I really like Amon Amarth live. They have this fucking high energy super fun thing happening on stage while sounding like intense death, but in a good way. Amon Amarth is an important band, and they mean a lot to Music Incider. So I was as happy as hell to talk to Johan Hegg, the lead singer AND lead Viking in Amon Amarth. Here is what he had to say:
MI: What is your birthday?
Johan: April 29th.
MI: Where did you get the name of the band?
Johan: It’s taken from one of Tolkien’s books called Lord Of The Rings: Mount Doom.
MI: What is your favorite track off of the new album?
Johan: One of my favorites is Valkyries Ride. I think it’s a pretty damn good song. Fate of Norns, The Pursuit of Vikings… I like all of them.
MI: Tell us about your music history.
Johan: This is the only band I’ve been in. I started this band in 1992 and I’ve been a metal head since an early age. I never thought about being in a band before this on though.
MI: Tell us something you think everyone should know about each member of the band.
Johan: We’re all pretty much good friends. Ted is the band clown, he is always up for good laughs and always doing something stupid to amuse himself and others. Johan is very quiet. We call him sunshine sometimes because you never know if he’s pissed or not. Olavi is sort of the boss of the band. He’s the one writing most of the music and he’s the one behind everything going on. Frederick is the stubborn one. He has his ideas and he does that.
MI: Tell us something you want people to know about you personally.
Johan: I have a long beard.
MI: Do you guys plan to do any videos with the new CD?
Johan: We’re working on it, we haven’t really got around to it though. The main problem is getting a director for it. It’s not easy because we are on a limited budget. You have to really take the opportunity to find the right people to work with.
MI: What track off of the CD are you going to make the video for?
Johan: It’s leaning towards Pursuit of Vikings but it’s not definite.
MI: What is the most fucked up thing you’ve ever seen on tour?
Johan: Last year we were on tour and we stopped at a motel. As we were walking to our room we saw the door room opened and when we looked inside we saw a woman laying on the bed with a pillow on her face and both wrists were slit.
MI: Have you ever inhaled?
Johan: I have twice.
MI: What’s your opinion on legalizing drugs?
Johan: I don’t do drugs but there is a point where people say that if they invented alcohol today that it would be illegal. In my opinion, I think marijuana is worse than alcohol. I’m not the one to point fingers though.
MI: Who do you think the greatest vocalists of all time are?
Johan: Lemmy, Bruce Dickinson, Ozzy Osbourne, and Bon Scott.
MI: Where do you get your inspiration as a musician from?
Johan: From all over the place. Watching movies, looking to other bands, listening to old bands, reading books…. All kinds of places.
MI: Where were you when 9-11 happened and how did it affect you?
Johan: I was at work and I heard the news talking about the planes flying into buildings. My first thought was that it was a small plane… Then I heard that a second plane flew into the other tower and I knew something big was happening. The affect that it had on us was that we were supposed to go on US tour. It made it difficult for us to go over there but we managed to get a working visa.
MI: If you could design a memorial for the victims of 9-11 what would it be?
Johan: Maybe a Viking temple with an ancient god.
MI: What do you think about the US involvement in the Middle East?
Johan: That’s all political and to be honest I try not to combine the band with political issues. I think George Bush and the American administration has a lot of political agendas that make them do this.
MI: What are your thoughts on Ozzfest, Lollapalooza, Warped Tour, and all these packaged festivals?
Johan: I think in many ways it’s a money maker but it’s also a great way for up and coming bands to expose themselves.
MI: What do you think about the old MTV as opposed to the new MTV?
Johan: It’s gotten worse. I grew up with Head Banger’s ball. For me that was the show to watch every week. Now I think everything is crappy, even MTV2.
MI: What is in your CD player right now?
Johan: Right now I have Immortal – Sons of Northern Darkness.
MI: What is your favorite movie of all time?
Johan: My favorite horror movie is the Japanese version of The Ring. Kill Bill vol.1 is awesome. Lord of the Rings is awesome as well as Star Wars.
MI: If you were stuck on a desert island and could bring 1 person, 1 book, 1 CD, and your favorite bottle of liquor, what would they be?
Johan: I would bring my girlfriend, a book on the basics of Northern Mythology, CD would be Immortal – Sons of Northern Darkness, and the booze would be Scotch.
MI: What about the world pisses you off the most?
Johan: Politicians and organized religion. What pisses me off about organized religion is the way they brainwash people.
MI: If you were God for a week what would you change?
Johan: I would abolish all religions.
MI: Do you believe in psychics?
Johan: I don’t believe in them but on the other hand you never know what’s true about the human psyche. My logical sense prevents me to believe in it.
MI: Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
Johan: I’m not sure.
MI: Do you believe in reincarnation?
Johan: No, I believe that when you’re dead you’re dead.
MI: If you could bring anyone back from the dead, who would it be?
Johan: Bon Scott.
MI: Who influenced your vocal style?
Johan: I wouldn’t say any inspired me. I have a lot of different vocalists inspiring me to be in a band. For instance Bon Scott. Also Ozzy Osbourne and James Hetfield.
MI: What do you think the best thing to happen to Rock N Roll was?
Johan: Black Sabbath.
MI: What do you think the difference between a European metal band and an American metal band is?
Johan: I don’t see that there are any differences. I think it’s easier for European bands, though.
MI: When you’re not on the road what do you do besides sing and play music?
Johan: I have a day job.
MI: Who would you like to dump a bucket of flesh eating ants on?
Johan: The Pope.
MI: What do you consider your greatest achievement of all time
Johan: Recording this album.
MI: What advice would you give to any band just getting into the music industry?
Johan: Get a lawyer. No matter how friendly the label seems they’re still out to make a buck.
MI: If you had a million dollars to donate to a charity what charity would it be?
Johan: I have a friend that is very active in charity work and one is called Women On Waves… Maybe that one.
MI: Tell us about the worst job you’ve ever had.
Johan: Working the register at a supermarket.
MI: If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Johan: I would like to have lunch with Ozzy.
MI: If you could be any super hero who would it be?
Johan: Spawn would be fucking cool.
MI: If there was a movie about your life, who would play you and what would the theme song be?
Johan: The theme song would be Victoria’s March. Ed Norton is a good actor.
MI: What message would you like to send to your fans?
Johan: Check out the CD and we’ll see you guys on the road. Thanks for the support.
MI: What is the band website?
Thanks Johan. Long Live The Viking!