After guitarist Robert Burås passed away last summer the future of Norway’s biggest and most consistently successful rock band has been uncertain. For a while it seemed that the band would only release the album that they had started recording with Burås, which they finished with hired hands and released in January, and let that be the last of it.
But the eponymous fifth studio album didn’t only prove a best seller –an almost certainty with this band, (and the circumstances)- it was also an album with songs that begged to played live.
A special release concert featuring the two guitarists that had helped complete the album, Alex Kloster-Jensen and Cato “Salsa” Thomassen, premiered an ad hoc new Madrugada on stage, and for everyone present it was evident how much they band, old members and new, enjoyed playing together.
As happened after Led Zeppelin’s celebrated Ahmet Ertegun gig in London, voices both within the band and outside, come forward saying that that this was perhaps too good and too much fun not to make more out of. And now founding members Sivert Høyem and Frode Jacobsen have made the decision to let the new version of Madrugada have a go on the road.
In an interview with the Norwegian daily Aftenposten they relate that they feel it would almost be a crime not to take these new songs on tour. The album was recorded live in the studio, and the songs are created with a live setting in mind.
-It just feels like the right thing to do right now, says Jacobsen, and I think the band sounds great. I’ve never doubted the quality of our new line up, since what we did was to recruit the coolest musicians we knew of.
-They will do their own thing, it is not a question of filling in for Robert or copying his contribution, says Høyem, who also acknowledges that it will be strange to tour without Burås’ unequivocal presence of stage, especially playing old songs.
The premiere of the now consolidated new line-up will be in the Netherlands in nine days time. It is the start of a massive seventeen-date tour of Europe. And then a lot of festival gigs in Norway ensue.
-We have concerts booked throughout July, says Høyem.
-We are really exited about this, and eager to play like never before. Still, it is no telling how it will all work out. Only a month or so together in a tour bus will answer that.
So in august it is time for a new round of assessments and thinking. And whether a new album might be on the horizon is a question for the fall.
-Of course we jam a lot while rehearsing, and new riffs and ideas pop up, says Høyem, but it is just too early to start thinking about a new album. Time will tell.
As for the expectations in Europe, they are bigger than ever. And so it seems that Madrugada may well rise even higher than before, if that is what they want.
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