JØRN HAS HEAVY ROCK RADIO TOTALLY COVERED... AND ABBA GET A LOOK IN TOO
Roger Berzerk Fauske
Norwegian vocal supremo Jørn Lande has amassed quite a collection of credits to his name in this industry they call the music business. As well as being the voice on 'Alt For Norge', the Norwegian football song for the 1994 World Cup which has also become a second national anthem, he has had a hand in around about 40 albums and for this, his latest one 'Heavy Rock Radio', he goes back to his roots to pay homage to some of the music that inspired him all those years ago.
Here's Jørn talking about 'Alt For Norge' and why his father called him stupid...
As the man himself said: "All these songs I grew up with, I never really had the time to record some of them and this just seemed a good time."
The album is filled with some tracks you would expect, for example Dio's 'Rainbow In The Dark', Sabbath's 'Die Young', Purple's 'Stormbringer' and some that won't surprise you too much like Maiden's 'The Final Frontier' - "Probably the closest you get to anything commercial with Iron Maiden," says Jørn - 'Killer Queen', John Farnham's anthem 'You're The Voice', Foreigner's 'Rev On The Red Line', the evergreen Journey classic 'Don't Stop Believin'' and Paul Stanley's 'Live To Win' - yes... the South Park one.
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There are also a few that you may not expect, especially Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill' gets Jørnified as does 'Hotel California', but probably the most surprising inclusion is the track that was also the single, 'I Know There's Something Going On', a song written by Russ Ballard and performed by Frida in 1982. Yes, that Frida, the dark haired Abba songstress.
As Jørn explains: "I saw Abba live in 1978 with my uncle and I was a big fan. Of course Frida was born in Norway. To a Norwegian, she is Norwegian, she can't deny it!"
Musically this version of Frida's track is something that not everyone who appears on these pages can pull off – namely taking a song for a totally different audience and making it a more than believable rocker with balls to match.
But the standouts are 'Hotel California' and 'Stormbringer'. The former has been covered more than once of course and Jørn's interpretation of it results in an up tempo delivery and no little amount of groove running through it. The Purple classic is another with a distinct Jørn feel to it and let's be honest, after his time in the Snakes we know what he is capable of when it comes to doing Coverdale's voice justice. The guitar on this is another plus point, it's rich mix of fretboard tomfoolery and Middle Eastern feel to the beginning of the solo works a treat. This may actually improve on the original.
The two tracks that originally featured the voice of rock, Ronnie James Dio, deserve a special mention as well and not just musically. Jørn Lande has a special place in his heart for the great one, both as a performer and as a person and although Jørn doing a track that featured RJD isn't exactly a new phenomenon, his performance on that most classic of classic Dio tracks 'Rainbow In The Dark' is a stirring one and if anyone has the voice to match the man, then Jørn is your fellow.
Listen to what Jørn has to say about RJD, plus the songs 'The Man Who Was King' and 'Cancer Demon' from the 'Traveller' album.
A new Jørn album with original material is in the offing for next year but in the meantime this should be more than enough to keep both long term fans happy as well as the more recent converts. Yes, they are all covers but he isn't one to just do a copycat version of a song but to give them a genuine Jørnification (is that in the dictionary yet?) and very much put his mark on the music.
There is a specific word that comes up a lot when talking to Jørn about music and that word is honesty, being honest to yourself and to the music and that shines through in everything on offer here. Classy stuff from a classy gent.
One thing I didn't ask him about is the album cover and whether the raven DJ is Huginn or Munin, but you just know the bird is there with Odin's blessing and boy will he have some stories to tell the allfather when he flies back there.
A word too for the musicians on the album, who all put in more than stellar performances including of course his long-time partner in crime Trond Holter.
Trond Holter: Guitars
Francesco Iovino: Drums
Thomas Bekkevold: Bass
Alessandro Del Vecchio: Keyboards
'Rainbow In The Dark'
Jimmy Iversen and Tore Moren – guitars
Nic Angileri – bass
Willy Bendiksen – drums
Jørn Viggo Lofstad – guitars
Sid Ringsby – bass
Willy Bendiksen – drums
And here's the interview with Jørn Lande in full. It is just over an hour long so it's split into four parts.