(Liner notes to "Amchitka - The 1970 Concert That Launched Greenpeace")
October 16th, 1970, 8pm. Night has fallen and it’s dark outside the Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver’s largest concert arena, but inside all is bright and tinged with the adrenaline buzz of ten thousand ticket-holders. A pungent potpourri of patchouli, sandalwood and Acapulco Gold is wafting through the stadium. My mother flanked by my fifteen-year-old brother and me, is sitting in the first row of chairs lined up in front of the stage. Every seat has been taken, and those unwilling to sit in the stands are plunking themselves down in the aisles and on the floor in front of us, with scant resistance from volunteer ushers.
Shortly after eight the house lights dim and a raucous cheer erupts as Terry David Mulligan, dj of local rock station CKVN, saunters onstage. The whole arena is humming, vibrating with anticipation. I slip off my chair and slide into the crush of bodies on the floor. A shiver of expectation shakes my whole body. Can this really, finally, be happening?
When my father said he was going to organize “a rock concert” I thought he’d gone out of his mind. Dad had never organized a concert before, and the thought of my middle-aged father dealing with rock stars was just sad. Besides, it was absurd to think that anyone would play for free for an obscure little group which a local journalist had sniggeringly characterized as a handful of “eco-freaks and beardies”.
“I’d like to introduce… Mr. Irving Stowe.”
Dad is a big man, nearly six foot, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him stand so tall. He’s wearing a long-sleeved button-down Brooks Brothers shirt left over from his trial lawyer days, which I’ve tie-dyed. The thick white Egyptian cotton took the blue dye exceptionally well, and the cloth is streaked here and there with pale lines like trailing balloon strings. Shapes reminiscent of clouds hover here and there in clusters. It looks like he is wearing the sky.
“By coming here tonight you are making possible a trip for life, and for peace.”
His resonant voice rings out into the cavernous space. “You are supporting the first Greenpeace project: Sending a ship to Amchitka Island to try to stop the testing of hydrogen bombs there or anywhere!” Applause explodes all around me, and I smile up at Dad, knowing he can’t see me in the that blaze of light, and then tears blur my vision and I can’t see anything anymore. It’s the proudest moment of my fourteen-year-old life.
It all started at the end of the summer of ‘69.
The Sixties were drawing to a close. All over the globe people had taken to the streets, marching against a nuclear arms race that jeopardized the planet, demanding civil rights and repudiating the Vietnam War. Women turned gender roles on their heads and gays burst out of legally enforced closets. Revolution was the order of the day.
In Vancouver, Canada, my idealistic parents stood on the shoulders of Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, dreaming of a world where revolutions were crafted from velvet instead of steel. As members of the 'Society of Friends' (Quakers), a pacifist sect with a long tradition of intense social activism, they progressed from dreaming to action. Among their other causes was an underground railroad which helped Vietnam war resisters find shelter in hippie hangouts on Vancouver’s Fourth Avenue, a.k.a Haight Ashbury North.
Teens like me gravitated to 4th Avenue too, peering shyly into head shops, fingering turquoise in the House of Orange bead shop and flipping through stacks of LP’s at Rohan’s Records. My family downed its first vegetarian curry and drank chai at the Golden Lotus. “Peace”, everyone said, flashing “V” signs and radiant smiles. The anthem of the Sixties, the Beatles’ song “All You Need is Love,” lulled us all into a sleepy euphoria of innocence and hope.
But before the decade ended, the bliss of Woodstock would be shattered by murder at Altamont while the Rolling Stones played on. Casualties in Vietnam would escalate into the hundreds of thousands. And on Amchitka Island, 4,000 kilometers from our hometown, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission would drill deep into one of the most seismically volatile regions on the planet, preparing for a series of nuclear weapons tests.
My father was incensed when he heard about the atomic experiments on Amchitka Island. Seismologists were warning that any sub-surface blast - nuclear or otherwise - in the tectonically unstable Aleutian Island Chain could initiate earthquakes and tidal waves all over the Pacific Rim. And Amchitka was a dedicated wildlife preserve, world renowned as the site where sea otters – hunted to near extinction by the beginning of the twentieth century – had first begun to recover. When Dad heard that sea otters were washing up dead on the shores of Amchitka with their eardrums split by trial blasts, he exploded in his own carefully controlled way. He grabbed a pen and scrawled a petition to “Stop the Bomb!”. Then he stormed downtown to the US Consulate and stood outside in the rain, collecting signatures.
Meanwhile, journalist Bob Hunter was writing in his environmental column in the Vancouver Sun that the U.S. was playing “a game of Russian roulette with a nuclear pistol pressed against the head of the world”. On October 1st, 1969, Hunter and my father stood together on a makeshift stage at the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine, Washington, addressing six thousand angry students, housewives, clergy, anarchists and other disparate groups. By the end of “Operation Borderclose” the crowd had forced all traffic to a standstill, effectively closing the Canada/US border and repudiating the noble sentiment, “Brethren Dwelling Together In Unity” – engraved upon the Peace Arch monument.
Similar, smaller protests erupted at customs checkpoints all across Canada. In vain. Less than twenty-four hours after we hoisted “Don’t Make A Wave” signs at the Peace Arch, a 1.2 megaton blast ripped through pristine Amchitka Island. The Atomic Energy Commission promptly declared the experiment a success and scheduled a five megaton test for the fall of 1971, two years hence. Code-named “Cannikin”, it would carry more than four hundred times the power of the bomb that leveled Hiroshima.
My father gathered a small but potent group of activists to form the “Don’t Make a Wave Committee” (DMAW). The first to join were fellow Quakers and ex-Americans Jim and Marie Bohlen. Jim was a visionary engineer who’d worked on nuclear weapon delivery systems before becoming radicalized and shifting his focus to environmental engineering. His wife Marie was a respected nature illustrator. Both were ardent conservationists, who - like my parents - believed in the Quaker practise of “bearing witness” to wrongdoing. But how could DMAW bear witness to nuclear tests on an island located roughly halfway between Alaska and Russia?
Marie casually came up with the solution one morning over breakfast:
“Why not sail a boat up there?”
No sooner had she spoken then the phone rang. On a slow news day it wasn’t unusual for journalists to call local activists, looking for a story. Jim, hearing a reporter on the other end of the line, boldly improvised a plan to sail a boat to Amchitka. The next day the Sun printed the story as if the voyage was a done deal.
Dad called an emergency meeting of DMAW. Everyone approved of the plan, despite the fact that DMAW had no money, no boat, and hardly any of its members had ever sailed before. As the meeting drew to a close, Dad flashed the “V” sign at community activist Bill Darnell as he headed out the door.
“Hey, Bill! Peace!”
Bill was known more for listening than speaking, but tonight he tossed off a spontaneous reply in the deep bass voice I found so incongruous in a twenty-three year old:
“Let’s make it a green peace.”
The phrase resonated, and not only in the basement of the Unitarian Church. Quiet, thoughtful Bill had captured the zeitgeist in two words. A burgeoning environmental awareness - stoked by Rachel Carson’s ecological wake-up call, “Silent Spring” - was seeping into the consciousness of peace activists everywhere, prompting them to consider a larger definition of war. Urbanites who’d never farmed before were going “back to the land”. Citizens worldwide were starting to listen to the language of the earth, the sea, and the sky, to pay homage to our singular blue planet.
My father had been writing an environmental column in Vancouver’s underground newspaper the Georgia Straight. It was one of his oft-repeated caveats that the “military industrial complex” was destroying the environment as well as people. He called Bill the next day, very excited.
“I can’t stop thinking about what you said! Peace… and the environment… this puts it all together.”
Everyone in DMAW heard the magic in the phrase.
“That’s what we should call the boat, when we get one,” Jim declared at the next meeting. “The Green Peace.” Marie offered to design a button as a fundraiser. Dad hammered together vending boxes and the next weekend we all went out to stand on street corners and hawk Greenpeace buttons. But at a quarter a pop, by the spring of 1970 we’d raised less than $500 in button sales, and it would take thousands more to charter a boat.
My father had drawn up DMAW’s constitution, citing two lofty goals: To stop nuclear testing worldwide; And to preserve the environment. But if DMAW couldn’t even raise $18,000 to charter a boat, these visionary ideals would amount to nothing more than a grandiose joke. Reluctantly, the Committee started to take the “f” word - fundraising – more seriously.
DMAW often met at our house, and sometimes, when I came home from ballet, I’d perch at the edge of the living room hugging our black cat and listening to wordsmiths like Dad, Bob Hunter and Ben Metcalfe (a journalist whose radio broadcasts focused on environmental issues). Amid the frustration that sometimes erupted in diatribes, there were also flashes of luminous speech, which lit up the room like lightning crackling through storm clouds. Fundraising ideas, however, were scarce. One afternoon Dad came into the kitchen looking more drawn and haggard than I’d ever seen him before. With jittery hands he scooped beans into the coffee grinder.
“I know how we’ll raise the money, Peachy!” he said, using the pet name he’d given me as a child. “We’ll have a rock concert!”
There was a false bravado I’d never heard in his voice before. I turned away so he wouldn’t see my expression. As if I thought. His colleagues in DMAW had a similar response. My mother and Bill Darnell were the only ones who supported the idea.
“Fine!” Dad bristled. “I’ll organize it myself.”
In retrospect, putting on a rock concert was perhaps not the most insane idea Dad had ever had. Although I hated to admit it, he was clued-in to the music of the day. His sizable collection of classical and jazz records had expanded within a few years to include a lot of folk and rock. Al Sorenson, the music critic for the Georgia Straight, lent him promo albums, virgin vinyl that hadn’t even hit the airwaves yet. Word got around, and when there were no meetings our living room would fill with a combination of DMAW members, Georgia Straight staff and other friends, all listening to the latest Grateful Dead, Laura Nyro, or other offerings.
On those evenings, a reverent silence would reign as Dad slid each LP from an unmarked sleeve and placed it on the turntable. The only light would be a pole lamp beside the stereo system, and Dad would sit there with eyes closed and a blissful expression on his face. My parents didn’t smoke (anything) but sometimes a listener would wander onto our sundeck for a toke under the stars. Those evenings were seminal, magic, and the house was filled with an air of hope and awe and wonder. Dad started writing to musicians. One afternoon in late spring, I came home from school and he tossed me an envelope. “Joan Baez!” My fingers were the ones trembling now. “You got an answer from Joan Baez?” “She can’t come,” he replied calmly. “She has a previous commitment. But she sent this.” He handed me a cheque for a thousand dollars.
Soon, the Canadian band Chilliwack - formerly “The Collectors”, whose hit single “Lydia Purple” would become an enduring rock classic - signed on.
Political folksinger Phil Ochs, who had a large and loyal following, also agreed to play.
Then Joni Mitchell came through, even donating the cost of renting her grand piano. “Ladies Of The Canyon” had been released in April to acclaim, and 'Melody Maker' would vote her the Top Female Performer of 1970. She was as big a draw as we could possibly hope for.
Suddenly the concert was an actual, happening thing. Our house morphed into DMAW Central as everyone pitched in to get posters made, sell tickets and attend to a ton of details. Dad booked the Coliseum for October 16th. At a modest $3 apiece, tickets moved briskly but there were still some available when the phone rang at dinnertime in the beginning of October.
My mother, brother and I looked up expectantly from our veggie burgers as Dad put his hand over the mouthpiece. “It’s Joni. She wants to know if it’s okay to bring James Taylor.” Taylor’s album “Sweet Baby James” was shooting up the charts and would reach platinum on October 16th. The concert sold out.
But as mid-October loomed, Canada was spiraling into one of the darkest periods of its political history. A cell of the Québec separatiste FLQ escalated terrorist activities from mailbox bombings to the kidnapping of dignitaries, and at four o’clock on the morning of October 16th, Prime Minister Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act. Tanks rolled through the streets of Montréal, civil liberties were curtailed nationwide and all day long we feared the authorities would try to cancel the concert.
Opposition to Amchitka, however, was widespread. Both right and left wing factions had roundly condemned the tests, and even as far back as October of 1969, when the traditionally conservative RCMP stood idly by while students blocked the border at the Peace Arch, it seemed that on this issue our nation stood largely united. Now, as the expected order to call off the concert failed to materialize, the powers-that-be seemed to be turning a blind eye once more.
Canadian author and editor Alan Twigg later opined, rather more cynically, that the reasons the bastions of law and order didn’t cancel the concert was because doing so might have instigated a riot. Whatever the reason for the non-action of the authorities, music triumphed over politics on this night. Phil Ochs stood under the hot Coliseum lights in black jeans and a black leather jacket muttering, “not everyday you get to play in a police state” before launching into “Rhythms Of Revolution”.
After a vibrant set, a standing ovation and an encore, he ceded the stage to Chilliwack. Bill Henderson and his band worked their magic with electric guitar, flute, sax, violin, keyboard, drums, bass and vocals, and by the time they ended with a transcendent, extended version of “Rain-O”, the floor was alive with blissed-out dancing hippie chicks. I was one of them, and as Bill sang: “If there’s no audience, there just ain’t no show” I turned around to see the whole Coliseum singing and swaying in unison.
Then my father drew the door prize. “Whoever occupies… Seat Number 4, in Row 10, Section F… Will be the free guest of the Committee on the ship to Amchitka!” Thunderous cheers erupted as a roving spotlight swept the hall and came to rest on North Vancouver high school teacher Ron Jones high up in the stands.
It was a dubious door prize. Although no-one in DMAW would say so aloud, the voyage of the Greenpeace looked like a suicide mission. Sailing in the Aleutians was notoriously dangerous, especially in fall, when unpredictable winds known as “williwaws” ripped through the Bering Sea with enough force to rip a steel boat in half. And when the bomb exploded, if the drill cavities were to vent then everyone on board risked being showered with radioactivity. As if that wasn’t enough, should the blast trigger a tsunami, the Greenpeace would be right in its path. I wondered how the winner of the door prize felt about martyrdom.
Despite the dangers, it seemed like all of Canada wanted to get on that boat. A halibut trawler going up against the U.S. military was a potent David and Goliath image, and people who’d never protested anything in their lives were sending DMAW letters begging to crew. My father even nudged me to apply. “That boat’s going to make history,” he predicted. I resisted his entreaties, but the braver part of me sneered silently that I was a coward.
After the prize drawing, Terry David Mulligan brought James Taylor on. In his quietly mesmerizing voice – a combination of Bostonian accent and Southern drawl - Taylor lulled us seemingly effortlessly into a blissful euphoria with songs like “Fire & Rain” and “You Can Close Your Eyes”. We were all reluctant to let him go, and it was only by reminding us that Joni was waiting in the wings that he was able to slip away.
The hour was close to midnight when Joni walked on with her long blonde hair cascading over her guitar, and as she soared into “Chelsea Morning”, the whole stadium seemed to rise several inches off the ground. Equally at home on guitar, piano and dulcimer, she selected a range of songs from older albums as well as a few from the as-yet-unreleased “Blue”. Near the end of her set she called James back to sing a duet of “Mr. Tambourine Man”, and then both artists called their managers (Elliot Roberts and Peter Asher), and Terry David, and my father onstage to join them in “Circle Game”.
At one am, the house lights finally came back up and we all trooped out of the Coliseum. Together, we’d raised roughly $18,000, just enough to charter the fishing boat of Captain John Cormack, the only man brave enough, crazy enough, and – rumor had it - financially desperate enough to sail to Amchitka.
The Phyllis Cormack, re-christened Greenpeace for the voyage, was readied for the trip and a twelve-man crew was assembled. There were no women, because Captain Cormack wouldn’t allow an unmarried female on his boat, and the only married woman short listed - Marie Bohlen – voluntarily gave up her position.
The Bohlens had a teenage son, Lance. I wonder how much it factored into Marie’s decision that, should any of the disasters we feared befall the boat, Lance would lose both parents. As we’d find out later, the Bohlens had even more reasons to worry than anyone else. Jim couldn’t bring himself to tell the crew but, the night before the boat was to leave, he’d received a disturbing phone call. The caller was a fisherman who said he’d sailed with John Cormack. The Captain was quite competent, he assured Jim, but the Phyllis Cormack had sunk twice before, and he had grave doubts she’d even make it a thousand miles up the BC coastline to Prince Rupert.
It was a bittersweet moment for all of us as we watched the Greenpeace sail away from the False Creek dock on September 15th 1971. A local rock band played as the crew made emotional farewells with their wives, girlfriends and children. We waved goodbye to Jim, Bob, Bill and the others, trying not to trip over the tangled cords of TV cameras as ABC, NBC, CBC and other networks vied for position.
I sensed Dad’s despair at not being on the boat, though he tried hard to hide it. Years before, while flying for the US Civil Air Patrol in World War II, he’d contracted a permanent inner ear disorder which gave him such a propensity to motion sickness that even the calmest ocean could make him violently ill. I was conflicted with feelings of relief that none of my family was on board; the desire to stand with those men; and a sinking feeling that none of them were coming back alive.
As the Greenpeace headed for Amchitka, protests escalated throughout the Pacific Rim. My brother Bob led a walkout of 10,000 high school students - the largest demonstration of its kind ever held in Canada – before flying to Ottawa with fellow organizer Peter Lando to present a petition, signed by thousands of teens, to the federal government. In the US a coalition of eight organizations (peace activists, native rights groups and conservationists) launched a Supreme Court action against the blasts. Meanwhile, in Japan, protesters were marching with signs that said: “Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Amchitka!”. Amidst all this, dispatches from journalists aboard the Greenpeace prompted an international media furor and ignited such national pride that even Prime Minister Trudeau sent a telegram to the crew, wishing them “Godspeed”.
Dorothy Metcalfe, also a journalist, passed her husband Ben’s transmissions on to us before feeding them to Canadian and American networks. It was wrenching to sit in our living room, where so many of the crew had met in recent months, hearing reports of the halibut trawler battling twenty foot waves, especially when radio communication failed and days went by with no contact at all.
President Nixon kept delaying the test, and on September 30th, fifteen days after the Greenpeace had set sail from Vancouver, the crew was arrested by the U.S. coastguard. As they fumed in frustration, my father and Jim schemed to charter a second ship. It had taken two years to organize the voyage of the Greenpeace, but support for DMAW was so high now that donations poured in, and within days Dad was able to charter a decommissioned Canadian minesweeper, the Edgewater Fortune. On October 28th 1971, with a crew hastily assembled by skipper Hank Johansen, the 47-metre naval frigate sailed out of Vancouver and surged through stormy seas towards Amchitka.
On the morning of November 6th, 1971, the US Supreme Court ruled - in a tight 4:3 decision – in favor of the test, and shortly after noon that day, President Nixon ordered Cannikin detonated. The bomb exploded before the Edgewater Fortune could reach the island. The whole Pacific Rim was stunned by Nixon’s hubris. We tasted the bitter, age old truth: the sword had vanquished the dove.
My father and Jim Bohlen, exhausted, stepped down from the leadership of DMAW and championed Ben Metcalfe to take over the helm. Our family home continued to operate as the Greenpeace office until 1974, when, my father died of cancer at the age of fifty-nine. Two years before his death, however, he was to savor the sweetest moment of his life. In February, 1972, three months after the Greenpeace and the Edgewater Fortune returned to Vancouver, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission announced that it was canceling the test series “for political and other reasons”. Eight test cavities had been drilled on Amchitka Island. Only three of them were ever used.
- Sincere thanks to John Timmins and Greenpeace Canada for permission to use the liner notes -
- MEET CITIZEN K – SOMEWHERE UP NORTH -
LOTS OF QUESTIONS & EVEN MORE ANSWERS
Citizen K was born on August 4, 1966. The bastard son of a beautiful go-go-dancer, and a famous rock'n'roll star.
The story goes, that during a few weeks in November 1965, K's mother happened to meet George Harrison, Brian Jones, Syd Barrett, Keith Moon, Dennis Wilson, Gene Clark, John Phillips and Frank Zappa on separate occasions, and she had brief affairs with all of them - 9 months later, K was born. During his childhood, K never knew who his father was. His mother always told him that his father died in a boating accident before he was born, and he never seemed to question this fact.
Two years ago, on his mother's bed of death, the truth was finally known, and K finally understood it all - Where he came from, who he was and what he was destined to do in this life.
Work began on what was to become "Meet Citizen K" - The forthcoming debut album, and tribute to all of his eight possible fathers.
Read all about it.....
Q: What is Citizen K?
A: It’s actually me, but it could just as well be a band like, for instance, The Waterboys and World Party. Both operate partially as bands, but they stand and fall with their respective "sole" members, Mike Scott and Karl Wallinger.
Q: Who will need your new album?
A: Anyone who’s long since abandoned the record store, because there’s nothing there to be bought. Oh yes, of course there are CD's on the shelves, CDs that are supposed to be albums, but at the end of the day, they offer nothing more substantial than a couple of singles and ten to twelve fill-out tracks.
Q: What is a good tune?
A: A good tune is, when you can use the kitchen table, the fridge, the broken acoustic guitar or anything (or nothing at all), and the song still works, then you have a good tune. What gets me going is a totally different thing, and a much more difficult question to answer. It’s down to the mood I’m in. I’ve got very good albums by Depeche Mode and Billie Holiday in my collection, albums stuffed with good material. But does that really say much at all?
Q: What was the latest album you bought?
A: I’ve been listening myself half-stupid to David Mead’s latest album, ’Almost & Always’. Hauntingly beautiful! Lots of other music will have to stand back for that one, right now.
Q: Tell us about the new album, ’Meet Citizen K’.
A: It’s my 'White Album' - Tiny shades of folk, "Not Enough Time" – psychedelia, "She Says" – rock, "That Same Old Sun" and "The World Turns Without Me – pop, "Practically Over Now" and "Bad Finger" – songs that suddenly break in two and change direction, but hopefully remain coherent. There are three short instrumentals - "Inbetweener", "Have You Taken Your Medicine?" and "Stitchy's Tune" – and so forth. And still, I’m quite positive that there is a thread running through it all. I can’t tell exactly what that thread is, though. Ask my A&R guy. He should know.....
Q: When/how do the stories in your songs come about?
A: They often come just as I’m about to fall asleep. Like "That Same Old Sun", for instance. I was through with that day, all together. I had " shut down" as we say nowadays, even gone to bed. Suddenly, it was all there, a story in three parts, small articles about people on various levels in society. A woman gets stuck in a traffic jam on her way to work, and she’s trying to figure out what excuse to use this time. A couple of others sit safely behind (apparently very) electric fences. And then there’s the little king, who has achieved his status through a lot of cheating. Yes, I have read "The Emperor's New Clothes". The story, the melody, the chords and, even the arrangement was there, so I simply got up again, turned on the computer and wrote the whole thing down while it was still in my memory. I even took out my guitar. I think my songs come when I least expect it. I have tried forcing them out because I’ve had the time right then, but less successfully.
Q: How did you write the songs for the album?
A: I needed to write them. Some of them were written alongside the songs on ’Carried Away’, the album of 2004. I was living just outside of Stockholm, when my marriage ended, and I saw it as a discipline to, at least try to, come up with something new every day, resulting in loads of material from which I draw to this day. The reasons behind my writing are often therapeutic and I think it has saved me more times than I want to admit. "Some Time In September" on ’Meet Citizen K’ was written almost immediately after the news that Anna Lindh (the Swedish minister for foreign affairs) had been murdered. I finished "For Citizen A" when I had just met and fallen in love with Annika, and she was away for a couple of days. I could hardly stand it, but what a song it turn out to be!
Q: Describe the album in three words.
A: Melodic, melancholy and mildly mish-mash.
Q: Who will by the record?
A: Hard to say. It all depends on how high we’ll cause it to fly. Hopefully, it’ll reach some people who’ve gone through what I’ve gone through without being able to express it in music or writing. I have no idea, what-so-ever, what age groups the album would attract, but I think somewhere between 7 and 91 is a good guess.
Q: What are your dreams?
A: Nothing in particular at the moment. I’m pretty much at peace with everything, and I’m not striving for anything specific either.
Q: How's work with the new album going?
A: We’ve finished it now. My engineer and co-producer, and myself, went into the studio in May of 2007 to lay down the first few tracks and we’ve built up everything from there. Slowly but surely.
Q: After ’Carried Away’ you wanted to do an angry album. What happened?
A: I hit a road block. The songs that came immediately after the first "angry” ones weren’t good enough. I had to start all over again. But one day, it will come, the angry one. The world hasn’t exactly changed for the better.
Q: Who are the players on the album?
A: Mostly me. But my good friend Kim came to the studio one day and added drums, and he worked incredibly fast, and besides that, quite superb. Annika (my girlfriend) sings and plays tinwhistle on a couple of tracks. Michael, an old friend who’s a fantastic trumpet player, joined in on two tracks. And the rest of it, loads of guitars, percussion, bass, various keyboards and stuff, was handled by me, not since anyone else not would have done it better, but I wanted to finish the whole thing as quick as possible. Mats-Ola took care of the technical side of things and he can easily be seen as executive producer.
Q: Exactly what on the record are you the most happiest about?
A: That it’s got some things on it that I wouldn’t have dared, or been able to do previously. One song, "Not Enough Time", has something British, slightly folksy about it. I really like that. Another song, "A Soft Farewell", has an ending that sounds like "French ballet music". I’m incredibly proud of that one.
Q: What are your most important sources of inspiration?
A: The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, in every combination on earth, lots of music that was produced during the latter half of the 60's and one decade ahead from that. Lately, I’ve been listening a lot to and drawn inspiration from the British folk revival of the 60's and 70's; Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, etc, nowhere near orthodox, but it’s all fine with me. I am a sucker for good albums, so there’s a lot of music playing at home.
Q: Who would you wish recorded a cover of one of your songs? And which song?
A: The sad thing is that many of those who come to mind aren’t there anymore; Sandy Denny, Dan Fogelberg, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others. But it would be fun to let somebody outside the pop bag get hold of one of my songs and do something that I wouldn’t manage or dream of, a folk or jazz singer. But most of the people I listen to live too far away from here, or they have died or they have passed their hey day. My friend Johanna Lillvik, I’d gladly hear her sing something I’d written. That’s good enough for me. She’s cool. And, which song? Well, Johanna or anybody, dead, as well as living, can record "That Same Old Sun", simply because it’s done in the style of a report, where anyone could be the narrator.
- Sincere thanks for the interview to the nice people at Paraply Records -
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