We’re a few days into 2014 already and I never really had time to do the usual look in the rearview mirror to summarize what 2013 was like for me.
Compared to the past 5 years, it was less eventful than usual, and a lot of it has to do with my father’s passing. I cancelled some gigs I had planned to go to and well, just wasn’t in the mood for anything really, but there were still a few highlights in 2013.
January started with Gothenburg Sound Festival where I met up with FIREWIND-drummer JO NUNEZ who was playing with NIGHTRAGE.
Shortly thereafter, I went to the US to see a few FIREWIND-shows and meet up with the new singer KELLY SUNDOWN CARPENTER for an interview at the Gramercy in NYC. Went to Atlanta and the Masquerade as well, pretty cool venue.
Got stuck in a blizzard the day I was supposed to fly home from JFK via Toronto, and made it home in the very last minute. Drama!
Swedish bands CRAZY LIXX & H.E.A.T played at KB, show got interrupted by the fire alarm and the club was evacuated.
Went to beautiful ICELAND with my friend Henny, that was a trip I won’t forget anytime soon – Iceland is a fairy tale country and I hope they never let the ways of the “outside world” change what they’ve accomplished. It’s amazing.
[This isn’t even Photoshopped – it actually looks like that!]
Gigs, there were a few. IRON MAIDEN played at Malmo Stadion, I spent all day in line to get a front row spot. Well worth it!
MEGADETH played at Vega in Copenhagen, they had just released Super Collider and played the title track from that album live for the first time. Dave Mustaine also brought a kid up on stage, not a usual sight at Megadeth shows. :)
STEVE HARRIS and his British Lion played at KB in Malmo, and although the attendance was low, to say the least, it was insanely cool to see a musician of his caliber that up close! I got dust from his sneakers in my face when he stomped on his monitor, he was THAT close. It wasn’t as bad as people say, the band had a good time and that’s what I remember the most.
Another memorable gig was PAUL GILBERT in Gothenburg, at Sticky Fingers. Been a fan since forever, Paul is amazing. There are some fantastic shredders in the world, but Paul is unique. I love his goofy style, his dry sense of humor, his playing, his way of interacting with the crowd… It was a great show.
After Apollo Papathanasio’s departure from Firewind, I decided to keep track of his other projects, so I went to Hamburg, Germany to visit my friend Su and see Apollo with SPIRITUAL BEGGARS. A few months later made a last minute decision to see the band in Thessaloniki, Greece as well.
Apollo also visited me in my home in Malmo for a video interview and a nice lunch. Awesome dude.
Of course, there were a bunch of FIREWIND shows this year as well. Rock in den Ruinen in Germany, SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL, and of course, the tour of AUSTRALIA. I opted out of all other shows because I needed the $$ for Australia.
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL was a weird festival this year, it was only days after my father’s passing, but I had to go to fulfill my duties to Sweden Rock Magazine and also to my friend Su who was visiting from Germany, SRF was her bachelorette party.
Memorable interviews: DAVID COVERDALE (WHITESNAKE), love the man, he rocks!
[A short clip from that interview]
And finally meeting LITA FORD for the first time ever. She was great, I’m glad she didn’t turn out to be a bitch.
Also saw her shows in Gothenburg ad Sticky Fingers and Malmo, KB.
Went to the UK twice in May to see WHITESNAKE, Thunder and Journey. I could see Whitesnake a million times and it still never gets old. :)
GUS G came to Malmo for the SWEDISH METAL CONVENTION, had a great time with him and Andy R, thanks to Pontus for bringing him to the convention. Also met Tallee Savage and her sister Amanda, Jorn, Anders Johansson (YNGWIE, HAMMERFALL) and a bunch of other people.
(Anders Johansson (Hammerfall, Yngwie), Pekka and Gus in the VIP-room)
Gus G and Paul DiAnno:
Straight after that…business class with Emirates to Sydney via Dubai, went on a safari, met koalas, saw the first Firewind show of the Australian tour, continued to Brisbane, met up with Clint, flew to Adelaide and then finally Melbourne. Stayed there for a week after the band had left. Met a few more koalas and then some really nice people at his BBQ party.
The free BAR in business class at my Emirates-flight to Sydney. :) It didn’t suck. ;)
Came home, got another tattoo and saw BLACK SABBATH in Copenhagen.
An old friend, singer of the Swedish sleaze-band NASTY IDOLS, Andy Pierce, passed away at the age of 45, something that I still can’t quite grasp…
Finished my year in the US visiting friends and checking out two gigs that I wrote about in my previous blog, both Savatage-related.
That was it – in a nutshell. Less travel than usual 2013 but I’m already looking forward to the Steel Panther European tour in the spring and Gus G’s solo-debut! Welcome 2014!
My hometown Malmö (Sweden) was graced by no other than the mighty IRON MAIDEN last night. I can’t say anything but just sum it all up in one word: AMAZING!!
These guys are the best at what they do, and if you’re looking for a live show that’s gonna blow your socks off, a show that’s gonna leave you with your jaw on the ground and a show that you’re going to be talking about for years to come – go see Maiden!
This is really the “creme de la creme” of live metal shows. Kiss may have more props and pyro, but when you look at the actual ENERGY of the band and the show as a whole, nobody beats Iron Maiden. And I say that without even being their greatest fan, I’ve always been more of a Priest-follower. But I’ve gotta hand it to them – they totally RULE.
Bruce Dickinson flies all over the stage like he doesn’t know what gravity is, he’s got more energy than a guy half his age and he continues singing flawlessly like it’s nothing.
Jannick Gers is a one-man show, enough to keep you entertained for two hours, he’s flipping his guitar all over the place like a martial arts stick crossed with Yngwie Malmsteen poses and antics.
Steve Harris is incredible, but even if he didn’t do anything, it’s enough for him to just be THE Steve Harris, people worship him.
Dave, Adrian and Nicko are all great musicians, but they also have strong personalities, especially mr McBrain who always has a smile or ten to share – all in all, there is something for everybody and the energy that goes back and forth between Iron Maiden and their crowd is unique.
I drove down to the stadium eary in the morning because I know that when it’s Iron Maiden – people WILL be lining up early. If I wanted a front row spot, I had to get in line as early as possible.
When I got there, people told me to go speak to the guy who was first in line. He got there 9 am the day before and had already spoken to security to set up a system.
Whoever showed up before noon, the day of the show, would be on a list that security would let in 5 minutes before everyone else. I was no 64 out of the 79 people who were given that privilege.
It was tough standing there for so many hours, but worth it in the end – it’s the price you have to pay for that precious front row spot.
I’ve had laminate passes and access to the stage or in front of the stage where photographers and security normally stand, but it doesn’t give you the same kick. You wanna get into it, with a few other crazy fans and just feel it – the proper way.
[My laminate from the 99-tour]
I didn’t drink anything all day (no water, no soda, no nothing…) because there were no toilets anywhere, I barely even ate, but I’m used to that, I handle thirst by chewing chewing gum on occasions like this. ONE day is fine. But after the show, I was beat.
The whole city was “Maidenized” with thousands of fans everywhere. Didn’t go out, I was way too tired after the all-day-waiting.
[The press today was just as impressed as the rest of us – fantastic reviews everywhere!]
And just a short mention – there were also two opening acts yesterday. A band from the UK called Voodoo Six and the very popular Swedish band Sabaton.
When Voodoo Six walked out, I noticed something that has since made me change the name of the band to Wood-o Six….:
(noticed anything in particular about the guitarist…??) No?
Well, I’m sorry but that sort of had me lose concentration a little bit because I couldn’t believe he kept that throughout the whole show! THAT dude must REALLY love what he does! :)
As for Sabaton, they are awesome live. They definitely have some Maiden-elements in their live performance, such as a frontman who runs across the stage with such ease and just loves what he does. It’s contageous, the crowd loves these guys!
I had a great time, and my friend Bianca who came from Skovde to see the show was glad that she finally got to see Maiden for the first time ever. :)
They were amazing, absolutely amazing. Always worth the time, effort and money – and there are not that many bands nowadays that give you that kind of value for your trouble and hard earned buck!
Two thumbs up for Iron Maiden – they shone Brighter Than a Thousand Suns! :)
For PHOTOS from the show – go to my Facebook-page and check them out!
My filming wasn’t the best yesterday because of the energy in the crowd, but I picked up a little at least.
And some older Maiden memories from years ago! :)) My first Maiden show (Donington), some backstage memories and whatever else…
Steve Harris’ British Lion visited Malmö last night. I’m guessing they arrived the day before – I passed the club KB (Kulturbolaget) on my way home from work and saw the usual “Beat The Street” buses outside. So, their day off was possibly spent in ice-cold Sweden. What a drag. :)
Met up with my friends Mari and Henrik outside KB pretty early, basically cause I didn’t want to go home and get all drowsy – it’s better hang outside the club and yap a bit until the doors open. And you never know with these things – there could either be two people in line – or there would be one of those “around the block“-type of lines.
For the record – it was NOT the latter….
It was embarrassing to see the lack of people. It was cold as fuck and it was a freaking Tuesday, but if there is ANY rock’n’roll in people, they should have been there when they got this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the godfather of metal bassists, a living legend, STEVE HARRIS – IN A SMALL CLUB IN MALMOE. That’s never going to happen again. How anyone would want to miss that is beyond me. I’m guilty of almost bailing myself, until it dawned on me what I would be missing.
It’s a bit fashionable right now to dislike what Steve does outside of Maiden with British Lion. Nobody dares to say that they like anything about his new project, but honestly… it’s definitely not that bad.
I think that the problem is pretty much what Gary Moore experienced when he tried something very different from what he was known for. Critics loved “Still Got The Blues” – fans absolutely hated it. Metalheads don’t like change. It’s like you’re a traitor, like you’re leaving your group, the place where you belong.
And the problem is to “reprogram” yourself to think of Steve Harris as a brilliant musician who can and wants to do something different, something that doesn’t sound like Iron Maiden. But it’s hard. The man IS Iron Maiden, so I totally understand why he’s having a tough time winning people over.
I’ve always been more of a Priest-fan anyway, I’m not the typical Maidenhead. So, unlike many others (maybe) I went to the gig with an open mind, not expecting anything at all.
I was just curious what he would do with this new thing and on a small club stage. The scenario was just weird – I’ve only seen Steve on the greatest stages of the world, never anywhere remotely as small as this.
I didn’t know the songs, I didn’t know the band, I didn’t know anything – and sometimes I actually want it that way. You tend to experience stuff differently when you are just there as a curious spectator with no expectations whatsoever.
And I have to say – I don’t care how much shit Steve has had to take from reviewers and fans, British Lion put on a great show. I had a freaking great time and I loved seeing the band just playing because they enjoyed it, totally unpretentious, regardless what anyone thinks.
The songs? I think that if this had been performed by a new, unknown “rock band” and not Steve Harris & co, it would have been easier for people to take it for what it is, and appreciate it. Cause the songs were not THAT horrible. My god, I’ve read so much crap online since he released this album, and the only Swedish review I’ve read today pretty much pissed on it as well, but I truly believe it’s mostly a matter of psychology.
I was in the front row, because I wanted to experience Steve Harris doing his thing up close when I had this unique chance. I don’t regret it for one second, and the band gave it their best – I don’t know if you’re missing those small details if you’re way in the back (eye contact and seeing the slighest change in their facial expression) but the point is – they managed to entertain me eventhough I hadn’t heard the songs before. And as we all know, that’s not an easy thing to do.
I very well know I’m going totally against the stream here, but …sometimes somebody has to.
It wasn’t Iron Maiden, but I wasn’t there to see Iron Maiden (I’m seeing Maiden this summer, so I’ll get my fair share of Run to the hills in a few months anyway…) I was there to see something different and I did.
Happy belated birthday mr Harris and thank you guys for a good evening at KB!
Found this story from September 22, 1999 that was originally on my old website. Thought it would be cool to dust it off a little as it’s time for Maiden again next year. This was also during a time when I was collecting autographs – I don’t do that anymore. But it’s a nice memory. Here it is:
“This file created 99-09-22 00.36 by Claris Home Page version 2.0”
Janet and I went to Stockholm just for the fun of it really. She was on vacation and I thought it would be fun to meet Iron Maiden’s tourmanager (who I thought would be the same guy who handled the W.A.S.P-tour – he said he’d come back in the fall with Maiden. Looks like he had a change of plans).
We went to the hotel and saw a bunch of young guys with Iron Maiden t-shirts outside. We went to the hotel bar and ordered tea, so we could sit there and relax, while we studied the activity in the lobby.
Yes, tea, because you get a whole pot which is cheap and gives you all the time in the world to just sit there. (Comment: This was during a time when hotel staff used to throw out people who were not guests..)
The first one I saw was Dave Ellefson (Megadeth), one of my teenage-crushes. Now he has short hair and looks like any guy off the street, but he still looks good.
Dave Mustaine walked out right behind him. If I had been ten years younger, I would have rushed out with the Megadeth CD-cover and asked him to sign it. But now it just didn’t seem like the right time or place for something like that. He looked like he was going someplace and I didn’t want to stall him.
Janet said that Marty Friedman was talking to the people in the reception, and Marty is one of the people I was looking forward to meeting, cause I remember him very well from an interview that I did with him and Nick Menza back in 1990.
We had a good time, and after the interview I went with him to his room and helped him call Anders Johansson (Yngwie’s former drummer) cause they lost touch and he didn’t have his number anymore. Anders was one of my friends so I just put them back in touch with eachother. Yeah, no weird business when this blonde goes to someone’s hotel room, lol! :) Felt nice to reunite two friends. (Comment: The time before Facebook….)
But anyway, I figured he wouldn’t remember me after ten years, so I didn’t even want to embarrass myself by asking.
But Janet and I needed a map anyway, so we could find Globen (where Megadeth and Maiden were playing, a huge arena) so I went to the reception and of course, ended up right behind Marty. I didn’t say anything, I just waited for my turn. Then suddenly, somebody from the “musician-party” (the way he looked and talked, I’d say he was the tour manager…) turned around and asked me, in a pretty loud voice:
– What does it say on your t-shirt?! (I had a black t-shirt that said in big, white capital letters: NEW YORK FUCKIN’ CITY)
I opened my blazer-jacket a little so he could see, and in that moment, Marty turned around. And the next thing I heard was:
– Hey! I know you!!
– Yes you do. I never thought you’d remember, I said, and still couldn’t believe that he remembered me. I looked different back then, and we’re talking about TEN long years!
– Yeah, I do..! You did an interview or something, right?
– Yes..! Wow, you REMEMBER that??
– Sure! And you know what? I remember more than that! It was a small hotel in Copenhagen or something, like the Tivoli or something and… (and then he started to describe the place).
I couldn’t believe my ears. After ten years he could even describe details – I don’t even remember people I met last week!
– So, what are you doing here? he asked.
I didn’t know what to say, because I wasn’t sure myself what I was doing there. It was just one of those things… a good band comes to town, and you can’t just sit at home and ignore it, that’s all.
So I just said that I was looking forward to seeing a good show. How the hell I was going to get in was a completely different story. It had been sold out for months, and I didn’t even have a ticket…
– Well, good to see you, I’ll see you at the show tonight then?!
– Sure, I said and wondered why I said that. I had no idea if we would get in. Globen, a huge arena, Iron Maiden, the biggest metal-attraction since Metallica, except that this was BIGGER, and I didn’t have a ticket or anyone I knew who could help me pull some strings. The way things looked, Janet and I would spend the rest of out evening in the hotel-bar waiting for something to happen.
Then the Maiden-guys started walking in and out of the elevators, and I was still wondering if I would be a pain in the butt if I just jumped out from out of nowhere and asked for an autograph, but I really WANTED their signatures! So I walked over to Steve Harris with my leather jacket and silver marker and asked him to sign it. He was waiting for his cab, so I knew it was not a good time to start a conversation.
He signed it, smiled and was very polite, I just said thanks and went back to the bar. Jannick Gers ran past us so quickly that he dropped his cap – I guess it was because the lobby was full of fans with their records and as he was in a hurry, he probably didn’t want to start signing anything and then not be able to finish – and maybe disappoint a few fans.
But now Janet and I realized that this was our last chance to try to ask somebody to help us out. When Dave Murray came out of the elevator, I asked him to sign my jacket which he did with a smile. I remember Dave as the smiling man from Donington too (except for with the incident with the Cameraman from Hell, which I’ll tell someday…). He’s easy to like, a down to earth man who seems to love his life!
Janet just walked up to him and said that the show was sold out, we didn’t have tickets and that we would have asked that other guy (W.A.S.P‘s tour manager who said he was going out with Maiden and then didn’t) but as he wasn’t there….
– I think it’s in the last minute, but I’ll try. Give me your name and I’ll see what I can do, Dave said.
She gave him our names and he left – the others in the band were already waiting for him.
And that was it… The show was about to begin, and we both thought that Dave had said “I’ll see what I can do” just to get rid of us. Most people would have done that. So we almost didn’t go. Why waste time and gas for nothing? Our plan B was to stick around till Megadeth came back to the hotel and see if we could persuade them to go out to a rock-club or something.
– But we can do both…! We can go to Globen, know for SURE that we AREN’T on the guestlist and then come back here and wait for Megadeth, I said. Janet agreed and we left.
When we came to the security-gate at Globen arena, Janet said that we were supposed to be on the guest list, and the security-guy just smiled, gave her an envelope.
– Yes! Here it is!
She looked as surprised as I did- we went to the side and opened it. There were two tickets!! DAVE, WE LOVE YOU!!! :-)
I managed to see Megadeth’s two last songs, and I love them. Had been looking forward to seeing them, but two songs were better than nothing.
When Iron Maiden walked up on stage, it was like a huge triumph-comeback! They have the best fans in the world! I looked around, and saw thousands and thousands of happy, crazy, screaming, headbanging Maiden-fans! They were in total ecstasy, and it was almost more entertaing watching the crowd than what was going on on stage! Almost… The last time I saw Iron Maiden was Donington 1992, but they were back to rock harder than ever! They were so good that I dropped my jaw. Holy shit.
Three guitars, the typical Maiden bass-sound and an absolutely fantastic Bruce! He has one hell of a set of lungs!! I even wondered if this was live or pre-recorded, but I saw it wasn’t fake. He really is one of the best vocalists around. He’s in great shape too, runs around the stage, jumps over amps like a rubberball, and owns the stage!
I got to hear some of my favorites: Phantom of the opera, Fear of the dark, Run to the hills and of course Number of the beast. It was a good mix actually, a little bit of everything from Maiden’s long musical history.
After the show, we drove back to the hotel just to leave a THANK YOU-note for Dave in the reception and also a note for Marty. Then we went to Copy, a small pub/club that played clasic heavy metal all night. I had a great time listening to old hits like Electric eye and Panama, but had to leave when the air was unbreathable in there. I can’t stand smoke, and it made me feel really sick. Besides, I was dead tired – I had only slept a few hours and driven all day. I needed rest. (Comment: This was before smoking was forbidden in public places in Sweden).
To make a long story short, I didn’t get much sleep that night for various reasons (we stayed with a friend of Janet’s who has three cats and a parakeet. The cats walked all over me during the morning and the bird screamed for all he was worth, so it was impossible to sleep). I wouldn’t have slept long even IF things had been perfect, because I felt that I had to go back to the hotel and get those missing Maiden-autographs before they left! Janet went back to bed and I drove off to new “adventures” on my own.
I went to the hotel-bar/restaurant and ordered tea. I was so tired that I was dizzy, felt sick and saw red and yellow spots before my eyes. I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything either… But then I recognized the Maiden-crew (I had seen one of them running with a fax-machine under his arm the day before) talking to the reception-ladies, so I quickly found my silver-marker and Iron Maiden promo photo that I got from EMI. Jannick came down first, but he was busy straightening out something at the reception desk, so I waited. The hotel-staff smiled at me, they recognized me from the day before.
When Jannick seemed to have solved whatever it was he had to solve and had a spare second, I asked him if he’d sign my jacket and photo.
– Suure! I’ll sign anything you put in front of me, he said and signed.
Then Dave Murray came out of the elevator with a little suitcase on wheels. He was still smiling! When he had finished talking to “his” people, I approached him, and he went:
Then Will (the guy who had helped me out all day with tickets and passes) grabbed me and went: