*She sings beautifully*
If you remember disc stores in Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo imported and sold CDs of Scandinavian melodic HR and AOR very expensive like JPY4000.00- and if you bought those CDs, you know her. There were bands from Norway called BLONDE ON BLONDE and PERFECT CRIME. Bente Smaavik has been known among fans of melodic HR and AOR from Scandinavia in Japan since then. There was few info. on her for a while, these days she works her own materials, sings for various projects, also works with her husband Victor Borge (AMMUNITION) who married her in 2014 as well, she works hard and enjoys her music a lot.
This time S-ROCK proudly presents an E-mail Interview with her.
Photo by Kjell Roger Solstad
S-ROCK: You released the compilation album called 1979-2011 in 2012. This album shows your history of music, how did you get to release this?.
Bente: My good dear friend and journalist Mr. Johan Svendsen came with the suggestion (many times) that I should release a kind of “best of album” So I did in 2012. Johan died the same year. I am so thankful that I got to release the CD when he was still alive.
S-ROCK: The booklet for the CD is written in Norwegian, would you tell us a bit about each track?
Bente: 01. Walk With Me
Written by Jimmy Iversen, the guitar player for BLONDE ON BLONDE and PERFECT CRIME. This is one of the songs from his solo album. A beautiful ballad with strong lyrics.
02. Vision Of Lust
This is one of the songs from the album Jan Holberg Project “SENSE OF TIME” feat. Joe Lynn Turner. I was touring with Jan Holberg Project in 2011 and 2013 as a singer and also doing backing vocals. “Vision Of Lust” is one of the tracks at the album, and I was so lucky to sing together with Joe Lynn Turner.
03. Hard To Say Goodbye
In 2005 I was involved in a project called A TRIBUTE TO STAGE DOLLS – “WINGS OF STEEL”. STAGE DOLLS is one of Norway’s biggest AOR bands. I was so lucky to be asked to do my version of one of their songs. I chose “Hard To Say Goodbye”. The song was listed on national radio.
I sang with a band called HAMMERS HAREM for a while. We wrote the official song “Winter People” for the Norwegian championship in skiing and performed it live for king Harald in Granasen stadion.
05. I Natt
“Tonight” Another song from HAMMERS HAREM from the CD “EPROLOG” released 2006.
06. Leaves In The Wind
Finally my own CD (three songs – EP) – released in 2004. “Leaves In TheWind” was played on national radio and was at the list NORSKTOPPEN for 5 weeks. I love this song, and I play it live with my band.
07. Hot Stuff
After 10 years we did something together again, Chris and I (BLONDE ON BLONDE). We had a band going for some months and played some gigs. “Hot Stuff” is a cover version of Donna Summer’s hit.
My friend Per Erling Tilset Larsen who was a football coach for one of Norway’s best female team OERN, asked me if I wanted to sing their song. Sure! So this song has been played a lot on stadions.
09. Stripped To The Bone
This track is taken from PERFECT CRIME. Great groovy song and especially, it’s fantastic to do live. Bernie Marsden ex-WHITESNAKE was our producer. I love this album! Recorded in CHAPEL studio, England 1990.
10. Am I Right
PERFECT CRIME – The second version of “Am I Right”. We did another version of this song with BLONDE ON BLONDE earlier. “Am I Right” is a wonderful ballad that we of course still play live.
11. Love Me Or Leave Me
BLONDE ON BLONDE 1989 – A fantastic song to do live. PERFECT CRIME did a another version of this song as well. I think BLONDE ON BLONDE’s version is the best. Jimmy Iversen and Steinar Eikum – the guitar player and the bass player has written nearly all of BLONDE ON BLONDE and PERFECT CRIME’s tracks.
12. Sail Away
BLONDE ON BLONDE – first single released in 1988. We recorded this single in Stockholm – MONTEZUMA studio. This was the beginning of something big.
13. Normal Life
I was a guest vocalist at this track. Taken from the album “BREAKING OUT” with the band ROAD. The guitarist (Jimmy Iversen) and the drummer (Willy Bendiksen) should later play together with me in BLONDE ON BLONDE and PERFECT CRIME.
14. God Tur Til Paris
FOUR JETS was a band that was very well known in Norway in the seventies and eighties. They had several hits. And after a talent competition in 1982 – that I won – I was asked to sing with them. “God Tur Til Paris” is about a trial here in Norway and got a lot of attention.
15. Per Kleppe Og Skattesnytera’n
1979 – My first band, my first time in studio. This tape was find in a locker that our guitarist had some years ago. I am so happy that Terje Nilsen helped me to digitalize the tape before the music disappeared from the tape. The sound is horrible, but it means the world to me. I was 14 years old – singing in SUBWAY SUCK studio (Dag
Ingebrigtsen’s band at that time).
16. Benny Bankboks
Per Kleppe Og Skattesnytera’n – “Benny Bankboks” a self made song about a Norwegian robber.
S-ROCK: Your fans in Japan and other countries outside Norway will be interested in this CD when they read this interview, how can they buy it?
Bente: I had distribution through TYLDEN & Co., but now it can only be purchased directly from me. You can also find/buy it digitally on Spotify ITunes and more.
(S-ROCK: when you want an autographed CD, you may get in touch with Bente from her FB or official website)
Photo by Kjell Roger Solstad
S-ROCK: You sing much better now than ever, what is the most important thing when you sing and how do you keep your voice like that?
Bente: Thank you very much! I don’t do very much to keep my voice fit, My husband Victor Borge and I have a studio at home where we practice a lot (ENGLAGARD studio). I have never smoked and I think I have a normal healthy life.
S-ROCK: You’ve released a single every year since 2013, is there any plan to release a full album?
Bente: There is certain that there will an album! I don’t know when, but it’ll come. Before that: More single releases, so stay tuned!
S-ROCK: The album BLONDE ON BLONDE of PERFECT CRIME was re-released from a German label YESTERROCK, and LABYRINTH OF LOVE from a German label NL DISTRIBUTION. Were those officially released?
Bente: I don’t know about re-release for PERFECT CRIME. The only thing I know that EMI took a contact with me in 2012 and told me that PERFECT CRIME now finally should be released on all digital media. Well.. I have still not found PC on Spotify or Itunes. – So YESTERROCK is unknown for me. In 2007 LABYRINTH OF LOVE was re-released on a label from Germany called NL DISTRIBUTION. I had a call from our bass player Steinar Eikum who had an inquiry from this company. – So that’s we know about.
S-ROCK: Around 1990 import CD shops in Japan started importing CDs of melodic HR and AOR from Scandinavia and sold them very expensive like JPY4000.00- for a CD because there was few way to buy CDs of Scandinavian bands and artists. I remember PERFECT CRIME – BLONDE ON BLONDE was around JPY4000.00- as well.
Bente: That’s great
S-ROCK: And your recent work on music, besides your solo work, you sing for TNT, TROENDER-FESTIVAL,SOULSISTER etc., any updates and any new projects and bands?
Bente: At the moment I sing together with SOULSISTER, but no longer with TNT. TROENDER-FESTIVALEN at Gran Canaria was a great experience together with Diesel Dahl, Terje Tysland, CASINO STEEL, Dag Ingebrigtsen with several others in March. Still a little secret, but Chris and I (BLONDE ON BLONDE) are going to start a band again and release a single and do some gigs – maybe from late autumn. The name of this project gonna be “Chris Candy and Bente Smaavik – former BLONDE ON BLONDE – Back to the roots”
S-ROCK: Are you coming back to Japan when TNT do TELL NO TALES 30th anniversary tour here?
(S-ROCK: This question was sent to her before hearing she’s no longer working for TNT)
Bente: Unfortunately not. I am no longer doing backing vocals for TNT.
S-ROCK: Would you give a message to your fans in Japan?
Bente: I am so thankful for all your support in Japan. I hope I will be back one day. Big hugs to all of you! <3
*Singles of solo work*
Join The Band (2016)
Come To me (2015)
Still Strong (2015)
Snart e det jul (2014)
Meant To Be (2014)
Sweet Summer Feeling (2013)
*Album of solo work*
1979-2011 (2012, Smaavik Records)
*BLONDE OF BLONDE/PERFECT CRIME albums*
BLONDE ON BLONDE (1990, EMI Norsk As)
LABYRINTH OF LOVE (1989, Blazing Records)
*BLONDE ON BLONDE/PERFECT CRIME singles*
Hot Stuff (1997, Norske Gram)
Am I Right/One of These Days (1991, EMI Norsk As)
Love Me or Leave Me (1990, EMI Norsk As)
Sail Away/Miss You (1988, CNR Records)
*FOUR JETS album*
TIL ALLE (1985)
*FOUR JETS singles*
Til Alle/God Tur Til Paris (1985)
Jeg Liker Det/Papirklipp (1984)
*HAMMERS HAREM album*
EPROLOG (2007, Nokken Records)