Stolt, Roine (The Flower Kings) (August 2000)

Hot On The Star Wars Trail With The Space Revolver Of Flower Kings

Roine Stolt (c) Esmeralda Azzaro"We started writing the new material in February and entered the studio at the end of that same month", says guitarist Roine Stolt. "The writing went so easy, and for the very first time in the existence of the Flower Kings I really felt good about what I heard. Don't get me wrong, I like most of the stuff we've written over the years, but when you're in the middle of a recording session sometimes it gets too much, so you'd rather end it all there and then. Sometimes a break during the recording session wouldn't be a bad idea. Yet this time everything went so smooth, and in the middle of April I told Tomas Bodin (c) Esmeralda AzzaroTomas Bodin that I really liked the new material, that it was very strong."

What was the difference than with the other Flower Kings material? "First of all, some of the money I earned with the Transatlantic thing I invested in new equipment for my studio. This resulted in a better production throughout. Just listen to that drum sound on Space Revolver. The studio is basically the same but I just added a couple of extras and that can be heard on the final album. Also the new album is more like a collection of all our various influences. This time we added Beatles, Doors, Zappa, Hendrix, ELP, Genesis, pop and fusion to end with what really is the Flower Kings."

Space Revolver (2000)I hear you mention The Beatles. Didn't you say to me once that Revolver was a big influence to you? So is Space Revolver your answer to this influence? "Full marks! Exactly! The way Revolver hit me when I first heard it, I wanted our new album to hit other people. The idea went even as far as suggesting we should make the cover a pastiche of the famous Klaus Voorman classic. Luckily we didn't do it. Furthermore 'Space Revolver' is one of three instrumentals I recorded during a two-day stint in the studio. Our record company in Japan requested this and I believe a special CD was made with 'Space Revolver,' 'Jupiter Backwards,' and 'She Carved Me A Wooden Heart,' which was handed out when people bought a ticket to come and see us when we over there to perform. I invented those titles as I went along. In fact they are only some demos with everything handled by myself. It might be some of these ideas end up being used on a forthcoming FK album but then re-modeled and probably retitled as well."

Going back to the new album, wasn't "I Am The Sun" intended to be one long epic of 25 minutes? "Of course it was. But we wanted to kick off the album with a true Flower Kings sound and end the album with a bombastic song. When we looked at 'I Am The Sun' we found we had the first song in the beginning and the final song right at the end so we opted to break it up into two parts. Of course live we'll do it as one long song."

So there will be live dates then. I heard the rumour there would be a double bill together with Spock's Beard in Europe. "The Spock's thing certainly won't be happening. Spock's wanted to headline and they are looking at shows of 2 to 2 and half hours so we would only have about 40 minutes time to perform. Furthermore we wouldn't get paid at all. Only the expenses would be covered but all of the takings would be for Spock's Beard. Needless to say we couldn't agree on those terms. We have, however, signed with Derek Kemp management in Britain. They are the same people who also handle Dream Theater and who landed DT with dates in Eastern Europe. So both Flower Kings and Transatlantic are now with Derek Kemp. Flower Kings will tour Europe somewhere in November this year and of course the set will now feature a lot of new material. There are also strong possibilities to tour Europe with Transatlantic. After all, we feel it wouldn't be fair seeing we sold more Transatlantic CDs in Europe than in America, yet the band has so far only done some shows in the States. The difficulty here is to see when Mike [Portnoy] is available. I know he'll be in the studio January/February 2001 to record the new Dream Theater album."

Transatlantic - SMPTe (2000)Was any of the Space Revolver material written with the intention to use it for the first Transatlantic album? "Yes it was. Both 'Monster Within' and 'Slave To Money' were written for the project but were rejected. I thought they were good songs so I used them for Flower Kings. As soon as I had some promo copies of the album I gave one to Pete [Trewavas], Neal [Morse] and Mike. I remember Mike putting it in the stereo of the tour bus and as soon as he heard 'Monster Within' he shouted 'that was a song you promised for the second Transatlantic album, Roine!' Of course I did, but I thought I could write an even better song for the new album. So far I know Mike has reserved about ten days in January 2001 for us to get together after which we'll do the necessary overdubs."

I'm convinced the second Transatlantic will be even better than the first if we can compare this with the second offering of projects such as Liquid Tension Experiment, Platypus and Bozzio, Levin, Stevens? "Definitely. I mean [that] when we got together for the first time we hardly knew each other. Now we know more about each other's personality, about what we like, what we dislike. Also I find that the first album sounds a bit too much like Spock's Beard. In a song like 'In Held ('Twas) In I' you hardly notice the unique skills of Portnoy. So this time I think we have to leave the covers for what they are and only record original material."

Is recording with the Flower Kings an easy thing to do? "Most of us live close to each other so it's easy to communicate. Over the years Tomas Bodin has also become my very best friend. Sometimes he calls me six times a day so I can hear bits and pieces of what he's composing. Our new bass player Jonas Reingold (c) Esmeralda AzzaroJonas Reingold lives in the south of Sweden. He doesn't have a prog background and is more jazz oriented, yet he's highly skilled and has no problem to adapt [to] whatever style [he is soon to play with the Pär Lindh Project - Bo Bo"]. We just give him the basic information and he'll conjure up the rest. The same thing happens when we go out on tour. We just call him, let him know the songs we're about to play and he does the rest by himself. On stage there's no panic button to be seen as he just plays on 'automatic pilot!'"

When Roine released his solo album The Flower King in 1994 could he ever have dreamed he would be where he is right now? "I hoped I could one day perform the music I really loved. I was convinced that, as long as bands like Yes, Jethro Tull, Genesis could go on, even if they no longer sold millions of albums like they used to, I could make a go of it as well."

So you started your own record label Foxtrot and took it from there. "Exactly and that's the main reason why the early albums don't sound the way they should sound simply because I didn't have the money to build my studio the way I wanted it to be. Now that we've signed to Inside Out and also Inside Out America things go much smoother. You see, it's impossible to be creative, run a record label, sort out the management side of things, plan your own tours and be a father all at the same time. Sooner or later this had to clash with the creative process so I'm glad we signed with a bigger label and to a bigger management. Finally we're able to live better lives, plus we can fully concentrate on what we know best and that's create innovative music. Even before we had composed one single note for the new album we already received an advance. So I asked Inside Out why they did this and they told us they had enough confidence in us. They knew it would be good."

I'm glad the sun finally starts to shine from behind those dark clouds that have been blocking your view all those years! "Yes, we finally can lead a decent life and what's more there's also interest in the domain of endorsement. I can't really tell you anymore details but it regards both guitars and pickups and it is a very interesting offer indeed."

Finally, would you say that prog today is still for "old" people? "Strange you should ask this because recently we had to ask someone's dad [for] permission if he could become a member of our fan club. The guy was only eleven years old! Enough said!"

The Flower Kings (l to r: Hans Fröberg, Jonas Reingold, Roine Stolt, Jaime Salazar, and Tomas Bodin (c) Esmeralda Azzaro)
The Flower Kings
(l to r: Hans Fröberg, Jonas Reingold, Roine Stolt, Jaime Salazar, and Tomas Bodin)
(© Esmeralda Azzaro)

Roine Stolt - The Flower King (1994/2001/2004)
Back In The World Of Adventures (1995)
Retropolis (1996)
Stardust We Are (1997/2000)
Scanning The Greenhouse (comp) (1998)
Edition Limitíe Quebec (1998) (only 700 copies!)
Flower Power (1999)
TFK fanclub disc (2000) (free CD exclusive to fanclub members only)
Alive On Planet Earth (2000)
Space Revolver (2000)
Space Revolver Special Edition (2CD set) (2000)
The Rainmaker (2001)
The Rainmaker - Special Edition (2001)
Unfold The Future (2002)
Live In New York: Official Bootleg (2002)
Fan Club CD 2002 (2002)
Fan Club CD 2004 (2004)
Adam & Eve (2004)
BetchaWannaDanceStoopid (2004)
Harvest (fan club CD) (2005)
Paradox Hotel (2006)
The Road Back Home (2007)
The Sum Of No Evil (2007)
The Sum Of No Evil (Special Edition) (2007)
Tour Kaputt (2011)
Banks Of Eden (2012)
Desolation Rose (2013)

Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording (DVD) (2003)
Instant Delivery (DVD) (2006)
Instant Delivery - Limited Edition (2CD/2DVD) (2006)
Tour Kaputt (DVD) (2011)

Added: August 19th 2000
Interviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

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Language: english

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