Interview: Joakim ‘Jocke’ Berg Of Hardcore Superstar On Their Upcoming Tour With Buckcherry + Bad Moon Born

Sweden’s Sleaze Rock icon’s Hardcore Superstar are hitting our shores on tour with Buckcherry in October.   With so many amazing metal bands emerging out of Swede Metal, Hardcore Superstar bring their high energy Glam Metal to Australian shores once again much to the delight of their dedicated fans.

Today I spoke to lead singer Jocke Berg about his love of playing live, Swedish music culture and forging friendships in the world of Rock n Roll.

With thanks to Silverback Touring.

We are all looking forward to see you guys again soon.  It’s an amazing tour line up, with Buckcherry and Sydney’s Bad Moon Born, who are actually one of my favourite emerging local rock bands.  The energy will be amazing!

“Yeah, I’ve never heard of them before but I checked them out on YouTube and they are really good.”

Is this your first time touring with Buckcherry?

“We toured together in 2013 Europe and UK.  Me and Stevie (D) and Kelly (LeMieux) we kept in touch ever since and then we met up with each other at a few festivals in Europe throughout the year.”

Do you love being out touring and playing live, or is it more creating the music and recording?

“I prefer touring more than recording I hate being in the studio but it’s a job you have to do. If I could choose it would be on stage.  I love being on stage.”

It looks like you’ve had a lot of fun up there.

“(laughs) Yes, we have.”

You kick off the tour on October 8th in Perth.  Its so good you guys are getting over to Western Australia, they miss out a bit.  I know, I use to live there.   Have you had good response from the fans over there.

“We’ve never played in Perth before, but we were over there (in Australia) back in 2008 maybe, we were there last year in Australia and before that we were there 10 years ago.  We’ve always wanted to go down there (Perth).  We love Australia, it’s a fantastic country and fans are very dedicated at the live shows.  I’m excited to go to Perth for the first time.”

Yeah, Perth is beautiful. The beaches are some o f the most beautiful in Australia.

“Oh, I’ll have to go dive in. (Laughs)”

How do you find the Aussie fans, how do they compare to fans in other countries?  Much the same or do think fans around the world all differ a little?   

“I think if we talk about Australian fans they are like, so dedicated to the music it’s like, they are into the shows, and when you go to Japan they are different, they are so quiet but when the music starts they go nuts, you know.   I think it differs from country to country but almost the same, I think the country that stands out is japan.”

And is it because like you said they are quiet until the music starts?

“Yeah, I remember we sold 1500 tickets in Tokyo once and like, I said to one of the other guys in the band ‘It’s so fucking quiet out there is there anyone here, like we sold it out?’  but  I can’t hear any people so I went up on stage and looked behind the back drop and they were just standing there and waiting and waiting. And when they introduced us it was like ‘what the fuck, they go fucking nuts’ (laughs) and they sing like every lyric, all the lyrics all the time.  I could take my microphone and put out in the audience and go back and drink beer cause they know every word.” 

That fantastic. I guess it would be a very surreal experience.  I’ve never been to quiet gig, I must admit.

“Yeah I know, it’s surreal.”

Sweden is a relatively small country with so many brilliant metal bands. Not just now but over many years.  Music in general must be a big part of Swedish life?  

“Yeah, in Sweden – you know how you play like football, Soccer or Ice Hockey, we play music.  When I was growing up there were like, houses you could go to after school and they have rehearsing rooms and the rehearsing rooms were always packed.   It was always like, who’s going to go into the rehearsing rooms. There are so many people who want to start a band you know.  I think that’s what is a part of the heritage here in Sweden.  Music is part very important for us.”

That’s amazing. I wish I’d grown up in Sweden. 

With 11 albums to draw from, you have a lot to choose from for the set list.  Is there any theory behind song choices like, depending on who you’re touring with or what the fan’s want to hear in the country you’re in? 

“We’ve been around for 20 years now and we’ve go a lot of hit songs that the audience demand for us to play you know.  We have We Don’t’ Celebrate Sundays and Above the Law, a song called Last Call for Alcohol and Moonshine.  We have to put them out on the set.  We have like maybe like six, seven, eight songs we have to play every show. But it’s going to be a little different now that we are supporting and not headlining. Maybe we can only play like ten or eleven songs so it’s going to be hard to choose a set list.”

We have a constantly evolving rock and metal sub culture in Australia and Swede Metal has built a great following here, not surprising with so many amazing bands like Opeth, Amon Amarth, Meshuggah and Ghost gracing our shores. But they are all so different.

Swedish metal seems to either have a Progressive style or takes on a much heavier and darker tone than Hardcore Superstar’s kind of high energy, fun times metal.

You’re sound is classic and to me brings back that brilliant Motley Crue, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Skid Row sound.  Did you find that era of American glam metal was an influence on you guys or did you draw just as much from the Swedish music scene at the time?

“They were a big influence especially Motley Crue but the thing is Hardrock Superstar the band we are also very much into Suicidal Tendencies, Anthrax, Slayer, Testament .  We try and combine that.  You know, you can hear that when you hear songs, in that we have thrash metal elements in our song writing as well.   But of course we got into that LA scene back in the 80’s and stuff.   You can’t deny that.  (laughs) I mean it felt great, you never ever thought that Nikki Sixx would love Hardcore Superstar. He played Hardcore Superstar on his radio show, you know, Sixx Sense. It’s awesome your idol liking your band.”

That’s the best compliment ever!

“Yeah it is.”  

Do you find that within the band itself that each member has their own particular influence that brings a little bit of everything into the music you write?

“Yeah I do.  Me and Adde (Addreasson), our drummer, Adde’s the main writer in the band, he’s an excellent song writer. So, me and Adde we more from the you know,  Jim Diamond, you know the harder side and Vic (Zino) and Martin (Sandvik) they like the harder stuff as well but they like more of like from Motley Crue, so we combine that and we write songs with all of our influences.”

You can hear it.   All the bands you mentioned come through in the music. 

I can imagine you have toured with some pretty amazing bands over you 20 plus years.  Do you have a favourite so far and anyone on the wish-list?

“It’s like a childhood dream, I would love to tour with Aerosmith you know.  To sit down and chat with Steven Tyler, you know the 71 year old crazy guy.  And we’ve toured with Metallica, Motorhead and Saxon.  We toured with Motely Crue of course and Buckcherry, we’ve toured with AC/DC, have you ever heard of them (laughs).”

Yeah, once or twice. (laughs) 

“This tour with Buckcherry is something with the band we all want to do because we did tour with them in 2013 and we became friends.  It’s always good to tour with bands you can talk to, have fun with you know, have a good time.  We’re really looking forward to see those guys again.”

Over your years touring the world have you picked up any tips or any advice you can pass on to bands looking at embarking on their first international tour?

“Before you go out on tour rehearse know the songs, and play every night as if it is the last time you are up on stage.  That’s how you do it.”

That’s brilliant advice and that’s why you guys always put on a great show!

“Yeah, I think so.  For me it’s like when I have my family with me at a festival or in Sweden for a show, my wife tells me its like, two hours before every show I prepare, I go into, you know, my character.  I do my vocal warm ups and stuff, she tells me that my eyes are different when those two hours are coming, so she takes the children out and goes away.  She doesn’t recognise me, I’m so into it. “

To me that is great that you have that whole different side of you and your wife recognises that and allows it to happen.

“I think I take it dead serious that’s why, you know.”

Absolutely, that’s excellent. Music is about having the passion for it.                                                         

Buckcherry, Hardcore Superstar and Bad Moon Born kick off their tour in Perth on October 8th, heading to Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and finishing up in Sydney on October 13th.

Get your tickets HERE.

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