Trainspotters may note the old Nightwish Photo Pass from the Tarja Turunen days of that band to the left. Good memories.

(My shot of said article)

Added the “Warrior Soul” Double Vinyl (Blue) from Doro to the old collection. Great cover art by Geoffrey Gillespie. Really nice gatefold sleeve too. This is why Vinyl still rules. Also worthy of note: great Glenn Hughes feature (with awesome Deep Purple shots) in Planet Rock #18 (Motörhead cover), and Don Airey is interviewed in Sweden Rock Magazine #1 2020 (Iron Maiden cover). I could have lived without the Rainbow piece in Guitar Techniques #304 though. Nice Jimmy Page cover (with Ritchie Blackmore top right), but not much inside.

(My shot of the “Warrior Soul” LP)

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!

* * * * *

 -“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)

* * * * *

“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)

Picked up the big Deep Purple/Babymetal art (as in two huge posters from Czech publication Spark joined as one) yesterday, and it now hangs in a corner close to a framed 1981 Whitesnake Poster from my Deep Purple Freak Society days down in the music room/library. There is a symbolic value in this work as Deep Purple belongs to the first generation of Hard Rock bands that came up in the late 1960s (and really picked up speed with the “In Rock” album in 1970), and Babymetal represents the now as the most experimental thing out there today, borrowing from just about every genre in Rock/Metal and elsewhere (the spirit of freedom and hard core talent runs deep in both, although they are worlds apart in many ways).

Cost me about 250 dollars to frame these but the end result is actually pretty awesome. The Deep Purple poster was printed in Spark #4 2017 along with a major cover story on their “Infinite” album, and you have that famous polar expedition look that they went with and the logo. The Babymetal poster was printed in Spark #8 2015 (these publications can still be ordered online), and you have a nice 2013 shot with the gals doing the Fox Sign. Again, with the logo. I really think it is a great look, a fabulous mix.

But here is the thing. As long as Deep Purple is still out there, they both share a brief moment of space and time in this wonderful musical galaxy of ours. And both are certainly a source of much joy, albeit in different ways.

(My shots from the man cave)

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 been going through my collection of newspapers and magazines and I had to stop and read this one, Swedish newspaper Expressen (May 7 1945). The bloody WWII was over in Europe and the Third Reich had just capitulated. An estimated 70,000 German troops assembled across the Norwegian border for demobilization in Swedish camps. Fighting was still going on in Copenhagen between patriots and traitors. Pravda is quoted in a report that estimates that 4,000,000 has been killed in Auschwitz alone. The Swedish fishing fleet has been ordered to stay in the harbors since the situation is highly unstable. The Japanese are very upset that their Axis partner has failed them in a time of crisis. The American flag has been raised over Hitler´s Eagles Nest, then lowered to half-mast in honor of President Roosevelt, whom had just passed away. It goes on and on.

The thirst for entertainment was as big as ever and at the cinemas people could watch a Soviet War film, an Adventure film (“China Girl” starring Gene Tierney and George Montgomery) and a Western Musical (“Can´t Help Singing” with Deanna Durbin and Robert Paige).

Glad that Sweden managed to largely stay out of this mess. My grandfather John Johansson spent years as a soldier on the Norwegian border. Had war broken out, who knows how our family would have fared? I was born in 1961, only 16 years after the war. Sweden in the 1960s was not that different from the 1940s. The industrialization was going on and huge changes was in the works but we still had a living countryside. In my lifetime I have seen this country change in so many ways. Inside, I feel both like an old man, and as the guy that is still the same as back in the day. But time is slipping away for sure and I am very aware that I will retire in the 2020s. It will be a good day too and I hope I am still around to blog about it then.

(My shots of said newspaper)

I used to have huge articles in print all the time back in the day and here is one from ÖP (Östersunds Posten, November 17 1984). In this one I had a crack at listing the 25 best Hard Rock bands and to avoid too much havoc I listed them in alphabetical order. They were: AC/DC, Accept, BTO, Budgie, Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, Deep Purple, Dio, Europe, Fist, Hughes Thrall, James Gang, Judas Priest, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, MSG, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, Scorpions, Status Quo, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Van Halen, 220 Volt and Whitesnake. Not sure what the hell Status Quo was doing in there, maybe I was a bit intoxicated when I put this list together? In any case, I had some fun with this story and I made good money on it. The live shot of Black Sabbath featuring Ian Gillan was taken by my friend Michael Johansson in Stockholm 1983. Makes it all look good too.

(My shot of said article)