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Sweden flagPSYCHOTIC YOUTH
CURRENT NAME Psychotic Youth
FORMER NAMES -
ORIGIN Sweden
STATUS Disbanded
FORMED IN -
GENRE Punk rock
STYLE -
LYRICAL THEME -
BAND ADDED 2004-01-18, 00:00
LAST UPDATE 2004-01-18, 00:00
Band biography
Psychotic Youth photo
Take a pinch of 60's garage punk, mix with a healthy amount of Detroit punk, 70's New Wave, plenty of power pop and just a few grains of the band's homemade Happy Metal brand. Add sweet harmonies, a generous dose of homour and frantic no-holds live action. Voilá... (fanfare) THE PSYCHOTIC YOUTH!

But, you wonder (now don't you), how did it all begin? Well, we have to go back all the way to the autumn of 1984. Up in the tiny town of Kramfors in northern Sweden, 18 year old ex-hooligan Jörgen Westman, fed up with wrecking cars and playing guitar in mediocre new wave bands, decides to start up a new project, inspired by the then-somewhat-fashionable 60's garage punk revival. Westman recruits workmate Kent Sjöholm (who turns out to be a dynamite drummer as well as a nice fellow and all-around good guy), persuades his friend Anders Nordstrand into buying a bass, and manages to lure mad Dane Nils Lund-Larsen, top guitar player of neighbouring town Härnösand, into it all. The band is called the Ratfink-A-Boo Boo's, after a song by the Nomads, which pretty much tells what it's all about. The 60's punk collection Nuggets makes a handy manual; covers of songs by the Sonics, the Standells and the Strangeloves are mixed with original Westman compositions in a similar vein.

After changing the name to the Psychotic Youth and recording a flexi disc for Jörgen's fanzine Straight from the grooveyard, multi-instrumentalist Gunnar Frick from Örnsköldsvik (yet another small town in the area) is brought in as a organ-player in the autumn of 1985.

Playing rock'n'roll in northern Sweden was a struggle in its own. Gunnar reminisces:

"Every second Sunday I used to get up at 8 a.m., bring the organ on the bus 100 kilometres (!) south, where Jörgen was waiting with his ratty old Opel for further transport to Nyadal, a small village outside Kramfors, where we rehearsed in the local folklore centre. Nils, if he could afford the ticket, came with another bus from fifty kilometres to the south, changing to ferry (!!) before finally meeting up with the rest of us. These days, I find it nuisance not to be able to walk to rehearsals..."

These Monty Pythonesque conditions ("My family lived in a shoebox on the motorway...") notwithstanding, the band manages to stay together and develop. Gigs in northern Sweden being sparse, the band's main activity in 1985-1987 is recording for various local labels, First out was the EP "Devils Train", and after that, notably, the aptly-titled debut LP FASTER!FASTER!Jörgen writes the songs; Gunnar works the studio magic. Although the 60's punk revival is petering out, they do attract some attention, not so much in Sweden as on the continent, where Swedish garage punk is still considered hot. For instance, the single "Just like me/Stop waistin' my time" is released in France and Spain only. The second LP ANYTHING FOR A THRILL is not reviewed at all by the Swedish press (except for the reviews band members write themself for local papers); nevertheless, it is released in Holland and other foreign places.

In the summer of 1987 Jörgen moves to Gothenburg, by and by luring Kent and Gunnar along.

Having tried their luck in various combos, they restart the Psychotic Youth in January, 1988. Fellow exile Northlanders Magnus "Nypon" Nyberg and Erik Danielsson join on guitar and bass, and the band gains some local reputation as a fine wild live act. However, the new bass player suddenly disappears without a trace (nobody's heard from him since) and so Gunnar trades in his Farfisa organ for a Rickenbacker bass. As a four-man unit, the Psychotic Youth embark on their first real tour in November, 1988. Jörgen tells about it:

"It was totallly incredible. For the first time, we were treated with respect. We had a tour manager and got to sleep in hotels! The clubs we played had real PA systems, and they gave us unlimited amounts of booze! Besides, we met with amazingly good response. There were actually people coming to check out an almost unknown band from Sweden."

In January, 1988, the band feels ripe to get into the studio again, for the first time in almost two years. Chips Kiesbye (of famous band Sator) agrees to produce the record, originally mostly as a favour to his fellow Northlanders, but pretty soon realizing the potential of the songs. One night Chips brings his bandmate Kent Norberg along to sing harmonies, and everything falls into place. The Sator laddies succeed in persuading their record company, Radium 226.05, that "this is the hottest thing since Elvis"; an additional ten songs are written and recorded at a furious pace. The single "Julie" brings some media attention, and radio man Lars Aldman, the closest thing Sweden's got to a John Peel, gets his eyes on the band. An album called SOME FUN, mixed in five days at the Music-A-Matic studio by Chips and Michael Ilbert, is released in the autumn of 1989, for the first time establishing the Psychotic Youth on the national rock scene. The label "surf punk" firmly fixed to the band, members are forced to practice harmony singing for hours and hours in order to be able to play the new songs live. The problem is solved by reinforcing the live act with singer- showman-teen heartthrob Per Dahlberg.

The following year, they play about 70 gigs, including the classic Danish Roskilde festival and tours all over Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria and Holland. There are plenty of amusing anecdotes from this period, such as "The story "Of The WheelFfalling Off The Bus On The Way To The Hultsfred-festival" and "The Story Of The Band Arriving Two Days Early For That Festival In Austria". The episodes of "Free Booze in Freiburg" and "Meeting M-Rock Of The Stonefunkers Aboard the German Ferry, Whereupon Much Frolic Takes Place" are also fairly entertaining. Oh well.

However, Radium Records proves to be deep in financial shit, despite having succesful bands like Sator, The Stonefunkers, Union Carbide Productions and Blue For Two on their hands; thus, the release of the intended summer single "It Won't Be Long Before We See The Sun Shine" is postponed to February, 1991. At least there's a sunny video, made by Henrik Schyffert, shown infrequently on Swedish television. Oh well.

In the spring of 1991, the Psychotic Youth starts working on their fourth album, BE IN THE SUN. Produced by Per Edwardsson, who functioned as an engineer and general cheer-up-guy during the making of SOME FUN, this record is somewhat more relaxed than its precursors, what with everybody being older, more mature, more successful and everything. Perfectionist Edwardsson polishes the Beatle-ish harmony arrangements to an almost absurd perfection. The single "Nice Girls" is a modest radio hit, and BE IN THE SUN, released in February, 1992, sells pretty well. The Psychotic Youth Tour Machine rolls on; however, by autumn its gears are beginning to show signs of wear. Guitarist Magnus starts the hardcore band Mary Beats Jane; Gunnar gets a gig playing theatre music for a stage play; Kent's building trucks; Jörgen locks himself into an old sailmaker's factory out by the sea trying to straighten out his private life. The bathing bays are freezing, the conservatives rule sweden and the never ending summer seems to be over. But...

In February 1993, after half a year in semi-retirement, the band gathers itself together to make a new record. Magnus resigns after five years' loyal duty, and in his place guitar player Ulf Abrahamsson, from the band Aspirin for breakfast, is brought in. Chips Kiesbye is asked to resume the collaboration and happily accepts to produce the record. However, Radium Records, now bought by semi-independent biggie MNW at this point, turns out to be thoroughly uninterested in the band's plans; the Psychotic Youth ask to have their record contract annulated, which is readily arranged.

The Psychotic Youth CD JUICE! takes form in the Music-A-Matic studio in the summer of 1993. Jörgen Westman has spent a good deal of the last year in used record stores rummaging through the nickel-and-dime bins, searching for obscure new wave from 1979-80; findings such as the Plimsouls, Paul Collins Beat and the Knack cut-outs will leave a distinctive mark on his new songs. The first single, "Elevator Girl", gets its fair share of airplay on Swedish radio and is tried out for the national listeners' poll (alas, it's disqualified when Gunnar calls in to vote for himself, is put on the air and happily introduces himself with his name...); the band appears on a pre-teen pop music TV show, demonstrating their "beautiful" show dance routine. A second single, "MTV", is subsequently released, complete with grooovy video clip.

After touring Scandinavia in the autumn and winter of 1993, the band, deciding that they'd better make hay while the sun shines, go to work on what turns out to be an eight-song "medium play" CD called POP. Nille Perned, engineer during the JUICE! sessions and a good friend of the band, having worked as the Psychotic Youth's live sound engineer for several years, is called in to produce. POP is recorded in about a week under jovial circumstances in the Swedish National Radio studio in Gothenburg, with successful results. Ulf has grown into the band naturally, and the whole record is more or less recorded live, giving it an extra amount of energy and presence. POP is released in May 1994, to good reviews. The German disco band Aneka's 1981 hit"Japanese Boy" is, in the Psychotic Youth power pop version, a radio hit once more.

POP under its collective belt, the band again feels ready to reach outside the Swedish borders, but Nonstop Records is lacking international distribution and connections. The band promptly decides to buy out the master tapes of JUICE! and POP, themselves releasing a wholly new record with the best songs of the previous two CD:s for distribution outside Sweden. This record, called BAMBOOZLE, is released in the summer of 1994 by Jörgen Westman's newly founded label Blast Records.

After their "1994 Summer Festivals-Swimming In Every Lake In Sweden-Tour", along with a couple of visits to Denmark and Norway, the band once again seems to fall to pieces. Jörgen joins the "girl" band Incka & William , the other band members start to engage in other projects ; Gunnar is playing pedak-steel with honky tonk heroes Gillis Jordan & The Bad Lovers, along his work as a theater musician; Ulf is recording a CD along with the band Wish and Kent has gotten a big shot jobb at the carfactory. At this point, (December 1994) the band decides to close the curtain. A week later they appear on a National TV show with two songs of the POP CD, along with their annocement that from now on the Psychotic Youth is only considered a hobby project for the band members. But no peace for the wicked...

Just days after their announcement the band is contacted by a German label (WOLVERINE RECORDS) who wants to take a license on the BAMBOOZLE CD. But there's a demand for a tour. The distributor SPV will see to that the CD is avaible all over Europe. So the band makes new plans. A German booking agency is hired to set up the tour, Jörgen is re-opening his BLAST label, , and starts to work on the songs for an up-coming album, planned for winter '95-'96. Also the London office (WINDSONG INT.), which handels the bands Asia contacts, calls to say that the Japanese label FUJI-PACIFIC has shown a big interest in the BAMBOOZLE CD. Also the Japanese EXPLOSION WORKS label shows their interest and releases "Japanese Boy" on their demo 120,000 copies CD/magazine HIT JAPAN. After that their contact at the label get's a heartattack and the label decides to close the record part of the company. But the pushing man for the demo-magazine starts his own label TALES and offers the band to take over the planned release of the upcoming album, but again it falls apart.

MNW records and the band decide to co-operate again and the back catalogue is now under MNW's label. From mid January to April 1996 MNW releases 3 CDs. First out was the compilation "Small Wonders 1985-1996". And then came in a row the twin-CD of ANYTHING FOR A THRILL/FASTER FASTER, and later the twin-CD of JUICE/POP along with all the CDS B-sides and so on... A split-CD with the American combo SURF TRIO was released on the German label Wolverine Records in April with all previously released material, and was followed by a two week-tour in May/June with the Surf Trio, which becomes 'hombres' with our boys. In Brazil Natasha Records arrange for the song "Japanese Boy" and "MTV" to be a part of the 80,000 printed copies of SHOWBIZZ, a magazine with attached CD.

In August 1996 bass player Johannes tells the band he's moving to L.A. to attend a music-collage (yack!) so the band turns to their old pal "Crippa", which in September joins the band on bass. By the time of early summer 1996 MNW asked the band if they wanted to sign a new record-deal for two more albums. Enchanted by this offer Jorgen again starts to write new material to present to the label by the end of September. 22 new songs were recorded on demo, but during this MNW started to show great instability and the band decided to withdraw from the offer and instead go for the German market by releasing two new songs (Goldie Hawn/Girls Out of Reach) on a split-CD/"7 along with the German band The RICHIES. This is planned to be followed by a two week tour in April 1997. On November 22 Natasha Records in Brazil threw a releaseparty for the bands "Small Wonders"-album (without the band attending the party(!)) Meanwhile the band awaits a new record deal and rehearsing on their new songs they will make some gigs during the spring to "keep the faith".

Burned by the failed MNW-deal Jorgen goes whacko and buys his own 24-channel studio, on which 17 songs (out of 50 written by Jorgen) are recorded in the autumn of 1997 and winter of 1998. The songs are recorded by the bands live technician Rune (Grumpty) Johansson, which lends out his bedroom(!) for recording the vocals (the rest of the album is recorded in their rehearsalroom). He also throws in free booze and tobacco which leads to "extended" recordingtime. The album STERREOIDS, which was planned for a February 1998 release, isn't finnished until the end of August. To make ends meet during the summer Jorgen takes his first job as a musician by backing up his old bandmate from William, now soloartist, Incka.

In mid September the album is released over Europe by license to the German label Wolverine Records. But before they leave for their German promotion tour they rock infront of 200 people on the livingroom floor of Jorgens girlfriend, who has a private party. Not to do the same mistake again the band has decided to run the tour themself. A decision that at first seems right, but soon proves to be a blunder when the booking agency runs off (!) with the money and doesn't even come to see the band play at all! (Hi Michael Z!) As these guys has been to bookie-hell and back the band isn't let down by this small error. Thanks to merchandiser Martin Olsson the band manages to get back to Sweden. Cold and hungry (but strangely awake) they arrive on the Gothenburg docks.

As the STEREOIDS album needs Scandinavian distribution Jorgen turn to his friends at Dolores Records which offers to handle it all. A promotioncompany called Skiva is hired (run by Linda, another old bandmate from William). The album is released on November 11th. After 3 months Dolores breaks the contract with their distributor and leaves Psychotic Youth without any distribution throughout Scandinavia. After newyear the band play some gigs in Sweden while a German-tour is planned with a new booking agency (hoping not be ripped off this time...).

But family-responsabilities inside the band forces the band to delay the tour until June. Setbacks is wearing the band down throughout the spring and as the German-tour draws closer Jorgen and Ulf decides to close the file of Psychotic Youth and start a new band containing the two of them. A show is booked to end the career, and as the band once started out in a carfactory in the north of Sweden in the town of Kramfors, the band plays their last ever gig on June 25th (midsummers eave) 1999 on the Hoga Kusten Festival in Kramfors to an enthusiastic crowd. The gig is recorded on tape and video and will be released on the US- and Japanese-version of STEREOIDS this autumn. Case closed!

[Gunnar Frick were among those (also Ylva Wålstedt who appeared on early albums from At The Gates and In Flames) who arranged the string instruments for a compilation cd called "GAIS Rocks Da House" in 2000, dedicated to the Gothenburg soccer team GAIS.]
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Former members Add - Fetch
Erik Danielsson1988-1988Bass
Nils Lund-Larsen1984-1987Guitars
Anders Nordstrand1984-1987Bass
Gunnar Frick1985-1994Bass, organ
Dennis Staaf Drums
Cristian "Crippa"1996-1999Bass
Johannes-1996Bass
Ulf Abrahamsson1993-1999Guitars
Kent Sjöholm1984-Drums
Magnus Nyberg1988-1993GuitarsSee also Mary Beats Jane
Jörgen Westman1984-1999Guitars, vocalsSee also William
Session musicians Add - Fetch
Unknown / none
Buy Psychotic Youth albums
Official releases Add
1986Faster! Faster!Rainbow
1988Anything For A ThrillGarageland
1989Some FunRadium
1992...Be In The Sun...Radium
1993Juice!Nonstop
1994PopNonstop
1994Bamboozle (comp.)Blast
1996Small Wonders 1985-1995Blast
1998StereoidsBlast
Tour dates / gigs
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Click here for a complete Psychotic Youth gig history
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