I did this travelogue in it's original form back in 2001 for "Slow Ride" zine (USA), I have added some bits to this updated retrospective travelogue. My first experience of Stockholm and Sweden was back in May 1998 after I had went out there to visit my penpals in the band RISE AND SHINE and I totally fell in love with the place, I managed to get thrown out of a bar during my first visit (at a Mobile Mob Freakshow gig) due to getting so drunk and then proceeding to puke all over a table and surrounding seats, hey what can I say, I was young and wild! Also on the first night of my first trip I was responsible for a pretty full night bus having to get changed over at the bus depot in the early hours of the morning too due to setting the bottom of my jeans (flares!!) on fire after some dangling denim bits ended up in the heater underneath my foot although I didn't realise it was the bottom of my flares that were also on fire and giving off smoke until AFTER we had changed buses!!
Anyway the following travelogue features all 3 of my visits to Stockholm and Sweden in 1999, some things are more detailed and vivid and other things are lost in a drunken haze. There is of course plenty of references and mentions of drinking and getting drunk but I did spend a lot of my time during visits over there doing that!. Anyway I hope you enjoy this travelogue which I have retyped and added to since it was originally printed in late 2001.
At the time of making these trips I was doing vocals in a Doomrock band called BLESSED REALM which is how I had originally came into contact with some of the people I befriended/stayed with over there through writing with them (the old school penpal snail mail way of course!), trading demos and being a part of the same music scene etc....I also must have racked up quite a lot of phone calls to Sweden on my parents phone bill organising these trips as you have to remember this was before the internet and email was easily available to everyone and todays modern social networking sites such as Facebook were still quite some years away from existing!.
Visit #1 May/June 1999
Eric the drummer from RISE AND SHINE(and also the guitarist in crust punk band SLAGANFALL) met me off the airport coach in Stockholm Central Station and the first thing we did was go to the nearest bar for some much needed beer after I had endured two flights to reach my final destination, the rest of the day was spent drinking and I also saw RISE AND SHINE rehearse, they played some new songs from their then upcoming 2nd album "Roadflower" that I hadn't heard at that time, so that was really cool. After that I went to a gig with Eric and the other RISE AND SHINE guys(and gal!) at a place called Tantogården, saw some cool bands, a band called SMACK (now called GRAND MAGUS!) played - shit name but damn did they rock, kinda like 70s hardrock meets Kyuss- cool! Also another band played but it was Smack who made the biggest impression on me and now everyone has heard of Grand Magus!. After that gig myself and Eric went to a cool rock bar that existed back then called Rockcorner in the Skanstull area of Stockholm and drank more booze. Cool first day!
Spent the next two days hanging in Eric's apartment and his friend Martin's house (or "Curry" as he was nicknamed due to being half Indian! He was the drummer in SCURVY, a band which featured a future member of REPUGNANT, GENERAL SURGERY etc..), hung out, drank more beer, visited some record stores in the center of the city, including my fave the HOUSE OF KICKS/WHITE JAZZ store "Sound Pollution" in Gamla Stan, the quaint old town part of Stockholm. That would be a record store I would end up visiting many times during various trips to Sweden over a period of 4 years!. We had went to look for another store that I had visited on my previous trip, but to my disappointment that no longer existed and had been replaced by a black metal orientated shop.
Went to a lake with Eric and Martin also a few nights into my trip, drank more beer there, and also visited a local church/cemetary in the area where they lived (Botkyrka kyrka) met up with their friend Tobias (who had just recently started up a then unknown fresh old school death metal band called REPUGNANT!) on the way, bought some beers and hung out in that place drinking, taking photos, talking about metal late into the night (it dosn't really get dark for too long in the summer over there, even at around midnight it just looks like dusk!!). We dropped in at Tobias's place at some point that night which wasn't too far from where we were hanging out and he gave me a copy of the debut Repugnant demo that had not long been released.
from left to right:- Tobias Forge, Eric Nordin, Martin "Curry" Persson at Botkyrka kyrka, Botkyrka/ Norsborg, Stockholm Summer 1999.
On the fourth day I met up with the TERRA FIRMA guys who I had met earlier that year in England when they were on tour with CATHEDRAL and ORANGE GOBLIN, I had also been in touch with guitarist Freddie (who was also the original lead guitarist in UNLEASHED aswell as lead guitar in the punk band LOUD PIPES) for a while by snail mail and saw them rehearse and then went to a nearby Irish bar with Chritus, Fredda and Izmo for some Guinness and got pretty drunk (the only time I have really enjoyed drinking that stuff too!!). After the place closed I went in search of more booze with Fredda and got turned away from a rock club (for looking too drunk!) so we went elsewhere then retired back to Freddies place for the night. Next day was spent hanging out with Freddie and drinking, we bought some booze and went and sat down on the harbour and drank there for most of the afternoon as it was very hot (Sweden can hit very high temperatures in the summer), that night when it had cooled down and after we had grabbed some pizza (Swedish pizza is the best I have ever tasted and I got addicted to it!) we went into town and met up with Lord Chritus (also ex COUNT RAVEN, SAINT VITUS vocalist) and Izmo and also some of the RISE AND SHINE guys at a place where Jocke (RISE AND SHINE)guitarist was Dj'ing, we also met up with Sara from MISDEMEANOR too, got very drunk and then I went to Chritus's place for the next few nights of my trip. It was outside of the city in a place called Ekero, a very rural area, a different world from the bustling city streets of urban Stockholm. Chritus introduced me to moonshine, the Swedish alcohol equivalent of rocket fuel!!. We had some nice long chats getting drunk and stoned and he told me stories of his days living in the states and singing for Saint Vitus etc...!
Lord Chritus Linderson on the road to his house.
A couple days before I had to fly home, it was my 23rd birthday, RISE AND SHINE and TERRA FIMA were supposed to play a show that day but typical of my luck it got cancelled, but the guys from RISE AND SHINE and Chritus threw a birthday party for me at the rehearsal place both bands shared at the time, it was a really cool night, Jenny L, Sara, and Mia from MISDEMEANOR came along and we drank there for a while, then hit a rock bar (same one I got turned away from earlier that week for being too pissed!)until 3 am ish then myself and Chritus ended up staying over at Jenny's place. I was so drunk- a rock 'n' roll birthday indeed!
Eric, Vera Misdemeanor and Lord Chritus at my 23rd birthday party in the Rise and Shine/Terra Firma rehearsal place June 1999.
Spent my last day with a hangover, went back to Chritus's place, got my stuff and then took a ferry over a lake and met up with Eric again. We then hooked up with Jenny and Vera from MISDEMEANOR and went to an open air gig at Midsommarkransen before hitting Rockcorner again for one last time that visit where we bumped into Freddie Firma and also Jocke from the band BLACKSHINE, got drunk again...next day went back to England with a hangover!
photo I took down by a lake in Norsborg area of Stockholm late on a night.
Chritus's little house in the woods outside of Stockholm!
Visit #2- August 1999
Felt like total shit from the night before's drinking session (when you are 23 years old you don't really care so much about hangovers!!). I had been up since 3am to catch an early flight from Teesside airport to Stockholm via changeover in Amsterdam Schipol, had about 2 and a half hours sleep under my belt, woke up still drunk which later turned into the hangover from hell! I stumbled off the airport coach from Arlanda airport to be met by Eric once again, we had a few beers which didn't really help and actually made me feel worse, took the subway to Norsborg, the suburb where he lived and spent the rest of the day asleep on his sofa pretty much sleeping off the booze and feeling like shit, not an ideal start to my first day! Stayed with Eric for a couple nights and met up with Tomas from RISE AND SHINE (also ex of DAWN OF DECAY and MOANING WIND) and Ulf the then guitarist from VOMITORY for a few beers in a bar in central Stockholm as he was in town and was an old friend who I had met originally in England in late 1994.
Tomas Bergstrand, Ulf Dalegren, Eric at a pub called Dovas just down the street from where Rise and Shine/Terra Firma used to rehearse in Fridhemsplan.
The next day I saw RISE AND SHINE rehearse again, I spent the next 3 nights at the house of Jocke and Josa from that band and saw RISE AND SHINE rehearse every night (cool!), met Max their stand in drummer at the time who had also played drums in the mighty FURBOWL and also saw TERRA FIRMA rehearse again, I remember not drinking much beer during the first few days of this visit! But I did meet up with Jeff the vocalist from the American band IRON RAINBOW who was in town and we went to see abit of Swedish metal history with Eric and Jocke, namely the cemetary which is home to the big cross that appeared in the promo photo for ENTOMBED's "Left Hand Path" album and video! That was fucking cool to go and visit that!! I of course took some pics!
photo that I took of the cross made famous by Entombed at Skogskyrkogården cemetary.
On the fifth day, a Thursday I took a Swebus (their equivalent of a National Express/Greyhound coach) to a place called Karlstad, roughly about 4 hours west of Stockholm, I was going there for a 2 day festival called DIST FESTVIAL which was organised by the guys in VOMITORY. RISE AND SHINE were playing the first night of the festival but they had a gig somewhere else the night before and a full car so I had arranged to take the bus one way to Karlstad and hook up with my old friend Ulf and stayed the night at his place in Karlstad before spending two days in the nearby smaller town of Forshaga where the festival would be held, I got there on the afternoon after a nice scenic journey across country via a couple of cities such as Eskilstuna and Orebro and he met me off the bus, although a small disaster nearly happened after I first got off the bus as I had went to a call box in Karlstad bus station to call Ulf and let him know I had arrived in town (back then everything was arranged by telephone and letter writing mostly!) then went for a smoke and moments later realised I had left my wallet/purse inside the callbox so I rushed back and luckily it was still there...phew! Ulf arrived and we hung out at his place for a while before getting picked up to go to Forshaga where I watched VOMITORY rehearse that night - my ears bled!!
The next day myself and Ulf went back to Forshaga early to the festival site and hung around for abit, got some food and booze in the center of Forshaga, met up with various people including various members of VOMITORY and the Dutch death metal band MANGLED who were in Sweden to play the fest...we all headed back to the festival site where I hooked up with the RISE AND SHINE guys and also Gabriel Lillehook from HANDS OF DOOM e zine, he was an old friend so it was really cool to see him again. I spent the rest of that night getting completly wasted and watched some great bands play in this old barn looking type place in the Folkets Park (Peoples Park). I saw VOMITORY, THE COFFINSHAKERS, RISE AND SHINE, MAZE OF TORMENT, SIDEBURN and a couple other bands on that first night. I also met some of the guys from the infamous local band GEHENNAH that night which was really cool. Spent the night sleeping in VOMITORY's rehearsal room with Ulf, the RISE AND SHINE guys and Mia from MISDEMEANOR.
Ulf from Vomitory on first day of Dist festival in Forshaga Folkets Park.
Max "Furbowl" Thornell drumming for RISE AND SHINE @ DIST festival
Second day of DIST FESTIVAL started with getting up early, Ulf and I decided to start the morning in fine rock 'n' roll style- beers for breakfast! Our jolly friend Gabriel (known for his loud hearty laugh!!) came along to the rehearsal place and hung out with us for a while. After spending all morning and early part of the afternoon at the rehearsal place drinking it was time to make our way to the festival site once again where this time there would be two stages, an outdoor one and the previous nights indoor stage. Swedish rockers PSYCHEDELIC SUNRISE kicked off the 2nd day of the festival at 3pm, I met up with the MISDEMEANOR girls and the TERRA FIRMA guys later in the afternoon who were both playing the second day, I spent the day getting very drunk and stumbling about watching various bands and meeting various people including various members of ENTOMBED, Jason from the Aussie band BLOOD DUSTER and also managed to catch the reanimated MERCILESS, ENTOMBED, DRILLER KILLER, LORD BELIAL, TERRA FIRMA, SPARZANZA, MANGLED on the outdoor stage and MISDEMEANOR, LOWRIDER, THE QUILL and a few others on the indoor stage (where I bumped into Anders from BLACKSHINE who I had first met a couple times during my first visit to Stockholm in 1998). I ended up in the beer tent at the end of that night on a table headbanging and playing air guitar!!.
Seeing MERCILESS live and also ENTOMBED for the first time on Swedish soil were particular highlights of that fest!.
Went back to the VOMITORY rehearsal room for a 2nd night and the MISDEMEANOR girls and LOWRIDER guys also stayed the night there along with Freddie Firma and a few other people, drank more booze and woke up some people who were sleeping by falling on top of them -whoops! Next day I went back to Stockholm in the RISE AND SHINE mobile and I spent the night at Jenny from MISDEMEANOR's place.
Met up with Kurt from the rock 'n' roll band THE SEWERGROOVES the next day whilst I was at Jenny's, good band in THE HELLACOPTERS style (who also featured Robert the drummer in that band on drums), he was a cool guy, also hooked up with Chritus from TERRA FIRMA again and stayed at his place for another night, we ended up going to a party of one his relatives somewhere north of Stockholm, in the middle of nowhere then when we got back to his place we stayed up drinking whiskey, smoking and talking until about 5:30am, Chritus had to go to work at about 6:30 so didn't get any sleep and he went to work drunk and stoned!! Later that day I got my stuff together and headed back into the centre of Stockholm again. Spent my last night of that trip at Jenny Misdemeanor's place again relaxing, watching tv and also Kurt came over with a THE HELLACOPTERS new promo video which was cool, can't remember which song it was for now. I went to sleep early and sober, next day hung out in the city for a little while with Kurt doing some last minute music shopping in Gamla Stan and had a beer with him in an Irish Bar in Stora Nygatan before heading back to Arlanda airport to catch the first of my 2 flights home.
VISIT #3 :- November 1999
Arrived in Stockholm Central Station from Arlanda this time without a hangover! Lord Chritus met me off the airport coach and we went to Freddie's place to check out a promo video for the TERRA FIRMA song "Spiral Guru", Izmo came around to check that out too and after watching the video a few times and hanging out we headed off to the suburbs and dropped in on a house party where we stayed for a while before myself Chritus, Freddie and Izmo went to get some Indian food which came bright red and spicey as hell, after that meal we headed to Rockcorner bar and met up with a few people, got more drunk, I ended up totally puking up all over the toilets due to the dodgy Indian meal I had ate, a funny thing happened after that, as I was puking I was cursing out loud in English and there was a guy stood outside of the cubicle listening to my swearing and puking...turns out it was Matti Kärki the vocalist from DISMEMBER! After exiting the now bright red puke covered toilet cubicle I was met by a bespectaled smallish looking guy who I didn't recognise at first who said hello and enquired about my origins as I obviously was swearing to myself in English, we ended up having a little chat, he turned out to be a pretty cool guy, but what a surreal meeting that was!!
Later on that night one of the guys I was with ended up getting a bottle in the head so I ended up in a hospital somewhere in Stockholm with him, Chritus and a couple other people we had been hanging out with. Ended up eventually going back to Freddie's place, drank a lil and eventually passed out. An interesting first night of this visit!
I spent the next 3 nights at Chritus's place if I remember correctly, saw TERRA FIRMA rehearse a couple times, and went to a tattoo studio on one of the days and watched Chritus get a tattoo done, Freddie and Izmo joined us later in the afternoon and I saw them rehearse again before going back out drinking in some bars in central Stockholm, me and Chritus got VERY drunk and on the way back to his place apart from doing some drunken singing alongs of old Black Sabbath songs we were so drunk we got off the bus at the wrong stop which was quite a long way from his house so hitch hiked at the side of the road, we ended up getting a ride off a passing truck whos driver was blasting AC/DC.... that was pretty cool!!
Inside the house of Lord Chritus the viking warrior!!
Then it was back to Eric from RISE AND SHINE's place for a couple nights before heading off to a festival on a ferry/boat to the island of Aland which is in the middle of the Baltic Sea, the festival was called Rock at Sea and TERRA FIRMA, RISE AND SHINE, NORRSKEN (the band which produced members of WITCHCRAFT and GRAVEYARD) and some other bands including Maiden and Sabbath tributes were playing. Seeing those bands play in the middle of the Baltic Sea was quite a strange but cool experience, the trip lasted about 24 hours and I don't remember too much about it, I remember heading to the ferry terminal in Stockholm meeting up with various people and band members, boarding the ferry then its kinda a drunken blur from there, the main aim for most people was to get as drunk as possible it seemed, one drunken Swede cheerfully reminding me of the fact "that this is the same sea that the Estonia sank on", as if I needed to be reminded of that whilst we were sailing in a fucking total whiteout blizzard!. I remember bumping into Atte from BLACKSHINE again (some trivia:- he is also an ex HETSHEADS member and also did vocals on the first NECROPHOBIC album "The Nocturnal Silence" one of my fave Swe-death albums!) and also met Karlen, the bass player from MERCILESS and LOUD PIPES during that ferry trip, also remember going through the Stockholm archipelago which was VERY scenic. When we docked at Mariehamn (or Maarianhamnina as it is known in Finnish), the island is kinda half Swedish, half Finnish with all signs in both languages which was kinda confusing for this drunken Brit, anyway it is the capital of åland, at some point in the early hours of the morning myself and Anders (or as he is nicknamed Atte) stumbled off the ferry through a deserted ferry terminal and into the cold dark Baltic night to check out some of the Island...we didn't get very far as it was too damn dark and cold....We saw sense and stumbled back onto the ferry where it was much warmer, more booze was drank before eventually I passed out in my cabin which I surprisingly managed to find no problem. I also met Karlsson from the famous Swedish duo Hansson and Karlsson that night, I didn't know who he was, I just thought he was some old Swedish drunk guy doing some band introductions....haha..it wasn't until after Chritus told me who he was that I realised I had just been talking to one of the most famous musicians in Sweden!
Next day I woke up with the mother of all hangovers...RISE AND SHINE were playing another set on the way back to Stockholm, the ferry by this point was well on it's return journey and were due to start around the time I woke up, so I got ready as fast as I could to catch their set, I managed to drag my VERY hungover ass to see them and their set was as rockin' as my head was pounding, I started drinking again as a few hair of the dogs were most definetly needed and stocked up on some duty free booze!! Later that afternoon we docked in Stockholm, I was drunk again (although don't think I even had a chance to sober up!!), I hung out with Eric for a little while in the RISE AND SHINE rehearsal place, drank a few beers we had bought on the ferry then headed to a cool place called KAFE 44 in the middle of the city as THE HAUNTED and AMON AMARTH were playing there...the venue didn't sell alcohol so I bumped into a few of the AMON AMARTH guys who I had met a couple times previously in bars around Stockholm and was gonna go looking for some booze with them until Freddie from TERRA FIRMA and Karlen from MERCILESS turned up at the venue, so I decided to hang out with them instead as I knew Freddie more, we ended up going to hang out at an Indian restaurant not too far from the venue and drank more beer there..by this point I was steaming drunk and nearly got us thrown out of this place after I got abit mouthy with the bar guy after he had wanted ID off me (you had to be at least 21 years old to drink in a bar in Sweden then)...all ended up being well and I had fun listening to Karlen speaking Svengelska which was cool to hear in person after reading it many times in MERCILESS interviews in Putrefaction zine!! Very cool funny guy!.
The gig ended up being really cool, Met Tompa the ex AT THE GATES vocalist at the gig aswell as Jonas the bass player who I had previously met in the UK and The Haunted played a great cover of "Blinded By Fear" that night, after the gig myself, Eric and if I remember right Karlen and a few other people ended up going to Rockcorner bar again and in a very strange coincidence Eric also had a problem with someone in the bar that night who hit him...but luckily he was ok as his hair protected the blow to the back of the head he got. Made me think about wearing a crash helmet on a night out in Stockholm!.
Next day it was time to fly back to boring old England after yet another drunken fun trip to the place that had now became my home from home!!
I probablys forgot some things that happened during these 3 trips but these events are what I remember happening in that order and what I wrote down in my original version of the travelogue in 2001. As the years have passed some things have came to me that never did first time around which I have added into this updated version. I hope some of you out there enjoyed reading about my drunken exploits and times in Sverige!! I sure as hell had a lot of fun that year!!
The following year I also made 3 trips to Sweden...I should try and recollect some of my memories of those visits too sometime and write about them and some of my drunken exploits!. I will add more pics to this travelogue soon! I also plan to revisit Stockholm and Sweden again soon as it has been too long since I was last there.
Some interesting facts I learned during trips to Sweden included:-
The last thing you want to see on a Swedish motorway is an Elk ( kinda like a Moose!) as they are larger than a horse and apparently the main cause of motorway deaths on Swedish motorways! As a Swedish friend more or less put it "If you meet an Elk on the motorway that is probablys the last thing you will ever see"
Fact #2:- Japanese tourists have been known to steal road signs warning motorists of possible Elks on the road (how they get them through Swedish customs I will never know!!)
Norsborg- the portal to Helvete!! The view from Eric's balcony.
Lord Chritus in the foyer of the old Terra Firma rehearsal place in Fridhemsplan in Stockholm.
K Shevil August 2011