Bosse Stagman aka Zinny Zan
Interviewed: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Jenny Walroth at Border Music for setting up the interview
Promotional pictures taken by: Mats Vassfjord Foto & Media
Thanks to Border Music for the promo pictures of Stagman
Legendary Swedish sleaze/glam icon Bosse Stagman, better known as Zinny J Zan, recently released his first solo album in Swedish. The album contains music that’s nothing like he’s done before and is more of a pure rock album. Since Zinny and his music are a long time personal favorite of mine, I decided to hook up with him in order to have an in-depth talk about the new album and find out what’s behind the sudden change of musical direction. He’s backed up my some really well known musicians like bass player Nalle Påhlsson (Therion, Treat,Zan Clan etc.), guitarist Martin Sweet (CrashDiet, Sweet Creatures), and guitarist Simon Roxx Karlsson (re-united Easy Action), so the outcome sounds pretty great if you ask me. I know that the fact the album is entirely in Swedish might scare some fans, but believe me, the music of Stagman on ARE YOU STILL OUT THERE is universal.
Hi Zinny, nice to talk to you again. Are you ready for another round of questions from Metal-Rules.com?
Hi ! Yes I am ready so shoot away !
You recently released your first solo album where you sing in Swedish, when was the idea born to do a solo album? And why did you decide to sing in Swedish?
This is in fact my 2nd solo album, I did one called CITY BOY BLUES many years ago but in English (it’s on Spotify and iTunes) under the name Zinny J Zan, but this is the first solo album in Swedish.
I have had this thought or dream if you will for many years but it seemed it was never the right time for it. The reason I made the choice to sing in Swedish is due to the fact that I have sung in English throughout my entire career and I’ve always wanted to do it in my native language and now the time was right.
Is it harder to write material in Swedish? How long have you worked on the material to the album?
I would say that it is harder to write in Swedish than in English, yes! First of all, English is the language of rock n’ roll no doubt and there is a lot of things you can get away with in English which you absolutely can’t in Swedish.
I started writing the album in 2016 and had it ready around August. Then I was looking around for a label etc. so the 1st single came out around Nov. and the album saw the day of light January this year.
Except for 2 songs, you have written all of the music on your own. The other 2 you co-written with Björn Grizzly Höglund. What did he contribute?
Well Björn is constantly contributing to the album since he is not only the drummer but he also plays some guitar. He has also been working with arrangements for the songs together with me and is the producer. For the two songs he co-wrote with me he contributed musically but not lyrically if I remember it right.
How is it to write material with someone else?
It all depends on who it is. I have been blessed with writing with Chris Laney earlier and now with Björn Grizzly and both these guys are an absolute joy to work with. Some others that I have written with has not always been so easy as these two.
When I listen to the lyrics it feels like I’m taking part in your life experiences and the things you’ve gone through in life; what are the lyrics about? What inspires you to write music?
Thank you so much! This means that I can now say to myself “Mission Accomplished” ! You are absolutely right in that all these lyrics are stories, thoughts, and feelings from my life. It’s about things I have gone through, thoughts I have, and feelings I’ve had, so it is a very intimate album in that sense. What inspires me? Well, life is inspiring me to write about.
Were there any songs that didn’t made it on to the final edition of the album?
Yes, I would say in any process there will be left overs or songs & lyrics that didn’t come out as well as you predicted but to be honest, for this album it was no more than 3 songs, which I think is a very good track record.
Your artist name is Zinny Zan but you decided to release the solo album under your real name, why?
I decided to take my family name, Stagman, for this Swedish release just due to the fact that the only reason I changed my name in the first place some 35 years back was in order to make an International career. Now when singing in my native language I thought Stagman would fit just fine.
How come you named the album ÄR NI KVAR DÄR UTE (in English, ARE YOU STILL OUT THERE?)?
There are two good reasons for the album title,
1. After changing your music to be whatever comes out and not staying in my usual genre and then singing in Swedish and changing to my real family name, I think the question is spot on: Will you still be out there even if I do all this?
2. My childhood hero Phil Lynott used to say that on every live concert “Are you still out there”? So it is also a tribute to him even if not many people notice that.
Yes absolutely! Both Jonas Beijer & Mats Vassfjord are old friends of mine so they know what I want. They always deliver and with their own touch on the final product of course.
When I think of you, I think of sleaze/glam hard rock but the solo album doesn’t contain any of that style; how would you like to describe the music on this record?
You are absolutely right. The whole meaning for this album was for me to write whatever came out and not look at any genre at all. With that being said, I think there is a lot of different stuff on this album and that is exactly why I think its so full of life and energy: there is a little bit of Rock, Hard Rock, Pop etc. on the release.
To whom does the album turn to do you think of this is a new music direction for your fans?
When I started with this album and decided to let my inner voice speak and let everything out, I was very sure that I would most likely lose some old supporters. From what it seems so far, I haven’t lost any since there are so many old supporters that are just loving this album! That makes me very happy that they continue the journey with me. I also realized that I have won many new supporters with this album as well.
Doesn’t the fact that you sing in Swedish narrow down the market for the album outside of Scandinavia?
Yes of course it does and I am well aware of that but sometimes you have to make those sacrifices in order to go on with your art and the different roads in order to find new inspiration
What did fans think of the first single out called “Fasader” (Facades)?
Funny you ask since the song “Fasader (Fascades)” is the one song that divides my supporters it seems; either you love it or you don’t, but the majority have loved the song and say it reminds them of Bowie for some reason. Others that didn’t like the first single came back and said – “Your album is fantastic even if the 1st single sucked”, hahaha.
There was a plan to shoot a video for the first single but the vision I had for it was way too expensive for us so therefore we didn’t. There will be a video for single number 3. The story is there and we are just waiting to shoot it.
What are the shortest song “Fasader” and the longest song “Kärlekens Triumf” (The Triumph Of Love) about?
“Fasader” is about people and how many pretend to be someone they’re not; who is for real and who is fake. I think there is a lot of that going on.
“Kärlekens Triumf”, well, I think that song is pretty straight forward on the subject, haha
What is the song “Vykort Från Hollywood” (Postcards From Hollywood) about?
It’s about me looking back on my Hollywood years with Shotgun Messiah and everything around that time in Hollywood L.A.
The album has received some great reviews in papers/fanzines; congratulations. Were great reviews something you anticipated? Do you care about what critics have to say about your work?
I can honestly say that I was so happy I almost fell to tears when I saw the reviews! Why? I was very sure when I started this project that I would be slammed very hard for doing this album. I guess sometimes I am wrong 🙂
Of course it means a lot to get great reviews, I would lie if I said it didn’t. I do not write music to get great reviews but when you spend a year writing an album this close to your heart of course it is a warm and fantastic feeling if/when journalists are feeling the same as well. That in my book means that you accomplished writing music that made them feel the same thing as yourself.
I’ve only read Swedish reviews of the album so far, have any foreign papers reviewed it yet?
Yes I have read Finnish and German reviews as well
I think your vocals are amazing on the album, how have you managed to keep your voice intact throughout your career?
Thank you very much! To be honest, I have started to write music in a lower pitch than I used to just due to the fact that I wanted the album to have a cooler feel to it. Can I still sing Shotgun Messiah stuff etc.? Yes I can, but I feel this range that I do now suits me better with this kind of music. But no secrets on taking care of my voice other than I have quit smoking, hahaha.
Which song is your personal favorite one on the album?
Wow this is a tough one! It is like saying which of your kids do you love the most cause I see these songs as my little babies. To be honest I really like the entire album but if I have to say any songs I would say “Vykort från Hollywood” just because it is about my past and it is such a cool soft song and I have never written songs like that before. I also have to mention “Kommer Jag Till Himlen” which came out really good to.
With Nalle Påhlsson, Simon Roxx Karlsson, Stefan Bergström and Martin Sweet you gathered quite a well known set of musicians, how did they end up on ARE YOU STILL OUT THERE? Are you all friends from way back?
They ended up on the album cause they are old friends who actually wanted to try these new songs even if it wasn’t hard rock.
Stefan Bergström is the only one that I can’t consider an old friend but we have been in the same business for many years and I admire his work so when I asked him he wanted to join as well which was great.
Allan Sundberg is also a very good friend of mine since some years back and is the host of Kings Call – the tribute to Phil Lynott that is a yearly event in Sweden. Other than that there are some cool cats from Östersund that really helped out forming this album.
Björn Grizzly Höglund and Simon Roxx were a part of the re-united version of Easy Action together with you and Kee Marcello, how was it to work with those guys again?
It was great and we have kept contact with each other and been writing songs over the years a part from this as well.
Mia used to be in the famous Swedish group Chattanoga and Yeah Bop Station and Erica Skogen is a great singer and artist in her own right as well.
Besides drums, Höglund also plays guitar, keyboard and takes care of programming, it must feel safe to work with such a rock as him :)?
Yes Björn is a level-headed Swede from up North and very talented with a sick n’ twisted sense of humour as well. He is fantastic and a great great friend.
Studio and production
Where was the album recorded?
Is it correct that Höglund produced the album? Did you take any part in the production?
Björn Höglund produced the album and of course we communicated on what I wanted etc. but this is a production sign for Björn. I write songs, I arrange my songs, and I have a pretty good feel of where I want to go with the production, but Björn is the one making this real and sometimes challenging me on arrangements or production. That is the good part, that’s how we work together.
What is Höglund’s strongest feature as producer?
He can see the whole picture and he is playful.
Did all of the musicians record their parts in the same studio as you?
No not all, for many of the guitar parts there were files sent back & forth. Due to that, there are many guitarists on the album.
Label and manegement
Was it easy to land a record deal?
Surprisingly yes ! I thought that it would be a lot harder now when singing in Swedish but GMR Music Group, who I am signed with for Zan Clan, contacted me and said let’s work together again. Since we did a good job together with ZC I had no doubts at all.
Are you happy with the work your label GMR Music Group have put into the album so far?
I have a good and rather personal relationship with GMR and I think that they are doing a good job yes.
Is there more to be done? Absolutely, but at the same time the artist and the label are working their asses off but it can be that certain people in media just won’t give you the time of day and then there is nothing you can do about it other than ask your supporters to request your music on radio, at festivals and all other events.
Were there many labels that showed interest in your solo album and for how many albums are you signed for at GMR?
There were other labels that showed interest but since I know GMR and had been signed to them before, I wanted to do this journey with them. I am signed to this album and this is mine and GMR’s focus for now. I know that there will be a 2nd album since I am already working on new songs but if GMR wants to work with me or not for that album I have no idea at this time. We’re focused on this album right now.
You released the Shotgun Messiah live album LIVE- DOWN DECADENCIA DRIVE on Livewire/Cargo Records, why didn’t they release ARE YOU STILL OUTTHERE as well?
Livewire Cargo Records is an Englsih label and they do not know to much about the Scandinavian territory so I never asked them.
Do you currently co-work with any management?
I am right now approaching booking agencies in order to set up a tour.
Is the album available at Spotify, iTunes etc?
Yes the album is out on both Spotify and iTunes.
Any plans on releasing it on vinyl?
At this time no.
Through the years you have been linked to several labels, what’s your opinion in general regarding labels, the music industry of today, and downloading music? I mean, you have been in the business for quite a while and know what you’re talking about.
The world is constantly changing and the record business is too. They have to follow the new technology and make use of that since that’s where their next generation of customers will be.
However I do think that the artist been given a really bad hand here and that the record companies have not thought of the artists one bit going into the world of streaming.
It is what it is today, and if you want to continue making music you have to live with it but at the same time try to fight back in order to make a better future for the next coming artists. You can’t make nearly the same money on your music today as an artist as you once could, that is for sure. The record companies in Sweden are spending 80% of their full time working with Melodifestivalen artists only, that makes this art form very narrow minded for the time being.
Do you have any thoughts or plans on releasing a biography? I’d be the first waiting in line to read it 🙂
I have been asked by an agency to write my biography and for some years back I did start to write and came almost halfway through. Then I changed my mind and thought that I have a lot more chapters in my life before I want to have closure so I left it at that. Someday maybe I will continue where I left off and finish the story of my life.
If your foreign fans wants to buy ARE YOU STILL OUT THERE where should they turn?
They can contact GMR Music group if their local shops don’t have it.
What did your fellow musicians and friends think when you said you were going to release an album in Swedish?
Most of my friends didnt even know 🙂 They were very surprised all of a sudden when a single and then an album came out, hahaha. I like to work like that.
Could you tell us a little bit about your participation in the Swedish thriller series “Innan Vi Dör” (Before We Die) that recently aired on Swedish television?
I was asked to be a part of the serie as a motorcycle gang member. The reason for that is that some people in the production know that I do drive a Harley and that I have a motorcycle club as well
Is it correct that you also have a song featured in the program? The program was pretty popular in Sweden right?
That is not correct, all music in the series was made by Niklas Frisk. I did however write a song called “Innan vi dör” and my thought was to have it in the series but the production company turned it down due to the fact that they have already contracted Niklas for that job.
At the beginning of 2016 you joined the project Gathering Of Kings, what was that? Are you still a part of it?
Due to different reasons I had to part from that project. The work of my solo album took my time and that was a big reason for me bailing out on that project. We did however record a song for the project.
Yes I had a release party in Stockholm where I live at a place called Roq. It was a great night but the first time in many years I was nervous before a gig.
Which musicians were with you on stage during the performance and which songs did you choose to play?
Björn Höglund- Drums
Nalle Påhlsson – Bass
Simon Roxx -Guitar
Stefan Bergström -Guitar
Violet Janine- on vocals
We only played 4 songs on the release night and the setlist was
Kommer jag till himlen?
Valen som du gör
Do you have any plans on taking ARE YOU STILL OUT THERE out on tour or to do single shows soon?
Yes it is my plan to take this out on the road but again it is all about if anyone will book me.
If you’re heading out on the road are you focusing on Sweden or are you thinking of taking on rest of Scandinavia?
I would love to do an extensive tour and take it all around Scandinavia if possible.
If you’re heading out, which musicians are you bringing with you?
The same guys as on the release party. If Martin Sweet wants to join in he is of course more than welcome.
Why don’t you have a website instead of only a Facebook page?
I will have one up pretty soon.
During 2013 you released a single called “The Perfect Age of Rock n’ Roll” which was featured in a movie with the same name. What was the movie about and how did you end up doing music to it?
It was an American movie with Peter Fonda with the same name as the title of my song. They called me up ’cause they first wanted to use Zan Clan’s version of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender”, which was on our Zan Clan album. I told them to go ahead and use that song but at the same time I asked if I could write the title track for the movie ’cause I liked the name of the movie. They told me that they can’t guarrantee they’d use it but go ahead and record it so I did!
Since the break up of Zan Clan 2007 I have recorded a single with Easy Action “We Go Rocking / Jack’s Back” that went to number 13 on the Swedish charts and also opened up for Twisted Sister 2008-2009.
We also started to write a new album for Easy Action but it seemed that Kee had too little time to finish up with solos etc. so the album is still on the shelf with 10 songs there. Kee used one of them that we wrote together on his latest release SCALING UP and is called “Blow By Blow”, that song was originally meant for the Easy Action album.
Then in late 2010 I moved to Brazil and lived there until late 2012, and then I released the “Perfect Age of Rock n’ Roll” in 2013.
Together with Chris Laney, Rob Marcello and Stixx we did a 25-year anniversary celebration of Shotgun Messiah’s debut album and we played some cities and some festivals in 2013-2014. As well as that I was a part in building up Väsby Rock Festival, so yes I have been busy between releases.
Are you happy with what you have achieved so far when it comes to touring as well as musically?
I just love touring so I wish I could have and will tour much much more than I have done recent years but music-wise, yes I am happy with my the music I have released and the decisions made along the way.
In the sleaze/glam hard rock community you’re considered as a legend, how does that feel? 🙂
It is of course very flattering to be called and thought of as a legend by supporters but at the end of the day I am who I am, No more no less.
You can call me a legend or a fucking failure neither of it will change who I am anyway.
Do you think you’re going to release more Swedish albums in the future?
If I can stay sane and healthy I know there will be more Swedish releases. I have already planned for a new single but first let’s get the most out of “Är ni kvar där ute?” before releasing the next but yes there will be more Swedish songs coming your way.
What happened with the reunion of Easy Action? According to wikipedia you and Kee Marcello have recorded an album called LOOKING UP YOUR OLD ADDRESS, what happened with the album? Are you and Marcello in contact today?
We started to write a new album for Easy Action but it seemed that Kee had too little time to finish up with solos etc. and then our bass player and friend Micael Grimm suddenly died so the album is still on the shelf, as I mentioned. The working title for the album was LOOKING UP YOUR OLD ADDRESS, Kee used one of the songs that we wrote together on his latest release SCALING UP and is called “Blow By Blow”. That song was originally meant for the Easy Action album.
Shotgun Messiah became Shotgun and Easy Action was reunited with you and Marcello as the only remaining original members, Do you have any current plans on reuniting some of your old bands in the near future?
No, I don’t. I had two big bands and I have re-united with both, being fortunate to experience playing these songs once more at an older age which was absolutely great. BUT it was also a closure of the past for me so that I could go in to the future fresh and only look forward.
The second single from ÄR NI KVAR DÄR UTE (in English, ARE YOU STILL OUT THERE?) called “Kommer Jag Till Himlen?” (Am I Going To Heaven) was recently released, how did fans respond on the single?
So far so good!
What are your plans during 2017?
Releasing a new single later this spring and record a video for it. Trying to get this show on the road and hit as many cities as possible and of course continue writing new songs in Swedish
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy Är Ni Kvar Där Ute?
It’s a album with great music even if it is not hard rock. The lyrics are very personal and it is an album I am very proud of.
Give the album a few listens, I don’t think you will get disappointed.
Before I leave you, do you have any words of wisdom to share with fans and readers?
Not really more than always try to make your dreams come true!
For what we know we have only one life so make the most of it and try to have and follow your own plan because if you don’t have a plan you will only become a bystander in someone else’s plan.
Thanks for once again doing an interview with me and Metal-Rules.com. I wish you all the best and congratulation to a great album! 🙂
Thank you very much and always nice to hook up again!