MODESTY BLAISE – first taste of tour life
I bought one of those video-converters that converts old video-cassettes to digital format, and started digging through my old cassettes. That was a walk down Memory Lane to say the least! One of the things I found, was a video from 1993 with various clips from gigs with an all-female band called Modesty Blaise from my home town Malmo.
They were local rock-heroines, played everywhere and made a name for themselves. Every rocker in town knew who they were. I don’t quite remember how I even got to know them, but somehow I got involved and that was my first experience of managing a rock band – and everything that went along with it. :)
They used to play a song called “Nasty Secretary” at every gig and I thought it was the perfect name for a management. So, I kicked off “Nasty Secretary Management” and went to work! Malmo wasn’t big enough for these girls, it was time to expand!
It’s hard to remember the time before computers and Internet, but I have some fragment memories of creating my own stationery by cutting and pasting their logo and adding the Nasty Secretary thing at the bottom of the paper – then running it through a Xerox before typing whatever I had to write, on a typewriter and either sending it off by mail (snailmail – remember when you had to go to the post office and buy a stamp?!)
Or… get this… FAX it! Fax, that was the shit, oh boy, you couldn’t get any more hi-tech and professional than that. If you owned a fax, you showed the world that you were the real deal.
So, of course I owned my own fax. It was a noisy son of a bitch that I kept in my 1-room apartment that woke me up in the middle of the night if someone from the States decided to fax me something (like Sebastian Bach at one point who sent like ten pages of something that filled my whole floor, because the thing didn’t cut the paper into pages, it just rolled it all out in oooone big paperroll – kind of when you drop the toilet paper and it keeps rolling all over the floor).
It was the easiest job in the world. Female rock bands were still a novelty over here back in the early 90’s, so there was a huge interest to book the band. And so it began, we traveled all over the place. It was my first taste of what it was like being with a local band on a low budget, driving from A to B in a (rental)van.
You got up early in the morning to load in all the equipment, you drove for miles all day long (but it was a lot of fun!) tried to find the venue of the day or the hotel that the promoter had booked for you (again, it was the time before Google maps or GPS’s!). You would get to the venue at the appointed time, get the gear out (no roadies to help – usually), make sure that everything was done within the given time-frame, that scheduled interviews would actually take place… Finding people and making it all work in a city or a place that you were unfamiliar with, back in the day before cell phones, was a challenge.
After sound check, it was either straight back to the hotel to get something to eat and get ready, or try to do it on-site while curious guys were sniffing around the dressing room.
Dinner, gig time, get the gear off the stage, schmooze, make sure everybody got a positive experience of the band and/or myself so that there would be more gigs or recommendations that led to other good gigs and so forth…
During the first “mini tour” that I was on with these girls, I got my first taste of “up all night sleep all day”. When you were in that van for a couple of days, you had no idea what was happening around you. Again, no cell phones, no nothing. Sometimes you were so tired that you could fall asleep on the spot, but you still had a job to do so to speak, so for the first time ever I could understand why so many musicians on a much higher level, would fall into drug abuse. You’re tired, someone offers you a pill that will fix it, you’re desperate and will try anything – and bam, you’re in trouble. I never did that though, I could just understand why it happens.
Anyway, I got to know so many interesting people during that Modesty Blaise journey, some of which have been my friends ever since and some that I reconnected with through Facebook in recent years.
Modesty Blaise went through some personnel changes and eventually split up but they’re still active in a constellation called The Monoheads that actually consists of two bands from the early 90’s era:
Anette Alexander on bass that used to be in a band named Cat Calls, Mia Federley on rythm guitar that was the first girl to enter the Guitar Battle contest in Sweden. Both fronted Cat Calls back in the day.
On lead guitar is Sabina Olsson, a former music teacher and a great guitarist, on drums Camilla Jonasson from Modesty Blaise (and a number of other bands) PhD student at the Academy of Music and very active in the music scene, and Iréne Nord on lead vocals and guitar – who works as a producer at “Jazz in Malmo” and has also been very much involved in the local music scene her whole life.
But yeah – it all began back in 1992 or so, and the story probably won’t end anytime soon. We’re still friends, and watching these old clips just makes you realize how much that can happen in 25 years and how much you go through and evolve in that time. :)
THIS is from 1993 when the girls were at their peak and were invited to the Swedish version of MTV, Z-TV in Stockholm to perform and be interviewed by the well known music journalist Anders Tengner. Producer was Per Sinding who’s also made a name for himself through the years, working for Swedish national television and also made a documentary about the Swedish band Kent, among other things.
I first met him when I was working as a hard rock reporter for the newspaper Kvällsposten and he was a young guy working at the entertainment editorial as a summer temp back in 1989!
MODESTY BLAISE TODAY – THE MONOHEADS: