BULLET “Tales From the Bullet Bus” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

A band’s bus is their castle, their sanctuary and their home away from home. It’s a vital and necessary component of their career. The bus used by Sweden’s Bullet is a six cylinder Volvo behemoth from 1964 that has logged literally millions of miles in service to the band. Think of the stories and debauchery that bus has seen!

Now Wormwood gets to learn a few tales from the Bullet Bus. If you don’t know Bullet and you consider yourself a fan of traditional heavy metal, shame on you! These guys are a pinch of AC/DC, a dash of Accept and a good dose of something all their own. Their new album “Dust to Gold”, their first for the SPV label, unfolds yet more heavy metal sagas from these road warriors. Guitarist Hampus Klang, the man with the most metal name in Europe, took some time out from the endless road to speak to us about all things Bullet…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Greetings to Bullet from Wormwood Chronicles! When you went into the studio to record “Dust to Gold”, what was the atmosphere like? What made this record different from the others?

HAMPUS KLANG: Hey! We were very prepared this time and cooperated with the producer Mankan Sedenberg during the whole process.We made several demos on all the songs until we were totally satisfied with them. The “Storm of Blades” album turned out great so we decided to work with Mankan again. Its the same studio (Pama) but the studio has moved to an old school close to the ocean. We lived there for about 3 months. The studio has a big kitchen and beds and a huge TV. We never had that luxury before. I’m very happy about how the album turned out. 

WC: Bullet has to be one of the most consistent bands on the planet. Is it hard to follow the same path without things sounding “formula”?

HK: Thank you!Well ,it can be hard because so many good riffs and lyrics have already been done so many times. It would be easier to write songs if we keep it totally formula but we rather do this style and just try to do it as good as we possibly can.

WC:How do you guys come up with songs? Does everybody pitch in or is there one “general” who calls the shots?

HK: It’s been a little bit different for all our albums. On this album me, Gustav Hjortsjö and Alexander Lyrbo wrote the album. We made riffs mostly at home and then arranged them in the rehearsal room. Then we sometimes have to change the key so it works with Hell’s vocals. 

WC:You’ve got a new bassplayer in Gustav Hector. Tell us a little more about his background and how he got into the band?

HK: When me and Hell started to play together in 1996 Gustav played the bass. But Gustav moved to Scotland after some months. We went to school together since I was 10 and we started to play in some kind of punk heavy rock band when we were 13-14. We wanted someone that was a good friend in the first place. He's also a cousin of Adam Hector, who used to play with us.

WC: “Dust to Gold” I think is the longest song Bullet has done. It also sounds very personal for the band. What’s the story behind this song?

HK: Yeah, it probably is! We always wanted to do a heavy song with a "Heaven and Hell" feeling but never succeeded. It took a long time to write it. There’s so many chord changes in the song that we have to rehearse it many times before we learned it. One of my favorites on the album, it works really well live on bigger stages.

WC: There seems to be a bit more twin guitar melody and melodic solos on the new album. Was that something you planned or did it just “happen”?

HK: We always loved the Judas Priest twin leads and wanted that on most of the songs. We don't plan so much,,,things just happen for a reason. I don't think music is so interesting with just fast guitar solos. It has to have sing a long parts and melodies.When I write songs, I think the music and the lyrics are the most important. Guitar solos is what I do at last. I usually have like half of them written before we enter the studio. Gustav our drummer is also a good guitar player so he writes some of the harmony leads.

WC: “Forever Rise” sounds like it is the band’s anthem. Does this song sum up the Bullet experience the best?

HK: I don't know...When we recorded the album we found out that the album was too short so we had to come up with one more song. Alex had some riffs laying around so we did a song with them, Adam helped us out with the lyrics so he contributed a little on this album too. 

WC: Did you guys know about the German band called Bullet when you first formed?

HK: Actually, no. But we found out later. We are friends with Fitty the bass player from the old Bullet, he is now with U.D.O.  We talked about that he should write us a song years ago but it never happened.

WC: How many miles have you put on the “Bullet Bus”?

HK: Who knows? The odometer stopped working years ago. I would guess about 200000km since we bought it. probably 800000km before that. We just got it thru the Swedish car inspections and they said that we don't have to come back cause its more than 50 years old. So now the bus is free like an eagle!!!

WC: With all the shows you’ve played over the years, which one stands out as the most memorable?

HK: We opened up for AC/DC and that of course is the biggest thing we’ve done. 50000 people in 2009.I think I dropped the phone when I got the news that we got the chance to do the show.So unreal!!!

WC: Any plans to tour the States behind the new album?

HK: I really wanna do it. No plans at the moment, It’s a huge cost with the working Visas and the flights but hopefully we will come soon. 

WC: Hell Hofer’s got a huge, ripping voice. Does he do anything special to keep his voice in shape or does that sound just come natural to him?

HK: Lots of vodka and lots of cigarettes. Sleeps for 20 hours a day and no walking or exercise at all. When he's in the studio he wants to eat Kebab pizza with strong sauce for his voice. 

WC: Are any of you guys involved in other bands or projects?

HK: We don't have time for other bands. One or two times a year we play acoustic swedish 70s songs but thats with the normal Bullet lineup. We have lots of other projects we work on like festivals, bars and restaurants. 

WC: How did you wind up on SPV and how comfortable do you feel with them?

HK: We met them in Germany and they shared the same Heavy Metal spirit. It has worked out really well with them.

WC: If you could have dinner with any 3 people from history, who would they be?

HKGood question...I guess Jesus would be fun to meet. Bon Scott because he was so rock n roll and Dracula. I had dinner with THOR yesterday… that was something special too, haha. We went shopping at a supermarket after. (Think he means the metal singer, not the superhero and Norse God…Mality)

WC: What was the last release you got just because you wanted to check out the band?

HK: I’m a huge LP collector and got thousands of LPs. Sometimes I sell LPs at record markets. Guess the latest release I bought was a LP with Ram Jam. That one was good. 

WC: Do you have any Spinal Tap stories from all your years on the road that you could share with us?

HK: When we played in Norway some years ago we had a huge bus party and about 30 people in the bus. We were standing in a area with lots of houses and someone called the police. They arrived and told us to move the bus. Our driver was drunk and said he couldn't drive but the cops said it was ok. So we drove to a supermarket parking with police escort… one car in from and one behind. So professional of the cops...

WC:Any last words for the Bullet-heads out there?

HK: Stay wild forever!!! Hope to see you soon on the road!!!