“Interviews are the part of being in a band I like the least,” says Graveyard singer/guitarist Joakim Nilsson. He’s not lying. The Swedish four-piece are men of few words. Thankfully, their fourth album, Innocence And Decadence, more than compensates for their lack of garrulousness.
It finds them expanding their cool, Sabbath-indebted retro-rock template to take in both classic 70s soul and the odd moment of death-metal blast-beat drumming. It has attracted the attention of Slash, who recently joined them on stage in Stockholm. “That was a combination of surreal and nerve-wracking,” says bassist Trüls Morck.
How did Slash’s guest appearance come about?
Trüls Morck: We were approached by Marshall, who we and Slash work with, to come and play at this thing they were having. Someone popped the idea that Slash should join us on stage, and he sent a message that he’d love to do it. He said preferred to do
AC/DC or Led Zeppelin, but that we could send him some options of songs we wanted to do.
What did you play?
TM: We played five of our own songs, then Slash joined us for Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son, The Beatles’ Helter Skelter and a far from flawless version of Children Of The Grave by Black Sabbath.
The new album is pretty diverse. Was that a conscious decision?
Joakim Nilsson: We’ve always been a diverse band. We’ll try everything. As it’s our fourth album, we wanted to experiment. But we didn’t make a conscious decision to write a soul song, it just happened.
The record is called Innocence And Decadence. What’s the most decadent night out you’ve had?
JN: One time in New Orleans I got so wasted I fell asleep in the street. I woke up to find this cop giving me CPR. Apparently he thought I was dead, and that he’d just saved my life. I ended up with a broken rib. I had to finish the tour like that. But that’s okay. I’ve broken my ribs many times.
What do you say to people who say Graveyard are living in the past, musically?
JN: We are a contemporary band, but we’re not lying about where our influences are. We’re not trying to be a seventies band. We have influences from all eras of music.
Are you inspired by any current music?
JN: [Laughs] Not too much.
Is the name Graveyard a bit limiting?
JN: Maybe it was in the beginning – everyone thought we were a death metal band – but we’ve got past that now.
Is there any punk rock in Graveyard?
JN: I hope so. Most of us in the band started out listening to punk. I think it’s there in the attitude and energy. And we discuss the wrongs in society in the lyrics.
Are there any plans to take the collaboration with Slash any further?
TM: No, it was a one-off. But if he gives us a call we would be there in no time.
Did you ask him if the original GN’R line-up are getting back together?
TM: Of course we didn’t. That’d probably have got us in trouble.