In Flames Guitarist Bjorn Gelotte Talks Life on the Road, Randy Blythe, Owning a Pub + More
Loudwire recently had the chance to catch up with In Flames guitarist Bjorn Gelotte before the band played New York City's Roseland Ballroom. Gelotte talked all about his relationship with the bands on the bill, as well as offering his view on Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe's incarceration in the Czech Republic. He also spoke about owning a pub with his bandmate, what In Flames will be up to in 2013 and much more.
Describe your relationship with the bands on this bill?
Lamb of God is a fantastic band to work with -- we’ve toured with them before and all the other guys as well. We didn’t know Sylosis before, I didn’t know them before but they are perfect English gentlemen and they’re really good at what they do and of course Hatebreed [laughs], who doesn’t love Hatebreed?
When you heard about Randy Blythe’s arrest, what did you think about this whole situation?
I had such a mixed feeling -- of course you feel really sad about somebody getting hurt as bad as dying from it, at the same time you know how it is onstage. I highly doubt he did anything in rage; I just think that was a very unfortunate accident. I felt really bad, at the same time I felt like [Blythe] handled it really well -- he stood up for it and said, “I’m here, you know where to find me if there’s anything, I won’t hide. If you guys find a case around this I’ll be there,” and that’s a standup thing to do.
Whether you crowd surf or not, there’s always a possibility of getting injured at metal shows ...
It’s sometimes surprising that it doesn’t happen more often. I’ve seen some really crazy pits, circle pits and it could get really violent. Most of the time I think people in the pits try to take care of each other - if somebody falls down they try to pick them up and seem friendly about it. It’s a weird thing – you would never find me in a circle pit or mosh pit.
Does the experience of what Randy went through affect the way you perform onstage or your mindset of what a fan might do when you are onstage?
No. We’re really aware of the audience and we try obviously to spur them to stage dive, well maybe not stage dive but to crowd surf and run around a bit. At the same time we have big confidence in the security working because they’re not there to save us from the fans, they’re there to save the fans – maybe from each other sometimes but they’re actually doing a really good job. It’s a lot of big men taking care of small kids, it’s really funny sometimes -- they just carry them up with one arm.
'Sounds of a Playground Fading' is only a year and a half old, but has there been any progress on material for a new album?
Not really. I know it sounds weird but being on tour, it’s not very inspirational. It’s a great forum to talk about music, it’s a forum to meet other musicians but to create it's not -- it’s also very impractical. It’s a bunch of gear that you need, the right software to work and I’m just like “F--- it, I’ll just wait until I get back home.” I have a studio at home so I just push the power button and I’m rolling.
What do you usually find inspiration from, when creating music?
I don’t look for a theme or story or anything, I just go with whatever melodies seems to be bouncing around in this empty head of mind -- melodies and riffs and when you just warm up or noodle around, ideas come up.
Throughout this year, what has been the funniest moment on tour or the funniest thing a fan has said to you?
We hear all sorts of s—t. [Laughs] One funny moment was on this tour actually. I came into the dressing room in San Antonio and I saw this big stuffed bear in the dressing room and at that moment I knew how this tour was going to be. Sure enough, the bear ended up on the bus and stays with us.
Where did the bear come from and where is it now?
It’s still here – he was a hazard being up in the front lounge so we had to have him in the merch trailer but he’s all dressed up and nice. He joins us for walks and stuff, it’s funny if you’re on the road.
What are your touring plans for 2013?
We have lots of plans actually, there’s going to be a lot of touring – hopefully coming back over here, fairly soon, right after New Year's. We’re doing the 70,000 tons of metal Caribbean Cruise thingy - weather wise it should be fantastic but I don’t know about the stage conditions and all that. We’ll try to link that to some more touring. We, of course, have the summer festival season coming up and we’re going to try to hit a lot of festivals – nothing really confirmed yet. Most of that will be confirmed by a month or two.
[Editor's note: Shortly after the interview, In Flames did in fact confirm a 2013 U.S. tour with Demon Hunter, All Shall Perish and Battlecross.]
You and your bandmate, bassist Peter Iwers, have a restaurant in Sweden 2112, how is that venture going?
It’s great, it’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot of different things to think about. We’ve been talking about it for years -- he wanted a restaurant , I wanted a bar. I like beer, he likes food. It was hard in the beginning to mix the two because it was really fine dining, great menus, a fantastic chef but now we've tried to relax it a little bit, so it’s not that white table cloth setting. It’s more like burgers and beer which works really good with the rock, metal attitude – for grownups.
Would you ever think about bringing it to the States?
I would love to, that’s a whole different ball game. We’re really strict in Sweden when it comes to alcohol and there’s a lot of bulls—t you have to deal with in order to get the license. I have no idea whatsoever how to get a liquor license here but that’s probably in the future.
Have you learned any cooking techniques from being in the restaurant / bar business?
Yes, to make an awesome coleslaw for instance. It’s not as easy as you think. I’ve learned to not be afraid to try out things – it’s not science, it’s very much feeling when you season food and the right temperatures and everything.
When you see the [workers in the kitchen] they have a stove on all day and it’s really inspiring to see them cooking for 50 people and they do it in no time. I haven’t been in the kitchen working – I’ve just seen them and it’s like, “Okay I’ll stay in the bar,” and I’m not even working there, I’m on the outside of the bar drinking beers – one of the perks of being the owner.