Intervju med Sverigeaktuella Boppin’ B
Under några häktiska dagar, när Boppin’ B befann sig i studion för inspelning av den kommande CDn, så lyckades vi få loss bandets trummis Thomas till en intervju.
Boppin’ B från Bayern i södra Tyskland är onekligen ett av världens mest hårt arbetande rock’n’roll band. Bandet startade 1985 som ett tillfälligt “skolprojekt”, när musikläraren bad dem spela på en skolfest. Detta gav mersmak och Boppin’ B började turnera regelbundet och den första plattan spelades in några år senare. Det lilla “skolprojektet” har sedan dess, sakta men säkert, utvecklats till att bli en väletablerad rock’n’roll-institution, med numera 10 album och närmre 5000 livespelningar bakom sig.
– Since Boppin’ B now have played for over 25 years and still seems to be very popular. How would you describe the longstanding and successful concept of Boppin’ B?
– First of all, there was and still is an absolutely absence of any kind of concept! We’ve started then as friends in school, just burning for that Rock’n’Roll music and feeling its energy on stage and, even better, in front of it. Nowadays we’re still the same friends (with only a small number of personal changes in the line-up) with the same fire in us, and that is what the people feel, like and respect according to Boppin’B.
– If I’m correctly informed, the band started back in 1985, when Your music teacher asked if You liked to play at the school party. Are You still in contact with this teacher, and would he/she believed that You would go this far?
– No, this teacher left our school already earlier than us and we never heard of him. I don’t believe that he’s remembering our little school band, very enthusiastic but not that good then.
– Might you remember what kind of songs You played at that very first gig?
– Oh hell, yeah! We still have a tape of this gig! Don’t know where and wether it is still running but I do remember a few as well without it. There was 20 Flight Rock, Who slapped John, Honey Don’t, Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache, Rock This Town, Fishnet Stockings and Jeanny, Jeanny, Jeanny (we were really into the Stray Cat’s first album in those days) and Fever. Some classical Rockabilly tunes. When we decided to go on as a real band and met a few weeks after this first gig for a rehearsal, our singer has written a handful of songs. All of them sounding like a mixture of the 50’s heroes’ standards, but songs of our own! That was the real beginning….
– When I first discovered Boppin’ B some years ago, I thought this band is a mixture of the great 80’s bands Stray Cats and Bad Manners. What do you think of this comparison, and what other artists/music have inspired You through the years?
– First of all, it’s an honor, thank you! We don’t have to lose one word about the outstanding relevance of the Stray Cats, right? Golo, our guitar player, is really absolutely into Brian Setzer’s art of playing the Gretsch, and yeah, the Bad Manners represent our hint to Ska and the humour and fun in it. So your comparison seems to be very close to what Boppin’ B stands for and how we sound in a kind of way. Since we all are openminded and not focussed only on the music of the 50’s, there are a lot of different inspirations from all the kind of music and numerous musicians – essentialy you don’t hear all of them, but they are in us and reflected in some of our songs, the way we write, arrange and perform then.
– On Your repotear You got quite some cover-songs. What reasons makes You choose a certain cover-song for Your records/shows?
– At the beginning of Boppin’ B, among our own stuff we used to play covers of the better known Rockabilly artists like Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochrane, Johnny Burnette and Elvis of course, but when Frank with his saxophone joined the band, we changed a little bit more into Jive and Swing and did a lot of Louis Prima and Louis Jordan songs, great stuff by the way.
Someday we read an interview with Roxette’s Per Gessele where he stated that he used over 20 (!) guitar tracks while recording The Look; that was more tracks for only the guitar than we used for all instruments in those times.
So we had the idea to reduce the arrangement to its roots and do it in our style. It worked and it was fun, for us and the audience. That was the start of what became a kind of brand to us, to cover a full range of songs of all genres, make it to Rock’n’Roll songs. The reasons to cover the one or the other songs varied. Sometimes we hated the original artists and wanted to score them off (e.g. Modern Talking or The Scorpions), sometimes we loved the songs/artist and wanted to honour them (e.g. The Beatsteaks, The Ramones, The Cure) or we just have been interested whether the song would function as RnR.
– Boppin’ B always seems to be (correct me if I’m wrong) a very possitive and cheerful band. Would it be possible for You to someday make a sorrowful cover of a Leonard Cochen- or Morrissey song?
– Why not? We’re not that young and crazy we’ve been in the beginning, nearly all of us have children and that makes you a kind of serious, not only to live for the moment, because you have some responsibility for them (but, nevertheless we still know how to party and to rock, believe me!). And first of all, it’s the song, stupid, to quote Mr. Clinton – if it’s the song, it may be serious or sorrowful, who cares?
– Your latest album “BALLS Are No Goods” contains only one cover-song “It’s a long way to the top, if you wanna rock’n’roll” (AC/DC). Why only one cover this time?
– It’s for some reasons. First of all, we think we don’t have to hide ourselves as songwriters today. We had a lot of songs to choose out for the album, so we simply just needed no more covers. The AC/DC number was made because it fitted so perfectly to our 25. birthday last year when the album came out. It IS a long way to the top if you wanna Rock’n’Roll, and we’re still on it….
Then, when we started to cover those pop or rock songs, we sometimes had some trouble with the purists in the Scene; but today it is familiar to nearly every band to have a Motorhead or AC/DC cover or what else; you have The Baseballs, there was Dick Brave (and he’s on his way back), so that we think there’s an excessive supply of that kind of RnR-coversongs; we will still do that, but not in that range.
But, hey, you missed Up Jumped The Devil on the B.A.N.G. album! It’s also a cover, but for us, it was a cover of a cover, because we fell in love to the Four Charmes version of this old Robert Johnson number before knowing the original version, and did it regularly on stage. While recording the album, we started each morning in the studio with a song from our live repertoire, just to warm-up and get the feeling. Our producers used to tape-record those songs and after we finished the sessions, we found that one worth to be on the album.
– By the way, have the song “It’s a long way to the top…” a deeper meaning for You…? Should one reflect over the toil Boppin’ B have made for working up its fame. In comparison of one certain handsome rockin’ boy band, that last year made a quick overnight success…?!?
– Right, you got it. But it’s not that people should reflect about us and the long time we’re rockin’ in comparison to –let us name them- the Baseballs. For me who don’t like their recordings that much, it sounds better to hear their songs on the radio than the most of the other bullshit we’re faced to. And that’s business, man!
They are younger than us, they do songs everybody knows and a lot of people like, they have a major record company in their back with lots of money to be spent for promotion.
– Classic rock’n’roll music have had its ups and downs in popularity since its start in the mid 1950’s. What would you say about the future for classic-rock’n’roll/rockabilly?
– I agree and think that will go on in that way. Listen, we’re now rockin’ and rollin’ for over 25 years, playin’ at least 160 shows a year, sell records and tickets – wether there are the big names (e.g. The Stray Cats, Matchbox, Shakin’ Stevens, The Baseballs) in the broad public or in the media’s focus or not. We can only do this, because people love Rock’n’Roll, they did and will always do!
– Some years ago You acted as a back-up unit for legendary Wanda Jackson, have you done the same to other original artists from the 50’s?
– That was a funny story. It happened at a very big TV show, celebrating the 50th birthday of Rock’nRoll music with acts from all decades.
First act have been the wonderful Comets, then Wanda should perform her Let’s Have A Party, as a playback. But she didn’t wanted to go on stage alone and she ordered a backing band. We have been engaged to play at the aftershow party, so we’ve been present and they asked us if we would do the job.
Actually we haven’t ever been a backing liveband to any artist but supported a lot of the R’n’R heroes when they’ve been in Germany: Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, most of them several times.
– Since Boppin’ B got about 200 gigs(!) every year. Could you give other heavy touring bands some advice how to keep up the good mood (in the band) and also having a good relation to the families back home?
– I think it’s all about respect. Not only for your bandmates and you family, but for what you do – and are allowed to do! It’s a gift to live a life like that, doing what you love and making your living out of it, something a lot of people dream of! Another very important thing is allegiance to everybody who works with and for you.
– You have not only played gigs in Germany… So my question: Which other countries, so far, have You played in?
– We started early to travel through Switzerland, Austria and the BeNeLux and til today we have already been in Italy, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, the UK and just for one gig in the USA some years ago.
– Quite soon Boppin’ B will be playing the very first gig in Sweden. What do you know about Sweden in general? And have you heard anything of the rockin’ scene/bands over here?
– Personally, when I think of Sweden, I first think of Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson, then ABBA and then Queen Silvia (the German ex-stewardess) and King Karl Gustav. But of course, I believe we do know the most common things about Sweden…
Long time ago we played some concerts together with Wildfire Willie, a real crazy rockin’ guy – and still on the scene, isn’t he? Of course we do know The Go Getters (but have never shared a stage with them) and early this year we met The Troubled Three at their first gig in Germany – real cool, hope to see them again!
– Are there any certain songs the Swedish audience could expect from Boppin’ B, on the 24th of June gig at Dagstorp Gillestuga…?
– Probably we’ll play most of the songs from the B.A.N.G. album plus some classic Boppin’B tunes, but I’m not able to name them, because Didi, our bass player, actually writes the setlists just in front of the gigs, only a few minutes before we enter the stage. So, if you have a kiond of wish list, let us know…
– What projects will Boppin’ B be involved in for the nearest future? Maybe a new album…?
– Yeah, we’ve started already the recordings for the next album. We’ve been in the studio for four days in February and three days in the first days in May and have recorded seven songs (but don’t know wether they all will be part of the album at the end). We’re planning to release it in next year’s spring – let’s see if it works…
Then, a very successful bavarian band playing rock songs for children is celebrating their 10th birthday this year. So they organize a tribute album with other Bavarian bands performing their songs and they asked us, too. We’ll record that special one also in May.
Besides that, we’re looking forward to all the festivals coming up this sommer, and of course, to our first trip to Sweden!
– Thanks a lot Thomas, for this interview! Any final words you would like to say to the readers?
– Hej you all, we’re looking forward to meet you and hope you’ll come numerous to rock with us!
Tanka ner två riktigt bra klipp innehållande låtarna “We can leave the world” och “If You Believe”.
Information om spelningen i Sverige finns på: www.rockmetropolen.se
En Exklusiv Intervju gjord av Anders Axelsson för BadAssLifestyle.se