The Soundtrack Of Our Lives

Not only is the sheer electricity of Swedish rock band The Soundtrack Of Our Lives mesmerizing, but so is its atypical frontman. Ebbot Lundberg is a rotund Hagar-like fellow with a beard and shaggy hair, who commonly dresses in a caftan.

He has a commanding voice, just listen to the latest album, Behind The Music, but live, he cuts an imposing, almost messianic, figure. And every show is an experience, different from the rehearsed, by-the-numbers concerts that are so commonplace; TSOOL is raw, electric and unpredictable.

At Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre last summer, where the band was opening for Oasis, Lundberg plopped offstage and walked into the second section of seats, where he proceeded to sing a couple of lines from the book “Canterbury Tales” that a fan handed to him.

Later that night, at TSOOL’s club gig at the Horseshoe (attended by Noel and Liam Gallagher), he walked through the packed crowd during the band’s set and commanded everyone to sit down. They did.

Months later, at Toronto’s Opera House, he stood atop a narrow bar, moving without a care, despite the threat of his caftan catching a flame of a candelabra. The threat of falling was only a worry to the surrounding fans.

Lundberg knows such moves work.

“I think that probably the crowd becomes one with the band,” he laughed, realizing it sounds hokey. “The typical thing is: Here’s the artist, this is a bubble, this is the audience, the band is unreal and has been going on for too long.

“I just enjoy being part of the audience. If I was the audience, the worst thing that can happen is people saying, ‘Yeah, Soundtrack, boring.'”

Lundberg claims he’s not the only one doing strange things during the band’s set.

“In Miami, they have sex,” he said, laughing. “There was a couple having sex during the last song. I didn’t see them; I was told after the show.”

The band, comprising Lundberg, guitarists Ian Person and Mattias B„rjed, bassist Kalle Gustafsson, drummer Fredrik Sandsten and keyboardist Martin Hederos, formed the lofty- named group in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1994, and word of its live shows soon spread.

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives

A gig during SXSW in Austin last March drew a line that trailed down the street. Those who made it in talked about it as if it were the Second Coming. The myth grew, but those who saw TSOOL perform told how the show lived up to the hype.

“When we decided to have a band name like that, we knew what we were doing,” Lundberg admitted. “It was hard to live up to in the beginning. We weren’t really used to having such a high ambition. So, it took time to be on a similar energetic level, which we are right now.”

Jon Pleeter of The Agency Group got involved with the band at that time. He told POLLSTAR that it wasn’t difficult selling this act, even though Behind The Music had not yet been released in America.

“Luckily, there are some good promoters out there who are still music people,” Pleeter said. “They caught on to this band pretty quickly, so in speaking to promoters, the reaction was extremely positive from the get-go. Basically I said, ‘I’m gonna send you some music and if you enjoy it, you’re gonna be blown away by the live show.'”

Lundberg’s shows have always been the stuff of legend. From 1986 to ’93, he fronted Union Carbide Productions, a band whose fans included Kurt Cobain, Billy Corgan, Jello Biafra and Henry Rollins.

It released four full-length albums and had a steady cult following in Scandinavia and continental Europe, even visiting the States for a handful of gigs.

Out of the ashes of Union Carbide Productions, Person, Lundberg, and Bj”rn Olsson (who was replaced by B„rjed) formed TSOOL in 1994, along with Gustafsson, Sandsten and Hederos. In March of ’95, they played their first official gig at Gothenburg club Nefertiti. The band was signed to Swedish Warner label Telegram after a local showcase the following year.

Since then, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives has released the EP Homo Habilis Blues (1996); a debut album, Welcome to The Infant Freebase; the follow-up Extended Revelation (1998); another EP, Gimme Five! (2000), and the latest full-length, Behind The Music.

While TSOOL’s brand of rock ‘n’ roll is a transporting experience, the show is the thing.

While the hefty frontman is up for just about anything, he said he has abandoned stage diving, for, um, health reasons, his and others.

“The funny thing is, I always stage dived when we played in Union Carbide,” Lundberg recounted. “Then we had this break (laughs), where I ate a little bit. Ate a lot. I got a little bit more bigger, fat,” he said.

“Then, we had this gig in Stockholm when we just got signed in ’96 and I was dressing up in Elvis Las Vegas shit. I think the first time, I just jumped off high into the air and did a karate kick and nobody would catch me, of course! It was like, ‘KKKKRRrunnch!!!’ … I didn’t break anything, but it was a mistake.”