A LITTLE STORY ABOUT MYSELF – THE UNCOMMON WAY –
So far I’ve been able to go on a tour with Gungfly in Holland in January, supporting Kayak. When we got home from there I started working on what is to become the next album. We’re booked to play Night of the Prog festival in beautiful Loreley, Germany with both Big Big Train and Gungfly in July this summer. Before that we’re playing Gothenburg with Gungfly in April… to be continued!
In early 2017 I was working in the backing band for a theatrical production that the local steel mill (!!) Sandvik put on in Örebro and it took up most of January. After that it was time to approve the masters for “On Her Journey to the Sun” which was going into production in late February. More gigs with Ulf Nilsson and Linda Varg as they released a single together and booked a tour called “Sing Me a Lullaby tour” so Petter, Rasmus and I went on the road as their backing band through the summer. I also played some more shows with Hasse Bruniusson Plays the Music of Samla Mammas Manna (We’ll just refer to that as HBPTMOSMM for future reference 😊.
“On Her Journey to the Sun” was released in May and it got a great reception and actually later on ended up on quite a lot of top ten lists for 2017 across the internet, as did the two albums by Big Big Train. In the end of the summer I went to England to perform three sold out shows at Cadogan Hall with Big Big Train and we started in good fashion by rehearsing for about a week at Real World Studios once more. The shows were great fun and it was filmed for a future live release. When I got back home I started writing new songs for Gungfly but waited with recording. The last period of 2017 was instead spent playing a dinner show at a place called Flustret in Uppsala, Sweden. Four shows per week through second half of November and most of December.
“The Unbendable Sleep” was released in February and it received a great reception. I was booked to do a solo acoustic tour in England together with Anima Mundi, but their visas didn’t come through, so I ended up doing just one show in England that year – in Swindon of all places! Fun thing though was that my mates from Big Big Train joined me and Rachel Hall played violin on several songs, David sang (Beardfish’s “Dark Poet” for instance) with me and we also did a Big Big Train song.
My family moved to a house in Sandviken outside of Gävle in March. I had written quite a lot of new Beardfish songs that we were planning to record in the early summer, but when we started rehearsing we noticed that something was off, and it just wasn’t working. After about a month (which seemed like a lifetime) of discussions back and forth we decided to call it quits and end the band. This was a really, tough decision for us, but we didn’t want to start changing members and stuff. Beardfish was the four of us (plus Martin Borgh on keyboards during the last year) and we didn’t want it any other way. Because of this I started recording the leftover Beardfish songs on my own, signed to InsideOut Music and started working on what was to become “On Her Journey to the Sun” with Gungfly. We played Uppsala Progressive Rock Festival and that was just days after Beardfish had officially split up, so a lot of people were coming up and talking about it. On this festival I played twice, I also played the music of Samla Mammas Manna together with original drummer Hasse Bruniusson, bassist Håkan Almqvist and Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings on guitar – Great fun!
I was invited to come and play in Chicago at the Progtoberfest with Gungfly and decided to do it as a trio with Petter and Rasmus Diamant and book some more shows. Ray Loboda, Jim Robinson and Jon P Yarger helped out with this and they also suggested we’d bring company: Mattias Olsson and David Lundberg aka Necromonkey. Together we travelled around the east coast of USA for about a week and had a great time. This was also an opportunity to try out several of the new songs, including “Of the Orb”, “He Held an Axe” and “On Her Journey to the Sun” so when I got back I continued the process of recording the album. At the same time I was recording my parts for the new Big Big Train album as well, which actually turned into two albums called “Grimspound” and “The Second Brightest Star”. We also visited Milan, Italy with the Gungfly trio.
Beardfish toured with Neal Morse Band in Europe and we released our latest album “+4626-COMFORTZONE”, played quite a lot of shows with Linda Varg, backing her up with acoustic guitar and backing vocals mainly. Went back to England to play three shows at King’s Place in London with Big Big Train (after rehearsing at Real World for about a week) and it was incredible! After I got back I was so hyped up to record some stuff on my own again so I locked myself in the studio and continued recording the stuff I had started in 2014 and it was so much fun that I was basically finished after a month. Greg Spawton of Big Big Train asked if I wanted to come over and play an acoustic show in Cumbria in at the Charlie and Kathleen Dunnery Children’s Foundation, a yearly benefit show hosted by Francis Dunnery from It Bites. Fantastic event and this year’s special guest was none other than Robert Plant who played a great set of his songs. The day of the concert starts off with a sponsored walk around Lake Cumbria and while doing this 3,5 h walk I was talking for quite a while with Chris Topham who runs a vinyl-only record label called Plane Groovy. We started talking about my new solo venture and he was interested in releasing the LP if I released the CD myself.
Villemo’s younger brother was born and we named him Tage. Lots of gigs with lots of different projects, started working for singer/songwriters Ulf Nilsson and Linda Varg. I was contacted by Big Big Train, they asked me if I was interested in coming over to England and Real World Studios to play with them. They wanted to start playing live again after a 17-year hiatus from the stage and needed some extra people, among them someone who could do guitars, keys and backing vocals. I was honored and said yes pretty much immediately. They were gonna record a DVD (later turned out to be Blu Ray only) of the process and gigs were also planned for 2015. I also started working on some new solo material (“Under Northern Skies” and “Rhyme and Reason” which both ended up on 2016’s “The Unbendable Sleep”.
Beardfish toured with Spock’s Beard and Sound of Contact. We also toured with Special Providence. I started recording a Gungfly album in Swedish with Petter Diamant and Rasmus Diamant (mainly, there were others involved too) that didn’t get released until 2018! Stay tuned. Started working with singer/songwriter Clara Mae.
As mentioned, Beardfish played in French Guiana (I pepped myself up by watching the movie Papillion!). We were also contacted by Mike Portnoy who asked us if we wanted to support Flying Colors on their European tour and we did, it was awesome. We did however travel by ourselves in a camper that kept breaking down all the time and several times we thought the tour was over… “The Void” was released and a lot of people didn’t appreciate the metal approach that some songs on the album had. I also became a father to a beautiful baby girl that we named Villemo.
“Mammoth” was released to great reviews etc. I recorded the final songs for “Lamentations” with Gungfly together with Petter and Rasmus Diamant and then that one was released as well, through Progress Records. Beardfish were invited to play the Crescendo festival in the south of France which also led to us playing in French Guiana in South America in 2012, it was special! We also recorded what was going to be “The Void”, an album that was largely written after my girlfriend and I went through a pregnancy that ended in the stillbirth of our twin boys Ludvig and Sverker. All in all 2011 was a very tough year for me and my girlfriend.
I continued writing solo stuff for another Gungfly album, and also recorded some of the songs – among them “White Light” and “We Will Never Leave”. We started rehearsing songs with Beardfish for “Mammoth” and everyone was more involved than ever before in the process. It was recorded in april and may and then we played the Zappanale festival in Bad Doberan, Germany where I also played a set of Frank Zappa material with a trio we called Bongo Fury, featuring Petter and Rasmus Diamant who also play in Gungfly. Beardfish were also invited to support Pain of Salvation on their Road Salt One tour of Europe which was a lot of fun. Petter Diamant, Rasmus Diamant and I also played a local place for the entire summer (drums, bass, piano and vocals) just playing covers that we loved ourselves basically. This continued for five summers…
“Please Be Quiet” was released, “Destined Solitaire” was released, we were invited to join Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation and Zappa Plays Zappa for a tour called Progressive Nation which we later had to turn down due to SPV (who owned quite a large bit of InsideOut Music) going bankrupt. We did however play NEARfest alongside some fantastic bands: Gong, PFM, Steve Hillage…
“Sleeping in Traffic Part Two” was released and we went on tour together with The Tangent and Ritual, two great bands and it was a lot of fun, especially as it was our first real tour with Beardfish. We played some more shows and festivals around Europe too and when there was time I continued working on the Gungfly album, recorded “Rumbling Boxes” which was the final track to be recorded for “Please Be Quiet” along with the new version on “On and On”. Beardfish went to England to play with Andy Tillison as The Tangent at the Summer’s End festival. After that we repeated 2007’s recording procedure and rented the same cabin around the same time for 2008 to record “Destined Solitaire”, still my personal favorite of the Beardfish albums.
“Sleeping in Traffic Part One” was released by InsideOut Music and we got some great reviews for it. It was also on Mike Portnoy’s list for best albums of 2007. We played Symforce in Holland among others. I started recording what was going to be “Please Be Quiet” alone in our rehearsal studio, when there was time. Progress Records re-released the first two Beardfish albums. Beardfish rented a scout cabin in the woods outside of Gävle and spent Christmas recording “Sleeping in Traffic Part Two”.
Was invited to the United States to play ProgDay in North Carolina. Met Ray and Noreen Loboda and Jim Robinson of the NJ Proghouse for the first time and they talked about bringing us over to play the states again. We also met Gary Green of Gentle Giant, a really nice guy. We had been recording what was to be “Sleeping in Traffic Part One” during the summer and was contacted by Thomas Waber of InsideOut Music who was interested in signing us to the label, which we did. After that we recorded a few more songs for the album.
Recorded the rest of and released “The Sane Day” with Beardfish which was picked up by many prog distributors and fans around the world and got us the attention of some festivals.
Recorded parts of “The Sane Day” with Beardfish. Recorded “Suspended Animation” with Bootcut which wasn’t released until 2014. Wrote lots of songs, both for Beardfish and solo, among them “On and On” which was later featured on the first Gungfly album “Please Be Quiet” in 2009. Played “Cyklonmannen” live with a band that I put together called Den Gyllene Orkestern (The Golden Orchestra) featuring members from Beardfish, Bootcut and also Per Nilsson from Scar Symmetry. It was recorded and I released it myself in 2006 on the same disc as the studio version from 2003.
Recorded first album “Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se…” with Beardfish. After recordings Stefan left the band. Started playing both keyboards and guitar in Beardfish. Wrote lots of songs. Played a show with Paatos. Recorded second album “De Fluff” with Bootcut. Also spent about a week alone in the rehearsal studio recording “Cyklonmannen”, a musical interpretation of a novel with the same name, written by Swedish author Sture Dahlström.
Petter and Gabriel replaced by Magnus Östgren and later Robert Hansen in Beardfish. Wrote “Sleeping In Traffic” for Beardfish (wasn’t released until 2008) and recorded first album “Hammond VS Drums” with Bootcut. Beardfish recorded first demos (some of which are available on the special edition of “+4626-COMFORTZONE” as “The Early Years – Demos and Outtakes”). Beardfish opened for Samla Mammas Manna in Gävle. Stefan Aronsson joined Beardfish.
Formed Beardfish with David Zackrisson, Gabriel Olsson and Petter Diamant. Wrote some songs that ended up on the first Beardfish album.
Formed organ/drums duo Bootcut with Petter Diamant, wrote and recorded lots of songs, some of which we still play today.
Found progressive rock (King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant). Bought first Hammond Organ (L-100), recorded a lot of music by my own and with others. Bands were Tjajchovskij (prog) and Wooderson (grunge)
Metalhead. Listened to Sepultura and Pantera mainly, also Dissection. Played in band called Metroid which later turned more into stoner/rock’n’roll and changed name to Repoch.
Played in skatepunk band called Overhead. Wrote a song called “Seem” that also was recorded by Beardfish in 2006 (featured on “The Early Years”).
Started first band Zwett, discovered Grunge and mainly Nirvana
Learned to “multitrack” on my double deck cassette player by recording onto one tape, putting that tape in the first deck and playing it back while recording a new part onto second tape in second deck. Recorded Beatles songs that I’d learned and sent them to Sonet Records in Sweden. They were rejected.
Started playing guitar, wrote first song (“Girl Next Door”)
Started playing accordion
Danced to “I’m So Excited” by The Pointer Sisters
Born in Gävle, Sweden