An Interview with Grizzly, Bassist of Randy Piper's Animal as Interviewed by Glenn Milligan in January 2009

What influenced you to play Bass Guitar?
From the very beginning the reasons were Glenn Hughes and Roger Glover from Deep Purple and Steve Priest from The Sweet who were big idols of mine ! But I guess that your choice of instrument also has to do with your personality. I´ve always liked to "take care" of basic stuff ! :-)

Who are your favourite bassists and why?
The ones mentioned above, but Bob Daisley (Ozzy, Rainbow, Uriah Heep) and Benno Mengarelli from the swedish 70´s band Neon Rose. They play very distinct and tasteful with a lot of balls and power!

So where did the nickname 'Grizzly' come from?
My real name is Björn, an old viking-name which means "Bear". My nickname is Nalle which means "baby-bear" or "teddy-bear". So if you´re reallyinto hardrock...... I guess I thought I’d be a bit more "dangerous" ;-D So "Grizzly" fit me perfectly! ;-D

Why was it decided to call the band 'Animal' - was it down to Randy being in WASP and it being one of their main songs or does it go deeper than that?
I guess the name comes from the W.A.S.P. song "F*ck Like A Beast". No deeper than that....

How did the band come to be formed - as in getting the members together?
Me and Koleberg were supposed to be "hired guns" for the european tour 2007, but after just a couple of gigs Randy and Rich felt and knew that they wanted us to be permanent members of the band. We worked very well together both as musicians and friends. We had a great time here!

Chris Laney was the one who really kickstarted the whole thing by starting a good teamwork with Randy and Rich getting the 'Violent New Breed' album done.

What are your memories of recording the 1st album '900LB Steam' and what are your fave numbers on it and why?
I didn´t participate on that album, but I like it ! My favourite is the title-song.

Why did you decide to initially sign to Perris Records for the debut?
I guess you have to ask Randy !

How come you switched labels and are now on Locomotive Records?
We wanted a good American record company to take care of the release for "Virus". They have the contacts we need over there.

What would you say your fave times in all the bands you have been part of or are currently in?
The tour we did with Animal was great ! Lots of laughs and good playing !

How do manage to juggle your time so well?
Well, I´m sorry to say there aren´t more than 24 hours per day...... It´s sometimes hard to find the time for everything I´m into.....

Right now I´m recording 3 albums at the same time..... Chris Laneys soloalbum, Vindictiv and Brian Robertson (ex-Thin Lizzy, Motorhead)

What have been some of your fave road stories so far in any of the bands you are part of?
Hard to say...... You can´t really remember everything because of all the drinking ! ;-D

What's it like being in a band with ex-WASP legend Randy Piper?
It´s Great. Fantastic ! I bought the first W.A.S.P album right after the release and I still got posters and stuff from that period.

Randy was, to me, more sort of "the quiet guy" behind Blackie and Chris Holmes. Randy was really cool with his outfit then !

Was it intentional to have a WASP-like style or did it just turn out like that?
Chris Laney is a BIG W.A.S.P. fan so his contributions to the songwriting comes out natural ! And with Randy it becomes even more natural ;-)

Why did you decide to call the album 'Virus' and what influenced the cover?
Most of the songs came up with ideas from Chris Laney who was very sick at that time. He had to visit hospital and doctors several times for horrible pain in his stomack.and shortly thereafter he had surgery..... He thought he was going to die..... So that´s why some of the songs is about "Don´t wanna die" and "Crying Eagle". "Cardiac arrest" is about Chris Laneys stress, not finding the time for everything he’s into with his work as a producer, and most of all - Time for his family. The name "Virus" is supposed to be "Deadly Virus".

We had another idea for the cover which you can see at our MySpace-site. The picture of Laney’s daughter with a "mask" over her mouth..... but Locomotive wanted to change it...... so they did....

What caused the delay of the album and how was the problem rectified?
We had some "problems" finding the right record-company and when we at last found Locomotive it took some time to sort everything out concerning the contracts.

What are your favourite songs on the virus album and why and also what influenced them?
My absolute favorite is "Unnatural High". It has a fantastic atmosphere ! I often listen to it. I also love "Can’t Stop". It has that "classic rock" feeling like old-KISS-stuff !! In fact I love the whole album. I’m very proud of it!

Who writes the majority of the songs, is it Randy or do you all bring in so many songs and choose the best ones?
Chris Laney comes up with the main ideas and then Randy and Rich comes in and do the rest together with Laney.

I´m also a songwriter, but I didn´t have the time to come up with any ideas for the 'Virus' album and Laney already had all the songs as pre-productions in his studio.

We´ll see what the future holds....... (?)


How does the songwriting process come about from beginning to end for you guys as you are either live in the USA or Stockholm?
You know, it´s the "Internet-age" so that’s where the communication is going on. Either through e-mail or IChat !

That's an interesting song to cover, 'Zombie' by The Cranberries, how did that come about?
It was just an idea from Laney. He liked the original version from The Cranberries and suggested we should try to make a rockish version of the song. We listened to it and agreed we should record it and I think the result came out fine! One of the reasons we liked the idea was that it’s not really what you would expect as a cover on a hardrock-album.

What would we expect to hear in a live set by Animal? Are other songs thrown in as bonus such as the odd WASP song - if so which ones and why?
We don´t know yet. But I guess we shouldn’t throw out songs that the fans really want to hear like "Hellion" or "I Wanna Be Somebody". At least, that’s my opinion.

Have other Ex or Current members of WASP heard the bands albums or seen you guys live - how did it go down with them?
I haven´t seen Blackie or any of the others in the crowd so far ;-) I really don´t know. Maybe they´ve been watching us in disguise ;-D or sent out spys !!

What have been stand-out gigs for Animal so far and for what reasons?
The gig in June 2007 at Sweden Rock Festival was a blast ! We played at 3 o’clock in the afternoon as the first act of the festival, so we didn’t really expect many people to appear. But when we went on stage there were about 10,000 cheering fans there and the gig was great !! To me, it was the best gig of the European tour, and I believe Randy and the rest of the band would agree!

What would we expect to find on an Animal Tour Rider?
Beer and more Beer ! ;-D

What plans do you have of playing some Animal gigs in the UK?
No plans so far, but we shure wanna go there !

How would you describe an Animal concert?
Power, Guts and Balls ! Lots of fun !

What has the incarnation of done for you as a band - how has it helped you as opposed to just having a website and Record Company/PR?
MySpace is fantastic ! Me and Laney are running the site and we get lots of friendrequests and e-mail everyday.
It helps us a lot to keep in touch with the fans, answer their questions and bring them the news....

If Animal had a chance to support any particular bands who would they be and for what reason(s)?
What about W.A.S.P !? so we could blow them offstage ! ;-D No just kidding..! I think we would be a good support for KISS or Alice Cooper !

What do you all like to do when not on stage or in the studio?
We are all doing so many and different things..... but speaking for myself, I’m recording and writing a lot with other bands and projects. And I really try to spend as much time as I can with my family, including My Maria, 3 kids, the cats "Stanley" and "Simmons", the dogs Dusica and Bechira !!

What are you most proud of in your career so far?
The 'Virus' Album is truly one of the absolute best albums I’ve ever recorded ! Not just because I like it, but also because I did it with my very best friends !