NELSON, founded by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, the twin sons of Ricky Nelson and Kristin Nelson, is back on track with their brand new album called Lightning Strikes Twice. Their debut album After The Rain (1990) was a huge success and the album even produced their first no.1 hit Love And Affection. After some problems record company dropped Nelson after their second album Because They Can. The Nelson brothers set up their own label and made a couple of albums. But in 2009 the band signed a new, worldwide contract with Frontiers Records and now you can listen to their latest album and for us it is time to confront Gunnar Nelson with our special question pool.

So, what was your most embarrassing tour moment?

A lot, really a lot, ha ha. Let me think here.. Well, let’s go back to 1994. The music in the USA was all about grunge and Seattle and Geffen asked us if we could to Seattle for an interview and the annual parade. As it showed in the interview, they hated our new album, because it was not grunge and we were supposed to participate in this parade as twins with guitars. Man, it was like a freak show for twins, we hated it and it was really embarrassing I can tell you that!

What is the best town/venue you ever played in?

Erie, Pennsylvania. It is a rather depressive industrial city in the Northwestern corner of the US and we expected nothing. Our first record was just released and we went - Matthew and me - went there and we were celebrated by 60,000 people. Man that was a blast!

Suppose you are in a balloon with Axel Rose, Brian May, Dee Snider and Gene Simmons, who would you throw out as ballast and why?

Nice questions so far. I would not throw out Gene as he is very funny. Brian could give me some guitar lessons and Dee is so intelligent I could really discuss politics with him. So, that leaves Axel….. but I could also use him as “hot air” for the balloon, so…

What is your dark secret?

Well, again a lot, I think, ha ha... Well maybe the fact that I did not play the guitar from my 18 th birthday till I was 19, although we recorded our first album then......

Who is the sexiest person in the rock business?

Well, definitely NOT Axel Rose, ha ha. I think the Wilson sisters from Heart.

What is the best thing about being a musician?

That every day is different, every day new surprises.

What is the worst thing about being a musician?

Being away from home very often, so touring in fact.

What song do you want played at your funeral?

Anything by Louis Armstrong will do.

Where are you from originally?

Sweden and I have been there once, so my Swedish really sucks...

How and when did you get involved into music?

When I was 6 years old I played my first instrument. There was always music in our home and my father was rather famous as well. At the age of 12 we played in an L.A. Club and at the age of 19 we had our first record deal.

What/whom are your influences?

The Californian sound and the late sixties. Also country rock like The Eagles and Crosby,Stills, Nash & Young. Later on I discovered the “heavy”guitar bands like Boston, Foreigner and Heart.

Name three words that describe yourself best.

Teacher, healer and joker.

Which 5 albums would you take along on a deserted island?

Can I also take compilations? Then I would take the two greatest hits album of The Eagles, The best of The Beatles, The Knack-Get The Knack and Queen, The Greatest hits.

What song do you identify with most?

For myself that would be the not recorded Nelson track “Just Once More”, which deals with the dead of my father. For someone else I would say Queen with The Show Must Go On.

Plans for the future?

We are planning a tour in Europe and we would like to open up for lets say Extreme, Whitesnake or Mr.Big; that would be great. Well, there are other bands on my wish list, like e.g. Styx, Heart or Journey.

Well, your new album “Lightning Strikes Twice” got great reviews, were you surprised about that?

In fact I was, yes. But I really loved those great reviews and I think they are well deserved as well. The new album is in my opinion the BEST Nelson album ever. I really wanted to proof that we were NOT a one-hit wonder band, but that we really could make good solid rock music. We wrote 40 songs for this new album and we then picked the best ones and I really think that it is our best release ever. I was hard on myself to make this album as good as possible as I still remember that the critics really slaughtered our first album and this was no option for this new album. The songs on this album are really made for the heart and it was absolute rewarding making this album. I really love it and I cannot wait to play the new songs live on stage.

Gunnar, thanks for your time and answers.

You are ever so welcome and I hope to see you in Amsterdam in the spring of 2011.

 interview by Martien Koolen,  
Photos from the Frontiers website
Nelson on on the web:


01 December 2010
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