THE STORY OF THE CRIMSON SHADOWS
INTERVIEW WITH JENS LINDBERG
The following interview took place in March 1995. In fact I sent some questions to Jens Lindberg and he kindly answered them. It was supposed to be published in some fanzine back then but the whole project failed. Now, after all these years, I feel happy that I have it here. I hope Jens feels the same too.
v On the backside of the Mystery ‘s Scene 45 is written that the Crimson Shadows split in March 1986. Although on the LP is written that the Crimson Shadows recorded it in 4/2/1988. Is there been a mistake?
Yes, we did split in March 1986, that’s true. When Marc Richter of Mystery Scene wanted to release an LP with Crimson Shadows, he offered us money to pay for the studio costs. We had only made two studio demos during our career, you see. The first in March 1985 contained the two songs for our first 7” and four others. And we made our second demo in September 1985 where we had two songs for the second 7” and two others (More of these songs later).
So, we went to a studio 4.2.1988 and made some original songs of us, which we used to play back in 1985, and Marc payed for it.
v Tell us about the Crimson Shadows first days.
In the early days back in 1979/1980 Peter and me were mods but we weren’t close friends. In 1982, I quit the mod stuff turned into punk/hardcore then to psychedelia in 1983. Peter experienced the same development.
On a party in September 1984, I met Peter. (I knew him vaguely at that time) and we discussed to start a garage band. He told me he had some songs already.
Next week I went to his home, he lived on the other side of the town with his parents and his brother Johan. I was 19 years old, Peter 20 and Johan, the old guy, was 24.
At that time I learned how to play bass cause I‘ve been in a college group called “Les Enfants Terrible”, which was completely awful. Peter played guitar and Johan drums. We soon realized we needed another guitar. I knew Mans vaguely and he played guitar in a mod/psych group called “ Lord Chamberkins Players”. He quitted that group and joined us but we didn’t have a name yet.
Three weeks after we had started, we were offered to do a gig in November 1984 at a big party. We only had 4 songs ready but no singer. Nor Peter, Mans or I wanted to sing. A friend of mine, called Fredrik Sandstrom, joined the group to sing. This was our first gig and we had a name. We called ourselves “Shake Some Action”. We did 2 originals “I’m Coming” and “Out Of My Mind”, but Fredrik was so drunk, so I was forced to sing instead of him! We also played 2 covers, “Cinderella” and “Cadillac”. This first gig was no success but people liked us for our ultra cool clothing and haircuts, I guess. In December 1984, Peter changed from guitar to organ. He bought a Vox Continental and a Farfisa Compact De Luxe.
v And what about the Crimson Shadows split?
There were 3 reasons: First we didn’t seem to get attraction from fans., no one really cared about our music. We looked at Nomads, Stomachmouths who had a bigger reputation. Second, Mans and Peter didn’t get on very well. Mans thought he was the leader but Peter should play that role. Third, both Peter and I wanted to play R’n’B instead. As a result” Highspeed V and Wylde Mammoths.
v Do you remember the bands that the members of The Crimson Shadows played before joining the band?
Peter had played in a lot of various groups since 1977. No names worth mentioning. Johan had a skinhead group that once played on radio (Johan was a skinhead 1978-1982). Mans played in the Lord Chamberkins Players, maybe some other, I don’t know. I had played with the group I mentioned above. Henrik was also in that college group.
v How come you picked that name, The Crimson Shadows, for the band?
On the first album of The Chesterfield Kings there is a poem on the back sleeve that goes “…from the Mystic Tides, through the Crimson Shadows…” or something. Peter had bought it and came up with the name. I think there was an American group called Mystic Tides?!
v Do you remember how did you release your first 45? I mean did you sent any demos to labels, were there any interest into your music?
About the first 45! In March 1985, 10.3 to be exact, we went into Siljan studios to make a demo. We recorded 5 songs and mixed it in 8 hours and we had a lot of beers with us. I was the only one who had been in a studio before. We did:
Out Of My Mind – Peter Maniette
It’s Cold – Mans Mansson
Night Of The Maniacs - Mans Mansson
I Know Nothing - Mans Mansson
When I’m Going Away - Mans Mansson
We sent the demo to Tracks On Wax (they released 1st Backdoor Men, 1st Cornflake Zoo, 1st Wayward Souls 45 etc.). He was very interested and promised us that he would make a 7” but he changed his mind and released Backdoor Men instead.
Amigo Records who had the Nomads thought that we sounded too much 60s. He didn’t like us. Anyway, Peter was rich cause he was working, so he payed for 350 copies and sleeves. We did the sleeves ourselves and went to various record dealers who would take 5 – 10 copies on commission. They sold it for like 4$ and we got 2$. When we were in clubs, we used to trade one single for a beer! Yeah, those were the times!
v Which were your musical influences?
Mans was heavily influenced of good old garage rock and so was I. Peter being a very “serious” song writer was influenced by garage of course but also country, Beatles etc. I remember listening a lot of Pebbles, Fuzztones, Chesterfield Kings etc. But also to 60s Sweden/Holland. But we didn’t do any covers really.
v Where were you rehearsing?
We were rehearsing in Peter’s basement. His parent’s house was quite big.
v Where did you play live?
I think we made nine gigs. In the beginning out in the suburbs on youth clubs. That was really a drag. No money no alcohol. Played some private parties but mostly on club Kaos in Stockholm City. But we had a lot of private gigs in Peter’s basement for friends.
v Is it true that you didn’t play any covers on stage?
As I said, on our first gig we played 2 covers. Later we did only “Blue’s Theme” on stage. We did only our own material.
v Were there enough people in Sweden back then to come to the gigs and listen to The Crimson Shadows?
Yes, the garage thing was quite big in 1985. A strange thing was that we were very popular among the skinheads. There were always a lot of skinheads when we played. Kaos is a small club and I think we still have the record of people there. Over 300 came when we and The Stomachmouths played there!
v What other bands did you know back then? Did the Crimson Shadows play live with any of them at any gig?
We played live together with The Stomachmouths, Cornflake Zoo and Hijackers. We were good friends with The Stomachmouths. We didn’t really like Cornflake Zoo, though we were friends. They weren’t really garage. We also didn’t like groups as Nomads, Shoutless and all those Solna (a suburb of Stockholm, famous for their “garage bands”) groups.
v Do you remember anything weird, worth or not worth mentioning from these days?
We were a wild bunch of friends in the Shadows. One good thing was that we had 5 – 6 very young groupies that always were hanging around us and came to our rehearsals.
We often got in trouble with the police cause of our clothes and drinking habits. Henrik was badly beaten after our last gig. Once the police forced me to leave the subway when I pissed in the escalator.
We also used to sing stupid songs on the buses while Henrik was playing his harp.
Well, I have a million stories but the basic element was always alcohol, music and sex.
v What do you personally prefer more: The fact that the two first The Crimson Shadows 45s are now extremely rare and nearly impossible to find or you rather like to be easy for everyone to find them?
Well, I prefer that the 2 original 45s are hard to find. But Darren Ross on Weed Records will make a compilation album with all The Crimson Shadows stuff including the first 2 45s. (NOTE: That album finally didn’t come out but Weed Recs released the 4th 45. Some years later Inbetween Recs released the stuff on CD only format) Then everyone can listen to the songs. But you have to know that I haven’t made a single cent on any of my records. I have given away all my extra copies to friends, fans and ex girlfriends. I now have only one copy of each record I made. I even asked some copies back from ex girlfriends but they refused.
v The “dialogue” plus the “aaah-uungh” sounds among the songs of the Mystery Scene LP were taken from any documentary about dentists or is it something else???
This is very funny!! I laughed for 5 minutes. Do you really think it’s dentists? No, it’s PORNOGRAPHIC! A rough translation as it appears on the album: (Man) “Ah, you make me crazy, oh it’s like heaven, that’s right, put the whole cock in your mouth aaah aaah Christ…This is how you like it…No no. Down on your knees, back like dog. Louder Louder! This is how you want it”.