…And Sunday comes afterwards. Yes, folks, today is Sunday. This means, of course, that we here at The Soda Shop take a detour to the Scandinavian country of Sweden, a well-known hotbed of some of today’s best music. Much like the last few weeks, today’s feature is another relatively unknown band (to me, at least), Black Bonzo. This retro rock/progressive rock band is from Skellefteå, and will probably go down as one of my favorite accidental discoveries.
From their last.fm bio:
In the winter of 2003 Black Bonzo was formed from the ashes of the 8-piece psychedelic rock group Gypsy Sons Of Magic. The first 6 month the band practiced 24 hours a day in their rehearsal room in Skellefteå, Sweden. They worked really hard trying to find a sound of their own and getting the mood right for the songs. Soon after that a demo was produced with 17 songs. This demo somehow reached the B&B Records office who liked the music so much that they signed Black Bonzo to their label.
In the begining of 2004 Black Bonzo started to record the debut album at the classic analog studio Rumble Road Studios, in Skellefteå. In late march the recording, mixing and mastering was finished and in July the record was released.
The album got good response from all over the world, and sold out the first pressing, within a couple of months, here in Sweden. Ward Records from Japan soon showed interest in the band and signed a licensing deal with B&B Records. In July 2005 the album was released in Japan.
The band really tries (and wants!) to be on the road as much as possible and has done some fantastic gigs, for Black Bonzo is a band you just must see live in order to fully understand the bands ambition and musical statement. If you want a taste of the live shows check out the music video for the song “Lady Of The Light”.
The spring is coming to an end and Black Bonzo is finished with the recording and mixing of the upcoming album “Sound Of The Apocalypse”, due to be released the 8th of june 2007. The new album was mixed at Tonteknik by Magnus Lindberg, and he has done a fantastic job. “It’s more adventurous, original and mysterious then you ever can imagine!” as the new bass player Anthon Johansson puts it. Patrick Leandersson, the former bassist, had to leave the band for personal reasons, the band wishes him well and all the luck!
Black Bonzo has matured and grown as a band. The seed that was planted with the debut album has now grown into a grand and complete tree.
The band is also working on their fourth studio album and will start recording April 1, 2011.
Magnus Kärnebro – vocals
Joakim Karlsson – guitar, flute, and vocals
Anthon Johansson – bass, vocals
Mikael Israelsson – drums, vocals
Klas Holmgren – piano, mellotron, and vocals
Bonzo’s style of progressive hard rock can be described as some kind of mixture between Byron-era Uriah Heep, Mark 2 Deep Purple, King Crimson around 1969 and 1970 and Rainbow. In fact, all those bands influenced Black Bonzo both in the intrumental section and in the vocal department, with the exception of Rainbow because Dio’s vocals are simply impossible to mimic. Of all of those influences, Uriah Heep is the most proeminent of them all. Every song has some Heep touch and the vocals, specially, are similar to Byron’s singing style…Black Bonzo’s first release is one of many exaples of retro-prog done right. The music is familiar, but it is not the exact same thing as some other band or artist. If you like hard rock as it were back in the 1970′s and progressive rock, look no further than this band. – Caio César