2010.10.01 – SPIRITUAL BEGGARS – Per Wiberg (interview)

Spiritual Beggars

Spiritual Beggars came back after five long years break in their activity. The Swedish All Metal Star combo released a very good album “Return To Zero”, that was the main reason to have a chat with Per Wiberg, the keyboard player of Spiritual Beggars, well – known as the member of Opeth, too.

– „Return To Zero” – the title may suggest that with this stuff You’re going back to Your beginnings, to Your roots. Do You agree with this point of view?

– I think all of us feel like it’s a fresh start for the band since it was quite a while ago Demons was released. We’ve never been secretive with our musical roots and they’re the same nowadays as before.

– How did the new vocalist manage to prepare his parts so quickly? He could be included in the Guiness record book..;)

– Mike usually has a vocal idea/melodies when he writes music and lyrics so it was very easy for Apollo to learn the parts Mike wrote and then they sort of team worked their way through the recording of the album as you have to try things in order to know if it sounds good or not.

– Where did You find Apollo? Was he the first and the only candidate to replace JB?

– Ludwig has played with Apollo before in local bands and he lives in the same city as Ludwig and Mike so we all knew him anyway. It was Ludwig’s suggestion that we should try him out and it worked out fine.

– Do You still keep in touch with JB? Have You heard the latest Grand Magnus album?

– Yes I talk to JB quite often since me and him live in the same city, Stockholm. I’ve heard the latest GM album and I think it’s very good, a great continuation of what they’ve been doing for the last couple of albums.

– Is the recording sessions of Spiritual Beggars a breath of fresh air for You after hard working, full of pressure days with Opeth?

– We’ve been very busy for quite some time with Opeth son in a sense I’d say recording and rehearsing with Beggars is a breath of fresh air. The style of music we play with Beggars is built more on spontaneity and for me it’s always been very esay and relaxed to work with Beggars.

– „Return To Zero” sounds like a tribute to some classic hard and heavy combos such as Black Sabbath with Dio, Deep Purple and UFO. Was it Your aim to refresh their music and „fetch” it to 21st century?

– Well I think the influences for this band have always been more or less the same, which is heavy metal/classic rock of the 60’s and 70’s but I do think the fact that all of us grew up on more extreme metal and punk in the 80’s sort of gives it a little bit of an edge the above mentioned bands didn’t have. I’m not saying it’s better or worse that way but maybe that gives the music some sort of modern twist.

– Among my favourite tunes of „Return To Zero” are „Chaos of Rebirth” and „Concrete Horizon”. Listening to them, I feel like being inside „Heaven and Hell” or „Mob Rules” albums…

– Those albums are indeed good albums, Chaos Of Rebirth was actually recorded for the previous album called Demons but we weren’t happy with the version we did so it never ended up on the album. When we were starting to think about recording a new album that was one of the songs we wanted to try again and this time I think we did justice to the song. Concrete Horizon is written more recently than COR and worked instantly when we tried it out.

– Do You remember the day when Ronnie James Dio passed away? How did U find out about it?

– Yes I remember that day, I knew that he’d been very sick and a friend of mine read it in the news somewhere and called me.

– The unique „Spirit of The Wind” has got completely different sound and character than other tracks. Did You want to have such a relaxing part among massive hard and heavy tunes?

– Yes, it’s a good breather in between the heavy stuff I think. It’s also cool to have a mellow song that’s something different instead of the usual hard rock style ballads.

– All members of Spiritual Beggars are very busy musicians. Is there a chance to organize regular tour, promoting „Return To Zero”?

– We’re starting with a show in Greece and 2 festival dates in Japan now in October, after that there are no tours confirmed but there are gonna be more gigs coming up. We’re definitely gonna play some European festival dates next summer as well.

– And finally a few words for RockArea readers, please…

– We never played in Poland with Spiritual Beggars and I know I can speak for everyone when saying that we’d love to come over and do some shows. I was in Poland a month ago with Opeth and the crowd and gig was great, so promotors listen up! cheers!

Questions: Robert Dłucik

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