>> STAGE DOLLS <<
with Torstein Flakne of Stage Dolls:
Conducted and Translated by Roar Kleven
Layout Terje Høiland
on what can be looked upon as a ”comeback” (though the band never have laid
down their guitars) for you guys ,
it looks like it’s becoming a big success. Did you in any way expect this?
a lot, we had not dreamed about something like this, even if we have been
playing around Norway for the last few years and there’s been a great response
and full houses almost everywhere we’ve been. But what’s been really great
to see is that though our older fans been showing up, there’s also another
generation of fans showing up singing along. That to me proves that they have
been listening to our older records and maybe the former ”Best of”
especially. So even if we knew we had a big audience and a following,
I had never expected this kind of response.
what extent do you think that the TV Commercials have
had any effect on your success?
shure that it has helped, but at the same time a Tv-commercial doesn’t necessarily
make or break a record. I believe that Tv commercials are very effective tool to
make people aware that a record is released. A band like us doesn’t exactly
get a lot of goodwill in the media, there’s certainly seldom that we get big coverages
, but in the end people make up their own minds.
On the other hand, I believe that this kind music; Melodic Rock and the 80’s
are on it’s way back and that also works in our favour.
There’s many versions of both
songs and albums, thinking of ”Stripped”, ”Stage Dolls” and
”Commandos”, which versions do you prefer yourselves?
On this album (Good times- Essential )
we picked the versions we thought were the best. ”Love cries” is in the
American version, while ”Still in love” is in the Norwegian version.
So there’s no particular reason except that it’s the versions that we
recordcompany have any influence on which songs that would finally end up on
Singsaas is the Executive Director of Universal Norway, he’s is a very updated
man musicwise. He’s been with us since 85’ and apart from being the head of
our recordcompnay he’s also a very good friend. So before we started we (the
guys in the band), Petter and a couple of others from Universal Norway sat down
and went through our material,and picked out the songs that eventually ended up
on the disc! Of course there was some discussions along the way, but I think
that we came out with a record that is quite reprsentative for the band! Making
a record for the fans, as well as for ourselves.
Are you guys
making a living as professional musicans or do you have jobs on the side?
We’re all in the music
business, but I’m the only one working as a full time musican and songwriter.
Terje Storli (bassplayer) works with booking and our drummer Morten Skogstad is
in PA and sound, actually the same firm that runs our shows.
On the latest
two best of albums you’ve recorded a couple of coversongs (Warren Zevon’s
”Lawyers,guns and money” and Bad Company’s ”Shooting star”), any
particular reason behind the choices of those songs or is it simply because the
songs are great?
only reason for choosing these songs are for nostalgic, as well as the both of
them are great songs. Shooting star was acually one of the first songs that I
played in a band.
now on it is tours and festivals? Any plans of playing outside Norway?
now on we are going to play every week until the end of September, as well some
festivals and larger venues during the summer. But we’re playing only in
Norway. We haven’t had contact with any concertpromotors outside Norway, but
we’re getting a lot of E-mails from fans in both Europe and U.S.A that wants
us to do gigs.
while ago there was rumoured a follow up to ”Dig”, can you comment on that?
written some music, and our intention was actually to do another studioalbum but
then we found out that we rather release a ”Best Of” instead first to get
better time to finish the new studioalbum. Our plans is anyway to record and
release a new studioalbum on Universal before Christmas, but this is not at all
definate yet, but what we loosely have planned!!
other new sideprojects otherwise, given the fact that you have also released a
soloalbum as well as writing song for others?
at this time, me and the other guys are focusing everything on Stage Dolls. The
songs that I have written for others as you say are songs that have been written
and found unsuitable for Stage Dolls and thereby have been put to use by others
(Danish singer Sanne Salemonsen, Sha Boom, A-HA singer Morten Harket’s
soloalbum and Tindrum). We in Stage Dolls are very selective when it comes to
choose which songs we release on our albums, about 50% of all our songwriting
never gets released. Some of the songs may end up getting used at a later time
but not necessarily, cause most will end up in the can. We’ve got loads of
material from the whole of our career’s
that never will be used for various reasons; whether it’s quality or that they
doesn’t fit Stage Dolls.
”Dig” and your soloalbum ”Shoot the moon” had more of a ”adult” angle
song- and soundwise, is this a direction something that you’re going to
continue with keep on doing?
just the way it goes I guess!? I totally agree that they have a different sound
from all of the other albums that we have done. But if you’re asking if
there’s a plan behind it; I would have to say no! In my opinion Dig is the
record that sound most close to what we do live. Then again things have a way of
changing, once in the studio. For instance you may believe that one song will
work out magnificently, then
another one that you didn’t have that much faith in proves to be stronger.
in the late 80’s and early 90’s you toured Europe and North America with
some pretty big names can you name a few?
Blue Murder and Mr Big are the bands that I remember the most. We toured with Mr Big for a month on their tour for the ”Lean into it” album. This was right around the time that they had a hit with ”To be with you” and everywhere we went the stadiums were packed with people. They are also the nicest band that I ever have met! Only 6 months earlier Mr Big were opening up for King Diamond and they had to change in the crammy tourbus since the Dane wouldn’t even let them share dressingroom with him. They told us that they made up their minds there and then, that if they ever got a headline tour they would never ever treat their openingact like King Diamond had treated them.
they treated us real good, and what a band of incredible musicans!
inspired you guys in the start, and who inspires you now?
Bad Company, Slade,
Sweet, a lot of the 70’s stuff really. People have a tendency of
thinking of bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Jimi Hendrix when speaking
about the 70’s, but for for us a lot of the bands from the Glitter/Glam era
like Sweet were equally important. If people think of Sweet they usually think
of their singles, but if you listen to their records you’ll also find that
they have a lot more to offer than just their massive singles. A lot of American
bands obviously, and Thin Lizzy and Queen of course. Queen was an incredibly
good band musically, and I can’t think of any band to compare them with in
today’s music scene. It was back in the times when musicans started
experimenting in the studio with overdubs and effects, it was a magical time.
I’m not really listening to a lot of music these days, and I may come out
sounding like an old man now, but I get the distinct feeling I have heard the
most of it before.
before christmas Stage Dolls,TNT and Tindrum played a surprisegig this must have
been a pretty special night (a Norwegian Hardrock Happening IMO)?
It was a
surpriseparty for A&R man Per Alm at what used to be Polygram Norway (now
Universal). Per is sort of the grand old man of the label, and he
really deserved the attention on his birthday. All band played a few
tunes each. He was really moved, and it was a great night for all of us.
Eventhough we are buddies with the guys in both TNT and Tindrum we never work
together, but were a bunch of guys where everybody knows everybody, and all of
us have played with everyone at one time or another.
you know what Steinar Krokstad (former drummer of Stage Dolls and Vagabond, and
21 Guns) is up to nowadays?
He lives in Bergen (on the
Norwegian westcoast), and he’s playing with Norwegian folkrock/ poprock
performer Åge Aleksandersen and a lot of session and freelance work.
Evenrud (Evenrude/Ole/Ole I Dole) produced the3 new songs on the new compilation,
do you think that have had an effect on the tunes?
It’s kind of hard to say how much effect it have had on the tunes. What I can say however is that we are from the same musical generation so our thoughts are pretty much the same. He is a great producer, and I am very happy with the production he’s given us on our new songs. We might end up using him at a later time also, we’ll see…
new songs, are they leftovers from earlier times, or are they written and
recorded for this release?
of them are new, written last year (2002)
the times after this interview was done Stage Dolls have played to a sold out
Rockefeller Musichall in Oslo (a thought that would have seemed impossible only
a few months ago) as well as continued touring around Norway to sold out venues.
They even had a few Tv-appearences, making their way in the Norwegian
albumcharts and getting a lot of airplay on radio and Tv. Album sales of ”Good
Times – The Essential” has passed 40.000 long ago, easily matching more
contemporary Norwegian artists. The last I heard is that you would have problems
booking them this year, as the tourschedule is filled up already. Now it’s
time to see if TNT can match this as they too are getting massive mediacoverage
in their ”comeback ” with the original lineup and a Tv-Commercial campaign
for their Best Of these days! Anyway it seems like the Norwegian Hardrocklegends
are moving, their wheels keep on rolling and nothing pleases a Norwegian
Hardrockheart more than that!