Fræbbblarnir
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Brief history

Fræbbblarnir are:

  • Arnór Snorrason, guitar
  • Guðmundur Þór Gunnarsson, drums
  • Helgi Briem, bass
  • Iðunn Magnúsdóttir, vocals
  • Ríkharður Friðriksson, guitar
  • Valgarður Guðjónsson, vocals, guitar
  • Þorsteinn Hallgrímsson, bass

Fræbbblarnir were formed in Iceland 1978 and released a number of records until they quit early 1983. A punk / pop band in the happy-go-lucky “sector” of the punk era playing short, melodic songs fast and raw. Inspired by the Ramones, Clash, Stranglers, Jam, Sex Pistols, Damned, Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, Stiff Little Fingers, Undertones, Buzzcocks, Crass, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury and many, many more of the early punk / "new wave" scene as well as 60's bands like the Kinks, Troggs, etc... The album “Viltu nammi væna?” is already a classic.

It’s members continued playing on and off under various names until a compilation album was released by Smekkleysa (“Bad Taste”) in 1996 when the original name was reinstated.

Fræbbblarnir's members on various releases were:
  • on "False Death" - Valgarður, Stefán, Þorsteinn, Ríkharður, Dagný
  • on "Viltu nammi væna?" - Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi
  • on "Bjór?" - Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi, Arnór
  • on "Northern Lights Playhouse" - Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi, Arnór
  • on "Poppþéttar..." - Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi, Kristinn
  • on "Okkar á milli" - Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi, Kristinn
  • on "Warkweld..." - Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi
  • on "Dásamleg..." - Valgarður, Stefán, Ellert, Tryggvi, Arnór, Iðunn, Brynja, Kristín
  • on "Life's A Gas" - Valgarður, Stefán, Arnór, Helgi, Iðunn, Brynja and Kristín
  • on "Stuff" - Valgarður, Stefán, Arnór, Helgi, Iðunn, Brynja and Kristín
  • on "In a nutshell" - Valgarður, Guðmundur, Arnór, Helgi, Iðunn, Ríkharður and Þorsteinn

Memories

TV family program

March 1979

Went for a recording for a Saturday Night TV show. Friends - and their friends - invited at a Thursday morning. Perhaps not the usual hour to go to concerts. Went all right. Einar Orn stood in the corner with his back turned to the rest, banging his head to the wall the whole time.

A Letter From Helgi

February 1979

So we quit. Already recorded for TV. And nothing ahead. Then a reader's letter in a newspaper said we were pretty great. Written by someone named Helgi Briem. And pretty well written as a matter of fact.

We didn't need another excuse. There is someone who thinks we are all right. Better keep on going. An obligation in fact.

Helgi joined the band in 2001.

The Geniuses

In the spring of 1979 I was working at RALA. Just heard Never Mind the Bollocks here's the Sex Pistols for the first time. It resulted in me wearing a dog collar en safety pin to work, as well as pink sneakers so everyone noticed the punk from the north. Back home I met a few searching souls, Steinthor who later joined Fraebbblarnir, Asgeir Jonsson later a lead singer of Bara flokkurinn. We were all revved up and waiting for the right chance.

We heard of a few punk bands from the south, the latest one called Fraebbblarnir, but we didn't know if it would turn out to be a short joke as the others or the foundation it later turned out to be. We had really no connections in Reykjavik but a strangely enough a guy called Arnor Snorrason was also working at RALA for the summer.

One morning I was told that Arnor was waiting to talk to the punk from the north. He had been working with Fraebbblarnir but he and Rikki, who had played in Fraebbblarnir, were now planning their own venture. I like Arnor from the beginning and his plans sounded exciting so I called Steinthor up north. A week later I met him and his equipment at the airport. The Geniuses were formed with Arni Isberg on drums. We played a lot with Fraebbblarnir in the winter 1979-1980 and this marked the rise of a new wave of music which turned out to be greater than anyone could anticipate.

Later both Arnor and Steinthor joined Fraebbblarnir while me and Rikki formed new bands, Rikki "The Slaves", and I joined Oskar Thoris to form the "Neurotic Section". Arnor was actually our first guitarist while he also played with Fraebbblarnir while they recorded the great "Beer". Then Fraebbblarnir were an institution, an empire deserving all the praise they have been given.

- Arni Daniel Juliusson -

Deddi photographs

Summer 1980

Deddi showed up at most of our concerts. Always taking pictures. Probably has most of the photos on our first album.

Ramones through a payphone

Summer 1985

“Valli!”. “Hello, is Valli there”. “Valli, I'm at a Ramones concert!”. (a few Ramones songs through the phone) “Valli .. hi... this is Steinthor.. yes we are at Ramones concert in Copenhagen ... fantastic... I haven't got any more coins”.

Gunnthor at The Club (a private report)

May 1979

I remember seeing Fraebbblarnir for the first time at The Club. A great experience. They were raw, rough and dirty mouthed. After a few songs Valli told the disco freaks to applauds and threatened to play another song if they didn't. A huge applaud broke out. Then Valli thundered: "Since you love us so much, we'll play a few more songs!". Everything went completely mad. A girl tried to argue with Fraebbblarnir but was told to bite a certain part of her body. In those days the boring old farts of music only said "thank you" between songs. After this I started going regularly to Kopavogur to meet with the gods.

- Gunnthor Sigurdsson -

Fræbbblarnir and I

I have Fraebbblarnir to thank for how my life developed. Or, to blame. I wasn't interested in this punk at first. There were some newspaper articles, pictures of punks in torn clothes. I was appalled and me and my friends agreed that Mezzoforte were a far better band then those idiots in Fraebbblarnir.

In our school was John Hansen who spent endless energy introducing Fraebbblarnir to his fellow students. He was the black sheep in his family who had just formed a religious group and the last I heard of him was in New Zealand. He started to petition to get Fraebbblarnir for our next annual festival and brought their False Death EP to school to sell. He was much stronger than I was and finally managed to force a copy on me.

All right perhaps, so I agreed to go to Kopavogsbio one evening with a few guys. There they were practising for a concert to be played the day after. A few of us sat their and finally some guys in sweaters started playing. Pretty good, Fraebbblarnir, I thought, up close. "These aren't Fraebbblarnir", John said, "this is the Geniuses". I was only 14 years old.

Finally Fraebbblarnir showed up, all wearing doctors dress and insane to see. They thundered great punk over an empty hall and I was finally liberated. Thanks!

Of course I formed a band the day after, Dordinglar, with 3 other boys. We tried for months in a garage and were finally invited to play at a concert in Kopavogsbio with Fraebbblarnir. The concert was name "Healthy youth" after some reader's letter in a newspaper. It was Saturday 12. April 1980 and it started at two o'clock in the afternoon, most of the concerts at Kopavogsbio started at this ridiculous hour. I have never been as stressed as before this concert. I probably went ten times to the bathroom and I was sure I was going to faint on stage. I felt no better at the sound check in the morning, Valli was watching and I totally messed up the lyrics, "I'm a retard", the other two were instrumental.

The concert started with an artist Dato Triffler on stage claiming his own greatness. Einar Orn introduced us and somehow we managed to go through our program. The next weekend a review said "They should spend more time on the phrases on which they build there song writing" - I still don't understand it.

We were allowed to spend time back stage, the Outsiders were playing one of their first concerts. We didn't dare to speak to dangerous characters like that but I remember giving Bubbi a bottle of coke on stage to light out a cigarette.

Fraebbblarnir treated us on the other hand like equals, said we had done fine.

A band called Kolossus came after us and then Bubbi and the Outsiders came on stage, they were great and the audience loved them. I think Mike Pollock smashed a guitar and threw out to the audience. Then there was a break.

Some went for a smoke and some went home. Fraebbblarnir didn't give a damn if the hippies were going home and started firing themselves up backstage. Valli poured a bottle of coke over his head and they screamed a lot, beating into the air.

Of course they were great, played the songs through without stopping, a few songs were started again when Stebbi locked his hi-hat arm and Valli shouted "IF you don't applaud after our next songs I am going to kill you!". The room went wild for a minute and then Valli shouted: "Shut-the-fuck-up!".

Dordinglar quit and Tryggvi, Fraebbblarnir's blond guitarist asked me to form a punk band F-8 (group 8 from our working school group). He sang. No problem being a support band for Fraebbblarnir from now on. F-8 survived the winter 1980-1981, probably playing on all Fraebbblarnir's concert at the time, many times in Kopavogsbio.

Fraebbblarnir's fan were mostly leather dressed punks from Hlemmur. They took the best seats swinging their moheads. They gave us no trouble, we were playing punk, but when progressive bands like "Joi a hakanum" or "Fan Houtens Koko" were playing, they went mad, showing their fists and screamed "Fræbbblarnir, Fræbbblarnir, Fræbbblarnir" during their program.

We went everywhere with Fraebbblarnir. Youth centres, a few towns around the country. I hardly remember those concerts except that in Borgarbio Stebbi went to the toilet in the middle of the program and at Hella Fraebbblarnir could have had groupies if they could have been bothered.

We were to young to be invited to party with Fraebbblarnir but Tryggvi enlightened us. A lot of weird stories were started, Stebbi was supposed to have the greatest porn magazine collection in town, carefully locked in a drawer.

Tryggvi, who was a few years younger than the rest of the band, also reflected the way Fraebbblarnir were thinking. He recited the lyrics on their first album and told us what they were about. FIA was about the musicians union, FIH, but they didn't want a lawsuit so they changed the H to A. Youth memories was of course about president Vigdis and Necrophilia about Pol Pot in Cambodia. By printing only the lyric to "Poems" Fraebbblarnir were giving poets the finger. They always carried a grudge towards the poets, hippies, culture, leftwing crowd who controlled the culture and pop press. I really believe Fraebbblarnir never had a favourable review in an Icelandic paper, even though ZigZag magazine were positive on their first album.

Fraebbblarnir thought that the sound on their first album was ruined when the album was printed. Never happy with it. Now, this greatest album of Iceland is finally on a CD with a correct and great sound. I cry from happiness. Long live Fraebbblarnir!

- Gunnar Hjalmarsson -

Phoney punks

1980-1981

And then again, we were not "real" enough. One, half-brain-dead young poet came to a party. Was asked to use ashtray. What an insult!

And I guess there was more. We didn't dress according to some punk dress code every day. Our lyrics didn't fit the formula, although I still wonder what formula.

We weren't from a low enough class. At least not low enough for those snobs.

Never mind the music. Totally beside the point.

The singer can't hold a tune

1980-1982

"This singer is totally unable to hold a tune". "And absolutely no voice". "What they need is another singer". "It is the singer who is ruining the band". "Are you guys perhaps looking for another singer?"

A few young and "not at all respected" poets were dreaming of becoming our singer. And more. But too much of a loser to form their own band.

And then the critics...

1979-1982

By far the worst performance is by the singer. I haven't heard anything like this for a long, long time, disastrous is a mild way of putting it - Þjóðviljinn 31. January - 1. February 1981, "Would You Like Some Candy Dear? No thanks". Jón Viðar Sigurðsson.

I have tried several times to listen to it (the record), not experiencing excruciating pain but a horrible mental state about the twice the time it takes to play the record, I don't know why, though. Vísir 30. April 1980, "White means shit". Gunnar Salvarson.

The drummer was really incredible. As I sat and watched him and it dawned upon me that this was the last time they were playing here on this tour I regretted not having been to all their concerts, if not for anything else than to enjoy a digital drumming at a fantastic speed. ork, nr 2 1982, chr.

Their first LP has 13 new songs and five "oldies" in new versions. Worth checking for new versions of Rudy, Public Image (slow with doo-wop vocals) and Then I kissed her. ZigZag mars 1981.

World fame with a Swedish girl

September 1980

Were in London, Went to the Marquee. A bit slow. Into the next pub. Chatting with a young Swedish girl. From Iceland? The only thing she remembered about the country was a punk band she had read about in Aftonbladet.

We were almost proud.

Also met a Swedish guy, Yalle Nonsense. Send us a few albums. IQ55. Quite good but a little bit dark.

Listening outside the garage

Winter 1979

We heard a rumour that Fræbbblarnir were rehearsing in a certain garage in Kopavogur. We had to do something about that and night after night we stayed behind the garage listening. Our heroes inside practising and we were more than happy to hear bits every now and then. Our dream was to be invited inside to listen - a little far fetched since we ran into hiding every time we saw someone. And to be invited inside, not just to listen, but to play. A free ride to the moon and back was more likely. Then Ari called a few months later.

- Tryggvi Þór Tryggvason -

Falkinn, Northern Lights Playhouse

Summer 1981

One of many attempts to get us noticed abroad was done by Rough Trade. A compilation album that Falkinn did with them. We had three songs. Still no calls from record companies.

Sterio

Summer 1981

One of the smartest thing we did in the Summer of 1981 was to pay a visit to Sterio, a shop run by Gardar and Biggi, and get some equipment, PA system. They did a lot of concerts getting little pay. Even little things like not playing with ruined cables made a world of difference.

Bloodstains in Hafnarfjordur

Summer 1981

One summer we used to practise under a mini supermarket in Hafnarfjordur. Great place to use after the store closed. Steinthor even thought the bloodstains running down from their meat department made it extra charming.

Laugarvatn

February 1981

Went with F8 and the Nerve Asylum to play in Laugarvatn's High School. Arnor played with us, as well as the Nerve Asylum. Tryggvi played with F8 and us. A relatively empty place but all the happier when they went back to their dorm. Probably we were never better. Forty songs played in a few minutes, hardly any pause. Seven - eight songs connected to lose as little time as possible.

False Death - Undertones

July 1980

A new Undertones album was released in the summer of 1980. Siggi, Helgi Briem's friend, thought he knew one of the songs. Wasn't this the same bass line as Fraebbblarnir had used? Haddi's song, False Death. No doubt. Should we do something about this? What? Was it possible that they could have heard our song? Marcus, who released the song in England, had been trying to promote some of his bands at Sire, who released the Undertones album. Isn't this a little bit far fetched? We decided to spare the English judicial system from listening to the songs. Anyway, it didn't feel right to pursue this. We borrowed later from Mozart. Wolfgang probably would have taken a ballet spin in his grave had he heard "Rebellion of the Dwarfs". We did have better conscience though.

A rose in a wrong buttonhole

March 1979

Marcus took care of designing the front page of the False Death single. We saw just before the record was release. Did enjoy shooting the cover photo? Or, perhaps, afterwards?

The World Press

Spring 1980

Orn came to see us after a concert in Kopavogur with a Swedish journalist writing about Icelandic Youth. Took endless photos in Mosfellssveit with a mountain view in the background. A whole page interview at the back of Aftonbladet's weekend edition. Just about to become world famous.

Great poet

Autumn 1979

Once we were drinking with Steini and Audur. Oskar and Maddy were there as well. Steini was playing some live recordings for Oskar and reciting the words to Daily Newspaper. Steini didn't really know it so he asked me to whisper it to Oskar. Then he read it aloud for Oskar, shaking his head. I still remember the "what-an-awful-load-of-crap" look on his face. Later the four of them became our Mozart-choir.

Stebbi drumming away

January 1982

A Norwegian fanzine: It is worthwhile to go see Fraebbblarnir, if not for anything else than to watch their drummer. Not listen to. Watch. A unique drumming style.

The Clash at Reykjavik Arts Festival

June 1980

When it became clear that no "big" name band was coming to the Reykjavik Arts Festival - we talked to Einar Orn and asked him if he could talk to Marcus and in turn get us in contact with PIL in order to get them here. Didn't turn out as we hoped for, but Einar, full of energy, managed to contact Clash.

We wanted to be a support band. The Outsiders also wanted to support them. Great! Let both bands play. The Arts Festival agreed. Then it dawned upon them that we were not as hip as they thought. No socially aware lyrics. Not little, well behave commies like all aggressive pop bands were supposed to be. They decided to cut us out. Bastards. Clash coming to play and the door slammed in our face. All because of some political culture snob. Or lack of it. I didn't even go to the concert.

The Stranglers

May 1978

Just heard news that the Stranglers were coming. They were always a bit sideways in the punk scene. Wasn't sure I wanted to go. A lot of great songs. But some long and boring as well. Then the "5 minutes" video was shown in a family entertainment show. Were they really that good?

Decided to go to the concert. And what concert!! Non-stop pogoing / dancing / hopping around for a few hours.

Presidential Election

June 1980

The summer was captivated by the presidential election. Nice youth memories. Gunnthor made stickers. "Fraebbblarnir" and "You stink". Distributed everywhere and anywhere. Tough glue. On the next sticker, "Fraebbblarnir for President"

Límmiði

V9 engine

August 1980

We used to go to a small shop in the west of Reykjavik between rehearsals. Once we were admiring a pretty girl behind the counter. Then a guy on a V8 American car came to pick her up. We didn't have a chance of any of that. Sour grapes. "She's probably just the ninth V".

Movie

June 1980

We were having problems writing songs. Desperately needed one more good songs. The Ramones came up. Ari was speechless with shock. The Ramones was so simple and nothing to it, he said. Well, if it is so simple, why don't you write a song like that. Sure enough. Ari wrote the basic to "Movie" (Bio). Pretty great stuff we thought. Ari didn't.

Just before our concert I composed a sick "snuff-movie" lyric. Gross stuff in the spirit of the Ramones and Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias. Sweet pop song, with a compulsive lyric. Just as well we never print it.

Vidihvammur 27

1980-1981

We used to have parties at my home in Vidihvammur 27 in Kopavogur.

A few really good albums. But endless bands with one or two great songs. Sex Beatles, Members, Mekons, Motors, Rezillos, Banned, Dickies, Dead Kennedys, Chelsea, Generation X, Nick Lowe, Blondie, Bad Manners, Eddie and the Hot-Rods, Sham 69, Rich Kids, Vapours, Ruts, Television, Plasmatics, 999, Siuoxie and the Banshees, Piranhas, Splodgenessabounds, Magazine, Squeeze, XTC, Damned, PIL, Judge Dread, Negatives, Tom Robinson, Buzzcocks. Probably forgetting some.

Some albums were worthwhile though. Ramones, Crass, Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols, Ian Dury, Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, Mikey Dread, Jam, Clash, Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, Specials, Madness, Skids, Stranglers. Again, probably forgetting.... Kinks always had a place.

I used to buy singles in London. Some were lost during the best parties. Everyone was a DJ. The rest down in the basement, having a drink.

But, play any of the neo-hippie music at your own risk.

The First Record

1979-1980

Einar Orn took over from Oskar as projectionist for film society Fjalakotturinn when Oskar became manager. Einar knew someone in Sheffield, England who was releasing records. Would he like to release our single? Yeah, sure, why not? We hurried into studio. Songs by Haddi and Rikki. And our version of Summer Nights. Dagny sang the lead female voice. We also recorded Seasons in the Sun but weren't that happy with the result. Anyway, we couldn't have two cover songs on an EP. Rikki and I didn't agree that often on music. But this time we did, the guitar "solos" in False Death should be just this chaotic.

We took care of releasing the record here. I believe that this is a collector's item in Sheffield now even though it didn't hit the charts at the time.

Marcus, who released the record in Sheffield, did all right. Aardvark and Negatives got some attention. Then we heard of him running away from the Exploited who thought he had cheated them.

Julius taking a crap on me

January 1980

We badly needed a place to rehearse at the beginning of 1980. A concert for Cambodia about to happen. Finally, we got to do some rehearsing in Stebbi's bedroom. Ari just joined as a guitar player. We sat there 4 in a tiny room. Stebbi's parrot Julius Rottenmeyer only had one hobby. Follow me around, shitting on my head. Well, we were young and ready to make sacrifices for our music.

Photograph for a youth fanzine

Summer 1980

We did an interview with a youth fanzine, "Hello" probably. I don't recall what we said or what was printed. The interviewer was full with an idea. "Hey, guys, show me your penises! E-he-he-he". "Hey, guys, how about showing your penis! He, he, he". Well you were supposed to tolerate a lot if you wanted to get famous. But did you really have to associate with an idiot like that???

The first Clash album

June 1977

I read about "punk" in the English music press, winter 1976-1977. Had heard a lot of rumours on how terrible it was. And how the kids behaved! But reading interviews with some of the band turned out to be interesting - I found myself agreeing with them most of the time.

And although collecting old Kinks album wasn't bad, I really wanted to hear something new and interesting. So I ordered the first Clash album. Wow!!! Called my friends right away, I wanted to let everyone know. Awful, they told me! Awful? Still, 25 years later I cannot understand. The first Clash LP!

Then Stebbi came from sea. Naturally, he was hooked right away.

Then there were Jam, Damned and Stranglers. And when the Ramones came with "Leave home" there was no turning back.

That autumn we got the "Pretty Vacant" / "No Fun" single. "Pretty Vacant" wasn't too hot - but we were spellbound by "No Fun".

Sunday Morning Nightmare

August 1978

Went with Stebbi to London, as well as Haddi and Hakon. Showed up ready on a Sunday afternoon, straight to our hotel, turned on the radio. Jimmy Pursey doing an interview. Then "Sunday Morning Nightmare". Then "If The Kids Are United". We didn't need any further notice that mass was about to start!

Malcolm Maclaren

August 1978

In London, we went to see Malcolm Maclaren at Seditionaries on Kings Road. Just started talking when a very angry, young, muscular man with a bat showed up and interrupted. Asked Malcolm to step outside so he could beat him up without doing any damages to the store. As far as we could tell, he was mad at Malcolm for splitting the Sex Pistols. But perhaps we had problems understanding an angry Londoner with our formal school education in English. A Malaysian girl, living in London, who came with us, was getting pretty frightened when we agreed to leave. When we were leaving, Malcolm was still trying to talk himself out of being beaten up. And doing pretty well as far as we could tell.

Would You Like Some Candy, Dear? (Viltu nammi vaena?)

June 1980

Bolungarvik, a town in the far west. Lived in an old house with a few girls, who were working there as well as I was. One of the girls told me that once, when she was young and waiting at a bus stop with her friend, a man with both hands in cast had asked her friend to reach for his wallet in his pocket. She went into his pocket, just to find that his "wallet" was warm, with three sections and full of other currency than money.

"Would You Like Some Candy, Dear?"

Guitarists

1979-1982

The summer 1979 after recording False Death Rikki decided to quit. Well, all right. Decided to give Sigurgrimur a chance. Looked fine, but we were in a desperate hurry to play so we got Ari to play. Young and promising.

But, of course, he had to break his arm after a few months. Then his friend, Tryggvi joined.

Then Ari quit, And Arnor joined. And quit. Kiddi arrived. Mikki Pollock played for a while. Wrote a few songs, "Sticking Dolly". "Clockwork Orange".

Steini quits

February 1980

Families also affected us. Steini and Audur had their first daughter, Lilja. Steini could not spend more time in the band. We decided to tempt Steinthor from the Geniuses as we heard they were about to quit, anyway.

Summer 1980

Summer 1980

We spent the summer of 1980 on concerts, recording our first LP, partying, Bankrobber with the Clash. Specials and Madness. Ramones of course. And Crass. Bloody revolution. Great song. Drank cheap red wine or Rum at Stebbi's place, my place, with Steini and Audur or Bjarni and Asgerdur. Then went downtown, sometimes joining the arts festival's club where the snobs were listening to jazz.

We irritated most of them. And they irritated us. Then to Hotel Borg.

Stebbi refuses to play in "Rock In Reykjavik"

January 1982

We were just about to go to Norway. Filming of "Rock In Reykjavik" was about to be finished and if we wanted to be included we needed to rush things. We played one Friday night at Hotel Borg. Everything set. Except for some of the guests who couldn't stand the noise. Stebbi, on the other hand, couldn't stand the "not-noise" and refused to play. Maggi, Outsider's drummer, stepped in. Knew most of the songs and caught the others on the run.

Still. This wasn't Fraebbblarnir. So we decided to try again. This time, just before leaving for Norway. We played at a youth centre on a Sunday afternoon. Our driver fell asleep at home with all our equipment. So we only had a few minutes to set up and start playing. Maybe we should have passed the opportunity and stayed out of the film. An awful image of the band...

PIL - "di dumm di dumm dumm"

June 1980

"The Geniuses" played Public Image, pretty close to the original version. A great song - probably one of the best songs released by the time. Maybe we should try. But it isn't worth much to play a plain cover. Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias did Anarchy In The UK ultra silly and yet bloody great - old time backup vocals, slowly. There's an idea...

Arnor confesses to the ultimate sin

New Years Eve 1980 / 1981

Arnor just came back from Norway. Not really excited about Fraebbblarnir. He'd had a proper music education anyway. Steini did as well. Arnor always had a weak spot for educated music with socially important lyrics. Even Jazz!?!?! Then, late 1980, our first album, "Viltu nammi vaena?" (Would You Like Some Candy, Dear?), was released. After third degree interrogation at Steini's place, Arnor admitted that he was quite impressed with the album. He might even want to join us. An easy decision for us.

Bjarni's garage

February 1981

Arnor just started practising with us. In the garage at Bjarni's home. We had to push their old car out before each session. And back in when we were finished. Quite a relief when Steini bought the old Saab. Then we had to practise in a summerhouse in middle of Kopavogur - owned by Breidablik, the sports club. We later repaid their kindness with a soccer song...

"No Friends" finished at last

April 1981

This time we were working in Hafnarfjordur. We were practicing late each night. "No Friends" was a great song. Still something missing. Tried banging my head. "You're gonna get a little message" came at four o'clock in the morning. The line made the song perfect.

Meeting Helgi at Odal

February 1979

Stebbi and I had an (almost) quiet night of drinking when he turned twenty. Found our way to Odal, which was not a strip joint at the time. And we met a fan! Probably the only one. Your name please? Helgi Briem. Did you write a letter in a newspaper earlier? The one that made us decide to carry on playing as a band? Yes, the same one. Joined the band 22 years later as a bass player.

Stebbi at sea - Krissi jumps in as a substitute

August 1979

Decided to play at the CLUB. Sure, Stebbi was out at sea, but he would be back someday. Then Wednesday arrived and no sign of him. The gig is on Thursday. Tomorrow! Who can play drums? We called Krissi, tried to make him play drums in a few songs. Oh, he didn't know how to drum. Still, things weren't that bad. He'll play.

Called Stebbi the next day at sea to tell him we are supposed to play that night. "Are you out of your f.... mind?". Well, they were on their way home but they had too long to go. The captain flatly refuses to let him off at Vestmannaeyjar islands. Still the captain takes a nap and Stebbi is navigation. Turns a little bit off course. Sees Vestmannaeyjar. Wakes the captain. Well, all right. Turns the boat to Vestmannaeyjar, boards a plane, then a cab to the CLUB and arrived half way through the program.

Repeated in Kopavogsbio for an 8mm movie

November 1978

Oskar filmed the Ceremony of Darkness in our school, MK. Jakob and Eirikur came to us right after the show and wanted us to play in a TV show they were doing on school activities. Well, we could as well keep going for a TV show. It would also be nice to have a documentary on our first concert. You never know. Could have been better lighting though. Let's repeat it next Wednesday with better lighting.

8mm movie

February 1979

Some of us made a short movie for the first festival for amateur films. Why not make a movie from our first concert as well. We had all the equipment available! And more than two hours to spare. No problem, great stuff, and just made it in time.

Perhaps our friends at the society did not expect this. "Socrates" and "Myrkranefnd" (our lyrics to "God Save The Queen" and "EMI") loud as hell. Then silence. Then again, painfully loud. Again, silence.

Apparently, we forgot to check the films, one of the films we used didn't have a soundtrack. So the sound went on and off the whole time. We didn't have time to check our product before entering.

Hrafn singing

April 1979

As manager of a schools film society, I wanted to send an Icelandic film by Hrafn Gunnlaugsson to a Finnish Film Festival. I went with Hrafn to the ministry of education to fill out some forms and while we were waiting I started to ask about stage effects, explaining that I was thinking about this band I was playing in.

Right, he had written a punk song, Agnus Dei. Named after a Norwegian hymn. He started beating the rhythm on anything he could get his hands on. Then started to sing quite loud a brilliant lyric. He was acting out the lyric, screaming and laughing.

No at the ministry one asked him to leave, not even be quiet. They must be used to him..

Later, we appeared as a band and individually in one of his best movies, "Inter Nos".

Steinthor writes Fools (Fifl)

June 1980

Gig in Kopavogsbio summer 1980. Twice with Outsiders and many young and promising bands, Exodus, F8. We still needed lyrics as always. We got a few days to prepare. Steinthor was moving about, spent one night in the theatre. When we showed up the day after Nosferatu was ready. Song and words.

Tonight

June 1980

We still needed a place to practice. Winter 1980-1981. I met with Steinthor at home on a Sunday evening to write songs and lyrics. Somehow, we were going nowhere. Steinthor had an acoustic guitar and somehow nothing seemed to sound right.

We decided to play "Tonight" which Steinthor had played in his previous band and change the lyrics. Not "ride away tonight" - "fuck you tonight" (same word in Icelandic). About the last moments of the disco scene, this is what most of them are thinking though they don't dare to say it out loud. Let's make it offensive as well.

Steinthor

September 1980

At studio Hljodriti, Saturday afternoon, recording FIH. Somehow, everything kept going wrong. Too fast. Too slow. Guitar string cut. Terrible drum sound. Let's try it again. And again. And once more. Steinthor's bass kept ticking. Twenty takes. Not a single failure. Perhaps he was getting a pretty great bass player.

Drinking red wine to "Youth Memories"

September 1980

Steinthor wrote Aeskuminning ("Youth memories") sometime during our time in Kopavog's theatre. I had problems singing the chorus line. We spent a Friday evening with Siggi Bjola, ever so patient. Steini tried to teach me using the piano. Let's drink some homemade red wine to relax. Somehow, no matter how much I drank, I was further and further away from getting it. Very, very late, Steinthor tried. And perfect. Let's used it.

A trip to Norway - attacked because of the Ramones

January 1982
A gig at OsloRokkeKlubb. Lot of "HardCore" punks. Liked us pretty well, naturally. Then I dedicated one song to the Ramones, "Live is for living".

They simply went mad. Started marching and sending us "HeilHitlers". We had no idea what was going on.

After the concert, we tried to talk to them. The Ramones had been playing recently in Oslo, and had made some remarks about being friends with the police. We could talk their rage down but a young girl, famous for being on a front page of some magazine as an example of a justifiably angry young woman, kept stirring things up again.

Some of us got away all right but they were swinging chains and clubs, and started to attack us. Finally Steinthor got really pissed and shouted out in his best Icelandic rage and his northern accent "Then come on you bloody losers" which had the reverse effect. They ran away scared shitless, and most of us got back safe. Arne, a Norwegian drummer friend, was limping the next day.

Half a haircut - half a shave

January 1982

My hair was getting way to long. Sigrun and Linda decided to cut the hair from half of my head. Looked pretty good in OsloRokkeKlubb. Got strange looks on the train back home the next day.

My friend Kjartan has shaved the other half of his face. The night before we had decided to play a joke on his friend Egil. We had been drinking all night and when morning was about to break we wanted him to believe that a pretty young lady had found her way into his bed. I wasn't suitable as a pretty young lady. Kjartan not really either, as he had an enormous beard at the time. Why not shave it? Well, he had been growing it for some time. But we only need to shave half of it; you can keep the other half. He will only see one side of your face! Which we did. But the day after, the other half was gone.

Guitars stolen

January 1982

Norway. Oslo RokkeKlubb. Club 7. Hard Rock Café. On our way to our first world tour. All guitars and equipment locked up in Club 7. At sound check the day after, we couldn't find the guitars. What idiot has been moving them around? It took a long time to dawn upon us. A simply to believe it. Someone had simply nicked them.

After panicking for a while, we borrowed one and bought another guitar. Playing at Club 7 in the evening was not particularly interesting. After a few beers though we got into gear and the second part was one of the best shows we had played.

Gunnar Smari

July 1980

"Will somebody please get these guys out of the house!" Gunnar Smari in the kitchen in studio Hljodriti had had enough of those idiots. We were recording our first album in 1980. He couldn't believe how stupid and unprofessional we were. And rightly so. He didn't quite get away from us, but Siggi Bjola finished most of it.

Later we worked together without problems.

EMI

September 1980

I guess we would have become world famous if we'd had any idea where to turn. We went to London with half-baked recordings in September 1980. We simply went and started knocking on the doors of any record company we could find and asked them to listen. But I guess this wasn't how the music business worked...

The only company that gave us a chance was EMI. The small companies slammed their door in our face. At EMI, they told us to improve our song writing. I believe they misunderstood when we tried to tell them about cover songs, he probably thought that we were doing straight. I still want to call them and set things straight.

Splodgenessabounds

September 1980

Splodgenessabounds. A band named after the "the great splodge in the sky". Said they would like to play in Iceland. Pretty well known for "Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps, please". Saw them at the Music Machine with Captain Sensible playing guitar and a dog playing drums. On pint number five, they filled the house with smoke. I was lost and ended up on stage. They gave me a microphone and I started to sing "Summer Knights". I have no idea what song they were playing. Bought a Bootleg cassette of the gig few days later. I still can't believe why they skipped the last part of the concert.