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FATBOY – passion beyond cool hairstyles

Fatboy boasts a rich mixture of influences ranging from Faron Young, Stray Cats, Johnny Cash, Elvis and Roy Orbison to The Smiths, Tom Waits and The Cramps. The dreams of the fifties, country and rockabilly music is being challenged by equal amounts of contemporary pop and indie rock, with a tasteful element of Greek bouzouki music and klezmer on the top of it.

But let´s take it from the start…

Back in the Swedish jungle, during the late 70’s, three kids, unaware of each other, found a thrill in the neo Rockabilly sounds that came out of the US and UK at this time. With a force stronger than jealousy the kids realized what was already obvious – We wanna be in a band! Now and always. One of those life-changing moments. Okidoki – Thomas Pareigis formed “Krazy Legs” in Dalarna and Hannu Kiviaho started playing with Alf Östlund in the band “Shakin Lee Taylor & the Maniactors” in their hometown Eskilstuna. The twin combos were up for some intense rock n roll years around Sweden with their homegrown style of rockabilly but soon, the kids were spread by the wind.

10 years after, fate brings Thomas and Alf back together on a Stray Cats concert at the Daily News in Stockholm. People had been waiting, hiding in the woods. And this was the night. Old memories were brought into light and, of course, the passion for outdated music. Alfie called his guitar twangin buddy Hannu (Memento Mori, Ingo & Floyd) and then the calls went to all cats with a star in the phonebook – Richie Therseaus (Stars On Mars), Jan Lissnils (Reptile Smile) and Joakim Lindahl. During a wet, stormy night at the Cajun bar Peppar, Stockholm in 1996 someone mentioned the word FATBOY – an old jazzy saying for the stand-up bass – and the dice was thrown.

A band was born, a band with a mission…

Fatboy was never meant to be retro or vintage, or being trapped in a style or sound. It was about six guys and the passion for their music that became their lives. It was all about singing, hammering, strumming because you had to. A way to survive if you like.

Rumors of Fatboy spread all the way across the street of Torsgatan to “Pistolteatern” who signed the band to be part of the play The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper), the beggar’s opera by Bertolt Brecht.

On stage, the band played the horrible criminals of Mack the Knife’s gang and Kurt Weill’s challenging music was countrified in a way that made the press go bananas over what they heard. After the setup in Stockholm, the opera went on the road around Sweden’s theatres for a whole year between 1998/1999. “In a theatre near you” gave a whole new meaning to the word. During this period, Janne Lissnils had his own Country Juke Joint “Cantina West”, downtown Stockholm, where Fatboy took sneak gigs to keep up the pace of good old country 4-by-4-rhythms. The first known moving pictures of Fatboy are from one of these nights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rO_mv-L0LH0

This is where the second era of Fatboy begins. Gigs were intensified and rumors kept spreading across the country. The band was on fire and after one of the shows “Il Directore” of Enviken Records talked the band into a recording session. Hannus brother Heikki Kiviaho (Ingo & Floyd, Whale, Sator) and Jörgen “Jugglo” Wall (Ingo & Floyd, Whale) were the natural pick of producers. They’ve been playing with Hannu and had been following the band since the start. Jugglo hosted his own studio TRAX44 in the same building as other points of musical interest in the southern parts of Stockholm: Kapsylen and Kafé44. The early recording sessions were picked up by another record company a block away from the studio: V2 – who joined the cheering army and was set to release the tapes together with Enviken Records. By now Jugglo took place behind the drums and replaced Richie as the drummer of Fatboy.

In October 2004 the first release saw the light – This tear will never leave my eye – that hit the media and radio stations in the upper part of the chest. Where it hurts in a good way. This was the first taste of a band combining nostalgia with their own style of progressive rockabilly.

When the full length album “Steelhearted” was released the press found a new combo to love and so did the audience. 2005 was filled with concerts and waving to the crowds that shared a delicate taste in music.

The music of Fatboy were always attractive to film industry and by now the sounds of the Tangokiller “Dare To Meet Her” reached the actress and director Görel Crona that placed, not only the song, but also Hannu Kiviaho as the Spanish guitar tourist in the mockumentary “Komplett Galen” from 2005. https://youtu.be/nxgoZid62iw

Swedish film just couldn´t have enough excitement in their movies. The 31st of March 2006 the movie “Babas Bilar” has its premiere with Fatboy writing the touching “One Last Ride” with no less than Hannu acting as one of the Kukka Brothers. Directed by the most talented Rafael Edholm and, at the night of the premiere, Fatboy does the coolest gig so far – at the Ice Hotel Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlHGtmD1tjs.

The successful co-operation between Fatboy and Rafael continued in 2007 with the Danish play “Lovestory”. Into the life of rehearsals and sitting crowds again? Why not. The play was setup in the lovely theatre “Intiman” downtown Stockholm with Fatboy performing their newly written songs that were meant for the next album. Hannu acted as Lucifer and Fatboy played like devils each night.

To be continued….