From their humble roots in Gothenberg, Sweden twenty one years ago; Hardcore Superstar has become a rock n roll force to be reckoned with, they have supported some of the biggest names in rock history, AC/DC, Kiss, Motley Crue, Motorhead, Steel Panther and Michael Monroe to name a few. Their infectious style of street metal and high energy rock n roll is returning to Australia for the first time in ten years. Now armed with some vintage rock vibes as well, they have a new album You Can’t Kill My Rock N Roll due out in September this year.
I had the chance to chat with Hardcore Superstar frontman Joakim ”Jocke” Berg ahead of their Australian tour this June. We talk about all things HCSS, past, present and future…. This is one rock n roll party you do NOT want to miss.
Welcome to Wall of Sound Australia Jocke, how are you?
I’m fine and you?
I’m great and just so excited that you are coming back out to Australia after 10 years. I was fortunate enough to see the Melbourne show in 2008. What do you remember about Australia and the shows in Melbourne and Sydney?
I remember we played in Sydney and the day before we went out to Manly Beach, we caught the ferry for about four or five minutes and we arrived at this beautiful paradise beach, it was just WOW. I also remember that the people in Melbourne and Sydney were very nice and friendly. The crowds were great and really welcoming.
I actually told my wife that if I was to move somewhere I would move to Australia. I love my country but Australia is my second choice in places to live. So I am really looking forward to coming back.
The band was really gracious with the fans after the Melbourne show. How important is connecting with the fans to the band?
It is very important, as a singer I want to engage the audience and not let them go, not for even a second. I want the audience to be a part of the show, have them feel that they are welcome to the show and that we are in this together.
We will be doing meet and greets at every show. It is important to us, it’s awesome to meet and talk with the fans. Perhaps have the opportunity to explain why we didn’t come to Soundwave.
What happened with the late withdrawal from Soundwave, and why has it taken so long to come out again?
The promoter kept changing the schedule on us and we got pissed about that. Then there were money issues and other stuff behind the scenes. So we decided to cancel the shows. But in saying that in twenty years we have maybe canceled four shows, either I was sick or my voice had gone. You can’t take the way we were being treated from anyone. We have a schedule and for us to travel 20 hours on a plane to Australia from Sweden, you need to have everything sorted out before you leave and in this case it wasn’t, so we canceled.
As far as coming back out to Australia, there hasn’t been a right time or the right promoters. There was a lot of business that had to be sorted. We finally found the right and a good promoter in Silverback Touring so we are coming back.
You will have a blast with the Silverback Touring team, they are great people and I am sure you will have an amazing time.
I am sure we will and that’s great to hear.
What can we expect from the shows? The clips that feature live footage look like so much fun. The confetti, the on stage bar, the inverted crosses ….. Is that all coming out with you?
Sadly not. It just costs too much to bring things like the upside down crosses we have on stage out. The European shows have quite a large production, so unfortunately we are not bringing the full show. But we will have the backdrop, the merchandise and we will be inviting fans on stage for the last call to have a cup of Jagermeister with us. You will have a great time at the show regardless.
Since you last toured Australia you have released 4 studio albums (and a best of), what can we expect from the set?
That’s the hard part for us (laughs), of course we have to play the songs that the fans demand We Don’t Celebrate Sundays, Last Call For Alcohol, Above The Law, Moonshine and Someone Special. There are about seven songs we have to play and then we try to out in songs that you don’t hear that much live. The set is about fifteen songs and it’s had to do a set list from the songs on the ten albums and fit in new songs as well. There is a lot of arguing in the rehearsal room (laughs), but I think we have got it sorted out. I think it’s a good setlist.
The 2008 Australian tour saw the band debut Vic Zino (Guitar). How has Vic fitted into the band?
Yes the first show we did with Vic was in Sydney. Vic has done a lot for the band; he is very energetic on and off stage (laughs). Vic is a great songwriter too and he changed things for the better.
Your forthcoming 11th album You Can’t Kill My Rock N Roll is slated for release in September. Gain records in Sweden will be handling the record there. Who is looking after distribution for the rest of the world?
Sony Red is looking after the album in the United States, Gain in Scandinavia and Sony for the rest of the world, I think, I hope so (laughs)
The new album You Can’t Kill My Rock N Roll is due for release later in the year. Has the album been completed?
Yes it’s done and we are releasing it on September 23 worldwide. There are eleven songs on the album and I like every one of them.
The first 3 singles Have Mercy on Me, Electric Rider and Bringing Down the House all have different flavors to them. What can we expect from the rest of the album?
I love those three songs and the song we are releasing next Friday (May 18) Baboon is one of the best songs on the album in my opinion. Baboon is one of my favorite songs and there is so much more to come from us. It’s an awesome album.
The band seemed to disappear for a while after the last album (HCSS) in 2015. What was the reason behind that?
Everything has been fine within the band, but we had been touring so much that it was a break we needed to take. We have families these days and we aren’t twenty anymore. I’m forty four now, but onstage it’s like I am in my twenties. I’m still going strong.
You have to take a break, you just can’t keep it rolling, rolling, rolling and then hit the wall. Sometimes you need to relax and take care of yourself and that’s what we needed to do.
Are you familiar with any of the bands supporting you on this run of Australian shows?
No I’m not actually, but I saw on Instagram after I posted a photo saying that we are coming back to Australia with the dates and stuff and I saw a post from one of the bands that are supporting us, I don’t know in which town but they said “We are proud to be supporting the TITANS Hardcore Superstar”. I was like WOW, I mean Metallica, Motley Crue, Iron Maiden and bands like that are titans for me. So for them to mention us as titans, it was overwhelming for us.
You have some incredible young Australian bands supporting you on the tour. There are a couple of my personal favorites in there too, so I am sure you will have a blast with them. Please check them out when you get the chance.
Cool, it’s going to be a blast meeting them, and yes I will check them out.
2018 is also the bands 21st Birthday. Happy Birthday guys !!!
Yeah, Oh my gosh (laughs). Thank you.
I have a few quick answer questions for you regarding your career. Shall we do it?
Sure, let’s go.
To be able to do this for twenty years. We have play with a lot of bands, but to be able to do this for such a long time is a highlight within itself. I can’t just mention one time. When we started Hardcore Superstar I had someone in the industry come and say to me a band like yours only has a shelf life of five to six years. To be able to be talking to you and tell you this while still going strong is a highlight within itself. We love what we do.
Favorite band you have toured with?
Ohhhh, that’s a tough one as there have been so many bands. But we did a European co-headline tour with Fozzy and they were awesome. Chris Jericho is an awesome guy. Motorhead and Motley Crue were highlights. All the bands have been great to tour with. They are all friendly; we have shared a beer, a chat and have just hung out with so many cool bands.
Most memorable live show?
It would probably have to be the last one we did in Gothenburg. It was awesome. We sold around 8,500 tickets, the place was packed. That show would have to be one of my favorite live shows. For it to be in our hometown too was just so cool.
Favorite song to perform live?
It would have to be Above the Law, because the audience sings along for most of the song. It’s the one song that the audience really just loves to sing with me.
Favorite album from the back catalogue?
Dreamin’ in a Casket (2008)
Mine would have to be Thank You for Letting Us Be Ourselves (2001). There was just something about that record for me.
That is the one that I hate. When I watch the recording of that album everything just seemed so weird. When we finished recording the record we were like what just happened? Did we make a record; it was a hard album to do. Actually I don’t hate the album, but it took me thirteen years after the release of it for me to listen to it. But I know what you mean, it is a good album and there are some great songs on it; but for me the whole process around the recording of it and the feeling we got while in the studio, there was something that just wasn’t right.
Most underrated Hardcore Superstar album?
The most underrated album would have to be HCSS, the last album. People were on the fence with it. Fifty percent were like what the fuck are they doing now and the other fifty percent were like yeah it’s good, but it’s not Hardcore Superstar. We love the songs on this album though. It was an album we had to get out of our system.
Finish this sentence – Hardcore Superstar is …….
Energy, party, having a good time, rock n roll.
Just before we wrap it up Jocke, do you have any final words for your Australian fans?
It’s going to be a blast coming back, we have missed you guys. It’s going to be great having the meet and greets so we can talk to you and hang out. We are really looking forward to coming back it’s going to be a blast.
Interview by Andrew Slaidins
Hardcore Superstar kick off their tour on June 14th via Silverback Touring
Hardcore Superstar – Australian Tour 2018
June 14th @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
June 15th @ Prince Bandroom. Melb
June 16th @ Woolly Mammoth, Bris
June 17th @ Fowler’s Live, Adelaide