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A Dirty Dozen with CHIPS KIESBYE from SATOR – July 2022

| 13 July 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Sator’s third single from the long-awaited album Return of The Barbie-Q-Killers is their cover of Devo’s “Shimmy Shake”! Chips Kiesbye of Sator comments: “One of the most important bands in the history of music sent us an unreleased song. That’s huge in our world! Charlie Storm from Exit North guests on keyboards. Q. Are We Not Men? A: We Are Sator!” In 1994, Sator released the cover album Barbie-Q-Killers, where the band made their own versions of “obscure” punk songs! The album quickly became a favorite among the band’s fans and the desire/demand for a sequel has haunted them ever since. After 20 years of waiting, it’s finally here. Sator – Return of The Barbie-Q-Killers!” We get Chips to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

In 1994 we released an album called Barbie-Q-Killers Vol 1. A covers album but with a different approach. Most of the songs were unreleased at the time by the original artists. We found them on bootlegs and live cassettes. I also wrote letters to members of bands and asked them if they had any leftover songs from the early days.  This was long before the internet so it was hard finding people. When I got in contact with Bill ”Pat Fear” Bartell of White Flag it really started to happen much faster. He knew a lot of people and he helped me to get in touch with many of them. We ended up becoming close friends and we stayed in contact until Bill sadly passed away in 2013. Me and Kent also ended up as members of White Flag and did several European tours with them. Since it was called Barbie-Q-Killers Vol 1 there must be a volume 2. We started recording songs for that purpose in 1995 and has kept doing so over the years whenever we found a suitable song. Volume 2 will finally be released now after working on it for 25 years!. It’s a double album and it’s called Return of The Barbie-Q-Killers. It’s basically a tribute to the punk and new wave era 1976-1981. We cover artists like Devo, 999, Red Kross and many more. There are five bonus tracks on the vinyl.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I think our new album really answers that questions. When punk came along it showed us that anyone can start a band. Before that I thought artists came from space or some magical land. When we heard the first albums by The Clash, Ramones and The Damned life changed over night. I thought I can do this too and I immediately started looking for people to start a band with. This was in 1977. It took a while to find the right people but I’ve been playing with Mikael our drummer since 1979!

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Those three albums that I mentioned really started it all but when the door was open we quickly found more great bands like The Saints, Buzzcocks, The Boys, The Drones, The Lurkers. The Stranglers… The list goes on forever. Then you started looking for the roots of punk and found all the great 50’s 60’s and 70’s stuff too.  I still find new great things all the time. It never stops.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Elton John because he’s a great singer and songwriter and it would be interesting to see what would happen. And we would not say no Jeff Lynne or Paul McCartney.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

Hans our keyboard player likes fishing, Mikael has a huge movie collection. I think we all like to be out in the nature when we have time off. But it’s very much music 24/7. I do a lot of work with other bands in my studio too so there’s not much spare time.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I think the ”Sator sound” is a mix between punk, powerpop, hard rock (not metal) We don’t really feel part of any specific genre. We end up somewhere between the lines. Like The Dictators or Cheap Trick maybe. I wouldn’t say cringe but more surprised when they mention us along with some sleaze rock bands or metal acts. We are basically a rock ’n’ roll band. But we don’t thank that much about it. We do our thing and let others struggle with the definitions.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I would say that Hans or Heikki cooks, Mikael gets the drinks and Kent brings out the acoustic guitar. I would probably DJ before the acoustic guitar shows up and then do the dishes, ha ha!

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I get star starstruck all the time. Me and Kent also plays with the UK punk legends The Boys so we end up meeting a lot of old heroes when we tour with them. Many of the bands we grew up with. Most of them are really nice people and easy to talk to but you’re still a fan inside. The biggest ”star struck” was probably when we met the Ramones. Sator were headlining some festival along with them back in the 1990’s . We met them at the airport. I froze up and could hardly speak english suddenly. So I pushed Mikael forward and said say something ! But they turned out to be nice people too.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Apart from the shows it’s all the people you meet along the way. We have friends from all over the world thanks to music. It’s hard to think of a life without music but maybe I could have been an architect. It’s very interesting with all the new ideas of eco-friendly building and solar power and all that stuff.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Haha. That’s a tough question. Maybe what has kept the band together for so long apart from the mutual interest in music. The answer is that we are also really good friends with a sense of humor. I guess we’re more like brothers than friends. It’s a bit boring to answer what Sator means. We’ve got that question a million times. But it’s not that bad actually. You have to remember that there are new fans coming in so we will get that question again. So here we go, Sator is latin for something like ”creator” Hungarian for ”tent” or Japanese for ”sugar”. The truth is that it didn’t mean anything to us. It was just a cool name. And it has nothing to do with Satan.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Maybe we haven’t always done the best thing career-wise. We’ve always trusted the heart more than the brain. I think that’s one of the reasons we are still together. So I can’t really say we regret anything. Maybe we should have done more albums.  It’s been too long between them. But life happens and it’s not over yet.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I’d love to be a ”fly on the wall” when Little Richard recorded Tutti Frutti. Rock’n’roll started at the very top and has never been better than that. Without Little Richard Sator would not exist.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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