Touring the UK last March with fellow sleaze meisters The 69 Eyes and CrashDiet, the irrepressible Hardcore Superstar are riding the crest of a creative wave. I caught up with frontman Joakim Berg after their incredible Newcastle show.
rushonrock: How has the tour been so far? Do you always get that kind of reception?
Joakim Berg: Yeah, it’s been really awesome actually. I was a little bit surprised actually, Nottingham was a blast, there was 900 people there. It was packed. The last time we played in Nottingham, we played in The Basement and we had 300 people and this time there were 900!
rushonrock: Do you prefer bigger crowds or do you like more intimate venues?
JB: It depends. Some nights it’s nice to play in front of smaller crowds but I wouldn’t mind playing to 5,000. That’s no problem. It doesn’t matter because we’re here for the music. That is the most important thing.
rushonrock: There has been some debate whether Hardcore Superstar should be headlining this tour instead of The 69 Eyes. Do you think you should have headlined?
JB: That’s been a problem during the tour. We decided we wanted to play as second band. It’s a co-headlined tour – Hardcore Superstar, The 69 Eyes supported by Crash Diet. We notice now that, of the five shows, people are maybe here for Harcore Superstar. I don’t want to say anything bad about them.
rushonrock: Did you see Crash Diet’s acoustic set in the dark when the power was cut in Newcastle?
JB: No but it was awesome to do that!
rushonrock: So what kind of relationship do you have with Crash Diet and The 69 Eyes?
JB: Both Crash Diet and The 69 Eyes are all good guys. This is the first time we have toured with The 69 Eyes, but we have known Crash Diet for years and years, so of course there is a little bit more heart.
rushonrock: How has touring changed for Hardcore Superstar?
JB: I think I enjoy it more now. Getting older, you become more calmer and you realise you don’t need to drink every night. I’m 36 now, and when I was 24 I was like: ‘you have to drink every night, you have to rock n’ roll, you have to be so fucking tough’, but it doesn’t matter anymore. Nowadays, I go out and about and I run every single day and I work out, lifting some weights and keeping myself in shape, because the things I do on stage – there ain’t many 30-50-year-old guys who manage to do that.
rushonrock: Did you feel there was a particular point when you needed a lifestyle change?
JB: I always worked out and I’ve always ran a lot, so I didn’t change my life. I’ve always been like that. But when you are 24, you can drink like hell one night and in the day off act like nothing happened, but nowadays you can’t do that. I don’t drink that much anymore and I take care of my body because I want to entertain people. Not to say anything bad about Liam Gallagher, I love Oasis, but I don’t want to stand still, I want to use the whole stage! And you have to work out.
rushonrock: There have been a number of Scandinavian bands becoming more and more popular in the UK. Do you have any tips of talent from your land?
JB: There is a band called Sister from Stockholm who are a really good glam band. There’s so many good bands in Scandinavia. It’s almost like there’s something in the water supply there.
rushonrock: Do you think there’s a revival currently happeneing in glam music?
JB: I don’t consider ourselves as a glam band. We are more rock and sleaze trash. If you hear Crash Diet you think, oh there’s a glam band, but we have our hair down not up! We try to combine sleaze and trash. When people look at us they say ‘they grew up with Motley Crue’, and that’s how it is. But we also grew up with bands like Anthrax, the Bay Area thrash bands, Slayer, Exodus, Testament and Suicidal Tendencies. That’s what we try to combine, two genres and you can hear that on the records and especially live.
rushonrock: Do you think you’ve got an eclectic fanbase because of this?
JB: A funny thing happened in Glasgow the other day. When we were playing the ballad Here Comes That Sick Bitch Again the drummer and the bass player went out to the sound deck and there were three guys standing there with Napalm Death patches. He said ‘come on, listen to the song’ and they said ‘no, no, we don’t like cheesy ballads!’ Afterwards we played Wild Boys and they were at the front! That’s cool. Opposites attract. Glam and thrash metal, we are crossbreeds, inbetween. When we have done festivals and there are these really hardcore bands, some come up to me and they are like – ‘we love your band, you are fucking awesome!’ That’s cool, because then we can make music for everyone.
rushonrock: Who are your favourite bands at the minute then?
JB: My favourite bands nowadays are Lamb Of God, I love Devildriver and Hatebreed. When I listen to this, I want energy because I’m a really energetic man and I like to get a rush from listening to it. Then I love The Who, Free and bands like that but nowadays it’s Hatebreed, Lamb Of God and Devildriver. With Lamb Of God, it’s more about the energy of the rhythm. ‘Walk With Me In Hell!’ You just want to kick someone in the face!