Volume 96, Issue 1

Thursday, May 23, 2002
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Jack Winn brings cosmic flare For the Art of It

Satanic Surfers rock the world

This summer London theatre heats up

Hey, Jesus is back

Musings from the indie road

Satanic Surfers rock the world

By Maggie Wrobel
Gazette Staff


Gord Downie from The Tragically Hip once sang that "escape is at hand for the travelling man." Few bands know this better than Sweden's Satanic Surfers.

According to bassist Mattias Blixtberg, the punk rock quintet consider themselves a touring band first and foremost.

"That's one of the main reasons we're all in the band," he confesses. "We love to go on tour and play live shows. Touring is really important to us."

True to their word, the Surfers are definitely road warriors. In the past couple of years alone, they have played shows in Sweden, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Canada and England.

"We prefer to play smaller capacity shows at little venues so that we can keep door prices down," Blixtberg reveals.

This humble attitude, coupled with their melodic punk tunes, has gained the Surfers a loyal following across the globe.

When asked how audiences vary in different countries, Blixtberg responds with an enthusiastic laugh. "Southern European fans are really dedicated and put their heart into the music," he laughs. "Some of them even get hysterical!"

With eight albums under their collective belt, the Satanic Surfers have seen their share of musical ups and downs. Their last full-length album, 2000's Fragments and Fractions, was poorly received due to its bad recording quality.

"The circumstances around that recording weren't the best," Blixtberg reveals. "I still think the songs are good, but the mix is pretty weak and there is no real bass in the songs."

According to Blixtberg, it was the Surfers' tour-happy attitude that led to the poor production of the album. "It was really rushed because we were going on a European tour and had to finish it in order to have it released before we left," he says.

The band is much happier with the quality of their recent April 2002 release, Unconsciously Confined. "The new one is much better," Blixtberg enthuses. "The recording went really smoothly and it's the best album we've ever done."

As the Surfers come into their own musically, they face the questions concerning politics and integrity which are raised to most punk bands on the scene today.

"I guess people consider us a political band," Blixtberg muses. "Compared to other punk bands, I think we're really political."

The Surfers' lyrics include politically-charged lines such as "I hear a message of defiance, disobedience and solidarity – people are getting off their knees speaking up for what they believe," from their new song Thoughts, Words, Action..

Blixtberg explains the band's lyricist and vocalist Rodrigo Alfaro is determined to include tales of personal experience alongside his political awareness.

"Some political bands just hide behind empty statements," Blixtberg says. "I think it's more interesting to people if someone can take something from their personal life and reflect on it in a song."

This formula of political awareness and personal reflection seems to be working for the Surfers as they make their way across Canada for the fourth time. Future plans include touring South America later this year and Australia, Japan and Indonesia in 2003.

"I think we're at a good level for a band," Blixtberg says. "We're free to do the tours we want and we're happy where we're at."

Gazette File Photo

Satanic Surfers play Tuesday, May 28 at Call the Office. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002