Wednesday, March 13, 2013


As well as Victims and Diagnosis? Bastard!, I also play in a band called Battle of Santiago. I say "play" as if it's a regular thing, but in reality we play about once a year.

Battle of Santiago was actually the first band I was involved in forming after moving to Sweden, having previously joined the guys in a band called Rowdy Ramblers, that with the addition of Patrik would eventually become Santiago. The guys in B.O.S. are some of my oldest Swedish friends but for one reason or another we don't find the time to do much with the band. I see Patrik and Olle more for dog walking dates than in the practice room. I guess one reason we're not so productive is that some of us are in other bands, Erik in Mary's Kids and Patrik in The Worthy, but the main reason is that Olle owns, manages and is the head chef at the wonderful Parkliv restaurant, which is just down the road from where I live, and where you can find me and the family on many an afternoon. The fact that you can also find Olle there about two hundred hours a month makes it pretty hard for the band to rehearse and write, never mind tour.

Saying that, we have managed to produce a couple of records in our time. We released a split seven inch with A Thousand Arrows and there is an unreleased album's worth of songs we recorded a couple of years ago at Silence Studio, although fuck knows if or when that will ever see the light of day... One recording that will see the light of day though is a ten inch we recorded about eighteen months ago, with the poet and author Stig Larsson. I'd only ever known Stig as one of the regular old boys at Erik's local watering hole, Rosa Drömmar on Lilla Essingen, but it turns out he's a pretty respected figure in Swedish art culture. It's funny to me, because I rarely have any check on such matters of celebrity in Sweden. It means less to you when you haven't grown up with it I guess.. I always liked Stig though, without ever really knowing much about him. To me he is just one of the old boys at Drömmar who likes the sauce and likes to entertain with his tales. And he's not adverse to taking this piss or winding people up, something that resonates strongly with me... 

Anyway, the record is a collaboration between the two of us, Santiago's music interspersed with Stig's poetry, although not overlapping.. The whole thing is recorded live in one take, with Stig reciting from memory alone. It's one of those things we did just did at the time without any real plans for it. We actually played a show with Stig a couple of years ago, not long after we'd made the recording. As it is next week, the venue then was Rönnels antique book store. Now that was a first for me. It was pretty cool playing to a mixture of young hipsters and older art types. And in an antique book store to boot. Not something I do every day. My favourite memory of the whole episode of that show though was the rehearsal we had with Stig at our practice room a few days before. I was thinking we'd just play through the music portions of the set and that would be that, but Stig wanted to do the whole thing, which meant for the most part the five of us standing around in a circle about Stig whilst he recited his poetry, eyes closed, in the zone, whilst me, Tompa and Erik stood looking on, awkwardly grinning. It's not completely our scene you might say. Patrik and Olle were well into it though, the pair of them having shared a spliff or two with Stig beforehand. Patrik ended up stoned off his tits and, completely taken away with the moment, collapsed into Tompa's drum kit. Fucking ridiculous! Stig was unimpressed at the interruption, Patrik fumbling around attempting to pick himself up out of a distressed looking Tompa's kit, the rest of us howling with laughter.

Anyway, whether we release anything else in the future is unknown right now, whether that album we recorded will see the light of day or whether we take a few songs from it for another seven inch remains to be seen, but we are at last releasing the Stig record and we'll once again be performing it at Rönnels to mark the occasion. If you can't make it along then no stress, I'm sure we'll play a show at some point in 2014...

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