Trî¤d, Grî¤s & Stenar :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

In the early '70s,   progressive rock band Trî¤d, Grî¤s & Stenar emerged from the Swedish "New Left,"  part of the counter cultural "music movement,"  bearing a unique sound with elements of  Swedish folk, Bay Area psychedelia, the minimalism of Terry Riley, gutsy  American R&B and blues, and the British rock inspired by it.

Formed in 1969 after Bo Anders' previous groups  Pî¤rson Sound and International Harvester ended,   TG&S recorded an excellent self-titled studio album, but like their counter parts on the American West Coast, the Grateful Dead, the group's power was best exhibited in a live setting. In the interest of documenting the group's in-concert power,  Anthology Recordings released a tremendous box set earlier this year, featuring three documents of that live wildness: 1972's  Djungelns, '73's Mors Mors,  and  Kom Tillsammans, featuring previously unreleased material recorded in '72.

Often,  the group's live sound is droning and mantric, group vocals tangled up with steady rhythms and repeated riffs, but sometimes it melts into pure blues-driven freakout mode. Even when the band approaches conventional pop material, like their cover of the Stones' "The Last Time," it's stretched and mutated. The group's sound wasn't  necessarily one  of direct political action; in the liner notes, bassist  Torbjî¶rn Abelli writes: "We were invariably criticized by the representation of the orthodox Left: 'Why aren't you out there protesting? The masses are listening to you -- and all you can do is sing about the MOON!?'" But it was the sound of a kind of rebellion, a "ritualistic battle cry" for freedom, Abelli writes.

Trî¤d, Grî¤s & Stenar :: Sanningens Silverflod

Aquarium Drunkard reached out to  Trî¤d, Grî¤s & Stenar guitarist  Jakob Sjî¶holm for insights into the group's influences, progression, and the Swedish counter culture of the late '60s/early '70s. Like the band's legendary live sets,  Sjî¶holm's answers flowed in unexpected directions.

Aquarium Drunkard: Where did your interest in music start?

Jakob Sjî¶holm: The first memory I have is from when I was three or four years uncle used to come and visit us in the countryside during summer and there was an old harmonium he used to play and sing old Swedish folk songs on. I was completely spellbound by this and never wanted him to stop playing. He visited us every year and that was always the highlight of the summer for me.

AD: What were the circumstances behind you joining Trî¤d, Grî¤s & Stenar?

Jakob Sjî¶holm:  [Pre-Trî¤d, Grî¤s & Stenar group] International Harvester was a band, but also a collective of different artists. As an example, we had a performance installation at the Pistolteatern [a theater] in Stockholm in 1968 where we used music, painting, photography, films, theater etc. I was [initially] involved in this larger Harvester collective, [which grew into  Trî¤d, Grî¤s & Stenar].

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