STAGE DOLLS

Country Norway

Style AOR

During the 70″s,the town Trondheim in Norway developed a rich rock”n roll scene. Partly because the region had a lot of livescenes where bands could easliy get to play but also because the yearly competion to decide which was the best band kept all young musicians focused on rehearsing and writing their own music. Stage Dolls was founded in 1983 but the band actually met each other backstage at this competion as early as 1976 playing in different bands.Little would they know then that they should spend half a lifetime together.

In 1982,Erlend Antonsen and Terje Storli worked the local clubs in and around Trondheim with their band Hot Lips.In need of a guitarist they called Torstein Flakne who by then had finished playing in the Kids(very popular teeny-band in Norway 1980-82).HotLips played rock-covers and had quite a following.Torstein joined the band and through the summer and fall of 1982 they did a lot of shows in the region.

Having the same favourite bands(Rolling Stones and Aerosmith) Erlend and Torstein rehearsed and jammed almost daily at their rehearsal room with Torstein singin” for the first time.They began seriously thinking about restructuring the band into a three-piece with Terje on bass.The move was made in January 1983 and the name Stage Dolls saw the light of day.They immediately began to write their own songs and was destined to come up with material good enough for an album as soon as possible. But the road was gonna be hard,The first demos were rejected by all the record companies,claiming that the music was too hard and that the format three-piece was not going to work.After several rounds it seemed like the band had no future.

At the time, the only studio in Trondheim was Nidaros Studios.Engineer Rune Nordal and producer Bjrn NessjEsaw something in this young band and let them do a session.The collaboration was gonna be extremely successful.They decided to record the first album with their money gambling that some of the companies would pick it up.Noone did.The only positive reaction came from A&R man Per Alm at Polydor,Oslo.The only missing part is a hit-song,he said. Torstein sat down and wrote Soldier”s gun.And the snowball started rollin…

The first album was released early winter of 1985.The band had just ended a successful (and by now legendary) nationwide tour in Norway with their good friends TNT(Dec.1984) and had already gotten great reputation for their live-act. And in 1985 playing live was the only way to get recognition as a rock-band in Norway because you would”nt get played on the radio.So the touring began,thrugh 1985/86 they played every little club in every little valley in Norway.The first album sold around 20000 copies,quite good for a rockband but more important was the increasing fanbase they built around the country.A fanbase which exists still today.The band have always taken time to meet their fans and especially the old ones from those first years.

1985 was also the year when the first change of line-up happened.Erlend Antonsen quit the band and in came Steinar Krokstad,who strangely enough played together with Terje in their first band in 1975! That shows the closeness of the Trondheim rockscene at the time.Erlend Antonsen had played some terrific drums both on stage and on the first album as well as played a great part in constructing the songs.He set the standard for the band and Steinar followed in the same footsteps.Hardkickin” drums that would be a important part in the Stage Dolls-sound.

The recordings for their next album “Commandosstarted in the fall 1985.Their record-guru Per Alm had moved to Grappa Rec. in the meantime and Stage Dolls followed him there.The release showed that the band had improved significantly in terms of arranging and trying out new ideas. Great songs all through the album with a majestetic sound.For many fans this is the rockalbum of the 80″s.It peaked at no.5 in the Norwegian charts and set the band up as the most popular rockband in Norway in 1986. By now they started to get attention abroad.The album was released in the US by BigTime Records and the title track “Commandosgained considerable airplay on college-radio.

1987 was spent on the road,taking time off in the fall to go into the studio to record their next album.Torstein had met the songwriter/musician Bobby Icon on a trip to the US in 1986 and they quickly got together writingwise,setting up the songs for the album “Stage Dolls. This was to be Stage Dollsmost successful record so far,taking them to the top of the charts in Norway as well as sending them to the U.S. and the rest of Europe. Hits in Norway with both “Still in love” and “Wings of steel” made it into a platinum album there. In 1989,the band signed a deal with Chrysalis Rec. for the American market.They went over to the States that summer and promoted their single “Love crieswhich went top 3 in the “Album Rock Chartsand no.46 in the Billboard Singles Charts. Touring comprised headlining their own gigs,and also together with other bands,as Faster Pussycat,Warrant,Blue Murder.

Back in Europe by 1990, they quickly turned to record their fourth album.This was to be called “Stripped” and the band wanted in fact to strip the sound down,bringing more air around it. The result was remarkable. “Stripped” contains probably Torstein”s best song so far, “Love don”t bother me”. After recording the song in Trondheim they took it to the U.S. where top producer Ron Nevison together with singer/songwriter Mark Spiro also put their mark on it. The rest of the year was spent on the road.In Europe they toured with Mister Big, having a real good time with probably the nicest band in the world.

By 1992, Steinar felt he needed a break.Exploring other musical interests,he decided to quit the band. This was quite a blow for the band.Steinar had been a major player in the Stage Dolls sound. This was a crucial period for the band but luckily out of the blue came the possibility to try Morten Skogstad (ex.TNT) as a replacement.Just a couple of bars were needed to hear that this was a fantastic choice. To sum up the first ten years,Stage Dolls decided to do a best-of collection in 1993.

This was released early 1994 with two new songs,Warren Zevon”s “Lawyers guns and money” and Torstein”s “Hard to say goodbye”. The latter became a major hitsong in Norway and opened up also for a whole new generation of fans.Double gold and it”s still selling today. Torstein had always written more songs than the band needed.During the first years he contributed quite a few bigselling records apart from the Dolls.Tin Drum, a Norwegian rockband had hits with two of his songs, and in Sweden Shaboom topped the charts with Torsteins help.Outside of Norway not so many know that the official clubanthem for the soccer-club Rosenborg, Trondheim (Champions League) is written by him and his friend Dag Ingebrigtsen. In the 90″s, he would continue with his songwriting, providing songs for among others Morten Harket of a-ha and the Danish singer Sanne Salomonsen. But he also made an soloalbum, “Shoot the moon” in 1995. A bit more relaxed than the band”s records, the fans found it to be a long awaited record, showing more of his songwritingcapabilities.

The bands next album was released in 1997 and was called “Dig”. This record introduced Morten Skogstads capabilities as a hardhitting drummer and contained the classic “Run when its over” and the radiohit “Good times. “Dig” is probably Stage Dollsrawest album so far. The band went on tour all through 1997 and decided to take a break in 1998. Much needed after 15 years on the road. Late 1999 they took to the road again doing some “unplugged” shows around Trondheim. This turned out to be extremely popular and featured the band playing their songs with acoustic guitars and a more “laidback” attitude. During 2000 and 2001 they took the show all over Norway with great success. A new album was needed to please the fans and in dec.2002 Universal Records released “Good times Essential” a double CD-collection containing all their hits remastered. It stayed 8 weeks in top 10 Norway peeking at no.2.The band reached platinum-sales in Norway and toured massively till Christmas 2003.The video for their 1991 hit Love don”t bother me” even topped the viewers pick-charts! By Christmas 2003 Stage Dolls started rehearsing for their new album. Through friends a rehearsalroom was rented and during January 2004 most of the songs on the album were conceived.

The pace was so fast that at times a new song was written for every rehearsal-night. By the beginning of Feb. 2004 all was set for recording.It was a special feeling coming back to Nidaros Studios, the studio where the band recorded their albums in the 80″s.Together with their producer Ronny Wikmark 11 songs were picked out from a bunch of 25 rehearsed.As the sessions went under way,they felt very pleased…To get the “classic” Stage Dolls sound Mark Spiro laid down background vocals on the songs.

By early May the album was finished, and it was released on the 24th. The reception was very good and the band set out on a year-long Norwegian tour, visiting all the mayor cities not to mention the small ones. 2004 turned out to be just as good as 2003, sold-out concerts everywhere and good sales for “Get a life”. The album got excellent reviews from both Norwegian and international hard-rock press and Stage Dolls was even voted best artist 2004 at one of Japans mayor hard-rock sites!

At the end of their 2003 Tour,Stage Dolls had a 20th Anniversary Concert in their hometown, Trondheim. 4000 fans came to join them on this memorable night.The show was taped,and in January 2005 the band released Get a live”,a live-album recorded on this night.A bonus DVD was included,with 3 songs.Finally their die-hard fans got their live-album,something they had wanted for years.

Stage Dolls spent the next years 2005-2008 doing a lot of shows in Norway.It is clear that a new generation has taken to the band,the old albums are still selling and the interest on the Net (official web-site/Facebook)is growing. In the fall of 2008 the band started rehearsing for their next album.Some tracks were recorded in November 2008 in Nidaros Studios and all through the winter of 2009 they were in and out of the studio laying down new tracks and ideas.Finally,on the 4th of January 2010 the album “Always ” was released. It went straight to Nmber 1. in the album-charts in Norway,quite fantastic for a rock-band these days. The album will also be released in the rest of Europe and possibly Japan later this year. Stage Dolls will do a big Summer-tour in Norway in 2010,and will also be doing festivals in the rest of Europe.

 ALBUMS

 

– Soldier’s Gun [1985]
– Commandos [1986]
– Stage Dolls [1988]
– Stripped [1991]
– Dig [1997]
– Get a Life [2004]
– Always [2010]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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