Band leaders singer Brian Frank and bass player Anders LA Rönnblom – Killer Bee
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Jacob Hansen at Target Records for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Target Records for the promo pictures of the band.
Promo Pictures on the band taken by: C. Gauld
Killer Bee’s brand new album is called EVOLUTIONARY CHILDREN. The back had their big break through back in the 90’s when they released three albums and gained success with them. After that the band was put on ice for a while and 15 years later, 2011, came the compilation album ALMOST THERE. The first with the new line-up FROM HELL AND BACK came 2012 and now, once more is the band back to attack. I had the pleasure to talk to singer Brian Frank and bass player Anders LA Rönnblom and what they had to say about their long career and the new album amongst other things can be read down below.
AR – Anders L.A. Rönnblom
BR – Brian Bee Frank
Hi Anders and Brian are you ready to kick off the interview?
Oh yes, It’s me and Brian that will be guiding you through the KILLER BEE jungle & memory lane.
EVOLUTIONARY CHILDREN is the name of Killer Bee’s brand new album, how long did it take to to write and record the album?
AR- The album was written right after the recording of FROM HELL AND BACK. Me and Morgan recorded the bedtracks in 5 days at DeMarchi Studios in July 2012, and then we kept on working with it in Charger Studios for approx 6 weeks back and forth – Brian was in Florida recording Jimmy’s guitars, and then he recorded most of Denny’s keyboards in Toronto right before the mixing in March 2013 – so a total of 2,5 month. You and Brian Frank write the material but are any of the other members also involved in the writing process?
AR- It’s been me & Brian who writes most of the songs since we first started to write in 1990, we got a certain chemistry – I know what kind of riffs & grows I want, and Brian knows how to kick them up but we welcome everybody to contribute.
What are the lyrics about this time and where do you find inspiration to write?
BF- This albums concept is as the title says evolution, but not the worlds evolution. I have long had the thoughts that in the 69/70s music and developing styles created what was at that time referred to as a generation gap but as we grow older and our children reach their teens we see that nowadays the youth are listening to the same styles and in some cases the same music I grew up with. So nowadays I consider Rock music as a generation bridge. And this is what I consider the evolution of rock and “we are all evolutionary children”
Some of the members lives in Europe and some in USA, is it hard to find the time to rehearse? Is the distance causing any problems for the band?
AR- We have never rehearsed together so far, and that’s the down side with not living close to each other.
The single “Children Of The Evolution” was released prior to the album, what did the fans think of the song?
AR- Very positive, we got great response. People seems to miss the classic organ influenced, melodic riff based hard rock.
KILLER BEE – Children Of The Evolution Video
I know you put it up on Youtube but it was taken away, what happened?
AR- To be honest we don’t know exactly, they claimed that the traffic to the page was incorrect ?!? We thought for a while some one had put a boot or a bug on it – but YouTube uploaded it for us every single time, so I don’t know. We lost a lot of hits, views but we just kept on going.
Do you think fans of the bands previous albums are going to like EVOLUTIONARY CHILDREN?
BF- This record is a new step in our progression and I do believe that those fans that wish to really follow the band will appreciate its own style and appreciate that we are a band that by principal we write what we feel not necessarily what is expected
Has the band developed music-wise since the release of the previous album FROM HELL AND BACK? If so in what way?
BF- We are always in different stages of development. It would be unfair to point a finger at any particular differences this records style is from the previous one, for as you will see in the future we will again explore all avenues of inspiration. It would be a shame if we did not develop and just churned out generic hard rock.
How come you chose to call the album EVOLUTIONARY CHILDREN?
BF- This title was chosen by me as it reflected on what I was writing about as I explained early
Who did the cover art-work and what do you think of it?
AR- I LOVE IT!! LOVEBONE APPAREL are the ones who’s behind it, as well the KILLER BEE merchandise. The clown symbolizes the world we’re now living in – we’re all putting on a mask that we’re hiding behind – sad but true, and the round symbol you can see floating around is my own creation – our KILLER BEE symbol. I think the music on the album sounds like a kind of 70’s hardrock music with some modern hints. How would you like to describe the music of Killer Bee?
BF- regarding the production side of this record this is entirely true. As a teen from the early 70s I have my roots firmly planted there. As the producer I tend to seek after a simple raw sound without an unnecessary amount of bells and whistles that take away from the pure rock music we try to deliver
Where does the band name Killer Bee come from?
BF- The name was actually given us by an old friend of ours from England Producer Mike Howlett. In the 90s when we were going through a rough time with our then label HEM records we decided it was time for a clean break. We were working off and on with Mike and he through this name out and it stuck.
The previous album came out about a year ago and now the new one is here, was it meant to be to get the new disc out so fast?
AR- Yes, we’re hungry and we want to keep the momentum up, and to show the world that we mean business. Nowadays in this digital mass produced music scene – you have to make sure to be in everybody’s face.
Have you read any reviews of the album in the media? Do you and the band care about what critics and media have to say about your work?
BF- Of course its sometimes interesting to read whats being passed around as opinions but they are just that “opinions” Everybody has one. We must respect each own thought but if we put too much weight in what’s being written perhaps we would end up doing whats expected and this I hope we never do.
Are there any differences in how the band is treated by native and foreign press?
AR- oh yes, for example when we toured a lot in he 90’s. We did the big Festivals with bands like Oasis, Elton John, Page & Plant, Megadeth to name a few. Opened for Peter Frampton and did a lot of biker festivals (Super Rally) and even when we collaborated with Kee Marcello – not a word back in Sweden. Now it has opened up a little more in general all over the world due to the internet so it’s much better.
In retrospect are you happy with the outcome of EVOLUTIONARY CHILDREN?
AR- Yes you can always find things you should/-shouldn’t have done, or could/-couldn’t have done better. But I never looked back– just move on and take that with me as an experience.
Did you threw a release party for the album? If so when and where and did you perform live?
AR- No, we just started to plan the up-coming Album.
Studio and production
In which studio was the album recorded and who produced it?
BF- As our members are scattered around the globe these two records were recorded over time in Sweden (Charger Studios) and Canada (DeMarchi Studios). The production side is something that I have taken control of. At this point we believe that we can best express the direction we wish to follow by self producing.
Who did the mixing and mastering?
AR- The mixing was done by Brian and Jim Zolis at ZOLIS AUDIO in Toronto, and the mastering was done by Paul Milner at SHELL LANE STUDIOS.
Do you rehearse together before you enter the studio?
AR- No I have the songs in my head – I show them to Brian we work on some details if needed and then I go through them with Morgan before the bed tracks are done. Comeback
After being away for 15 years the band released a compilation album back in 2011 called ALMOST THERE, how come you chose to release a compilation album?
AR- I wanted to have a closure of the 90’s KILLER BEE-era. I felt that we never had an official farewell, so this was a good chance to do so- especially now when the music is available digital.. KILLER BEE was only available on physical copies, so now we could also reach out to a new audience.
Are there any bonus material featured on there?
AR- No, there are no bonus tracks on it, but me and Brian have spoken of releasing one album with songs that never made it on the old albums called “Songs From The Attic” but we’ll see what the future holds.
How was it to work with the album? Brought it back memories?
AR- It was great!! It brought back a lot of memories. I discovered many songs that had slipped my mind. I was really blown away of the creativity we had those days.
Was it decided that you were going to record FROM HELL AND BACK before you started to work with the compilation album?
AR- No no but after receiving so much positive response from round the world, It crossed my mind but initially there were no plans to start up the band again.
Was it hard to decide which songs to feature on the compilation?
AR- Yes, there are many songs that I think deserved to be on the album that never made it but I’m happy with the result.
Have you and Brian Frank kept in touch when the band was on ice and what have you two been up to these past years?
AR- No, we didn’t hang with each other, we did our own things. Brian started up his own business in construction & design, and also an restaurant/-rock club. He also had a solo-project called “B-line”. Myself I started to play in a 3-piece troubadour constellation, we played in Cyprus, Majorca and Sweden and after that I was working as a bartender and truck driver.
What did the media think of the comeback album FROM HELL AND BACK?
AR- The album received great response all over the world – I think many people didn’t expect such a strong album after so many years absence.
Who took the decision to wake up the band again and were there any hesitation amongst the members?
AR- I did, I felt that we had so much more to offer. I went to see Morgan in Toronto in November 2011, and after jamming through the ideas I had for FROM HELL AND BACK with Morgan – there was no discussion what we were gonna do. Me and Morgan just knew. I called Brian back in Sweden and I told him to drop everything he had because the music was his call. From what I can read in the bio has the band have a lot of problems with managements, production companies and rip offs. Could you tell us what happened back then and why you put the band to rest?
AR- To make a long story short. We had a management in Switzerland that worked really hard for us BUT, they left the bill to us incl. Hotels, Promotion, Transportation you name it, and vanished from the face of the earth – this was the beginning to the end. The frustration and disappointment took over the band, there were no focus on the music anymore.
Label and management
The previous album was released by Z Recordings, why did you quit them?
AR- we disagreed on some terms and therefore decided to go separate ways.
What label released ALMOST THERE?
AR- UFO Records /Hans Edler Music AB
Who own the legal rights to the bands first three album today?
AR- UFO Records /Hans Edler Music AB
Are there any plans on re-releasing those three albums anytime soon?
AR- The albums are available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc. As for a physical re-release we don’t know. I’ve seen you can find the albums on Ebay.
Is it possible to buy ALMOST THERE and FROM HELL AND BACK today?
AR- Yes, there are some web-shops that sells them.
How come you inked a deal with the Danish label Target/Mighty Music? Are you happy with the work the label have put into the album and the band so far?
AR- We were put in touch with them through Paul Milner who has his contacts there. I’m very pleased with their job, they have delivered.
Since you have had some bad experiences with labels in the past what do you think of Target/Mighty Music?
AR- Professional label with a good personal contact, dialogue. Easy to work with we’re very happy to be on board.
Is the album released worldwide and are there any interests for Killer Bee in USA/Canada and Asia?
AR- With the digital music scene you’re automatically spread world wide. But reg. physical copies they can only be bought through import in those territories. The interest is there so we’ll see.
Is it possible to download the album legally anywhere on the internet?
AR- Yes of course, the albums are available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc.
Is the band currently working with any management?
AR- No, but we are looking at some at this point.
Past present and future
It’s only you and Brian Frank left from the original line-up, didn’t the rest of the original band want to join you?
AR- It never crossed our mind, we wanted a fresh start and most of them are busy with other projects.
Do you and Frank have any contact with the old members today?
AR- Yes, almost everyone in one way or the other.
Jimmy DeLisi and Denny DeMarchi joined the band in 2011 how did they end up in Killer Bee, were you friends?
AR- They were both introduced to us through Morgan who has played with them in other bands.
The old member Morgan Evans also joined forces with you back in 2011, how was it to get him back with the band?
AR- It was great to see him walking through the door. I hadn’t seen him for so many years, but it just felt like yesterday as soon a s we started to talk.
Where in the world are the members situated?
AR- Me & Brian in Sweden, Jimmy & Morgan in Florida and finally Denny in Toronto.
Have you done any live shows since the rebirth of the band?
AR- We did a reunion gig in September 2011 when we released ALMOST THERE. It was me, Brian, Morgan & Mats from the early days and then 2 guitar players from our home town that’s it.
If you look back at when you first started the band what do you think of those days?
AR- I like what I see – I like what I’ve accomplished through the years. I’ve always been stubborn a very determined how I want things and I don’t regret a thing. There’s no need to regret because you can’t turn back time.
Why was the band put to rest at the end of the 90’s?
BF- The 90s were tough times for hard rock and while we fought through the tough times we were met with a few should we say dishonest characters. They had their way with us and when all was said and done we didn’t know up from down any more so we decided that a short pause was in order. Unfortunately it lasted about 10 years
Do you have any fun memory to share with us from the 90’s?
AR- I have, so many times woke up and felt as if I had a dead rat in my mouth, imagine the fragrance which would easily have ended any war. After months on the road I had learned that it was very important to save some beers for the next day, because you never knew the opening hours for the pubs when you came to a new place. Morgan and I kept the beer reserve under our pillows on the tour bus, the thing was that the first one to fall asleep always got robbed so none of us wanted to go to bed before the other. In Berlin though we stayed at the Grand Hotel, and as always the minibars were emptied in the morning, but this morning Eric and I decided to go find some more to drink.
When we past the Hotel restaurant, they served something we’d never heard about before…”breakfast!” This was top of the line people had their dresses and jackets on at 8am for having breakfast!?!? I had my boots and ripped jeans shorts with my leather jacket, and Eric was wearing his leather coat, boots and ugly sweat pants with the Batman logo all over! Right away we discovered two big silver plates filled with champagne glasses, so we figured let’s have breakfast!!! We just walked in, grabbed 2 eggs and one silver plate each and sat down, that’s what I call Breakfast for Champions! We were not exactly the most popular guys in the restaurant that morning but hey – they said breakfast was included and we just wanted to save the others a hang over! This morning there were no fights over the beers on the tour bus.
The album WORLD ORDER REVOLUTION from 1997 was produced by –ex Easy Action, ex- Europe member Kee Marcello who also played on the album. How was it to work with Marcello?
AR- a great guy with a lot of experience and ideas not to mention an awesome guitar player a true pleasure.
On the comeback album you worked with the ex-Helix guitarist Brent Doerner who also owns the video production agency Red D Film who made two of your videos. How was it to work with Doerner?
AR- Brent is an amazingly fun guy with lots of energy, visions and ideas, tasteful guitar playing. He makes the Duracell rabbits looks like they are moving in slow motion.
Where in the world does the band has its biggest fanbase and do you think that the old fans are sticking to Killer Bee?
AR- During the 90’s I could say Switzerland but now I don’t know. You can find them here and there.
Is the band happy with what they have accomplished so far?
AR- I’m happy but not satisfied. We got more to offer.
The band has got a really nice website, who runs it and are you also active on the other social networks that’s available today?
AR- Thank you, It’s run by me together with a web-master. We can be found on:
According to your website is the band heading out on tour in Europe during May, is that correct? Which countries are you visiting?
AR- That’s our goal but we’re still waiting for the last confirmations. In this business there are no guarantees.
Are there any festival shows booked so far?
AR- No nothing yet.
Is it correct that you’re currently working on material to a new album? When can we expect to see the new album out in stores?
AR- Yes!! New Album will be delivered in October 2014. The plans are that we’re going to England to start the recordings in mid April. This will be awesome. Paul Milner will help out with the producing.
At the beginning of January it could be read that the band have taken away FROM HELL AND BACK from spotify, Itunes and Amazon. All of your videos was also taken down, what happened?
AR- That’s correct. TARGET/MIGHTY MUSIC will re-release the Album shortly-and at the same time we will release a new Video, the title track: FROM HELL AND BACK – which was mixed by none other than less Rich Chycki (Dream Theater, Rush, Aerosmith, Gotthard)..so the Album and all the Videos will be up soon again.
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t discovered Killer Bee yet?
AR- If you’re looking for a band that stick to the basic tradition of great riffs, great hooks & melodies with a 70’s organ sound – we’re what you’re looking for!!
Could you give three reasons why the readers should buy EVOLUTIONARY CHILDREN?
BF- one reason I would say is this record is for those who are interested in expanding their hard rock tastes and perhaps letting go of the over produced expectations. Sit back and rock stop over analyzing.
Well, do you have any final words of wisdom to share with the readers and fans?
AR- stick to your dreams, believe in yourself & work hard no matter what.
Thanks a lot for taking the time doing the interview. I really wish you and the band all the best in the future.
AR/BF– Thanx a lot – our pleasure.