Archive for the ‘My photographs’ Category

Visited friends and family yesterday north of Östersund (Jämtland County) in a region that is called Offerdal. The nature is just mindblowing in this region. Mountains and lakes, fields and forests. Just imagine the hardships that people must have had when they tamed this land. And they did, a long time ago. When the last Ice age ended 10,000 years ago people moved in from Norway as the ice melted away and uncovered land. It was probably a long process, but we know that this land was inhabited 7,000 years ago. We have stone carvings that proves it. I visited such a place yesterday (pretty close to a nice Café on this mountain seen here that has just closed for the season) in good company and I want to showcase some images to you all today.

Back in 1908, rock carvings of elk and other animals were discovered at this place along Gärdeforsen Rapids and when you visit the site and view it you can not help but wonder what life was like here all those years ago. Luckily, the water was calm so we got to see the good stuff without any problems (I guess Spring may be quite different here).

Some of these rock carvings are estimated to have been made 7,000 years ago, others closeby a couple of Millenniums later. But it goes back to the early Stone Age and life here must have been all about hunting and gathering for a very long time. One rock carving clearly depicts a hunting scene. They differ in size, some are big as the animals themselves would have been. Some are smaller. Clearly, this was a place where people dwelled for untold Centuries. They must be buried closeby in the general area, although nobody knows where.

This is as far back as known history goes in Sweden, there are only a select few places like this to be visited. It really touches a nerve standing on these rocks knowing that these people carved these images right here all those years ago. You can not help but wonder what their lives were like. A theater in the forest that are used every now and then by locals can be found if you cross the bridge to the other side of the rapids. The rock band Nordman once performed here. Hopefully the traditions will be kept alive by many generations here yet. It comes from the people that love this place dearly.

Somebody once said “If this place had been located in America, you would have had hotels and whatnot very close to a site like this”. That is probably true. I think this can still happen, as this region will grow more popular in time. Tourism will create new jobs. This is like borderline virgin territory, which is very strange. But huge parts of the north here in Sweden are still pretty unchanged. People moved to the big cities in the 1960s, but the tide has turned (no need to go into why, but it has started and it is the clever people that are moving to this region now).

Had a really good day and I guess we are officially moving into Autumn just about now. Good trip to end the season with.

(My shots from said trip – the top image is from Café Své that is run by Fru Fröken Karamell)

This week I visited Hembygdsgården (roughly translates to the Heritage Center) here in Stugun for the first time. I have passed it on my way to work etc nearly every day since I moved here a couple of years ago but this Wednesday was the first time that I actually checked it out (with a neighbour of mine, Gunnar). Once a week during the summer (or on special occations I guess), it is open to the general public. It is a  small area to which they have moved really old buildings and loads of memorabilia.

I have always been a sucker for history so I like this sort of thing. They had a 20 question quiz around the area that you could walk and you had to guess what old tools etc was made for. Pretty tricky stuff, but good fun. Had some flatbread and beverege and it really was nice to see the place.

This item even had runes on it. I think it is some kind of calendar – imagine that. They had media from Jämtland County hub Östersund there when I visited. You can join this society and pay a small annual fee. I will sign up now and support them in that way.

(My shots from the site)

23:00

Posted: June 1, 2020 in Jämtland (County), My photographs, Stugun

Took this snapshot at about 23:00 (20 minutes ago as I write this). In a couple of weeks we will have daylight around the clock in these parts. Holiday kicks in three weeks from now.

Nice.

Here is a few things that will happen soon on this blog.

April 1. Fox Day. Babymetal will expand on their mythology and reveal what is coming up next. This may or may not include news of the 10th Anniversary that is coming up, but anything can happen on that day and I will blog about it whatever it is.

April 6. Deep Purple Podcast interview on this blog, as Nathan Beaudry and John Mottola celebrates 50 episodes of their wonderful podcast on that day. The interview (with both of them) is ready to go but the right thing to do is to post it on the big day. In the meantime, check them out over at the Deep Purple Podcast platforms (new episode is up every Monday). April 6… hmm…

Also coming up: Interview with Czech editor of SPARK and FAKKER! on his early and continued support for Babymetal.

April may turn out to be less than great, but I will continue with this blog on my spare time.

(My shot of Joe Lynn Turner)

I should have blogged about this a couple of months ago, but here we go. RETROFUTURE bacame my last publication and the very first issue (as seen here) was published in December 2009. It was the beginning of a very nice period and I had a blast creating a dozen or so magazines before I decided to end it all in 2015. It was during this era that I published western novels as part of my output, and photographed wonderful models to go with them. Seen on this cover is Lina, the first I had the pleasure of working with. I think I will go back to this issue and add the Hysterica interview to this blog. It was a good one.

(My cover shot)

Blogwork

As you may know I have removed thousands of blog posts from this blog (mainly magazine stuff, but a lot of other topics as well) since the sad news of the upcoming EU regulations. Spent hours last weekend on this too. On some of these old posts, I actually replace top images. There are ways to save some of this stuff although it is time consuming and I am not done just yet. One result of all this is that 2017-2018 almost looks like a Babymetal blog if you go back now and there are months with only a few blog posts in the archives. Oh well. However, I think I have found a good formula in 2019 for the future and you can see the change. It can never be the same again though, which is a shame.

(Top image shows live shot of Over The Rainbow by me and DEEP PURPLE FOREVER #1 which has a Ritchie Blackmore shot from Copenhagen 1988 by Michael Johansson on the cover)

You have to admire a band that never quits. Uriah Heep are still out there to this day, but they always had a hard time living up to the glory days of the 1970s. It has to be said though that Uriah Heep has had a fairly stable line-up for quite a number of years now, and singer Bernie Shaw has been there now since 1986. Same as keyboard player Phil Lanzon. Out of the 24 studio albums, Bernie and Phil has been there for the last eight. When I met Uriah Heep (in my hometown Östersund in August 1988), they had just released the first album (“Live In Moscow”) with this line-up, and they were hoping to regain lost ground. The concert in Östersund was not well attended, it seemed like the old fans just ignored the fact that Heep was still out there. Since then, they have released some good albums and they have outlived all trends that has passed in rock over the years. I only met them once and guitarist Mick Box gave me this interview before the show that night. He was a very decent chap, very positive. It was in print in LT (October 8 1988).

The interview started with his philosophy of life.

– “I love this lifestyle so much that it is the only thing I want to do until I retire. I have a wife and son in New Mexico but I still spend most of the year on the road. Some bands go out and they do a few shows in America, a few in Europe and maybe a couple of them in the UK. And they call that a World Tour. When we go out we usually play in over 30 countries, including places like Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia, Iceland and so on. Our last singer, Pete Goalby actually left because he could not handle it”.

There is no song from your last studio album “Equator” on the new live album, why is that?

– “I guess it was the changes in the band that did it. And that we wanted to give the fans in the Soviet Union what they wanted to hear the most. There are three new tracks on the live album, the rest is classics. If I see Deep Purple I want to hear “Smoke On The Water”. We have two new members so it feels right to introduce them as well, and then present the classics and how they sound now”.

The last studio album was released through CBS. Why did you leave that label?

– “We were contracted to a CBS owned label called Portrait Records and they did a lousy job for us. We could often not find our record in countries that we played in, and nobody would tell us anything so we did not know. What is the point in playing to thousands of people only to find out that they have not heard your new album?”.

You performed at the Reading Festival recently. How was that?

– “It was a blast. That festival goes on for three days and after the event most people thought that Iggy Pop and us had put on the best shows. It was the first gig at home in two years and we will be back for more shows before we record the next album. It is often the case in this business that you raise your profile if you have done a good job, and more people will be interested in seeing the next tour. We have not been in Sweden for a while so we knew we had to build things up again on this market”.

You are not disappointed that the response has been lukewarm?

– “Not really, we half expected it. The kids today hardly knows what Uriah Heep is but we are playing here now and talking to media and we hope that it will be better next time around over here. We will have a new album out then, maybe a couple of singles and a video”.

You will hit the studios soon for another studio album. What direction are you moving in right now?

– “I think it will be a natural successor to the last album. It will sound like Uriah Heep, with our way of presenting melodic harmonies. I have written stuff with our new keyboard player Phil Lanzon that are really good. It may get to be a little harder than the last one”.

The 20th Anniversary is coming up. How will you celebrate this occation?

– “I think a big birthday cake with a naked lady jumping up from it would be a good start (laughs). We will certainly make the most of it, we will do a long tour for sure and we will have a new album out. We can sell merchandise marking the event, the lot. I am really looking forward to it”.

Do you feel threatened at all by all the younger bands that are out there now?

– “No, because we already have our market. The reason that we take it on the road for nine months out of every year is to keep it all from stagnating. Our only problem is that we tend to view the entire world as our working field and that means that it might take us a while to revisit a specific market again. People think you have quit and you have to explain to them that you have been in 30 countries since you last played in their backyard”.

Where do you spend your time off? You all seem to live quite far away from each other.

– “Yes, we are not exactly neighbors. I live in New Mexico and I have a flat in London. Trevor Boulder lives in Dallas but also have a house in Hull. Lee Kerslake lives on an island that belongs to Spain not far off the coast of Africa. Bernie Shaw lives in Canada and England and Phil Lanzon is still residing in the UK. That results in quite a bit of bus fare (laughs). But if you are a professional and if you can organise all these things, then anything is possible really”.

You made it through hard work and long tours. Does it annoy you that some younger bands can have a successful video and that is it?

– “No, because that is the way it works today. You just have to accept it. I think that any band that makes it in this business today probably dererves it. Most bands have years of work behind them before anything happens. Nobody gets anything for free in this business”.

In recent years, new styles have emerged in rock, like Thrash and things that have borrowed from Punk. What is your take on this?

– “I am fine with it all, but it has all been done before. Iggy Pop was out there long before it became fashionable to do his thing. There is obviously a great interest in new styles and if people enjoy that then that is OK”.

One recent trend is this slam diving thing, were people jump into the crowd from the stage.

– “Thankfully, we do not get that sort of crowd. Our audience are enjoying themselves like they always did. I think that phenomenon you mentioned is an isolated thing really”.

What do you think of the future?

– “Music is my life and the guitar is an instrument with countless possibilities. When I started to do this I decided that it was something that I would stick to for the rest of my life. I may end up playing the blues in Chicago when Uriah Heep is over. I consider myself to be jackpot lucky in that my work is also my passion in life. When we played in Moscow we realized that our music is deeply embedded in their culture. It is pretty fantastic to walk into a fancy restaurant in Moscow and the string ensemble plays “July Morning”. We met fans that had all our albums and they were ready to brave the cold to get a chance to meet us and to get them signed. You also have to remember that all those people had to save money for months to get each and every album on the black market”.

Many artists can not write music when they are on the road. How is it for you?

– “I am lucky in that I can come up with ideas anytime, anywhere. Today we tested a new idea on our soundcheck that might end up on the next album. I do get inspiration from the road – you can find yourself in a bar and somebody says something that sticks in your head, and that could end up as a title of a song. I think I would start to go crazy if I stayed home for too long, because I need this kind of freedom. And the longer you are away from home, the better it is to return. You get to know your wife all over again (laughs)”.

You seem to really love your lifestyle.

– “Oh yes, we live our lives like most people can only dream about. We see a lot of countries on a regular basis. A regular family might save money and then go to a specific place. We are out there all the time. Uriah Heep is all about connecting with the people and we enjoy spending time with our fans. We do not have problems with egos in this band. A career can go up and down over and over but the most important thing is that you always deliver all that you have got. We recently played in front of 120,000 people in Jugoslavia and tonight we are here in front of a few hundred. But the show will be the same. If you do not enjoy yourself, and if you can not communicate with your fans, then you should not be in this business”.

(If you borrow quotes from this interview, have the decency of letting me know about it)

Mike Eriksson (Trinkelbonker 2020) – My image of Uriah Heep.

Seeing Babymetal is an awesome experience. I knew it would be good, but to be as tight as they were on the first gig of the European Tour last night, that is simply a testament to the level of unprecedented professionalism that Babymetal has achieved on their Kawaii Metal Journey. Yesterday saw them perform in Sweden for the first time at a venue called Klubben at Fryshuset (newspaper Aftonbladet said it was 1,400 people there, it was certainly sold out). Su-metal and Moametal was flanked by Riho Sayashi, one of the three chosen Avengers, and they had the American Kami Band with them this time around. Not that you would have known unless you are a dedicated die-hard fanatic. Of course, this was a room full of just that, fanatics. The tribe was out in force, and they had the t-shirts (from Wembley, Tokyo Dome etc) to prove it. Up front you had the usual suspects, the super fans that travel wherever Babymetal goes. That sort of dedication means something.

Upon arrival at the venue at 18:30, the que was already snaking around the block. This is the scene of some of my most memorable work as a freelance rock journalist. I have done Nightwish here (twice), I met John Norum and Glenn Hughes here in 1988 when they were putting a band together. Sinergy singer Kimberly Goss posed with Xena stuff for a major interview that I did for my old Xena/Lucy Lawless fanzine LUCY IN THE SKY (#5) here. I did try to get something ahead of this visit through earMusic in Germany for this blog several weeks ago, but they never replied. Never happened to me before. I was basically hoping to be able to send over a few questions. I was not asking for an interview on the day, or even a photo pass (I know full well they are hard on them, they turned down some major newspapers over here it seems on this very visit). Not sure if my request even reached Babymetal. I would prefer to think it did not.

Not that I care. It will happen some day if it is meant to be. I have always had a very relaxed attitude towards these things. At the moment I just hope that earMusic is not doing a poor job for Babymetal. Maybe there is a reason why Swedish media has not seemingly been on the ball? Oh well. Once inside the venue I got myself a souvenir at the merchandise stand and then we headed into the concert room. The faithful were filling it up and by the time Skynd went on (not sure exactly when that was, but Babymetal hit that stage at exactly 20:30).

Apparantly, Skynd is a troll in Danish folklore. Here tonight though, we have a Scandinavian based (as far as I can tell) industrial act with a front woman that just may share some DNA with Nina Hagen and/or Lisa Dalbello. Add dark lyrics about murder and mayhem to the dark sounds and you have a pretty captivating show. I thought it was great and I think they won many hearts on this night.

Babymetal love the obscure, the dark. I can see why they picked this act to open for them for some of the gigs on this tour. Babymetal are seen by some as outcasts. In reality, they are the cutting edge right now, and this bill proves it. Looking forward to the first Skynd album, whenever that pops up.

At 20:30 Babymetal entered the stage. The set list featured 13 tracks: “Future Metal” (intro), “Da Da Dance”, “Gimme Chocolate!!”, “Shanti Shanti Shanti”, “BxMxC”, “Kagerou” (with Kami Band intro), “Oh! Majinai” (featuring Sabaton singer Joakim Brodén on the screen behind them), “Megitsune”, “Pa Pa Ya!!”, “Distortion”, “Karate”, “Headbanger” and “Road Of Resistance”.

The crowd was pretty pumped up after “Da Da Dance” but Babymetal sent them right to Kawaii Heaven with “Gimme Chocolate!!”. Pretty brave to not end the show with that tune (112,000,000 hits and counting on YouTube), but they never have. Says a lot about them too. After this explosion of emotions and energy there was no going back. Babymetal was here to conquer new territory and that they did.

All eyes are on the girls but the Kami Band guys did get a chance to shine as they introduced “Kagerou”. Pretty intense dancing in this tune too. The back screen was used for full effect for the entire show.

“Oh! Majinai” has turned out to be a very powerful song live, and the crowd really loved seeing Joakim on that screen as the girls payed tribute to traditional Scandinavian type dancing. Who would have expected to see that? Babymetal really are a one in a million type thing. We will never experience anything like them again.

Rap is not my cup of tea and I hope they keep this particular avenue down to a minimum, but it is clear that they hit the jackpot with “Pa Pa Ya!!” a while back (nearly 13,000,000 hits on YouTube now). Again, we had the guest (rapper F-Hero) on this track on the back screen. There is a lot to take in at a Babymetal show.

It all ended with “Road Of Resistance”, complete with the flags and the crowd pleasing sing-along part in the middle. I have to say that I missed a ballad in the set, and it would have been nice to have included “Shine” from the current “Metal Galaxy” album. The show was slightly less than one hour long, so they could have played another song, and had the Kami Band perform some more. I can see why they keep it down a bit on a long tour like this though. They have to work pretty hard up there.

After the show we headed back to the city (Gamla Stan in fact), for a well deserved beer. I heard fans speak several languages around me when we walked out. Babymetal really have the best fan base in the world right now. And they probably know it. Sweden is still the backwaters in Babymetal Land, but I hope this will change soon. This first visit may have helped more than we know. For more attention, I hope they get to open for a major artist here next time. Think Metallica, Rammstein. Think Big. One day they will be massive over here too.

Long may they reign.

By Mike Eriksson (Trinkelbonker) – Please note that this blog support Babymetal 100%!

(All images by me, Kalle Thelin & Seth Nilsson)

TONY IOMMI

Black Sabbath legend Tony Iommi will visit Stockholm on May 15 at the venue Lilla Cirkus (capacity 800), but not for a concert this time but for a conversation about his life. Tickets are on sale now.

BABYMETAL

The two East Meets West concerts in Japan are over and they performed two completely different sets (with both the Japanese Kami Band as well as the American, plus all three Avengers/guest dancers). At the end of the second show it was revealed that they will celebrate the 10th Anniversary on October 10 in Japan and that more details will be revealed on Fox Day (April 1). A new Blu-ray/DVD called “Live At The Forum” will be released on May 13, hopefully worldwide this time but who knows (this is the band that did not release “Live At Wembley” and “Live At Tokyo Dome” outside of Japan). But this time the timing for the Festival season in Europe is pretty much spot on, so it really ought to see official release over here as well.

JORN

Norwegian singer Jorn Lande has a new Jorn album out called “Heavy Rock Radio II – Executing The Classics”. The first radio album was phenomenal and this looks like a winner too, as evidenced by the new video for the Russ Ballard song “Winning”.

(My shot of Tony Iommi)

Proud to see that my friend Jens Ganman has been voted Swede of 2019 by News Magazine Fokus, a highly prestigious honor indeed. He is a journalist, author, song writer and an absolute fearless voice in a society that has largely been silenced by political correctness. I think it is fair to say that certain parts of our establishment is very unhappy about his work. His weapon of choice is often satire, backed up by facts that mainstream media do not want to touch. Jens is a very brave man and this reward is well deserved. He was published in my final issue of RETROFUTURE a few years ago (the subject matter was our freedoms). He has always been a very busy guy and here we are. The 2020s belongs to people like him.

(My shot from an outdoors debate in Östersund about five years ago)