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Interview with Pelle Saether

Grand Design

Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: January 2010

Brian Rademacher: Hello Pelle and welcome to… Holy shit this is going to be some interview! I have been doing some research on you for the past couple days and you have some historical background that I hope you can help us out with, so fans can possibly enjoy your past too. You might have to put some things in order because I am not sure when everything started for you. But let’s start with your youth… First off what bands did you listen to in your youth?

Pelle Saether: I fell in love with bands like DEEP PURPLE, URIAH HEEP, KANSAS and KISS. Later on I discovered AOR and bands like BOSTON, JOURNEY, FOREIGNER and CITY BOY. In the 80’s I was a huge DEF LEPPARD and SAXON fan – but also bands like GUNS N’ ROSES and WARRANT made my heart beat faster. He-he

Brian Rademacher: What kind of kid were you growing up?

Pelle Saether: My mom took me by my ear and took me to mandolin classes!!! Holy Cow!!! Ha-ha. Later on it got worse – I played the violin for 10 years but at the same time I starting making rock songs on my acoustic guitar-I think I was like 9 or 10 years old. Then my parents moved to another city and one guy in my class became one of my best friends and still is. He played organ and keyboard in this band plus we took guitar lessons together. One day he asked me to try singing for his band-I did and from that moment it was rock music that would infect my life.

Brian Rademacher: How were you in school?

Pelle Saether: Pretty good – especially in language and history. Ha-ha

Brian Rademacher: At home as a kid did you have any pictures or posters on your walls?

Pelle Saether: Oh yeah-A lot of KISS posters –I even put all of the stuff from KISS’ "Rock n Roll Over" album and taped it on my door – my dad went nuts. Ha-ha-ha

Brian Rademacher: What do you feel your parents were the most proud of you for?

Pelle Saether: My skills in music; my mom was really supportive of me

Brian Rademacher: What was the first concert you attended?

Pelle Saether: I think it was CITY BOY in a nearby city – the year was 1977 .Same year we all went to Finland to a big outdoor festival-don’t remember the bands though.

Brian Rademacher: What was the most trouble you got into as a child?

Pelle Saether: Stealing wine and booze from dad-just a little at the time – put it all in the same bottle and drank it – I was sick the whole weekend.

Brian Rademacher: Why did you get into music?

Pelle Saether: I have always loved music and I felt really early in my life that music was my thing.

Brian Rademacher: What was the first record you owned?

Pelle Saether: Ha-ha-ha-U will laugh now… Me and a friend won this contest – we were just small kids. I bought a single with a song called "San Bernadino" by a band called CHRISTIE. Still have it-ha-ha-ha

Brian Rademacher: Now onto music… first I would like to know about each of the following bands you were in, when the band started and tell us a little about the time in each band and how everything worked out. Did you record material that was released and so on? Like I said this is what I found so far. Please put these in order for us. Tell me about the band MACBETH?

Pelle Saether: Well – it was during the GLORY days – mid 80´s. Lasse Johansson CANDLEMASS was also in the band. We played 1 or 2 gigs and did a demo. Some songs (were) pretty good actually.

Brian Rademacher: Tell me about GLORY?

Pelle Saether: It was the same time as MACBETH – now with Janne Granvick at the steering wheel. Also did some demos – I had high hopes on this band, they were very devoted. Me and the bass player quit the band at the same time and went and focused on MACBETH.

Brian Rademacher: Tell me about UNCHAINED?

Pelle Saether: UNCHAINED was also mid to end of the 80’s. We did one single and did more shows than MACBETH and GLORY together. The band was from my hometown-Västerås (Sweden) and that was easier for me than MACBETH and GLORY who were based in Stockholm.

Brian Rademacher: Tell me about MONACO BLUES?

Pelle Saether: Well I decided to quit my day job and try to make a living out of music. I had never ever tried singing blues rock stuff but it worked and I was in the MONACO BLUESBand between 1989 and 1993. A lotta gigs and festivals around Europe – I think around 150 gigs per year!! Crazyyyy!!!

Brian Rademacher: Tell me about SCHIZOPHRENIC CIRCUS? I also found a vintage video of you so fans can see what you were like back in 1995

Pelle Saether: SCHIZOPHRENIC CIRCUS was a band I started with one of my best friends at that time – Magnus (bass). The drummer was a youngster called Jamil Batal and the guitar player Jens Nielsen was from Norway living in Gothenburg. We did one album on Mega Rock Records (1994) and did a support act tour in Scandinavia for Saxon. Things were going pretty good until the bass player broke up with his girlfriend and our drummer came walking hand in hand with her one week after – stupid guy!!!

Brian Rademacher: Tell me about ZEELION and the CD "Steel Attack". Did you go by the name Lenny de Rose at that time?

Pelle Saether: ZEELION was late 90`s – 1997 I think. We did this as a funny thing-when all this kind of music was doomed-he-he. The response was great but it never was a real band – so we never got out to play live. The bass and guitar player was from SLAPDASH. I took my artist name already mid 80´s – ha-ha-ha. Well what can I say-truth hits everybody!!! I think it was in 2004 that we released "Steel Attack" Not much to say about that – a good album but not as good as the first one. After that we decided to quit the band and go our separate ways

Brian Rademacher: Now what about ZELLO, that band sounded like KANSAS and the first release (self-tilted) was recorded without guitars and then a re-release after that with guitars with our good friend Janne Stark of LOCOMOTIVE BREATHE?

Pelle Saether: ZELLO has done 3 albums up till now. 1994 – ZELLO, 1999 – QUODLIBET and 2003 – re-released w/ guitars Janne Stark and remixed and re-mastered . This is a band that one day will do another album. We are in no hurry – so in the future a new album will see the light of day – I´m sure.

Brian Rademacher: How did you become one of the best producers in Sweden and who are some of the newcomers to check out? (

Pelle Saether: The new album from MANEGARM on Regain Records is killer!! Also FOR SELENA AND SIN – a Finnish band on Mascot Records is close at heart for me. Kind of Metal-Pop stuff – pretty cool!!

Brian Rademacher: Now getting to the band I know you for, the new band GRAND DESIGN. Tell us about your debut CD "Time Elevation" which is a stunning CD with some of the best harmonies I’ve heard. Now is this a project you always wanted to do?

Pelle Saether: Well it started as a project deep inside my head. I had always wanted to do an 80´s big sounding, slightly over produced album with 80´s sounding songs. The hard part was to get people to play it and record it- ha-ha. But I found the drummer and a guitar player and forced them to play like they did in the 80’s. They really dug it and now we are a whole band – ready to support our album with festivals and gigs.

Brian Rademacher: I’m a big fan of harmonies, that’s why my favorite band is Sweden’s CRASHDIET. Seems like the best music is coming out of Sweden these days, how come?

Pelle Saether: A lotta bands in Sweden now are turning toward the softer side of rock - instead of aggression, you get melodies and I like it a lot. Hopefully rock fans will also turn to this side of rock – I can only hope.

Brian Rademacher: Let’s get to the new GRAND DESIGN CD. The opening track "Love Sensation" is going to blow people away. Do you feel you will get enough promotion from the people at Metal Heaven?

Pelle Saether: I really hope so. We understand there are a bunch of great bands out there. But if we can get rockers to discover us – one way or the other – I think they are gonna like what they hear. Also hitting some charts would be awesome – only time will tell.

Brian Rademacher: Man there is so many great releases coming out but how the hell did you get that great sound on "Time Elevation"? I heard tons of releases and that great sound is missing. That sound amazes me like the first VAN HALEN CD; the drums are amazing!

Pelle Saether: I’m really excited that U like the production. I worked my ass off to try and get it – reading thousands of pages w/ interviews from great 80´s producers who managed to capture that sound without computers and pitch shifters-amazing I must say!! The hardest part was to capture that big, big choir sound – I tried different approaches and finally found what I was looking for.

Brian Rademacher: I know I’m jumping around because I’m excited about this CD…Sorry

Pelle Saether: Kewl man, kewl!

Brian Rademacher: Track two "Slugged Out"; damn I love how you have those heavy harmonies and you sneaking up to add your lead vocals. Even those sneaky little screams add excitement. This bellows a big time DEF LEPPARD sound. I love it and the guitar work is amazing. Does Peter and Dennis trade off on leads? I like that little laugh at the end of the song too.

Pelle Saether: Slugged Out - One of my favorite songs on the album. The hardest part was the verse. From the beginning it sounds lame as hell – but I added choirs, answering the lead and it really did the thing. The choir in the chorus is one of the best on the album – in my opinion.

Brian Rademacher: Ah my favorite track "Air It Out" (KILLER!); your vocals are fantastic. How long was the album in the making and who did the writing? Great Chorus BTW if I didn’t already say!!!!

Pelle Saether: Also a favorite track of mine. From the beginning it didn’t stand out at all. But after one days hard work with the choirboyz we nailed it. I remember when we were listening to it after all tracks of choir were done – we just went - hell yeah!!! We recorded the album during 2006, early 2007 and spring 2009. When there was free time in the studio. I have done all songs and all lyrics – it took me a lot of months to write (the music) and 3 weeks to write the lyrics

Brian Rademacher: I’m looking at the back cover of the disc and from left to right. It reminds me of Nikki Sixx, Rudolf Schenker, Ronnie James Dio, Steve Vai, and Ronnie Van Zandt. Whadda ya think??? Ok I’m not right in my mind…. HAHA

Pelle Saether: Ha-ha-ha-ha-that’s funny. I wish I sounded like Ronnie!!!

Brian Rademacher: What’s your favorite track?

Pelle Saether: My favorite track is "Sad Sound of Goodbye"; one of the first I wrote and it really turned out as I hoped. Sad but true if U know what I mean.

Brian Rademacher: Tell me a little about each member of the band and your feelings about them?

Pelle Saether: Our drummer Richard Holmgren – great drummer, cool guy and talks a lot- ha-ha. Plays like a metronome. Our bass player Anders Modd is a very solid bass player with own style and sound, a devoted guy to rock music. Our guitarist Peter Ledin is kind of a genuine rock guitar player – perfect for GRAND DESIGN. Good guy with a very good ear for details and a great solo guitar player. He hates Calzone pizzas though- he-he. Our guitarist Dennis Vestman – On rhythm guitar is one of the tightest I ever worked with plus a very funny guy!!

Brian Rademacher: Every track on "Time Elevation" has that classic 80’s sound and full of hooks. Was that all your intention in going in that direction?

Pelle Saether: I wanted good melodies and made all songs from the beginning on just acoustic guitar. If I got the right feeling of the melodies at that early stage I knew it would work pretty well in a full scale production.

Brian Rademacher: At times your vocals have sounds of the likes of Steve Perry, Bon Scott and even Joey Tempest. Who are your favorite vocalists?

Pelle Saether: Favorite singer??? Just to name a few – Joe Lynn Turner, Steve Perry and Steve Walsh. All these guys have been big influences for me – and they still sing veeery good.

Brian Rademacher: You guys decided to end the CD with a great ballad "Love Will Know". Why did you end with a ballad instead of a heavy track?

Pelle Saether: Well we wanted it to be like the end of a great nite out,- u know – after a rock n roll crazy party night and the last song in the speakers and the curtain is down-time to go home.

Brian Rademacher: I heard many CD’s this year and this is one of the best, if not the best CD I heard so far. Many bands from Europe never make it over to the US. If you don’t make it over to the US how can fans get your merchandise or autographs or any kind of memorabilia? Will you go the same route as LIZZY BORDEN who offers autographed items and personal band items on their website?

Pelle Saether: First – we really wanna make it in the U:S – so all rockers from U.S if U like what U hear -support us – buy the album, vote for us and rock hard when we show up in your town. We are working right now on merch. stuff like shirts, girlies, autographed CD’s, posters and picks and so on. We are also releasing 2 videos during March - April - more info about the videos on our MySpace site A giveaway contest is gonna take place here at RockEyez - chances to win signed CD:s + Merch. Coming soon.

Brian Rademacher: Pelle, and I would like to congratulate you on a fantastic CD and I really hope fans support "Time Elevation" and make it a best seller. This CD is stunning.

Pelle Saether: Thanx a lot Brian!!!!!!

Brian Rademacher: Would you like to say anything to the fans before you go?

Pelle Saether: If U rockers like our stuff please support us, buy our album, vote for us and let us have a chance to show up in your hometown to give U 80´s stadium rock. Remember – without U guys we are nothing. Let yourselves get R0kked !!!! /Pelle Saether – GRAND DESIGN Special Thanks to: Johnny Forslund Melodic Editor Promoter in Sweden


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