MAY 10, 2018

http://www.rockwired.com/CapitalBTimes.jpgeing a child of the eighties, I often overlooked the connection between heavy metal and horror films. I simply took the two things for granted. At the time, it  was important to engulf myself in a music that had my parents on edge thinking that I was a Satan worshipper. The motif worked, and the imagery that decorated my walls from bands such as IRON MAIDEN and MEGADETH proved to be effective in keeping my parents and siblings at a distance. And how many horror films of that era contained heavy metal on their soundtracks? The Swedish thrash band F.K.U. emerged from this time in the year 1987 as a chance for it's founders - guitarist PETE STOOAAHL and bassist PAT SPLAT- to indulge themselves in the shock of horror and the visceral assault of metal, however the band didn't take off until the late-nineties when they recruited front man and producer LARRY LETHAL. Now, the band has released their newest album 1981 - a tribute to the year when horror films reached critical mass in terms of box office appeal with such films a FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 (there is ven a track named after this film), EVIL DEAD, THE HOWLING, HALLOWEEN II and others.  ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with lead singer LARRY LETHAL regarding the band and their new album. Here is how the interview went.   


1981 is out there for people to take in. How do you feel about the finished work?

I feel like we made that album that we wanted to make and I'm very happy with this album. I was so involved with this album. Not only do I sing on it but I also mixed and mastered it. So much went into this album. I had the chance to listen to the completed album on vinyl. I listened to side one and side two and after that I didn't listen to it again. Once an album is recorded and pressed, it's out there for people to take in and that's it. That doesn't mean that these songs won't change once we start playing them live. So I look forward to hearing this album in a few months to a year from now and see how I feel about it then.


And what was the inspiration for naming the album 1981?

Back in 1981 I was four years old so I don't have any vivid memories of that time but the bass player PAT SPLAT does. 1981 was the year that horror films really took off and he really got into horror films in his late teens. He is a horror movie fan and has collected everything on VHS  to BLU RAY. When I was growing up, being a heavy metal fan went hand in hand with being a fan of horror films. Since the beginning of F.K.U., we've always made music with that kind of horror film motif, so when talk of this album came up, we figured why not go all the way and dedicate every song on ths album to a specific film. In 1981, there were so many movies released. It was a pivotal year for horror and there were so many films to choose from. We had a list of fifty to sixty films and narrowed it down to what felt right. We just felt it was a cool idea to name the album after a year like 1981. VAN HALEN did it for their album 1984, so it must be a good idea.

And so far, have there been any reactions to the album that have surprised you or that you didn't see coming?
I've read some reviews and the responses to the album so far have been good. So far, the responses have been better than the response to to our previous album and that was exactly what we were  aiming for. Our approach to making this album was a little different and we thought people would've picked up on that. We thought people would think that the album was punkier and dirtier than anything else that we've done, but that seems to have gone over people's  heads. People are saying that this new album is the classic F.K.U. sound and that has me thinking "Damn! We need to do something way different for people to notice that we took another direction!" Oh well! You never want to veer too far off from the sound that you make. People have commented that we have a new energy and that is probably because we decided to write shorter songs and recorded live in the studio as much as possible. That aspect of the album really shines through. It's a little more rough around the edges. We set out to make that kind of album and we accomplished what we wanted to do.

Any plans for making music videos for any of the tracks? Given the bands fascination with horror, it seems like the right thing to do. I see you guys at least have a lyric video for FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2.
Yeah, we love making music videos. We made one for the song HELL NIGHT
which we released months ago. Strangely, the video hasn't been getting a whole lot of coverage, so we're just going to keep posting it on our social media until people really start to see it.


Bring me back to the beginning of F.K.U. How did this whole thing get started?
It started out as a fun side project  by PAT and PETE. They were both in other bands that were a little more serious and not as much fun, so they came up with this idea to do this sort of thrash metal crossover. Kind of a Swedish version S.O.D. That's why there are three letters in the name. F.K.U. stands for FREDDY KRUEGER'S UNDERWEAR. This got started in 1987, but not a lot happened in the following years. They would have rehearsal every Friday night with beer and pizza but eventually the thing got put to rest because other projects were taking off. Ten years later, they met me when I had just moved to town and they thought it would've been cool if I had sung in the band F.K.U.  ten years earlier. So they decided to start up that band again  and things really got serious and put together a demo which became our first album.

What was your musical experience before joining F.K.U.?
I've played in some thrash metal bands and some death metal bands. I had always played guitar and sang and was heavily influenced by thrash and death metal. F.K.U. is the first time where I only sang . When I started with F.K.U. I was in another, more technical death metal band called DARKANE that had just relased the album RUSTED ANGEL back in '98 or '99. That was arond the same time that the F.K.U. album came out. F.K.U. was a different experience for me. It was very old school  and I loved it. I had no problem getting into it.

And is LARRY short for LARS?
(Laughs) No, it's short for LAWRENCE. I was born in England.

It seems like there is a lot of metal coming out of Sweden. Is this some kind of reaction to ABBA or ROXETTE?
I don't know why that is. As a society here, we're allowed to play music. We're encouraged play music. It's something that we're taught in school. And it's all kinds of music. Sure we have this musical history with ABBA, but I don't see the metal scene here as being a reaction to that. I don't know why metal is big here. A lot of bands have gotten to be really good at what they do and have started different movements in metal. There have been scenes out of Gothenberg and even Stockholm had it's own death metal scene which became huge in the nineties. So it's not a reaction to anything. It's just very easy to form a band and get rehearsal space here. It's not as hard as it could be in other countries. Here, you're encouraged to do music.


And how does songwriting get handled in this band?
It happens like this. We have three songwriters in the band and one lyric writer. PAT - the bass player - is a huge horror film freak so he writes all of the lyrics. The rest of us come up what the music. We meet once a week and jam something out until we're sure that it becomes a song. Since I'm a producer by trade, I throw together a demo with drums and guitar to give us a bass line work with and a means for PAT to add lyrics to.

And talk about the band's live show. I can imagine it must be an ALICE COOPER-styled affair.
We wish we had the budget for an ALICE COOPER type-thing. In the future, we'd love to have more props but at the moment, we're playing smaller venues but we have outfits, make up and blood to make us look like bad guys in a horror film. We have done bigger festivals where we've had people come up on stage dressed as horror characters. I grew up worshipping IRON MAIDEN  and their stage shows were awesome and the other guys in the band grew up watching KISS. Our favorite bands were ones that had strong images. That is what we want. We'd like to build the band up a bit more so we can get that extra van that is just full of stage props so we can start decapitating people on stage! I don't know. The possibilities are endless with this band. We hope to do something cool in the future.

And with this album behind you, what's next for the band musically?
We're just going ot go forward. We've had problems with lineup changes inthe past but that has been sorted out for abotu two years. Right now we're really fired up and we're doing some touring this year as well as next year. Once the touring is done we're going to do another album This one really felt good to make and everybody had fun . It was easy to execute. We were focused and we knew what we wanted to to do. We have a lof ides for a new album already. We're probably goingto record next year . We don't have a title or concep t but it's going to be our special brand of thrash metal. And of course it's going tobe horror-themed. Outside of that, we don't know until we start crystalizing it.


http://www.rockwired.com/CapitalB.jpgrian Lush is a music industry professional and entrepreneur. In 2005 he launched the online music site Rockwired.com to help promote new music artists in conjunction with the weekly radio show Rockwired Live which aired on KTSTFM.COM from 2005 - 2009. In 2010 He launched the daily podcast series Rockwired Radio Profiles which features exclusive interviews and music. He has also developed and produced the online radio shows Jazzed and Blue - Profiles in Blues and Jazz, Aboriginal Sounds - A Celebration of American Indian and First Nations Music, The Rockwired Rock N Roll Mixtape Show and The Rockwired Artist of the Month Showcase. In 2012, Brian Lush and his company Rockwired Media LLC launched the monthly digital online publication Rockwired Magazine. The magazine attracts over 75,000 readers a month and shows no signs of stopping. Rockwired Magazine also bares the distinction of being the first American Indian-owned rock magazine. Brian Lush is an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Brian Lush's background in music journalism, radio and podcast hosting, podcast production, web design, publicity, advertising sales, social media and online marketing, strategic editorial planning and branding have all made Rockwired a name that is trusted and respected throughout the independent music industry.

CONTACT BRiAN LUSH AT: djlush@rockwired.com