The Storyteller - Biography




The STORYTELLER project started in late 1995 by L-G Persson (vocals) and Fredrik Groth (guitars), and back then the concept was a little different than it is today. The music was strictly acoustic, with a lot of choirs. Not very metal, but very good indeed! After a few months Magnus Björk (vocals) and Jocke Lundström (guitars/vocals) joined. A demo consisting of three songs (Kingdom Above, Power Within and Chant Of The Thieves) was recorded in a local studio. Two of the songs were later re-recorded for The Storyteller's first album. Back then, the band was called Storyteller only. The "The" was added almost five years later.

A few demo tapes with an ugly black & white cover were sent out to some Swedish record companies, but that didn't lead to anything, as the record companies thought that the lyrics should be in Swedish. Instead, the demos were sold to friends and relatives. At this point the band had never played live.

In the middle of 1996, Fredrik felt that Storyteller was heading for a direction that he didn't really like, so he left the band temporarily to work with a musical. Another guitarist (Per Nilsson) joined, and due to the forces of many different musicians, Storyteller sounded really strange at this point. Jocke Lundström now played drums instead of guitars. A new demo was recorded, with basically the same songs as on the first demo, but with Like A Wind instead of Chant Of Thieves. L-G disliked the musical situation more and more, and during 1997 Storyteller sort of died for a while, because of lack of interest from him.

In december 1997 Fredrik got together with L-G again and they decided to take the music a few steps further, and they got a new drummer, Martin Hjerpe. They also replaced their acoustic guitars with electric ones. Inspired by German heavy metal bands such as Helloween and Blind Guardian, they rearranged their old songs and wrote some new material. L-G and Fredrik soon realized that this was what they'd always wanted to do! Pure heavy metal!

The initial thought was that L-G should sing only, so Storyteller needed a bass player... and Anders Östlin joined for a while. During this period, Per got sick in his arms, and he couldn't play at all. He was still in the band though, as he thought he was going to get better. (Note: today, almost four years later, Per still can't play)

In april 1998 Storyteller recorded a new demo consisting of three songs (The Unknown, Power Within and Sense Of Steel), and sent it to a few German and Japanese record companies. One of them, NOISE Records in Germany, replied as soon as they got the cd, and said that they liked the music very much, but they didn't really like the singer, and they needed to hear more songs. Preferably with another singer.

Total panic! Two more songs were written and recorded (Guardians of Kail and Book Of Mystery) and sent to NOISE, still with L-G on vocals. This time they didn't sound half as interested as the first time they replied, and they told STORYTELLER that they REALLY needed a new singer.

So Storyteller basically gave up and listened to the record company. L-G decided that he'd play bass instead of singing, and Anders Östlin was "degraded" to a keyboard player. A few months later he left the band.

Storyteller's music now sounded quite close to early Helloween, and they were looking for a new singer to fit their style. And as it turned out, it wasn't really easy to find a good metal singer! Many singers were tested, and some of them really sucked, and some just didn't fit the kind of music Storyteller was playing, so most of the time L-G was singing at the rehearsals.

They also needed another guitarist, as it was not suitable with only one guitarist in the band. Later it turned out that one of the tested singers (Lasse Martinsen) was a much better guitarist than singer, so he joined the band as a guitarist instead!!! And when L-G decided to take over the microphone again, about one year after he abandoned it the first time, Storyteller was complete!

The band rehearsed a lot and recorded a few more demos. Wrote many great songs, and a few not so great ones... Lots of demos were sent out to various record companies, and finally, in June '99 Storyteller got their record deal!!! No Fashion/House Of Kicks (Sweden) showed their interest, and just a few days after they heard the demos, a contract was signed!

Three weeks in September and October '99, Storyteller recorded their first album in the legendary Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden. Many good bands like In Flames, The Haunted, Hammerfall, Dimmu Borgir and At The Gates have recorded many of their albums there. Shortly after the recordings, the guitarist Lasse Martinsen was replaced by Erik Gornostajev.

The Storyteller's debut album was released in Europe in May 2000, and it has so far gotten tons of good reviews but not so many bad ones. During 2000 the band also played live on several occations. On one gig in October, Joacim Cans & Oscar Dronjak from Hammerfall joined THE STORYTELLER on stage, and played a cover of Manowar's Black Wind Fire And Steel, just for fun.

At this point, the album still wasn't released in Japan, which made quite a few people import it… In fact, the album was listed in Japanese Burrn magazine's "Import Albums" chart six months in a row! (The ratings were: August #5, September #3, October #3, November #24, December #49 and January #42.) But finally, in December the album was officially released in Japan by Soundholic Co. Ltd. As the unavoidable bonus track, the first acoustic demo of Chant Of The Thieves was added.

During the year of 2001 the band rehearsed a lot, and wrote new material for their forthcoming album. Once again it was decided that they would record in Studio Fredman, which simply is Sweden's absolutely best heavy metal studio. (According to us, that is) Two weeks before the recording, Erik Gornostajev left the band due to personal reasons, so the band immediately started to look for a a new guitarist, and they found a guy from the northern parts of Sweden, named Pärka Kankanranta. Unfortunately he didn't fit very well into the band, but he did three guitar solos on the recording, as well as two live gigs with the band. In the beginning of August 2001 a new guitarist named Jacob Wennerqvist joined the band.