It feels pretty surreal to find myself here at the Way Out West Festival in the middle of the huge Slottsskogen Park in Gothenburg, eagerly awaiting the return of The Soundtrack of Our Lives, some eleven long years since they bowed out with a six-night stand at Stockholm’s prestigious Södra Teatern. By coincidence, twenty years ago I was in this very same park visiting the Natural History Museum for some TSOOL related sightseeing with friends that I’d met through the band. We were hunting down the ‘pickled’ babies and stuffed lion that featured on the cover of their debut album “Welcome To The Infant Freebase” – yes, I’d already been lured into that kind of obsession by this unpredictable, non-conformist Swedish Psychedelic Rock outfit comprising six individual yet equally vital characters who, it’s no understatement to say, would put my life on an unexpected course. It’s understandable to be obsessed by a band when you’re a teenager - but as an adult, well that's not what I was expecting. As a kid I was heavily inspired by The Clash and Joe Strummer’s positive message, The Jam and Paul Weller’s socially aware lyrics, The Beat, The Specials and 2-Tone Records multi-cultural outlook, The Undertones and Buzzcocks for their unashamed melodic Pop Punk classics and The Stranglers - or most importantly, JJ Burnel’s snarling bass sound - that made me pick up a bass and start my very first band.
“I feel like a fan and not a fellow musician around TSOOL, ever since I first saw them at the original Concorde in Brighton in early ’97 when they were one of the support bands, that was my ‘Eureka’ moment. I was hooked. I must admit the song that did it that night was “Firmament Vacation” and when they played it at Way Out West, it was quite emotional. Helen dragged me to the front (which I never usually do) and when they played it, I immediately thought ‘I’ve made it’ as at one time, health wise I didn’t think I would be there. It was a great set but not long enough, and as Ebbot said, the guys should have headlined the show on one of the days. What a trip, it was great meeting up with the band (well 50%) again after all this time, I had an emotional meet up with Mattias, Ian and Ebbot. Although I keep in touch on and off with them via messages, it really meant so much seeing them all again, the band has been a big part of my life for 26 years, from the early days when I saw them support Kula Shaker, Gene and a few others before they started to get their own shows. We are all getting older, but the love is still there. Amazing band and people, even seeing people like Chicago, who I recognised, not forgetting all the Soundtrack followers in the VIP bar, what a great bunch of people” - Andy Ruff (Andy’s band Psychobabble supported TSOOL during their 2005 UK tour)
“About TSOOL, I honestly have no idea! I think they were probably great, but this gig was so unique in the way I personally experienced it. The (secret warm-up) show at Pustervik in June I enjoyed for myself, and greatly so. It was mega, a hell of a show, and it felt like everything had finally come together in the most perfect way, an "I can die happy now" feeling. But this time at Way Out West, I was just so happy for them to get such a homecoming, and also for all the fans to have the opportunity again. A friend from Barcelona came to see them just like you, other friends I'd got into the band tagged along, many acquaintances were looking forward to it... I was just hoping everything went well and everyone, band and audience, would thoroughly enjoy it. Which I'd like to think is what happened. Musically, yeah of course I can't not be biased, and I was ecstatic, but nothing compared to seeing Ebbot put his arm around Ian as I had my arm around friends in the crowd. The experience overshadowed the music, in my case” – Albert Lorenz
“So, let’s start, this was my third time in Gothenburg after 10 years, after the COVID restrictions and so on and this was my second TSOOL concert in total, the first time was in Bern in 2011. Then I had a couple of meetings with Ebbot in Gothenburg, thanks to Marcel Tuores and then a couple of Ebbot solo gigs with Indigo Children, first at Liseberg and then in a small and (sadly) almost empty club in Frankfurt. And in between, there was a Free Fall gig also at Liseberg during my first Swedish trip. I’ve never been to Way Out West before, this was my first time ever, and I experienced a good mood in general, a huge space and a really good festival. The band seemed in very good shape, especially Mattias, and he rocked like no other, just like in the good old days, he even threw a guitar in mid-air like a real rocker. It was such an emotional journey to listen to them live and be there in the front row, to hear songs like “Instant Repeater ‘99” and I got tears in my eyes and became emotional during “Second Life Replay”, a song that really means something to me. Hoping this was not the only gig after this unexpected and surprising reunion” - Gianluca Torelli, Abruzzo region of Italy
“It was good to finally see TSOOL again after all these years of abstinence. They had great energy and sounded really good throughout a greatest hits set that didn’t leave anyone disappointed. As a huge fan since the ‘90’s I would have loved to have heard one or two unexpected gems, but I guess a large festival as Way out West isn’t the time and place for that. Hopefully, they’ll return soon to bring that sweat soaked, guitar throwing Rock ’n’ Roll goodness to smaller venues!” - Andreas Åhs
“I’d waited so long to see the guys back again… and on their home turf was spectacular. The Soundtrack of Our Lives were the first band I was ever ‘into’ as an adult… the lyrics and the melodies resonate so deeply it gives me goosebumps whenever I hear them. Seeing them live after such a long hiatus was amazing. They don’t sound like they have aged at all! Ebbot’s voice was on point! And Ian’s guitar work was sublime. I just hope they will tour…. Their sound, their lyrics, their vibe needs to be heard. I hope the band will give us more. Meeting TSOOL stalwart fans was epic! The band need to know that their faithful are with them. Always” – Helen Ruff
During Sweden’s alternative national anthem, “Instant Repeater ‘99”, the crowd are going wild all around me, arms aloft and this fervour only increases with the incendiary Glam Rock stomp of “Confrontation Camp”. The set draws to a close sadly all too quickly with the emotional singalong “The Passover” and feel a lump in my throat as I look around and see the crowd joining in – there are all ages too, families, couples, friends all caught in the moment. Liselott Selander also felt the same…
“They delivered exactly as I expected, and it was fun to see that many who were probably not even born when the band were at their peak knew the lyrics" - Liselott Selander
“The first time I saw TSOOL live was, I believe, in 1997, about a year after I’d been listening to their knockout debut album over and over again. Since then, I must have enjoyed around 30-40 gigs, perhaps ten were at Slussens Pensionat and others at various venues. Most of the time, the band were amazing and beyond, so with this history and a true love for the band, I had quite mixed emotions as I walked through the entrance to Way Out West. How would it be to see them back together once again? Do they still have the mojo...? Well, T-minus 30 minutes, standing in the front row and just watching them do the soundcheck, I knew this was going to be an unforgettable and awesome evening. And so, they went on stage… Fredrik started the drumstick intro of "Mantra Slider," and I just screamed out loud! They opened with one of my absolute favourites and totally nailed it, just like back in the day! Next up was "Firmament Vacation", followed by "Galaxy Gramophone" and I felt like I had been sent back in time. The rest is history. The lucky souls who attended got to witness the best band in the world back on stage! Looking forward to the next 30-40 gigs!” - Per Kristiansson
“A present from the past… Everyone was there... The whole of Soundtrack of course, but also families, friends, stage workers and hang-arounds from the past. The fans that were there from the beginning, but also a whole new generation... It was like they’re bigger than they’ve ever been before?! The desire for this Rock and Roll machine is a fact. They sound at least as good as they always did. 11 years have passed, but it’s as if time has stood still. Everyone just got a little bit older. With all dignity intact, they delivered eleven explosions, a ballad and finished with a sing-along. In hindsight it feels a bit surreal, did all this happen? They came, they won... But what happens now? Everyone wonders, not least themselves. At least one thing is certain, if there is more, there is a great embrace of love from the outside world that wants to embrace the magic that these six gentlemen can create together. We hope for more because this is Second Life Replay ‘Yeah, I feel alive. Cause I came back stronger than I’ve ever been before…’ " – Daniel Eriksson
Daniel Eriksson is also the official Way Out West photographer so I have him to thank for contributing the superb photos you can see in this feature. With sincere thanks to Hasse and Liselott, Mattias Bärjed, Georgios at Livenation and of course all the fans who kindly contributed their experiences and words to this feature. The offcial TSOOL Facebook page is here. For news on all the band member’s solo music, collaborations, other bands and side projects, TV and soundtrack scores, upcoming gigs and record releases please follow, like, subscribe to Retro Man Blog here or at Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to Retrosonic Podcast for free at Spotify, Soundcloud or iTunes/Apple Podcasts as we have lots of interview specials with various TSOOL band members and other Swedish bands and musicians that may be of interest, all still available in the archives. We also have a YouTube channel with loads of related live videos. You can also join the TSOOL fan’s Facebook group here to communicate with other fans around the world, to share your own memories, experiences, photos and videos and to be kept up to date with all that is happening with the various band members music. Plus, you never know, one day there might well be news of more Soundtrack of Our Lives activities… we can but hope!
All photos copyright Daniel Eriksson at Rock My Lens.
All photos copyright Daniel Eriksson at Rock My Lens.