"Like the rest of the world sourdough hipsters are taking over." - Stevie Klasson

Posted: February 1, 2024
“My music is rooted in Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. Then there was a lot of Punk rock but I'm a music freak so I listen to anything that grooves.”

Photo credit : Oskar Ohlson

Stevie Klasson is one of my favorite Guitarists. I had the chance to meet him during one of my tours in Sweden. We had an immediate connection as we have a lot in common and we spent a great time together. He has his personal touch on guitar and even if he formed as a punk musician, which I love, his taste ranges from blues to classic Rock and Roll, passing through folk, country honky tonk, and a little of New Orleans Dixie Jazz, which reminds me a bit of Darrell Bath.

(I will never forget this anecdote: I was once playing at a festival as the opening act for Darrell in Bologna, IT. After his performance I said him “You put some jazzy stuff in your chords, didn’t you?” He replied “that’s the first time anyone’s clocked that - it’s our secret now”.)

Stevie once said:

“My music is rooted in Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. Then there was a lot of Punk rock but I'm a music freak so I listen to anything that grooves.”

And this is exactly the background a good rocker should have, in my humble opinion. Anyway, let’s just say it reflects my own taste in music.

Stevie is not only a musician, he’s also a composer, singer songwriter and a great producer - he produced an awesome soul / rock band called Midnight Scraper.

There’s something magical in Sweden, like a time machine where Rock and Roll is still a big deal for musicians and listeners as it was in the 60’or 70’, that’s why I truly love Sweden, that’s why I felt a bit like a little kid in front of Klasson, my legend.

Manuel: Hello Stevie, it’s an honor and a pleasure to have the chance to chat with you again.
So, what’s going on in Stockholm nowadays? Is it still the Rock and Roll capital of Europe?

Stevie: Not Really. Like the rest of the world sourdough hipsters are taking over. A lot of clubs have closed down, because neighbors complain. It sucks. But we still have some good bands, just fewer places top.

Manuel: You have a strong bond with Blues Roots Music, where does that come from?

Stevie: I grew up in the ghetto just south of Stockholm (Sodertalje) and we had a really strong blues society there. I saw Muddy Waters play (through the curtains, of course I was too young to get in) in my local community center. And a lot of other original American Chicago blues artists coming through on tour. They would play the big cities on the weekend and play blues society’s in the sticks during the week, also guys like Sven Zetteberg, Slim Tannberg, etc. was a big influence on me.

Manuel: Hey , you know what, I still have the boots you gave me as a present when we met and I remember I also played that fabulous Zemaitis guitar you swapped with The Hives guitarist for your old mandolin. It’s funny how stuff can tell a story, do you have a particular guitar with a special story to tell us? (Like the Johnny Winter one you told me last time)

Stevie: Yeah man, I still pinch myself to see that I’m not dreaming. A dear old friend of mine who’s done well in the fashion industry gave me a very special present.
In 2016 an auction house in New York got all Johnny Winter’s guitars and things, stage clothes, hats, stash box, all his stuff. I heard about it and told my friend about the auction and he bought a bunch of stuff… When i turned 50 in 2018 he gave me Johnny Winter 1953 Gibson ES-175 blond, two p-90s, with bigsby… for about a month I would wake up in the middle of the night and go check if it was still there. I found out from Johnny Winter’s roadie / assistant Jeff Mallard that J.W. had that guitar as his home guitar on a stand next his favorite chair. How cool is that!
I still can’t believe this guitar is with me, I’m a really Johnny Winter fan!

Manuel: You once told me you have Italian origins.
Do you think this gave you some kind of Italian characteristics or in any way helped or hindered your career?

Stevie: I don’t think I have any Italian blood but my family has always been involved in business with Italians both on my mother and father side. My dad used to live in Italy when I was a teenager. I spent a lot of time there, I understand Italian pretty good, but I have trouble speaking it. We all love Italian food !

Manuel: Sometimes I think “man, I wish I’d been born in the America”.
Do you think that in the musical world it really matters where you were born and raised?

Stevie: No man, it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at!

Manuel: You’ve met and worked with tons of famous artists, which one was the best and most significant one for you, and why?

Stevie: Johnny Thunders. Took me on a good trip around the world. I grew up fast by the time he stepped off into a new dimension, I was well on my way, I’ve played with a lot of great artists since then but I grew up in Johnny Thunders’s band. Jerry “Niggs” Nolan taught us how to dress. He got us hip to profiling. These days they call it “building a brand”…

Manuel: Do you think Rock and Roll is still alive?

Stevie: Oh yeah, I See young kids in the shop (Halkan's Rock house) all the time, who’s got it! My Daughter Dixie is a real good singer and some of her friends are really good. Rock and Roll is alive!

Manuel: You know, sometimes I feel disillusioned and wonder if I should carry on with a career in music. Then, something happens and I find new inspiration.
Do you ever feel like that  too? And what drives you to keep on making music?

Stevie: I feel like that all the time but what else could I do? The last couple of years has been a real test, with Covid. When my wife (Kim Montenegro) died I took a break to lick my wound’s. But I feel inspired to do stuff, it just take a good gig or two and I’m back into it, that’s the cool thing about being a blues based artist, is that you get more believable with age!

Manuel: I saw you went on tour in Japan, I’m very jealous about that! I’ve always wanted to go there. What can you tell us about that country? How is music life there?

Stevie: Japan is great, it was like a Sci-Fi movie in those days. They love Johnny Thunders over me !

Manuel: What do you think lies ahead in the future for you?

Stevie: I Have some shows in Sweden over the winter, but I hate going out in the winter. Then in the spring I’m going to the States to finish off some recording I started before the pandemic. Then I think I have some shows in Spain this summer. I wanna come to Sicily and play some shows with you. Who knows I might move there, if I meet the right woman!

Manuel: Stevie, it’s been a real pleasure to talk with you, can’t wait to meet you again and share a stage together.

Stevie: Bless you Manuel, I hope I see you soon.

Manuel Bellone and Stevie Klasson

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