BIOGRAPHY, based on loose recollections:
I was born at Nordland Hospital in Bodo, Norway, 29 July 1972, and grew up in Tverlandet some 18 km outside of downtown Bodo, in beautiful natural surroundings with vast open spaces ringed by majestic mountains. My father Bjorn Ove (b. 1946) came from the town of Bodo and my mother Torild (b. 1950) comes from Tverlandet.
One of the first things I remember from the time when I was a three or four-year-old was that we built a home right behind where my grandparents lived in Tverlandet. A couple of years later, two days before Christmas in 1977, my little brother was born. His name is Tore, who is now a trumpeter, arranger and composer (take a look at www.torejazz.no for more info if you want).
My days as a drummer began in the fall of 1981 in Loding School's Marching Band. After a few weeks behind a Euphonium, I was asked by the director, former deputy mayor of Bodo, Oddbjorn Hansen, if I would consider changing to the drums in the junior band. They needed someone who had the ambition and strength to carry the big bass drum in the upcoming 17th of May parade, Norwegian marching band members' traditional "triathlon". Well, I am an easy mark, and I seldom say no. But it was actually heavy for a 9-year-old to carry an object that felt like a grindstone suspended by thin leather straps, in driving rain and gales coming out of Saltenfjord, and with my fingers numbed by temps barely above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, wearing mustard yellow uniform trousers, sailor shoes, a dark brown jacket with gold buttons, a tight white polo sweater ("slim fitting" in the advertisement terminology of Hennes & Mauritz) with a turtle neck so tight that it had strangulation potential. Oh yeah, and did I mention that I was supposed to march in step at the same time?
To add to this audacious uniform, we had some extra effects worthy of mention: White cotton gloves that made it impossible to hold on to the bass drum mallet, a brown captain's cap with a yellow tassel (it almost matched my trousers) and last but not least, a semi-long, semi-transparent but entirely clammy raincoat. Sound exciting? Members of other marching bands knew about us, not because of our music, but because of our uniforms. Anyway, despite this scandal in the world of fashion, I have been playing the drums ever since - preferably not in uniform.
In Tverlandet, kids played soccer in the spring, summer and fall, and they practiced skiing in the winter. I had enough insight to admit that I was completely average in both sports. Still, I was an grade-A substitute on the bench - sort of a secret weapon, capable of keeping up the pace on the right wing in the heat of battle during an away game against Fauske/Sprint, for as long as I had the breath and an acceptable facial colour. I even managed to score a few times. The tactic was to ignore the taste of blood while at the same time "putting pressure on the backfield," the standard advice towards todays' fotballers.
And then there were the winters. I can't remember whether I had a pro skiing outfit or what it looked like, but it's probably not important: In hindsight, the spectacle of yours truly drooling by in my "Marvel" tights (blue ski outfit) was very likely a sight for people interested in the unusual. In short, I could kick a soccer ball and had a good eye on the field, and I had an alright classical skiing technique. But was that sufficient? No, because I lacked physical condition in both sports. Even worse: I lacked the will to make an effort to remedy that sad fact. Playing the drums, however, was always easier. There was no taste of blood associated with drumming…just lots of blisters. I also dabbled happily in basketball, volleyball, table tennis and billiards, but it was the drumming that became essential.
In Tverlandet, there were no teachers trained to teach drums, and I never enrolled in the music school, so after getting a rudimentary introduction from the older members of the band on how to hold the sticks, I had to teach myself to play. As far as I can remember, the band directors I had at Tverlandet, Arve and Knut Ole Nordlie, tried their best to choose a repertoire suitable for the level of talent we had in the band, and for a time during the 1980s, there were quite a few musicians in the band who played very well and who had the potential for becoming very good. Eventually we became pretty well known in Bodo band circles for featuring a lot of popular music. This called for playing an entire set of drums, and it was excellent training for me.