Music and Image
story of the early phony names and
how the names of the underworld were adopted
Comments on all the rumors controversies absurd
tales and assorted legends surrounding BATHORY
Personal thoughts and reflections on
the subjects of music image and imagery
whatever branch of art it is they're famous, no matter within which
frame of expression they're active, artists seem always to have changed
their birth name or adopted professional names. Patricia Andrzejewski,
David Robert Hayward-Jones, Cherilyn Sarkisian, Decian Patrick McManus,
Paul David Hewson, Reginald Kenneth Dwight and Brian Warner. Familiar
names all of them, right?! Didn't think so.
is a powerful name. And special. Not only because it is so
very synonymous with something as legendary as BATHORY, but also because
it has remained the name of the man that has been BATHORY's front man,
song writer, vocalist, guitarist, some times bass player too, and the
heart and brain of BATHORY for two decades.
will nevertheless still happen that people spell the name wrong. Particularly
in the US for some reason. Every version from Quarthon with
an "a" to Quorton sans the "h" can still
be found in both American articles and letters from American fans. So
perhaps the name - at least to some - isn't all that powerful after
where possibly could a name like Quorthon hail from originally? A list
of demons and dark prince's has been mentioned as the source.
It was during the winter of 1983/1984 - as I was reading this book
on Satanic rituals and stuff - that I stumbled upon this list of
weird names. It turned out the names belonged to "...sleeping
demons..." you could call upon for whatever reason or
something like that. Utterly stupid.
There were also a bunch of names at the end of that list, names
of dark prince's banished from Heaven and now in the service of
Satan apparently. These guys were supposedly supreme princes of
darkness and evil, destined to fight at Lord Satan's side in the
final battle between the forces of light and dark or something like
I just stopped at one name and felt instinctively that this was
it. And that name was Quorthon. Although I am not one hundred
per cent sure if that was also the only way it was spelled. I might
be mistaking, but I am quite sure I saw the name one more time in
that book, and for some reason I believe the name was spelled both
with and without an "h" or with and without a "u"
or something like that. I just picked the version of the name that
both felt and looked right.
Unfortunately I threw all that stuff away tons of years ago. It
might have been nice to keep at least that one page with all those
names just for my personal clip-book. Particularly as the names
Vvornth and Kothaar originate from the very same
list of demons/dark princes as Quorthon. I still wonder
if those names were really the best on that list. I do recall virtually
all of them as impossible to pronounce though.
reading books on Satanism and the rituals of Black arts etc,
Quorthon stumbled upon a name he felt to be just right for him.
the idea for picking any sort of phony names at all came from watching
so many other Swedish metal bands at the time adopting Americanized
We would all think it looked ridiculous. Not that we didn't respect
their right to pick whatever names they wanted, but the names themselves
being half-Swedish and half-American, sounded pretty goofy to us.
The funny thing is, this was something we brought up the very first
day we got together on March the 16th 1983. We actually ended our
first rehearsal by talking about that and then tasting a lot of
stupid names, sort of thinking "...which names would we
pick should we decide to follow that Americanized-names trend?".
Jonas and Freddan were very quick to pick their phony-names. Jonas
was absolutely dead certain for him it had to be Vans (the
sneakers) McBurger (for being an avid visitor to all the
local McDonald's restaurants). Freddan would - though just as quick
- only come up with Hanoi. And don't even for a moment
think of even begging me to try and figure out where the hell that
name came from and why he kept it. As for myself on the other hand,
at the time I couldn't think of a phony-name and would let the issue
be until a later stage.
But that at least shows how much for-a-laugh the band really was
to us right from day one. The level of humor was very high in BATHORY
even in those days. The phony-names we picked up as a result of
the goofy names other "serious" bands chose for themselves,
is proof enough that we weren't dead serious or pretentious about
anything in those days.
in a shot from the second BATHORY photo session
down BATHORY's rehearsal place in February 1984.
the name Quorthon is as synonymous with BATHORY as can be, it would
nevertheless be a very different name that appeared next to a BATHORY
song-title for the first time.
the SCANDINAVIAN METAL ATTACK compilation album, Ace
Shot is listed as the composer of "Sacrifice" and "The
Return of the Darkness and Evil". Not sounding exactly a name worthy
a member of an extreme metal band - although of course the phrase extreme
metal as a general term hadn't yet been invented - it nevertheless has
an interesting story.
I got the idea for the name from a true life story and two Motörhead
tracks. Originally it started out as an in-joke though. I had not
been able to come up with a phony-name for myself at that time.
I then humped this girl I met at a club one night, and she said
something like "...you're a real "kanon skjut...",
which translated to English would literally be mean "...you're
a real cannon shot...", meaning you're a good lay. In
sexual terms and in English, "a cannon shot"
of course do not sound as cool to a Stockholmer as "Kanon
Nevertheless, when I told the story to the other guy's before rehearsal
one day, we all had a laugh as I was duly dubbed every silly military
or cannon related name like the artillerist or captain
caliber and names like that. And sensing I wasn't gonna get
off the hook that easily and that I perhaps better act quickly in
order to get the edge, I rapidly tried to standardize all that and
turn it into my phony-name similar to the Vans McBurger
and Hanoi phony-names the others had been very quick to
pick for themselves.
So here's where the two Motörhead tracks comes into the picture.
I though of Kanon Skjut and/or Cannon Shot and
so amalgamated the "Ace of Spades" and "Sharp Shooter"
Motörhead song titles into the name Ace Shoot - which
some time later became Ace Shot - as a tongue-in-cheek
name relating to all the artillery, cannon and weapons joke names
I had had to put up with until then.
Being an old fan of Mr Space Ace Frehley, and getting bored with
still having to comment on the Ace Shot name tons of years
later, it was sometimes all too easy to just throw away a joke to
check the reaction of people out by simply saying the name probably
came from the home galaxy of the Space Ace or something like that.
That rather than bringing up the old humping-this-girl and the telling-the-boys-about-her-comment
stories. And so it has been thought for over a decade that the name
was Ace Frehley-influenced. But it wasn't.
for at least a decade now, some individuals have been concentrating
much effort and focus on the task of trying to present to the whole
world Quorthon's birth name. To some, the music itself - it seems -
will never be interesting enough...
The one thing that still amuses me is the many different versions
of my supposedly "real name" that I’ve read throughout
these two decades. Journalists would - unsuspectingly - be used
as guinea pigs to spread a pun planted every now a then. I have
planted more than just a few pranks that way, just to check out
the impact of the media or how people will react to something they
see in print. It was sort of checking out how the rings-on-the-water
process actually works, to educate myself and better understand
how people relate to and sort through the usual crap printed in
And just for the record, I have still after two decades
never seen my real name in print. There’s been an awful lot
of Johan, Richard, Stefan, Per, Thomas, Leif, Tommy, Erik and Peter.
But, sorry, you’re all wrong. Not that it matters really.
But it at least gives you a great indication of the number of media
folks out there that really couldn't care less about the music.
Some of them really shouldn't be in the metal-media at all but write
about celebrities, royalties or fashion. Which - come to think of
it - is exactly how they approach metal anyway...
The past twenty years have taught at least me one big truth: 99%
of all the things you can get to read in the press, need
not to be accurate, correct, true or even remotely close to reality
simply because it's in print. The things I have learned, the things
I have experienced and the things I have seen and heard in these
past two decades made me lose all respect for the media. Which is
truly sad, because there are still tons of fanzines out there with
more heart and soul behind each and every one of them, than what's
behind the so-called "big metal press" collectively.
face shot of Quorthon.
are some true gems to be told in the field of name planting. Some tales
are just so amazingly funny they're almost hard to believe. Other stories
are almost unbelievably laughable.
There’s this one very famous story how I planted the name
Peter Forsberg after an interview I made with a journalist
from either Spain or Portugal, I can’t remember which any
longer. He simply sort of casually asked me and I sensed a good
spot for planting something nice. So I sort of had him let the answer
"slip out of me" but made him "-...promise not
to tell anybody...".
Knowing very well how not only his tape recorder would still be
on at the other end of the line but also how very little knowledge
folks in the south of Europe will generally have of the wonderful
sport of Ice hockey, I had a hard time keeping myself from laughing
out loud as I planted the name Peter Forsberg.
And he had a hard time hiding from me how happy he was with the
answer and how gullible he thought I had been for giving him "my
name". Of course he went on to print the name a couple of weeks
later. And since it after all was a normal Swedish name, it has
remained the most frequently quoted name in the press during the
last ten years. But wrong nevertheless.
Shortly after that, on another occasion but in a similar fashion,
I planted the name Mats Sundin when talking to a journalist
from another south European country, simply because I couldn’t
believe how nobody seemed to react when the name of the famed number
21 had made it into print a few months previously.
Even Sweden's biggest newspaper - when reviewing NORDLAND
just recently - tried to expose somebody's secret by writing something
along the lines "-...and here's Peter Forsberg's new album...".
I guess it didn't help this particular self-made expert out a lot
that he was not only Swedish but also very likely familiar with
both Hockey and legendary player number 21. He stepped right in
the shit just as well. For some reason he at least didn't buy the
Mats Sundin rumor.
sometimes the puns planted seem to have been able take almost absurd
turns and doubled or even tripled in effect. If the punch line is elaborate
enough, you don't even have to be a Swede to get this one...
When the opportunity will arise to really pull the leg of some journalist
big time, at least I’m not going to hold back. There's this
truly gem of a story that begins with me on the phone with this
German journalist some thirteen years ago. As we were wrapping things
up I talked a bit about how I was booked to go to Germany the following
week to do some promotion job for the new album.
I can't remember how we came to the issue, but somehow he must have
sensed an opportunity to pull the big one out of me, and he went
on to claim there was this law in Germany proscribing how foreigners
had to fax name and address in advance in order to be able to get
a hotel room. This was just before the wall came down and border
procedures were a bit more strict.
Knowing very well that what he said was all bullshit, I nevertheless
played the part as he went on to tell me how he would love to help
me out with the details. So I made him promise dearly not to tell
anybody and very carefully spelled "my name" out to him
so there'd be no doubt he'd "-...get it right for the hotel...".
A couple of weeks later I learned that he, despite his very dear
promise, was happy to announce to the world "-...Quorthon’s
real name...". And should anybody ever doubt him, and
should I even dare to deny it all, he had "-...the
tape of our phone conversation to prove it...".
The only flaw in the story was he had forgotten to check with a
Swedish person the authenticity of the name I had been so careful
to spell out to him. Although it might have sounded very much like
a perfectly normal Swedish name to him - and the words were indeed
Swedish - Runka Snorkråka would nevertheless never
ruin my cover for even a split second. Why!? Get yourself a more
modern Swedish-English dictionary and find out for yourselves...
Quorthon shot from February 1984.
bogus-names planted throughout the years include such gems as Fjärt
Bengrot, Inge Roligt, Pelle Svanlös, Trauk Mons, Folke Ostkuksgrissla
and Per Värs. But neither of these bogus-names would ever be spread
around much. Some people - it must be presumed - apparently had
learned from past experiences and did manage to find themselves
a good Swedish-English dictionary or check with a Swedish source after
doesn't seem like you can trust the authenticity of a name "revealed"
even when it is served in the form of a hardback that obviously must
have taken years and a huge effort to put together.
The only name that I’ve seen in print that I had nothing to
do with or I didn't come up with - and I seriously have no idea
who did plant that name initially, where they got it from
or who decided to pull the leg of these authors - is also one of
the best puns planted. The name was presented in this dictionary
sort of a book that came out a few years ago entitled Lords
The book was supposed to act as a History of the Occult Music kind
of a thing or a Who's Who in the church-burning hood or something
like that. And I am sure they've spent an awful amount of time trying
to draw lines and make diagrams forever, listening to ton's of albums
and taking notes in a very serious manor. But the name they came
up with - and went on to reveal to the world as "Quorthon's
real name" - turned out to be Pugh Rogerfeldt
For a Swede the name Pugh Rogerfeldt would not need to
be followed by any serious explanation. But for our international
friends: Torbjörn "Pugh" Rogerfeldt is a fifty plus
something Swedish folkrock singer - sort of our equivalent to Tom
Petty - whose prime days may lie some thirty years back in time.
I must have strained at least a handful of jaw muscles laughing
myself silly when I heard that first time.
driving force behind the group is Pugh Rogefeldt
who uses the more exciting stage name of Quorthon…..”
A quote of fabulous accuracy from a passage
on BATHORY in the book "Lords of Chaos"
by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind
But then as soon as I realized one of the people behind being one
Michael Moynihan, a guy who had sent me tons of letters for a number
of years, usually including a new issue of his occult/heathen styled
fanzine and even Midwinterblot greeting cards etc, it was all of
a sudden just sad. He did have my address and so he could
have just dropped me a letter or email while working on the BATHORY
There were plenty of details in that "biography" that
could have been more accurate. There were hundreds of things they
could have just asked me about but never did. I mean, if you're
gonna spend all that time and effort writing such a supposedly complete
piece of work, why not be thorough and get some info straight from
the man himself.
For Michael's part in that book, should the rest of it be as incorrect, I felt slightly sorry. I'd rather
contribute with details and info than have people write pieces like
that, stuff that's entirely build on personals assumptions and not
too solid accuracy.
out take from the BLOOD FIRE DEATH photo session.
other official names in the BATHORY-family are Vvornth and
Kothaar. Originating from the same list of demons and dark princes as
Quorthon, these names were chosen primarily for that reason and for
the phonetic "th" similar to the th in both Quorthon
and BATHORY and - reportedly - were basically the only other pronounceable
names on that list.
possible, though, these names originally were spelled slightly different.
Nobody seems to remember anymore. But it is quite possible that this
list of demon's and dark princes may have had these particular two names
down as either "Kathaar", "Konthaar" or "Kuastar",
and "Varnth", "Voranth" or "Voreth".
intention was for these two names to be adopted by whoever was associated
with BATHORY playing the drums or the bass. Or rather, the names were
chosen for them while working for BATHORY.
It was never anything that got any widespread use though, not even
internally. The buddy of mine playing drums on UNDER THE
SIGN OF THE BLACK MARK for instance, never liked the name
and so we never brought it up ever again.
And though the name Vvornth was sort of a staple name for the drummer
role in BATHORY even back in 1986, we never really used it professionally
and would seldom enclose any of these other two names when sending
shot sent in by Japanese BATHORY fans, too young to spell things right
yet proud enough to pose before their BATHORY flag on a school trip
back in 1986.
I remember how around UNDER THE SIGN OF THE BLACK MARK
and BLOOD FIRE DEATH we were desperate to get a
better deal in Japan and very excited about putting BATHORY albums
out there officially. So we were talking to this Japanese company
and would send them this one-off bio package with a picture of the
three of us and the names etc. But I guess they either didn't like
the outfits or couldn't pronounce the names, for the distribution
talks fell through at some point.
wouldn't be until the release of BLOOD FIRE DEATH in
October 1988 that all three names, accompanying a gatefold group photo, first time would be distributed in print on a wider scale. But despite
the BLOOD FIRE DEATH gatefold picture, the envious
and malevolent gossip bitches tried their best to diminish BATHORY by
brushing the photo off as "-...Quorthon and his drinking buddies...".
line-up shot that - surprisingly - only created more myths and rumors.
It didn't help much that BATHORY was happy to be blessed
with a seemingly stable line-up for a change and wanted to share that
with its audience, even though the line-up was primarily on a hired-guns
Gossip bitches and malevolent assholes preferred to brush the shot off
and to expand on the already wide range of rumors and bullshit.
acts can claim to have been surrounded by quite such an array of hard-to-believe
stories, irrelevant crap, utterly stupid legends, unnecessary small
shit talk and completely brainless rumors, as can BATHORY.
this has been doing any good or just bad, we leave to anybody to decide
for themselves. For undeniably, despite the innovative and bound breaking
music, it must be said that the suspense and mystery surrounding BATHORY
during the first handful of years helped a lot in making BATHORY an
interesting and even household name. And this even though there really
wasn't that much of suspense or mystery to begin with. Just not too
many obtainable pictures, names or info, and that's a difference.
order to find any one first thing to blame for a lot of the tales and
rumors, a handful of years during the mid 80's does come in handy. Years
when not very much info at all would come from the BATHORY camp in terms
of names, pictures or much else. And despite the fact since then Quorthon
has had the chance to answer to each and every one of these stories,
all the rumors, all the lies and all the down and outright crap, sadly
a lot of this bullshit still make up the only notion some people have
I am really having a hard time understanding why anybody would even
want to insist there is still this shroud of mystery and suspense
around BATHORY. In millions of interviews made during the past decade,
I have been very frank about tons of things. I have laid down the
facts about every piece of crap that makes up some peoples notion
But assumptions based on false stories and misinterpreted details
first mentioned in fanzines back in the mid 80’s, are still
being referred to as the truth no matter how many times I’ve
laid down the facts about something.
The no-shows thing for instance. All of that has been explained
for in detail over and over again in tons of interviews. In short,
metal was not a very big in Sweden back in 1983. There were
no places in Stockholm for a band like BATHORY to perform.
And even had there been such a place, given the quality
or appearance of BATHORY in those days, there was not even a shot
in hell that BATHORY would have been booked or allowed an inch of
a stage anywhere in Stockholm.
And by the time we did have the money and a long lasting hired guns
type of line-up, we weren't interested in anything beyond the studio
And regarding the line-up mystery. The names and faces of the musicians
associated with BATHORY for usually only a very brief period in
the years 1984-1986, would never be spread due to the simple fact
they were no longer members of or associated with BATHORY when the
album on which they played was released.
When the debut album was about to be released there was
no line-up. Us playing on that album were associated only through
friendship. Out of necessity the three ex-members of a dead and
gone Oi-punk outfit came together on my request, playing some material
I had written for my band which hadn't had a line-up together for
two months. There was no other way to make that debut album happen.
That first album would otherwise never have been recorded.
- When THE RETURN OF THE DARKNESS AND EVIL came
out, I had told the bass player to take a hike and get straight.
And the drummer playing on that album didn't want to make a career
out of it. For him it was a laugh, a six-pack and helping a buddy
out. The decision at that time not to release names or pictures
of people no longer associated with BATHORY was an easy decision
to make. Why have somebody's name and face out - a face and a name
that nobody knew anyway - when the bloke wasn't even in the circle
And there were times when one could even have had every reason to
doubt whether this somebody could even be regarded as a former member
at all. This somebody might not have been contributing with any
material, might have had no interest in wearing for a photo the
sort of outfit I felt suited BATHORY, or was quite simply very suspicious
right from day one about the lyrical theme or the breakneck speed
noise we produced. Then why the hell even bother about remembering
him years later or getting his name and picture out?
And again on the no-shows note. I didn't know there was a law that
proscribes how if you're an act you must also perform your
material live before a paying audience. I've said it before and
I'll say it again: BATHORY is not an act in that sense or hasn't
been since 1989-1990, it's a studio project and has been ever since
the HAMMERHEART or TWILIGHT OF THE GODS
I think anti-BATHORY minds have been doing their very best for well
over a decade now to keep as much of the bullshit surrounding BATHORY
alive, simply because there's no other way they can get at BATHORY
besides writing crap reviews and spreading the shit on through their
When I think back, there never was any rumors, suspense, mystery
or whatever surrounding other contemporary first generation extreme
metal acts such as Hellhammer, Sodom, Destruction or Slayer.
And when you flick through the pages of metal fanzines and magazines
or have a look at all the webzines out there, I've noticed other
bands never get to answer to "-...details shrouded in secrecy..."
or asked about rumors and legends to even near the extent that's
reality to me. They're seldom - if ever - asked to comment about
mystery and suspense. And they're usually the ones looking
like the devil gave birth to all of them, whereas for the past fifteen
years I've looked like the guy next door dressed in jeans and T-shirt
with a baseball cap on backwards.
shot showing not only a more low profile and less
of a theatrical Quorthon from the early 90's,
but also of a time when BATHORY was writing
the closure of the first 10 years.
to some, there nevertheless was enough of an absence of hard
facts such as line-up details, group photos etc, to create a long lived
shroud of mystery around BATHORY. This absence of hard facts, or gap
of information to be filled in by anybody with just about anything,
resulted in a climate wherein cult stories, rumors and weird tales would
grow like mushrooms.
admits to having planted a few puns during interviews and claim this
procedure to have been an attempt to find out what people would actually
believe in, what would actually go down in print and to check out how
much relevance anything said by an artist in an interview would be credited
while on the note: the infant eating, blood drinking, bat's cave legends
- or other such stories - were never ever created or planted
by Quorthon. The funny thing is that most of all the things that were
planted would never live on to join the already existing stories or
rumors that has proven so hard to kill or impossible to deflate.
I believe the longevity of the rumors and tales surrounding BATHORY
can be explained by the fact a lot of people feel a need for this
type of suspense. It apparently suited some people and obviously
fitted their notion of the BATHORY dimension, to believe in things
like the albums being recorded in a bat’s cave and other such
It didn’t matter much I'd tell the story again and again and
again how the albums were really recorded in what essentially was
a garage. How Heavenshore could develop into a bat’s cave
in the minds of some, is really beyond my comprehension.
The one-man-band thing lingers on still. And this despite the fact
I’ve been very frank about the issue. I've been open about
how for most of the 80’s there really wasn’t that much
of a hunt for a line-up going on at all. And when there
was, the result would always be very negative. Stockholm in the
80's was an appalling place for finding members to a band
There had always been some sort of a group situation up until shortly
before TWILIGHT OF THE GODS. Though the people
playing on most of those early albums would usually be friends of
mine on a hired-guns level, friends with either no interest in a
career whatsoever or possessing not enough of the qualities and
enthusiasm one could usually ask of a full time band member.
So when I spoke in interview using terms like "-...a temporary
line-up..." or "-...no longer associated with
BATHORY..." that wasn't lying, that's what the situation
was like. But in time people got tired of that sort of an answer
and resorted to believe in - and to spread on further - the one-man-band
enough, despite the fact BATHORY can hardly be accused of having placed
image and charade on top of the list of priorities, both image, mystique
and ghoulish appearance has become synonymous with the styles and sounds
that BATHORY are considered to have created.
were some shots taken between 1983 and 1988 that depicts Quorthon and
BATHORY wearing the black leather outfit, studs, spikes, necklaces made
from bones and an inverted crucifix, the sort of wear that would later
become the staple Black Metal uniform. But it was never intended to
make a fashion or set a rule of appearance to a certain wear.
very early shots do depict such ingredients as a black cloth sporting
a pentagram and a mouthful of pigs’ blood. But more than items
figured too important to ignore for a shot, or an attempt to create
a Black Metal fashion, these items were simply a method of trying to
extend or make visual the evil theme of the lyrics and the dark atmosphere
of the music. But very few of those shots were sent out. At least not
enough many to have resulted in talks about image before music.
shot showing Quorthon breathing fire in midst of a bitterly cold winter
blizzard while standing on the roof of the luxurious Sheraton Hotel
Though the fire breathing practice resulted in great shots, it was nevertheless
that this gimmick threatened to become too much of the center piece
as people in the media began asking for and about the fire breathing
paraphernalia more often than they did the actual music itself.
Consequently the fire breathing routine was dropped in 1988.
© Ray Palmer
view on image stuck in time and phase can create funny situations when
some people are having apparent problems looking beyond the pigs' blood
and plastic sculls. There is this funny story - often told to cheer
up a dull moment - when Quorthon went out on a European promotion tour
for both the first solo record ALBUM and the first
two JUBILEUM volumes.
I walked into the office of Europe's then biggest metal publication
dressed in jeans and T-shirt, carrying with me some low-profile
shots free of any preset image. We talked a bit about the solo album
and the two JUBILEUM releases and everything was
At the end of the interview they asked me where my gear was. I had
been asked just that question numerous times before, so I knew exactly
what they meant by "gear". So I told them I wasn't bringing
any leather, studs, spikes, blood or fire breathing paraphernalia
with me, and went on to tell them how I was hoping that the music
would be the focal point here.
And so I presented the low-profile pictures that I had brought with
me, just in case they wanted something new to illustrate the article
with, rather than featuring shots that although they did sport "the
gear" were also rather old. But this obviously interfered with
their plans to quite such an extent the whole staff would bundle
up a few meters away from me, intensely discussing the predicament
in the local language.
The whole scene ends with them showing me this room they had prepared
for me. I had a peek inside and saw a huge black cloth nailed to
the wall, a sort of platform draped in a similar black cloth adorned
with a pentagram sprayed in white. Resting on the platform were
a couple of tiny plastic sculls, some black candles, a chalice and
I believe a plastic dagger. The entire scene was covered in theatre
The only thing missing to the scene was a bowl of lemonade and some
children and we could all of us have had ourselves quite a hot Halloween
kinder party going on. I just looked at them, nodded, smiled and
said "-...wake up and smell the bullshit boyz... welcome
to join the 90's...".
of the low profile shots that Quorthon brought with him when traveling
through Europe to
talk about both the two JUBILEUM VOLUME's and promoting his first solo
The idea of a low profile photo didn't fit the idea one so-called leading
publication had for how they wanted to present Quorthon in their next
On the other hand their Halloween kinder party photo session idea didn't
really suit Quorthon.
more than readily exaggerated suspense and mystery, the everlasting
rumors and the weird legends that began to surround BATHORY already
at the end of the 80's, all created a climate that didn't feel at all
comfortable once it got too far.
the late 80's and early 90's people began to send in letters written
in heaps of blood. These were frantic HIV hysteria days and it would
sometimes be necessary to wear plastic gloves when reading the fan mail.
that really shouldn't have access to pen and paper where they were locked
away, began to write the band commenting on phrases in some lyrics that
- to the apparent joy of these cannibals and molesters - coincided almost
in detail with crimes they had committed earlier, crimes that had rendered
them a triple life sentence.
most bizarre photos would arrived, depicting everything from a young
female fan dressed up as a nun masturbating with a crucifix, to a young
male fan munching away on a dead rat. Fans would cut the band's name
into their arms and happily snap a shot or two of themselves proudly
displaying their arms spelling out the word BATHORY in fresh cuts, with
heaps of blood splattered all over the floor.
fan with BATHORY tattoo. Tattoos weren't the only thing
youngsters would cut into their arms back in the late 80's and early
around the world absorbed the lyrics and the imagery of the few January
1984 shots that had been published, and would send in pictures of themselves
dressed up in a similar way. The difference was their pictures would
usually show them either cutting a pig's head to pieces or torturing
a kitten for added spice.
there's always the old famous story with the plastic bag of dirt sent
in by this girl in California back in 1987. Believing the dirt she had
collected right next to this grave - where she had laid down to masturbate
under the full moon one night - to contain unimaginable powers, she
figured Quorthon might have some use for the dirt in his magic rituals...
Swedish fan decided to get the band a present, but obviously didn't
have the knowledge how to actually mail something, so he decided to
leave the parcel by the door to the office building where the record
company was then situated. And he couldn't think of anything more suitable
to get the band than a decapitated kitten or whatever it now was. Luckily
neither the band or the record company actually got the parcel. The
mail staff thought it smelled funny and threw it away before it even
got through to the office.
these weird, amusing and/or charming stories were numerous during the
late 80's and early 90's.
Simultaneously, the image of myself as a person that people got from
all the crap stories and bullshit rumors, created a weird situation.
Peoples' incorrect notion of me as an individual began to attract a
lot of truly sick minds. I had a letter from a guy locked away in a
US prison for two hundred years or something like that for killing and
eating somebody. This other guy would write me how he would catch and
rip the wings and legs off insects and frogs while listening to BATHORY.
A little later I got to hear how the Norwegian security police would
sit down and read BATHORY lyrics to see if any tracks could have
inspired Norwegian misfits to get the church-burning urge. I sat
myself down reading all the old lyrics trying to find out for myself
if there really was anything in the lyrics that advocated rape,
murder, arson, torture or what have you. And all I found was a lot
of painting with words to create a demonic dimension and horror
stories that had no relevance to actual life at all.
It was a madhouse. Nobody seemed to care enough about the music
by then. It wasn't a band anymore. It was a magnet to all sorts
of maniacs and psychos. People were using an already false image
of myself and BATHORY for their own means. BATHORY became an excuse
for misfits and psychos to expand their own miserable minds and
make real their fantasies.
Somehow the music and lyrics inspired individuals around the world
with an already fucked up inside to transfer their hurt onto others,
to take out their weird fantasies on animals and humans alike, to
kill, to bleed themselves, to set buildings ablaze and to either
eat shit or fuck dead animals. And I was made into the blood drinking
and infant eating master and God that had inspired to all this behavior.
Whatever gaps in the line of info there actually was, these were
quickly filled in with all sorts of crap, turning the notion of
me into a role model for psychopaths and sadists. The iconization
of my person went from a peculiar oddity that I never had any part
in creating or had the slightest control of, to something that was
totally abstract and went beyond all sense.
All BATHORY was trying to do was making interesting metal and paint
with words. Each album was in part or in total clad in an atmosphere
to facilitate stepping into the world, dimension or scenery of the
lyrics as a form of entertainment and art.
Entertainment - may it be music, art, movies or literature - should
never be blamed for whatever effects the words or music may have
on some individuals. Whereas art is mostly a reflection of real
life, whatever art may inspire some people to do, the responsibility
for whatever the action, deed or outrage is on the perpetrator,
not the artist or the author. If otherwise, we can just close down
that creative and artistic department of mankind.
With BATHORY we weren't even always moving within the boundaries
of reality. Nobody should have had any problems whatsoever realizing
it was just metal lyrics. Sometimes I got a feeling of deja vu,
thinking this is what it must have been like for The Beatles in
the 60's when people began to read all sorts of things into their
music and lyrics.
In terms of giving orders and handing out ideals and what to do
and how to behave etc, stuff that have inspired nut cases
to murder and arson, you only need to flip through the pages of
your average Gideons' bible. And that publication can be readily
found in almost every hotel room in the US.
When considering the mumbo jumbo spread by Christian radio stations
- paid for by the use of public funds - or the pamphlets handed
out by secular religious groups under the protection of freedom
of religion, that stuff should be regarded as a threat to the open
society, the education of the masses, freedom of the individual
and artistic creativity etc.
close up shot of Quorthon from 2001.
conducting interviews or communicating with the fans via fan mail or
emails in the 90's, Quorthon admitted to have very little or no interest
in the metal scene in general. Claiming he never actually did read the
metal magazines, not even the BATHORY related reviews and interviews
unless a fan would send something in for a comment or if the record
company wondered about the authenticity of a quote.
being frank about the lack of interested on his behalf, only added to
an already rather erroneous image of an eccentric and reclusive loner.
When I told people that I actually didn't go to shows much or would
rarely hang out with other musicians, and that I hardly ever bought
any recent albums or followed the metal news flow, that was seen
as a further attempt to make myself all the more eccentric. But
that was never the case. Besides trying to distance myself from
the industry and scene out of sheer necessity, I was busy enough
thinking about BATHORY and communicating with our audience
and both reading and answering fan mail. That contact with the scene
was enough for me.
When I formed BATHORY, I more or less stopped being a follower of
any scene. Once BATHORY became my occupation and profession, I hardly
ever bought any albums, I hardly went to shows and I had no interest
in the metal media. In the days before BATHORY was placed behind
glass in the hall of extreme metal fame, metal and music had been
a hobby. After forming BATHORY, all that became part of my profession
and that changed my relationship towards the scene, the media and
the whole lot.
And that's a freedom we all have, to lead our life the way we want
to lead it. And we should all be able to go on doing just that without
being labeled a weird psycho around which all these mysterious legends
are continuously created. In this case, through my attempt to stay
sane by turning my back on an increasingly insane climate surrounding
BATHORY, I was only interpreted as being even more weird and eccentric.
shot of Quorthon in the summer of 2001.
with a change in the way people perceived BATHORY - adding their own
bits of assumptions to an already exaggerated Quorthon-myth among other
things - the musical evolution of BATHORY had brought about a phase
so very different from what had made up the early albums.
under seven years BATHORY had gone from being a fun and primitive garage-type
Black Metal outfit influenced by Oi-punk, one act among other similar
young underground acts of the early 80's, to become either the masters
of Black Metal or the gods of what would frequently be referred to as
in the first year of the 90's, the musical evolution itself - though
still fun and creative - would nevertheless raise a few warning fingers
within the BATHORY camp itself.
At the same time as all these weird incidents occurred in the early
90's, on a musical level I began to feel BATHORY had developed too
much away from where it all began. We had originally started out
as an innocent and primitive trio influenced by Oi-punk, Motörhead
and Black Sabbath. But by the early 90's it had all become too serious,
too pretentious, too arranged and too prestigious. It lacked the
energy, fun, spontaneity and attitude of the early years. The albums
had become all the more complex, bigger, heavier and introvert.
So while at that precise moment I was being fed up with both the
public image of myself and the musical direction we had taken in
the last year or so, like a flash out of the blue the solo idea
stumbled onto the scene. I had told the record company that I wanted
to take a year off from music, and they responded by interesting
me about the prospect of writing and recording a solo album. That
sort of became a break point, a moment of fresh air, a light at
the end of the tunnel. And a chance to do something that would effectively
kill Quorthon the myth, a myth that was so far away from me or what
I wanted, but very real to a lot of sick minds and psychos out there.
- I figured the real fans would get the point, but those already
out of touch with reality would have a hard time accepting Quorthon
as anything but a blood drinking and infant eating God.
So I went off and did that first solo album with the sole intent
to make something that would be as far away from BATHORY and the
Quorthon-myth as possible.
Try and walk a day in Quorthon's moccasins before judging whatever
moves I have made throughout the years. Nobody can even try to understand
what it felt like at times to be at the receiving end of all those
weird letters, sick photo's, sad stories, unreal reviews, stupid
articles and a plethora of legends, rumors, misquotes and lies.
shot of Quorthon with a cigarette, dating this photo to before
TWILIGHT OF THE GODS since Quorthon gave up the ciggies at that time.
long-lived faulty notion about Quorthon - one that neither he or the
record company could ever understand how the hell it could have sprung
up in the first place - is the notion that made Quorthon out to be
this renunciate character not very much interested in talking to anybody
fanzines, magazines and webzines throughout the years have expressed
apparent surprise over the fact that a BATHORY interview apparently
is perfectly ok. And again and again fanzines, magazines and webzines
would email or call the record company just to get a definitive confirmation
that the interview would actually be conducted with Quorthon personally.
I am still being told by people whom I talk to over the phone, how
they didn't think I was doing interviews or liked very much to talk
to people at all. I can only shake my head in disbelief when hearing
things like that.
I must have done well over two thousand interviews for fanzines,
magazines, webzines, radio stations and sometimes even TV stations.
I must have done dozens of in-stores and both met up with and shook
the hands of many hundreds of fans, signing several thousands of
autographs, and both personally read and answered many thousands
of letters and email throughout the years. And still to this day
I get to hear how people thought I didn't like to talk at all.
That only goes to show it doesn't seem to matter how much time you
spend talking to the media, the hard-to-kill notion of Quorthon
of BATHORY as a loner living in a bat's cave, possibly drinking
blood and eating small babies, is such an overwhelmingly tenacious
notion with even some journalists, they seem surprised that I am
actually calling - and that on time - when an interview is on.
The next obvious surprise to most of them is how nice, polite and
easy talking I seem to be, and how I'm apparently as far away as
you can possibly get from being full of myself or a victim to my
the two solo albums obviously were never intended to attract BATHORY
fans in general - or an attempt to cash in on BATHORY's name and fame
as several journalists would have it - there are still those that feel
the solo albums should never have been allowed to happen at all. And
for some, that goes for most of the albums done in the 90's as well.
There are tons of bands out there with at least half of the line-up
busy writing and recording for a project on the side. In other words,
they have an outlet for their creativity, one or two spheres
wherein which they can try things out that may not fit within the
frame of their main band. And this is widely accepted, even thought
of as a mastermind move that's being applauded by many as a sign
of musical brilliance and geniality. With me, I only have
BATHORY. Whatever moves I've made, whatever feelings I've had, whatever
phases I've gone through, it's all there for your liking
Some bands will split up after four or five albums. Sometimes without
leaving enough proof of a evolution behind at all. Sometimes without
ever showing enough variety to be deemed by the media as interesting
enough to dissect yet loved by those who followed them despite the
lack of coverage. Sometimes bands will dissolve without enough material
in the bin to be either praised or ridiculed by posterity.
With BATHORY, it's all there, on record. The brilliant
moments and the not so brilliant moments. The stuff made legendary
and the stuff ridiculed. I'd rather go down in history as a guy
who had his moments of both brilliance and blunders over the coarse
of a very long and creative career, rather than someone who only
got to write two or three albums regarded as flawless no less, yet
what the hell ever became of him?!
Just because there's a BATHORY logo on the cover doesn't mean there's
a law that says it must always sound exactly the same as last time
around. Take any album for what it is, no matter what it
sounds like, irregardless of the logo on the cover. Don't be an
idiot when it comes to music. Music and art is too important to
be treated like a Big Mac. Never let preconceived notions, expectations,
rumors, fashion or prejudice shape your conscience about anything.
The one thing we've at least tried to do with BATHORY - no matter
what an album may have sounded like or whatever the theme - is to
make sure that it at least feels like BATHORY in every
In the span of two whole decades anybody will develop to
a certain point when what your doing don't necessarily hit home
with all of those who have been following you for a while. And those
who have been following you will hopefully have developed and changed
as well. Life isn't a stilleben, it's a constant movement.
When I felt TWILIGHT OF THE GODS was too far away
from where BATHORY had once started, and I wanted to pick if not
my Oi-punk roots up again so at least something that was closer
to where it all had started, and then blend that with more in-your-face
hardcore and write socially aware contemporary lyrics, I was entitled
to do so, to enjoy artistic freedom and to have a creative outlet
like everybody else without having to answer to crap like "-...BATHORY
ought to call it a day now..." or "-...the rot
Whether I go by the name of Quorthon or Mr. Dickhead, I have the
same right as everybody else to peek left and right on my journey
through life without having to put up with somebody making a living
for himself as the self-made expert on which path is right for me.
The solo albums were not the true side of me or a reflection
of what I really want to do. Not even I had the
slightest idea what that would come out as or sound like. I just
wrote some material blending Sex Pistols, The Beatles, Kate Bush,
Mountain and traditional garage rock and what have you, just to
see what that would feel like doing. I would read the newspapers
every morning to find ideas for lyrics, trying to land as far away
from traditional BATHORY lyrics as possible.
One British metal publication wrote about one of the solo albums
"-...how nice it is to see Quorthon finally finding a suitable
forum to vent his drugproblems...". And I have never used
a single drug in my whole life. I'm sure some people must have been
wondering about the solo albums, like "-...what the hell
is this?!". But what had they been expecting? "Equimanthorn"
or "Shores in Flames"?!. It didn't say "BATHORY"
on those covers. They weren't BATHORY albums.
I wanted to do something completely different, and not
use the BATHORY logo. And I wanted to kill some psycho's erroneous
notion of myself by doing stuff the blood drinking and infant eating
God of the bat cave never would. And I wanted to stir some shit.
I think I was very successful in doing all of that with the solo
Once I had done that first solo album - which was just what I needed
in order to get a feel for some up-yours rough shit again - I quickly
wrote REQUIEM to connect with very early BATHORY
on one level. I didn't want to take the long and tedious road by
walking backwards, picking up from where TWILIGHT OF THE
GODS had ended, and then work my way back in time in order
to end up where BATHORY had once been more intense. And I never
wanted to get stuck in any single past phase. I wanted to walk the
full circle once more, to begin from the beginning.
If that was a decision out of sync with the rest of the world or
just not in phase with a few sarcastic paid pens here and there,
I couldn't have cared less. It was something I had to do
at that time.
The REQUIEM and OCTAGON albums
- though filled with serious and socially aware contemporary lyrics
and more modern themes - were both actually made in a very good
and fun casual spirit. There's a typical sort of BATHORY humor that's
never been obvious on any album really, with the exception for perhaps
DESTROYER OF WORLDS and to a certain extent REQUIEM
and OCTAGON. Neither of the other albums
carried any of that good and fun casual spirit. REQUIEM
and OCTAGON did and that's why they're special.
That and because it was a re-start of something I felt had become
boring and pretentious.
It really did feel good at that time to take off that robe of seriousness
and gloom and make those two albums. Writing and recording REQUIEM
and OCTAGON just felt so good at that moment in
time because neither of them contained any way near as much ambition
or high strum pretentiousness as the albums of the late 80's and
So on an emotional level I hold both of them albums very dear. Even
more so when they've been so thoroughly cut down by the knowing-all
fashionable paid taste-mafia for not fulfilling their idea of an
image and a style they can categorize and pin down into a corner.
And I am of course happy about the fact both these albums are picking
up these days when the taste-mafia's horrendous reviews do not have
as much an impact on the audience as when these albums were first
photographed in London 1990 while posing seated
dustbin in front of a memorial sort of monument.
rumor hard-to-kill and occasionally still even believed in, is the rumor
that insists there is a blood relation between Quorthon and Black Mark
president Boss. For anybody who have seen both of them at any one and
the same time and realized the obvious difference in appearance, there
can be no doubt about the level of crap in that rumor. And when one
consider the age difference of twelve years between the two of them,
the degree of bullshit in that long living piece of crap ought to be
obvious to all.
I know perfectly well where that crap stems from. And I know perfectly
well the assholes that kept on spreading additional lies on that
subject on various web sites. It's like a zillion rats finding a
home on the web to spread their ignorance, to expose their lack
of knowledge and to pass crap on.
That's one of the down sides about the web. There are so many hemorrhoids
active on the web, putting so much crap out there, and so many gullible
information hungry souls believing in what they read on various
sites, it's downright fucking awful. Some people even believe in
all of those lies just because it says BATHORY on top of a page
or the word BATHORY is included in the domain address.
Other times people believe in and refer to what they trust to be
accurate Quorthon quotes just because there are citation marks around
what usually only I know to be utter bullshit. I've even seen big
major European metal press present false Quorthon quotes in their
articles and reviews. I've even emailed a couple of those journalists,
asking about that. Needles to say, none of them ever dared to reply
to my email.
- The whole thing about the web is like with all those crap rumors
and complete lies altogether: the more times you tell a lie, in
the end people will believe in it and it becomes the truth.
That's one of the reasons why I finally succumbed and decided that
an official BATHORY website was not only ok but dead necessary.
Otherwise all the crap out there would harm the relationship between
BATHORY and the BATHORY Hordes beyond repair.
Here's the deal with that blood relation-crap: when I went on trips
to various European countries back in 1986-1991 to promote a new
album, talking to journalists and doing in-stores, of course Boss
would occasionally come along on a lot of those trips. He was after
all the owner of a small and independent Stockholm based record
company, and quite naturally did nourish an interest in tying bonds
with people in the industry, magazines, record shops, local distributors
and what have you.
For him it wasn't only that a member in one of the bands on his
label got to travel to all these cities and talk to all these magazines,
radio stations and television shows, or signing autographs during
in-stores and pose for photographers on London bridge and on Times
Square in New York wearing a Swedish flag and breathing fire etc,
for him it was a good opportunity to present his label and all the
other acts on the label as well, and to learn the metal business
along with the rest of us.
He wasn't metal to begin with, he was rock and FM stuff, and knew
as little as me about what to do, what to expect and what have you.
He did the SCANDINAVIAN METAL ATTACK compilation
album in January 1984 and had released three other Metal or Hardrock
albums in the years 1980-1983, and he did have more than a decade
of experience of the industry in general up his sleeve, but would
need to learn about the extreme metal business and the chores just
as much as I did. He learned that business alongside BATHORY and
sort of became BATHORY's fourth member through all the effort he
put into us.
He was there for BATHORY at a time when nobody cared a shit for
BATHORY. He'd even sacrifice weekends and a couple of weeks off
his holiday schedule to sit in during the recording of half a dozen
legendary BATHORY albums. And I had known the man since the day
he gave me an opening to get my head off school at the age of 14
when he gave me that quarter-time job back in 1980. So there's no
surprise if people thought we were able to communicate on a personal
level and could crack a lot of in-jokes.
But when we first heard that bullshit rumor back in the early 90's,
we never did too much to still that crap, because of course we couldn't
believe for a minute anybody would actually take it for real or
that it would be spread on a wider scale or believed in to quite
such an extent. To me it's just one more of those rumors that clearly
show how people's hunger for nasty gossip crap - even if it's all
fabricated bullshit - can sustain a lie indefinitely. And believe
it or not, I am still to this day being asked "-... is
it true...??" when making interviews.
In the early 90's I was sent an anonymous letter posted in Norway
but written by what was evidently a Swedish person. He basically
said that he besides having been organized in Scandinavian underground
Black Metal circuits for a number of years, had been a huge BATHORY
fan since the early 80's, but had regrets about having spread a
lot of self invented bullshit about BATHORY and utter lies about
me as a person in what he described as fanzines and web forums.
Among the lies being the blood relation thing once more.
That was a nice move though, the regretting part. He came across
as a guy who had serious problems mentally though. Had he only included
his name or address I could have replied and said "-You're
ok buddy!". But he never wrote me again, so I wonder what
ever became of him.
Boss was happy as a kid for every single fan mail addressed to BATHORY
that came in. He shared our frustration in the studio when we didn't
have enough space on that 8-track equipment to fit what essentially
was a mega production usually. He always gave us free hands and
a hundred per cent support at all times. And people express surprise
every time there's a new BATHORY album out on Black Mark?! Waz that
folks?! You simply do not abandon a guy or a label like that.
I've talked to enough many musicians in both Swedish and foreign
bands that signed with a foreign so-called "big" label,
and all they ever got was a bag full of promises and ending up with
sales figures that would never even cover the liberal advances handed
out at an initial stage. They're all being conned, blinded by promises
and the prospect of being tied to a label that's placing ads on
every third page in every metal publication out there every month.
What happens is you're bundled up together with such a huge ammount
of crap released by these "big" label on a weekly basis,
crap that will sell between 1 000 and 3 000 copies, and eventually
you're stained by the crap yourself. Bands tend to confuse release
rate and number of ad's with quality, honesty and dignity. Sorry
mates. I've always refused to become a product number in a profile-less
catalogue. I'd rather stay on a label that's part of BATHORY's history.
unused shot from the BLOOD FIRE DEATH photo session.
seems the subject of rumors will never end. For as long as there are
gossip hungry idiots out there, the battle to reclaim and correct your
own history continues.
also seems like the subject of image and imagery is as personal an issue
as it is a reason for debate. For BATHORY, the imageries used during
the 80's were quite simply extensions of lyrical topics and the atmosphere
of those albums. The releases of the 90's are all usually filed under
either the Hardcore of Nordic categories by those who need to file everything
and everybody. But the force behind the music and lyrics is the same
the music is there. On record. For all to praise or ridicule as they
please. And the fact that BATHORY is equal parts unique, a pioneering
force and a legendary entity, can not be erased or overlooked. No bullshit,
lies, crap or rumor can ever change that.
it be Viking, Satanic, Demonic, Hardcore, modern social stuff, a Nordic
tale in two parts or atmospheric epic material: BATHORY is a force that's
not easily pinned down in a corner. And a force owned by no one other
than the amazing BATHORY Hordes...
That's how it's always been. And that's what it'll always be like...