Hot Rod from Gemini Five is a very busy bass player but he took the time to make this interview possible. The band has recently released their stunning third album titled SEX DRUGS ANARCHY. I had to talk to one of the responsible people behind one of the years best sleaze discs. Gemini Five has struggled for many years and hopefully SEX DRUGS ANARCHY will be their big break through.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Calle Von Schewen at Sound Pollution for setting up this interview
Transcript by: Ulrika Henriksson
Promo pictures taken by: Michael Johansson, Hot Production, Cammy Wikner, Ola Johansson
Big thanks to Wildkingdom for the promo pictuers of the band
Live pictures taken from the live archives of Anders Sandvall
Hi Hot Rod. First of all I have to congratulate you to your new brilliant album SEX DRUGS ANARCHY and let’s start with talking a little about that album.
Thank you! We do think so as well Ok let’s go.
How long did it take for you to record the album?
About 1 year! If you include the very first efforts we did with Kory Clarke in April 2007 and then got rid of the whole damn recordings since it wasn’t good enough. It stank!!! Then we started off without writing and recording new material with Martin Sweet from CrashDïet in August 2007 and then hit the studio again in September 2007 as our own producer. The album was done in December but mix and mastering wasn’t final until January/February.
It was mastered 4 times and still we aren’t 100 % pleased… Then the label wanted to schedule the release with their contacts and so on…
The legendary Kory Clark has co-written some of the songs. How was it to work with him? How do you know Kory?
Kory co-wrote the lyrics with Tin Star on three songs. Working with Kory for me was difficult since he’s into old shitty stuff such as Iggy Pop etc and we are about hard rock from the 80’s and the music of today. Tin found a great drinking buddy though
Both Martin Sweet and Peter London from the band Crashdiet have also been involved with the album, what did they do?
Tin and I co-wrote the track ‘Sex Drugs Anarchy’ with Martin and Peter and ‘Scream 4 me’ with just Martin. Both Peter and Martin are great songwriters, just like Tin and me! Both parties love the 80’s stuff but we have a little different angle to the songwriting which just makes our collaboration fantastic!
What are the lyrics about? Have you written about any special topic in particular?
On this album Tin’s wrote just about all the lyrics except for the collaboration with Martin Sweet and/or Kory Clarke. The lyrics are about real life in general. Some serious and others not so serious… And a song like ‘All Pistols’ is not really about the lyrics; it’s about the pounding music and catchy melodies.
Where does the title SEX DRUGS ANARCHY come from? Is there any hidden meaning behind the title?
I came up with it since I do not particularly like the clichés of sex drugs rock&roll. So I basically played with the words and I’m a huge Sex Pistols fan so I combined the world of punk with sleaze/hardrock. We now use the anarchy sign of the ‘A’ with a circle to our artwork and backdrops as well as the title of ‘All Pistols’ is a flirt with you know who..?
You did record the album in Steppenwolf Studio in Stockholm Sweden where you also recorded your previous album, what makes that studio so special?
Peer Stappe whom produced BLACK:ANTHEM is a good friend of ours and the owner of the studio. These days’ record companies can’t provide you with large scale budgets for recordings so we needed to find some ass cheap way of recording this great album. We did a deal with Stappe and we used him a technician and Tin and I produced the album ourselves this time. Also the studio wasn’t located at the same facility as the first time around. This time we recorded the album on a boat in the centre of Stockholm.
Do you think you are going to work more in that studio in the future?
Maybe, we will work in any studio from here on as long as we are in charge.
You recorded the album in October of last year. Why did it take so long for you to release it?
No, the album wasn’t mastered until late January 2008. Anyhow release schedules are something that we do not have control of. Our label calls these shots. If you ask me the album should be released during 2007…
Both Martin Sweet and Marcus Jidell from Royal Hunt do a few lead guitar parts on some songs. What do you think of them as guitarists?
Fantastic, otherwise we wouldn’t bring them in! The choice of Martin is logical since he’s involved in the songwriting and he’s steady and easy-going fellow who brings just what we need without us asking for it… Marcus guitar shredding is just mind-blowing! We wanted to expand our songwriting with some hot lead guitar parts since I grew very tired of the same ol’ boring shitty guitars leads like most rock & roll bands been playing forever! I was like a little boy in a candy store the day Marcus came down to the studio. I shredded away and provided us with leads that absolutely
took the album to new heights. We are so grateful for having both aboard
Were there many songs that you didn’t feature on the final outcome of the album?
About 4-5 song never made it this time. We had another song titled “Sex drugs anarchy” but we threw that one out since we felt it didn’t really reach the expectations of what our third album should be all about. Since it was already the working title of the album we put our heads together with Martin Sweet and Peter London and recorded a new track. Also the last songs we wrote for the album is the ones that will be used for singles. A track titled ‘Crash City’ which was recorded with Kory Clarke and Tomas Skogsberg is gonna be included on an American compilation Cd this November (2008) Mama Trash Family Artist II.
This time you did the recording as a trio, how was that? Were there any pros and cons with doing the album as a trio?
Absolutely no “cons” since Tin, Peter and I where exactly on the same page musically. No nagging band members whatsoever! That is why we threw Snoopy out in the first place. I never felt comfortable recording albums before but this time around it was just a blast, both being in control and by how great everything fell into place.
You and Tin Star did produced the album, how was that? Was it hard to tell the rest of the band how they were gonna play?
If you wanna have something EXACLY the way you want it?
Do it yourself! We have been around and we know what to be done. Tin, Peter and I were on the very same page so the recordings were a lot of fun and creative as hell. I never had so much satisfaction from being in the studio before. Personally, I wasn’t happy with the production with Babylon Rockets and I always felt that my vision still is the strongest and “right” way for G5. By this album we didn’t listen to any so-called producers, branch and music related business people. They can take their opinions of how they want us to be sounding or how to act and shove it up their asses.
I think you have gone back to your musical roots with SEX DRUGS ANARCHY because this disc sounds sleazier than the previous album, what do you think? Was that anything you planned to do?
Well, this is the first time absolutely no compromises been considered regarding nagging band member, producers of a different approach and opinion. Tin, Peter and I have recorded everything as it was meant to be like when we started the band. I personally wanted our first album ‘Babylon Rockets’ to be sounding like S.D.A. Can you imagine, how raw and metal it would have sounded? This time, no time was to be spent by argue or compromising of how we like our music to be presented! No “ifs” or “buts” from someone not a member of the band.
Do you have any favorite tracks on the album? If so which one or ones?
Hard to chose really! Love the harder stuff as “I am Hollow”, “Here 2day Gone 2mrw” and “Sex Drugs Anarchy”. The single “Scream 4 Me” is outstanding… Cant absolutely not figure out why it’s not on radio…?
Have you read any reviews of SEX DRUGS ANARCHY? What has the media to say about the disc?
Great and fantastic, much better than the two previous albums together I would say. Even hardcore metal mags and webzines seem to enjoy the album. High points all over
Have you released any singles yet? Is the album available worldwide?
“Scream 4 Me” is released as a radio single from what I understand but I’ve honestly never heard it?! Still “You Spin Me Round” seems to be the choice of radio producers. The album is just officially released in Europe and Japan. Don’t see any North and South American release soon. Sorry.
Is there a deluxe or limited edition of the disc available? If so what bonus track is featured?
The Japan release of Sex Drugs Anarchy has demo version of “I Am Hollow”.
Guitarist Snoopy left the band. Why did he decide to quit?
First of all, Snoopy didn’t leave the band – he was kicked out! He didn’t like the direction of the material Tin and I were writing plus he had other priorities that didn’t sum up with being in a struggling band. But most important we thought his heart wasn’t in it any more. Why should I let someone else’s limitations limiting me?
Do you have any contact with him and are you guys still friends with him?
We do run into each other from time to time. I can’t say it no hard feelings still but we’re grown-ups and deal with it.
Dany “Dee Dee” Douglas replaced Snoopy, how did he end up in the band?
We found Dee through Cat of Deathstars and met him while recording a KISS “Crazy Nights” tribute song. Cat had been replacing Snoopy occasionally on a few gigs temporarily. Dee and Cat are great friends and they’re both from the city Karlstad. We had him coming to Stockholm trying out and he pulled it off
Did you know Dee Dee before he joined the band?
At the end of September Dee Dee decided to leave the band, why?
I guess it was a combination of personal stuff and the pressure of we needed him to be available a lot more than he could. Also I think he didn’t feel “involved” enough since he didn’t have the same musical background as Tin, Pete and my self. The guy is young and he’s a great musician but there’s a lot more to the business than just being a fine guitarist. You need to sacrifice a lot. Personally, I couldn’t see us recording a new album with Dee since I should have been on his ass about the way to deliver lead parts as Gemini Five wants to be sounding. I think Dee felt that too! I’m absolutely sure Dee will surface soon somewhere with all his skills and persona.
At the moment Martin Sweet is a temporary axe-man in the band. When do you think you have a new steady guitarist again?
When Mr. Right crosses our path, we are in no hurry.
Does Wild Kingdom also release your album worldwide or do you have a distribution label to do that for you?
We are signed to ‘Spiritual Beast’ in Japan and ‘Cleopatra records’ in America, and Hellion Records in Brazil. In Europe we have different distribution in different parts.
SEX DRUGS ANARCHY was released in May here in Sweden. Have you done any live gigs for the album yet and when will you do more touring this year and next year on the album?
There have been a few shows but not a full tour! Beats me, why aren’t any booking agency interested still after miles of great reviews and an outstanding live act reputation? We will NOT do one-offs shows anymore by not serious clubs/promoters/agencies whom is not ready to pay up! Last time I checked, Gemini Five’s not a charity. We do not know what 2009 will bring to the table…
Do you think that this new album will be your big break?
I was totally convinced it would but I don’t see that happening cause of the lack of promotion from the record industry and the lack of interest from media… This is totally bad. We are sitting on the damn best album of this genre in 20 years!
Several of the front men of Swedish sleaze have gone together and formed Sleaze All Stars where they have covered the Kiss classic “Crazy, Crazy Nights” what is Sleaze All Stars? Tell us about that band/project and do you plan on releasing it as a single?
The idea is from the club owners Nikkz and Dave whom is running the successful sleaze/glam hardrock club "Crazy Nights" in Stockholm. They wanted to put together a cool team of Swedish (mostly Stockholm) based bands to record the KISS cover "Crazy Crazy Nights" similar to the Swedish Metal Aid-single that was recorded and covered by media during the 80’s. This however isn’t for charity purpose, its just for the club to do something different and of course to promote their club. From what I know there’s gonna be a video and a full compilation album which will feature 2 versions of the cover; one with Martin Sweet (CrashDïet) on lead guitar and another with Bruce Kulick on lead The later can be heard on Crazy Nights myspace:
I don’t know when it will be released though. They wanted me laying down all the bass tracks and Tin’s doing some lead vocals as well of course. The chorus choir includes all the bands members…
Did you have a releaseparty? If so when and where did the party take place?
We had a great release party at ROCKS in Stockholm in late April 2008, just prior to the release.
Do you have any numbers on how many copies album number one and two have sold so far?
No. The problem is; people don’t buy albums. And our label has provided us with total numbers yet.
I think your previous album BLACK:ANTHEM is an unappreciated album. Did you think BLACK:ANTHEM was the album that would give you the big break? and were you disappointed when the big break didn’t happen? What do you think of that album today? Music wise it wasn’t really what we expected from Gemini Five.
Yes I thought so too. But I’m even more disappointed that this new album, which I find to be the very best of this genre EVER from Sweden, haven’t been taking off. Music-wise, that’s exactly what you can expect from us. We will not make 2 albums which sounds the same. We are about development and progress. Even if its means looking back to what you grew up on listening to which we did with S.D.A. I despise those bands. What happened with B.A. was that we released it the very same week as CrashDïet released their first album and it appealed to a total new generation of sleaze-rockers whom wasn’t around when we released Babylon Rockets in 2003. We where off-beat with the new found interest in our kind of music. Call it bad luck or bad timing?! Well it doesn’t matter no more, we have a very strong album and to use Martin Sweet’s own words: "Gemini Five’s album (S.D.A) is way better that ours (The Unattractive revolution)". That a compliment!!! 😀
Are you happy with what Gemini Five has achieved so far?
How would you like to describe what kind of music you play?
Flamboyant cum hard rock! hee hee. Great hardrock with obvious influences of the fantastic bands of the 80’s such as , Ratt, Dokken, Accept, Motley and Def Leppard done with the touch and mind of today! Music to bang your head and girlfriend/boyfriend to.
It took you 3 years to follow up BLACK ANTHEM; do we have to wait 3 more years for the next album?
Probably, maybe or maybe not…
Have you thought of entering the US and Canada market, what have fans and media over there to say about your music. Do you think that you will go over there and tour any time soon?
It has already been done with the two first albums by Cleopatra Records which put a lot of effort into Babylon Rockets and almost none into Black: Anthem. So for now not much action is considered from labels in the States. Don’t know much about Canada distribution but I guess Cleopatra’s been covering that as well. Sorry, I can’t see a North American tour happening soon Which is a shame since we have a large American fanbase to judge from all the messages and requests on American rock radio and to our myspace page?
Your albums has been released in Japan how is the Japan fans and media to say about your albums, have you toured anything over there? If so how was it?
I’m sorry to say NO we’ve never been to Japan! It’s something of a musicians dream to go here but so far our Japanese label just been about talking and not about making it happen. I know it would be a blast for us to be touring since we’ve gotten great reviews and media coverage on all three albums which are released there by the Japanese label Spiritual Beast.
Where does Gemini Five have the biggest fanbase? In Europe or anywhere else in the world do you think?
Well I would say our biggest fanbase is on our MySpace site. People from all over the world are showing a lot of love and gratitude. However selling albums and people attending shows/tour is a totally different matter.
Do you think that SEX DRUGS ANARCHY can land you a support tour to any bigger bands?
Yes, I think the very best way of promoting Gemini Five still is to be opening for bigger bands to achieve a larger audience. Also, we’re a great live act and we sweep the floor with most bands taking on a larger scale stages.
Are you gonna do any longer tour in Scandinavia and Europe soon on this new album?
Well, we’re doing a tour of Finland in December. The already booked German/Swiss tour in October had to be cancelled cause of poor advance tickets sales! That says a lot about how this band is being promoted by outside influences not in control of the band members.
You have a few shows booked later this year who will take care of the guitar on stage?
Martin Sweet of CrashDïet is doing that.
Do you receive a lot of fan mail etc? What is the most common question you get from fans?
Request on autographs and us playing in their cities. And from time to time, nasty suggestions on bad things to do!!!
The band as well as all of the members has a side on myspace, how active are you on the internet?
As I said above, the main promotion and spreading is to be made on the Internet. Everything is happening on the Net. I’m doing G5-related business every day through email etc but I’m trying to leave it alone a couple of days each week. I mean, you can’t be reachable 24/7. Sometimes you need to polish your shoes too…
You have a lot of myspace sites that supports Gemini Five what do you think of them?
Not “a lot” but absolutely hard working fans that puts a lot of efforts into the band and this is something we are absolutely proud and grateful of.
Well, I think that’s about it. Again, a big thank you and good luck in the future. Do you have any final words of wisdom for the fans and readers?
Final words of wisdom? Hmmmm.
– Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.
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