Influenced by, among others, Hanoi Rocks, Bangkok Babes was born in
1994 in Norway.The band gigged for many years to little avail.
On the suggestion of Kivel Records (the label for Lars Forseth's other
band), Bangkok Babes mailed music to Chavis Records which lead to a
recording contract. The band's debut, Locket N' Chain, was issued at
beginning of 2003. The album's title referred to an old grildfriend of
BANGKOK BABES -LOCKET N' CHAIN - CHAVIS
Boom!!! Right out of the gates Bangkok Babes makes no bones about its love for Guns N Roses. The sleazed riffs, the drums, the vocals, the hooks all point to the Guns. Certainly the Norwegians are not a carbon copy and the vocals here less nasal than Axl's, but Locket N' Chain is not about to break any new ground. That is not a bad thing either. At least they are inspired by the best which let's face it, Guns N Roses is in this genre. Back to Bangkok Babes, the band offers the listener a whole lot of energy, riffs with attitude and good sound. Wasted Advice begins with a take-off Poison's Unskinny Bop, the title track proves the band can get bluesy while Running Out Of Time proves they can get downright soft and poppy too! All in all though, this baby is a bundle of fun with unexpected origins. - Ali "The Metallian"
Bangkok Babes is a curious band. There is the moniker. Then there is the band's Norwegian origin, which has never readily lent itself to high-octane hard rock. Trying to find some, any, information on the band is a quest onto itself. One needs luck, charm and perhaps even a little voodoo to happen about anything beyond the vague.
Never a hub for doing things the easy way, the Metallian Towers crew had to find out something, hell anything, about the babes. Consequently, when Ali "The Metallian" got the chance recently to speak with a Bangkok Babe, he was happy to record the conversation. What follows is a short exchange with guitarist Lars Forseth following the release of the Locket N' Chain through Chavis Records. The rest of the band is singer Daren H. Stone, second guitarist Paul Wiik, bassist Sonny Crow and drummer Peppa Bruvold. - 20.05.2003
LARS: First of all we'd like to thank you for a great review and the attention. We could use some lifting up, so thanks a bunch!
METALLIAN: Lars, it is nice speaking with you. Why don't you give us the band's background history. The first time most people heard of Bangkok Babes was upon the album's release.
LARS: Well, there really is not too much to say! We started out in 1994… I think (laughs). We have been gigging back home on and off ever since.
METALLIAN: So, what is the story behind the Bangkok Babes name?
LARS: It is inspired by the Hanoi Rocks' album Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks. It is a really cool album from a band that has influenced acts like Guns 'n' Roses and obviously us.
METALLIAN: Why did it take the band nine years, no less, to land a record deal?
LARS: Well it's been hard most rockers in the past few years. The record industry pretty much killed rock 'n' roll for a while and Norway has never been a great rock nation anyway! We just kept gigging and writing songs waiting for people to rediscover rock. That is the way it should be.
I guess our deal with Chavis Records came about through Kivel Records! I am in another band called Rain too. Rain is signed to Kivel. One day I sent a song, I think it was Wasted Advice, on mp3 to Kivel. John Kivel knows Bill Chavis and felt Bangkok Babes would fit on Chavis Records. We then sent several demos to them. That's about it.
How we persevered all these years I do not know. There were many good acts which fell apart in the meanwhile. I guess we have been fortunate to last this long!
METALLIAN: How did the opportunity to tour with Ritchie Blackmore come about?
LARS: What? Oh, there has been a misprint in our press release. We never toured with him. We were touring in Norway and supported him in Oslo one night. We never even met him. I remember that there was a lot of shit going on that night. There was a fire in the fuse box half an hour before they were supposed to open the doors and both the Ritchie Blackmore band and we almost pulled out of the gig. We went on stage three hours late that night. It was cool just to know he was in the building.
METALLIAN: OK, so why don't we talk about your intentions with the debut? What were the band's motivations and goals when recording it?
LARS: Our main motivation now is to, sort of, let the world know that rock 'n' roll is not dead. We are back and have we survived the industry's attempt to rid the world of us. Rock is here to stay. They might knock us out for a while, but we will always come back.
The intentions are the same, I guess, as for all other bands. We try to sell records and hopefully tour America and the rest of the world… and of course get filthy rich (laughs).
METALLIAN: What does the title Locket N' Chain mean?
LARS: Hmm, a locket, of course, is something you wear around your neck in a chain. This particular locket had a picture of my girlfriend at the time and I in it.. We were sharing a place and it got to the point where I wanted to break up with her. I was broke. I didn't want to leave without anything and I didn't want to kick her out. At the same time I was expecting some money in the mail and for some reason the postman didn't bring the cheque for almost two weeks. Those two weeks were hell. We fought constantly and she actually tried to kill me with a knife one night! Luckily she just cut my arm, but the bleeding was the worst I have ever seen. So that's what it means and that's what that title-track is about, bad, eh?
METALLIAN: Apparently there was no 'chain' to bind you then so to speak. Speaking of chaos though, and listening to the album, Guns 'n Roses seems like an obvious inspiration. Care to comment?
LARS: Well, we never intended to sound like the 'Guns.' I really don't think we do, but both the Guns and us were inspired by some of the same acts, namely Hanoi Rocks, Aerosmith and the like. Additionally Darren can blow (Guns'n Roses singer) Axl away anytime. Axl has written many great songs and they are a cool band regardless.
METALLIAN: As for life in 2003,
LARS: I guess life in 2003 is pretty rough for everyone. With the whole global situation and all that…, but we will get through it somehow. Life for Bangkok Babes hopefully will bring hills that are not as steep. Who knows, maybe we will even get some lucky windfalls? We will start writing some new material for the next album, just keep gigging and doing what we do, which is kick ass!
And that boys and girls is what Locket N' Chain is all about. The album is now available at select retail outlets.