Metal Symphony Website

Interview with Tommy Denander

M.S: First of all, thanks for answering our questions. We want to congratulate
you for your career and tell you that we really admire you…

T.D: Hey David, my pleasure and thank a million for those kind words…means
a lot to me!!!!

M.S: How is a normal day in Tommy Denander’s life?

T.D: Well…it’s normal to me but hardly for most other people haha….i
wake up around 7 and usually make breakfast for the kids and take them to school
and kindergarden. After that i go to my studio in Stockholm which is about an
hour from where i live, and on 5-6 days every week i work between 8 to 14 hours
on guitar session, song writing and producing for all kinds of artists and albums.
It’s a great life cause i still after 25 years get paid to have my hobby as
my work….couldn’t ask for more!

M.S: Where do you get your inspiration for the songs and what
are they all about?

T.D: In the early years before i knew how to write professionally i did
write songs every day but one out 10 was good and the other 9 were not, it’s
a process of learning the skills of writing and that takes many years. These
days i can write a top class tune 8 out of 10 times because i know how to do
it and my standards are set so high that i don’t allow for crappy songs to be
even concidered. Of course the very best songs are the one’s that just come
through from where ever that magic place were inspiration lives and there are
ways of doing that as well like watching a great movie, reading a book or traveling….anything
that moves my heart inpires me and usually becomes music. I always write music
first and then come up with the melody but i hate writing lyrics so in 99% of
the times i give that job to someone else.

M.S: You are very influenced by the music of the 80´s.In your opinion what
makes the music of that period so special?

T.D: I guess the reaon it’s made a big impression on me is because i got
into the music biz in 1983 and lived it all through the 80’s but also it WAS
a magic period where most of the biggest classic in the history were made….no
one can deny it even if they hate the stuff! These days i’m actually 100% into
either older stuff than the 80’s or the new music cause i’ve done so much 80’s
stuff that i’m really tired of it….not all but a lot of it.

M.S: Your musical style is varied from album to album, band to band . What
sort of music do you enjoy relaxing to?

T.D: I’ve always been the kind of guy who thinks «a good song is a good
song»…no matter what style so at home we listen to everything from Kelly Clarkson,
Ashlee Simpson and Britney Spears to Nickelback, The Rasmus and Faith Hill….i
love a lot of the modern country stuff like Keith Urban, Rascal Flats, Shania
Twain, Faith Hill etc…..there’s great music everywhere if you only dare to
listen….take the last Backstreet Boys album for instance, i know a lot of
people who’ve missed this pure masterpiece simply cause they’re afraid of a
boyband….but this album is pure Def Leppard, Bryan Adams etc and truly fantastic.

M.S: Can you talk about your Speedy Gonzales album? Is there any difference
with the previous «Taken» with Radioactive?

T.D: It’s a huge difference cause Speedy is a band i had with Thomas Vikström
in 1990 and the style is a mix of classic Judas Priest and Kiss while Radioactive
is pure AOR….but again it’s fun to do different types of music cause i really
am a fan and don’t fake the different styles…i KNOW metal as well as AOR,
westcoast or even jazzier stuff.

M.S: I guess you know there is a cartoon character named «Speedy Gonzales»,
why this name for the band?

T.D: Of course and we had a lot of trouble finding a name for the band back
in 1990, our manager at the time Anders Tengner brought this silly name to the
table and we didn’t like it but somehow it started as joke and ended up being
picked….i don’t know why except that we were young and stupid haha

M.S: What is your favourite song of «Speedy Gonzales»?

T.D: I like many of them a lot but i think «Medals» cause i wrote it in my
teens and it’s still a great song, i always wanted Alice Cooper to sing cause
it’s got his classic vibe to it.

M.S: From all the albums you have made or collaborated in, which one do you
feel prouder of?

T.D: Impossible to pick cause i’ve worked on almost one thousand albums!!!!….but
of course the 3 Radioactive albums are the biggest one’s personally and i’m
deeply proud of them and as producer/writer i would say Spin Gallery, Jim Jidhed
and the new Sha-Boom albums are really good but there’s so many cool one’s by

M.S: When you write songs, you do it thinking the one who must occupy Every
character of your story or is it after write the lyrics When you search the

T.D: After i’m done with the music i come up with a melody and depending
on if i do a high or low pitched melody will i decide what type of singer i
want, the lyrics have no matter in this decision at all.

M.S: What is your secret to manage to assemble so high number of big Musicians
in an album?

T.D: I own a big number of ugly naked pictures of them all HAHAHA….seriously,
i’m lucky that i get asked by so many of these amazing people to write or play
on their albums so we often trade favors. And once you know 10 people you get
to know 20 of their friends and so on, i’ve been blessed in the last 25 years
with the chance of getting to work and meet so many of my idols.

M.S: What inspires you that make you so prolific?

T.D: I’ve always been a nice human who always care more for others than about
myself and my motto in life is simple «you get what you give»…in the session
world it’s rule number one – you rather hire a nice guy who plays well than
an idiot who plays better….cause you wanna have fun and get along. Life is
too short to be an idiot so why not try a little extra to be nice….try it
people cause it’s fun haha.

M.S: Which singers you haven’t worked with yet, would you like to do it?And
other musicians would you like to do it?

T.D: I would love to work with David Coverdale, Steve Perry, Sting and a
few other singers but there aren’t that many musicians left that i haven’t played
with which is scary….i mean there ARE a lot of people i haven’t played with
that i do like but out of the big one’s for me i’ve worked with most of them
including Jeff Porcaro, david Foster and Eddie Van Halen who are my biggest

M.S: You are one of the most prolific musicians of the musical panorama,
Nevertheless you have always the quality of surprising people. don’t you think
that the current market is saturated of bands that they do the same thing constantly?

T.D: Thanks, i think the whole music scene today is controlled too much by
coward asshole big label bosses who don’t know shit about music and in their
minds don’t see the difference in selling music or a new car…they’re just
after the wuick dollar!!! Music used to be an adventure where you dared to be
crazy and break the boundries and hopefully it will come back in a big way as
everything goes in cycles but the horrible way the biz is set up these days
is more the reason why labels are having poor sales than the fact that people
can download stuff….the higher up you get on the music biz ladder the less
it is about quality, music and fun….it’s more and more only about money, greed
and idiot politics that would make you quit forever!!!

M.S: What can you tell us about Paul Stanley and Stan Bush’s albums?

T.D: Kiss is the reason i even started to play in 1975 so getting to play
on Paul’s album is the highlight of my life so far….and his album is so brilliant
that i’m stunned, it’s gonna knock people on their asses and prove that all
great music isn’t gone…together with the new Toto album it’s the proof that
classic can still be made!!! Stan Bush is a wonderful and talented friend that
i met in LA for the first time a couple of months ago and i’m going back on
sunday for more work and i think we’ve written some killer stuff for his album.
He already had a few great tunes written so it’s gonna be a lot of fun doing
his album.

M.S: Just because you have been in a lot of recording sessions… Can you
tell us some funny anecdote?

T.D: I wish i had been a part of the session scene through the 80’s in
LA cause the Toto guys always tell this incredibly funny stories. When i sted
doing sessions around 83-84 in Sweden i said yes to anything cause i simply
couldn’t afford to say no to stuff haha…i was asked to play guitar, keyboards
and even produce some on an album for a guy called Janne Berlin and this dude
is to this day the strangest man i’ve met…..ever!!!! From day one he kept
telling us that he had been abducted by aliens over many years and that they
spoke to him directly in his head!!….atleast 4-5 times every day and often
while he was in the middle of singing he would stop and scream «THEY ARE CALLING
ME AND I NEED TO ANSWER» and then he would run to the nearseet corner and stand
with both hands on his head looking up into the celing and talking to «them»
HAHAHA…..there’s been a lot of whack stuff but this dude is still one of the

M.S: What do you think about internet? Is it a way your where your older
music get known or is it a way to copy illegaly your cds?

T.D: The internet is the greatest invention since the phone cause we have
access to almost everything in a couple of seconds but there’s a downside to
everything of course. I don’t care if people download my music cause the real
fans buy the albums because they don’t want a bunch of ugly CDR’s in their shelf
and the one’s that maybe wouldn’t buy atleast get to hear it through downloading
and hopefully they will become fans or their friends might dig it and buy the

M.S: Why do you think there is much more projects with musicians from different
bands in melodic scene than in heavy metal’s?

T.D: It just became a thing when a few people started doing it cause 15
years ago and before that most bands were really picky about just doing things
within the band but when a few people started to break out and others saw that
it’s OK and actually quite cool the rest just followed. My first Radioactive
album was to me just recorded like the albums i grew up with in the late 70’s
and early 80’s were done with the Toto guys, David Foster etc…they all played
on 100’s of albums like mine but when i did it in 1991 it was cool cause they
hadn’t done that in a long time and it absolutely started a trend in the AOR
world to copy my thing with many big names, especially having a lot of singers.

M.S: What do you think about the future of AOR Music?

T.D: I think it is what it is right now and it’s never gonna be big again
cause the old guys like Toto and Journey still make albums and eventhough i
think Journey’s new albums sucks the new Toto album is one of the best they’ve
EVER made, it’s absolutely brilliant….but these guys have their audience already
and if a new band comes that plays a modern version of AOR they wouldn’t sound
and look like a classic 80’s band anyway so it makes no difference. I think
the scene is small but it will live on for many years as it is cause there’s
enough fans and new one’s seem to come all the time which is great….just don’t
expect too much from it.

M.S: Have you any plans to tour with the album?it would be great to see you

T.D: I will not tour again but i have plans of doing one or a couple huge
festival shows with a monster all star band as Radioactive and record it for
a live album + DVD…that would be great!!!

M.S: Could you make a brief over-view of your actual projects?

T.D: Right now i’m very involved in song writing on the highest level,
i keep going back and forth to LA and write with lots of huge people which together
with starting to produce bigger names is what i’m getting into most but i am
finishing the Frederiksen-Denander album, producing Jeff Adams (Starship) and
Stan Bush, i’ve just finished the second Deacon Street Project album and got
a deal for it, i’ve done lots of guitar sessions lately including David Readman
(PC69), David Diggs, Westlife, AOR, Gary Barden, Eurovision songs, tribute albums
for Sammy Hagar and Def Leppard, Chris Catena and a few other things plus i’m
going to LA on sunday for the 3rd time in a short period. Lefi is busy but really

M.S: We’ve come to the end, thank you for spending your time with us… If
you want to say something to your fans and our readers, this is your moment.
Good luck, Tommy.

T.D: A man is nothing if he stands alone, no matter how great or bad he might
be it’s only through the eyes, ears and judgement of others that a value can
be placed….and year after year i keep getting so much love and hearfelt grattitude
for my work and not a single day goes by where i take it for granted so without
you all i would only be a man…standing here alone!!!

Peace, Tommy

David A

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