Roine Stolt

For the first part of my interview with Roine Stolt, Roine called me from Sweden on a chilly night on the 28th March at the end of a long winter. To get such an illustrious star of the prog world for my first DPRP interview was, to say the least, rather daunting, but as it turned out, Roine was down to earth, very friendly, open and honest. With the pending release of Paradox Hotel this was the main topic of our first discussion ...



DAVE: Roine, a new year, another Flower Kings release. I've had Paradox Hotel now for about a month and I must say it does sound a little bit different, it's more cut down and even, to my ear has the feel of the Stardust era

ROINE: Yes, it perhaps sounds a little like those days. We did find ourselves becoming more and more techno and refined as far as production and the technical aspects were concerned, and we were always aiming for perfection. On the one hand this could be a good thing but on the other you perhaps turn away some of the fans because you're going over their heads, you know? This is probably what happened with Adam & Eve, I mean it's a good album but it seems like the perfection and the work we put into that album didn't really pay off. We were probably aiming at the wrong things, you know, because I don't think most of the fans really care about, you know, perfection or really smart arrangements and orchestrations, whatever, new interesting synthesizer sounds. They want their basic progressive rock, they want music played with feeling and we were looking at the album and saying, well this is what we did and maybe we should look at what we were doing at the time we did Retropolis and Flower Power. OK, we were probably not playing a good as we do now and the sounds and production were not as good either but if the feeling is right then something is going to be right for the music. So, this time we decided to rehearse the music and then go into the studio and play it live, there were no click-tracks or metronomes or anything like that.

You can hear it has a live feel about it

Yeah

And it has some rough edges to it, which isn't a bad thing to be honest

No, I think so too. I think many people listen to music in a different way from how musicians do. Now I know we have many musicians that listen to our music, but I think that most people see the music in a very different way from how someone like me or Tomas or Jonas do, so we need to understand what the fans are enjoying or what they like about the music and that's maybe why Paradox Hotel has that feel around Flower Power, Stardust We Are or Retropolis

I certainly got that impression - not copying it as such, just the feel

Yeah sure

And I also noticed there an awful lot of short and gentle tracks on the album, which for me is great because I like those even more than the epics

Yeah, I would say so too. Of course I like the long tracks but the ones I enjoy the most are the ones like Jealousy, Mommy Leave The Light On, these types of songs

I counted 7 quieter tracks on the CD but perhaps my favourite track, although I can't say why, is Bavarian Skies which is quite a strange track actually

(laughs) Yes, it is a strange track and we would have avoided that because I'm sure there's going to be people saying that they like the album but they don't like that track at all because it's so strange, what are they singing about and what's about that weird voice, you know, this is not rock music. Sometimes it seems like progressive fans want to compare the music to other bands: "Does it sound like Pink Floyd? No. Does it sound like Genesis? No. Does it sound like King Crimson? No, well how about Yes then? No it doesn't... OK then I'm not sure I like it"!

[both laugh]

You know this happened to Flower Kings in the beginning, when they tried to describe The Flower Kings they would say, well they have this one song that sounds like King Crimson, and another one that sounds like Yes and that's the way to describe. This is the music that people of my age have grown up with, these bands in the 70's, this is the music they love and they're looking for elements of this music in all the new bands, you know. All the new bands coming up they want to be the new Pink Floyd, the new Genesis, etc. So, when someone does something like Bavarian Skies or even Vampyre's View that we did on Adam & Eve there's no reference to Yes or ELP or whatever so it's like totally on an island and people are asking "What the hell is this about? This isn't progressive rock".

Surely the fact that it doesn't sound like anyone else music makes it progressive?

Yes, it's the most progressive we have done, completely different!

I think on the other gentle Flower Kings tracks, other than the strong melodies you always have, you always have this dreamy feel. Personally I adore Tomas' keyboards on these pieces...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure

He has such feel for these fairy-tale type themes that he puts into things

Yeah, absolutely and I think it these little ballad things have a unique feel to them and they are very soulful, which to me is a very important thing when writing songs and also listening to other artists, that's what I'm looking for. There are so many bands out there that can play fast and loud and put so many layers of mellotron and pipe organs on top of each other, double kick-drums, fast playing and everything but it's sometimes it easy, you know. But, to write something that's very scaled down and soft with few instruments and notes played, that's not that easy. So when we manage to get something done in that type of style I'm very pleased. These are the songs I'm going back to and saying, I'm still very happy with that one, it turned out very nicely for us so...

I think a great example of that on Adam & Eve was Days Gone By...

Yeah

...which is such a beautiful short piece - I could listen to a whole 70 minute CD of stuff like that

You know, I've tried to get Tomas to do a complete piano album

He should!

I'm saying "Tomas, please do it" and he's saying "No, I think people will be bored". No, they won't be bored, try it, it would be great!

Tomas is a bit more subtle with his keyboard patches on Paradox Hotel, no crazy, weird noises all over the place like he sometimes likes to do

Yes, just something we decided to try to do. We said because I always wanted to try and do more piano and on the last few Flower Kings albums we have used way too little and I think grand piano is a very nice instrument because it's a full sound that's not overwhelming, overshadowing everything else in the production. so we wanted to have a few instruments, like the grand piano, Wurlitzer piano etc.

Yes, you're using more classic keyboards, which of course stand as instruments in their own right rather than just being a generic keyboard sound

Precisely

A question coming from Bart at DPRP: he read on the web that you were quoted as saying you deliberately put "filler" tracks on CD's...

Did I say that? No, we don't do that

I think in the past you have been accused of doing that also

Well people subscribe to the Flower Kings mailing list and often you see comments there also from Jonas or Tomas - this makes people feel closer to the band, but often people take comments from there and post them on different message boards and then what's written is often taken out of context. But someone has said that I said we add filler? No, perhaps I said that as a joke because it is something people have accused us of in the past, like on Stardust We Are and Unfold The Future, when we do double albums. So, maybe what I said that this album is just full of filler tracks to make a joke

[both laugh]

OK, let's move on from that but Unfold The Future was a big album, a diverse album which was one of the things that made it great and probably why some people couldn't handle it

Coming back to Paradox Hotel, you wrote on the web that you recorded the album in one week before entering the production phase and that also the band was more involved with the writing

Well that's not strictly correct. We rehearsed for one week, then recorded the backing tracks for one week and after this we of course spent lots of time finding the right overdubs and redoing the bad bits. So basically what we have left from the sessions in Denmark is the drums, the bass, the grand piano and the Wurlitzer, rhythm guitars and some background vocals but all the lead vocals are done later. All the guitar solos as well, except for Touch My Heaven, which was done in one take in Denmark, are also done as overdubs. Most of the electronic keyboard stuff, Moog, Hammond, stuff like that is also done as overdubs. But still it's a good foundation to work and we all agreed afterwards that it was a good thing.

And did the other band members have more input as a result?

Yeah, I would say they have, for the first time taken it seriously. I have tried this many times, to have them write for the previous albums. Every time I have said, "Well, we are going to record in three months time from now so you'd better start writing" and when we are getting closer to the recording it's like "OK, do you have anything you want send to me and to the other guys" and they're saying, "Well, I didn't have the time really" because they were working on their own album or didn't have the inspiration or whatever. It seemed like every time there was something coming in-between and they couldn't deliver. So I said, OK, this is our history and this time I insisted that everyone set aside some time to contribute with something because it's important to make it a little bit different so it's not just Roine songs. It makes for some variation, you know, they're going to write in a different way. They actually did it this time, everyone came up with stuff.

Even a whole song by Hasse...

Yes sure!

Hasse's singing on the album is incredible

Yes, probably his best and probably the album he has spent the most time doing

Does he actually play any guitar on the album or is that just a live thing?

Well, he is playing guitar on 80% of the album, mainly rhythm or light acoustic or something like that.

Well, when you see the guy live, he's always really enjoying himself

Yeah sure, that's what he has been doing now for 10 years, playing guitar live. He's the only person in the band that has a daytime job and that makes it difficult for him to satisfy the time to do this, both singing and playing guitar

I imagine when he's out there playing live, it's such a release for him after sitting in the office all day that he goes nuts

Yeah, sure. Now he has had a year off from his work just to work on music so he had more time so spend with the band rehearsing. I've always been playing the guitars before because it's easy for me, I know exactly what I want, the amps and everything but this time we wanted more the live feel so we had Hasse playing guitar also in the studio. In many ways it was a different album for us to make and I think everyone was happy with it and the way it turned out.

As usual, you're singing on quite a few tracks yourself and know a lot of people really enjoy your singing although you could say that Hasse, don't take this the wrong way, comes across as the more professional singer and you're the main man with the guitars and the writing all the tracks. But your voice has such character that people really appreciate it.

Yeah, I would say, I would probably rather put it like this: Hasse is the guy with the strong voice, I'm talking about decibels and power, Hasse is the power singer and that's why we brought Hasse into the band in the first place. It was just me singing in the first place and we felt that we needed someone singing with a stronger voice because, as you say, my voice has some character but sometimes when it's more like powerful we need someone with a stronger voice. So it's like, yeah, that's the way I see it and the combination between Hasse and myself is probably a good thing.

It's a good contrast

Yeah, sure

Jonas is in good form on the whole CD as usual, he really is a fine bass player. Is he as funny a guy in real life as he comes across on stage?

Well, maybe even funnier. I think in fact for all of us in the band.

Last time I saw you guys live he was throwing bananas into the crowd

Sometimes he's like that and other times he's more modest so to speak. Offstage we are a little bit different from what we show onstage. You see Hasse on stage, he's really like being a rock star...

Yeah, he looks like he should be in Bon Jovi or something

Well at rehearsals I'm more like Hasse is on stage and he's more like me. When I get on stage I feel like I need to have control over everything, make sure that everything is working out OK so I get more quiet. In rehearsals Hasse is just standing there singing and looking a bit worried but when he gets on stage he's smiling and jumping, swinging his guitar and doing all the right rock moves.

I always thought you looked a little nervous when you're on stage, is that the case?

No, no, I've never been nervous in my whole life. How can I say it, it's like I feel the responsibility. If something is going wrong with the equipment or someone isn't knowing the songs well enough or whatever then I get worried because everything falls on me. If something fucks-up, well it's my band, you know, and people are going to say "The Flower Kings fucked-up" then I'm the one that should take the blame. Sometimes it's too much, I need to relax and not worry too much about what's happening on stage and things going wrong. Maybe if I was drinking a load of beer or smoking some pot before I went on stage then I'd act like a normal rock musician but that's not the case. You know people are just different, the first drummer in the band he always had this worried look - every time you turned around and looked you thought he was worried about something, you never got a smile or anything. Probably he wasn't, it was just the way he looked but I don't think he meant to be like that. Maybe I'm one of those guys too, I'm perhaps happy and content inside but don't really show it to the audience or the rest of the band. Some nights I am more relaxed but for Hasse, every night he walks on stage, maybe 95 times out of 100 he's happy and loving it.

Talking of drummers, dare I ask about Zoltan? Can you tell us why you split?

Weeellll, there were a couple of different things, one of them being that Zoltan is a fantastic drummer and a great, great improviser and a lovely guy when it comes to drumming, I absolutely adore his playing but a small problem that did arise after a time was that he had problems remembering breaks in songs. I think it's part of his personality, he has been growing up playing jazz so he's really into the improvising and he does that very well, he's very much into living in the moment and that works out really well for him but then having to remember two and a half hours of Flower Kings songs, it's complicated, you know. I can understand that but it really didn't work out 100%, it made the rest of the band a little bit insecure, the tempos weren't right, the breaks weren't in the right places. So that was one problem but then also there were a couple of personal problems between him and the band members and I, as the band leader, I have to make sure that everyone has to be happy and work well together and as it wasn't working out 100% I decided that perhaps Zoltan wasn't the right drummer. Now we've got Marcus in and it seems to be working better, everyone is much more relaxed.

I shall personally miss Zoltan working with Jonas, I thought they were such a fantastic rhythm section. On the new album Marcus hasn't exactly jumped out at me, it might be because he's new or he needs to find his place in the band, maybe he's not mixed so high I don't know.

No, it can be many different things and also just personal preference - probably what you are going to find is that some people like Marcus more and some preferred Zoltan. That's just the way it is, it was the same story with having Daniel Gildenlöw on the two previous albums and now we don't - some people will like it more and some will say, "I miss Daniel". There are as many opinions as there are people and talking about the new album you just have to hope that as many people as possible find the album attractive and good to listen to.

And I guess it's easier to work together now you can all speak together in Swedish?

Ah, no, that was never a problem because Zoltan spoke Swedish, although he was from Hungary he moved to Sweden when he was 9 and speaks fluent Swedish

Great, I wasn't aware of that, what a useless question!

No problem!


At this point we agreed that we had run out of time but, with me having a wealth of questions more focussed on Roine himself we agreed to speak again in the coming weeks. As it turned out, Roine arranged that I meet him face to face in the afternoon before the concert at The Spirit Of 66 in Verviers on April 17th.

As instructed I went to the venue at 14:00 and contacted the tour manager, Rob Palmen. The crew were busy setting up the stage for the evening's concert and looked like they still had a lot of work to do before even a sound-check could be done. Rob was an extremely amiable chap - he's also the tour manager for Pain Of Salvation, Paatos, Landberk etc. He led me from the venue and, much to my surprise into the tour bus! If I was nervous when speaking to Roine on the phone it was nothing compared to how I felt at this moment. After a brief 'hello' to Jonas and a moment of acute embarrassment when I shook the hand of the bus-driver thinking he was Marcus, the new drummer, I found myself seated opposite Roine and we began again...

Ok Roine, we'll try to go quick because I read on the web that you've been suffering from the flu

Yes, yes, sure

Once again, thanks for you time. Firstly, here are the notes I was using when we spoke on the phone, we pretty much covered the new album last time, I was thinking it might be interesting to know a little bit more about yourself and your plans. I don't know much about you as a person, whether you're a secretive man keeping you family life and music totally separate

No, not really

Do you have family, kids?

Yes

And you have time for them with your schedule?

Well I try to make time for them. My situation at home is that I have this place, it's like my office, my studio and it's my home, all in the same place. In the past I was always between three different places: rehearsal place/studio, home and an office space I was renting, and after a while, when my youngest one was one to two years old I was spending a lot of time recording, then going to the office for the paperwork and getting home too late and I just felt that it wasn't going right. I was lucky to have a few friends that had this wonderful big, big apartment in this old brick factory which has lots of offices and restaurants and stuff. They wanted to move for some reason, I had been there a couple of times and always admired this great apartment and dreaming that one in my life I could live in a place like this and they asked if I was interested in taking it over. I said, "Are you kidding me? Yes, yes, yes, yes, absolutely!" This was about 8 years ago and it gives me a chance to be there when the kids get home from school I'm there you know, even if I am working I'm still there.

It must be tough when you're out on tour not seeing your family for so long?

Well, honestly we're out for two weeks at a time, it's not that bad. The oldest one is 16 now, turning 17, the other 13. They have their friends, even girlfriends, they have so much to do, it's OK. I try to spend the summer time with them, once or twice we try to travel away together.

And are they into music?

Well they listen to music as all kids listen, downloading from the internet and stuff like that.

Dare I ask if they like your music? Roine Stolt - Photograph taken by Joris Donkel

Erm, well I don't think they really like or dislike it, they just accept the fact that I am playing and once in a while they'll say, "That's a cool riff" or some thing but I don't think they're really into that type of music at the moment. I realise they've gone through rap music to 60's music, once in a while I can hear them downloading a Mamas & Papas song or The Beatles, Hendrix, Deep Purple, that sort of stuff, The Doors too. I never mentioned these artists to them and they'll sometimes ask "Who was Jimi Hendrix?" or "Who was Frank zappa" you know, or the names of the members of the Beatles and pointing at the photos I have in the studio, "Is that George Harrison? Who was the guy that died?" and things like that. I'm there if they want to ask for something, like Buffalo Springfield and I can say, yes, I have that one on CD you can borrow it. I never try to force them into listening to anything that I like. If they want it I have a big collection and they can have it but that's all.

So they're not thinking that dad is playing this old-fart type of music?

No, not really, when they see and can make connections, for instance hear me on the radio they feel proud and they have a friend that they can tell that their dad plays in another band with one of the guys from Dream Theater and they're like "Oh Wow, Dream Theater, they're really famous! So your daddy's playing with the guy from Dream Theater, is he playing WITH Dream Theater?". So, it's like, you know, when every now and again they realise what I am or what I'm doing. Once we were in London with some family and friends, at this bus stop and as we were just about to get on the bus this Italian guy who came by and said, "I'm sorry sir, but are you Roine Stolt?", I said, yeah and he opened his CD player and showed that he was listening to The Flower Kings and he was like "Wow, you're Roine Stolt!". I could see that the kids were, "Wow... Does that happen to you often?" Well, no it doesn't happen often, it does happen every now and then but that's all.

Not enough to get on your nerves?

No, not really. I tell the kids I'm really not famous, I'm rather obscure.

I'm not sure I'd totally agree with that, in our circle of music you're pretty famous.

Yeah but it's certainly not mainstream and I can walk in any town and no-one will ever recognise me. I have been recognised in Munich and another time in London but it's like once per year. I wouldn't want to be a person that can't walk the streets or go down to the market or whatever, that's not the reason why I started to play music.

Sure, but at the same time I guess you have to get up there far enough so you can make a living?

Sure, I don't mind success, that's not a problem, I think everyone wants success in one way or another, and making money, I want to make money but I'm not into playing for that reason. Money's something I use to pay the guys, the bus, the merchandise or whatever so that if it all works out OK then I'm on break-even and that's OK for me.

Must be the dream for most people to do what they love, make a living from it and be true to themselves at the same time?

Yeah, I would say that most of the progressive rock bands out there today can't make a living from it, they have their daytime jobs, there are just a handful of people that can live by playing with just the one band.

But you have been quite prolific over the years, perhaps not a lot of bands, but a lot of CD's

Yeah, too many in fact

And this has prompted your departure from the guest scene for the moment?

Yeah, one of the reasons being that I suddenly turned up on too many albums and I couldn't really foresee that, and also because people wanted me to play the same way and it gets, well I'm playing the same thing over and over again...

Caricaturing yourself?

... yeah and I was rather looking for something more of a challenge, if someone asked me to play on a funk record or something that would be interesting but just going on playing on the next prog record because that's what they expect me to do. So I had to stop in one way or another and I think this was the right time. Also because I felt that I was spending way too much time doing this and the money coming in wasn't exactly justifying the time I was spending on it so yeah, it was the right decision.

I think the last album I heard you on was perhaps Neal Morse's "?", of course Mike was also on that, the only one missing was Pete...

Yeah, he was invited to play but I think he had other commitments at the time and I think Neal was running late. I remember coming home from an American tour and I had this email waiting asking how I felt about playing on his new album, blah blah blah and I said, "Yes sure, do it". Then I had a note from Pete saying that Neal had also asked him, and asking how I felt about it because it was turning into Transaltantic, "What do you think? Do you think it is the right thing to do?". Well, I said yes to Neal and, sure, I want to do it! But Neal was asking us to turn it around in two weeks, there wasn't much time and it just wasn't possible for Pete. I was lucky having just finished a tour and having nothing specific, other than working on my own album to do so it worked out well for me.

A lot of people would be very happy if a new Transatlantic album came out, I guess it's mainly up to Neal?

Yeah, I get the question all the time and it's kind of difficult for me because I really don't know what to say when people ask, "Why can't you do another album", I really don't know what to say. Sometimes people are saying well you're playing on Neal's album and he's singing on yours and yours and it's not exactly the same kind of Christian message and I say, maybe not, and there's even some foul language on it and Neal had no problem singing that so why can't you guys make an album and I just have to say "I don't know". I mean he wanted to have all the members of Transatlantic on "?" and this was a bit of a concern with Pete, we can't make another Transatlantic album but it's OK to have all the members of Transatlantic playing together so what is it, this godthing? Maybe it's that goddoesn't want us to play together or something? Obviously not because we could play together on Neal's album so it's very difficult and I think every time people ask I really don't know what to say. I think when people ask Neal he says that he will "pray about it", taking the easy way out. I'm beginning to think that maybe that's handy, to have someone you can always blame, you can blame god- goddidn't want us to play together and that's that...

So if it happens, it happens

Yeah, that's how I see it

And, as you mentioned, Neal sang on Wall Street Voodoo and you also had some other interesting people playing, can you enlighten us to who they were?

No, no no no no no no no

Damn!

(laughing) DAMN!

So Neal sent you an email, "please play on my new album, you have two weeks". How do you approach it, do you just throw yourself in or what? Where do you get your inspiration from?

Well normally if it's good music, although in this case I hadn't yet heard a note but I like Neal's music, I like most of what he does and I was just hoping that it would be good music

(Roine tries to shut the window as the noise from the fair is very bad but the window is already shut).

Anyway, he sent me the files and I listened. If it's good then I get inspired directly from the music - there are many really good, beautiful melodies on the album. He gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted, in the beginning he had just asked me to the ending solo but then we talked over the phone and I asked him what he wanted me to do and he was, "well you can play guitar, sing, percussion, keyboards, just do what you normally do, like when we do Transatlantic stuff". So I ended up doing a lot, background vocals and percussion and I was playing this one big song really, just playing whenever I heard something. He actually had already played a lot of guitars so I tried to stay away from those parts. I didn't know how he wanted to mix it in the end, he took away some of his guitars and some of mine so I just played in all the spaces and did what I wanted where I could find ideas and get inspired. I just played and sang and said "use whatever you want to use", same with the vocals.

So when you're inspired it just flows?

Yeah, it's basically the same when we to Flower Kings music, well any music actually, no different in any way.

I like the album very much and yes, it does sound quite a bit like Transatlantic but I do personally find Neal's lyrics a bit heavy with all the godstuff but the music top-notch

And what about solo albums then, you bought Wall Street Voodoo out, which is quite different, it must be said. Do you fancy doing that again at some point?

Yeah, I mean maybe not the same, maybe not doing that, I can't say really it's like I just keep it open for now, I don't know exactly what's going to happen. I'm writing music all the time, I have lots and lots of music lying around and then it comes to the point when I just decide, OK let's make an album. Being busy with all the others, Tangent, Kaipa and Transatlantic over the last five or six years I've had very little time you know to do something. In the end I felt that I could put my energy into these projects or I could put it into making my own albums. I'm working on something now that's more orchestral and symphonic, basically just doing it because I find it interesting to see how it goes, you are always trying to push yourself in a different direction. Doing this blues album was one thing, more based on guitar playing the way I heard it when I was a teenager. In Flower Kings music I need to adjust, it's not like I can go on doing all these guitar things because I need to find space for Hasse or myself to sing and Tomas' keyboards etc. It's a balance all the time, not a Roine thing but Flower Kings music. We need to do it in a way that's partly the way people expect but then add something different all the time.

Well, Wall Street Voodoo was definitely different...

Yeah, and I also thought it was important to tell the record company to let the fans know that this wasn't a progressive rock album. I think still that some people were confused or even disappointed because they expected a Roine solo album, a double CD even, to be full of progressive rock and then starting like Jimi Hendrix live... When they can't hear all their moog leads and Mellotrons and stuff like that it's a bad album - it's a bit of a narrow-minded attitude and there's not much I can do because I think I was fair and told people that this wasn't a progressive album. I think that's the kind of freedom I need.

You mentioned Kaipa and The Tangent, any further work to be done with Kaipa?

It's over, well, not over, they will continue but for me it has stopped.

And The Tangent, did you hear the latest album?

I did

Did you like it?

I'd rather not comment really

Better with you on it, right?

Well I really like the cover, I absolutely love it, the best so far.

So, what is it with Sweden, all this great prog-rock that you churn out? Why is that? Something in the water? The long dark nights? The influence of Abba?

Yeah, the Abba influence! I think it's perhaps the good musical education we have, perhaps looking historically at popular music in Sweden we have had some acts who have made it, sure Abba, and it shows that it is possible to make it. But for the progressive acts from Sweden, I really don't know. Probably people have the opportunity to spend time on music because of the standard of living perhaps and I suppose influence from the 70's prog. We also have all the other musical culture, discos and top 40 too but altogether the environment is inspiring people. By seeing bands like The Flower Kings and Anekdoten then people get inspired to do it too.

And bands release a lot of music these days. Back in the 70's you could expect a new Yes album every year or even two years, now it's far more regular, why do you think that is?

I think it's the technology, the internet and also the impact of heavy touring that the bands were doing, they just couldn't get the time to record when they were playing all over the world. Making an album then touring for a year and a half afterwards. Nowadays people can't do that, looking at the progressive scene I would say that The Flower Kings is one of the prog bands that is touring the most. Looking at metal they have a bigger audience and they can tour in a different way. Most prog bands do an album, then 4 gigs in Europe, then they go home to their daytime jobs and they make another album next year, do a festival, a couple more gigs, go to the US for one gig or something like that. That's the scene, it's difficult to tour, it's easier to make an album, anyone can do it, you have a computer, you do it a home - people become their own engineers of their albums so you can keep the budget down compared to the old days when Yes and ELP were spending months in a studio with the clock ticking and Atlantic records having to pay, pay, pay... So the situation is completely different, you can even make an album without a label and sell it over the internet, that's the easy part. The difficult part is the touring, having to budget, make money, pay for things and most people can't really tour any more.

Talking of production, yourself and Tomas are credited for The Flower Kings production, what happened to the famous Azzaro's?

Yeah, the famous Azzaro's...

I guess everyone knows that was you?

No, I don't think so, really? People ask me, what happened to Don Azzaro?

Yeah, he was a great producer! You sounded better then!

Well, he retired, he took most of the money and bought an island, well we're still friends, you know (laughs)

Someone asked me to ask you how it was working with Daniel

Did we talk about that on the phone? No, erm, how was it, help me... It was never any problem. In contrast to what people see in Pain Of Salvation with this dark and serious thing about the environment and all this people probably think he's this very serious guy but, you know, he's never serious, never. He's probably one of the people I know that laughs the most, he's cracking jokes all the time and he crazy (growls).

Well when seeing him live with The Flower Kings he just had a grin on his face all night long

Well, he's very talented

They're looking for a bass-player, maybe I will apply

Yes, they are, but then you'll have to get some tattoos, move to Sweden, learn Swedish, rehearse twice a day and all that

Oh, you read the advert too?

No, I'm just guessing, I'm thinking, well, this is going to be tough for someone! But working with Daniel there was never any problem. Some people think that he got the boot because there was a problem but that's not the case, the problem in fact was that he didn't want to give his fingerprint to the USA, that's the only thing and for us that wasn't good. I think I'm pretty much agreeing with Daniel's views on America but still I think, what could be worse and perhaps not going there to play is worse, perhaps we are better to go there and play, perhaps change it from the inside.

(people shouting on the bus)

Shut the fuck up! (laughs)

OK Roine, that's it, end of questions! Thanks so much for your time.

My pleasure

After the interview we talk casually for quite some time, Rob, the tour manager comes over and asks if I want to stay for the gig. Unfortunately I have to gracefully decline as I was helping a friend move house that weekend and Roine asks if I'm free on Wednesday for the Tilburg gig and the filming of the DVD - and the answer to that was a resounding 'Yes'! Of course, a free ticket is all very nice but it's not really free because the price is a concert review in return... which you can read here.

Interview & Studio Bus Photographs for DPRP by DAVE BAIRD

Main publicity Photo - InsideOut Music
Photo of Roine with Guitar - Joris Donkel


TOUR DATES:

Sat 30 Sep 06 - Bass & Drum 2006, Stockholm, Sweden
Sun 01 Oct 06 - Summers End Festival, Robin 2, Wolverhampton, UK
Fri 06 Oct 06 - Largo Cultural Centre, Tampa, FL, USA
Sat 07 Oct 06 - RPMs, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Sun 08 Oct 06 - Water Street Music Hall, Rochester, NY
Tue 10 Oct 06 - The Medley, Montreal, Canada
Wed 11 Oct 06 - Imperial de Quebec, Quebec, Canada
Fri 13 Oct 06 - Arlington, MA The Regent Theater
Sat 14 Oct 06 - The Forum Theater, Metuchen, NJ, USA - 'TFK fan Day at NJ Proghouse'
Sun 15 Oct 06 - The State Theater, Falls Church, VA, USA
Mon 16 Oct 06 - The Center Theater Stage, Los Angeles (Whittier), CA, USA
Wed 18 Oct 06 - Studio Seven, Seattle, WA, USA
Thu 19 Oct 06 - Oriental Theater, Denver, CO, USA
Fri 20 Oct 06 - Martyrs', Chicago, IL, USA
Fri 03 Nov 06 - Nyköpings Teater, Nyköping, Sweden
Sat 04 Nov 06 - Katalin, Uppsala, Sweden
Tue 07 Nov 06 - Sticky Fingers (Top Floor), Gothenburg, Sweden
Wed 08 Nov 06 - John Dee, Oslo, Norway
Fri 10 Nov 06 - ProckFestival, Bünde, Germany


LINKS:

The Flower Kings Official Website
Transatlantic Official Website
Kaipa Official Website

DPRP Concert Review: The Flower Kings
DPRP Review: The Flower Kings - Paradox Hotel
DPRP Review: Roine Stolt - Wall Street Voodoo
DPRP Review: Neal Morse - ?

Visit the InsideOut Website

 


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