Sweden's Soundtrack of Our Lives last played San Diego in the ramshackle bar of Point Loma's Quality Suites hotel. Arranged by local rock historian Mike Stax, the event was surreal. In a golden ceremonial gown, bearded vocalist Ebbot Lundberg looked like late-period Jim Morrison, wringing through the band's psychedelic rock. Go-go dancers, replete in Swedish flag mini-dresses, flanked the band in cages.
For a band that has won the Swedish equivalent of Grammies, and was the first band signed to the U.S. label, Warner Strategic Marketing (formed when Rhino and Warner Records merged), Quality Suites was a humble first visit. Especially for a band with such a pretentious name.
“Of course it's pretentious,” Lundberg says, laughing at their namesake. “It sounds like something for Paris or old people.”
Old people, some could say, are what the ex-punkers in Soundtrack of Our Lives have become. Their late-'60s psychedelic rock conjures everyone from Love to the Stones to Pink Floyd. Though rocking, it's tame compared with their last band, Union Carbide Productions.
“At the time we were heavily influenced by the American hardcore scene-Black Flag, Circle Jerks, that kind of stuff,” Lundberg says. “It kind of died out in the middle of the '80s with Live Aid and everything. UCP was a reaction to the whole poodle rock thing that was going on, to reinforce old heroes.”
UCP had formidable fans. They recorded their last album with Steve Albini. Kurt Cobain sent a personal postcard wishing them luck. With such friends, it seemed unimaginable to stop the train.
“It was too fucked up to continue,” Lundberg says. “We would've had to blow our minds, so we decided to take a vacation. We didn't really want to get into a group again, but it just happened. Soundtrack of Our Lives is just an extenstion of UCP, or a new adventure.”
Back to the question of getting old. Reportedly, UCP cracked because Lundberg grew tired of hardcore and fell in love with the more melodic, blues-based fare of the '60s. His palette, as they say, was maturing.
“When I hear that, I think ‘OK, now I'm getting old. Now I'm getting average,'” he says. “There's some fear in that-I don't want to be that. I think we have the same influences and there's a thread that won't be cut out. It doesn't make it boring.”
Soundtrack of Our Lives performs with Cato Salsa Experience and Citizen Bird at the Casbah on Nov. 19. 619-232-4355.