Nicke Borg - Backyard Babies

July 5, 2005

Well, give me a little history on the band.

Yeah, you want a full length version or a cut down version?

Whatever you want.

We're four guys who grew up in a small, tiny village in Sweden. We came to the conclusion we shared the same love for heavy metal, punk rock, and hard rock music in general. Not only just the music but everything that comes with it. Chicks, booze, and parties. Free entrance. The whole thing. Basically why we were attracted to the whole thing. We were real young teenagers tired of you know, when you live the same thing wherever you are in the whole world I guess, you live in a small city you do sports, become a fucking junkie, or you start a rock band. You study. There are three different states you choose in life early. You choose to start a rock band. That was in '88 or '89 that we formed the Backyard Babies. We also played before that as well really shitty in the beginning. From then on, we just did demos, played local, and got bigger and bigger and bigger, and got signed. We released our first record in '94 called Diesel And Power and then here we are in Dallas again in 2005 with a couple of studio albums behind us. We have a new American deal and doing it all over again. We've been away though a lot for America lately so we came back early this year with Social Distortion and that's the reason why we're releasing this kind of compilation to the American crowd. It contains, this album you have right now in your hands, Tinnitus, that's basically four songs out of our latest three albums released in Europe. It's kind of a compilation for us back in Europe but for you guys, it's more or less a reintroduction of the band. We do this tour now. We have the great Chelsea Smiles opening up and then we're on our way back to do another short round with Social Distortion in Europe and to finish writing our new album which will be a bigger again release in America early next year I hope for. Mid spring or summer.

You released Total 13 over here.

That was released here in '99 on Scooch Pooch Records. A small release so I really consider it was hardly released. That's the album that most Americans are familiar with since that was the only so to say properly released but still not properly released. It's all of a matter how do you whatever. That's the fast count version. Tons of tours. Tons of fucking recordings and writings and fucking being in a bus between that.

Women and booze.

Yeah and I've actually got to add tons of problems that unfortunately are dragging behind and this band has been working so to say uphill against the wind all the time. We have changed various record companies, management, and that takes a lot of time and energy so we'll say that it's a wonder this band is still alive and playing and we still think it's fun. Because that stuff, the business side, that got so important. It's always been important but in the '70s people were too fucked up and in the '80s it was so whatever. Then in the '90s it started to be so much business and everybody started to get involved themselves which is good but it also takes a lot of the whole fucking role myth away. You don't like to see the singer of your favorite band online and do the business, you know what I'm saying? It's a fine line so that stuff has been one big reason why it's been taking so long. We only released four studio albums over the past then 16 years. There are a lot of gigs in between as well. Hopefully we change a bit again. That's why we're going straight back to start recording a new album for Christmas.

Why didn't the other two albums get released over here? Was that part of the problem?

Yeah, I don't know.

Because people over here know who you are.

Yeah, I know that. I don't know. We were signed on RCA. BMG was still in Scandinavia and they didn't pick them up basically and by the time we maybe had another small record label that wanted to release one of them, it was time to not tour it anymore basically. We continued to start on a new one so the timing has been fucked up ever since. Even on Total 13, the timing was fucked up but we decided to tour it anyway to see what happens. It was a good tour. We did two long tours but the album after that suffered because of that. It took a long time.

To me, music was always supposed to be about having fun and somehow starting in the '90s, especially starting in the 2000's, all people think about is fucking money. Profit before people and the bottom line. It takes the fun out of it.

I've got to say it so I have said it now but if I didn't enjoy that hour on stage, if I didn't enjoy seeing people's faces before, after, and during the show, I would never ever continue to do this because this wouldn't be worth it. It's such a fucking drag. All the other stuff as you mentioned. The whole fucking business side is fucking insane these days. Luckily we're a rock band. Luckily some of our record company colleagues today respect that and not try to package you into some fucking stupid McDonald's packaging like they do. I feel so sorry for all these new young artists but rock always has that kind of integrity like The Beatles. At least the "they know what they're doing" kind of thing. I'm afraid I can't say that for all rock bands but they are actually trying. Look at all this American kid band rock bands that are totally packaged. Fucking shoved into pieces and then thrown in a garbage can and on to the next one. We have earned some kind of respect within the business over the years which is good. But I say it yeah, it's a corrupt fucking sick business these days and I feel sorry for the fans because they are the ones who suffer the most. They pay over prices for the CDs and they can't see their favorite band because we can't come tour because there's no promotion behind it. Blah, blah, blah. It's a tough job but as I said, if it wasn't for the love of being on stage. Thank God that's still there. I still think it will always be there. I hope that. This year I can feel like an old tree soon. You still stand there and all the fucking little bushes are flying around you. I sound like an old fucking man playing Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I think if you have a passion for something and you want something bad enough, you'll fight for it.

Of course, yeah. Hell yeah, fighting for it. That's what we do. Definitely.

Tonight we get a selection from that one album that was released over here and then some stuff that maybe some people didn't hear.

From the two albums after that, yeah.

What led you to put the compilation together?

Because we're signing right now with Century Media and Liquor And Poker Music is a little label within the family. They said they really wanted something out before the next record that we're writing as we speak. They didn't want to release Stockholm Syndrome, Making Enemies Is Good, and Total 13, all three at the same time. They said why don't we just put those three into one as a reintroduction to the band while you're recording the new one and go tour as we're doing now a little bit so people get their eyes opened again. We said yeah, that might be a good idea. You also have to be prepared when people say "well this is a compilation of songs. I've already got this album." Yeah, I know but this is not for Europe. It's only for America for people who haven't had a chance to get their hands on these other albums. And if they did, they paid a shitload of money on an import. That's the idea and Liquor And Poker Music have this one and that's their thing. Next record will be on Century Media. This is to just keep the buzz going since we've been away so long.

Yeah, we need some music.

Yeah, I know. That's why we said yeah, okay. Fine. Good idea. We don't have time to tour that much since we're supposed to write a new album. We did Social Distortion dates early this year and now we do this one month headlining date.

You guys opened for Velvet Revolver too.

Yeah, in Europe. That was a trip. They're good guys. They were kind of friends before and now we're really good friends. They're really cool guys. I think we should have done it here in America too. That would have been a good thing but it fucked up somewhere along the line. I don't know what. Money and business I guess again. The record company probably picked a band that had more money to put into the tour. We don't have any cash to put into a tour anymore. I know that Velvet Revolver really wanted us to play with them and they're cool guys so I don't know why it couldn't happen but maybe next year.

In the business part you have to be really on top of that because if you're not, you get screwed really bad.

Yeah, I know. That's sad but also it's good that you are on top of things. Trying to be at least so you don't screwed but still it's taking too much time from the fact of what you're supposed to do which is write songs, play live, go out and talk to your fans, and do what you're supposed to do. Like it was in the old days. Write a record, record it, tour it, and vacation once a year. That's a dream these days.

Are the Poker folks going to re-release the other ones?

No, I think that Century Media will have them in their catalog. They will re-release them eventually after the new record is going to be released next year. So with that, they'll be available for people in America but I can't say when. They're not going to release it at the same time to take away from the fact that there's a new album coming out which we all hope is going to be great.

Which we know is going to be great. Come on, hope. You know it's going to be great.

I know it's going to be great.

See, there you go. That's the spirit.

Yeah, I have to say that as well. We're really excited going back into the studio recording a new album because it seems like it's taking forever every time. That's why you can't get two places at the same time. That's the thing.

No, you have to come see us.

Yeah, exactly. I hope you guys appreciate that so you'll just have to wait a bit longer.

I've been dying to see you guys forever. Did you guys start working on it before you came over here?

Yeah, we did. As soon as we came back from the Social Distortion dates, we went straight into the rehearsal studio. We have a problem writing on tour. As I said, there are a lot of other things to do when you're on the road. You collect a lot of inspiration without even thinking about it. I had a lot of ideas and we just threw it together and we worked on some stuff so I won't say how much. We got a good couple of bunch of songs so far and we will continue after this tour throughout the summer. I have no idea when we're done and when we'll finish to record but I totally guarantee you that it will be out about early next year.

So you guys have been in the States for a little over a month now.

Yeah, I don't know when we left really but I guess it's a month.

You lose track of time.

Yeah, you do and I think it's a week left.

Where did you guys start out?

That's the thing. This tour was thrown together pretty fast so some of the Midwest dates were not really so to say, actually they were really badly promoted which ended up without that many people and now also it's a waste of time. It takes a lot of energy just to play when so few people come really. As soon as we hit the West coast, it was really good. I hope tonight will be good. We do New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, New York, New Jersey, and then we fly home. All the West coast dates were really cool. You never really know.

Any idea of what the title of the new record is or you haven't decided that yet?

No, actually we haven't a clue. We're really in an early state of progress of writing songs right now. There's a lot of blah, blah, blah lyrics. The songs are coming together.

One you guys was in The Hellacopters too.

Yeah, Dregen, our guitar player.

What did you guys do when he was playing with them?

We played simultaneously. That's the reason why he quit The Hellacopters because it came to a point of is it possible to play in two bands that are touring at the same level or releasing records on the same level and he tried hard for a long time. We did a festival in Spain and then The Hellacopers did and then we did a festival somewhere else and he tried really hard to play in both bands but it was impossible. I think the best thing about it is that both bands just became bigger and bigger after that as well. It would be really sad if one band was like eh. Even the singer of The Hellacopters, Nikki, he played drums in Entombed and he had to quit that. They also continued with another drummer so they also still play and still going good. It's a good ending of a tricky story.

Yeah, Entombed just recently put out a double CD.

They're a fucking awesome band. I love them.

They are great. You guys have been around since like '87. Are you guys really popular over in Europe? I know Europe loves their metal.

Yeah, I'd say in Scandinavia for sure. Parts of Europe absolutely. Japan, yeah. It's going good all over Europe basically. We went to South America a couple of years ago and they were nuts about us down there and I don't know why we haven't been there now for two or three years. I hope we can go next year again. I would say that the U.K. and America are the only countries in the whole world that haven't really...the fans that you meet are as fucking crazy and dedicated as the fans in Europe but there are too few of them yet.

We get too much shit shoved down our throats. It's like "okay, this is old and this is new."

But on the other hand, the best way of promoting a band is the word on the street. People talking to each other. "Hey, you got to check that band out. Blah, blah, blah." It takes a bit longer time but I'm not ready to die yet.

Neither am I.

Good so we'll be around when things are going to change around. Even here.

Absolutely. Do you guys do a lot of festivals every year?

Not every year but when we do play festivals, we play a lot of festivals. There are a lot of good festivals in Europe we play. Absolutely. We'll do some when we're coming straight back. We'll do two in Sweden and one in Finland and we do a couple in Germany while we're playing with Social Distortion and then we are taking a break to write again.

Is Social Distortion along the same lines or a little bit different from you guys?

Music wise, I would say they are kind of different in a way. I grew up listening in the very early days when we started this band, I was in love with Social Distortion. They were a great influence for us and being then, I'd had no idea that eventually we would wind up touring with them and now from the last tour that we did, I would say that we're really good friends. They're awesome. They helped us a lot and they specifically asked for us to play with them in Europe as special guests this tour that they're doing now. That was hard to turn down. We shouldn't really play anymore in Europe right now but since they said they don't want to tour if you're not going to be our special guests, we were like all right. That's flattering. They helped us a lot. They brought us over to the States already in '97. We didn't have a record or anything and they said we could open for them. We were like yeah, wow. We just borrowed some money from our publisher and went over in the van. That's cool. They're definitely very good guys. They're a very good band. I love them.

What I think is so cool about the festivals in Europe and what Dave Mustaine is trying to do, they get all these bands that are so fucking different from each other. In one respect it should keep people's interest and in another respect it should introduce them to music that maybe...

Absolutely, I would say that's the best part because if you compare it to festivals that are around in America, they're mostly the same style of music. That's a very good thing. You're already there with some of your friends and you say "you gotta go check that band out." I saw Morrisey two summers ago. I never was into The Smiths and I never really liked Morrisey either. My girlfriend forced me to go see him and I was totally blown away by the last hour when he played. It was a rainy, cold, fucking evening in Sweden when he played and it was fucking awesome. I totally went out and bought the new Morrisey album and I fucking love that album. You're in a cool mood, you're at a festival, you're hanging out with your fucking friends and drunk, rolling around in the mud, nah. It's a good way of experiencing a new band definitely. There are a lot of different stages, smaller and bigger.

Any idea of what festivals you're doing this summer?

Yeah, just two small festivals in Sweden and one in Finland. Small, they're kind of big but not really known. It's like 50,000 people. Then some in Germany. That's it.

Germany is such a cool country.

Yeah, they're nuts about fucking rock and roll music. They go crazy. Sometimes they drink too much and they don't see any band but hey. They're easy to convince like "we're not here to see any music, we're here to drink." Okay, that's a cool mentality. Finland is good. Finland's always been good for us. We sell out bigger places in Finland than we do in Sweden.

Where in Sweden are you guys from?

We're from Nassjo it's called. Norse Lake would probably be the right translation but it doesn't make any sense in English. It's south but not really south. It's somewhere in between Malmo and Stockholm. Stockholm is not even in the middle. Sweden is a pretty long country but half of it is just woods and mountains. America's eyes have looked a lot to Scandinavia. You hear a lot of talk about that Scandinavian scene which I really don't like. It's kind of the same thing as the Seattle scene or the L.A. scene. The media tend to need to put words on something. I can agree that there are tons of grunge bands that sounded the same so maybe there was a Seattle scene but if you talk about the Scandinavian scene, rock scene, whatever. The bands don't really sound the same. If you compare Entombed to The Hives, the Backyard Babies. There are a lot of various bands. Even pop bands, we're almost responsible for the whole Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears fucking boom. All the hits were written by Swedish fucking ex-hard rock guys.

They should be shot.

Songwriters that had no hits in the '80s so they decided to write more poppier. You listen to ALL this stuff, it's just like a Bon Jovi song but they put more of a pop beat to it. That's the recipe for a hit, not. That's kind of weird. But Sweden always had a good music history. Everything from ABBA to...

I thought ABBA rocked. I was a little kid and I had all of their stuff.

Give or take a few like Ace Of Base and shit like that.

I liked them and Roxette too.

Roxette, yeah fine. Whatever. It's always been a healthy country for music. You have good support to play music and Swedish people like music for sure.

I have to think about what I didn't ask since you guys hardly ever come here.

Hopefully that will change, absolutely. I don't think we're going to start in America on the next record but we'll definitely be here soon again. Soon, we'll say probably next year of course but I don't know when. We won't take another four or five years again, I'll tell you that.

You guys were influence by a lot of different bands like Motley Crue, KISS, and Hanoi Rocks.

Yeah, like I said, we grew up really just bored fucking teenagers living in a small city and as I said, I don't think it matters if you're from a small city in Texas or a small city in Sweden. You're desperately bored when you're a teenager and hard rock, heavy metal, and punk and everything was totally a lifesaver for us. At the same time we picked up instruments because if that guy can do it, like Hanoi Rocks, they were part from Finland and from Sweden. We thought if these guys can fucking do it, we can do it. We asked our moms and dads if we could have some extra money to buy guitars and started to play. We were really crap in the beginning but fuck it.

Were your parents really supportive?

Oh yeah, they were supportive. My dad was in a band when he was young. He taught me to play guitar so they were totally supportive. They were like "now don't you get fucking strung out on drugs. You continue to practice that guitar." You're like yeah, yeah, right. They were supportive for sure. Either that's important or it's not, I'm not sure. At least we could afford to buy a decent guitar. Yeah, and then all the whole '80s metal scene and the glam scene and all these outrageous bands I would call them. You don't want to look like the fucking guy that delivers mail to you. You want to look cool. Like I said, it was not just the music. It was the whole thing about being in a band. Us against the whole world and the whole world was just one city in the beginning. Then it expanded. I would say it's us against the whole world. We were a lot more glam maybe in the beginning but still, everything with tattoos, you want to look different. You want to make a statement. You just want to fucking stand out and do something more than just go to your job every morning. Which is good if people do that too.

Here's a question since you're all tattooed. Have you ever gotten a tattoo that you regretted?

No, I don't think so. It's all fucking bit of shared history here and there. I don't think so. I had my ex-girlfriend tattooed on me. Underneath this panther it said Sarah. Now it's a panther there that says love hurts. You shouldn't tattoo your girlfriend's name.

Yeah I always wondered about guys getting their girlfriends' names tattooed on them. Then they break up with them.

"No, this is forever. You don't understand. I'm in love." That's dedication though. On the other hand, that's fun though. You should do outrageous stuff sometimes. Otherwise life would be too boring.

Any other thoughts or comments?

Dallas, TX. It's good to be back here. Last time we played here it was some kind of St. Patrick's celebration. The radio station had some outdoor festival we played with some other bands. It's been a while. It's good to be back in Texas. Keep your eyes open and it will not take four more years.

Backyard Babies