Swedish punk rock. It all began back in 1975, when PEG (Peter Gillgren) succeeded in escaping from his parent’s hippie colony in India and make it back to Uppsala, Sweden. PEG hated everything that had to do with alternative living, drugs or human relations. In Uppsala he teamed up with his old pal HAC (Hans Carstensen, aka Carsten Riff). HAC descended from an old family of nobilities and despised everything that had to do with upper class traditions and values, including money, good manners an...
Swedish punk rock.
It all began back in 1975, when PEG (Peter Gillgren) succeeded in escaping from his parent’s hippie colony in India and make it back to Uppsala, Sweden. PEG hated everything that had to do with alternative living, drugs or human relations. In Uppsala he teamed up with his old pal HAC (Hans Carstensen, aka Carsten Riff). HAC descended from an old family of nobilities and despised everything that had to do with upper class traditions and values, including money, good manners and well-being. When he was thrown out of the family mansion, he was given a grand apartment in central Uppsala. It was there that the group came to compose and arrange some of their most memorable songs.
PEG and HAC knew a bit about musical instruments and decided to form a rock group, probably in order to rid themselves of some boredom and frustrations. But in order to succeed they needed a few companions to associate with. After a number disappointments they finally found their fellow soulmates in CHRIB (Christer Björkman) and TOJ (Tommy Jansson). CHRIB came from a family of communist miners, originating from the very north of Sweden. This made him suspicious of all leftism, radicalism, politics and progress. TOJ’s origin was more uncertain, but it has been suggested that his ancestors were Spanish inquisitors, which would explain why he was so extremely critical towards everything of foreign origin, such as philosophy, popular music and red whine. Both went to the same high school as PEG and HAC, the conservative Cathedral School of Uppsala. (Needless to say, they all hated it.) First of all the group had to decide on a band name, and quite naturally it became BU (Butter Utter). The name is full of non-sense meaning in Swedish. Butter means sullen, Utter is an ugly animal. The name BU set the standard for later Swedish punk rockers, such as Dag Vag and Tripple Cripple.
CHRIB and TOJ did not know how to play any instruments, but that was a minor obstacle. They had the right attitude against life. More problematic was that they owned no instruments. TOJ managed to ‘borrow’ drums from a ‘friend’ for some time, but eventually had to give them back. Where he found new ones is not known. CHRIB had to go up north and work in the mines during the summer vacation in order to pay for his gear. There was never any lack of musical ideas, though. HAC used to compose beautiful so called ‘suicide ballads’ every evening before he went to bed and the group would happily accompany him on these songs, usually stretching out for at least half an hour. PEG contributed with more up-tempo songs, usually composed during school hours. HAC would slip him small poems during the lunch break and then PEG would spend class adopting them to his own melodies and chord progressions. Back home he would try everything out for real on the guitar and then the songs would be played by BU the same evening. The next day they were forgotten and new songs composed.
Music life in Sweden (and the rest of the world, probably) was a disaster at this time. The friends of the fab four were playing in groups such as Harjans and Stentorget, pretentious and unbearable in every way (musically, lyrically and in attitude). This meant that there was to begin with little understanding for BU’s music and lifestyle. These were hard times. But in the summer of 1977 everything changed. PEG and TOJ hitchhiked to London together and confronted the new punk scene. They hung out with all the important acts, such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Kursaal Flyers. TOJ had a short and disastrous affair with Siouxsie Sioux (in Siouxsie and the Banshees). The appearance of the punk scene not only inspired the group, but changed the whole musical climate of Western world. Back in Uppsala Harjans gave up their high brow attitude and reformed into a semi-punk group, called the N-Liners. Many other bands transformed in the same way. But Butter Utter didn’t change a bit. True to their original punk attitude they refused to dress up in Vivienne Westwood clothes, change the repertoire or in any other way adjust to audience expectations.
After a few of unappreciated gigs in the late summer, early autumn, the four friends retreated to record their first and only album, the notorious EP (Extended Play) Jävlarnas Jul (Devils Christmas). It contains four songs: Soho, Corn Flakes, Plåster på Såren and Jävlarnas Jul. Secretly recorded by Tomas Eberhard at their school, mostly in the examination rooms and toilets, it is not only filled with brilliant and typical Butter Utter songs but also presents an amazing and original soundscape – eclipsing everything from trash metal to ambient music. “The melodies in the background are not bad either”, as it is proudly proclaimed on the record sleeve.
One of the best songs never made it to the album, though: Systemet dödar (The System Kills). TOJ, something of a perfectionist, was not content with his playing at this song and wanted to re-record it. During this second session TOJ suddenly stopped playing and began to pack down ‘his’ drum kit. PEG just went on playing on the clarinet he had somewhat unexpectedly introduced for this recording. CHRIB started beating his bass guitar angrily. Only HAC was watching, as TOJ went over to the window, spread out his dark wings and flew away. That was the end of the Butter Utter story. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.