When Ebba Gron is at their best, and it is practically all the time, then it is a lie to talk about music. What is left is only pure rock'n'roll without substances. Expressions of energy and blood filled pounding feelings.
Like when Thastrom, the guitarist/singer, sings 'the production doesn't have room for the one who has become badly worn out' and really hangs on and bends on the first syllable in the last word, so that you feel yourself the aching and the pain in the torn out body, so that yourself feel the humiliation and its counterpart, the hatred, the constructive hatred, the will to fight for something else and better.
Or like when Gurra, the drummer, in 'What will you become?', doesn't play drums but are instead trying to beat them to death. Like a Charlie Watts on speed.
Or like when Fjodor, the bass player/singer, in 'Young & Lowered' proves that he is the only human being in this planet's history to be born with a fuzz box in his throat.
Ebba Gron isn't only Sweden's greatest band ever. In moments I surely rank them among the best in the universe. It might be the very rooted swedish tone in their mix of Stones, Clash and Sex Pistols that hits me right in the heart. Or maybe not. Even foreign people, like the bassist of Bad Religion, rank them among their favourite bands.
What is clear though is that the threesome from the surburb Ragsved, Stockholm, was something very extraordinary. It wasn't just blood, sweat and tears. They were so unspeakable angry, sexy and so straightforward with hit feeling. This, in its unbeatable combination, made the frustrated surburbian kids able to pogo dancing in half conciuosness, but also the welfare homewifes got something that pushed their own buttons.
Banned songs like 'Hang God' and 'Shoot A Cop' might not have done that for the latter ones, but the truth is that in all its furious noise and uncontrollable rage, there is a catchiness so uplifting.
To motivate why Ebba Gron can be ranked among the greatest rock bands in history is a very ambitious but probably completely miserable thing to try to do from the start. But I will still try.
Ebba Gron existed for five years. But the group still managed through their three albums, and not least all the concerts, make a deep footprint in the swedish rock history.
Ebba Gron was one in a million of groups.
Before punk came to Sweden there was one genre which ruled the most a couple of years. It was called Progg, not to be mistaken with Progressive Rock. Progg was a truelly unique thing. In the minds of the musicians it was a mix between Political Left thinking and hippieness.
There might have been provocativeness in the lyrics but musically it was nothing edgy. Folk music almost. It is though, a specific part in swedish music history.
You can say swedish music followed what happened in the world pretty cloesly, when Beatles came, similar groups popped up such as Hep Stars and Hootenanny Singers. But then came Progg, a opposite of the commercialism that ruled Sweden at that age. Alongside it came Abba a few years later. The two counterparts of what people thought music would stand for. But then in late 1977 came Ebba Gron and revolutionised music in Sweden completely. It took the greatness of both of these cultures. The catchiness of Abba and the political views and rage in Progg and Punk. And they mixed it into pure rock'n'roll only worthy of Rolling Stones.
Swedish music was in a hazy state even with the two cultures before Ebba Gron. But they messed music up, they changed it from the ground. They simply made music a matter of life and death.
Ebba Gron did for Swedish music, what Elvis did for Rock in the 50's.
A big statement but nontheless true.
What also made them so different was that they were a punk band, but just like the Clash they developed throughout their short career. And when Punk is a truelly specific field in music, Ebba Gron instead took their music and reshaped the music scene and not only adding a genre. You can ask any swedish band or artist and they would say their inspiration started from Ebba Gron.
You can picture the music like a body, Ebba Gron is the heart, and all veins and such leads and functions due to the heart.
It might be why Ebba Gron has never been covered by anyone except in a few very special moments. The songs are just too perfect to touch. And respected. Modern bands such as Kent, The Hives and Soundtrack Of Our Lives have a lot to thank Ebba Gron for as well.
But it is not only the music that makes Ebba Gron a necessary lesson in rock history. They were as big part of swedish present history as well, politically and socially.
But how did Ebba Gron truelly become the most important rock band in Sweden's history?
Well, by literally playing themselves to that position. By playing live, year out and year in. Endless touring instead of sitting in Stockholm and wait to be discovered. It never was the idea of Punk anyway. By touring Youth Halls in small towns in Nowhere Land, instead of doing showcase gigs for spoiled media people in Stockholm.
The tourlists confirms that Ebba Gron played in cities like Linkoping, Orebro, Karlshamn and Koping at least once a year. Often even two times a year. But Ebba Gron never complained, instead they fixed their own gigs. If a band like Ebba Gron, a complete unorganised catastrophy, could fix this, then the young bands of today could do the same.
But sadly, most of the times, for bands of today it is more important, and cooler, to play in bars and pubs in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo, to play for their buddies and critics, instead of playing in places where the young people can get in. Cos it is not with the audience of already blessed, that you build yourselve a base of true fans. They will never reach out to the biggest record buying public. Most people that saw Ebba Gron was 14 to 18 years old.
It tells you what a massive passion Ebba Gron put in.
So a big part on why Ebba Gron became what they are today is the link to their fans and crowds. As human beings as well.
They were always standing by their roots. They came from the surburbian life and they knew the people there. They lived there.
What the group represented, and still represents, were from the base the revolt and the rebellion. And the love for their origin. Their total dedication to giving back the proudness to the youth of the surburbian and crushed welfare. They were also uniquely linked in the social connection. Their devotion, to one afternoon go up on the back of a truck in the middle of a square in Stockholm and with a small local band do a concert that becomes a political manifestation is inspiring.
Ebba Gron was as much a rock band as a social phenomenon.
They always sang about the reality that was surrounding them. Their songs about the fight for surviving always connected with their own fight for surviving.
We're Only In It For The Drugs was their debut and it is considered by most critics, back then and now, the greatest swedish rock album ever. The greatest debut albums are always those with youth, passion and an aim to something. And for the definite touch it was recorded in a industrial garage on an 8 track. Thastrom was also gifted with the greatest rock voice Sweden had heard. And still has.
As much as the live playing was important, WOIIFTD was a complete masterpiece. The songs were there and the need of having an album was so shining from it. It ached a will to be listened to. As seen through history punk bands are the ones that have poured out the most on their first album and then split or keep on doing, trying, the same thing over and over. There are a few exceptions like, again, the Clash. They knew that the only way was to split or develop their music. They did the latter and so did Ebba Gron. With their second album Love & Riot, they perfected punk. They put on an acoustic song, they made reagge and SKA and they refined their rock songs. It is yet another masterpiece and it is what rock music always should sound like and feel like.
After these two albums, and singles that were written only for being singles and not on albums, there were again a choice of paths for the band. Either split or develop the music again. But what can you do when you have made a perfect rock album and rock is what you can and want to play? Well, they tried. And they did an album to homage Rolling Stones. And it worked. Almost. Two thirds of their third and last album titled Ebba Gron, is among their greatest stuff. Added trumpets and guitars and more clean production though. But the songs and the lyrics were still edgy and raw. As 'Watching TV', a full on rock anthem that a lot of people rank as their best work. But one third of the album has stupid lyrics about musketeers and that 'love is strong'. And you could there see the end of Ebba Gron. It never was a sad departure though. Anyone could see they had made what they had set out to do.
And they left on a high still. Live they were as good as ever. And it never became a last concert. They split before heading out on another tour. Why it never felt as a sad departure was also cos everyone felt Ebba Gron was going to live on. Even back then. And they are doing so still, 20 years afterwards. Young people are still discovering their greatness and Ebba Gron has never left the scene. The songs may have been done there and then, but they are still living and sounding like here and now.
And what a better proof is that, on the declaration that Ebba Gron truelly was one of the greatest rock'n'roll bands this universe has ever seen.
Just take a listen.
And what after a couple of minutes will be left, will only be smoke, dust and ashes