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Sweden Rock Festival 2006 - Behind The Scenes

Written by David, July 2006

When working as a journalist at a festival like Sweden Rock you meet a lot of more or less famous people and catch up a few anecdotes, news and comments. I have tried to make a compilation of what I have seen and heard.


The guys in Sabaton were all over the place, although they didn't play themselves this year. They seemed to be very pleased about the outcome of their new record Attero Dominatus (of course). Bass player Pär Sundström made no attempt to deny that it sounds very much like the previous breakthrough release Primo Victoria. That was clearly the plan. But for the next record Sabaton hopes to present an extraordinary concept, he told. What that is, is not yet official, so we all have to wait and see.

He also told some anecdotes about when the band was making the video to Attero Dominatus. After a long day of filming they all were so tired that they literally fell asleep on the floor during the small breaks. When woken up for yet another complementary take, they immediately had to be on fire for a sparkling performance. As soon as the taking was over, they fell asleep again, and so it went on and on until the early morning. The concept of the video will be "Sabaton is a hell of a live band", according to the bassist.

Singer Joakim Brodén told about the making of the lyrics to Metal Crüe, a song made up of well-known band names. As with Metal Machine on Primo Victoria (made up of song titles) he wrote it when sitting on the lav. He said that when making the next album, the band will lock him in there until he comes out with a new "shit song".


Bullet's singer Dag "Hell" Hofer had some problems with a throat infection the days before the gig at Sweden Rock. He cured himself with some vodka and Coke, which he drank separately, right before the concert. Apparently it worked.

Hampus Klang, guitarist in the same band, regretted that the bus (read the history behind it here) was not finished in time for the festival.

- It is some week's work left to do. We had gigs the two last weekends before Sweden Rock, so unfortunately we did not have the time to finish the bus.

I also got some time to talk with Bullet's legendary bassist Lenny Blade. He told me about the essence of being a true hard rocker.

- I'm not a musician playing metal, I'm a metal head playing music. That is a big difference! I would never consider playing anything else. Some idiots think that Bullet is a joke, but I tell you that this is for real, this is how we look when we go out in the city a regular weekend. Well, except for "Hell" Hofer's giant rivet armlets perhaps. Bullet is all natural for us, there is nothing fake about it. Long hair, jeans, leather, rivets… that is heavy metal if you ask me. These are all important stuff.

He continued with telling how he became a metal head. It all began in 1985-87 when hard rock was a trend.

- I jumped on that trend… But the thing is I never left it when it became un-cool. I started with Kiss and W.A.S.P. and continued with Slayer, Kreator and Sodom.
- I remember when I played Metallica's Ride The Lightning for the first time. When I heard Fight Fire With Fire… I got this kick: "This doesn't sound like Dio?", you know… I miss that feeling in music today. I don't mean just: "oh, these guys play fast and praise Satan", but that kick you get of something you've never heard before. Now it feels more and more like we have run out of genres and everybody is copying everybody else.

But Bullet is not that original either?

- I admit that we said that we wanted to do classic heavy metal, but we never said that it should sound "79-81". Can you name any good Swedish classic heavy metal band that has started between 1996 and 2006? …except RAM… No!

When talking about what the band will do the rest of the festival, Lenny put up a list of bands that he planned to see.

- Thursday: play… then Deep Purple. Friday: Gehennah, Metal Church, Venom and W.A.S.P. Saturday: Crucified Barbara, Sodom, Onslaught, Obituary… But then you always have to consider some time for drinking and camaraderie, he guards.

He also told me about his passion for playing Game Boy in the tour bus. The favorite games are Double Dragon and Prehistoric Man.

- When everybody is sitting there with hangover for seven hours, it is better to take your Game Boy and feel good for a while. Not that we are game nerds or so, but when you can buy games for 10-20 Swedish Crowns on e-bay…

Finally he reluctantly admitted that he has some underground fans.

- I know the guys in Nifelheim, and such real satanic asses. Therefore some of these fans are listening to Bullet, because I play with them. They love Lenny Blade…


Johan Sohlberg, bassist in The Storyteller, told me a bit about the timeout that the band will have from now on, until an unspecified future.

- We felt that this concept had been taken to its end. If the band reunite after half a year or more, we will probably start up with a new concept and probably a new name. We want to do some harder stuff, more like Metallica's Ride The Lightning.

A taste of the harder sound can already be heard on the band's latest (and last?) album Underworld, where a cover on Ace Of Spades is included. That was also performed live in the concert at Sweden Rock.

Carljohan Grimmark, guitarist in the christian metal band Narnia was very pleased about the new record Enter The Gate being appointed "Leader Of The Pack" in Sweden Rock Magazine. However, he was less impressed about Venom's show at Sweden Rock, and certainly not about Cronos' hate speeches.

- What is the point about that? Why is he still so uptight after over 20 years? It's the first time I've done "fuck off" to a stage, Carljohan demonstrated.

Many of the German artists (unlike the Americans) took some time to stay a couple of days at the festival to enjoy the overall festivities. Tom Angelripper (voc/bass) and Bobby Schottkowski (drums) from Sodom were seen watching W.A.S.P. on Friday evening. The drummer was also seen enjoying Whitesnake last on Saturday. The guys in Gamma Ray and Edguy with staff were seen watching the soccer world championship game between Germany and Costa Rica in the backstage bar on Friday evening. Kai Hansen and Tobi Sammet held the German flag high still late on Saturday night, when they were seen stumbling around the backstage area, holding up each other somewhat standing. Mike Terrana, the German-based American drummer in Rage, was as always seen here and everywhere on the festival.

David - July 2006