What led to making this solo album?

Well, I have had some of the songs with me for a while, and some of them has come thru, while working on this album. And now, those two last years, seemed to be a good time to work on it, between tours, and other recordings.

I have a studio in my house, so I started to work on the songs. And then when the songs were in place, I asked my music-friends if they wanted to play on the record, and all of them joined, and have been so kind and helpful!

Most of it was recorded in my studio, but some parts in other studios. After that I went down to Phuket, in Thailand. To mix it with Tobias Lindell, a fantastic sound & mixer-man, as well as producer.

It used to be that whenever a member of a band made a solo album, rumors would start that he or she would be leaving that band. Since you’ve played with so many bands, I presume we are safe from those rumors!

Yes, feel safe… I’m so happy and I feel very fortunate, to play with these bands! Wonderful musicians, and wonderful friends!

During the years, it has worked out very well, cause the schedules for tours and recordings had not overlapped. 

From the early eighties I have been out a lot with Jerusalem, touring all over, but not so much these last few years. But now this summer, I will record some songs on the new (Jerusalem) album, that will be released later this year.

Right now it happens to be that all the bands are recording new material, during 2020. But I just like it, and are so thankful to be a part of it. 

I have already recorded some songs with Rune Edvardsen & Red Band. And XT will go into the studio later this fall.

What is this album about? Is there a recurring theme or a singular motivation?

When I write the lyrics, I write out of my heart, and I’m so thankful to God for so much! He gives me hope and comfort in so many ways. I’m happy if I can share some of it – the love, the comfort, and the good plans He has for all of us.

What are your favorite types of styles to play – heavy rhythms, lots of soloing, atmospheric, soft, hard, what?

I like when there is a lot of energy, and not too polished. I don’t try to sound just as anybody else, but of course I am influenced by what I hear and like. My musical roots are from the 70’s and 80’s. I try to dig into myself, and write from my heart – both music and lyrics.

Please give us a brief (or very long and detailed) description of your musical history. Please touch on every release you’ve ever been a part of, touring memories, etc., and your thoughts on each.

As a young boy, I borrowed an acoustic guitar from my grandmother, and cut off the two thinnest strings, and ”then I had a bass-guitar!” At the age of twelve I bought my first electric bass-guitar, a small amp, and I was so happy! I played in a lot of bands in my hometown of Gothenburg before I was asked to join Jerusalem in 1980. With Jerusalem we have toured very much in Scandinavia, Europe, and in the USA & Canada. My first tour in the USA was in 1982, together with Rez Band. They invited us, and we were flying all over the States.

One memory I have is when we started up in Puerto Rico, and when we were going from the airport to where we were living (as a home base), they stopped at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was the first time I ever heard the name. And I still remember that fantastic taste – a taste that we Swedes never had tasted before. It was wonderful! Rez Band were so nice to us, and took such good care of us.

At that time we where at a record-company called ”Lamb & Lion,” owned by Pat Boone. He was very famous, even in Sweden – both as a singer and a movie star. So we were so happy to meet him.

We had just released the album Warrior, and we became the first Swedish band, and the the first Christian band ever, to be played on MTV.

After that we came back many times to the USA, and in 1985, we did a tour for over four months, all over. On some of the concerts, we had a big recording-truck following us, and we made the album, Live in USA – In His Majesty’s Service. It was produced by Dave Perkins, a great producer and guitar-player, that we learned to know while touring together with Rick Cua Band the year before.

When we some years later released Dancing On The Head Of The Serpent, we were nominated for ”Best Metal-Song Of The Year” at the Dove-awards, and it made us very happy!

There are so many ways to record an album, and they are all good in different ways. But one recording that is very special for me, are when we did the album Prophet. We had not played together for a while, and went into the studio without anything planned, and just started to play. We were recording all the time, and the ideas where flowing & growing! We had such a good time! And many of the songs on the album, are just as they came out the first time we played them!

My first concert with Rune Edvardsen & Red Band was in 1999. We went to Pakistan for a festival, right after a military-coupe. Since 2008 I have been touring with them on a regular basis, all over Asia and parts of Africa. A big part of Rune’s life is to work with missions and aid. At many places the work is closely connected with local churches and aid-organizations.

As a band we try to raise funds for this work, and we go to many of those places, having concerts, and we try to encourage, lift up and give hope. And at the same time be a part of the work that is going on there. It’s so much going on, and I’m so glad to be a small part of it.

In 2017 the band XT was coming together after a long break, to make a new album. I was asked to join them, and I happily did. We recorded Saved By The Blood, followed two years later by Revived-Standing For Jesus Christ. In 2018, and 2019, we were invited to play at festivals in Laos. The first time they opened up for a Christian band like us – a fantastic happening! 

When you are out playing with your friends, you have so much fun together, as well as serious times, and sometimes you go thru hard times together.

I’m so thankful that I have had the opportunity to do what I’m doing, with my rock ’n roll brothers – people I love and respect so much!

You had a front row seat to some very interesting moments on stage with Jerusalem. I would say that Ulf Christiansson took that band into prophetic territory. What are your thoughts on this type of musical presentation? What are some of the coolest things you’ve ever witnessed while in that band?

Thru the years Ulf Christiansson has made all the lyrics for the songs in Jerusalem. And all of us shared the faith, so it felt very natural to sing about it! The love for the music and the longing to reach out with the message, is something we have in common. And the music is such a good way to reach out to each other!

I really think that music communicates over bridges of any sort, cultural, age, taste… The whole atmosphere can change, just out of some notes from a song.

Something happens inside. You go from worry to calm, from sorry to happy, just by hearing the music. Many times you see and feel how God touches people, in a way that is way over our understanding. So good, it’s fantastic!

It’s wonderful to see when you play concerts, how barriers breaks down, how the audience and the band connects. You feel like a big family, and I love that. We are all in it together!

This is one of those self-indulgent journalist interview questions: Do you happen to recall a concert you played in the middle of a field in Victoria, Texas, in 1985, called Exodus Festival? I remember something unusual with the weather, where it almost looked like God was putting on His own music video for the song, “The Wind is Blowing.” Any thoughts on that performance? I remember you guys were running late due to the Airlines Strikes that summer.

Thanks! I remember Exodus very well…remember how we had to borrow all the instruments backstage, cause ours didn’t make it in time. We had been flying all over the country, from Seattle I think…and while on stage, with a borrowed bass-guitar, I did see the truck with the equipment coming over the festival-fields, but it was too late…but no problem.

And now I’m deep down in ”memory-lane”…and, yes when you say it, I remember something with the weather… It was great!

Back to your music. What are your plans with this release?

I love to play with the bands I’m involved in! But I would love to go out and play with Peter Carlsohns The Rise. And everyone involved feels the same way. If it is clubs, festivals or other places, it doesn’t matter, it’s just so fun to play together, and meet the audience! So I’m looking forward to come out and play!

If you were to perform these songs live, who would be playing with you?

I would love to go out together with my friends, who play & sing on the record. A fantastic group of musicians. And I think we will have wonderful concerts together!

Who all played on it with you?

On drums we have my longtime Jerusalem-friend Michael Ulvsgärd. On Guitars there is Stephen Carlson, and my brother, Lars Carlsohn. On Keyboard Svenne Jansson, and on backing and co-lead vocals Cutta John Kåre Gullestad. I’m so happy to work with all of them, they put so much of themselves into the music on the album! They are a real blessing!

What was the recording process like?

On this album I had done all the music and lyrics by myself. It almost always starts on the bass guitar. I play around, or practicing and something comes up, and I start to work with it, or record it, to remember for later. I also record the melody, with fake-words, to remember. And than after a while, when I play it, the next parts starts to come. At the end, when most of the music is recorded, I work with the lyrics. 

I have always been singing backing-vocals in Jerusalem, but on this record I sang the lead vocals. From the beginning I just made the vocals for the demo songs, but then my close friends and family encouraged me to take the step forward, and sing even on the ”real thing.” And I have been way out of my ”comfort-zone” many times. But I like to do it, cause I can express myself and the songs in a more personal way. But to be honest, to do the lead vocals was a big step for me.

When you look around you and all that has happened in the last year or so, what do you think?

We live in a crazy world, and sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged. I think it’s more important than ever to put your eyes on where the hope is!  When I pray and read my bible, it gives me peace, and joy, and hope for the future, even when the circumstances say something else.

Any comments on the chief epidemiologist in Sweden stating that perhaps his country’s approach to the pandemic was wrong?

It’s such a special and difficult situation. I think everyone tries to do what they think is the best, without having all the knowledge they would like to have. We have to pray for each other, and for the people making the decisions. Gladly, the numbers here in Sweden look better from day to day now.

What are some of your favorite albums of all time (please gives us 10 if you can – any style)?

My first favorite band was Deep Purple, with the records, In Rock, Machine Head, Made in Japan, Made in Europe… Fantastic records!

After that I was in to Rainbow, Whitesnake, Status Quo…

And then we have U2, with so many wonderful records. Joshua Tree is one of the favorites!

Today I really like Audioslave, Foo Fighters, Alter Bridge, Coldplay…so many great bands, with great music!

What attracted you to Jesus? How did you come to know Him?

I was raised in a warm Christian family, so that gave me the foundation. After some struggling years in my youth, I come back to Him, when I was 18. I met a preacher man from Los Angeles, Bill Löfbom, who visited Sweden at that time. And He was an important part of my journey back to my faith!

Thank you, Doug! The USA is a wonderful country to tour in, and I have so many good memories! We have played so many different places, and made so many good friends ! I would love to come back soon again, and play even with my new band. Would love to see you somewhere…at a concert, or just to hang out!

All the best!

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