|Johan Blomquist – Backyard Babies Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Tazz Stander|
|Saturday, 13 February 2010 09:00|
Sweden's very own Backyard Babies have been flying the flag for dirty, punked-up Rock 'n' Roll for two decades now. It was certainly with mixed emotions that I walked into their dressing room at London's Islington Academy for what was pegged to be their last London Show... for however long. Statements a few months back from The Babies camp claim that they are taking a yearlong hiatus so are they? Aren't they? Who the fuck knows?
As the boys were all very ill with colds and the likes I chose the healthiest of the bunch, Johan Blomqvist (bassist) to share my intimate space with ... After all I only wanted the low down on the hiatus and a few laughs - not some Swedish super bug!
So, Johan what apart from the very obvious does 'Them XX' represent for you guys as a band?
Twenty good years in the band, a lot of fun and of course, hard work. Being away from our families a lot - everything, it's my life. I've been living for The Backyard Babies and I look forward to doing so for the next twenty years. It's twenty years done and now we can start with the new twenty years.
OK so looking back for a minute over that twenty years, in what order would you rate all the Backyard Babies albums and why?
That is a very hard question. Of course when we started out we didn't really know what we were doing, it was just punk rock, we were very aggressive. I wouldn't really wish to change anything, no. We are all pretty happy about all the albums, of course some songs were not the best songs and some of the decisions that we made were not the best but I mean, at that time, it was the best decision we could make.
Has it ever been a problem drawing a line between what keeps you fulfilled artistically and what you know is going to keep you employed?
No, not for me. For me it's really easy. I'm just me, walking around. I don't need to have the press or, I don't care if people recognise me or not. If I am happy then I am happy, I don't really care that much about it.
Musically, you're very happy with what you are doing Was there ever a time that you thought that you would have to just cater to the needs of your fans, write and play what they wanted to hear?
No. We are lucky that we all kind of like the same kind of music so we don't have that much of a fight in the rehearsal studio.
Where do you think Backyard Babies fits into musical history?
That is a good question. I never think about that. I hope that people, in twenty years time, can remember The Backyard Babies like a link between Kiss, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols. Of course we never had that kind of success though (laughs).
I don't know, maybe (laughs). It's pretty hard, even for me now after twenty years, realising that people actually know who the band is, a famous band.
I once said to Dregen that we've finally moved beyond the age of comparing bands to Hanoi Rocks and Motley Crue and we are now comparing them to Backyard Babies and Buckcherry.
Wow, that is a really cool thing of you to say. Somewhere in my mind, I maybe know it but maybe it is easier for me, in ten years from now, to realise it. Seeing a younger band and knowing where they got their inspiration from. Right now, we are just into it and of course I am proud of it, but I don't want to think too much about it.
And so you should be proud! Okay let's talk about your impending hiatus.
[at this point Johan just sits and laughs]
When I interviewed Dregen in Heaven (we both fall about laughing, Heaven is actually the venue in London that they played in June 2009 and not some fantasy I had) he mentioned two very encouraging statements for Babies fans. That you "Still haven't made 'that' album yet", and "even after a twenty year career, you were only halfway into it". What has changed between then and now?
So what is the low down then on this hiatus bullshit?
The thing is, we have had a tough, tough couple of years right now. We have been touring constantly, and we have rehearsed and been in the studio. The last vacation I had was in 1994, which is a pretty long time ago and I have a girlfriend, Peder has a kid. We all have a family life and we need to take care of our lives at home. But hopefully we will be back in 2012. With a new record as well.
I'm holding you to that.
But you never know, we could take even longer. We haven't planned to split up the band or anything like that. We have all just said that we are going to take a break, we don't know for how long or what is going to happen. But all that means nothing.
I think you will have some very sad fans in London tonight, fuck that, you will have them all over the world.
Yeah, everywhere we go, people are like, "Are you fucking crazy?" We don't really know what is going to happen though, today is today. Tomorrow we might say, "Fuck it, we don't want to play anymore". If I woke up one morning and thought that this wasn't fun anymore then I would stop.
Nicke also said at that Heaven interview that for him "It's a time to pursue another way of life with a bit more security". Twenty years in the same job sounds pretty secure to me. What are all the other guys' options right now?
All I can say is that I don't know how long we will be away from the studio, say maybe a year ....
Are you trying to tell me something?
A new record, who knows? I'm going to take a week off when I get back home.
What just one week, how are you going to stretch that week into a year?
I will be helping some friends that have some stuff to do and then hopefully touring in the summertime.
I don't know yet (laughing)
Come on Johan, fucking tell me (both laughing)
I don't know if I'm going to play in a band, or just help them do their tour.
Could you really just loan your expertise to another band?
Yeah, but it sounds pretty boring just to sit in my house. I like life on the road.
I don't know, this is starting to sound like one of those comic book relationship break-ups to me.
(Laughing hysterically) Of course I'm going to miss it after so many years.
Do you think there is life after touring, or do you end up sleeping on the bathroom floor for the first few nights when you get back home?
For me, it's all pretty fast. It takes me about 5 or 6 hours to get back to normal life. I get up at 6 in the morning, walk the dog, take the kids to school, and make dinner. I go to the store and buy my own food, I don't have a tour manager to do it for me.
Nobody is bringing you water and beer (laughs)
My girlfriend went nuts when I asked her to get me a bottle of water.
So to the other guys, is Dregen going to be focussing all his attention on 'Imperial State Electric' during your break?
I don't know, probably making a record soon.
(Laughing) I don't really know. We haven't talked too much about it. We are just going to take this break and then decide on what we are going to do. I can only really talk about my things but like I say, you never know, we haven't really talked about it too much either as we don't really know what's going on. I can't really say anything because I don't really know anything but I don't think this is the end. That is for sure (laughs).
I'm glad to hear you saying that. Now that you have decided to hang up your instruments so to speak, what would you most like people to remember The Babies for?
That we didn't make The Best Album.
[There is a stunned silence from both of us and then Johan bursts out laughing]
That is very diplomatic and I guess echoes Dregen's thoughts back in Heaven (much laughter).
Lightening things up for a minute then, if your life was a movie, what would it be?
Oh wow. Chaos. In one way I think it should be total chaos - I like chaos. I can't focus in my life if everything is perfect. There are even parts in my relationship with my girlfriend when about three or four days before a tour I remember to tell her. I'm very much like that, I don't know what is happening. I don't even know where we are going tomorrow. I would say something that was chaotic but fun.
Would there be a band in it? Do they go on a hiatus in the movie?
(Laughing) Yes there is.
Finally, please feel free to use Uber Rock as a platform to give your fans one final message, before you kick ass on stage tonight and leave us in your dust with ringing ears, walking off into the sunset.
Have a pint of beer (laughing)
Is that all?
Tazz, you have some good questions but I can't really answer them, even if I knew some stories about them, I can't talk too my about the hiatus but I don't think the fans have to be that scared.
So we shouldn't be too worried about Backyard Babies long-term future just yet?
No, you can have two pints (laughing).
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us at Uber Rock. We wish you guys all the best with tonight's show and the rest of the 'Them XX' Tour and whatever the future brings for you all.
You are welcome.
So I left Johan to get ready for that night's show safe in the knowledge that at least for tonight Backyard Babies were going to be that all essential punked-up Rock 'n' Roll band we have all come to love over the last twenty years.
As for the future, well we'll just have to wait and see won't we, and until then we have 'Them XX' to remind just how great a band Backyard Babies really are.
Photo Kudos: Band pic by Tobias Fischer, Johan Pics by Johnny H and Tazz Stander.