2005 was definitely the year of WIG WAM. It all started actually in 2004, when we reviewed the band’s debut CD ‘667…the neighbour of the beast’, but the real breakthrough for the band was last year, when they made a big impression on the Eurovision Song Contest, which gave them the big break in Norway where they were one of the top sellers that year! I was lucky enough to do an interview with the band’s lead singer Glam. This interview makes clear that WIG WAM is not a Gimmick band like everyone out there seems to think, which of course is absolutely not true, because the music they make is very professional high quality serious pure Rock and Roll like a mix between THE SWEET, GOTTHARD, WHITE LION and 80s DOKKEN. The band re-leased their debut CD last year as ‘Hard to be a rock’n’roller’ and more recently a DVD, while the new single “Gonna get you someday” and new CD are coming up very shortly. Reviews will follow soon, but in the meantime check out the interview I had with Glam of WIG WAM…
First of all, congratulations for the impact you made with your band in 2005, tell us about the big breakthrough you had last year?
Thanks Gabor ! 2005 was one hell of a year. We ended up releasing a double DvD in Norway called ROCK’N’ROLL REVOLUTION 2005 as a documentary of the year. I still haven’t had time to absorb anything yet, since we’ve been constantly working. I’ll sum the year up for you this way; We wan the Norwegian Eurovision Songcontest and shocked the whole country, In My Dreams went straight to the charts and stayed there for 17 weeks with 3 weeks as #1.It went Platinum! We hit out on our ROCK SCHLÄGER TOUR March 9, and it didn’t end until December 21 after 155 concerts for 260.000 people, mainly in every corner of Norway, but also in Sweden, Iceland, Romania and Germany. Our album HARD TO BE A ROCK’N’ROLLER stayed in the Norwegian charts for 19 weeks and peaked at #10. And…ooops…almost forgot…We made a great # 9 in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005.
Then I would like to go back further in time, you all have had a lot of experience in the music business, please tell me all about your previous bands?
If I was to tell you all about my previous bands
you might as well make this interview into a book *S* But I’ll try to shorten
things down. I started my musical career playing guitar. I auditioned for my
first band as a guitarplayer, but ended up singing too. This band was named
Battory, soon to be renamed Tomorrow. I was 14 . We sounded a lot like Dokken
and kept it going until I was 18. We only recorded demotapes which we always got
in return from the majors. I remember wearing pink tights back then ha ha ha,
and it’s still tights maaaan. Time stands still ! I moved on with a band called
D’archy, later to take the name Heads ‘n’ Tails. At this time I started taking
singing lessons and got some parts in local musicals and theatrical shows as
well as being the host for some local tv-shows. Heads ‘n’ Tails recorded a
single which did pretty well for being a low budget thing with a minimal of
support. Heads lasted from 1989-1991 when I finally realized that the band
wouldn’t cut it. We brought in Jon Pettersen at the end, who’s been working with
Ronny Tekrø of TNT in Wild Willys Gang and Bad Habbits for quite some years now.
An exceptional guitarplayer I must add!! But the climate inside the band wasn’t
the best. And back then I started to get a lot of offers in a variety of shows
which were a lot more fun to do. I played one of the main charaters in the
musical HAIR among others, as the hippie WOOF. We did 83 shows, and it was my
first big-time professional production. Along with this I also did a show called
A ROCK’N’ROLL ADVENTURE, which basicly was a band playing cronologicaly every
historical part of rock from the kinks, Hendrix and Beatles and ended up in the
mid 70’s .It was a major success, and my first collaboration musically with
Flash who played bassguitar in the band. Later we changed the line-up for the
show and even brought in Jorn Lande (Masterplan) and Eirikur Hauksson (Artch). I
also toured around with an acoustic trio called Back To Basic with former Artch
guitarplayer Gill Neil and Slick guitarplayer Bent Jensen. I did the vocals, but
even played bassdrum, ride and tambourin ha ha We did Metallica and other
hardrock tunes acoustic, until we decided to write our own material. We brought
in a drummer and a bassplayer….and that’s when it all started to go downhill.
These guys were from another musical scene, and wanted this thing to sound more
like a Bad Company project you know. We actually managed to record some songs
that weren‘t at all bad, and some might end up at a future album.Who knows ?
At one of our gigs a drummer named Ole Tom Torjussen showed up and liked what he heard. He was about to form a band and wanted me to join. The band was called Sweet Fanny Adams, then later renamed SCOOP. This was 1993. We were a four piece classic rock band, sounding like The Who meets Tom Petty in a rock’n’roll camp.
We started writing original material right from the start, and had one of Oslos finest studios offering us free studiotime for the demo, and we were obligated to record the album there if anyone would sign us. Unfortunately no one did. So we started touring, including some coversongs into our setlist to secure a great deal of gigging around. After a year or so I was offered a job for the Norwegian broadcasting for the most popular fridayshow, doing background singing, and I accepted. I had the opportunity to collaborate with names like legendary Rick Danko from The Band, and even do some solospots along with the other background singers. It wasn’t too hard to combine the TV-job and the band at that time. It eventually made it easier to get our band on the road. But then the TV-shows background singers were booked for a major national tour, which was very successful. I knew I had to prioritate and jumped of the tour after some months or so to tour with SCOOP. Believe it or not, we headed out on a North Norway Tour, driving for 30 hours non stop to get to the first show. We were the drivers, the technicians, light enginers, roadcrew, managers and sometimes…the audience too. I remember a pace called Tana…two persons showed up for the gig. One was a famous Native Norwegian actor and the other one was a Russian prostitute. He would interrupt the songs every third minute too make choreographic suggestions .
SCOOP made a deal with Ronny Tekrøs (TNT) Studio Corporation to record an album. We started the recordings in 1997, and there were some interests but we were splitting the band before anything happened. Tekrøs inspiration drew the four band members apart from the original idea behind the band. Me, I was pretty much into the musical change since it started to remind me more about hardrock stuff that I was fond of. The other guys weren’t that happy with the change over plans. Anyway! We split up and I persuade a solo career. I guess I was fed up with bands breaking apart. So I used the rest of 1997 to write my own stuff and collaborated with former Street Legal and Rain guitarplayer Tore Morèn on some songs. I signed a publishing deal with BMG and did some showcases at the majors during their lunchbreaks, acoustic, no mic. This lead me to being offered to do a song in the national Eurovison contest with a song from one of Norway’s leading songwriters of that periode, Kyrre Fritzner. The song, Always Will, ended at #3 and became a big radiohit in Norway. Then I was offered a record deal with Arcade Music. But there was just one problem. They wanted me to do an entire album in Norwegian. I didn’t like the idea, and I also was quite furious when they wanted a smooth album sounding west coast. So I got hold of an investor that financed an album recording, allowing me full creative control. It was released in the year of 2000 and titled G-STEN.
It ended up pretty alternative with a very ambient sound, which was my style at that time. I didn’t release any single from the album, since it was a pretty non-radio album, still a couple of songs made it to some sort of rotation. I was having a great time, and my band were just brilliant. So brilliant I decided to give the band thing a new chance. I was never really into solo projects anyway. So We called it G_STEN & The CarPETZ and were just about to start recording some new songs when Teeny called me up to ask me to join this jamsession thing with Sporty and a bassplayer I don’t even remember the name of. So we had this jamsession gig every Friday night just for fun while I was working in the studio with CarPetz. Slowly I started to enjoy the jamband more and more, and when Flash joined I sort of started to whish this could become something more than just a side prosject. Then suddenly the most fabulous club in town called and wanted us to do a proper concert at their 80’s Party…..
When did you actually form WIGWAM?
…..and there and then WIG WAM was formed. We needed
a poster and a name for the occasion, so we decided to clean the dust of all our
outfits from the 80’s to take some photos.
I remember Sporty bringing a pair of pink bicycle tights along ha ha And I brought a lipstick and some heavy make up stuff. When I looked at the figures we’d suddenly become there was only one name that came flashing through my mind; WIG WAM ! We looked like a cross between some Indians on their way to the battle field and Sweet from Mars. Our first Wig Wam gig was February 24th 2001.
The WIGWAM adventure started in 2004 at your first Eurovision Contest attempt for Norway, can you tell more about that period?
Since we got started in 2001 we quickly noticed the urge for the good old GlamRock stuff again. People would come to our shows to party to old classics like Heavens On Fire, Ballroom Blitz, Come On Feel The Noize and so on. We were looked upon as a cultband back then, and people in their mid 30’s would come to recapture their youth. In 2004 we had already managed to build up a great fanbase. We also presented a great deal of original songs in our shows that went along with the cover stuff. Our first demotape was recorded in 2002 and included songs like No More Living On Lies, Car-Lyle and Bless the Night. We showed up at the record companies in full gear in stretch limos…just to get kicked out the door after two minutes. We tried to convince the industry that rock’n’roll and glamrock was on it’s way back, but they obviously didn’t see it coming. Not until The Darkness appeared. We were so fed up with the rejections that we decided to record our album on our own expenses. Teeny was investing in a studio and we simply got down to business on our own terms. Ohhh ! I almost forgot. Ole Evenude invited us to his studio, and tried to convince us to do an all cover album, doing boyband songs in Heavy Metal style. Bad suggestion ! While recording our album, a guy from our management sent the Norwegian Broadcasting a demo version of Crazy Things for the national Eurovision final. Imagine how shocked we were when we received their invitation for the audition. We honestly thought it was all a bad joke, and didn’t believe for a second that the Norwegian broadcasting would even consider a band like us. So we got there in our outfits and just thought “hey, let’s entertain these guys” “ maybe they’ll book us up for some live gigs somewhere”. But they ended up loving it ! The Norwegian people and the press were shocked when we showed up at the press conference as one of the participants. Men wearing stars and stripes, spandex and all. I tell you ! There were a bit of debates going on in this country. “What will you wear if you should win ?” Me ? Well Glam is always dressed in this spandex. The Norwegian broadcasting thought we had such great chances in winning they even arranged meetings with us to discuss what to wear if we should win. But we ended up at #3, but I tell you, no one remembered the name of the winner, but they remembered Wig Wam. We signed a licence deal with a small, independent company, Global Records, just before the final, and made sure we released it two days after the final. We called the album 667-The Neighbour of the Beast, and it didn’t do great, but quite ok for a rock’n’roll band in Norway on their debut. That year we worked our asses off. Especially since the record company did a lousy job in promoting us, which ended up with us calling the radios, us promoting the album, us sending newsletters and making appointments with the press. We hit out on the 667 Tour, and I tell you, we could already see it coming. Our fanbase was growing rapidly, and the kids loved our music. This eventually made us arrange concerts for the minors as well. Then we got rid of Global Records to secure a licence deal with VME/Voices of Wonder, which got in touch with us through the Norwegian Kiss Army to invite us to do a Kiss song for their Norwegian Kiss tribute GODS OF THUNDER. When they saw the band live they kind of got it right away, and has stood behind us ever since.
2005 brought a lot of fame, because you succeeded in taking part of the Eurovision Song Contest…
No ! 2005 brought a lot of fame because we participated in the Eurovision with such a powerful and great song as IN MY DREAMS, being a REAL band with enough baggage from the 80’s to actually take it all the way out. And our outfits wouldn’t let the Europeans neglect us that easily either….
The debut CD went from independent release to sold out major label distribution (I assume?), eventually becoming a big selling record in your homecountry…
Our debut album went from an independent release on an indipendant label that sucked big time, to become one of norways biggest selling albums of the year on another indipendant label that worked their butts off for what they believe in. The majors would just sit and wait to see if anything happened until it died. At least that’s the situation here in Norway.
How did it feel to be huge news in Norway?
Not many newcoming hardrock bands accieve this popularity nowadays. And it feels great to be a part of it. The sad part is that there’s a lot of Norwegian hardrock magazines that hates us. I don’t know why, but it looks like popularity is something a “REAL” hardrock band should avoid at all cost. I mean…here we are, putting Norwegian hardrock back on the map in Norway, and all these magazines care about is putting us down because the singer is wearing lipstick. Eat shit and die !They write more about us in the tabloids and the national papers, which is a little bit weird really. But hey ! Who’s complaining. I’d rather sale thousands of albums than being on the cover of Scream magazine selling 50 copies to the so called “REAL” hardrock fans. We’re selling out big venues everywhere and actually broke quite a few records last year with crowds counting up to 15.000 people. It’s a long time since TNT or Stage Dolls even got close to that.
There has also been a DVD released…
Yes man ! We released a double DvD containing a full length show with an symphonic orchestra and choir, 100 musicians on stage, two documentaries and all the music videos. It’s already Gold, and in a couple of weeks it’s bloody Platinum.
For the rest of Europe you have signed a deal with NAPALM RECORDS, what are the exact plans with this label?
We have only singed a deal with Napalm for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. We’re hoping to get our new album out in the rest of Europe as well. So far we’re only released in Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Regarding Napalm Records, they will hopefully release our forthcoming album WIG WAMANIA.
A new CD is coming up shortly; can you tell us all about it, desperately hoping you can discuss each song?
WIG WAMANIA will be in the same spirits as HARD TO BE A ROCK’N’ROLLER, but I think it will be a much better album both production wise and songwise, It will include at least 12 brand new songs and is due for release March 13th here in Norway. Opening track ROCK MY RIDE is the ultimate opening track, which also will open our shows on the forthcoming tour, WIG WAMANIA TOUR 2006. Teeny wrote the track and it’s got a massive BIG guitar riff that will make your nuts explode. SLAVE TO YOUR LOVE is the most modern stuff we’ve ever done. Once again a Teeny creation. It offers a very catchy chorus and even though it’s got that poppy feel to it, it’s got that rock’n’roll nerve to it. DARE DEVIL HEAT is a song we wrote together. One of the heaviest songs on the album, yet a strong chorus. It’s got a great and heavy sound that kicks like a mule. The song is about life on the road, and sums up our tight schedule/battle against the time situation.
A ROCK’N’ROLL GIRL LIKE YOU is one of my songs. It’s
a very catchy little rocker that I just adore. “Tonight I’ll have a beaty
sleep/And you’re my sweetest deep dream come true…”
FLYING HIGH offers Flash on lead vocals for the first time. It’s a cool rock’n’roll song with raspy Flash vocals. Sounds like a punk anthem sometimes. He sounds as nasty as he looks, I tell you. GONNA GET YOU SOMEDAY is the definite stadium rocker with an extremely catchy chorus, and some of the catchiest verse lines I’ve ever heard. A great follow up to last years’ IN MY DREAMS, and Teenys the man behind it. Another Teeny composition is called AT THE END OF THE DAY. This is a ballade that will melt every teenage girls hearts. I put so much effort in my vocals for this song, and I personally think it’s the best vocals I have ever done so far. Great melody lines and it offers violins and piano the big way.
CAN’T GET YOU OUT OF MY BED is us getting a little dirty and bluesy. This song was actually written during rehearsal, but Teeny came up with the guitar riff and I wrote some nasty lyrics for it. It’s about getting caught with your clothes off by HER boyfriend, who happens to be a biker. “Can’t get her out of my bed/Giving her bone’s gonna send me straight to hell…” There’s also a mid-section that goes “If this is how it’s gonna end/God won’t you lend me your right hand/Make it a nicer way to go/I’d go to paradise with..love” I just hope it doesn’t offend anyone. Maybe the Christians will hate it as much as the Muslims hated the cartoons and kill us or something…..
And there’s a song called AFTER THE NINE O’CLOCK NEWS which I wrote, that’s got a catchy sing-along chorus and some non typical verses for our style of music. It’s about the characters we’re on stage and the way our fans sometimes fantasize about us as supermen or womanizers from Utopia. What’s real? What’s fantasy ? I also wrote a song called BYGONE ZONE, which has the best verses I have ever written. It’s a mid-tempo song, with a Beatles-like melody that progresses into a power ballade chorus. It’s about forgetting to appreciate what you have while you still have it.
KILL MY ROCK’N’ROLL is us at the most GlamRockish
ever. If you love Slade or even Sweet, this will be your favourite. It’s got
that 70’s attitude combined with our aor orientated hardrock sound. It’s a
rock’n’roll battle-hymn that Teeny and I wrote together. Unsure whether it will
be included or not, we’ve recorded a track that Flash wrote called
BREAKING ALL THE RULES. It’s really a HEAVY METAL song, the old fashioned Judas Priest way, with a ballsy guitar riff and high octane primal screams. I wrote the lyrics for the version we have recorded so far, and it’s really ment as an up-yours to all the MEAN and BAD metalheads out there, that think being a metal fan means you have to be an intolerant asshole that hates everyone that doesn’t wear studs and leather and listens to the “REAL” metal. It’s become a very tounge-in-cheek song which offers verse lines as; “I’m Heavy Metal/loaded on battery/I band my head to x-rated songs/My studs and leather makes me a mean machine/But if mama finds out/What her pumpins all about/I’m grounded for life and a day…” Teeny’s also been working on an instrumental that it’s most likely that we will record. It’s awesome! When I heard it I just went on and on that this have to be included on the album. He’s such a talented player !
Your band obviously looks like a Glamrockband in a pure 1980s style, but I think your music is much more Melodic Hardrock based, tell us your main influences and the records you grew up with and can’t live without…
Me, I’m into Journey, Kiss, Foreigner, Alice Cooper, Whitesnake…you know, bands
and artists that provides both great melodies as well as that hard rock itch.
I’m also a big Marillion fan you know, and especially with Hogarth as frontman. It’s got such substance.
How’s the popularity of WIGWAM outside Norway?
You tell me *S* I know we have lots of fans out there, spread all across Europe, but salewise I don’t think we’re there yet. We had to concentrate on Norway last year, because we had a tour booked and off course being one of the top names here. To be successful for a band like us is depending on tour support. We need to get out in the field to be able to make fans and album buyers. Since we don’t have promotion budgets like Madonna or The Darkness for that matter, we need to tour and kick people’s asses with our live shows. I know there’s an urge out there to be Wig Wamed, and we’ll spread Wig Wamania all the way to your neighbourhood.
How does the future look like for WIGWAM?
We just released our new single GONNA GET YOU SOMEDAY here in Norway, and it went straight in to #2 in the sales charts. We’re busy finishing our album and a music video for GONNA GET YOU SOMEDAY, where we actually play a huge show in the BERLINS FOOTBALL ARENA. GONNA GET YOU SOMEDAY is the titletrack from a Norwegian movie, produced by no other than Harald Zwart (Cody Banks, A night at McCools ++) The movie will hit the Norwegian theatres March 31, and we’re actually in the movie too. Our album will be released March 13th and we’ll throw one hell of a releaseparty in Oslo March 12th in HolmenKollen, Oslo, Norway, getting broadcasted live during the World Cup in Skijumping. This event goes out to 150 million viewers. We’re going for a 3 day Iceland “tour” March 2,3 and 4th.March 17th we start our WIG WAMANIA TOUR .
Thanks for answering the questions and wishing you all the best with your band…
Thanks mate ! See you on tour
More info at:
BACK TO INTERVIEWSINDEX
BACK TO HOMEPAGE