Has the Crow Fly's North - - Jorn Lande Speaks Out!!
Norwegian Metal/ Rock God 'Jorn Lande' is no strange in the world of Rock & Metal with the success he has had over the last 2 decades or more. Born in 68 his 1st recorded with 'Vagabond', which featured Ronni Le Tekro (TNT) & Morty Black (TNT), a band that had a strange but unique sound and style and had recorded 2 albums. He laster on joined 'The Snakes', the band that were pretty much classic Whitesnake without Coverdale, the band recorded 'Once Bitten' in 98 and a live album would follow. Jorn is without doubt such an amazing singer and unique to say the least and in his vast styles of vocal arrangements in the past does really say it all. When you listen to such projects like 'Ark', who had released 2 albums 'self titled' and 'Burn the Sun' (A must have album), Jorn developed his voice to sound like Sting, Bjork, Peter Gabriel all on one record as well as David Coverdale.
He has recorded such fine albums such as Beyond Twilight, Millenium, Masterplan, Allen. Lande and many more releases. Having also done the RJD tribute show in Hyde Park in London with 'Heaven & Hell', Jorn has come along way. I managed to finally catch up with Jorn after waiting 5yrs for this interview if not longer. There is no doubt about it, Jorn is Norway's Metal/ Rock God, a pure genius, with such a diverse voice that has to be heard. Here is what Jorn had to say to the following questions. In the meantime check out his new cover album 'Heavy Rock Radio' released through Frontier Records, a pure classic album."
Well Jorn we finally got around to doing this long overdue interview, so I better start by asking you the 1st question, as a child you inspired you to become a singer? Any members of you're family either a singer or musician?
"Well Jason yes we finally got the interview done sorry about the wait. To Answer you're question, my father got me into music, he was also a singer and was in a band called 'The Pack' and ' Zoom', in the style of mixture of the 60's and that The Beatles feel to it. He was also in a band called 'The Zodiacs' who had some success with several hit singles, some were in Norwegian and some in English. They had a different blend of styles in their music, sometimes like The Shadows, The Kinks, and later on he would play the bass guitar and sing. He was in a band in the 70s who were nominated in the charts, so he brought me up to the bands rehearsals and I lent to sing. My mother brought me on tour when I was a baby, I remember some back flash images. He came home one day with The Sweet single 'Ballroom Blitz', and they pretty much got me into the music and singing. I really liked The Sweet, I liked Brain's voice so that band had a big impact on me.
What about metal singers, who inspired you?
"Well besides Ronnie James Dio I was also into Jethro Tull , I wasn't really into metal singer at the start. I like Kansas, City Boy, I liked a lot of those bands. I also like Kate Bush, she was great and totally has great music that she created. Metal came later. If you listen to the album 'The Duke' there is a song on there that sounds like Kate Bush called 'Black Song' which sounds like 'Running up that Hill' by Kate Bush, but the original idea came from that song. So 'Running up that Hill' was recorded for 'Heavy Metal Radio' which I have just released."
When you look back at all the amazing albums you have recorded with various bands like Ark, Beyond Twilight, Millennium, which records are you're favourites and why? Which band would you reform with?
"Well I have very happy with the albums that I recorded in the past, but if I had to pick one of my favourite albums it would have to be Beyond Twilight 'The Devils Hall of Fame', that record was a mild stone for me and we put a lot of effort into that record, with the music and lyrics, the keyboards are not too over produced and it had some nice ambient sounds, so me and Finn had some differences but it's behind us now. We did some really good songs for that album. I like the 'Ark' stuff but it was very diverse and I change my voice from each song. I can't do that these days and I listen too it now and think it's a great album, and for me now I cannot sing like that now, I have a set sound now which I have kept for some time. We would have a choice of playing Jazz, Rock, Pop etc all rolled into one, it was great at the time. A lot of metal magazines says we weren't really a metal band like Dream Theater or Judas Priest and we were not on a commercial label or if we were a band like Rush etc... then we might of been different and we could of had some cool videos."
Moving on I guess the darkest album you did was probably the 'Mundanus Imperium' which was released on Nuclear Blast back in 98, it was a great album kind of reminded me of Rainbow meets Dimmu Borgor, atmospheric Black Metal. What did you think of that album?
"Some would say it was the 1st record of it's kind made with classic rock vocals with Black Metal music and we were nominated in Norway for an award and that record was very spontagious about the galaxy with the lyrics. I think it was a fresh and very honest album and we didn't think about anything. It was a true album and when I did the vocals I did it like a priest, screaming it out and holding the lyrics like a bible in my hand. Sometimes there were too many lyrics in one song so I had to cut them a little. It was recorded with old analog and it sounded great."
So now would you tell me about this other band or project you are involved with 'Pentakill', what is it please?
"Well I am still involved with that project. It is like a virtual band something new and modern metal with some progressive but heavy parts and powerful. it is connected to 'Legal of legends' game and I did a couple of songs and I am now working on 2 songs at the moment. We will try to make it happen, the new songs are a little more progressive. I'm looking forward to it and it is a new way to cross over to the new generation playing metal music for games. A lot of kids don't like metal music but when they play the game they can interact with the both music and the game, so it is cool."
Moving on... What was it like doing the 'Heaven & Hell' gig in London, tribute for Ronnie James Dio? How nervous was you and did you enjoy it?
"Well there was a lot of pressure on me doing that show and I really enjoyed doing it. It was for a good cause for cancer we we raised about $150.000 and it was a farewell show to Ronnie. I don't have any great memories from that show as it was a farewell to Ronnie but I am very grateful to Wendy James Dio and the band for giving me the opportunity to play that show. (Ed: Would you do an album with Tony Iommi if he asked you too after the Sabbath tour is over). Yeah I would, even though we are from a different generation and Tony has been battling a few demons with illness over the years and he's better now. Gazza and Tony are family and Ozzy is a great singer too, so time will tell."
Rainbow recently toured Europe and the UK, didn't Richie Blackmore approach you for the tour?
"No he never asked me, many years ago Richie mangers called me 5 yrs ago and asked if I wanted to do some work with him. I was on a lake in a boat fishing when his manger called me fishing, and his manger hung up on me, I guess he thought I was some strange guy (laughing)."
Have you ever thought of doing a live show with an orchestra?
"Yes I have, a lot of people have asked me that. A lot of people have asked me to do such things like this but now I tend not to do them because I am very busy and I think it more rewarding doing my own songs or doing covers in my own style like 'Heavy Rock Radio'. No offense to other musicians but I'd rather do what I do best. I would probably do my own live DVD with an orchestra but now it has become to popular and boring, a lot of bands are doing this."
Moving on now Jorn, which is you're favourite solo album you have recorded and why?
"Well I like them all, I don't think I like one album but I like individual songs. I like the album 'Lonely are the Brave' , I also like 'Traveler' s well. (Ed: My fav is 'World Change',) yes that is a good album and a lot of people expect you to do the same stuff you did many years ago, I tend to move on but that is a really good album Jason. Some people think you should stay the same, which can work for some musicians, but for me I want to try different things."
The thing I like about you Jorn is the fact that we don't know what to expect from you on the next record, you tend to change on each project you do."
"Well thanks Jason, I really appreciate it. I try to experiment with my voice can also not be natural. I have a range and I always ask myself where do I sound the strongest and the best? When I tour I notice which songs I sing the strongest every night and the crowd notice that too, so you some of the songs that you recorded don't always work well live.
They could be the best songs you have done in the studio but live could be a totally different ball game. It is hard sometimes to pick the correct song to play live, when you have so many good songs wrote in the past. You tend to look at the line-up you have and work around it, so you have to make the songs sound good. There are songs that have keyboard parts so you can have the guitars play those parts if you want, like an alternative version. So I tend to do the song that work with a 4-5 piece band live. Some people might say I'm difficult to work with but I am not."
I remember you telling me a while ago that you sang for Yngwie Malmsteen and he denied it, funny that as there is footage on You Tube of a live show. How did you get on with him?
"Well there is footage on You Tube for sure. That relationship wasn't a happy ending, There will always be people out there who will take shit and try to put you down. I believe that people can change and I not a person who can b bitter. All you can do is move on and be happy. Yngwie and me are totally different type of people."
OK let's talk about the 'Dracula' album, it's a great album, will there be another album in with works?
"No not at the moment. It was made to be a one off record, there could be a possibility of another album. The whole album was an abstract thing, it was about how Dracula had to deal with his inner demons as appose to what he was doing to his victims. It was going into Dracula's mind, how would you feel in his shoes, all you could do was drink blood etc..."
Moving on with the 'Allen/ Lande' , will there be another album in the near future?
"Well not at the moment, Russell is busy with Symphony X touring right now, and I have been busy too. We may do another album , only time will tell. (Ed: What about a live tour?) Well a lot of people have asked his, its almost like a demand, and I take that as a compliment. Right now I can't see it in our schedule at the moment. We decided only to do 1 record and it ended up with 3 albums and then it was 4."
Before we talk about the new album 'Heavy Metal Radio', you have also done 1 other albums of cover songs 'Unlock the Past' in 2007, how did that albums sell for you?
"It was an album that was put together very quickly and there were some songs that were remixed and re-mastered. It received some great response and I don't see it as a highlight in my career, it was a good album don't get me wrong. The song 'On & On' is a great version, I'm happy with the way it turned out. You cannot say everything is great as it's not and I very happy when people say that and I am still the same guy. I don't see that album as a strong album, I see the new album as a better covers album."
So why did you call the new album 'Heavy Rock Radio' and why did you pick those classic songs?
"Well it is because some of these songs are very well known songs and I thought it would be cool to record this record. I had a couple of Abba songs that I was going to do, I was a big fan of Freda and I had about 3-4 Kate Bush songs I wanted to do and I didn't record them. My guitarist Trond and I sat down to talk about the songs for this record and I think we picked the best songs for the album. I think it is important that we all have a say in the band what songs are arrangements were done correctly. You can't force people to play songs they don't like. So they got creative and and made some cool decisions. I had ideas for songs by Foreigner from the 80's like 'Long way from Home' or 'Night Life', 'Down on Love'.
The song by Russ Ballad 'I know there's something going On' is a great song, I think he did his own songs. It's like Graham Bonnet, I didn't even know he did his own songs before Rainbow as a solo artist and they are great records. I've been in a lot of bands that a lot of people don't even know. The song 'You're the Voice' by John Farnham is a great song with a positive message and he was in a band called 'The little river Band' and he was with them for a few years, my father came home with this record and I liked what I heard.
With this record I wanted to do songs that would be good for both Metal and Rock songs and make a great concept record and a great record to be played on rock radio stations. The song by John Farnham was originally very poppy arrangements and very 80's and I thought I could make it into a rock version like Brain May style. So I gave the ideas to Trond and he came up with the heavier concepts and ideas. Next was 'Live to Win' by Paul Stanley of Kiss, it is a positive and commercial song and I lived the original song, I wasn't a massive fan of Kiss but they did some good songs and this was from Paul's solo album. I wanted a more genetic sound and more power in the songs on this record. I wanted to change the key and go lower and have more power in the song. (Ed: Why did you decide to do 'Don't stop Believing' by Journey, I mean everybody does that, couldn't you of picked a different song?) Well I have other songs on my list but you know I felt that it would be ideal for the album with the title of the record. I did think of doing 'Separate Ways' but then again that song has been done a lot too, I also thought of 'Faithfully' as this is a strong song and its a great song been away on tour. I liked the songs from Raised on Radio, like 'Only the Young' or 'Be good to yourself', or 'Mother Father'.
Then we have Queen's 'Killer Queen', we had the same idea for 'Swing of Death' album we had the same idea's like Queen. Next is 'Hotel California' by The Eagles, and I thought it would be a great cover and a lot of people said I should not do that song, they said it would be dealing with religion like you should not blasphemy against that song. It's a great song but I think we pulled it off. The rest of the album the songs were easy to record and think about but still very close to my heart and all classic tunes."
What about the artwork for this album who did the artwork?
"Well we have a few people involved with our last album covers and they are very talented people Stan W. Decker did the artwork for this record and he has done the last few records including the Dracula record. (Ed: I see the crow is you're mascot, they the crow?) He's called the the 'Crow Man', like Maiden have Eddie."
When will you be recording anew album with you're own material?
"Well I have already started on that one, I have 5 songs I have recorded right now, I have finished lyrics and titles so far but I still have more to record. It will be released in 2017. No title for the album yet."
You have been with Frontiers for some time now, are you happy with them still?
"Yes I am happy with them we have been partners for about 20yrs now, and when I met them in the 90's things went well. I went from AFM back to Frontiers. They trust in what I do. I have songs that I have not released yet but I will when the moment is right. I'm not really into it for the business it's more for the passion of music that I love. I have started working with other musicians now like my Italian keyboard player Alessandro Del Vecchio on this record and I worked with him on 'Heavy Rock Radio' and I always want to try something different. The next record with be less dark and more melodic and I am looking forward to it."
Are you going to release a live DVD and tour again soon? You also played some Folk/ Prog festival in the UK, how was that for you considering you were the only Rock/ Metal act on the bill?
"Yes there could be. I would like to do another DVD. As for the festival, we had fun and we played that festival and we had a good turn out watching us. Wishbone Ash was on the bill and I supported them back in the 84/85 we were called 'Hydra' and we were young, so it was good to see them again." I would like to come back to the UK, but this year I am taking time out, with just a couple of festivals in Finland. (Ed: I heard you're supporting The Scorpions at a festival, how excited are you to be playing this?) We are special guests and it was booked long time ago, so it should be fun and yes I am looking forward to it."
Well Jorn thank you for taking you're time out and for doing this interview finally!! Best of luck with the festivals and the next record. Do you have anything to ad before we finish?
"Yes thank you for the interview, sorry it took so long to get it set up. To my fans thank you for the support over the years, I will release a new album in 2017."
Thanx to Gary Levermore and Jorn for the Interview.