Rock Overdose and Pavlos Giannakopoulos had a very interesting conversation with one of the greatest drummers, the living legend Anders Johansson who said a lot about his youth, his collaborations with legendary bands like Yngwie Malmsteen’s band, HammerFall, and about his upcoming concert in Greece with Manowar.
Rock Overdose: Hello mr Johansson and welcome to Rock Overdose
Anders Johansson: Hello Rock Overdose!
Rock Overdose: How are things going for you in 2019?
Anders Johansson: Really well, thank you. You know how it is... the future is always a blank and white spot on the map of life. One never really knows what to expect. So far this year has been great.
Rock Overdose: Which are your main music influences?
Anders Johansson: As far as drummers go I started listening to jazz drummers like Louie Bellson. But soon Ian Paice from Deep Purple was my main influence. Later Terry Bozzio.
Rock Overdose: When did you start and what made you to play music?
Anders Johansson: I started around 8 years old with piano lessons. It was never really my thing. My brother and I went together. Around 12 I got a small drum kit from my mom after bugging her about it for years.
Drums always interested me more for some reason. I used to think drummers were the coolest thing on earth and drumkits the coolest part of the equipment on stage with all the sparkling and shiny parts. And they were loud and prominent.
Rock Overdose: You were kind of born into a musical family. Weren't you?
Anders Johansson: Yes. My father and his father (my grand dad) as well as his father (my great grand dad). They all played. And my brother of course now with Rainbow and Stratovarius. My older sons and I have a band. We are releasing an album on Arising empire (Nuclear blast) in the fall of 2019. The band is called Tungsten.
SILVER MOUNTAIN BAND
Rock Overdose: Can you tell us some words about Silver Mountain band? How did you all meet?
Anders Johansson: They were our hometown Malmö's biggest band. And their leader lived close to us. When they needed a new drummer mutual friends suggested me. I was 17 then. It was my first real heavy metal band. I am actually not a pure heavy metal guy from the beginning but life has decided for me to play in heavy band all my life. I guess one thing leads to another.
Rock Overdose: In 1984 you moved to the USA to join your brother Jens in Yngwie Malmsteen's band. What's the story behind it?
Anders Johansson: I knew Yngwie from before and we had played a bit in Sweden. He went to the States and after a few years he was going to record a solo album. He wanted musicians that he could play with and hang out with. He remembered us. The management didn't want any of us since we were unknown and from a strange country but they decided on a compromise. So Jens went to record Rising Force. I came later after a few months when Yngwie decided to form a real band. To make a long story short.
YNGWIE MALMSTEEN'S BAND
Rock Overdose: You recorded five albums with Malmsteen's band. Which is your favorite one and why?
Anders Johansson: “Marching Out”. It was raw and unpolished as well as had a vibe that was aggressive and dark yet swinging. We were young and had the same micro timing. It felt like we were going to take over the world. we had huge expectations and as I said before... the map of our lives were uncharted territories.
Rock Overdose: After a huge number of collaborations , you joined Hammerfall on the 'Legacy' tour in 1999. From "Renegade" (2000) to "(r) Evolution" (2014) it's a long time. Which are your memories from all these years with Hammerfall?
Anders Johansson: Very many and nice memories. We played a lot in for me new territories like many countries in South America and did a lot of other interesting things. A new thing for me was that we became famous in our own country and were on TV-shows like game shows and ads for cars etc.
Rock Overdose: You are a co-founder of Heptagon Records with your brother. Can you tell us some words about)
Anders Johansson: It was mainly to release our late father’s jazz records even though we released some of our own stuff there too.
Rock Overdose: What bands do you like to listen to these days?
Anders Johansson: I usually listen to Spotify and hop from one thing to another. I like progressive new metal. But I listen to anything really.
Rock Overdose: Which are the best moments in your music career?
Anders Johansson: I think when it was all new. With Yngwie's band. when we first went to Japan. It was huge. He was huge. We were rockstars like you see on TV when Beatles go somewhere. We also played support for huge band for months in the States. It was unreal playing these monser arenas night after night, month after month.
Rock Overdose: Now you play with Manowar. In June 14th we will see you in a concert in Athens Greece at Release Athens Festival. You don't usually play in our country. Which are your feelings about this concert?
Anders Johansson: I'm looking forward to it! It will be my first time playing in Grecce strangely enough. Playing with them is super new for me. It is like one of them things life throws at you. Who would have known a few months ago.
Rock Overdose: What is your opinion about Greece and Greek people?
Anders Johansson: That you are really serious and very proud of your country and history. I know a few and they are all really intelligent and dedicated. Gus G (Kostas Karamitroudis) is a friend and we have a band that plays sometimes (allegiance of rock). He tells me a lot about Greece.
Rock Overdose: Can you tell us with one word something about Silver Mountain, Yngwie Malmsteen, Hammerfall, Manowar.
Anders Johansson: One word hard
Silver Mountain: A proto neoclassical band. One of the first of the new wave.
Yngwie: Probably the best guitar player there ever was and ever will be.
Hammerfall: German heavy metal played by swedes.
Manowar: The kings of metal. The original band that influenced nearly all heavy metal bands in the world.
Rock Overdose: If you want just send a message to your Greek fans.
Anders Johansson: I love your country (been there for vacations a few times) and you should be proud of your heritage. It will be nice finally to get to play there.
Rock Overdose: Mr Johansson thank you so much for doing this interview.
Anders Johansson: Thank you! The pleasure is mine.
For Rock Overdose
Interview: Pavlos Giannakopoulos