In a just world, this article would sit in your hand as heavy as a coffee-table book.
It would be creaking with anecdotes and compliments from leviathans of Beatles-influenced bravura – all raising a final, frothy ‘skol!’ to one of the greatest, grooviest, most gracious rock bands to poke their hirsute jowls above the parapet in the last 20 years.
As is stands, it’s a stubby little piece – whose insulting length even this SOOL acolyte had to wrestle with my editor to justify. And I should know, for I am he.
Seventeen years of Soundtrack Of Our Lives is over. Six psyched-out, blissed-up, throaty, gutsy, chest-pounding long players are left behind, appended on Monday (September 10) by the release of final record Throw It To The Universe. As for B-sides, have a go on Hang Ten – one of the trippiest, hypnotically soothing offcuts you’ll ever pop in your cranium.
And yet, the tribute well runs dry. There are no public tears from Dave Grohl. Keith Richards must be busy. Perhaps Roger Daltrey’s on his holidays.
Sweden’s best-crafted export since Brolin and Dahlin’s ping-ponged Euro ’92 heartbreaker will graciously bow out in front of 1,000-odd fans at London’s Heaven next week. The band will wear massive, sweaty smiles, but the good people at The Guinness Book Of Records shall go untroubled.
Ebbot Lundberg is fine with all of this. SOOL’s beefy, beardy frontman cares little about mistakes and missteps. He’s sanguine about the lack of public esteem projected towards his retro rock masterpiece Communion, and the fact that his entrusted handlers never engorged the all-too-brief UK media exposure shone on 2001’s Behind The Music. He’s not even fussed that Noel Gallagher flagrantly (albeit with public acknowledgement) nicked Confrontation Camp’s walloping crunch for poor Oasis cousin Lyla.
He’s just delighted he got to meet his punk heroes.
“Many of them have passed away, of course,” he explains, in a cheerful facing down of mortality that speaks volumes about how many of his 46 years have been spent at the table of rock‘n’roll’s delights. “But I’ve heard nice things from the singers of The Vibrators [Ian ‘Knox’ Carnochan] and UK Subs [Charlie Harper]. I was confused and starstruck at the same time. It’s not about celebrity – I don’t give a shit. These people created such exciting things at a crucial time in my life; a time when I was taking things in.”
As for career highlights? Straight back to those formative idols.
“It was kind of weird having the drummer and bass player from Peter And The Test Tube Babies working for us – that was, ‘Fuck!’ They were my favourite band when I was 14. Meeting people like that was why I started doing this in the first place.”
Soundtrack Of Our Lives – as characterised by Lundberg’s humble hero worship – openly embrace the past without being stuck in it. But eventually, the present catches up with everyone.
“We made the decision to split a year ago when touring in the States,” he says. “It meant everyone could see the end coming before recording the last album. It’s not normal for a disbanding group to feel this good. We’re stopping on top.”
Lundberg’s philosophical acceptance of the end of SOOL extends to the group’s inability to break through to a mainstream audience: “It’s a relief we didn’t get that much hype, to be honest. Our lives are nowhere near as important as the music, and I don’t know if we’ve had the looks you need or whatever.
“Sometimes people make art for 20 years or more, and only after all that time do they get the recognition they deserve. You have to focus on what you’re actually doing, not what other people think of you. That’s the challenge, the struggle.
“We had a fucking great time. Really, I’m just so happy we made the grade.”