Give me a quick run down of your life story. Where from etc.
Born in 1976 in a little town in Sweden called Värnamo which is also where I live now. And since this is a bass zine Värnamo is the town where Cliff Burton was killed in that stupid bus accident in 1986.
How long have you been playing bass?
What made you start?
Always liked the sound of the bass and if I was going to play anything that was it. I had been thinking of picking it up for maybe ten years before it finally happened. How is that for a slow starter?
What kinds of basses have you played and owned?
I’m on my third one now. The first two were Fender copies not worth mentioning.
What do you play now and why?
A Fender Precision ‘78 with Seymour Duncan Basslines pick-ups. It feels good playing it, it sounds great at least in my ears, it stays in tune and looks worn which I like. As a back-up for the gigs I usually borrow our singer Spice’s Rickenbacker. Two very different basses but I like them both. I’m having a Music Man Sting Ray as a back-up on tour though.
Can you tell me what gear you use? Like from your amp to your strings and effects.
I play through some Warwick stuff in the rehearsal room but that’s not quite the right bass sound for our kind of music, turning it up until it farts helps a little though. I haven’t had the money nor the energy to find something more appropriate yet. For gigs and recordings I’m being a parasite borrowing other’s better amps. My pedals are a Boss Overdrive and a MXR Phaser. The last few years I’ve used GHS Bass Boomers 50-115.
When did you start playing in bands? What other bands have you played in?
I pretty much started playing the bass and playing in bands at the same day. I went to an audition for some guys that needed a new bassist, played like the total beginner I really was and got the job anyway, most probably because they couldn’t find anyone else. They must have thought that a bad bass player is better than none at all. They kind of taught me how to play and I even lasted until we split up a year and a half later. After that I joined some other groups as a replacement for people that had left. Those first bands played stuff like thrash, hardcore and doom but none of them did anything noteworthy. The Mushroom River Band is the first one I’m in from the day we formed it.
How did you meet Spice and how did he become your singer?
Spice is also from Värnamo originally and the first time I met him was when he got a job as a youth worker at the school I was going to which was the same one that he had been to when he was a teenager. This was in 7th grade and our guitarist Anders was also going there at the time, in 9th grade. Spice later moved out of town and joined Spiritual Beggars but he and Anders remained friends so when we couldn’t find a singer in Värnamo it wasn’t very hard to lure him into joining The Mushroom River Band as a guest vocalist for a demo recording in 1996. The year after he joined us permanently. The funny thing is that several years later I got the same job that Spice had had as a youth worker at that same school and at the very same time Anders was also working there as a teacher and our drummer Chris was in 9th grade then. Talk about generation gaps but it seems like we were destined to get together and play in a band …
Was there any apprehensions to having an accomplished bass player in your band?
Yeah, Spice is out to get my job! No really, the point of him being in The Mushroom River Band is to be a singer only and from day one neither he or the others have interfered very much with my way of playing so no apprehensions…
What do you do to set yourself apart from the band as far as sound, so you don't get lost in the mix?
As it is now a lot of details played on the bass guitar has gotten lost in the mix so obviously I haven’t found out how to set myself apart yet. The guitar sound have quite some bass in it which gives is us a very fat and powerful sound and I don’t want to change that but then it also means that the bass guitar has gotten a bit muddled in the mix. I’ll try to experiment more with different sounds on my bass in the future to make it cut through the way it should. This is only on the recordings though, playing live is totally different because the bass is more important since we only have one guitar on stage.
How do you and the rest of the band write songs? On your own or together in a jam session.
We were more of a jamming band before and a lot of the songs that have ended up on our recordings so far have come out of such sessions. Lately we’ve been going more in the direction of writing songs on our own but I like the jamming way of writing better. Especially when it comes to writing bass lines I think it’s more fun to do them while jamming than having to do deal with that stuff on a song that is already finished.
What song has your best and toughest bass line in it?
Let’s say 29’ 2 ½" from our debut full length Music for the World Beyond, not for being the best or toughest in any way but for its total simplicity. That bass riff is played throughout the entire song without changing even once and it works excellent. Maybe it could be used in one of those learn-how-to-play-the-bass-videos… step one.
What's your approach to live playing, do you get warmed up or do you get shit faced?
After checking the tuning and the pedals I don’t do anything special. Drinking and talking to whoever is backstage and just relax. Beer before the gig is nice but not to the point of being too drunk anymore…
What's the most memorable thing to happen to you while on tour?
Not sure but I hope there will more good memories than bad ones…
Are you making a living off of playing bass or do you have a non-RockStar job?
I’m doing the daytime thing working for an ear protection company.
If you weren't a bass player what would you be doing?
I can imagine myself becoming one of those failed musicians that turn out to work as music critics…
Are you happy where you're at as far as skill level?
Maybe I should have been better by now but practicing on my own happens very seldom. I’ve learned to play by being in bands and have never had a lesson in my life, it works fine anyway. There is some old punk stuff that I really like and those bands can hardly be blamed to be great musicians so in my opinion being skilled is overrated when it comes to creating good music. Not that I mind good musicianship of course…
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
In the role of being a bass player I sure could use bigger hands. As a person I’ve accepted myself by now.
What's the most memorable musical experience you've had? Example: seeing a great show or having an incredible jam session.
That’s being a kid discovering music in the first place. Listening to Kiss Alive for the first time made a strong impact on me. Same goes for the first time I listened to the debuts by Metallica and Slayer. It was all so new back then. The music made nowadays can’t make me feel the same rush anymore.
And since you asked about being shit faced before one misty memory is The Mushroom River Band’s first show. In the middle of a song I spontaneously did a stage dive out in the audience… with the bass still on! I landed on my back, got the neck straight in my face and started bleeding. When I got up on my feet I couldn’t even find the damn stage. They gave me a lot of shit for that gig. That was in 1997 and was my last drunken gig. The clown has retired.
Favorite bass players?
Mel Schacher, Dennis Dunaway, Tim Bogert and Steve DiGiorgio.
If you could be in any band for a day who would it be?
Kiss in the 1970’s.
Who's in your CD player right now?
To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth by Entombed
Any final thoughts, comments or words of advice for other bass players?
They’re probably better off without my advice. Thanks for the word.
Pics courtesy of Mushroom River Band .com