Hardcore Superstar is a sleaze rock band from Gothenburg, Sweden that was formed in 1997. Hardcore Superstar have had several #1 hit singles and Grammy wins in Sweden, 10 studio albums and 21 years of experience touring the world under their belt. Yet for some strange reason Hard Rock fans still keep thinking this is a new band. We’ll get to that later. They’re heading to Australia alongside Buckcherry for a tour across the country and it looks to be one hell of a double header. With my passion for Hard Rock, and excitement for the show, I was pretty stoked to have the chance to speak with the lead vocalist of Hardcore Superstar, one Joakim “Jocke” Berg.
I wanted to get things off to my usual start to see what’s been going on in Jocke’s world recently before he heads down under.
Karlifornia: “What has been keeping Hardcore Superstar busy in recent months?”
Jocke: “We’re just finishing up the festival season two weeks ago in Finland. We did like 15 festivals around Europe, so now we just waiting for Australia.”
Karlifornia: “Yeah. It’s starting to warm up at the moment. So you’ll enjoy the weather.”
Jocke: “Yeah! Hopefully it’s better than last time because it was like June last year, you know, we went down there and it was like. Everyone had shorts on when we arrived in Sydney. Yeah, and it was like 12 degrees Celsius when we got out, it was fucking freezing. All of us had to go and buy some new clothes to not freeze our asses off.”
Karlifornia: (laughs) “Was that your first time in Australia, you were here before that right?”
Jocke: “The first time was 2008, so it’s took it took us 10 years (to return). So this time he’s only 18 months instead of ten years in between us being there last time.”
Karlifornia: “Hey man, I’m just glad this time around you get to visit our city – are you back so soon because the opportunity to come with Buckcherry popped up?”
Jocke: “Actually, we were supposed to come earlier between from the last time to the first time because we were supposed to play Soundwave okay, but somebody fucked that up. I think that I don’t know the name of this guy who arranged Soundwave when, but he he fucked things up so we couldn’t go right.
Karlifornia: “Was it AJ Maddah?”
Jocke: “That must have been his name AJ. Yeah, I think so. So last time we had this weird situation when we arrived in Sydney. We arrived at the customs and there was like, this old lady standing there with two younger ladies and she was standing and just watching us and said ‘What’s your purpose here?’ We were like: ‘We are playing music.’ ‘What kind of music?’ She asks. I say Hard Rock. Then she says “Okay, we have one problem.” Okay. What’s that? “What’s the password for getting into Australia?” We were like what the fuck is going on and the drummer in the band Adde, he was like “Wait a minute. I know this. I know this…. AC/DC” and then the lady said….’Welcome to Australia’ and I was like what the fuck that was a weird situation.”
Karlifornia: (laughs) “For fuck sake. I guess this will be your first time in Perth?”
Jocke: “Yeah, there for the first time.”
Karlifornia: “Well when you get here you have to go check out the Bon Scott statue. It’s like a thing everybody always does when they come here.”
Jocke: “Oh yeah! of course, of course. We will have to check that out.”
Karlifornia: “So Jocke, what plans do you have in the future for Hardcore Superstar, is there anything in the pipeline?”
Jocke: “Yeah, we’re writing songs for the new album right now. We are. We have seven or eight songs down on paper now. So we’re talking about releasing a new single late January next year. So yeah, that’s what we’re doing and we have some shows in Europe after the Australian tour.”
Karlifornia: “I wanted to ask you this. There might be a lot of fans of Buckcherry going to this show in Perth that may not have heard of Hardcore Superstar, I was just wondering if you could describe to me what how you would describe Hardcore Superstar to the people out there who may not know much about you guys.”
Jocke: “Oh, we are very high energy, especially on stage. It’s like we never still you know, it’s like we are all over the place on stage. It’s like that. Best before party before you go out to, you know to drink or something. It’s a good time whenever we let the audience, you know – be with us, you know, we play like we’re doing this together with the audience. It’s a high-energy show and I talk to people after shows that they told me that we never heard of you before and I wonder why because you’ve been around so long but I can’t believe I missed out from this because they loved it, and that’s it. That’s a good review for me. I don’t even need to have reviews in a magazine that says “Oh that was so good and we got like ten out of ten.” Yeah, it’s better. It’s that, you know, people like that that never seen us before.
Come up and say that was the best show I’ve ever seen that’s a good review for me because then I know I did my job, right exactly, you know.”
Karlifornia: “Yeah, I think it’s a good feeling when you perform in front of some people that do know who you are – But also there’s people there that don’t quite know who you are and you have the opportunity to capture their spirit.”
Jocke: “Yeah. It’s like you surprise them. You know, it’s like wow, why haven’t I heard of these guys before you know, it’s like that. That’s the best part of that. I remember we did this tour together with a band called Gotthard. They are quite big in Switzerland and they sold like 15,000 tickets. South of Germany. They sell like at least like 5,000 – 6,000 tickets and that’s a lot. So, I mean we open up for them a special guest and every night, we had one hour every night. It was the same people were standing there like “music, please”, you know, with their arms crossed like this and just watch it. But that’s the best part with opening because we don’t give in, we go full speed ahead and every night after the third song. All of the hands for all of the crossed armed people were straight up in the air, you know, we convince them. It took us three songs every night. We did like 50 shows together. Every night three songs and then we convince the audience. It’s a great experience, you know to to convince. I’m just that singer, I work the audience so fucking hard. So they have to put their arms up.”
Jocke is passionate and a man on a mission every single night he performs. Hardcore Superstar may not have the name valuesome other bands that they tour with have, but they take that challenge on every single night with a spike in their gut to win over audiences every single night. To me, that’s a fun position to be in and I know they’re going to make believers out of a lot of people on this Buckcherry tour. I continued on with Jocke and asked him advice he would give to aspiring rock vocalists across the world.
Karlifornia: “What kind of advice would you give young rock vocalists trying to weave their way through the music industry?”
Jocke: “Be yourself. Don’t try to fit in. That’s the that’s the worst thing to do. I always been what I am. It’s like I love being on stage. I love to, you know, command the audience to raise their hands. It’s my way you know, what I want in a half hour.
It’s my hour or one and a half hours when I’m the boss, you know. So just be yourself – put them clothes on and do what you do. Don’t try to fit in to everyone else. I mean that’s the first thing people see. ‘Oh, he’s just a fake’, you know. Yeah, but if you do, If you dress how you want to dress, if you sing as you do, if you take the audience as you do, it’s not fake, you know. That’s the best part, you know, if they like it that’s good if they don’t like it, fuck off”
Karlifornia: (laughs) “If there was anything about the music industry that you could change what would it be?”
Jocke: “Earn more money (laughs) No. Yeah, actually, it’s of course you have to earn money, but it’s in the end. It’s not about the money. It’s about making people happy that’s the best part. I mean it’s like, you know being able to do this for like 21 years and go around the world and tour and see the happy faces, you know in the audience, that’s the best part. I mean, I remember it was two years ago. We went to we did this co-headline tour in America together with Michael Monroe (Hanoi Rocks). And and we hadn’t been in the states for like over 10 years and you can you can feel that there was like a buzz around us coming back to the U.S, and when we arrived we did like a tour on West Coast, eight shows on the east coast and when we did, we did The Whiskey in LA. We sold out whiskey two nights in a row and at that time the owner still alive, but he’s dead now – Mario (Maglieri). Yeah, and I was doing my vocal warm up at the Whisky and before the show and there was a knock on the door. And I was like a little star-struck. I mean this is the owner of the Rainbow and the Whiskey. He just said “Excuse me for disturbing you, and your vocal warm up, but I just have to ask you to tell me that how the fuck you come all the way from Sweden and you sell this place out two nights in a row. I mean we got big bands here in California who can’t, you know. And I was like, “You know, some have it some don’t”. Yeah, you know Americans can be like cocky, you know, he’s like the big brother, you know? He was like, “good answer”. I went anyway, that’s really cool. I had to share a moment with you. And when we did the shows on the East Coast we finished up with doing this Monster of Rock Cruise. It’s a big boat. It’s really cool. It goes from Miami to Bahamas and back. When we arrived on the boat, you know, we’re having good weather, everyone was happy and stuff and we ordered one beer. And we were standing just by the bar of the boat and we overheard two guys talking and they said ‘You know what you have to see this new band Hardcore Superstar I heard they are fucking awesome’ And we were like damn we have been going for 21 fucking years. That’s how funny it is. I mean it’s like we’ve been around for 21 years and these guys had just heard about us.”
It’s crazy to think a band with 21 years of longevity and 10 studio albums can still be seen as a “new band” by Hard Rock fans across the globe. They play all the big festivals, they ARE very well known by die hard fans, but it seems the casual Hard Rock fan still has not picked up on these wild fellas. I guess that keeps them motivated to continue to do what they do best!
Hardcore Superstar (along with Sydney Hard Rockers Bad Moon Born) will be opening for Buckcherry on their Australian tour which hits Perth shores on Tuesday the 8th of October at The Rosemount Hotel in North Perth. You can get tickets to this incredible show here.