Interview By: robwrong
It`s been a while since I have heard what Generous Maria was up to, so I dropped Göran a friendly line via email and asked if he would be interested in letting us know what was going on in the world of Generous Maria...
Rob: Haven't heard too much from you guys lately, what has Generous Maria been up to lately, writing some new material?
Göran Florström: Yeah, we´ve been writing, - and recording, we´re keeping ourselves busy. We´ve got ourselves some new recording equipment and are building something like a small studio in our rehearsal room, so we´re doing pre-productions for our next album, or what the hell we´re doing, maybe it´s the new album we´re recording, I don´t know, it almost sounds like it. It´s ticking along slow but sure anyway and it´s turning out great so far.
Rob: For those that don't know, how did you guys get together, give us a little bio/history of the band from the start.
GF: We got together early '98.. I hadn´t been doing much music-wise for a while when my old friend Jeppe, he plays the bass, called and told me he was back from living out of town for a few years and that he wanted to put an act together.. That was the start of it all. We recorded a demo that turned out pretty alright and then we recorded the ‘Strict Nurse’ EP which Alone Records wanted to release – and did so on the ‘Generous Maria/Skua Split CD’. After that we signed to Lunasound and ‘Command of the New Rock’ was recorded and released ´02 in Europe and ’03 in North America by Abstract Sounds. And, briefly, that´s pretty much where we are now, right?
Rob: Do you have any upcoming tours planned?
GF: We´ve got a few one off gigs coming up, first one´s here in Gothenburg in November with Grand Magus and Abramis Brama which gonna be cool. Next year, in March, we´re gonna tour Holland, got a booking agency, City-Gigs, that is putting something together there. And hopefully a few dates in Germany as well on the same trip. There´s also a few towns around here in Sweden we´re gonna visit the next few months.
Rob: What are some of the local bands you guys like, and what is your local stoner rock scene like, I mean town wise...I know that Sweden has a thriving stoner rock scene for sure...
GF: There are quite a few good bands coming from here, The Awesome Machine and Rickshaw, just to pick a couple that I like a lot. A few weeks ago we went down to a town like 150 kilometres south of Gothenburg to catch Blind Dog, Abramis Brama and a new band, at least to me, called Witchcraft that was really really good. Abramis is a totally brilliant band and Blind Dog too. I love their latest album and I bought their first one on that gig and it´s just as ass kicking. What I´m trying to say is that there are great bands all around over here, for sure. But a “scene” is more then that I guess, and about that I don´t know.. When our guitarist Ulrik and Hogfeldt arranged Fuzzfest 2 a couple of month ago, with a totally stunning line-up, Gas Giant, Blind Dog, Greenleaf, Terra Firma (that sucked though), like fourteen - thirteen then - great bands for two days, it turned up something like fifty-sixty guys. So that massive, supportive “scene” you´d expect isn´t really there, is it? Well, I don´t know.. Should be happy for all the great bands I guess..
Rob: You guys have a song on a compilation coming out soon on Game Two-- (sweden rock goddamit!) - Do you guys have any recording plans, or upcoming releases that we should know about?
GF: On that one you mention there, ‘Swedish Rock ‘n’ Roll Dammit’, we´ve got a song called Devil´s Brood and I´ve been pretty much looking forward to it because it´s the first Generous Maria on vinyl. It´s a double 7” y´know, and the other bands are Mushroom River Band, Rise & Shine and Space Probe Taurus, one band on each side.. It has suffered quite a few delays but now I just learnt that the covers have arrived which means it´s finally released! The other song we´ve recorded recently is our version of Wild Child, a Zodiac Mindwarp song, that´s gonna be on a tribute for that man. It´s called ‘Snake Oil Supercharm’ and it´s out in a couple of weeks on Sleazegrinder. You can check out their site for the line-up and stuff. He´s a pretty active guy, mr Sleazegrinder, he´s also edited a book called ‘Gigs from Hell’ where bands tell their sordid stories, in the introduction he says it´s about nights “when it all went wrong, when bad luck and cosmic mayhem wrote the rules, and the devil ran the soundboard.” I contributed with a little story to that book, a lot of those wasted nights in a man´s life, aren´t there..? Just got my copy today and it seems hilarious. It´s released by Headpress, by the way.
Rob: How has the internet changed music for you? Or how has it helped Generous Maria overall?
GF: Well, it´s hard to remember how it was before internet, isn´t it? Can´t imagine how I kept track of anything, which I probably didn´t. I mean, just take Stonerrock.com, listening to a mp3-track here and there, reading what bands has to say, checking out what bands look like..You and me wouldn´t know of each other for sure.. And as a band it´s essential, getting and keeping in touch with people.. it´s helped a lot man, a lot. And Generous Maria started out just when internet started to get really common so that was good..
Rob: How often do you guys rehearse?
GF: Normally twice a week. Now when we´re recording and working on new songs it´s a session here and there, but normally we try to drag our lazy asses to the rehearsal room on Wednesdays and Sundays..
Rob: How does the songwriting process go down? Is it a collective effort or is there one person that comes up with the bulk of ideas?
GF: It´s a collective thing basically.. with different areas of responsibilities. Ulrik comes up with like loose riffs and so does Jeppe and he also has the skill to put ´em together to songs, a more over all thinking, along with Danne. And Mats lays down the groove to the stuff and I write the lyrics. It´s pretty much of jamming going on and trying ideas out in the rehearsal room. And then Jeppe and Danne takes the material home and kinda thinks it over. Mostly it works pretty smoothly.
Rob: What do you guys think of the stoner rock genre- does it bug you that it's somewhat trendy or popular?
GF: Yeah, I hate it. When something gets popular it´s high time to move on. To something obscure that no one likes so I can be alone with my music. Naah, it´s not that trendy, is it? I don´t feel neither trendy nor popular to be honest. And I still like a lot of bands that are in this genre, it´s still where I find many of the more interesting acts. The name of the genre might not be the coolest, but it´s just a fucking name..
Rob: What are some of your plans for touring? Any chance you guys will come over to the States at some point?
GF: If we´d get a good, trustworthy booking agent to help us out with that, we´d love to come over to the States to play. But it´s too big a thing to arrange ourselves from here, y´know, obviously. And at this point we don´t have that kinda back up. But who knows, one day.. it would be really fun, surely.
Rob: What are some of the influences behind the Generous Maria sound? What are some of the bands that you guys like?
GF: We´re still digging into the rich soil of the 70´s quite a lot, which might not come as such a surprise.. Personally I´ve always been and still is deeply into Iggy, I´ll never let go of Iggy and the Stooges y´know. Mats, our drummer, listens to stuff like Social Distortion, and Danne´s into Emmy Lou Harris. Ulrik is the guy with the most profound knowledge of the stonerrock genre and Jeppe likes Jethro Tull and Free a lot. It´s my experience that it gets really good when those different influences mix..
Rob: Anything you would like to say to the community at StonerRock.com?
GF: I´m not one of those active guys on the site, but I check the news like every day and read the forums once in a while, and what strikes me when I do that is that there are many guys around with really deep knowledge on heavy rock and music in general that is often pretty impressive.. Also people being really funny and, like, nice.. Many of you I wouldn´t mind at all sitting down, having a beer with and talk. So, hopefully, in the future, I´ll be seeing a few of you one way or another!
Here is the part of the interview that we call the silly questions! You can take as much time with these questions as you like, or answer them short...they are meant to be fun so have fun! Thanks again Göran!
If you weren`t a rocker, what would you most like to be?
GF: Call it lack of imagination but I can´t see myself as anything else really.
What was your worst gig and why? What was your best gig and why?
GF: When I was younger it could happen that I was drunk and obnoxious on stage and did really bad gigs, but now I´ve got my act together and don´t do that anymore so now all Generous Maria gigs are top notch.
Top three movies, books and albums of all time?
GF: The top three movies of all times today, they´ll probably change by tomorrow, are Dogville by von Trier, Bitter Moon by Polanski and Videodrome by Cronenburg.
Books: Gökmannen (The Cuckoo Man) by Sture Dahlström, Gravity´s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon and White Line Fever by Lemmy.
Albums: Raw Power by Iggy & the Stoges, Master Of Reality by Black Sabbath and Kingdom Come by Sir Lord Baltimore.
How often do you surf the net and what do you mostly do while online?
GF: Well, every day I guess, checking and writing email and searching SR.com for info on important social issues and stuff.
What is the most rock `n` roll thing you`ve ever done?
GF: Don´t know if it´s rock ‘n’n roll thing or not, but I´ve hit pretty big pieces out of my front teeth on the mic at several occasions.. It´s funny how you associate painful things with things having to do with rock ‘n’ roll, isn´t it?
What`s the most rock `n` roll thing you`ve seen someone else do?
GF: Saw a singer smashing a beer glass on his head once, because he was in trouble with some girl in the audience.. Rawk!
What`s your worst "bad trip" story?
GF: I take it literally, so it must be when the band traveled like 300 kilometers to a town and when we got there the venue didn´t exist anymore, it had burnt down. So we just had to turn around and go back home. That was a pretty bad trip.
What’s the most painful thing you have ever witnessed at a rock show?
GF: It´s when I saw our guitarist Danne, he played in an other band back then, stage diving and smashing right into the floor, breaking two ribs and something more which I don´t remember now. Looked and probably was painful as hell.
How old were you when you first realize you wanted to rock?
GF: Five or something, playing guitar on a tennis racket all the time. Always wanted to be a guitarist the first many years..
What`s the most embarrassing job you ever had?
GF: Planting trees up north, when I was a kid. It´s not embarrassing maybe, more like utterly boring, being alone on a vast felling area..
What`s your favourite ice cream flavor?
If you could date any rock star dead or alive in the world, who would it be? Movie star?
GF: I´d date Iggy if he´d only promise to talk to me and tell me stories all the time.
What would be the ultimate dream gig of all time line-up be, with your band opening? Limit to three bands please (including your own...) and where?
GF: Generous Maria opening for MC5 and the Stooges some place in Detroit. Don´t know any venues there but it feels like the right city.