Silence took over the press tent when the Norwegian TNT stepped in. So Tony (Harnell, vocals) immediately broke it with "First question ? No questions ? Bye !". The mood in the tent was hilarious all through the interview after that, thanks to the band that was joking all the time.
What many had been wondering was how Tony can still keep his voice in such a good shape after all these years. He is still an amazing singer.
Tony - Let's see. You want the real answer or the answer of a rockstar ? Well, this helps a little bit (takes a sip of Jack Daniels). I just take care of myself. I think any singer can keep his voice if he wants to. I don't smoke cigarrettes, I don't smoke anything else actually. It's just a matter of training and taking care of yourself.
Diesel (Dahl, drums) - He's called the pope of rock.
Tony - Only in certain areas.
Diesel - And I'm called the dope of rock. (the press laughs)
What comes to Ronni's (Le Tekrö, guitar) practising, "I play every day. Somedays I feel good and somedays I don't. But I write songs constantly and try to develop the music. We're a songwriting team and it's more about writing music than actually guitar playing." The band used to rehearse in an old shack in Oslo, but as Tony stated "we left that long time ago. Wasn't that a school ? We left that thing a long time ago. We did a bunch of mushrooms and had some bad experiences, so we said no more of that place! We actually don't rehearse at all anymore, 'cos I'm in New York all the time. We just go on stage and hope for the best."
"YOU CAN'T JUST HAVE THE RASMUS"
About playing in Sweden Rock, Tony felt that it's "an amazing festival. I felt great up there, I felt like a lot of love from the audience. I feel like it was a very important show and we knew it was important before we even got here and we preperred and I think we did a good job. I think we pleased the old fans and I think we pleased some new ones as well, which is what we set out to do. Morty's (Black, bass) having a sex-change operation at the moment. He's down in Denmark. From this point on he's known as Morticia. He couldn't unfortunately get out from another gig. So he's still in the band, but he couldn't play with us today. Hopefully we were ok without him, but it's more fun to play with Morty and he'll be back soon."
But Morty Black's homepage www.mortyblack.com just recently stated that he's now left TNT. The band was very busy during the summer, doing festivals like Lorca Rock in Spain where Europe was headlining, Germany's Deep Impact and headlining the Gods festival. They also had a few gigs in their homeland Norway. One was in Trondheim where they played in the middle of the city outdoors and which was Morty's last gig with the band. In November the guys are going to Sweden again, doing the major cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg. Sid Ringsby (Tindrum/The Snakes/Road) was the man who replaced Morty in Sweden Rock 2004. Tony hoped to play in Finland someday also. "You can't just have The Rasmus playing all the time and Hanoi Rocks. You gotta have some of our music as well" to which Ronni added "They have Nightwish, they've got good heavy metal industry, you know." Tony continued "We have a lot of fans in the USA and it would be great to go back and do some shows there too."
The print media hasn't given TNT or Ronni much space for the past few years, but Ronni's "had many solo projects. I've released these albums in 1000 copies only, hah".
Tony - He's got a great solo album called "Extra Strong String".
Ronni - Only one. I've released some other solo projects, but very limited editions. My new one will be more like Frank Zappa.
About being in touch with his fellow Vagabond-member Jorn Lande, Ronni says "We speak, but we don't work together anymore. But he's a sweet person and the Vagabond-stuff we did was way out."
Tony - I saw him in New York with Yngwie. I went backstage afterwards and I told him I thought he was possibly the best heavy metal singer I've ever heard. Ronni knows how to pick up some decent singers.
Ronni - I have a very good ear for good singers.
Tony praised Ronni over other guitarists as "you know, this is my man over here (taps Ronni's shoulder), I gotta give props to my man, 'cos he's actually amazing." In some point the press once again turned silent, so he joked "Did you guys come to ask questions or just hang out?"
Since Diesel left TNT "I've had my old band Tin Drum, we've released a couple of albums in the late eighties. Then I had some time off and I was playing weekend gigs in Norway with some friends like Dag Ingebrigtsen, first singer of TNT. Then I've been busy with the things I always do like riding motorcycles, playing drums and seing some women. It's strange to work with the guys like this". Ronni's also got his coverband Wild Willy's Gang with Jorn Lande, Willy Bendiksen, Sid Ringsby, Tore Moren and Jon Pettersen, also Bryan Robertson (Thin Lizzy) and Eirikur Haiksson are involved sometimes, playing Whitesnake and hard rock.
TNT's latest album "My Religion" was compared to being as good as their albums from the eighties, to which Tony looked quite amazed; "AS GOOD ?!".
Ronni - The nineties was just experimenting and nobody was into melodic related hard rock at all. I left hard rock in the nineties. We did a couple of TNT albums and experimented and we had great fun with it. It kept us going musically. It wasn't a success because the hard rock audience is sometimes very concervative. But we're never done with experimenting.
Tony - We had to come back to our fans a little bit. But we love those albums, I'm very proud of "Firefly" and "Transistor". I think there aren't a lot of bands that can go that far away from their original sound. You know, have something to say. And when I think of those albums there's a lot of things I'm very proud of. But we're back. I actually think we couldn't have done "My Religion" had we not done those albums. It allowed us to expand and experiment a little bit and come full circle and create an album which I think the fans love. And it has something modern about it. So it's not really a retro album. It's more like where we are today, but I think it also embraces the fans. We've gotten a great response ("My Religion"). Excellent all over.
Ronni sang "So we're so happy" and promised they'll continue writing songs. Tony said they're also very happy with their new songs. When talking about a new album after "My Religion", he says "No, that was it. We're done. Good night everyone. Farewell tour. (band laughs) We have a couple of things going on. Our new single is coming out for this album, so we're still working this one and we're working on a very special project. I don't know if I should announce it yet or not, but..", "don't do it" says Ronni and Tony continues "but it's going to involve something very different to what we've done before. Then we'll probably start a brand new studio album sometime next year.
The band "would like to have a dvd coming out, we're compiling some material now and this (interview) is part of it. We've been filming a lot of shows for the past two years and we have a lot of stuff from the eighties" (Tony).
When talking about the computer age of today which allows fans to download unreleased albums from the net and bands losing money along with it, Ronni says "Fuck it. Singles, that was the sixties you know. She loves you, yeah yeah yeah...(singing)". Tony continues "I mean in one sense it brings new fans right, because it's easy for them to go find the music. But obviously, for the huge fans of Metallica, they're bitching the most about it. It doesn't hurt Metallica that much, Lars (Ulrich) is still going to buy his eight million dollar penthouse in New York City. But for bands like TNT, who are sort of in the middle, it hurts a lot sometimes, you know. And hopefully people who download will like the band and will actually go and buy the album. That's what we hope. So we can't really fight it. It's the way things are and there's nothing you can really do about it.
"LIKE A GHOST", LOOKS OF AN 80'IES HAIRMETAL BAND
On Tony gaining weight: "I've also lost a lot of weight. But you know what, I still have my hair. Well, I'll probably lose it (weight) again, but I got a bit too skinny for a while. But I feel healthy, so that's good". "He was like a ghost, but now I'm the ghost", Ronni joked.
Then it was time to chat some football championships and who does the band support. Tony thought "Let's see, my wife is British, so I'm gonna have to support England I think". The press asked the bands support for their hometeams also and the band was smiling and approving at least a bit. And what did TNT want to see in Sweden Rock personally ? "Of course the (Judas) Priest. We have to go see the PRIEST!". Tony stressed the word priest, as if the band was actually going to see a real priest. Ronni; "We're an eighties band, so we have our own inspirational sources I would say."
Tony - "They're a seventies band, you know. "
Ronni - "Yeah, definately. Some of us are inspired by seventies rock, like Priest, Queen, City Boy...that's the best, Queen, City Boy and TNT, hah hah!"
After there were no questions left, the band asked if they now could start drinking and thanked everyone. They still stayed for a while to chat with people, posed for some pictures, signed stuff and welcomed everyone to see the Priest show with them.