The day that changed everything
Found my old (handwritten) diary from 1988…
And read the entry I wrote the day I was recruited to write about heavy metal for one of the biggest newspapers in Sweden. I was just a teenager, this thing was so HUGE to me!
DECEMBER 14, 1988
This is unreal. Everything is like a dream, and I’m waiting to wake up from it. For years I’ve been dreaming about this, and now that it’s happening, I just don’t get it. I’m shocked, to say the least. And all I did was WRITE LETTERS!
Now… my own column/page every Friday, my own mailbox, free records, free concerts and interviews that I’m getting paid to do. Yes, I’m getting paid for something that I would happily have done anyway, it’s insane!
There must be a catch somewhere. I mean, here I am, a nobody from out of nowhere, ending up at one of Sweden’s main newspapers where it’s basically IMPOSSIBLE to get in… and I get my own… I can’t believe it, it can’t be real.
I wonder how long it’s gonna take until I fully comprehend this, before I understand how much this actually means.
When they called, I thought that I might go with them and interview Europe, as that is closest on the concert schedule. Only THAT would have been incredible, I never even thought beyond that! And NOW…!
I went there today on my lunch break, dead nervous and aware that it was a question of life and death. If I screw this up, I might as well go and jump into the canal. But Magnus, whatshis name, at work, read my stuff and said “I think you’re a good writer!”
The next step was a byline-photo. The editor called someone on the fast line: “Get a photographer over here NOW, I need one right away. We have a nice young lady here who’s gonna be writing about hard rock for us.”
Holy shit, photo too…
I got 500 kr for the article. And I will get my own letterbox in the newsroom. They will be paying my phone bills from now on. And I’m having dinner with them on Monday.
I was dazed, just said thanks and left to go get a burger, fries and a Coke. The old bitchy woman was being rude as usual, but I didn’t bitch back because I was in a good mood. I called my mom from the phone booth to tell her the news. And then I told everybody at work.
On my way home, on the bus, I was blasting Yngwie really loud on my freestyle. Two metal dudes were sitting right behind me, and I thought to myself “Just you wait, soon you’ll recognize me”…
[This is what we called a “freestyle” back in those days!]
When I got home, I told them everything, and Renata (my sister) made a funny card for me.
Everybody in my German class was really happy for me.
Well… I need to get some sleep and clear my head…”
[The drawing my little sister made for me when she heard about the news :)]
If they only knew, at Kvällsposten, how their decision to take a chance and hire a teenage girl who was fresh out of senior high school, would change her whole life!
I was 18 when all this went down, was one of those kids who lived for rock’n’roll, loved it beyond anything – and I got THIS opportunity….
And here I am today, 25 years later, still loving this life as much as I ever did. The only difference is that now I know what I’m doing. :-) Back then I had to make a lot of mistakes before I learned how this business works.
Now, I’m a part of it, and have been my whole adult life.
I’m just so grateful for that. I love my life, I always have. Some people have a mission, a calling in life, and this is what I always wanted to do and what I was blessed enough to get the opportunity to do. Many people have the dream but are not as lucky. I’m more than thankful, that’s for sure.
It’s been a long journey, and it’s far from over yet. :-)
It just felt kind of touching for me personally, to see where it all began and how I felt about it the very day that it happened. And to see who has been supporting me all these years, and the new people that are joining me along the way. It’s humbling and flattering and I can only say thank you for reading! :)
[One of the early articles, when Painkiller came out, and I got to talk to KK Downing… I remember he called one day and I wasn’t home, so he had to speak with my mother – and she left a message on the kitchen table with his number in Spain, saying “Call Kay Kay Dawning at this number”. Lol!]
They’re Nasty and they’re Back!
Tripped over a padded envelope in my hall when I came home the other day. It was the new NASTY IDOLS CD. :-)
I love getting REAL CD’s, there’s still something special about holding an actual, physical product in your hand – especially nowadays when labels are saving $$ and keep sending you links to digital albums that you can’t even download to your own PC and listen to in your phone or car – but ONLY on their special online players. It sucks. I want to choose WHERE and WHEN I want to listen to new music. Anyway – Nasty Idols. Old aquaintance to say the least. :)
I’ve followed this band for 25 years.
The first time I saw them was August 15, 1987 in a park here in Malmo. They headlined a music festival, and they were still unsigned. After that show, I did everything to get hold of a demo cassette or anything at all with this band, cause their live performance totally blew me away!
Back then, there was no internet (can you even REMEMBER that there ever WAS a time with no internet??). I had to go to the LIBRARY and ask a librarian to help me go through newspaper archives to get any info about Nasty Idols.
The first lead was to journalist Maria Francke who had reviewed one of their demos. I wrote to her – and she sent me that Nasty Idols demo-cassette as a gift. I was super happy about that.
(One of the very first songs by the unsigned Nasty Idols – they had a different guitarist back then, they upgraded the band with Peter Espinoza later)
Inside that cassette, there was an address and a phone number to “Andy Capone” that the singer called himself – who later became Andy Pierce. :) Well – this is all a very long story but I remember their days before they were signed. They did everything themselves, this band was a marketing-machine!
Bassist Dick Qwarfort was a graphic designer and would make professional looking logos, covers, press-kits…. When they released their single “Don’t Walk From Love“, it was also out of their own pockets from beginning to end, and they would personally go to the record stores in town and ask them to sell it. I remember seeing it at Åhléns in the center of Malmö for instance, right on the counter where you had to go to pay for your purchases. I’m sure that helped them quite a bit on their way.
I used to call the local radio station MCB requesting their songs or asking them to bring in Nasty Idols to be interviewed live on the air and shit like that. I was still in high school, and it’s funny when I think about it, because Nasty Idols’ career and mine took off around the same time, basically – in 1988.
I got my first job writing for Kvällsposten, they got their first record deal. We’ve walked on parallel paths ever since.
To make a very long story short – here we are, 25 years later. :-) And listening to the new album makes me remember once again WHY I’ve liked this band for so long. They kick ass – plain and simple.
They have a unique talent to write catchy songs that stick like glue already after the first listen. Andy’s vocals adds to the badboy attitude that they’re selling and they have basically always delivered the goods. Maybe I wasn’t a big fan of the “Vicious“-album but even that was a great album, just wasn’t my cup of tea at the time. Looking back you see things in a different perspective though.
The new album “Kalifornia” is rougher and tougher than it’s been in a while. Bands always say that, but it’s very clear from the very first riffs. Andy’s voice is different, he’s chosen to sing in a different style than usual, but I still can’t quite figure out what I think he sounds like now. Definitely cool but not the “usual Nasty”.
[My name was on the very first Nasty Idols CD “Gigolos on Parole” – and here it is again. Nice when bands don’t forget the people who have supported them for years, very much appreciated. :)]
Slightly darker, heavier, raunchier. But still American style sleaze. If you’re into that, you’ll love it. My favorite up to date was “Boys town“, their last album.
But I have a feeling that this will be a new favorite to add to the collection. :-) I’ll probably be sitting here till my hair goes gray, headbanging to Nasty Idols. Some bands just never go out of style!
REVIEWS….. The ticket to a secret identity?
When you write a review, whether it’s a CD- or a concert-review, you can be sure that there’s going to be lots of people having opinions about it. They don’t always realize that it’s all part of the game.
Reviews are nothing but one person’s simple opinion, written for the sake of entertainment and, to a degree, guidance. But there are always going to be fans out there who think that a review is a scientific essay. They want it to be “objective”. You can’t be objective in a review, that’s the whole point! :-)
When I got my first job writing for Swedish newspaper Kvällsposten, I received tons of records from all the major record companies. I didn’t have my own post-box at the editorial office cause I was working from home. I just went there about twice a week to pick up my mail and submit the material of the week.
Every time I got there, there was a sack full of LP’s waiting for me on the floor behind the film-editor. Back in 1988, vinyl was still the main material that people wanted their music on. :-) The CD’s had been introduced but it took a few years before the music that we got went from vinyl to CD altogether.
Anyway, as I was the rookie up there, the other music reporters taught me that as far as reviews…. I was not allowed to like too many records – which means I was not allowed to rate something 10 out of 10 too often. I don’t remember the exact quota, but it was strictly limited.
I was told that I would not be taken seriously if I liked everything, especially not if I wrote positive reviews too often. They wanted me to write negative, nasty reviews as much as I could, because not only did it trigger people to react – it was also good publicity for the band/artist. If people get upset, they tell their friends, or they write letters to the editor, they simply do unintentional PR for the publication!
And as weird as it sounds – when you write something really nasty about a band or an artist, people will get curious to hear it. “Is it REALLY that bad? CAN it be that bad?”
So, they try to get a listen if they can, or they talk to other people about it. EIther way – everybody wins.
A bad review doesn’t necessarily ruin sales, if done right. It can do the exact opposite.
I think that a band like W.A.S.P is the perfect example of that. There was not one “serious” music journalist out there that wrote anything good about “Fuck like a beast“, but all the bad publicity got people running to the stores and the record just flew off the shelves!
As I grew older and started to see music more objectively – not just in black and white, like when I was younger – it got harder to write strict “good” or “bad” reviews.
The review-editor at Sweden Rock asked me what I REALLY thought about one album that I had written about, because he couldn’t figure out if I liked it or hated it, I was beeing too diplomatic about it.
I told him that personally, I didn’t like it. No reason, it just wasn’t my taste. It was well played and for those who like that kind of music, I’m sure they would love it. It’s just that I didn’t and I didn’t want to be unfair and rate something low, when I knew it wasn’t really BAD…… It was a tough situation.
He told me it wasn’t about being fair. It was about having a personal opinion. If I didn’t like it, I should just say so, straight out, no excuses, no “buts” or “ifs”. That helped me get over the “objectivity-barrier”. Thank god. But he has actually been great with constructive feedback on my writing, I’ve learned a thing or two just by small details he’s mentioned from time to time. I like working with people like that.
One of the most memorable reviews I’ve written through the years was for “Hot In The Shade” by Kiss.
That, I will never, ever forget.
I wasn’t particularly impressed by the album, and wrote somewhere that Paul Stanley couldn’t sing…. And used some pretty undiplomatic expression to illustrate exactly HOW much I thought he sucked.
Mind you, this was before the internet – back in those days, people wrote regular letters. When I got to the office a few days later, there were TWO FULL POST BAGS there with my name on them.
It took me FOREVER to open all those letters! I had pissed off the whole RAGING Kiss Army! I think every Kiss-fan from north to south had a thing or two that they wanted to…uhh, “share”… :)
I got the message – loud and clear – oh boy, it couldn’t have been ANY clearer!
Lesson learned: There are some bands that can not be criticised unless you want to get a secret identity and move to Vladivostok! Don’t ever say that Paul Stanley can’t sing and don’t ever say anything bad about Metallica or Slayer if you want to live. :)
Another time, I wrote a review about a GWAR-concert at club Stadt Hamburg in Malmo, Sweden… That review led to local authorities CLOSING DOWN THE PLACE! I was not popular by some people after that. Like I had any idea what a simple review could cause!
[I actually found a video where that whole thing was mentioned…. only, there were no “local authorities” at that show that could be spat on… they based it solely on my review. Ouch..
See it mentioned in the info text to this video. ]
I don’t know, it’s as if some people have their whole life hung up on their favorite bands. So when you criticise the band, they take it dead serious and dead personal – as if you’re criticising them.
I still think it’s fun to write reviews though. It can be diffucult after more than 20 years, finding different ways to describe something GOOD or something BAD, because you don’t want to keep repeating yourself. Yet, there are only so many superlatives you can use. It requires creativity. Sometimes you have a good day, sometimes you don’t. But in the end – it’s all just entertainment.
Or… is it? :-D
The long and the short of it [About me]
When I launched this blog I pretty much thought that most of my readers would be the loyal people who have been following me for years.
Some of you have been with me since the “pre-internet”-days, when I wrote for various newspapers and magazines and had my radio-show and everything else.
Or maybe you’ve been reading Sweden Rock Magazine the past 10 years, then you’ve probably read my articles and reviews there.
Some of you joined back in 1996 when I got my first website online, and some of you discovered and rediscovered my writings through my very active MySpace-blog 2006->.
If you’ve been with me that long, you have a pretty good idea who I am and what I do.
But when I see the blog-statistics for this blog, my jaw drops! Hundreds of new people end up here every day and the number of regular readers is increasing day by day. It’s such a great feeling to see that people like it,
However… maybe an introduction of the person behind the blog might be appropriate.:-)
So….here’s the “About me”-section, the long and the short version.
THE SHORT VERSION:
I’ve lived for music for as long as I can remember. I’m still a dedicated fan of bands and the whole rock’n’roll lifestyle.You will find me anywhere in the world where there’s a good band playing – or somewhere at a local joint checking out an up-and-coming new act. I believe in doing things passionately and I love music and writing as much now as I did when I was 18. The blog is a way to share some of my memories with everybody who live and breathe music– whether they’re fans, musicians or managers, from across the globe.
1988 – Started out as a hard rock reporter for Swedish newspaper Kvällsposten.
I was 18.
1990-1995 – Editor of FICK-Journalen, music pages of weekly Hemmets Journal (while still working for Kvällsposten and freelancing for other magazines).
1989 – Hosted my own hard rock radio show at Radio MCB.
1992 – TV-hostess for RockShow.
1991-2000 Free lancer for Metal Zone, Heavy Mental, Zero, Kool Kat News, Arbetet, OKEJ and many other music magazines and newspapers.
1998-2000 – Launched and managed hard rock club Hard Break. Bandbooking. PR, DJ, hostess and more.
2001->(current) Sweden Rock Magazine
Managed female rockers Modesty Blaise and Seventeen (whose frontman Chris Laney has become a succesful producer at Polar Studios in Stocholm as well as a great songwriter, guitarist and singer for various hard rock acts). Featured in Neil Daniel’s book about hard rock journalists “All Pens Blazing” vol.1. Also credited in the unofficial Judas Priest-biography “Defenders of the Faith” for contributing w. info. Currently writing for Sweden Rock Magazine and hosting my own blog In The Rearview Mirror – found at www.lita77777.posterous.com
THE LONG VERSION…..
I was 18 and bursting of ideas, dreams, expectations, energy – life was ahead of me and I knew where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do. I had a dream and I was aiming for it.
I used to write to one of Sweden’s major evening papers, Kvällsposten, on a regular basis, just to get noticed. I had been writing letters to the editor since I was 10 years old and back in those days, it wasn’t easy to get published. So many people had something to say but space was limited. (Yes, how did we ever survive the pre-internet era??)
But I got used to having my letters published almost every time. It made me confident at an early age, that if there was anything I was good at, it was writing.
That’s what I wanted to do. Write about music – my greatest love of all. :-)
In 1988 I sent a letter to Kvällsposten, again, asking them to bring me along if they had any plans to interview Yngwie Malmsteen, who was playing at Olympen in Lund that year. I wanted to see a music reporter in action, learn from him/her, then go to the University and get a degree in journalism, and then start my career as a music journalist. I had it all figured out.
It was like walking into a temple when I walked through the doors to Kvällsposten’s impressive building that day. I saw the editorial staff all busy writing, there were records and press-releases everywhere, stuff from record companies, info.. All the stuff that would end up in the paper eventually. Holy shit. It was a big deal to an 18-year old who was nursing a dream to do exactly what these reporters were doing.
When they saw me walking in with my Yngwie Malmsteen t-shirt, I heard one of the reporters, Pär Hägred, go: Hello Daniela! You’re the one who’s been writing to us, right?! Apparently, they loved reading my letters. Everybody up there had read them, I was somewhat of a “celebrity” and I didn’t even know.
Will be updated.
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