Interview with , Lars Aass ( Da Vinci )

(Conducted by Terje Hoiland, translated by Geir Aamo.)


Looking back on the Norwegian melodic rock of the ’80’s, one of the bands to leave an major impression were undoubtedly Oslo band Da Vinci. Enjoying much radio play and charting nationally in the same league as Return, Stage Dolls and TNT, Da Vinci released two albums, ”Da Vinci” and ”Back in the Business”, before calling it quits in the early ’90’s.

Rock Of Norway recently caught up with Da Vinci’s lead singer, Lars Aass, and asked him to spell the beans on all things Da Vinci, past and present.


Rock Of Norway : Following ”Back in the Business”, you recorded much material for a 3rd album, but this never saw the light and the band split up – what happened?

Lars Aass : Da Vinci was always a hard working and serious band, and we came to the point of getting very critical with regards to our own material. Our record label, on the other hand, felt that the 25,000 sales of of both our previous albums was not good enough, and ended up refusing to release the 3rd album. So what remained in the end was really just a bunch of demos going nowhere.

  ”Da Vinci” and ”Back in Business” were later reissued with new artwork by now defunct Japanese label Zero Corporation, and English label FM wanted to release the albums in England, but the latter came to nothing, as did Derek Oliver’s (ex-Kerrang writer) interest in signing Da Vinci with Atco.


Rock Of Norway : Has anyone approached you about re-releasing your albums, considering they are still sought after by fans? And is there any chance the 3rd album demos will ever see the light on CD?


Lars Aass : Polygram Norway, who own the rights, do not appear to have any plans as such. Interest on the re-issue front has been shown from Germany, but I am not able to say much about that yet. As for the 3rd album, a single (”Ain’t No Goodbyes/Blame It on the Radio”) was all that ever surfaced from that.

Rock Of Norway : A good thing then that plans are for both songs from the abovementioned single to be included on the upcoming various artists CD, ”The Best of Norwegian AOR”. Can you tell us what the members of Da Vinci are up to today, and was a Da Vinci reunion ever on the agenda? 


Lars Aass : We did do a one-off reunion show at ”Sentrum Scene” a few years back, but we never really considered anything beyond that. As for the Da Vinci members’ present occupations, Bjorn Boge, has his own band, Street Legal. Gunnar Westlie is more into fushion a lá Allan Holdsworth these days. Jarle Maaloey is a drum teacher at a university up north, whereas Dag Selboskaar has been pursuing studies, I believe.

As for myself, I have been singing in a Chicago cover band called Mr. Pakow. I also run a songwriter/publishing company, Waterfall, with my partner Botolf Loedemel. We have a publishing deal with Universal (of which Polygram now is part) and place our own songs with other artists. We have so far written 60-70 songs, and succeeded in landing one of them, ”Everything You Do”, on M2M’s debut album.


Rock Of Norway : Melodic rock and AOR have over the last few years started to thrive again on an underground level, with labels like MTM, Now & Then, Escape, Z and AOR Heaven and countless internet sites, printed magazines and fanzines showing dedication to the genre. While the major labels still remain unconvinced, the music is much like it was back in the ’80’s. Do you feel you could contribute anything to today’s music scene yourself?


Lars Aass : I should start by saying that not even a week passes between every time I put on some good, old AOR music, so my roots are still in that genre. At the time I was also contacted by Scott Gorham about singing in 21 Guns, but had to say no, following which of course Sollie (Sons Of Angels) landed the job instead. Through my publishing company, Waterfall, I also occasionally write songs which rock enough to not quite fit into other people’s projects, and a possibility would of course be to record and release these tunes on my own.


Rock of Norway : Thanks to Lars Aass for the interview, and needless to say, Rock Of Norway will be more than pleased to pass on any new solo material to the record companies, should this happen. In the meantime, let us hope more Da Vinci material will see the light on CD, as two presently very hard to find albums seems way too little from such an excellent band.