Swedish hard rock veterans Backyard Babies are releasing their latest album Sliver & Gold. We caught up with guitarist Dregen, who fills us in on the new record, touring and other topics.
Chad Bowar: Was there anything unique about the songwriting process for Sliver & Gold compared to the typical Backyard Babies album?
Dregen: We had for the first time a real deadline, which was good for us. We were really focused on what kind of album we wanted to do this time. And with the deadline coming up we didn’t have time to over do or over think stuff on the album. I think rock’n’roll music shall be done straight from your heart and mind and straight recorded on tape.
What will be your strongest memory of recording the album?
Working together with Chips Kiesbye as the producer of the album. That was a match made in heaven.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
This is our best album in our career, and I hope it can bring us on tour all over the world. Especially to the USA, where we haven’t toured since 2005 or something…
How was the video shoot for “44 Undead”?
Cold and wet since we shot most of the video in England. It was a stressy thing from the record company (no shit!) to get the video out and we were on tour with Skid Row in England, so our drummer Peder Carlsson shot it at night after our shows. Therefore it’s only me and Nicke in the video because our drummer is behind the camera. (laughs) It was shot on the streets of Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield, London and back home in Stockholm.
How important are videos these days?
To be honest, I don’t really know. I guess they have gone from big fuckin’ Hollywood film-productions meant to be on big screens on TV to now being streamed on some teeny-weeny smartphones, big as a cigarette packet.
What were some of the highlights of your recent UK tour with Skid Row?
Apart from the great shows, talking to Rachel Bolan and he remembered that we gave him our first, self released EP Something To Swallow 1991 in a shoe shop in Stockholm when Skid Row opened for GNR. He still has the vinyl EP.
You’re currently on a European tour. Any plans or hopes for a North American tour this album cycle?
Hell yes! We would love to make that happen!
Where haven’t you played live that you’d still like to get to?
We had a tour booked in China but we were refused to enter the country. I’ll take that a a compliment. Other than that we have toured pretty much everywhere: Europe, South America, Australia, Japan, etc. But a USA tour would be ace since we haven’t toured the U.S. since 2005 something.
With so much material, how do you go about constructing a set list, and does it change from show to show within a tour?
With a new album out, you wanna play the whole album pretty much, but then the hardcore fans also wanna hear the old songs. It’s a luxury problem. It’s more like doing a good old mix tape with a kind of “best of” set. No, we don’t change much during the tours.
Now that it has been a few years since your hiatus, what effect did it have on the band musically and personally?
It was actually a four year break, since we started to write Four By Four in 2014. It did us really good. Some time off from each other. I wrote an autobiography and recorded a solo album released on Universal. Nicke also did some solo albums. I also joined Michael Monroe’s band and toured with him for 3 years (two USA tours) and wrote and recorded his album Horns And Halos. On the personal level we got some normal life shit done as well. Bought houses and apartments. Got married. Got divorced. Had kids. Stuff we had been missing out after all the years on the road.
As you look back on your “30 years of rock and roll,” what have been some of the high and low points for you?
I’m a positive guy. I’d say 95 percent of these 30 years has been gold. 5 percent has been sliver, and rough, darker times. We knew already from the start that this would be a bumpy ride. Actually the title of the new album Sliver & Gold is a play with words that sums up our 30 years with the same lineup: mostly gold but some sliver as well.
How have you managed to keep the same lineup for 30 years?
I guess we still have the same passion and ideas on how a great rock band should sound and be like. We also function well on a personal level with respect and acceptance among each other and not whine about stuff too much. And we are four fighters I guess. It’s like an old relationship: we still live together, but we don’t fuck anymore. (laughs)
Do you remember the first time you heard a Backyard Babies song on the radio?
Yes. I was having sex with a girl at a home party and our demo was played on the radio. She got mad cause I jumped straight out of her bed and ran up to the stereo.
This was 1992.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Right now we are on tour in Germany so I’ll send you our mix tape on Spotify we play on this tour, before going on stage.
(interview published March 18, 2019)