Creem magazine had an offshoot publication in the mid 1980's called Metal - and I distinctly remember a two page article on the burgeoning Swedish hard rock/metal scene following the breakthrough of EUROPE. Plastered all over the first page was 220 VOLT- and I quickly went scouring the record stores for the debut American offering "Electric Messengers" (a compilation of songs from their 2nd and 3rd albums). This band had the harmonies of EUROPE meets RAINBOW with the music that would traverse a variety of late 70's and early 80's hard rock/ melodic metal outfits. Due to the military service structure within Sweden at the time the band never gained the chance to appeal worldwide to the metal market as they did domestically- but that doesn't mean you shouldn't hunt down all of their albums... Once again I must praise the power of the computer as I discovered a website dedicated to 220 VOLT and through the webmaster I was able to pose a bevy of questions to leader/guitarist Mats Karlsson - so indulge yourself down early European hard rock glory... |
What were your initial memories of music like growing up? What LED ZEPPELIN and DEEP PURPLE albums did your cousin play for you that made you appreciate music at an early age?
Karlsson: "I remember always being very in to music. I listened to all kinds of music and I still do. My older brother was always ahead of me and showed me the way to new music, which he still does today. 'Led Zeppelin II' and 'Made In Japan' were the first hard rock albums I heard. DEEP PURPLE and their offspring bands have always been my favorites since then."
You started playing the drums and piano before picking up the guitar. How long did you practice at those 2 instruments and why did the guitar win out as far as your permanent instrument?
"I think I started playing piano when I was about 7 years old. I played for maybe 3-4 years. I got my first drum kit when I was 10. I had destroyed most of my moms knitting sticks and the cookie jars by then. My older brother played piano as well and got a guitar to start practicing. He taught me some cords and I don't know what happened. I didn't start practicing seriously until I was 12 or 13, but I loved the guitar. The guitar is a lifelong relationship, I can't explain why. There's just something about strapping it on and getting ready for a show."
220 VOLT began in 1979 with yourself, Thomas Drevin (guitar) and Joakim Lundholm (vocals). How did the 3 of you come together and had Thomas and Joakim played in any acts previous to joining 220 VOLT?
"It was me and Thomas that started 220 VOLT. Jocke was asked to join at one point I think, but it didn't happen. His sister was my neighbor. Jocke and I were classmates, or had been. We went to the same school in the same grade. I was in a small band with Jocke a couple of years earlier. It was called Pearl. I was the guitarist, Jocke played drums. I don't think Thomas was in any band prior to this."
Joakim had a fight with Thomas which led to his departure- do you remember what they fought over and how you met Christer Asell? Also, how quickly did drummer Pelle Hansson and bassist Lars-Gunnar Nord come into 220 VOLT to complete the lineup?
"I honestly don't remember what happened between them. They were pretty good friends, so I guess it could have a girl or something..? I have known Christer since I was 8 or 9 years old. Pelle and Lars came in to the band very quickly as I remember. And Lars left quickly too. I don't remember him being at a single rehearsal."
You fired Lars one month later due to his lack of commitment and filled the position with Tommy Hellstrom, who played previously with Christer. Was he your first choice and what did the rival band think of you taking 2 members from them?
"We had heard that Tommy was pretty good, so we asked him and he said yes. We already knew him anyway. The other band wasn't too happy. And most of us went to the same school also, but it wasn't too serious."
You played 50 shows in one year with this lineup. What types of shows did 220 VOLT play and what did the set lists consist of?
"We played at youth clubs and school dances and stuff like that. We played original material exclusively, so of course no one had heard anything. But a few songs stayed in the set list long enough to make our friends recognize them after a while."
In August 1980 Mikael Larsson replaced Tommy as the latter did his military service. How did you find Mikael and weren't you worried about his playing abilities at such a tender age as 14?
"I knew Mike and I knew he was good. I wasn't much older myself so age wasn't a concern. Not until we realized he couldn't sign the record deal with CBS because he was under age."
You had 20 songs ready in year one and 35 by year two- what style was 220 VOLT developing in these originals and did any of the early cuts make 220 VOLT albums?
"We tried all kinds of stuff. As long as it was heavy. "Woman in White" off the first album ("220 Volt" released 1983) was a very early song, from 1980.
This second lineup lasted until October 1981 when Thomas and Christer had many fights so you and Mikael left to form a new band called CYGNUS with future 220 VOLT drummer Peter Hermannson. Where did Peter come from and did you nick the band name from the RUSH song? Did the band ever write any originals in that period and/or play out any shows under the CYGNUS name?
"This line-up lasted a little longer, until sometime in December of 1981, I remember some shows being played before Christmas. Actually, it was me that had a few arguments with Thomas and Christer. We argued on what songs to play and what songs not to play and stuff like that. Yes, CYGNUS was nicked from a RUSH song. Peter Hermansson's favorite band at the time. I had known Peter for a few years and we seemed to like the same kind of music so we just decided to give it a go. We asked another guitar player to join, but he never turned up at rehearsals, so '85. He was once in the band that Tommy and Christer was pulled from.. To be quite honest, I have no idea what we did. We never played any shows, that's for sure. I don't remember anything except what the rehearsal place looked like. And that's because the "new" 220 VOLT used it for a while after that."
4 months later Thomas and Christer returned to the band and once again 220 VOLT reemerged. What agreements were reached as far as songwriting and style direction?
"We were still hanging out together and kind of thought that it was a stupid mistake to stop playing together, since we enjoyed it so much. We decided to go with Peter on drums instead. The band became harder during this period, a lot of it had to do with the new drummer. He actually hit the drums, which was a new experience for us. The only decision we took was that we were going to record an album, no matter what!!!"
Tell us about songs like "Black Widow" and "Eyes Of Love" that were written but never came out back then?
"'Black widow" was about the most deadly spider on the planet. Slow heavy verse and intense high tempo chorus. 'Eyes of Love' was more of a ballad in the beginning and not a ballad in the end. That's the only way to describe it."
Your first demo was recorded in two days during June 1982 at Tommy's Music Lab in Ostersund and contains 8 songs. Tell us about this recording experience, songs you performed and overall outcome of this tape?
"We had taped some songs at rehearsals. You know, with two microphones hanging from the roof. We still have some of these tapes and it's great fun. But this time we were in a recording studio with better equipment. We were very (too) excited, but we didn't have much time. Three songs, "Woman in white", "Child of the night" and "Gypsy Queen" made it to the first album. I think that some of the other songs were very good, but they didn't turn out very good on that particular recording. Not when you're recording 8 songs a day. I do have a very fond memory of the recording though. We were in the studio a few days in advance to check it out. Christer ended up bringing his own 15 meter mike-cord and a headband to make the headphones stay on his head. He can't stand still while he's recording, so a steady-mike wasn't an option. He raced around the studio like he did on stage when he was singing. The studio guy couldn't believe his eyes. We caught a glimpse of him every now and then when he passed the window to the control room. Unbelievable we were laughing our heads off..."
By August record store owner Kjell Bjork enjoys 220 VOLT so much that he's willing to put up money for your first single. How had you met Kjell and was he in essence the band's management at the time? Had he worked on other hard rock projects from Sweden during the time or were you his first venture into band investment?
"We knew Kjell, cause he managed the best record store in town. Guntan\'b4s Records, named after his girlfriend. Peter ( and myself later on ) used to work part time there. He became involved more and more and actually came up with the idea to record a single I think. As far as I know, he had never undertaken a project like that before. He worked with another band later on when he moved to Stockholm, but I'm not sure which band. I met the guys once in 1984 or something."
You recorded 5 songs for the 3 sessions and chose "Prisoner of War" and "Sauron" over the other songs "In The Night", "Stand By For Action" and "White Powder". Why did those 2 earlier tracks win out and what were the other 3 like?
"They turned out the best. We never discussed using any of the other songs. "In the night" was more of a shuffle beat. The other two were fast songs with double bass drum patterns and guitar harmony parts, something that was very common in our early songs."
The single received a 550 copy print run and all were sold out by a month's time. Were you surprised by the immediate success considering the under developed rock scene within Sweden back then?
"We were not entirely surprised since we had at least some reputation. We were also taking advance orders, so that people would get their own specially numbered copy. Something that bootleggers sadly has destroyed since then. But we didn't think we'd end up on radio charts in the States. I have to say that the rock scene in Sweden at this point was very active. And hard rock was very big. So under developed is not right, in our town alone there must have been at least 10 hard rock acts, some pretty good as well."
On December 12th, 1982 you opened for HEAVY LOAD in front of 1,000 fans and played a killer show- as well as playing another show that same night. Tell us your feelings about the crowds and your performances that night? Had you been familiar with HEAVY LOAD's music previous to playing with them?
"I just discussed that with Christer and Thomas the other day. HEAVY LOAD was well known in Sweden. I remember the gig with them very well, but the other gig that same night is gone. We discussed it and came to the conclusion that we asked if we could play early, cause we had another gig. I guess the focus was clearly on the gig later that night. But the gig with HL was very cool, the place holds about 1500 and it was packed. The crowd was very very good, our single had just been released and we played through a really big P.A. system that really pumped. It felt great I can tell you that."
How did EUROPE's winning the Rock SM music competition change the way record labels viewed hard rock/ heavy metal in Sweden?
"More Swedish bands were signed of course. They had their breakthrough on national television and that was important."
By late 1982, early 1983 CBS and EMI were interested in signing 220 VOLT- were there other offers out there? What made you sign with CBS by March of 1983?
"EMI were not interested, CBS was. Easy choice I'd say. We only wanted to make an album, I'm not sure we even thought longer than that at that particular point."
You rehearsed 7 weeks straight in preparation for your debut album- working from 50 songs at this point. How did you decided what should appear on the album - and did any newly written tracks make the cut?
"'No return', 'Lonely nights' and 'Stop And Look Back' were new. I remember rehearsing with the producer Thomas Witt. He was involved in deciding what songs to record, and also helped out with some minor arrangement issues. Of course he saw things from the record company's point of view and not necessarily the bands."
A week into the recording you decide to let Christer go and replace him with Joakim Lundholm once again. What was Christer's problem studio wise and were you impressed with Joakim's ability to record his vocal parts in 3 days?
"I'm actually not sure what happened, but it didn't work out the way we all had hoped. Of course it was a very sad situation. We had to solve it somehow, so we called Jocke to see if he wanted to help us out. Luckily he did. We had no more time in the studio, so he just had to get the work done. On some of the songs we sat beside him and signaled when he was supposed to begin or stop."
"220 Volt" hits the streets in June 1983 and is well received by the fans and press. Do you remember the early reviews and sales figured for this effort?
"No, but I know that sales were better than expected and that several countries outside of Sweden released it. It felt unreal back then, when you're 18 years old you only dream of stuff like that happening to you."
In July you play the Storsjoyran Festival in front of 6,000 people in Ostersund. Tell us about the festival and your performance that day which led to hundreds of album sales for the band?
"This festival is an old tradition in the region we grew up in. But for some reason this was the first time it happened in 10 years. People were expecting a lot of course. Our album was just out and things were great of course. I have seen the gig on video, but I honestly just remember a big crowd and that we had a lot fun."
On October 18th you again enter Tommy's studio to record a live 11 song demo in 10 hours- what was this session like and did all of the songs you recorded make the second album?
"I know it was a very long day. We used to set up our gear, play for a while as the engineer got a decent sound and then get right to it. We recorded everything exactly as if we were rehearsing with the exception that the vocals and some solos were added afterwards. Not all songs were on the album, but most of them."
During December Thomas Drevin leaves the band due to a lack of commitment. How did you find his replacement Peter Olander - and did you feel the lineup changes were for the betterment of 220 VOLT?
"Peter was also and old friend that I used to hang out with a lot. It's always sad to take a decision like that. So the feelings were mixed. That was the second time in six months that we ended up in situation like that, and also with your oldest and best friends."
Tell us about the "Firefall" video shoot outside Stockholm. What was the concept about and did this broaden the appeal of 220 VOLT beyond mainland Europe/ Japan?
"It was very very very very very cold !!!!!!! There was no concept about it. We were certainly not involved in any planning anyway. We were told loosely about how it was supposed to look and stuff, but that's basically it. We just went there, did it and went home. I'm not sure if it made us more interesting, but the album was released on the South American continent as well which was new for us,but I don't know if that was because of the video. Hopefully it was because of the music."
In February 1984 "Power Games" hits the streets of Europe. What do you think of this album stylistically compared to your debut? Had 220 VOLT grown as a melodic metal force to be reckoned with worldwide?
"It was more musical and complex. I think it's a much better album than the first one, but we also worked with the same line-up throughout the whole thing. We thought we had grown to force to be reckoned with. But what do you know when you're 18-19 years old. At the same time, if you don't believe in what you're doing you might as well quit right away."
In July of that same year you gain a support tour with NAZARETH- how were these shows and the crowds? Were you playing to an older audience or was it a mixed crowd in terms of age?
"The gigs with NAZARETH were great. We got along very well with them, especially Peter Hermansson and Daryl Sweet, the drummers. Peter was invited on stage to play congas with them on a few occasions. And at one gig I think his bass drum pedal gave up, and Daryl was there to lend him one of his. Peter wrote a beautiful song called "Dalgety Bay" when we learned about Daryl's sad death. Dalgety Bay was where Daryl was born. I hope you get to hear the song someday. As far as I remember, the crowds were mixed."
How was the September tour with BULLET through Sweden? Is it true in your estimation that you blew away BULLET with your opening show?
"The tour was really great I think. BULLET were under Dieter Dirks (SCORPIONS and ACCEPT's producer) protective wing, so everything was top class as far as crew and P.A. system was concerned. He also saw at least one gig. Unfortunately, BULLET left the tour after 3 or 4 gigs. Apparently their singer used to have a drinking problem and he couldn't handle getting back on the road. We had been touring with NAZARETH recently and also headlined some gigs of our own at this point, so we had a decent following. I certainly don't think they blew us off stage anyway."
Explain the circumstances behind the 1984 JUDAS PRIEST show that 220 VOLT didn't open for yet you ate dinner with the band?
"We had an offer to support them on the whole European tour, but it didn't happen. I don't know the exact circumstances and I probably never will. We were at the gig in Stockholm and since we were on the same label, we later joined some people from the record company for an after show dinner with JUDAS PRIEST. That's when we got to talk to them. They were upset that there was no support act at all and invited us to play the next night in Gothenburg. We couldn't make it on such short notice though."
Tell us about the "Heavy Christmas" single that came out in time for the holidays- why did the band write this special song and were you impressed with its success?
"The idea was thrown out by a guy from the record company that we worked closely with. This happened as we were recording "Mind over Muscle", actually right after the BULLET tour. The riff just blurted out a couple of minutes later and the whole song was put down the same day. I think Jocke had the lyrics and the vocals down soon after that. It was a spur of the moment thing. All Christmas songs are so nice, so we thought we'd do something different."
While recording your 3rd album "Mind Over Muscle" you were given the chance to play a festival in Chile but turned down the offer. What went wrong in this case?
"We were invited as well as QUIET RIOT and some other acts. Pinochet was still running Chile and we didn't know the government was behind this show. We weren't interested in supporting their r\'e9gime. I would have loved to play for the fans in Chile though.. Ultimately, Columbia/Epic records wouldn't allow any acts to attend, which probably was for the best."
What do you remember about the "It's Nice To Be A King" video shoot?
"I remember Jocke was shooting for a few days with some nice models, which the rest of us in the band didn't exactly like.. But I got a glimpse of the guys in U2, who were also shooting a video in the studio next to us. I think I was only involved for one day shooting the band stuff and something else at the Opera house in Stockholm. We got to meet the girls later though."
You toured Sweden and Poland extensively in support of "Mind Over Muscle"- who did you play with and how did it feel to play to 80,000 people in Warsaw in September 1985?
"We toured Sweden extensively with our own show. This tour started in April and ended late in August. Then we had a few weeks off before Poland. There were lots of hassle with Visas and stuff. Since the whole thing was going to be filmed for television I suppose we needed working permits. We were surprised to find that so many recognized us in Poland. We knew that "Mind Over Muscle" was out on some domestic label. But we didn't know at that time it had sold some 40-45,000 copies, and that our videos had been on national TV before we arrived. Poland was still a very closed state. Still behind the iron curtain. I think hard rock was still hard to find there. Getting out in front of 80,000 people is unbelievable, it's not something I can put down in words. When I got off stage I didn't remember anything until after a while."
Epic released a compilation of material from all 3 albums for American release titled "Electric Messengers". Why did it take so long for a US deal and why didn't the label put out "Mind Over Muscle" as a whole?
"There was a guy at Epic called Bob Feinegle (who I wonder what he does today, get in touch Bob if you read this), who somehow picked up on our music. He put together what he thought would be a good album to present us to the U.S. market. Later on he came to Sweden and saw a couple of shows. He seemed to like what he saw and was involved in most of what we did after that. We were offered deals with other companies earlier, for Canada and the U.S. But CBS in Sweden wouldn't let them license us, they were afraid that they'd piss their owners off, even though our deal said we could approach other labels if their own label passed. That's how nice your average record label can be."
By 1986 you opened for AC/DC across Scandinavia in February, 6 shows that played to 30,000 people. How did 220 VOLT fare with their audience and did you feel your worldwide profile shot up as a result of this tour?
"I think the audience was really into it. As soon as you have opened for AC/DC for example, you can always use that in marketing and stuff, so we must have gained something from that experience."
A terrible blow struck the band in June 1986 when you found out that everyone in the band besides Peter H. had to go into compulsory military service. Tell us your feelings about where 220 VOLT could have gone if this military obligation had not surfaced?
"We knew there was no escaping it. We had postponed it with some success for 2 or 3 years already. I think when we came back we were more hungry and had a hit with a ballad called "Lorraine", so I think we held our position in Sweden. In the rest of the world though there was a long break. We might have had a chance to gain more from the AC/DC tour if we had been free to work, but that's impossible to say."
A compilation album titled "Young and Wild" came out with 2 new songs ("Lorraine" and the title track). How did it feel to have a hit record in Sweden with "Lorraine"? How was the ensuing 220 VOLT summer tour?
"Of course it was a relief to find that radio would play us and that several TV shows wanted us. The tour was very good with bigger audiences turning up. This was a consequence of us being on the radio of course. I think we played about 30 shows and it rained on all shows but two, so we were happy with the good turnouts."
You chose Max Norman to produce your 4th studio album - were there other producers in mind and what clinched Max's spot as the producer?
"Our friend Bob at Epic/ U.S. knew Max and played him a few demos. He was interested in doing our album cause he liked the song "I'm On Fire" so much, at least that's what he told me. Other names that were discussed were Mark Dodson, who had worked with Priest and a couple of others that I can't seem to remember right now. I liked what Max had done with Ozzy, CONEY HATCH and LOUDNESS. Always great guitar sounds and I had never been happy with what had been going down on tape before, it didn't sound like my sound. I think we all agreed on him being the most interesting choice."
By March recording commences on "Eye To Eye" at Media Sound Studios in New York. Tell us about this album as the band slightly shifted to a more polished/ commercial direction?
"We had written tons of stuff for this one. It had been 3 years since our last "real" album. Things just turned out a bit more mellow, there was no real thought about it. You just try to pick songs that you think will go well together on an album. I think all of our albums are quite different from each other and I kind of like that, I've always liked bands myself that doesn't come up with the same stuff all the time."
In August 1988 the band performed on the Monsters Of Rock tour with TREAT and ELECTRIC BOYS. Were you still gathering new 220 VOLT fans at this stage or was the audience waning?
"We were kind of wasting our time on that one. We thought the album would be out by then, but in actual fact Jocke arrived home from mixing just a few days before the tour. We had a great time but maybe we should have toured when we had something to plug. The crowds seemed to have a good time but I don't think we made any new fans."
"Eye To Eye" comes out in November 1988 in Europe and Japan- how were the reactions from the fans and press to this album and what were the album sales like in those territories?
"The reactions were very good in general. Sales were improving in most territories, not here in Sweden though. It made about the same amount as the other albums."
You gained American management interest from Steve Mountain- manager of THE HOOTERS who were quite successful in the states back then. Where did you see 220 VOLT's chances for success given this new management by your side?
"We had spent a lot of time in the States for the recordings and the marketing (at least Jocke and me) of the album. We knew that quite a lot of radio stations picked up on it and without a U.S. management we would have been unable to do anything in the States. Steve was very much a guy that the record company liked, cause he had done such a great job with the Hooters. He was also really nice and easy to work with. Of course we saw the possibilities of a successful management taking the whole thing to another level.
Why did CBS Records in Sweden worry about the money spent on 220 VOLT in 1988 considering your track record on previous albums and their sales?
"'Eye To Eye' was by far the most expensive album we'd made so far. All companies are interested in getting their money back and also most of your money if they have a chance. We knew that others were interested in getting in on it, but they thought they'd lose their investment all together, instead of having to put up all the money."
"Eye To Eye" hits US shores in January 1989 - but by February the power struggle between the American and Swedish offices of CBS takes a toll on the band. What circumstances led to this problem and how did it feel to lost the EUROPE tour at this same time?
"Steve told us that Epic were ready to buy us out. That would have made us an import act in our own country on the label that thought they'd "made"us. First of all, they would have gotten some of their money back, and would still have gained from our sales, but they just couldn't take that. I'm sure lots of things happened behind our backs that we don't know about. Losing the tour was not fun of course. Everything was set with their management (which we knew) and the band seemed to be ok with it. The promoter (same company who promoted us ) came up with a figure that it would cost us to do the tour. Pretty big money. When the EUROPE album came out, it didn't do as well as it was expected so people were getting cold feet, maybe we could get a better tour and so on\'85 Finally A&M in London offered to pay more money to get their act on the tour, so we were out! Not one of the greatest moments in our lives."
Next in April 1989 you lost a US club tour due to a lack of financial backing. Who was this tour scheduled with and were you ready to fight to get off the label?
"We were supposed to play showcases in the cities where the album got the most airplay. As far as I know, we were going to do it by ourselves and invite media and other people from the business. So I never heard of any other bands being involved in that. After that we should have stayed in the U.S. and support a couple of other acts. I heard a few names fly by my ear, but it never happened. I guess we knew we had to leave the record company a few months later, when the management found the situation impossible."
1990 was a limbo year for 220 VOLT, spending time writing and rehearsing new material while trying to get off CBS- as well as a Chicago trip in August to seek out other management. How many songs got demoed and did any ever see an album?
"We were still working hard with new songs, playing shows every now and then and also hunting for a new management. I don't know how many songs we recorded ( a lot ), but a couple of them ended up on 'Lethal Illusion'."
Finally in June 1991 you break ties with CBS Sweden - but by then the record market had changes and grunge was the new best seller stateside. What labels did 220 VOLT approach and what major motion picture almost featured your song "Chicago"?
"I spent about a month in L.A. then and met with several managements and some record companies. Among them were MCA where we kind of knew a guy who was at Epic earlier. I don't remember the name of that movie I'm afraid. But I remember seeing the offer and what the publisher were ready to advance us, had it happened."
Tell us about the last shows and days of 220 VOLT in early 1992 - and how the band moved from 220 VOLT to VOLTERGEIST?
"The last shows were in may 1992. One of the gigs were pretty far away from Stockholm and since our singer was about to become a daddy he (of course) wasn't interested in doing it. We solved this by contacting Per Englund (now in BLACKSMITH). We knew him, not very well but still. We rehearsed some covers and did the show. When 220 VOLT was laid to rest we thought that we'd try to do something different with a new singer. Per was asked and agreed to give it a shot."
Why did it take so long for "Lethal Illusion" to come out? What do you think of all your CD's being re-released with bonus tracks?
"We played songs from "Lethal Illusion" on the last shows with 220 VOLT. However, when the band broke up there wasn't much interest from our point of view to even try to get it released. We were involved in something new and that was what at least I was concentrating on. After a few years though it seemed like a waste to just let the tapes collect dust. We negotiated with some labels but they didn't come up with the kind of deal we were looking for. The album was more or less complete, then you don't want to give it away, so it took a while to find a decent deal. Our very first album has been released in on CD in Japan, and I've been trying to help them out to get the other ones out with extra material. But the Swedish label that sits on the tapes have been slow and unwilling to help out. All other 220 VOLT albums that are out on the market are bootlegs !!! I blame CBS/Sony totally for this. Unfortunately the bonus tracks on these bootlegs are not on the right albums and offer nothing new or unreleased material, so I think it's a shame that they are out there. We know who's behind it and we're going to deal with that person in our own way. But at least the bootlegs are keeping the name alive."
Were you shocked to see your 1982 "Prisoner Of War"/ "Sauron" artwork appear in a similar form on the HAMMERFALL "Renegade" album? Are you in contact with anyone from the band?
"I'd never thought of it until it was mentioned to me while ago. But I'm not too familiar with them, maybe I should check them out. I don't know any of the guys from HAMMERFALL."
When Rob Halford was interested in doing vocals for the "Power Games" album - was this around the same period as the show that 220 VOLT never played with JUDAS PRIEST?
"I've heard about that, but I'm not sure when it was. I guess it couldn't have been the "Powergames" album cause that had just been released then."
What are you currently up to musically if anything?
"I'm involved in several different things. I still write lots of music. I'm trying to explore some new fields that I haven't moved in before. So it's not exactly heavy metal, but there are heavier songs too. But the whole idea is to try and do something that I've never done before. I'm hoping to get it released, but I've made no serious efforts yet. I've also been backing others for TV shows and I play in a couple of cover bands. CYLIDERHEADS, FACTORY and The COSTANZAS are the current ones."
Would 220 VOLT ever reunite- either for a live show or another studio recording? Do you keep in touch with any of the former 220 VOLT band mates- and are they doing anything musically?
"I'm in touch with all the guys, we've been friends since we were kids so we're seeing each other. We also have a lot of other friends in common so we'll always be pretty close I guess. We've had several offers from festivals and also some other gigs, but so far we've been unable to do it. I don't think it's totally out of the question. Keep checking the website, if anything happens it'll be up there for sure."
You have one of the best band websites done by a fan. How did this site come about and what do you think of this communication medium (the internet)?
"Thanks, I think Robert's done a really good job with the website. Our good friend Mike Eriksson who used to handle press for us has helped out a lot too with supplying material. I'm also going to contribute more, it's just I've been crazy busy for a while. But there's more pretty cool stuff that will be up soon. Robert saw another page made by Mike and e-mailed him. They started talking and the site is result of their collaboration. I think that the internet is a great thing for lots of things and I also think it will change the music industry totally. Both for the better and for the worse. I think that a lot of record companies are getting very confused now, they don't know how to control it. And I also think that it will be harder to control owners rights and that could be negative for the artists. I don't think they're interested in giving all their hard work away. In fact, who would like to go to work everyday and give someone else their earnings???"
Do you pay attention to the current metal scene? Are you surprised that many new acts seem influenced by your efforts?
"I don't follow it as closely as I used to. Mostly because it got so boring during the grunge thing. I liked a few of the bands, but most bands sounded the same to me. I couldn't tell them apart. There were only a handful with any kind of identity and musicianship that attracted me. I haven't heard that anyone has said that they were influenced by us, but if that's the case it's extremely flattering of course."
List the 5 best bands of all time and 2 underrated Swedish metal acts of the 1980's that everyone needs to investigate?
"I like lots of music, but I'll make a list of 5 hard rock acts that would end up on my list any day: DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW (with Dio), LED ZEPPELIN, UFO. There was a Swedish band called MADISON that were quiet good and that's actually the only one that comes to mind right now. The other Swedish acts are already pretty well known."
Final thoughts for the Snakepit readers?
"If you've read all of this interview I hope you've enjoyed it. It's fun that someone still cares and takes the time to put together an interview like this. I was asked to answer each question with as much info as possible and I've sure tried. Hope to see you all in the future and I mean in the near future. All the best."
additional website: http://hem.passagen.se/powergames