TEENCATS, A TEDDYBOY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL / ROCKABILLY BAND FROM ELVERUM, NORWAY.
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Teencats are a Teddy Boy Rock’n’Roll-/rockabilly band from Elverum, Norway. The band was formed in 1984 by singer/songwriter/lead guitarist Stig Rune Reiten, his brother Stein-Erik Reiten on snare drum, and Ove Marken on acoustic guitar. At first they had no permanent bass player, but in 1986 Esten Graffsrønningen joined the band. This line-up recorded the cassette Back To The 50’s With Rockabilly (Angel Records, 1986), which was re-named Teddy Bop and released by Dutch label Rockhouse Records the following year.
In 1987 Stein-Erik expanded his drum kit with a cymbal and a bass drum, bassist Esten Graffsrønningen was replaced by Steinar Øxseth, and during the spring Ove Marken left the band. Anders Westhagen joined the band shortly after, sharing lead guitar duties with Stig Rune. The two of them started writing songs together, and later that summer they went into the studio to record the album Cats’ Rhythm (released by Booze Records, which was formed by a Swedish enthusiast, primarily to release a Teencats album). The album lead to a new manager, more gigs, a TV appearance, and a record deal with the coolest Norwegian indie label at the time, Sonet Norsk Grammofon. Late 1988 they entered the studio with producer Nils B. Kvam and piano player Lasse Hafreager to record their Sonet debut album, which was named Teddy Boy Rock’n’Roll and released in August 1989. In the meantime, Stig Rune had decided to focus on singing, and Ove Marken was re-hired as rhythm guitarist. He made it back in time for the cover shoot, but didn’t appear on the album. Steinar also left the band, and Mads Mikkelsen signed up on bass. The song “Elisabeth” (one of Stig Rune’s very first compositions, originally found on the first album, but re-recorded for Sonet) became a hit, the music video got some airplay, and the band did several TV appearances.
At the time, the guys played about 100 gigs a year, mostly in Norway (with a couple of tours up north each year), but also in Sweden and Denmark. This was not easily combined with a “regular job”, so in the summer of 1990 Ove left for good. After four months as a four-piece, they were joined by Robert “Bobby” Huldt on rhythm guitar. They recorded the album Rock Around The Box which was released during the fall of ’91 (again, with Kvam as producer and with Hafreager pounding the keys). This line-up was stable until the spring of ’92, when Bobby left the band prior to their first tour of Germany. And so they decided to remain a quartet.
In January of 1993, Mads Mikkelsen left the band, and Stein Houmsmoen was recruited as their new bass player. That spring, they entered the studio again and recorded the album Footstompin’. Lasse Hafreager participated on piano, while Stig E. Antonsen produced the album. Lasse was nearly a permanent member that year and did most of the gigs. When the record was released in October, Anders had to do his National Services, so quite a few of the gigs were done with substitutes. One of them was Al deLoner (of Midnight Choir fame), the other one was Leif Ottesen, who became a permanent member when Anders left the band in the spring of 1994. The following autumn brought yet another change of bass players, as Rune Tangen joined.
Early 1995, the quartet released the compilation CD Past and Present, which included the best of the three Sonet albums, plus three new tracks. Leif Ottesen quit the band that summer to focus on a solo carreer, and Anders Westhagen rejoined. Rune Tangen left later that year, and first Mads Mikkelsen, then Stein Houmsmoen, were brought back as replacements. But “the thrill was gone”, and after a festival gig in Germany late 1996, the Teencats were history, more or less.
In 1999, Stein-Erik, Anders og Stein joined forces for a one-off gig in their hometown, Elverum. The three of them enjoyed playing together again, they eventually took the name Trouble Boys, and about 50% of their repertoire were old Teencats numbers. The following year they were joined by Stig Rune, and the Teencats did a series of gigs in Norway and Sweden, the last one in Trollhättan, Sweden, in the summer of 2001. The same year, Enviken Records, who’d bought the Booze Records catalogue, released Cats’ Rhythm on CD.
After the reunion faded out, the Trouble Boys were on a hiatus until 2004, when a Swedish “raggar” club wanted to book them. Stein-Erik and Anders teamed up with Mads and put the band back together, and they ended up doing gigs in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany. In 2008 Anders left to focus on his other band, Built For Speed, and Håkon Samland of Rebels Revenge joined as their new front man. The trio recorded the album We Keep The Drapes Alive, released by the German label Part Records in 2012. Most of the songs on the album were penned by Stig Rune Reiten.
At the time of writing this (February 2013), Stein-Erik, Mads, Stig Rune and Anders are rehearsing for a future Teencats comeback. Watch this space.
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Phone: +47 941 94000 / +47 941 93000
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