vMans, do you remember when was your first involvement into the music scene?
I was at a youth club one night when I was 15, and that particular night they had some stiff boring cover band on stage… Everybody hated them and wanted a friend of mine, who was obsessed with Elvis, to join’ em on stage and sing some rock’n’roll. He was a bit shy and needed company, so he asked me. The band said ok and we ended up screaming “Tutti Frutti” for what felt like half an hour infront of everybody there, who all went totally bananas! To top it off I finally got the attention of the girl I’d been secretly checking out for the last month and I even got to score for the first time ever as a result of that! After that there was no question what I wanted to do – I wanted to play rock’n’roll!
v Maybe you remember your first album/45 that you bought?
I used to record stuff from the radio and from friends’ LP’s on my cassette recorder. I don’t exactly remember the particular order of the first records I bought… but LP’s with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and even Hank Williams were the first I bought when I was around 13 – 14. The first 45 was probably by Stray Cats.
v Do you remember the first song that you ever composed? Did it make it to any record release?
I think it was called “Freddies Wash-machine” or something like that. It had a Bo Diddley beat and was about getting all your cool mod clothes dirty and not being able to get them cleaned. Kinda ridiculous… and it never saw any kinda release (thank god). I wrote quite a lot for the mod band I was in (although I soon turned it into a garage band after hearing the Sonics etc) and song subjects turned mean and filthy (i.e. sex, put-downs and monsters) almost right away after that first fucking song about laundry haha. The first songs I wrote that got released was with The Crimson Shadows.
v Are you still in touch with Peter Maniette and the other Crimson Shadows? What they ‘re up to today?
I see quite a lot of Jens. For the moment I’m mixing the new Maharajas album for them and it sounds great! It will be out on Low Impact, and I think it has the potential to be a real hit with garage fans. The vocals are shared by Jens and Mattias (from Strollers) and there’s both fuzz ravers on it as well as Jens’ more sensitive wimp pop ballads. I still see Peter from time to time as well. He isn’t up to very much for the moment I’m afraid. He hasn’t done anything after that totally great EP he did for Low Impact with Peter Maniette Group, and he doesn’t wanna play gigs really. I meet him out and it’s always good to see him and chat away over a coupla drinks. I never see Johan anymore, and almost never Henrik. They aren’t into the rock thing any more, but have other lives.
v Do you remember where the Crimson Shadows have had their debut live appearance and how did you feel like being on stage performing with a garage band? Was that your first time on stage ever?
At our first show ever we were called Shake Some Action, after the Flamin Groovies song, and it was a complete disaster. We had an additional “singer” with us on our first gig and he was so nervous that he quickly downed two bottles of wine before we took to the stage. The gig was a total mess with cords breaking and no-one heard anything really. It didn’t make it better that the so called singer just posed around, and didn’t get one single note out of his mouth! The only thing that finally came out of his mouth was a fountain of puke! As you can see in my earlier answers this wasn’t the first time on stage for me, and I had never played anything but garage rock so it felt just as usual. It took a coupla years to get good on stage, before that we were always shitty, obnoxious and drunk.
v Why didn’t you put a photo of all the 5 members of the Crimson Shadows in the front sleeve and label of the 1st 45? Henrik Orrje wasn’t a regular member of the band by then?
Exactly so. Henrik became a member after the first 45 was released. We put him on the back cover because he was playing on the 45, and because it looked cool. He looks really crazy on that picture! Actually he was completely nuts during that period. We all were more or less.
v How were your relations with the other garage bands of that time, like the Stomachmouths, the Backdoor Men, The Cornflake Zoo, etc.?
We got along fine with The Cornflake Zoo (or The Knights Of Fuzz, as they were originally called haha – I still bump in to Lennart Ploom btw, and it’s always great to meet him) but we thought they were kinda lame heheh… and we also got along just fine with the Backdoor Men/Creeps camp. Our best buddies were The Stomachmouths though – we hung out a lot together and raised hell. Another great band we gigged with were The Hi-Jackers! Their drummer Anders and guitarist Ferdi ended up in the now sadly defunct Turpentines. Ferdi’s playing some guitar on both “This Condition…” and “Do The Maggot!” albums.
v Which is your favorite Crimson Shadows song?
That’s so incredibly hard to say… I like a lot of them. One favourite is called “Now I Have To Go” but that’s an unreleased one. I only have it on an old rehearsal tape, and I’ve been thinking about taking it up with The Maggots. Of the released songs I’ll probably have to say “Even I Tell Lies” although I think it has a fucking lame production. But on the other hand almost everything we recorded could’ve been mixed much better if we’d had any sorta clue. I have a soft spot for “Apeman” aswell – it has good lyrics and is chaotic and is a pretty accurate account of how it felt to be in Crimson’ at that time.
v Now that it’s been almost twenty years from that era, do you think that the Crimson Shadows deserved something bigger in the 80s garage scene than a small period of life?
I’m not sure that we would’ve survived an early success. If we had toured, and been exposed to everything you get offered on tours, I’m afraid it would’ve ended in total chaos. We were a bunch of total lunatics and had no responsible member at all, as most bands usually do. Maybe if we had managed to stick together for a longer time things would’ve straighted out a bit, but if it had happened around ’86 I don’t think we would’ve handled it very well to tell the truth.
v Tell me some story concerning the Livingstones. You had a great 45 back in the 80s but you didn’t last too long. What happened?
We released the 45, some compilation contributions and did some great gigs, for example together with The Chesterfield Kings when they were here. Then we did a tour in Germany and it started out great, but after a coupla weeks Lasse Kjellén had a nervous break-down and Per Stavborg chickened out and managed to convince Lasse to break up the tour and go home with him. Me and Isse stayed and partied up the money haha. So anyway, when we got home Per was outta the picture and then Isse quit – I can’t remember why actually. Me and Lasse kept on with a coupla other guys but after a coupla good demos (that stayed demos although I think some of it has found release on some Misty Lane records) it just kinda broke apart.
v It seems to me that when you were in The Livingstones you were between in playing garage and playing surf music. Is that so?
Yeah I guess so. I and Lasse had a big thing for surf, and also for “wimpier” 60’s bands like Turtles, Beau Brummels and New Colony Six, and we wanted to combine it with the garage sounds. We were all very much into Nederbeat and stuff like that. We also had a big thing going for Nancy & Lee and actually recorded a rockin’ version of “Summer Wine” aswell!
v Who was the owner of Sunlight Records?
Sunlight Records was just a label The Stomachmouths made up for their first 45, it wasn’t a record company at all. We thought it looked real cool to release our 45’s on the Sunlight though to give off the impression of a real label. Looking back it still looks like one of the coolest Swedish indie labels with only a few releases, but in reality it was only registered as a publishing company and we all paid the releases out of our own pockets.
v What are the other members of the Livingstones are doing today? Is Ismail Samie collecting records as you are until today?
Per is head of a record company nowadays, and is “famous” for being the one who introduced “Smurf Hits” to the Swedish market haha – is that rock’n’roll or what? Lasse has quit music to concentrate in his interest in bikes and cars and motor sports. He’s rarely seen out on town. Isse (Ismail) is also some kinda head at a record company… a bit more into rock sounds than Per though. And yes, he’s still a fuckin’ maniac when it comes to records!
v Richie Valens, is really your idol as mentioned in the back sleeve of the Livingstones 45?
Hehe, no not really I guess. That stuff is still cool of course, but the reason I had for putting him as my idol was probably more because he was pretty wimpy, and not “garage”. I wanted to confuse people a bit. Today I would probably say Skip Spence, Roky Erickson or maybe Ron Ashton… I don’t really have any idols though.
v Do you believe that there will be an interest for all these garage bands of the 80’s era in the future?
I have no idea. I hope there will always be interest in good rock’n’roll, and some of the 80’s stuff will definitely fall into that category, but not all of course. Just like with every scene, or whatever you wish to call it.
v Are you listening to any of that stuff today?
Some of it I still listen to frequently, like The Lyres, Cheepskates, Vipers, Pandoras, Stems, Laughing Soup Dish, Boys From Nowhere, Prisoners, Thee Wylde Mammoths, Raunch Hands, Lime Spiders and more that I can’t remember right now. It’s great rock’n’roll and pop music!
v What’s your opinion about the so-called “Solna sound” of the 80’s era?
The first time I saw The Nomads was in ’82 and I was blown away by the fact that there were more people into garage punk! Later we all hated the Solna stuff because we thought they played hardrock, and we were bored with bands that only played covers – and everything was in black and white back then so if you didn’t like a thing you had to hate it instead of course, right? Anyway all that is over now, it was mainly a pose anyway. We didn’t really understand where they came from, namely more of a punk rock background than us. When punk turned into post-punk (and started to SUCK) it also turned into a more garage direction, and that’s where the Nomads came in. I think the first records are great! Nowadays I’m real good friends with those guys aswell and I dig them a lot. I still only have the first and second Nomads 45’s though… but my girlfriend has the rest of the stuff so it’s ok haha. Also gotta mention Shoutless, some of their stuff is definitely among the best of all Swedish 80’s rock’n’roll/garage!
v Can you name the bands that you played with form the beginning till today that you are with The Maggots? Was the Crimson Shadows your first band?
Lord Chamberlain’s Players (My first band. We were into Chocolate Soup type mod psych/freak beat, TV Personalities, Syd era Floyd, Sonics, Chocolate Watchband, Standells and the Pebbles/Psychedelic Unknowns comps etc… we played real shitty though) // Crimson Shadows // Livingstones // Zonk (Hard stoogy psych rock with lotsa fuzz wah-wah going on. It was me, Stefan Kéry, Stefan Hellström and a coupla other guys. We played with Union Carbide and Spacemen 3 among others, but only contributed songs to a coupla compilations, and we were never able to come close to our live sound in the studio) // Gone (I was a bit tired of the by then dead garage scene and wanted to try something else, so I ended up playing some kinda weird psychodelicos metal and hardrock for a while with a buncha friends. I’m playing on a mini-CD with this band but then I got tired of strange time changes, pretentious arrangements and shit, so I quit. During this period I also released a coupla acid drenched psych albums on Stefan Kéry’s label, Subliminal Sounds) // Freinds (Jens Lindberg started this band with Stefan Hellström and some other guys. When Jens dropped outta sight they called me up and I joined on the spot! I really wanted to play in a rock’n’roll band again, and this was rock’n’roll with a strong 60’s freakbeat/garage and Lyres influence. We were actually signed to a subsidiary label top BMG and released an EP and a 10”. Our name was in tribute to the Swedish 60’s misfits The Friends (hence our mispelling) and on the EP when we covered one of their songs we actually got hold of the original singer and got him to sing one of the verses + doing the choruses together with us! He couldn’t believe someone still knew about his old band, let alone idolized the stuff! In the end the label didn’t manage to do anything for us as they didn’t understand our music at all, so that was that…) // Wrecks (Band I started for fun with a coupla friends (like always the reason is to start bands). High energy rock’n’roll with strong Flamin Groovies/Stones/Detroit influences… we recorded a coupla 45’s and gigged quite a lot, and then we recorded an album for Alex Hellid’s (of Entombed) own label he’s trying to get started. The recording dragged on and on and when the record was finally out we had a coupla great gigs and so on, but it wasn’t fun anymore so what the hell – we split it up. I had much more happening with The Maggots anyway, who were up and running aswell by this time) And now: The Maggots
v If you could go back in time, what would you want to do different or maybe what different decision you would take concerning your action in the music scene?
It would’ve been great to have learned how a studio works on an early stage as we could’ve made much better recordings/productions right from the start. Otherwise I can’t really tell, as I believe that what you do is what shapes you into what you are, and wrong or right doesn’t really matter in retrospect as you can’t go back and change anything anyway.
v I think that you were out of action for a time period before forming The Maggots. What happened then? Were you playing in any band just before The Maggots? How did it happened and you formed The Maggots?
Hell no – not out of action! But as I said, the record company who handled Freinds didn’t know how to market us. We tried to make them understand that we needed to get out of Sweden, but they kept booking us at student places and so on, and generally tried to market us for the indie audience. Which was of course totally wrong, and pretty frustrating aswell. The Maggots formed when I was at Jens’ place some night. We were drunk and decided to start a real garage punk band again. So we did.
v Tell me about the first Maggots songs: Grrrr & Apeman 2000 (these two titles of the ones I really love after the “Apeman” tune by the Crimson Shadows!!!). What are they about?
“Grrr” is about being horny as hell so you just lose control and turn into an animal heheh! The only thing you can do by that time is to grunt. “Apeman 2000” is about exactly that – taking the old apeman into the new century!
v How would you describe your latest album with The Maggots titled “Do The Maggot!”?
It’s our first recording in stereo! I’ve played lotsa different guitars, including some acoustic. We have some piano, and even some congas added here and there. The records before this one have been more primitive maybe – this is our “studio album” haha! But most of all it’s a rock’n’roll album, and the main inspiration is garage. There are also influences from freakbeat, 50’s stuff, Roky, Flamin Groovies etc etc. It’s an album for both garage fanatics and plain rock’n’roll fans.
v The Maggots have until now half a dozen of 45s, one 10” MLP and two LPS. Which are your plans for the future?
Get out and tour. Release more records. There’s a new 45 coming out on a US label called Hipsville later this year. It’s a cover of the Hangmen’s great “What A Girl Can’t Do” b/w an original called “Whole Lotta Nothing Goin’ On”.
v Which is The Maggots main inspiration?
Favourite bands that we have in common are Flamin Groovies, Stones, Kinks… and in the tour bus we play lots of 60’s soul, 60’s garage and beat, rock-a-billy, country, R&B, 70’s punk, pub rock etc – in other words: Rock’n’Roll! Let’s just say that the main inspiration is rock’n’roll, with a solid backbone of garage punk!
v “Goin’ Ga Ga Over You!” is the title of a great song in your last album. What exactly that means? I love that song!!!
It means “Goin’ Crazy Over You”. Glad you dig it!
v “Out Of My Cave” (What a great title indeed!!!) is another brilliant song from your latest album. This one has a Cramps feeling in my opinion. What’s yours about the Cramps?
They were one of my first favourite bands in the early 80’s! I love them. But I got so pissed off when they got a bass player that I stopped buying their records for years haha! Me and my girlfriend recently flew over to the UK and saw them in Nottingham, and whatever one thinks of their records nowadays they still kick ass live! And man, those first 45’s and albums! That’s some great shit!
v Do you know how many copies The Maggots first album has sold till today?
It’s sold out, so that makes 2000 lousy copies I guess. I’ve been trying to make Low Impact press up more, but they wanna work for the new album now, understandably.
v How come and Jens Lindberg left the Maggots?’
Same as always – obligations with family and work kept him from putting a 100% into gigging and recording, so we felt it was the best thing for the band to get in Stefan and Jonas instead.
v Obviously Stefan Hellström and Jonas Lundberg have played in other bands too before the Maggots. Can you tell in which bands did they play?
Stefan has played in Highway Slugs (Aussie inspired rock’n’roll band that released two 45’s in the mid 80’s) Zonk (with me and Stefan Kery + two other guys from the ‘Slugs) Thee Wylde Mammoths (Stefan played on tour, but not on any recordings) He has played in other bands with both Peter Maniette (The Performers etc) but I don’t know if they recorded anything. He also played in a buncha outfits with Jens Lindberg, Hymen Of Tongues released an EP on Misty Lane for example. Then he was in Freinds with Jens and later me. Jonas played in The A-Bombs who turned into The Slammers in the mid 80’s. They recorded a single, an album and appeared on the compilations Raw Cuts vol. 2 and Straight From The Grooveyard (cassette comp) with some superb noisy garage trash. They changed their name back to The A-Bombs and released a coupla records thru the 90’s to the millennium with more hard rock’n’roll. He also played in Haystack (a super loud heavy/noisy trio with guys from Entombed and Backyard Babies. They released a coupla albums aswell)
v What’s your opinion about the re-unions (or reborn) by bands from the 60’s like the Electric Prunes, The Seeds etc.?
I haven’t heard either the Electric Prunes or Seeds reunions, so I don’t have any opinion there. Same goes for most of these re-unions, these bands don’t come to Sweden so I have no idea what they sound like now. I’ve managed to see Arthur Lee three times though, the last two concerts with horn and string sections where they performed the stuff from Forever Changes in amazing versions. Every time I’ve seen him has been great! Also the Downliners Sect were real good when I saw them a coupla years ago. Last re-union I saw was Radio Birdman, and it was fantastic! The band I’d really like to see a re-union gig by is The Remains.
v Do you think that you would like to reform the Crimson Shadows after 30 years and record new songs with the original members of the band?
No fucking way. I can’t see the point in something like that.
v Name your top 5 albums from the 60s era and the top 5 albums from the 80s era.
That’s a tough one. I don’t really like that many LP’s – I’m much more into 45’s. There’s so few LP’s that deliver all the way without some bad song tucked in somewhere… Oh what the hell, I’ll just list some albums that I dig and that delivers all the way (or at least almost) 60’s: Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence – Oar // Remains – s/t // 13th Floor Elevators – Psychedelic Sounds (the mono mix!); Easter Everywhere; Bull Of The Woods // The Deep – Psychedelic Moods // Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed // New Colony Six – Breakthrough // Bohemian Vendetta - s/t // New Dawn – There’s A… /// 80’s: Lyres – On Fyre; Lyres Lyres // Roky Erickson & the Aliens – Runes / The Evil One // The Rain Parade – Emergency Third Rail Power Trip // Raunch Hands – Learn To Whap-A-Dang // Bobb Trimble – Harvest Of Dreams // Thee Wylde Mammoths – Go Baby Go! // Prisoners – A Taste Of Pink // Soft Boys – Underwater Moonlight
v Ok, I wouldn’t miss the chance to ask you about your top 5 60s & 80s 45s
That’s even tougher, but in the opposite way! 5? Try 50! Anyway I’ll list a few faves (grabbed the pile that was laying beside the record player for the moment, and added a coupla all time faves aswell… but this is in no way complete, and it’s limited to US garage 45’s only – with a coupla exceptions…) that usually has me climbing the roof when I spin them, LOUD. 60’s: Teddy & his Patches – Suzy Creamcheese (Top 10 acid punk classic! Good flip too. And their 2:nd 45 ain’t half bad either!) //The Hangmen – What A Girl Can’t Do (One of the best hooks ever!) // Dean Carter – Jailhouse Rock (This blew me to smithereens when I first heard it! And it still does) // Johnny Thunder – I’m Alive (Hard garage soul with fuzz, he sings like a James Brown on acid!?!) // The Rationals – Look What You’re Doin’ (To Me Baby) / Gave My Love (Their first, from ’65. Had to list both sides here… A-side is killer teen garage and B-side is one of the best garage ballads ever! I’m a sucker for the ballads!) // Bobby Fuller Four – The Magic Touch (What can I say?) // The Raving Madd – Boundaries (Super moody ballad with strings and bad trip lyrics. A real tear-jerker) // The Starlites – I Can’t See You (One of the best and hardest fuzz punkers ever?) // The XL’s – Maryjane (Mad psych-punker with super hard fuzz. It’s not about a girl…) // The Dovers – The Third Eye (Even though I can’t pick out a top 5, this one is definitely in the Top 5!) // Clock Work Orange – Your Golden Touch (Wanna know what a tremolo fuzz lead should sound like? Look no further…) // The Basement Wall – Never Existed (Another moody killer, with some great fuzz leads added to really make me go bananas) // Children Of The Night – World Of Tears (Teen garage punker with great fuzz leads and drug lyrics to boot!) // MC5 – Looking At You (The first version on A-Square. Simply the best thing they, and almost anyone else, ever released! The original sounds about ten times as loud and hard as any of the re-issues) // Outcasts – 1523 Blair (Also one of the best 45’s ever released!) // 13th Floor Elevators – All Their Singles (The mixes on these differ from the LP versions, and they all kick 200% ass!) /// 80’s: Lyres – I Want To Help You Ann // Cheepskates – Run Better Run // Roky Erickson – Don’t Slander Me // Boys From Nowhere – Jungle Boy // Pandoras – 1:st EP // Laughing Soup Dish – Teenage Lima Bean // Stomachmouths – Wild Trip // Lime Spiders – Slave Girl; Out Of Control // The Stems – She’s A Monster; Tears Me In Two // Fuzztones – Bad News Travel Fast // Lipstick Killers - Hindu Gods Of Love // Fun Things – Savage // Vipers - You're Doin' It Well
v And now tell me the greatest live-gig you have ever been!
Bo Diddley, Stockholm ’82. John Lee Hooker, Stockholm ’82. Fleshtones, Stockholm ’85. Robyn Hitchcock, in Stockholm ’01 (Only him and an electric guitar + fuzz box… he did lunatic versions of old Soft Boys and solo stuff, complete with guitar leads without backing! It sounds weird, but it was totally superb!) Radio Birdman were pretty fucking great when I saw them a coupla weeks ago aswell. And I was blown away by The Solar Flares in London last weekend! (030926) I’ve also seen great gigs by The Barracudas, Union Carbide, Arthur Lee, Cramps, Black Sabbath and probably lots more…
v Which are your favorite bands from the music scene today?
From the top off my head: Voladoras, Handsome Stranglers, Maharajas, Locomotions, Cryptkicker Five, Baby Woodrose, Thee Ultra Bimboos, Solarflares, Flaming Sideburns, Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Neanderthals, Candyrag, The Moods…
v What’s your opinion about the Detroit sound today, I mean the bands like Dirtbombs, Detroit Cobras etc.
I don’t really have an opinion there… some of it is good, like Detroit Cobras (although the latest record was a bit disappointing, but maybe it’s the ugly sleeve that put me off?) and The Dirtbombs. I kinda like some of the Mooney Suzuki stuff aswell. I’ve seen White Stripes three(!) times now, and they’ve sucked horsedick every time!
v What’s like the music scene in Sweden in the year of 2003?
The music scene pretty much sucks, bigtime. The rock scene on the other hand is pretty good.
v Is there something in the water in Sweden and so many fresh bands are appearing like mushrooms everywhere?
I’m afraid not. If it was the water every band would be good. We have many bands up here that suck so fuckin bad that you might get a brain hemorrhage from them! But I agree, we have lotsa good bands, and we’ve always had, since the 60’s. The Swedish ’77 punk scene produced some of the best shit ever for example! You should be happy that you don’t get to hear the bad stuff we have up here though!
v Let’s say that you weren’t in the Crimson Shadows. How much would you afford today for the first two Crimson Shadows 45s, the first three Chesterfield Kings 45s and how much for a CD compilation including all these recordings with full liner notes, photos and art instead?
I don’t really know… it would be a lot more expensive to buy the original vinyls though! I’d probably get the CD’s and look for the 45’s. If I find an original of a record I really like I have no problem with paying a lot for it as long as it’s still a good deal if you get my drift. I love rock’n’roll, and the original pressings are a way to get as close to the actual source as possible + the sound is usually way much better on original vinyl. I don’t understand people who say they love music, but still aren’t prepared to pay for it?!? For me music is worth much more than money!
v Was there any song ever that you wanted to cover with any band you were into but you didn’t because of “respect” to the original one?
Anything by 13th Floor Elevators… you can’t take on Roky! (although I did sing “You’re Gonna Miss Me” with The Rock-A-Hulas on our last tour in Spain, and it was a fuckin blast!)
v Would you like anything more to say?
Buy our records haha! Keep rockin’ and yeah btw check out The Crimson Shadows compilation CD that was released a coupla years ago on a Dutch label called Inbetweens Records! It’s all our studio material, including a newly discovered unreleased track, and the sound is really close to the vinyls (for better or worse haha!)
Thank you, Mans!