Jorn Lande: a nomad in metal land

Jorn Lande is not just one of the best singers of his generation – he’s also one hell of a chatterbox! The following interview lasted no less than an hour and fifteen minutes, and we could only ask half of our questions. Jorn obviously has a lot of things to say, and the simplest question will lead him to digress, talk about his experiences, his feelings, etc. “I hope you can get something out of it”, he says at the end of the interview. Let’s not forget that the man has a serious career behind him, from Norwegian rock band Vagabond up to his extremely productive solo band. He also had a brief fling with The Snakes, alongside former Whitesnake members Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody, which allowed him to step into the shoes of one of his idols and cover Whitesnake songs; with Mundanus Imperium; with Ark, with which he conceived the masterpiece that is Burn The Sun; with Beyond Twilight and its fascinating The Devil Hall Of Fame; with Masterplan, which he founded with former Helloween members Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch; and with his duo project with Russell Allen, another great metal voice of the end of the 90s and of the 2000s – not to mention several appearances in various other projects.

Having Jorn Lande on the phone was the occasion not only to talk about his new album, Traveller, but also to take stock and try to understand why he just can’t seem to settle down. It will be a good opportunity for fans of the vocalist and of his projects to know some more, notably regarding Ark and Beyond Twilight, with which he created amazing albums that never got a sequel. He also talks about his vision of music as an art and as a job, and laments the fact that so many bands nowadays rely on technology – or screens, as he puts it – to create music, when it should be a matter of human perception and spontaneity.


« I’ve stopped thinking about creating one album that would be a masterpiece. People don’t see albums in the same way anymore. You just have to be spontaneous and deliver music in a shorter period of time. « 

Radio Metal: Earlier this year, you released a compilation of songs rearranged with an orchestra. Could an acoustic album be the next step?

Jorn Lande: I’ve never had time to do acoustic versions of my songs. I don’t see it as necessary. I have a band with great heavy players. We have tours coming, with festivals and shows on and off, and we never thought about the idea to do something unplugged. Certain songs are not meant, or were never written, for that concept. It’s always possible to find a song or two from each album that would fit and that we could rearrange. Maybe one day I will do something like that, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I like to create new stuff. Maybe I will write an album of new songs that would have more acoustic guitars, piano, and stuff like that. I could see myself doing that if a few years’ time, with maybe one or two songs from the older albums. I know a couple of songs that would sound great in acoustic versions. I think it would be better to do it in a new context: mix a couple of old songs with new material, write an album that would have less heavy guitars and bombastic style, and more simplicity. Yeah, maybe I will do that in the future!

You’re releasing solo albums on a regular basis, whether it’s studio albums, compilations, or live albums, to the point that there’s at least one Jorn album, if not two, every year. Is it important to you to maintain this fast pace?

Today is a different world compared to 30 or 40 years ago. I think people have to work harder today to keep their jobs. So, it’s the same with me, I have to work and keep the flow. The machine has to run in order to survive in the business. Also, we’re overloaded with artists. Because of digital possibilities in this modern day, people can make albums at home. And you have Facebook, and Internet in general, that can promote stuff for you. So we are overloaded with music and information in general. I think what’s gonna happen is that, for the younger generation, we just won’t be able to conquer the world in the same way as before. It will be very difficult, just because people don’t sell as many albums as they did. With digital downloading, people are more selective. In the old days, when people talked about hits, it would be something unusual, and sometimes even a bit negative, out of the normal context. Today, everything is a hit. What was a big commercial success in the old days is so small and limited now. That’s why you have to work harder now. That’s why people have to have two or three jobs, to survive and make the same money and live in the same conditions that they did years ago. You have to be more creative, more productive, and you have to be everywhere at the same time! You can’t allow yourself to rest in the same way. It’s a balance. And I also like to work, to continue with my career. There are so many things I never did and that I want to do. I’m never 100% happy with what I do, so I’m also trying to improve all the time. Sometimes I’m running out of time, when I have tight deadlines for an album. Maybe I’m 100% satisfied with three or four songs, and some other songs I have to compromise a bit with. I had to mix them slightly faster than other favorites I had on the album. Then you have to go to the next step. Maybe you even decide to re-record one of your songs on one album, which I’ve done a few times, because you know the songs will be better if you do it again and slightly different. You want people to notice the song more than when it was a later song on the tracklist, when it was 8 or 10. When you re-record the same song a few years later, you might want it to be the opener, or track 2 or 3, because this time it’s great. It’s a strong, powerful song, so you made it an opening track. That’s how I’m thinking: I’m always trying to balance things and get as good a result as possible based on the time I have. I have to challenge myself to make it on time. It’s always good to analyze things for three or four years before you release an album, but at the same time, you lose something spontaneous. So I’ve stopped thinking about creating one album that would be a masterpiece. People don’t see albums in the same way anymore. You just have to be spontaneous and deliver music in a shorter period of time. It’s a combination between getting something original and fresh and, at the same time, make money to live. It’s a good combination. If you want to make good money on this business today, then you really have to go for it, be flexible and have balls. I guess that’s what I’m doing: making a good life and a good living for music. You have dreams, you have things you want to do with your life and time just runs. When you’re 40, you realize you’ll be 60 in twenty years. Time is running and if you measure your lifeline in that context – which many people do, including me –, you realize you want to continue with what you love to do. You have to make plans and find a strategy to make it happen.

You have a new guitar player on tour with you. His name is Trond Holter, from the band Wig Wam. Did you feel the need for a fresh and new collaboration?

A couple of years ago, Trond stepped in on a South American tour that we did. It was in the summer of 2011, I think. It was great. I’ve known the guy for a while, we’ve met throughout the years. We’ve sometimes played the same festivals, so we would meet on occasion. I’ve always loved his playing, but I never knew him that much on a personal level. We were just colleagues, in a way. After that tour, I realized he was a great person to be around, there was good chemistry. When Tore left the band, he was the first name I could think of, someone I would love to work with. That’s why it happened. It was also a good time for him to do this. If I’d asked him a couple of years ago, he would probably have said no, because he would have been busy with other projects. It was perfect timing. Now we’re really good friends and we’ve discovered that we can feed off each other musically, in a positive creative way. I’m excited about that. “Traveller”, the title track of the new album, is a song we did together. You can hear there’s a certain change, a different color to the sound and the way of writing. He really made things come to the point, somehow. It’s very melodic and very riff-oriented. He has a great talent for melodies. Most guitarists today need time to create their guitar solos and to find the right combinations. They copy and paste, they compare and they end up with something. But guys like Trond are different: in a few seconds, he will come up with great melodies and great signature riffs. I’m really excited about the next record. We already started planning that one.

« We live in a world of façade and plastic and fake, where everyone tries to be politically correct in everything they do. […] Animals like the crow are reminders of what we are. It’s the naked truth right there. […] Powerful and independent. »

Do you already have some songs?

Yes. They sound like songs from the upcoming album – songs like “Traveller” or “Overload”, the opening track. You will have more songs in that direction.

You also have a new bass player with you, Bernt Jansen. Did you hire him because he’s also from Wig Wam and him and Trond were used to playing and performing together?

Yes, it was also natural. We had a meeting with Trond, and he brought Bernt to the meeting. We talked about including Bernt in the new line-up as well. That’s how it happened. It was also practical, because most of the guys live not too far away from one another in Norway. It was a good thing that happened. It’s easier now to things, if we want to make a music video or rehearse. Logistically, when we want to move anywhere, whether it is to record an album, or before and after shows, we meet up before we travel. It’s a good thing when you don’t have to fly people from all over the globe to do things! (laughs) Of course, it saves costs as well, which is always a good thing in these times.

Speaking of which, the album is called Traveller, which is also the title of a song on the album. Is that what you consider yourself to be?

I guess we’re all travelers in a symbolic way. It’s the battle of life, the journey of life, how we have to hang in there and keep the spirit alive. Regardless of what happens, you have to find new ways and find your own reason to go on. In a way, it’s a song with a positive message. It’s a song that concerns everyone, basically. There’s a universal message in the song. It’s not too deep or complicated. It’s just about life.

The song “Carry The Black” really sound like something Tony Iommi and Ronnie James Dio could have done together. Can we see this song as a tribute to Black Sabbath?

I never had that in mind. You’re the first person to say that about that song, I never thought about it. It was not meant as a tribute, but because I enjoy Black Sabbath and because I took some influences from all these bands from the 70s, you could say it is kind of a tribute. I carry a lot of colors with me from when I was young. I listened to all these great bands back then, and you will always find some elements here and there. There are also many melodies and riffs I use where you will recognize something. When you watch a movie, you always compare with something you’ve seen before. You just do it in a different way. Nobody ever invented anything, really – except for the wheel and a few things in this life! (laughs) But most things were done even before the first time we thought we’d done them. Somebody always did something earlier. I think “Carry The Black” is a powerful, heavy song. It’s not too different from some of the other songs I’ve done on other albums, like “Spirit Black” or “Soul Of The Wind”, from the Lonely Are The Brave album. I always had heavy songs on every album. I think I’m following the Jorn tradition, basically, more than paying tributes to other bands. I’m paying tribute to my influences by just making new music, because you can always hear elements of where I come from in my songwriting. It’s the same with some of those guys and the classical composers. Tony Iommi or Ritchie Blackmore, all these guitarists from the 70s, they had references that went back to classical music, and they were fascinated by certain composers. It’s the same with guys like me and the ones I work with. We all had connections to classical music, and when we grew up we listened to some bands that used some combinations. We thought it was cool, so we picked up bits and pieces. But we’re not planning it. Many bands today are constructing or fabricating their products. It wouldn’t be possible to write Jorn songs if I had to construct them on a laptop, copying and pasting and telling the computer what to do. I think it’s about making decisions in your mind. You hear a melody in your own musical universe, you make arrangements around that, and you build a song. There will always be colors that other people have used. It’s like adding spices in the sauce that somebody made before you! (laughs) The most important thing is that the sauce is great.

« I just want to be productive and constructive with everything, to make things happen. That’s why you need to find the right partners to work with, people who understand and have the same philosophy. If you do that, it’s easy. »

The crow is almost always present on your albums. What does it symbolize? Do you somehow identify to this animal?

We live in a world of façade and plastic and fake, where everyone tries to be politically correct in everything they do. People think too much about how to be politically correct. That’s what we learn in order to survive. The business side of everything has overshadowed the core of mankind. I think animals like the crow are reminders of what we are. It’s the naked truth right there. To me, the crow reflects the music we play, which is powerful and independent. It’s a symbol of rock, somehow. There’s nothing fancy with the crow. It’s just there, you see it everywhere and it’s independent. At the same time, it’s a very clever bird. And of course, it’s black, or grey sometimes. It has a lot of symbolism that I really like. Also, back in the old days, there were a lot of sayings about the crow. That’s also something I was fascinated with when I grew up, all of these sayings from the old day. For example, if you saw a crow crossing a field when it was raining, it would be an omen. Somebody would die or the harvest would be bad that year. You probably have similar things in France, most countries have old stories connected to the crow. In Norway and Scandinavia, there’s a lot of stuff like that, going way back.

You made your comeback with Masterplan with Time To Be King in 2010, but now they’re releasing a new album without you. What happened? Why did you leave a second time?

I just didn’t see it necessary to do another one. I was already busy with the new Jorn album, and they wanted to do another album last winter. I didn’t have time, basically. Also, I think sometimes you just have to move on and focus on what you like to do. Time To Be King was a good album, but I think it deserved better. In a way, the promotion wasn’t that great. The record company wanted to do a video two or three months after the album was released. It’s kind of the opposite of what it should be. It was not the best situation for an album release. You put a lot of effort into something, you’re proud of what you’ve done, you want to promote it as well as possible. When an album is not really promoted the right way and, like I mentioned, the video comes three months after the album and stuff like that, it’s not something you want to repeat again. So these are the reasons: a combination of being busy with the new Jorn album, already having plans for this year and this bitter taste because of what happened with the Time To Be King album, the circumstances around it. I’m still friend with them. Roland [Grapow] is a good guy. I’ve been in contact with Uli just recently, even though he’s not in Masterplan anymore. He lives in Norway now, he has a family here. We’re just evolving and going in different directions in life at the moment, but maybe we’ll meet up again and do something in the future. But as for now, we have our own universe to focus on.

« The 90s were a hybrid decade, a time where everyone experimented a lot. Everyone tried to approach new, never-seen-before angles, and experimented with new effects. In a way it got a bit over the top. »

You left the band Ark after two albums, and Beyond Twilight after only one album. You left Masterplan after two albums, then came back for one album and then left again. The only thing that seems stable is your solo career. Because of that, you have the reputation to be capricious and unstable. Is it hard for you to be part of a band other than your own, where you’re not the sole leader and decision-maker?

No, I’m not really that difficult to work with, I think. You should ask the people I work with, see what they say! (laughs) I don’t see myself as complicated in any way. I’m pretty much down to earth, I think. I’m grateful for having a career and being able to make a living out of music. I’m blessed for having that opportunity. I’m humble towards things as well. I think people forget that most bands today have everyday jobs to make a living, and they have a band and make albums on the side. In France, prog metal is very popular, and it’s been that way for years. But how many of these bands are making a living from their band? They make albums, they have great videos and websites, and all that, but they’re not making a living from their music. They work as teachers, they give drums or guitar lessons, or they work at the music store. People have to see it from my perspective: if you work professionally, if you have a career, if you have a family to maintain, you have to make money to survive in this business. The only way to do that is to make sure things happen on time, and you deliver at a fast pace. There’s no time to argue about the details in music. You just have to accept that the singer is the singer, he sings what he wants to sing and he writes what he likes. You can always discuss here and there about details, but basically, you have to find partners who think the same way that you do. That’s what I’m always trying to do: I try to work with people who will not work for me, but think like me. Take Trond, or Tore before him: we all grew up with the same type of music, we have the same vision and ideas about what we like. Trond trusts me with everything. He knows that if he sends me a piece of music for Jorn just as a demo, and if I like it, I will do my best to give it good lyrics and a good melody, and it will probably click with what he wrote. He’s not worried about that. I don’t like things to be complicated. I just want to be productive and constructive with everything, to make things happen. That’s why you need to find the right partners to work with, people who understand and have the same philosophy. If you do that, it’s easy. That’s why certain people I grew up with musically work with certain guitarists. That’s why David Coverdale works with Doug Aldrich: together they create something magic and make things happen. There’s no battle on how to make things happen. They feed off each other. You could see it with Ozzy and Zakk Wylde, or with Dio and Craig Goldie or Vivian Campbell in the early 80s – before they became enemies! (laughs) You need that kind of pairing, regardless of whether you stop working together after five years. Then you have to find another one, or he or she has to find you. It’s just a matter of finding the right people to work with and make things happen. There’s no time to waste on bullshit in this life, it goes too fast. Because things are moving very fast, you have to work hard and be productive, and you have to eliminate all those other aspects that are not necessary. It’s like a family or a marriage: you have to find the perfect wife, but then again, it’s not a guarantee of staying together. You’re always pulled in different directions, but you have to have a certain basis, a great understanding of how to make things happen.

These bands I left, it’s not because I didn’t like the guys. You mentioned Ark and I love John Macaluso, he’s the greatest guy. He’s very funny, very talented, he’s the best friend you could have. It’s just that, sometimes, you have a different philosophy in your musical development. I think the way he plays is great, but he’s not necessarily the best choice for a Jorn recipe, for example. He would play the songs very well, but he would bring an element to the songs that would not necessarily fit. It’s all about the sauce that we make, as I said before: sometimes, if you take out the cream from the sauce, it will still taste good, but it won’t necessarily be as perfect as it could be. Sometimes you don’t want to have a substitute, you just want the real thing. That’s why Willy Bendiksen, my drummer, has been playing in Jorn year after year: he’s perfect for that music and, at the same time, he’s a good guy to work with. He’s very talented, and he’s one of the last great ones left. Cozy Powell died, John Bonham passed away a long time ago, Mick Tucker from Sweet… Well, Brian Downey from Thin Lizzy still plays great. All these classic drummers who really played with their body and not just with technique. These guys are almost gone now, there are not many left. But the idea I have for this music is more fit for this classical concept. The songwriting is more direct and it doesn’t need technical details all the time. It just needs a steady drummer who can really play and who’s convincing and powerful. The songs need a good groove and feel. Most modern drummers today don’t have groove, they have technique. They play stuff that some people are impressed by, but there’s no substance. These older guys, they could hit the snare once and you could hear the integrity, the power. It’s the same with guitar players: maybe they’re not always that technical, especially guitarists from the 70s, but they have that tone. They played one or two notes and you could instantly tell it was good shit right there. They didn’t have to play fast or impress anyone. I think that’s what the Jorn band is all about. John Macaluso is very influenced by jazz and fusion and he does that great. Of course he can play rock music too. He’s a big fan of The Who. That’s why I love him, he’s a very diverse drummer. But he’s not the right drummer for the Jorn concept, and I think he knows it. Unless we changed the whole concept and decided not to stick to a recipe, to be free with everything and to see what happens. Then we would see. But so far it’s a good balance.

Beyond Twilight was actually not too far from the Jorn style. The songs were longer and there were more keyboards, but the whole concept was close to what the Jorn band is all about today. We just don’t have a keyboard player, so you don’t get all these keyboard intros. It’s a bit rawer and more naked compared to Beyond Twilight. And to me, from the very beginning, Beyond Twilight was meant to be more like a rock or metal opera. It was not meant to be a band. It was something that Finn [Zierler], the keyboard player, wanted to turn it into at a later point, the way I see it. When we did that record, we thought maybe it was something that could have a Part II later. It was not something that would be like a normal band. When I left he was eager to continue. I don’t know if he wanted to prove something to himself, to me or to the world. He wanted to do something again. That’s why there are songs I wrote on the record that was released after I left. We worked together on it, but he recorded it with the other singer that came after me. These records were pretty good, but to me it was enough with that one album. The Devil’s Hall Of Fame stands as a solid rock. It’s a classic piece of work and I don’t see how we could have made a new album in the same way. The way I see it, that album has all you need in that concept; you don’t need more than The Devil’s Hall Of Fame.

« That’s me: I like to talk! I could do it all day! (laughs) »

Obviously, what you like playing the most is classic heavy metal and hard rock, and that’s what you’re doing with your solo band. But in the first place you were mostly known for those bands you mentioned: Mundanus Imperium, Ark, Beyond Twilight – more progressive metal-oriented bands. How can you explain that?

In the early 90s, when grunge came, me and my friends, we really wanted to make albums and make things happen. At that point, we really wanted to find success. Those days were gone, it was a bad thing to be connected to the 80s or the 70s. If I sang the way I do now, if I did the classic rock thing without experimenting, everyone would say: “This is something we’ve heard before, it’s 80s music”. People always said: “This is a new time. Do something new, something different”. Grunge music and the Seattle wave changed everything, basically. A lot of people were unemployed in the early 90s; great guitarists who were huge in the 80s were suddenly unemployed. If they were lucky, they had studio work, they could play on pop records if the artist happened to have one heavy solo. There were not many record deals to be found in the genre, the business changed very fast. We were all forced to think anew. At the same time, I didn’t want to change too much. The reason we started doing music in the first place was all these classic bands – Free, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath –, and also the more melodic stuff from the US, like Kansas, Styx, Foreigner or Journey. I enjoyed so many of those bands, they were my influences at the beginning, and I wanted to do exactly the same to establish a career as a singer. I wondered how I could keep my roots somehow and still do something different. That’s why you have an album like Ark’s Burn The Sun, for example, where I’m changing my vocal expressions a lot. I kept classic singing elements, even though I moved to new landscapes. There are a lot of different elements on that record: I could sing clear and high, and then go more AOR again, which was more American, then move back to European influences like Free or Queen. There are other aspects, too: I love David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Björk, which I liked a lot in the 90s. I think she was a fresh breath of air on the pop scene. To me, Björk is like a female Robert Plant somehow! (laughs) Maybe that’s why I enjoy her music and her singing so much. I just wanted to bring all these colors into one band. When we did Beyond Twilight, I moved to a more operatic way of singing, more powerful, which I’m still doing today. With that album I moved towards what I am today. From the beginning, Mundanus Imperium were black metal guys, but they wanted to do something different. We thought it would be cool: at the time, no one had ever combined classic rock vocals with black metal. As far as I know, it’s probably the only album out there that has a combination of black metal and my type of singing. It was very original and new, nobody had heard that before. I remember we were nominated to the music awards here in Norway for that album.

In general, the 90s were a hybrid decade, a time where everyone experimented a lot. Everyone tried to approach new, never-seen-before angles, and experimented with new effects. In a way it got a bit over the top. It also resulted in a lot of bad musical combinations; it might have been original, but it was not a big success. I think many fell between two chairs: it’s not a bird, it’s not a fish, it’s something in-between that you can’t label. You could argue it’s a good thing, because we must be open-minded. But at the same time, we need something solid, something we can identify with and label. It’s in our nature, to be able to grab something and say: “This is what I have, and that’s cool!” Many bands fell in that in-between category, and that’s why some of the older bands started doing better again in the early 2000s. These bands were still doing the exact same, solid thing, while the rest of the world, the younger generation, was desperately trying to be original and to invent something new. The older bands kept doing something you could relate to, something you could understand. I think that’s why they got to be successful again. Some of them took a long break in the 90s, but others continued. They weren’t that famous for a while, but most of these bands really did well again from around the end of the 90s, when they realized the market was there. The rest of the world was just getting frustrated, trying desperately to reinvent the wheel. So they kept doing the same thing. And they didn’t have much competition, because nobody thought like them anymore. It’s the same thing today: there’s a lot of experimental bands out there, and there’s good stuff and bad stuff. But overall, everyone’s using the same programs and plug-ins in the studio, so everything sounds the same. And because everyone just wants to sit down and do minimum efforts to create something, I think that’s why you end up with all these soulless releases. Like I usually say, most bands today wouldn’t even have got a record deal in 1980, because they’re not talented enough. They might be mathematically good at what they do, from rehearsing a lot, but I think they’re watching the screen too much. When you listen to the music, you’re asking yourself whether it’s tight enough or not. The younger generation today just looks at the screen, sees the waveform, and says: “It’s not tight, the snare is a bit behind the beat”. You can point out that it doesn’t sound wrong, it sounds great, and they say: “No, I can see it on the screen!” It’s a new, different way of thinking. Maybe it’s natural, maybe I’m getting old, I don’t know! But at the same time, I still believe that it’s what you hear that counts, not what the computer tells you. Deciding whether something sounds good or not by looking at a screen is a bad development. And when you try to tell them, they don’t understand. Try to turn off the screen and listen to that part again: what’s wrong with it? “I don’t hear anything wrong, but on the screen, the snare is out”. It’s a mathematical thing that has brainwashed a lot of people. They’re too focused on that. Well, that’s off topic, but that’s me: I like to talk! I could do it all day! (laughs)

« Most bands today wouldn’t even have got a record deal in 1980, because they’re not talented enough. »

Many people think Ark had a great potential that vanished when you left, and sometimes they blame you for that. What would be your answer to them?

As I’ve said before, the 90s were different. I often say that, if we had come up with that album in 1985, it would have sold millions from day one. Even if it hadn’t been released by a major label, it would still have sold pretty well. It would have probably made a difference to the band, career-wise. Either you make a living from music, or you don’t. At the time, with Ark, it was just not possible to make a living without working in five other bands or having a normal, daily job. At the time, everyone in the band was frustrated about the music business. No one paid big money for the band; you couldn’t get big advances to have the freedom to create for six months or a year. Tours were really difficult to get, so many venues were shut down. Even clubs were turned into discotheques all around the world. In the 70s and 80s, those were places where you could play live and pull a lot of people, but these places changed. Disco, techno and R’n’B took over, somehow. You were lucky if you hear a Rage Against The Machine or a Metallica song in a nightclub. The only reason you heard that kind of song was because it was a new trend, from the Seattle wave, or grunge-oriented. You had Nirvana, of course. The other elements of metal or classic rock were just taking a break. When you’re being realistic about it, the truth is, it wasn’t possible at the time to make a living from a band like Ark. We tried to get in touch with other people in the business, but we couldn’t even get a video. We had all these ideas, we thought: “Imagine if we had a video by a great director, someone who’s done a Peter Gabriel or a Björk video, someone who could do something extraordinary out of the ideas we have”. We really wanted to make something happen, but it didn’t help, whatever we tried. We talked to different people in the business, we looked for different solutions, but it just didn’t work. In the end, we were struggling with everything. The money we thought we’d make didn’t come, things didn’t happen. Personally, I just had to do something, I had to continue. I had offers from record companies and from people who wanted me to work with them. It was a chance to do something I wanted to do. I think it was a natural thing that Ark didn’t happen again. I had already taken the next step, and it was too late to go back when I already had Masterplan and my own Jorn band. It was more than enough already. When the guys from Ark wondered if they should do something again, I was already caught up in something else. There are circumstances that people don’t know. There are signed contracts, people don’t always consider that. Sometimes you sign up for three or five years and you cannot get out of that deal. It’s a big world, but the business is still very small: people are connected and know each other. You don’t mess up with things: when you commit to something, you have to complete what you agreed to do. So even though the guys wanted to do another Ark record, I just didn’t have the time or the possibility. I had no option. I thought: “Maybe in a couple of years we can talk about it”. But then, two years later, people were doing other things. Tore [Østby, guitars] suddenly did something with this Norwegian band and John [Macaluso] was doing Starbreaker with Tony Harnell from TNT. So when there was a gap to maybe consider doing something, everyone was all over the place. When it was possible for me, it was not possible for the other guys. I just decided to let it rest. But you never know: maybe, when we get a bit older, we will do something. It happens when you have unfinished business. It’s like an old relationship with a girl you loved a lot and broke up with when you were young, and then ten years later, you realize: “I was so fucking stupid, I wish I could talk to her again. Would she even know me now?” (laughs) There’s always something left undone in this world, so you never know. It would be interesting to see what we would come up with if we did something together 15 or 20 years later.

Yesterday was the third anniversary of Ronnie James Dio’s death. The fact that he was a huge inspiration to you is no secret. Did you light a candle or do something in his memory?

We talked about it, obviously. We put a message on the website and on Facebook. People are commenting on that and remembering. It was a sad day, really. All we can do is remember it and show that we don’t forget. We have to give a thought and then move on. That’s life. Ronnie was a great guy and a great singer. He’s still a big influence. He will influence me until I die – or at least until I stop with music, if I stop. Hopefully not. He’s not less important now, he’s as important as ever. He will always be special to me. He was the best, he will always be my number one hero. He’s the best mentor, or influence, or whatever you want to call it. He’s the best source you can get if you love rock and metal music.

Interview conducted by phone on May, 17th 2013 by Metal’O Phil
Transcription: Saff’

Jorn’s official website: www.jornlande.com

Album Traveller out since June, 14th 2013 via Frontiers Records.

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