Added: 10 January 2012

Zone Zero (Swe)

Zone Zero (Swe)
Band Info
Genre
Heavy Metal
Country
Sweden (

Djurås, Gagnef

)
Active
1980 - 1984, 2004 - present
Media
Photos / Videos
Links
Official Website
Members

Anders "Lissa" Lissdaniels - Vocals (Scrotum Metal)
Torben "Tobben" Stenberg - Guitar (Black Label, Unicorn, Haze, Zed)
Håkan Göras - Guitar (Overdose, Scrotum Metal, Zed, JP-Rockers, The Fittlers)
Lars Törnblom - Bass (Overdose, Scrotum Metal, The Fittlers)
Lars "Leo / Lasse Lee" Lindberg - Drums (Overdose, Scrotum Metal, Unicorn, Zed, JP-Rockers, The Fittlers)

Official Biography (from The Lost Legacy CD)
In 1978 Lasse Lee and Göras started playing covers with various friends in Djurås, a small village in Dalecarlia, Sweden. The band took a couple of names during this period and finally agreed in JP-Rockers. In 1979 Törnblom joined and the name changed to The Fittlers. Covers were still the main thing, but some own songs like "Kanelbulle-Rock (Cinnamon Bun-Rock...holy smoke!) were created though. Another bandnamechange to Overdose was made before Lissa joined and the band renamed to Scrotum Metal. At this point, the band focused on own material and the lyrics were mostly in Swedish. They bought themselves a PA-system and brought Håkan Weinberg into the club, to take care of sounds. Håkan was more seen as a bandmember than a sound engineer though. He was also a quite good busdriver and a very fast runner!. The name Zone Zero was taken in 1980 when Tobben replaced one of the original guitarists, Peter Westin.

At his first gig, Lissa was dead nervous and finished a bottle of brandy before going on stage. Alcohol during gigs is never a good idea and this wasn't an exception. Lissa was supposed to enter after an instrumental part, but of course he missed the sync and the band had to start the song over again. A disaster, but in some strange way he's been forgiven during the years, and maybe because the gig ended up as a success despite the catastrophic introduction.

When Tobben joined the band in the late 1980, he was asked to write a song... at home he came up with some riffs, tried them out and put the together into a song. He wrote lyrics about social stres,s rush for career etc. He thought he was really deep and quite pleased with the result (haha!). At a point, he met Lasse Lee and told him that he had got an idea for a song. Lasse went something like: -Aaah cool! I supposed there are demons, dragons, blood, devils, and that kind of creepy stuff included eh?. So Tobben thought SHIT!, went home, deleted the lyrics and revised it into some new, including demons, blood and death. This resulted in his first contribution "Demon From Kingdom of Death".

During gigs, Zone Zero always had company of some friends, a gang of punkrockers. They acted roadies, lightengineers and pyrotechnists as well as dear and close friends. The band always had a great time with them. Mackan & Robban dropped the bombs. The band made their own bombs. Well, to tell the truth, Lasse Lee was the bombmaker: He used to desarm bengals to get the powder from their interior. As bengals come in different colours, he could spice each bomb with suitable nuance. He made green... red.... blue bombs etc. As detonators, he used the interior from camera flashcubes together with some extra magnesium powder. Connected to the lightningmixer, the explosions were just a button away.

At one gig, there was some electrical problem with the lightmixer. As a result of this, 2 of the bombs didn't burst when they should. Mackan and Robban pushed the buttons but nthing happened. The band looked at Mackan who shook his head yelling "it won't blow", so they just went ot with the show. All of sudden though, when Törnblom was standing right above one of the bombs, it went BOOOM right up his crotch!. His black leatherdress got completely white around his genitals and there are still laughs echoing from this moment.

At a start, trailers were borrowed to bring stuff to and from gigs. Beside instruments and amps though, there were PA-system & lights and succesively the gear grow. So finally, the band realized that they had to buy a bus. The tourbus was a -62 RHD postalbus, yellow and in big needs for repairs. The mission to get it fit started and the band were very keen on brining their jewel on the road. Black was the only conceivable color, so they painted it with rollers and let Törnbloms father write bandname and logotype on the sides and in the back. The interior was divided in three rooms: the drivier's seat with a sofa in the front-room, a bar, a lounge suite and tip-up bed in the middle and cargo space for gear in the rear. The band sure had some great times with her... their battleship. O, how they miss her!

During times, Zone Zero organized their own gigs. A couple of times the band rented places and engaged/invited other bands like Tryckvåg for some kind of micro festivals.

In the end of 1982 lissa got a contract with a soccer team and moved to Stockholm. This was also the year when Törnblom moved to Gävle for military service. The band still continued, but with much less intesity.

In 1983 Göras went to music school at the west coast and in 1984 Lasse Lee moved to Stockholm and at that time the band definately split up. After this, all members conitnued their musical activities individually but friendship is forever engraved in minds and souls.

"Our time as a band has meant a great deal to us and played a very important role in the growing of us all as individuals... We spent a lot of time together back then: 4 days a weeka as a band and the rest of the time as friends, so we know each other quite well by now"

Even if the band are split all over Sweden and the guys built their personal lives and careers, they still try to meet a couple of times every year to socialize, jam and have a couple of beers. One of these gatherings resulted in the making and recording of a new song "I Want The Metal Back" in Lasse's bedroomstudio 2004.

The making of this album really made us go hunting for old cassettes & recordings and these are the ones we found. In connection, we wanted to make one or two new songs to put on this record, so we made "Chasing Victory" and "Miss You". We also decided to finish and arrange the very last song that was made before the split 1984. The ideas for "Twilight Of The Gods" were made, but were never finished at that time. This gives the song a special meaning and somehow brings us back to the 80's.

We had a great fun in putting this album together and are thankful to you for buying this record and we sure hope you like it! - Lasse Lee, Tobben, Törnblom, Göras and Lissa

Sweden Rock Magazine #100 Article
-Vi fick napp, fast det var väl ett bottennapp säger Zone Zero gitarrist Tobben Stenberg. Han syftar på det svenska skivbolaget Pang. Under 80-talets första år släppte omkring 100 Svenska band från vitt skilda musikgenrer sjutumssinglar på etiketten. Zone Zero steg på karusellen 1982.

-Chefen för Pang ringde och sa att han var jätteintresserad och ville att vi skulle komma till Stockholm och göra en inspelning. När vi kom dit fick vi åtta timmar på oss tills det skulle vara mixat och klart. Vi fick bekosta allt. Vi var unga och visste inte hur det gick till. När allt var klart hörde vi inte så mycket mer av honom. Att släppa en singel på Pang kostade 6500kr, vilket 1982 var lite mer än vad fackförbundet Kommunals medlemmar i genomsnitt tjänade i månden. Banden fick 500 exemplar av sin skiva och ett löfte om att bolaget skulle marknadsföra och distrubera den.

-Vi sålde våre exemplar av skivan i vår bekantskapskrets. Pang skulle sköta distrubution och marknadsföring i affärer, men jag har aldrig sett skivan i en affär. Något som däremot är roligt är att folk hör av sig än idag. Jag skickade ett exemplar av skivan till Australien för någon månad sedan. Jag har aldrig sålt så många skivor som de senaste fem åren. Nu har jag nog bara mellan fem och tio exemplar kvar.

Pang har blivit kult och flera av skivorna i den brokiga katalogen är eftertraktade samlarobjekt. Zone Zeros bidrag - med låtarna "Win or Die" och "Evil Dream" - får nog ses som det klart mest kompetenta hårdrockssläppet och kan inbringa saftiga summor vid nätförsäljning. Den senaste köparen på Ebay fick punga ut omkring 1300kr.

-I slutet av 90-talet började folk höra av sig. De ville veta mer, köpa singeln, frågade efter andra inspelningar och så vidare. Vi undrade var hade folk hört talas om oss och nästa fråga var: hur kunde de tycka att musken var bra? Den var ju jättegammal! Sedan började man förstå att de som hörde av sig lyssnar på en viss sorts musik från just början av 80-talet och gärna musik som är lite independent eller vad man ska kalla det. Ett annat band som verkar vara tätt förknippade med oss är GOTHAM CITY. De hörde jag inte förrän nu på senare tid. Det verkar vara ett visst gäng som lyssnar på den sortens musik och byter skivor med varandra. Det är jätteskoj. Zone Zero bildades i Gagnef i Dalarna 1980 med sättningen Anders "Lissa" Lissdaniels (sång), Tobben Stenberg (gitarr), Håkan Göras (gitarr), Lars Törnblom (bas) och Lasse "Leo" Lindberg (trummor). Inspirationen kom från den nya hårdrocken från Storbrittanien och målet var att bli världsstjärnor. De skaffande bland annat en egen turnébuss.

-Vi köpte en före detta postbuss. En stor högerstyrd gammal rackare. Den var gul från början men vi målade om den, i svart naturligtvis men får logga på båda sidorna och inredde den med bar och allt. Zone Zero repade fyra dagar i veckan och blev ganska drivna under sin korta livstid, vilken kan höras på deras få inspelningar. Förutom singeln finns deras riffiga, episka och melankoliska heavy metal förevigad på en demokassett med sex låtar som har fått ganska stor spridning bland samlare.

-Den är inspelad med ett kassettdäck kopplat till ett mixerbord. Vi repade i en gammal skola med stora rum och högt i tak. Vi skaffade PA och hela faderullan och satte upp allt på helgerna. Alla de demolåtarna är inspelade live. När bandet förstod att Pang inte var något att hoppas på kontaktades ett antal andra bolag, men det blev aldrig napp. När sedan medlemmarna spreds över landet på grund av militärtjänst, studier och annat rann bandet ut i sanden innan 1983 hade blivit 1984. Alla fem är och fortfarande vänner och är inte främmande för att hänga på sig intrumenten när de ses.

- Ibland drickver vi lite bärs och spelar in en låt. Vår trummis fyllde 50 år för två år sedan och då sa vi att vi var tvungna att spela på hans fest. Vi hyrde replokal och träffades vid några tillfällen, körde in några låtar och det var skitkul. Att ge ut materialet officiellt på CD är långt ifrån uteslutet. Ett tjugotal gamla låtar har digitaliserats och mastrats för att eventuellt släppas av det amerikanska skivbolaget Shadow Kingdom.

- När de kontaktade oss började vi lyssna på våra gamla låtar igen och jag kan nog tycka de är rätt okej nu. För tio år sedan såg jag det som ett avslutat kapitel, men nu inser jag att det inte var så tokig musik. Återförening av bandet lär dock även i framtiden vara förbehållet vissa särskilda tillfällen.

-Jag bor här i Gagnef, två bor i Göteborg, en i Gävle och en i Falun. Det är svårt att få ihop ett seriöst plan, men när vi väl träffas kan vi gott spela in en låt. Vi har spelat in tre eller fyra låtar som också vore kul att ha med på den eventuella skivan.

by Per-Ola Nilsson
Interview (from Steel for an Age #1 2011)
I will use the same words I used to end this feature. This is one of the "cutest" bands that ever came out of Sweden! Starting at the early 80's, they played pure Heavy Metal in a time the term was hardly used, without being hard-rockish in any minute! ZONE ZERO didn't play the typical commercial Swedish party metal, they did not play the 1000 notes per second guitar solos, they didn't use a melodic loverboy's vocals as most bands from this country did. What did they sound like? Simply heavier than anything out at that time, dark, occult and atmospheric NWOBHM influenced Metal, making themselves some of the pioneers of what would be later known as Doom Metal!. The rest is history, narrated by the band's guitarist Torben Stenberg.

Hi Torben, let's start with a brief bio of the band members before ZONE ZERO got together. Since you had formed the band in the very first days before the Heavy Metal movement broke out and you were very young, did you and the other members play in other bands previous to ZONE ZERO? What kind of music di you play with them?
Hi Thanos! Well we were like in two camps before ZONE ZERO. I played in a band called BLACK LABEL which played mostly covers of SCOPRIONS, AC/DC, THIN LIZZY and JUDAS PRIEST. The others, Göras, Törnblom and Lasse Lee were all together in a band called OVERDOSE along with Peter Westin (guitars) and they played covers as well, but more of the bluesy kind like Hendrix etc. BLACK LABEL and OVERDOSE did a couple of gigs together and we all knew each other. At a certain point OVERDOSE decided to be more into Heavy Metal than blues and to start to write their own material. They changed name to SCROTUM METAL and brought in Lissa as a singer. The new name did not exist for long though and the band wanted to come up with a better one. So, after some time and discussion they agreed on the name ZONE ZERO.

So as soon as you ZONE ZONE ZERO were formed, was the initial idea to make a band playing some harder than usual music than whatever was around at this time? It was right then when NWOBHM started to make an impulse around the world.
Yeah at the time we were all around 18-20 and we were rebels like many of that age. Band like SCORPIONS, JUDAS PRIEST and THIN LIZZY were already out there, but when IRON MAIDEN's first record was released I guess we all went like... WOW!!! Shortly after that, there were SAXON, ACCEPT, MSG, TYGERS OF PANG TANG, Y&T, DIO, OZZY and a lots of other bands to get influenced by.

The first ZONE ZERO dome is dated in 1981 under the name "Borlänge", featuring some really heavy songs for the time like "Demon From The Kingdom Of Death", "Judgement Day" and the vibrand "Only Survivor" among others!. What were your influences? The songs were pretty dark and doomy, was that intentional achieving a sound like that? I can only remember ANGEL WITCH and a few other NWOBHM bands having such a dark atmosphere back then!
I think out influences came from a lot of bands at that time. Like I said, we listened to a lot of SAXON, ACCEPT, IRON MAIDEN, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, Y&T, DIO, OZZY just to name a few. Our sound was just something that appeared when the five of us got together making music I guess. Mostly me or someone of the others came up with an idea or a whole song. In the end, everybody put their ideas and personality in the songs though.

After the first demo was released, what did you do, did you start touring the country? Was the Swedish crowd ready to stomach it so that you could start building a fanbase in your area to start with?
It would be an overstatement to say that we released it. That was in face just another recording which we later used as a demo to send to record companies. As far as touring, I think we had a kinda relaxed attitude. of course we wanted to be famous and of course we wanted to tour the world playing the big arenas. But first of all we were 5 kids having a lot of fun doing just what we wanted to do. If fame didn't arrive, it wouldn't be such a great deal. We played a lot, we rehearsed a lot, but the base in it was always the fun of it. But yeah, we took all the gigs we could get, mostly around our area.

In the same year you released a second demo tape, featuring "Win or Die" along with "Demon From the Kingdom of Death"! was this demo made for promotional use? Is this the one that hooked you up with Pang Records and finally got you signing a record deal?
Yeah, I think that's what happened.

Anno 1982 and the ZONE ZERO 7" is released, where "Win or Die" and "Evil Dream" were offered to the Metal world, two masterpieces of the genre with a unique dark feeling again and some great guitar melodies! Why did you pick those two cuts for the single, since there were plenty to choose from?
The answer to this question is ver simple: Because those songs were our newest at that time! They felt more fresh and "unplayed" than the old stuff, so from that point of view the choice was easy.

Why did you decide to deal with Pang Records? It was not a Metal label in the first place and this single was one of their first Metal offerings, if not the first! You never thought this could be inhibit the band's evolution?
Hahaha! The only reason that made us sign up with Pang Records was that they were the only label showing us any interest what so ever! All the other always said "Thank You" for our demos followed by some lines telling that we didn't fit into their company for the moment, but that we were always welcome to send more demos in the future. Pang Records answered that they were truly interested in our stuff and we all just almost fainted by excitement!.

Did you get the appropriate support from the label to go on? How were the sales of the single and how many copied had you pressed?
No, certainly not! We didn't get any support what so ever and we didn't hear a sound from them after the recording. We even contacted the local press who made an article about it. We pressed 500 copies, 100 for each of us. Today, I think there are about 10 copies left.

The style you had chosen to play was not even close to the common Swedish Metal, there was not a guitar hero showing-off, no accessible melodic vocals, nothing that would compile commercial music. On the other hand, one could say that Lissa's voice was so weird and unique that people may not fancy a lot.
Well, we were just 5 friends doing what we loved, playing music together and we never even though about replacing someone to earn better music skills for the band. 5 friends making music together and that was the most important thing. The band sounded like it did because of our individual skills.

I'm not sure if Pang Records had ever released a full-length for any band, so did you start looking for a label that would show more interest in you as soon as you realized nothing could come up with Pang? I can't believe that no other labels tried to reach you!
No, I don't think there ever was a full-length from one band at Pang. Well I guess we continued to look for companies after the Pang incident, but not too long after this, we started to get spread geographically.

So after your first official discography attempt, did anything change in your popularity? What was the reaction of the fans at this point and how did the metal press approach ZONE ZERO?
Not a lot changed really. Could be that we earned some more respect because of the record, but I can't say that our popularity increased very dramatically. In fact I can't remember any articles in any press regarding ZONE ZERO and the single.

Did you start touring afterwards? How was a ZONE ZERO gig like, did you have a special show? Not having a melodic singer and some Malmsteen sound-and-speed-alike guitarists was a drawback for a Swedish band?
We already toured the best we could, so that didn't change. At that time Heavy Metal wasn't really big in Sweden and sometimes it was hard getting gigs. Malmsteen was still unknown outside of Stockholm so speed guitar playing wasn't really a big thing. There were a few virtuosos like Uli Jon Roth and Randy Rhoads, but they were quite unique and a Metal band didn't need to include shredder. As far as our gigs are concerned, we tried to show off quite a bit on stage. The issue was to show the crowd that we were enjoying being there... that we were having fun! We built our own bombs and used them quite frequently. We also build our own light-rigs. We had a big one in stage front, a smaller one beside and behind the drum podium. We had also a couple of really strong spots inside the drum podium which were pointed outwards, to the audience. So, we wanted to give the audience both a visual and a audio show shredder.

It is stated in the Metal-Archives website (which is often incorrect) that one more tape exists with rehearsals of the band. There were several songs included in it that were never heard before, like the almighty "Tarakian" and killer cuts as "Riding On The Wind", "Revenge" and more. Seems nothing could lead to the record deal you wanted, no matter how good the band sounded? No serious proposal ever showed up?
Yes, that statement is correct, the tape exists and the songs on it will be on the compilation CD we hopefully will release during this year. Nope, nothing serious ever showed up...

Did you have many line-up changes? Seems you were stable enough as a band!
No, we didn't change a lot. From the day that the band got the name ZONE ZERO, the only lineup change was when I replaced Peter Westin.

From this point on, no signs of ZONE ZERO were seen. Is that then when you disbanded? What led you there?
Military service and university studies. We got literally spread all over the country and it became very difficult to continue as a band.

Did you or the other guys play with other Metal bands after ZONE ZERO had broken up?
Yes, I played in a band named UNICORN together with Lasse Lee for a while. After I moved to Gävle, there was a band called HAZE which I joined during sometime. When I moved to Gothenburg, I formed a band called ZED together with Lasse Lee and Göras. We had a quite melodic style..

Suddenly, you jam with the guys and in 2004 you record a brand new track called "We Want the Metal Back". Was it the only new recording you made with ZONE ZERO? Is this the point where the band is back together again? Was that with the same line up?
Hahaha, Well we've always been really close friends, even though we're spread all over the country nowadays. We try to get together once in a while and in 2004 we decided that we should get together for a weekend in Lasse Lee's house at the west coast. At that time he had just started to build a studio so we though it would be fun to make some music while we ere there. After all, music is what brough us together in the first place. So we got together on Friday evening, jammed a lot (between a couple of beers) and came up with some ideas for a new song. On Saturday, we recorded it and on Sunday we mixed the whole thing. I think that this could be the point where the band in fact started to act like a band again. For sure we were always the bst of friends, but wer had some sort of musical pause. So after this weekend in 2004, we did yet a couple of recordings and yes, it's still wit hthe same linup. "Miss You" is a ballad made by an idea from Göras, "Chasing Victory" is a fast-written-song by me and "Twilight of the Gods" is made from an idea that I had back in the days just before our "pause". Personally, I find "Twilight of the Gods" interesting because it's embryo was created in the 80's and the finish was made in 2008. I find the result quite powerful.

Did you play any shows after reuniting?
Well yes, in fact we did two shows, or.. I would prefer to call them gigs, cause that's what they really where. The first one was at a private garden party in Falun. By the most, there could have been 20 persons in the audience. The second gig was also a private one: We're all getting older and in 2010, Lasse Lee had his 50 year anniversary-party. We all decided that we should play on his party to honor him. So we did... and we liked it... and from that moment, we're open to more gigs!.

You were preparing a ZONE ZERO show at around 2009 for your birthday party if I am correct! Was it for friends only or at a club? What happened to that show?
Well, as I said it was Lasse Lee's birthday party and it was a private one. There were around 150 guests and ZONE ZERO played "Tarakian", "Riding On The Wind", "Win or Die" and "Breaker of the Chains" as a small show at the party. Unfortunately, Törnblom was at the time in Croatia, so he couldn't attend the gig. We had a stand in for this evening: Patrik Andersson Winberg from DOOMSDOGS made a terrific job on the bass that night, but of course we Missed Törnblom.

Now something everyone is expecting! There is an imminent ZONE ZERO release in the making. What songs will be included on it? Will they be new or old songs? Which label will release it and in what format?
Yes, we're in contact with Shadow Kingdom Records and we intend to release a compilation of every recording we ever did as ZONE ZERO, old and new. We've been speaking about both CD and vinyl. We'll see in the end about the result of that discussion. All in all there will be 20 songs on the release.

Does this release mark a new proper beginning for ZONE ZERO?
Naaah, I don't really think so. My wish is that we will continue to get together once in a while, to play and make a new song. Of course we could go playing gigs, but I don't think we would be prepared to put 100% into it. That would be more like a fun thing to do... Just because we love each other, love to play together and love the fun of it!

Any chance to record new songs or play live again at a club?
Absolutely! Both making music, recording and playing gigs is so much fun, so I'm quite sure that we will continue.

ZONER ZERO is considered a classic band nowadays, even though the most known material this band had ever made was the vinyl single, which made it highly collectible! How do you feel that a mere 2-track vinyl could stand the test of time and made ZONE ZERO one of Sweden's most cult bands?
This is of course truly far more and bigger than we ever expected back in the  days. It's a little bit hard to believe and to perceive. Nevertheless it feels really greay and if one person, just one person would like our music, it's just... Awesome!

-Thanos Stafylarakis
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