Underground Metal Blog since 2013

2016. június 6., hétfő

Ronnie Ripper Olson

Interview with Ronnie Ripper Olson (Turbocharged, Ronnie Ripper's Private War)

Live in Romania 2015 (Old Grave Fest)

Hail Ronnie, Hellcome in my small blog, Archangel’s Lantern.  Firstly, tell the readers, when and how you met with devilish music, called metal.  Which one(s) was/were your first musical stuff? What band did you see live first time?
- Hey man! How metal came into my life is a shady chapter but there are some factors that played a big role in that. First of all, my older brother was in the right age to get into Motörhead, Tank and Venom when they first started so those albums were spinning at home for some time and no need to say, he had enough volume cranked up for me to hear it through the wall. I remember vaguely that some tracks got stuck in my mind but not albums or bands in full, I guess I was too young and stupid for that. However, I remember Motörhead’s “Shoot you in the back” and some Kiss, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest songs that I later backtracked so I guess the seed was planted in my mind already back then in 1980-83 something... In 1984 I bought my first LP which was Twisted Sister’s “Stay hungry” and also a tape with Helix (not my proudest moment, ha ha) and I also nagged my mother to buy me some patches and studs so my denim jacket had the “Aces High” backpatch on it and some pyramid studs framing it. Then I don’t know what happened but I totally lost interest in music for a couple of years and just watched war movies all day long… I guess there’s a medical word for that! Then in around 1987 my brother drove me to school this once and he was listening to Alice Cooper’s “Constrictor” album which kinda drew me in. I asked him tape it for me and from there on it just spun hard, fast and brutally into what I am today. The first real concert I went to was Iron Maiden (Seventh son of a seventh son-tour) in 1988 where Helloween was the support act. At that time those two bands were house gods around here so it was a perfect premiere for me! First underground gig I went to was in 1990, we went to Norrköping to see Entombed, Merciless and Carnage but only Merciless showed up so there was some other bands playing in their spots. This was supposed to be Carnage’s last gig ever with the original lineup, Entombed was still a demo band and Merciless actually unpacked the debut vinyl right there in front of me, they picked up the package on the way there. Good times and a really good show despite the cancelled bands.
What was your very first band?  Would you be so kind to briefly share some information about the Swedish scene in those days (especially from your area)?  What musicians/bands influenced you in the beginning? When did you start to play musical instruments?
- I picked up the bass during the summer of 1989 and my very first band was not really a band, we were just happy amateurs that couldn’t even play one single chord. Only weeks into the “career” it all went to shit and we had to reconsider our options, we added this guy who made it all turn into some weak ass Hard-rock ballad shit but luckily I left before it got too bad. Then I got in touch with Urban Gustafsson and in just a few months (October 1989) we started what would become Vomitory. We had to wait for him to buy his first guitar and our first months as a “band” consisted of him and me playing Sodom covers on just bass and guitar. We kept the rhythm by him stomping his foot and me watching it, nodding my head to sync with him, ha ha! As we entered 1990 there was a local festival where everyone who played something could get on stage and have max 20 minutes each and we asked Urban’s brother Tobias to help us out with the drums for the show and he accepted. We played the gig and were supposed to be left without a steady drummer again but somewhere along the way Tobias joined once and for all and the rest is official history. I let go of the bass to concentrate on the vocals and we got a proper bass player and a second guitarist. As I am a bass player in heart and soul it took me only a year or so to realise that I needed to pick up where I left off and on the 13th of December in 1991 we founded what would be Gehennah. The bio always says 1992 for the start of that band, that’s when we got together to rehearse for the first time so it feels the most accurate. What influenced me/us from the start is the exact same stuff as today (Venom, Motörhead, Sodom, Tank, Kreator, etc, etc, etc), it’s just a wider range of bands these days since it builds and builds for every year that passes. New bands come and you are always slightly influenced by everything you listen to as a metal fan, aren’t you?

 (Airport beer :) 
If I’m not mistaken, you were a former member of Vomitory,  as a vocalist (1989-1996) and bass player (1989-1990). Do you have any memories of your past activity of  Vomitory?
- Ooops, seems like I am ahead with the info, that always happens since I never can keep my answer short! That is absolutely correct and of course I have memories from those days but maybe not as big as one might believe when you look at their history as a band. One thing we have to remember is that I dropped out in 1997 (yep, in January in fact so our last mutual musical move was in 1996 which makes that year correct in that manner) and they were signed by Metal Blade in 1999 if I’m not mistaken. I was only part of the local adventures of the band plus one tour in Poland in 1995 I think so my memories are really not from fancy hotels and writing autographs in South America. We were quite big in the local scene and we headlined a lot of shows here but that was in a time when pure metal gigs were still only happening in bigger cities where there were bands enough to fill the bill. We played with every other style there was of bands here and I can assure you that when we hit the stage all hell broke loose. There was kind of a contest in this area about who would do the first stage-dive, which was kind of cool! Those were some cool years indeed but as everything else it had to come to an end since we somehow grew apart and it didn’t work out. I went full force with Gehennah and they went on with Jussi Linna on vocals so it was all good though.
Gehennah live in Karlstad (1992)

As far as I know, other than your past band, Gehennah started out with the intention of being a Venom cover band but then the horde decided to write their own songs instead. How did you remember about your Gehennah times? Which ones are your favourite Gehennah tracks/albums?
- Yeah, we tried to play Venom songs but we couldn’t figure out how, ha ha! I sat down with the bass and tried to copy their first albums but didn’t even remotely understand what chords to take so it turned into our own songs along the way. I guess we started out trying to steal the good stuff but the lack of musicality made us walk in our own shoes and we realized they fit quite good. How I remember the Gehennah years? Well, there is a whole lot of blurred moments there since the party was always more active than the actual band! We had a good run and we got to play with a lot of cool bands along the way so I look back at it with pride and joy indeed. The band was always like a walk with buckets of gasoline while your clothes were on fire, one never knew how good or bad every moment could get, but that was part of the charm of it all. I wouldn’t want it back today, it’s a thing of the past for me personally, but it was fucking great while it lasted and I wouldn’t want to lose the experience it brought upon me. Favourite tracks? I don’t know, there are some of those of course but it’s easier to sum it up with “Hardrocker” as my proudest release in the band, it’s such a dirty and passionate document of a time when we had no clue in how to record an album. It’s very common that people say “the demo was better” and in this case it’s actually our first album that has that demo mentality around it. We went into the local studio which resided in the school most of us went to as kids and it had no professional feel to it what so ever with its 8 track reel recorder and schoolroom looks. I imagine that we had the exact same recipe as Venom had when they recorded “Welcome to hell”, they simply didn’t know it would become a full album and neither did we. We KNEW but we had no idea what it meant, more like it. We nailed the whole album in 5 days I think and everything was recorded live except the vocals and the solos and there is something magical about that setup, you can easily hear it while listening to “Hardrocker” I think.

Gehennah live in Karlstad, only gig ever with full band in corpse paint (1992)

You were the guest/session in the following bands, different releases, like Upon the Cross, Die Hard, Malfeitor and Omega. What should we know about these diabolical alliances?
- You sure did your homework! Yeah, I was asked by these bands and of course I am always open for being part of cool shit. Upon the Cross was a local band, way younger than myself, and they never really did anything more than that demo so there’s not much to say about it. I am not even sure if the guys are still into metal or not. Die Hard on the other hand is one of Sweden’s drunkest bands and when they asked me to drive 640 km to sing for 10 minutes and drink for 10 hours I didn’t hesitate. I think that was actually the first time we met eye to eye too. One funny detail is that when we were packing the gang together for recording the choirs the whole light rig in the ceiling came down, ha ha! I reckon it was Harry (vocals/bass) who was punching in the air and broke it, he is a very tall guy. Malfeitor and Omega both asked me because we are simply friends and it seems like they wanted my vocal input, I don’t know too much info about their stories but anyone can just search online and find the info for themselves (Yes, I am a lazy bastard). 

How did you start with Turbocharged? From where do you get the inspiration to write the lyrics? It is a hard question, but what are your favourite tracks and albums of Turbocharged?
- Turbocharged started as a side effect of Gehennah being put on ice. A guy like me could never accept not rehearsing on a weekly basis so I had to find something to do and I started talking to a friend who plays drums about starting up something just for fun. We talked and talked about it but it was always at parties (especially at 4-5 in the morning while seeing double) that we had all the answers to it so we never actually got going. We needed a proper guitarist and for some odd reason there was none to be found! I mean, guitarists grow on trees when you are looking for a bass player, a vocalist or a drummer, don’t they?? Many drunken nights passed but eventually we found this other guy to join us and from there on it shaped up. Along the way there has been a lot of changes to the band since we are living in a small village and we had to stick to whoever was available, therefor you don’t get to choose too much about their style and taste. People left, people were recruited, our style changed slightly, it changed back, etc, there was a lot of shaky patches along the road but somehow the band always remained somewhat active. We went from a trio to a 5 piece outfit and eventually back to the trio we are today. We started in March 2000 but not until the summer of 2008 we really had a strong enough lineup to actually get somewhere and at that point we were also all real Metal-heads in the band which really shaped up our sound once and for all. My inspiration for lyrics? Your guess is as good as mine there, I just write whatever comes to me. I was always against organised religion in every shape or form so that part is as natural as breathing for us all. Some folks has complained in reviews that we are too narrow in our lyrical theme but I really feel that a band should stick to what they do best and this is it for us. I have no interest in writing about politics, corpse fucking or tear-filled sadness so I will stick to trashing the idiots that follows their imaginary heritage. Picking favourite tracks from Turbocharged’s library is a bit like choosing which child you love the most, it’s too hard really. I think it makes it harder when you are still active in the band too, you are still playing the songs and your favourites change from gig to gig or rehearsal to rehearsal. If I have to choose something it will be to say that “Area 666” and “Militant” are the best releases I have ever been part of though, including all bands I was ever in. I know this does not apply to the common view out there of course, the years the other stuff has behind it makes it more classical and KVLT than what we are currently doing. Who knows, in 10 year our albums might have gained historical value enough for us to finally play big festivals, ha ha!
(Ricca / Violentor  and Ronnie on the 2015 DESECRATIONO COMMANDO TOUR)

I must say, your latest full-length album, “Militant” is one of my favourite albums from Sweden last years. What has been the reception of “Militant”? Tell us please some thoughts about your video “Dark Era” and if I’m right, you had an interesting coalition with Mr. Tony Dolan in your clip.
- Thanks man, that means a lot! The flow of albums from here is not the same as it has been but it means a lot to be mentioned like that! The reception has been quite good but as we are on a small label and a small band we haven’t seen that many reviews and official statements about it. However, we have got a few messages online from people that has been in the scene for ages and they write just to tell us we have made the best album they have heard in many years, that’s more worth than a million reviews! Of course, being a struggling band and all, we are looking for ways to be seen and heard but we are not that offensive when it comes to marketing ourselves. We think that it’s more worth when people find us by themselves and start following our steps than if we would try and spam their inbox with commercials and demands to check us out. The scene is more alive than ever if you only have the right connections and the cool people are always searching for new bands to support, we know that from experience and we are despite our age still front row bangers with both feet in the rehearsal room so it’s easy to connect with the ones similar to us. We are probably one of the few bands that seem to stay in touch with almost everyone we meet at our shows, at least we try to find time for them all. It gets harder for every tour though, the family grows too fast, ha ha! The video for “Dark era” was planned even before the album was recorded but the original idea was totally different, we had to re-think everything because of logistics and to get it done. I wrote a text that would be cool to use as an intro for the album and Freddie said “It would be cool to have someone else speaking it, aren’t you in touch with Tony Dolan?” so I grew some balls and wrote to him and simply asked and he accepted it. He asked what we wanted and I told him he had freedom to do whatever he thought would fit and it turned out awesome. “I went for the psychotic style” he said and yeah, we can all hear what he meant by that, can’t we? Another cool thing with the video is that the actors are all living next door from here: The couple and the daughter are actually a real family and the preacher is a truck driver that lives across the yard from us. None of them has ever stood in front of a camera like this so I think it turned out really outstanding! The hitman is none other than our label-boss by the way, he was coming here for a visit so we timed in everything to make him part of the shoot. No need to say that it was a good decision, ey? I was the “director” since I knew what I needed for the edit and my girlfriend handled the camera. DIY is the only way!
Yours truly lost in my mind over a cup of coffee (1995)

Unfortunately I never saw you live (hopefully I can ) but some  of my friends who met you personally at your gigs  told me that Turbocharged definitely “killed” the audience. What are your experiences about touring the European Eastern-regions? Which bands do You know from this area?
- Let’s put it like this: We never thought we would play East Europe but somehow we made it there and now we have close friends all over the place. We might not have played very big gigs but we are pleased with intimate venues and not too big crowds our experience is that the East has more or less the best people of the scene! I remember a time when everyone said “You have to come to the east, it’s still new to us that bands from the west come to play here” and even though I know for sure that this is not the whole truth anymore I must say that you can still feel the iron curtain and its effect on people. Over there you are still as hungry for metal as ever while the west has seemingly become a bit spoiled with too many gigs and album bands being around. Correct me if I’m wrong here, that’s just my personal theory about it all and if I am wrong I want to know. If this is just my imagination I guess the East just has the craziest crowds, no more and no less! We always hope that the next tour or next festival will take us east, that’s how simple it is. We know a lot of bands personally by now and they all kick ass: Infest, Pyre, Axecutor, Kolac, Hellsodomy, Sarinvomit, etc, etc, etc. I am not sure you mean such a wide area as I just mentioned bands from now but these are bands from countries we never thought we would either play in or meet people from and here we are, we can call them our brothers and we are all connected one way or the other. Hopefully we will play close enough for us to meet shortly too, brother!

 Turbocharged live in Vilnius 2015

Your latest release has been a split 7” vinyl, called Enlightenment Bloodletting (Turbocharged/Ragehammer). Please tell the readers more about it!
- Yes, that is correct. We were approached by the vocalist from Ragehammer and he asked us if we were interest in filling that spot. They had been planning this release with another band but they lost touch and didn’t respond to emails anymore so the band and label had to find someone else to do it, that’s where we entered the picture. We had only weeks left until we went on tour so we had to move fast, I think the writing, rehearsing, recording, mixing and delivering of the song took like a week from the green light. We kind of rushed it but I think we made a proper half of a lethal EP indeed, it’s a good first-hand view of what we are if it would be the first you hear of us too I think. For once we only had to send the song and lyrics while the layout and everything else was fixed in Poland, which was weird since I always do our layouts myself. 

Give us all the important information about Ronnie Ripper’s Private War (about the beginnings through your full-length, called “Socially Challenged” to live-shows). Do you have any plans for the new album in the future?
- Private War is the uncle no one invited to the party but he shows up drunk and tears up the place, ha ha! It all started in 2007 (or something) when both Gehennah and Turbocharged were standing still and I was really frustrated. I always have tons of riffs in my head and only have to pick up the bass or the guitar and start playing but at this time I realized that I had to think twice to remember the stuff and I reckoned I should record it for myself, to document it before it’s gone from my head, you know… I got myself a sound-card and some programs to do it and as everything else when I try to keep a low profile it spun out of control and I started recording shit-loads of stuff. I was sitting one evening mixing some new recordings and a guy from Poland wrote on MSN and asked me what I was doing. “Mixing” I said and he asked for a sample so I sent him like 2 tracks. He really liked it and asked for more so I sent him 40 songs or so and he told me he wanted to release it as a CD. Said and done, I wasn’t really that convinced it would ever happen but I sent him the proper sound files and damn near forgot about it. Eventually he sent me a picture of the physical copies standing on his kitchen table! Fucking hell, it was actually for real! He sent me 15 copies, that was all he could afford at the time in postage, and that’s about it. He brought the rest of my copies to a gig in Berlin but I couldn’t bring it on the flight back home so he left and I never saw them or him again. This might sound like he ripped me off but that’s not true, he just got sick of me not being very active about the release so he just removed me from everything online and that’s that. People keep asking me how to get the album but I have no idea, they are probably stashed away in a closet in Poland and will never again see the light of day for all I know. Anyhow, nothing much was mentioned about this project until about 2 years ago (2014) when a festival in Denmark told me I was going to play in 2015 with this stuff. I tried to get out of it in every way possible but they put a band together and learned all the songs so I had to do it, ha ha! It’s not that I have anything against it but all my passion goes into Turbocharged and I don’t have room for more active bands in my mind. It was supposed to be a onetime only thing but so far we have played three gigs, one more drunk and chaotic than the other of course, and I no longer see every gig as the last. I must admit though that it’s far outside my comfort zone, I guess I need all those hours in the rehearsal room to grow a spine after all! There are plans for an album with proper musicians and all now but we don’t know all the details so that’s all I can reveal right now.

Archangel’s Lantern is eternally dedicated to Jon Andreas Nödtveidt of Dissection. In our private conversation we talked a little bit about him. Would you be so kind to tell the readers your opinion about Jon as person and musician? Any memories about personal meetings with Jon.
- I didn’t know him all that well but I knew who he was and he knew who I am, if we bumped into each other we talked a bit. First time I met him was at the very first Dissection gig actually and we were both still kids, this must have been in 1990 I think, and Dissection still had growl and a more death metal approach than the band we all know today. We were introduced and that’s all I remember from that time. We only met like 4 times in all but we talked a lot over the phone when he was handling the Swedish branch of Helvete Records, I was a very frequent customer there at the time. He was a really nice guy even though you never got the feeling you got very close to him, that’s at least my experience from the brief meetings even after talking so much. Our common denominator was metal and that’s where it stayed. I met him also at Wacken in 1997 and it’s weird to look back at it now, knowing this was only weeks after he was in on the infamous murder in Gothenburg. In all I saw Dissection perform three times: First gig at Skee Bygdegård (1990), as a support for Morbid Angel in Gothenburg (1995) and finally at Wacken in 1997. I wish I had more to tell about this guy but we were at the time just parts of a striving scene and the whole cult thing was yet to grow around him. I do remember that he was an encyclopedia of everything metal but I think we all were back then to some extent, that’s the biggest difference to the scene of today.

Which food drinks and Tobaccos do you recommend from your area? Would you recommend some bands, labels and artists, what do you prefer last time?
- Here in Sweden we use SNUS, which looks like you grabbed dirt out of a flower pot and put under your lip, basically. There are two different sorts, either you have the loose dirt or you have bags of it (commonly known as “smurf diapers”). That’s the tobacco I can recommend but if you don’t live here you will be in deep shit when you get back home and can’t find it at home in the stores! It’s very addictive since your whole face feels empty unless you have it under your lip, ha ha! About drinks… Hmmm, I have to say that I don’t know the local brands if there are any, I stick to Carlsberg and similar known brands, that particular one tends to not make me so sick the morning after so I stick to that as far as I can. The scene here is not really in my taste so I am not that educated in what happens here. My friends and metal family are situated all across the world, especially in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Russia, Croatia, Belgium, etc, etc, etc, so the locals don’t seem that interesting these days. When people ask where we play gigs I say “All over the continent except here at home” since we actually play more often in those other countries than in our own area. Why that is I have no idea but it’s like they say, “You don’t become a prophet in your own country”. Most Swedish bands say the same thing o I guess it’s a Swedish thing to not show up whenever there are gigs and the promoters only go for the safe cards and not the local acts. There has been some quite well known bands from the are though: God Macabre, Vomitory, Gehennah, Dawn of Decay, Cut Up, Invasion, Rimfrost, etc. Some recent local bands to release albums are Inferior, Deception, Witchblade, Skallbank, and Insane. At least I think they released albums, all of them. Then we have some honourable mentions like Wendorizer (who are in the same age as my son, ha ha) and a few more that I can’t remember right now. There’s still a scene here but we are not that many that really lives the life with the passion that comes with it these days… There probably are labels around here too but the ones I know are more interested in this new modern shit so I won’t even mention any, ha ha.

Legions iron(ing) and steel on a drunken rampage (1996)

Tack så mycket/Thank you very much Ronnie, for the interview. Send us a joke or a sarcastic wisdom please in the end and for sure Your Turbocharged message. 
- Thanks yourself, brother! Without guys like you guys like me would still be beating our walls against the cellar wall and die in oblivion! Sarcastic wisdom, you say? Well, “Even fresh shit glistens in the sunlight”… Don’t take anything for granted, don’t expect anyone else to do your shit for you however boring it may be at the time, and don’t give up on your passion! Even if you die broke and leave nothing materialistic behind as a metal musician you will still draw that last breath with a smile if you only stick to your motivation even when it bites you in the ass. I am living in total poverty according to our standards here and most see me as a failure in daily life and maybe I am, I however made it this far and I am still blasting those chords, aren’t I? How’s that for an ending message, ha ha?? Take care until we meet at your local venue!                                                                                           
Photo shoot for “Raped in their own blood” trying to look rich in front of dad’s car (1996)

Important links of Turbocharged: 

Ronnie Ripper's Private War: 

Ronnie Ripper's YouTube: youtube.com/user/RonnieRipper

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