History & BiographySwedish hard rock act EF Band was formed in 1978. The band's name was short for Ericsson Fischer Band, the names of its main members. The band was regarded as an honourary NWOBHM act for touring the UK so often and featuring a Brit as a drummer for a while. Ericsson and Fischer had previously collaborated in the progressive band Epizootic and initially shared vocal duties. The band's first release was a single called Another Day Gone which was released independently.
The band appeared on the famous Metal For Muthas I compilation with the song Fighting For Rock N' Roll and was the Scandinavian opening act for Rainbow. DuFort is the brother of the Girlschool drummer and left before the debut in order to pursue a solo career.
The band signed with Polygram in Sweden and brought in Derek Lawrence as a producer. He had worked with Deep Purple and Angel amongst others. When the band split up in 1987, LaRocque who had joined the band only on the third album, moved to King Diamond.
Bengt Fischer would later die of brain cancer. The band's manager Andrew Goodwin would work on a posthumous EF Band compilation partly to pay tribute to the deceased founding member. Their Finest Hour sampler CD was released in November of 2003. TPL Records issued a live album by the band in 2005. The recordings were made on the 18th of February, 1983 in Gothenburg, Sweden and featured the band's line-up from the Deep Cut record. The disc was mastered in 2005 at Los Angered studio by manager Andy Goodwin and Anders Allhage a.k.a. Andy La Rocque.
EF BAND - THEIR FINEST HOURS - SWEDEN ROCK
Honourary inductees into the NWOBHM hall of fame, Sweden's EF Band had its feet firmly planted in the 70's. Now, and after many years of absence, the band's manager Andy Goodwin has coordinated the release of this double-CD set chronicling the music of the act. Since two of the band members, namely Bengt Fischer and John Ridge, have now passed away due to cancer all proceeds from the sale of the pressing of 1,500 copies will be donated to the cause of cancer research in Sweden. Therefore, Their Finest Hours is not only an introduction to the band's music for a new generation, but also a worthwhile and charitable investment. Nevertheless, one has to point out the grammar-defying title of the album. There can, after all, be only one finest hour. Oh well.
The two discs roughly follow the order of EF Band's three albums. Consequently, disc one is the more 70's-sounding of the two. The band's heavy rock sounds inspired by Free, Aerosmith, Deep Purple and Jethro Tull. The material is honest and exudes all the elements of the era. This is a head trip. Things begin to harden on disc two where songs like Big Shot, Marie Rosa (Hungry For Love) and One Night Stand make musical references to AC/DC, Def Leppard and the general vibe of NWOBHM. The band's line-up has obviously come of age. The disc does not quite follow the track listing though - listener beware. As an added bonus, disc two also features rare and unreleased studio and live material and this is where the track listing falls apart. The album ends with a more recent song written by John Ridge for his fallen comrade Bengt Fischer. Sadly, Ridge would succumb to cancer himself soon thereafter.
Songs like Love Is A Game and Hard Hot & Heavy are well worth discovering. Furthermore, here is a little game for all fans: see if you can find the digitized effect that is supposed to be the voice of a female expressing her love on one of the songs. Play loud! - Ali "The Metallian"
THE E.F. BAND - LIVE AT THE MUDD CLUB IN GOTHENBURG 1983 - TPL
Kudos to manager Andy Goodwin who has done a fine job of keeping the legacy of Sweden's E.F. Band alive after all these years. Following the release of a sampler by the band Goodwin has unearthed and released a 1983 recording of the band featuring the band's Deep Cut album line-up. The band was shuffled into the NWOBHM crowd, but the Swedes were more about Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin than Iron Maiden and Saxon. The band's songs rock hard and recall a wild show full of loud rock riffs. Love Is For Heroes, Money Makin' Mama, Trinity and others are strong and the band performs Girl's Love Is A Game and Tush written by a bearded trio. It is music from an era gone by. Guitars and soaring vocals had to carry the band. There was no MTV, MP3s, satellite radio or other gimmicky technologies. If you understand the subject, then check this disc out. Even the sound is surprisingly good. A big FOAD also goes to modern society and capitalistic consumerism for banishing good music in favour of flavour of the month singer-cum-slut-cum-corporate ware mongers. - Ali "The Metallian"
InterviewsThis last winter the metal world was treated to a compilation CD called Their Finest Hours featuring the entire catalogue of Sweden's E.F. Band. The disc was issued through the hard work of the band's one-time manager Andy Goodwin. The review of the album and the history of the band can be read elsewhere; additionally Ali "The Metallian" was fortunate enough to be able to schedule two separate chats for an E.F. Band feature. The first was conducted with the aforementioned Andy Goodwin and the second with the band's second singer Roger Marsden. - 05.06.2004
METALLIAN: Andy, thank you for helping us remember and potentially introduce the band to a newer audience. What can you say about the band's early days?
ANDY: Let's start from day one. E.F. Band arose out of the ashes of a Swedish progressive rock band called Epizootic which had started in 1978. The latter made one self-titled record on their own label that sold about 1000 copies. It is now a collector's item. Two of the bands members, Par Ericsson and Bengt Fischer i.e. E and F, then went on to form the E.F. Band.
METALLIAN: Was there any little-known information you could also share?
ANDY: Well, here is a little bit of interesting information that very, very few people know about and is true.
Not long after the band released its first LP The Last Laugh Is On You the guy who ran the E.F. information club - this was before computerized websites - received a letter from a young dude in California offering his services as a drummer. He said that he was fed up with L.A. and wanted to move back to the neighbouring country, Denmark. There was no demo of his work and as we were very satisfied with Dag Eliason who had not long been with us we declined. This guys name was Lars Ulrich!
METALLIAN: That is some interesting trivia. How did your relationship with the band begin?
ANDY: Everything began in the late 70's. I had just moved from Scotland to London to make a career in the music industry. I had a tape from Bengt and Pär with me and I liked what was on it so I contacted them and offered my services. I became their manager, tour organiser, promoter and spokesman.
METALLIAN: Did you ever work with any other bands or do anything else in the music industry?
ANDY: During my tenure as the E.F. Band's manager I never really had the time to get involved in other bands, but I did help a couple of bands a little bit. One of them was Blitzkrieg as Mick Moore is a good mate of mine. In between working with the E.F. I also worked as a roadie for the London road crew company called Stage Miracles. We were involved in all the concert buildings in Greater London and we sometimes went out on tour with the really big artists too.
METALLIAN: Thanks for mentioning Mick. He had actually turned me onto the trivia earlier. In your opinion, why did E.F. Band never make it and are there any lessons in the story for younger bands?
I don't really know why the band did not make it. I really believed in them. I guess that it was
a mixture of a few elements. The band was Swedish and based in Sweden so it was difficult for us to be noticed by the media in the UK. Also, we had very bad luck with the record companies who represented us. The first one, the Swedish Polygram, did not really know what to do with us as NWOBHM had not really reached the country so they did not promote the record as we wanted to. The other two companies involved also did not see the economical aspects of everything. As a result we all started to lose faith in the music business and when this starts it can cause conflicts in the band, which happened in our case. Sadly we called it a day.
METALLIAN: In the meanwhile, two of the band's members have passed away. Will you say a few words about the two deceased members of the band?
ANDY: Well what can one say about two of my very closest friends? I was devastated when I heard about Bengt. He was like a brother to me and it is not easy to say anything other than he was a great musician and friend.
John, although he was only in the band for a couple of years, contributed a great deal to the band's development. He was a fantastic singer and songwriter. After he left the band I did not have any contact with him until three years ago, by chance, I came across his company in Florida and we became very good friends again. It was John who helped me in get all the music onto CD. Without his help none of this would have ever been possible. Alas, he never ever got to see the final result. Someday I will thank him personally.
METALLIAN: Please talk about the current CD and how that came about. Was it difficult obtaining the rights and how did the label Sweden Rock come into the picture?
ANDY: The current CD is basically a tribute to Bengt and everybody involved agreed that any profits would be donated to cancer research in Sweden, but when John passed away it became a double tribute. Although Bengt and I talked about doing something like this, it had never materialized.
The biggest problem was getting the rights, as there were many different companies involved.
I could not get the rights to the Metal For Muthas song so John, who had a live version, brought that which we used. Polygram did not want to cooperate either, but after many months of wheeling and dealing they agreed to give me the use of the songs but only for 1,500 copies. That is why the CD became a limited edition. The CD was to have been released by Neat Records from the beginning and we had been working on the project almost a year before they told me that they had sold the company to Sanctuary music. So we were back to square one again and finding somebody who would take over. I was looking for a company who would cover all the costs of getting the record released.
Sweden Rock came into the picture because I thought they would be the best company to promote the record as they have a fantastic reputation and they were willing to take the financial risks as well. They have a great network of contacts throughout the entire world and they are also people who know how to work with metal.
METALLIAN: You also operate an E.F. Band web site. How did it come about?
ANDY: This came about mainly because I noticed that out in the cyber world there was still a fair amount of interest in the band, even after 20 years so I thought, 'why not?' It is also a tribute to Bengt and John although they are no longer with us. It is a way for them to be remembered.
METALLIAN: Thank you for the chat. What is in your future?
ANDY: It would be nice to maybe release another record with the band as this one went very well. It was fun. I do not work full-time with music any more; it is more of a hobby, although it would be great to turn back the clocks twenty years and do it all over again!
METALLIAN: Roger, can you start our chat with how you joined E.F. Band? Why was the band looking for a new singer?
ROGER: I was introduced to the E.F. Band by Dave Dufort, the brother of Girlschool's Denise. We both were in a band called Nevada Foxx which was based in London, during 1982 and 1983. We'd been together about a year and a half, but by October 1983 the band was starting to fall apart due to the fact that we were going round in circles getting nowhere.
Dave who used to be E.F.'s drummer was asked by the band's manager Andy Goodwin if he knew any vocalists since John Ridge had left the band suddenly. What's more E.F. Band was due to appear on a Swedish T.V. show which was only a week away! A meeting was arranged with Andy who was still living in London back then. Time was running out. It was such short notice but if all went well and we all liked one another the job would be mine. I had three songs to learn in less than a week and I went to Sweden with only two days rehearsal.
Fortunately, all went well. They liked my voice and I got the job. My style was different to John's, but although I say it myself I think I added more range and a raunchier vocal.
Before Nevada Foxx I had been with Deep Machine. We had a huge East London following but, we never got signed up. I then had a brief spell with Angel Witch, but that didn't go too well owing to egos clashing.
METALLIAN: Thanks for the introduction and the interesting trivia. What was E.F. band like as a team back then?
ROGER: When I joined E.F. Band I was impressed by Bengt Fischer as a guitarist and the tightness of the rhythm section provided by Per and Dag. I knew this was a good band in those days. Furthermore, there weren't many Swedish metal bands who sang in English back then.
METALLIAN: In your opinion, what prevented the band from making it?
ROGER: Apart from the T.V. show we did a few concerts around Europe and tried to find a new record deal. We got a deal with Mausoleum Records in 1985 and recorded One Night Stand. Just after the album was released Mausoleum went bust and that really started to frustrate the band. Moreover, there was no money to promote the album and we had to wait eighteen months before it was released. The band never recovered from that.
METALLIAN: More sordid tales from a morally and financially bankrupt record industry. What is your opinion of the band's music now looking back?
ROGER: After listening to Their Finest Hours I really think that a lot of the songs still stand up well and I think it is great to have them all on one album. It is also a great tribute to both Bengt and John. I never knew John but he and Andy worked hard to get this album together. They are truly missed. There are plenty of rare tracks on the album and it seems to be getting some good feedback.
METALLIAN: I have to agree with your synopsis, Roger. Do you keep in touch with Andy Goodwin?
ROGER: Andy and I still keep in touch - mostly by phone and e-mail. We saw each other last year for the first time in nineteen years and we keep each other informed about what's happening.
METALLIAN: What are you up to these days? Were you in any bands after E.F. Band?
ROGER: After E.F. I helped reform Nevada Foxx with a new rhythm section. Again things went too slowly and we all split up, but nothing nasty!
The last thing I ever did on stage was a reunion with Deep Machine in 1988 which was a one-off show which was really great. I decided to quit the music scene at this point as I was now in my mid-thirties chasing a dream that was never going to happen. Nevertheless, I had 20 happy years in bands and loved every minute of it.
Today's music scene is marred by manufactured bands and here in England metal has all but disappeared. There is not enough genuine rock, only the Darkness seems to be flying the flag but are they for real? I still like the oldies like Judas Priest, Dio and Sabbath. I still love metal. I don't think it ever goes away!
And with those mighty words Roger is off. Newer and older fans can pick up the compilation CD, but remember that it is a limited edition so don't be tardy!