Ebbot Lundberg sets the global standard for rock stars aging with integrity. Years ago, the Gothenburg, Sweden, native was the wild, hollering front man of Union Carbide Productions, post-punkers who make the Pixies sound like lite FM. Twenty years later, he’s the wild, hollering front man of the Soundtrack of Our Lives, who may be the world’s finest practitioners of classic rock. Their new release, Communion, is a rollicking double album that borrows equally from the bluster of the Who and the psychedelia of Pink Floyd. Soundtrack has never, in anybody’s recollection, put on a lame show, and they come to New York for two dates this week, Wednesday at the Williamsburg Music Hall and Thursday at the Bowery Ballroom.
What can you tell me about your first time through New York on tour with UCP back in the eighties?
It was in March or April, 1988, I think. UCP were invited by Richard Kern to play some shows with his band the Black Snakes. We had a lot of fun staying at author Michael Weldon’s apartment, living among the cockroaches for a week or two. I remember playing a club called Siberia wearing a kaftan over my yuppie suit for the first time — at least for a while before going nude. And then we did CBGB as well. I really loved the audience — totally unimpressed and berserk at the same time.
You guys are from Gothenburg — how would you describe it to someone who’s never been there? What is its relationship to Stockholm?
Gothenburg is like Liverpool or Detroit. Maybe a little less depressing though. There are a lot of good bands and people are pretty laid-back. Stockholm is more like a fashion capital
Can you tell me what you see right outside your window, right now?
A group of wild boars and some very strange birds. I live in a place called Särö, by the sea, south of Gothenburg, about as far away as Coney Island is from Manhattan.
Is there anything that you set out to do differently with this album?
To make it grow without any expectations or stress. It created itself and the band just automatically got back on track again. We had to get back to be what we intended to be in the beginning and live up to our name without feeling embarrassed.
Not that it’s a new thing for you guys, but it’s a dark record, lots of apocalyptic overtones. Is that how you see the world?
I think in this rapidly changing world you have to — like any contemporary
artist — reflect these changes in your own way. And we live in a very fear-based society. So the apocalyptic overtones become obvious sometimes. But the intention is not being negative. Change is the same as possibility and we’re just trying to raise the frequency level a little bit.
Who are those people on the cover and what are they drinking?
They represent the corporate mass psychosis that has slowly taken over our world. Images of a perfect civilized life that does not exist or ha[ve] anything to do with reality. They are probably drinking octopus semen mixed with gin and DMT.
Disgusting. Give us some good news from Sweden — we can use it.
Sweden has also gone bankrupt. We also need an Obama to sort things out. So I guess there is no good news for the moment from the land of the midnight sun — except for the music, maybe. We’re looking forward to spread the gospel and save the world from shit again.