FREE! Magazine had the chance to make an exclusive interview with Jocke and “Adde”, singer and drummer of the Swedish rock band Hardcore Superstar, a few hours before their gig at Klubi in Tampere.
There are many things going on around Hardcore Superstar during the last months. Embarked nowadays in a World Tour, they released their new and fifth studio album at the end of 2007: Dreaming ´in a Casket and have suffered some drastic changes in the band formation but it seems that they do not lose the positive energy to show the world that they still believe in the greatness of their project.
We met Jocke Berg and Magnus “Adde” Andersson, singer and drummer of the band, just some minutes before their lunch. They certainly have an outstanding presence: tall, fit and with a distinctive Swedish touch of elegance. It is 14th of February, Valentine´s Day, and I wonder if they expect to find love in the air during their visit in Tampere. “Hehehe… it is a question I will have to make to the audience later! But we have already seen a lot of beautiful girls walking around…!” the guys affirm maliciously.
They look positive, friendly and full of energy, although also hungry (it is lunch time); a hunger that goes farther than just getting the taste of food, since these guys seem to be hungry for success. Nevertheless, as Jocke explains, the name of the band (far from any porno reference) is about getting as big as possible and breaking the limits.
And all in all, how is the present world tour going on?
Jocke: It is going very well. We are very happy so far! We were before coming to Finland in Japan, Australia, England…
Adde: It was the first time for us in Australia, and that was great. Although we did not have much time for tourism or watch kangaroos.
Hardcore Superstar has always had a special relation and tight bonds with the neighboring country Finland. Apart from coming to play quite often in Finnish land, their previous drummer at the beginning was Finnish, Mika Vaino, and they counted with the collaboration of Michael Monroe in a song some years ago.
Jocke: Yeah, Hanoi Rocks are good friends. I have not listened to the new album completely. Only to some songs, and I watched the new video clip. I am happy because they sound like the old Hanoi Rocks from the eighties, and they look full of illusion again.
Adde: Yeah, I am a great fan too. I have listened to a lot of their old stuff.
The tour has been baptized as Mentally Damaged World tour 07/08, so I wonder in what state they can keep their mental health after so much traveling and all the things involving band in the recent days:
Adde: Well, every tour has its up and downs. For example, we recently had to face the loss of our guitar player, Thomas Solver.
Yeah, that has been the hottest topic around the band in the recent days. Can you explain a bit more about what happened?
Jocke: Well, he basically got tired of touring, making albums and playing gigs.
Adde: It was after our concert in London, in the tour bus. He said that he could not continue anymore.
Jocke: It is sad because we have known each other for so many years. I noticed since a couple of years that something was wrong with him, something in his eyes. I was asking him “Is everything ok, Thomas” and he always answered that “yeah, no problem”, but finally the situation exploded. But well, he has always been a kind of special guy… (As an example, Thomas had a famous fight with a Swedish journalist from Aftonbladet in New York some years ago that was hugely covered in all the Swedish press)
The band was lucky to find a quick replacement on the guitar: Vic Zino from the band Crazy Lixx, who later in the concert seemed perfectly adapted, apart from showing great skills. Just while asking about him, Vic passed by and shyly greeted us.
Jocke: It was Thomas himself who recommended us the guy. Vic was playing with his band, and Thomas said “You have to check out this guy, he is even much better than me”. So we offered Vic to join the tour and he luckily accepted. But we don´t know what will happen in the future with the guitarist position. We will have to see about it.
Adde: “People in Bilbao almost destroyed the club when they discovered that our gig was cancelled”
And certainly, as Adde explained, they always have some curious situations on their tours. Actually they recently had to cancel the scheduled Spanish gigs due to the illness of the singer:
Jocke: Yeah, I fell very ill, with a big pain in my throat, and I could not sing. It was very bad.
Adde: We had a lot of bad luck. The tour bus was also broken in our way to Bilbao and the air conditioning did not work properly, so it was frozen there. Jocke got very ill and we had to cancel the 3 gigs. And the people in Bilbao got crazy! They could listen to us in the venue, on the other side of a thin wall, and they thought that the reasons to cancel were others, that we were high on drugs or something like that, so they almost destroyed the place! We got scared!
Hopefully, the band will have a quick chance to compensate the Spanish fans, since they will repeat the visit to Spain pretty soon in a couple of months, adding also a fourth gig in Madrid. The expectation about their visit in the Spanish music forums is high:
Jocke: It is something we had to do. I mean, we owe those concerts to our Spanish fans!
The band released on November 7th their new studio album: Dreamin´in a Casket, which has been greatly welcomed by the audience. All the spirit of previous Hardcore Superstar´s albums is present there, but the sound sounds this time a bit heavier and thrasher. Although the band enjoys good popularity around the world (especially in their native Sweden), they still need to go one step farther and break the border of playing in bigger arenas.
Adde: Well, there are many bands that release only a first good album and then they get fucked up. We are more constant.
Jocke: Look at bands like Metallica, for example: They got success step by step, releasing a chain of great albums. At the beginning not many people knew them. We aimed at something like that. But of course we try to reach at the maximum level.
Jocke: “We are brave in all what we do”
And actually, one great feature is that overall; they are honest in what they do. As an example, they released the single Bastards, that got a huge success in Sweden, but they decided not to include it in the final album. A brave decision:
Adde: Yeah, it sold a lot in Sweden. But then we had more songs that were fitting better in the record, and we preferred to have those in the album and left Bastards just as a single.
Jocke: Well, we are brave in all what we do!
While waiting for the bigger international recognition, 2007 was a great year for Hardcore Superstar, at least in Swedish territory: they were voted the best rock band of the year, and they opened the show for Aerosmith at Sweden Rock Festival.
Jocke: That was an amazing experience! We are big fans of Aerosmith. And we were sharing the backstage area: just Aerosmith and Hardcore Superstar there!
Adde: Yeah, they transformed the area into their lounge. They had a lot of stuff, but we had our own masseur there. While I was relaxed, having a massage, Tom Hamilton passed by and exclaimed “Why have we not thought about this!” I was talking to him for a while. They knew our work and there were even rumors that we could continue opening for them during the rest of the tour, but then unfortunately it did not happen in the end. A real pity because it would have been an excellent promotion for us. I think it was Got and Mule who did it.
And after this intensive winter tour, what are your plans for the future. Do you already have scheduled any summer festival?
Jocke: Yes, sure. We are going to do summer festivals. We will even go to China for a couple of festivals there. It will be obviously our first time there.
While waiting for future visits of the Swedish when the sun is shining in Finland (they probably will come back soon to a couple of summer festivals here), we enjoy their gig at Klubi later that night. Good vibes, with Jocke acting as a solid front man and Vic perfectly integrated on the guitar. A lot of young female audience in the first rows that knew the lyrics of every one of the songs, and as the final gift for the audience to end the show, their killing hit: We do not Celebrate Sundays. Fortunately, they celebrate St. Valentine´s, and they showed once more their love for Finland with huge doses of great sleazy rock.