Interview with ANDERS JOHANSSON
by Fredrik Hjelm

Fredrik Hjelm: I was thinking we should turn back time, all the way back to Malmo, southern Sweden 1980 - what do you say?

Anders: Cool, let's do it!

FH: How did you get started on the drums?

Anders: Well, I started way before 1980, like maybe 1974, but things started moving around 1980 when I joined Malmo based Silver Mountain, created by the infamous guitar-great Jonas Hansson, a Malmo native. At the time, Jonas and the band were local celebrities and the band itself was one of the biggest metal acts in Sweden. Back in the day, there weren't as many bands as today so it was a different scene.

FH: Tell me about touring with Silver Mountain...

Anders: Well, we mainly toured Scania, (i.e.: a geographical region on the southernmost tip of the Scandinavian Peninsula in Sweden) but we did a bigger Swedish tour in '82, I think it was. I only got as far as Denmark with Silver Mountain and at the time I left the band they continued touring and went to Japan among other countries. Silver Mountain totally was "a band of brawlers" and I guess we were all pretty much the same back then.

FH: Tell me how you joined up with Yngwie Malmsteen!

Anders: Well, when I was doing my military service in Stockholm, I saw him playing at a record store with a mutual friend of ours, Mats Pîlsson who introduced me to Yngwie. I knew who Yngwie was, of course, and he was already known as a "guitar bad ass" in Sweden at the time. So we started hanging out a little bit when I was on leave from the service and got to know each other that way. After that, he took off for the States, and we kept in contact. To make a long story short, he eventually ended up getting me and my brother Jens over to the States to join him and his band, his Rising Force.

FH: How did Jonas Hansson of Silver Mountain handle that?

Anders: Well, we thought it was kind of sticky to be honest with you. Jonas had a pretty hot temper so if I remember it correctly I think we let some third party tell Jonas the news that we were out of his band. But I mean, at the time I didn't feel Jonas and the band were very focused or going in the right direction so it felt like turning down ice hockey stadium-tours with Yngwie for local club-gigs with Silver Mountain would not be a very good idea! But of course I had a sense of loyalty towards Jonas at the same time as I was thinking to myself that he's a great musician and that it would be very easy for him to replace me and my brother (who played keyboards in the band.) I mean, I was "just the drummer" and didn't have that much to do with the band and the songwriting.

Interview with ANDERS JOHANSSON Page 2