SATOR CODEX BIOGRAPHY


1981

JANUARY 1981
Sator Codex was formed.

Chips Kiesbye - Guitar, vocals
Peo Ericsson - Guitar, vocals
Anders Rehnstedt - Bass
Michael Olsson - Drums

Leif Rosén joined the band with his synthesizer in April. He had previously played with Zymotic Swiebeck in 1979/80, a punk band that never performed live (other members unknown).

The early Sator Codex music could be described as equal parts of Dead Kennedys and Black Sabbath to simplify it. Chips and Peo brought along some of the last written Brülbåjz songs to the new band. Like "Jag vill ut" and "Idol".
"Jag vill ut" was actually recorded by Troublemakers in 1996 for the Sator tribute album.

Michael: "We wanted a non-punk name to mark the new start. After lots of suggestions like X-con, Gigas Codex, Sator Arepo... We agreed upon a mix between the two last ones. It's Latin but it doesn't really mean anything when you put the two words together. Sator means something like creator, bringer of light or sower. (It has nothing to do with Satan). Codex means book among other things."

Chips: "We had no idea what it meant. It just sounded pretty cool to us and it differed us from all the other bands in town. If we had known how many times we would be asked about the name we would have called us "The 5 rocking guys" instead."

APRIL 1981
The first Sator Codex show took place probably in April in the band's rehearsal place, a basement in the middle of town.
Leif Rosén had just joined the band but did only participate on one song 'cause he was still learning the set.
It was sold out which meant 60—70 people. Support band was Runo Spotters, this night reinforced by Kent Norberg on guitar.
As intro the band used Throbbing Gristle's "2nd annual report" album.

Chips: "The audience wasn't exactly thrilled but it didn't really matter. We felt like pioneers and we knew that we were great. The world was wrong!"

The music still had a big part punk in it but during the year the music turned darker and the punk influences got replaced by others, mainly UK bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Killing Joke, Bauhaus and everything else on the 4AD label.

Michael: "Another big influence was the "video explosion" We had big parties at our rehearsal place every weekend watching a lot (!!) of horror movies and drinking beer.
Movies like Texas Chainsaw massacre, Tourist trap, Cannibal Holocaust, Beyond.
Horror and fear was always present. It a was very strange time."

JUNE 1981
The original line-up only played one more show. It was at a big graduation party for all the schools in town.
The band's brutal music and the weird stage-show in a near total darkness (with a faked execution of a mannequin) did not go down well with the audience. The promoter refused to pay for the show, the band's already bad reputation got even worse.

Michael: "We were said to be everything from drug addicts to satanists, all untrue but it made it impossible to get any more shows for a long time. This among other things caused frustration and problems in the group."

DECEMBER 1981
The band fell apart. Peo left to form Oi Division with Kent Norberg, Laban Söderström, Dan Rigtorp (who will much much later do a show as drummer with Baby Demons), and Per Karlsson.
Anders Rehnstedt left the music business. He now works in a gold mine in Arizona.


1982

JANUARY—MAY 1982
Hans Gäfvert joined the band on synthesizer.

Hans: "I was at a new years eve party in town when Michael approached me. I followed him down to the band's basement for a jam session. I'm surprised that I sat my foot in there after the things I'd heard about those weirdoes. A couple of days later they asked me to join the band".

Hans had previously been the a Ska-band called "Svensk Massage". Some time later the band found a singer in Zip Jonsson who was a friend of Hans.

Spring 1982 line-up
Chips Kiesbye - Guitar, synthesizer
Hans Gäfvert - Synthesizer
Leif Rosén - Synthesizer
Zip Jonsson - Vocals
Michael Olsson - Drums

During the spring this line up did two sold out shows which was very successful.
Even the audience loved it for the first time. But the situation in the band was not good.

Chips: "Most of us didn't like the new all-synthesizers sound or the stage show with 3 dancers! We were turning into a symphonic synth band! Not my idea of fun. So the band broke up again".

Leif Rosén left to join IQ 19 and later Blue Crow Men before leaving music entirely to become a shaman instead.

JUNE 1982
At this years graduation party Sator Codex got a second chance from the promoter to repair last years chaos. He had heard so much good about "the new" Sator Codex. It was not to happen that way.
Since half the band had already left Hans, Michael and Chips wrote some new songs in a couple of days and played the show anyway under the group name 337.
The band looked like straight from a horror movie!
Chips was dressed all in black and masked like a terrorist/bank robber, Hans as the elephant man and Michael looked like a zombie.
The music was close to industrial noise with lyrics about rape, murder, drugs and so on. Most of the audience really hated the noise and screaming from the stage.
The promoter wasn't to happy either and once again the band didn't get paid and it was all back to scratch again... Not a very clever career move.
A tape of this show still exists and was part of the "Forgotten Songs" cassette.

Chips: "We now also lost our rehearsal place and it was all in shambles really. It didn't look good at all. I thought about leaving town for good."

JULY—DECEMBER 1982
It took several months to find a new place. But after finding an empty bomb-shelter to rehearse in the band started working again. Now it was back to a harder guitar oriented sound.
They tried out several new members but it didn't really work out. Peo Ericsson returned for a short period on bass and Laban Söderström also tried the bass spot for a week. Laban was later in Blue Crow Men (You'll hear this name again). He also played with Space Age Baby Jane in the 90's.
But nothing really worked so the band decided to continue without a bass player.

Some of the songs written during this period was "Stuck in the ground" and "Final Curtain".
In December a scheduled come back show as "Sator Codex and Friends" got cancelled 'cause the band still had no line-up. Instead two bands played.
Peo, Michael and Mia Wikdahl became Friends doing among other things a punk version of Popcorn!
Chips and Hans did their part of the job as The Flying Flopbops, a "synth-a-billy" band doing covers.

Hans: "This was just a one-off thing quickly thrown together so we didn't have to cancel the show completely. it was supposed to be like a cross between Suicide and The Silicon Teens".

Chips: "The audience didn't exactly go crazy about us, I must say, but it was a perfect messy ending for a messy year".


1983

After living in Stockholm for a while Zip Jonsson returns and persuades Chips, Michael and Hans to give it one more try. But no synthesizers and dancers this time.

This became the next line-up:
Chips Kiesbye - Guitar
Hans Gäfvert - Synthesizer
Zip - Vocals
Michael Olsson - Drums

Howling was written but was called "Schäferhund". Most of the songs only had swedish lyrics but the band often talked about doing English lyrics instead.

APRIL 1983
The music got better and for the first time the band got a short article in the local paper. But it did not work this time either. After just one show at a local talent contest, one million arguments and a thousand "major crisises" the band went to pieces.
Mia Wikdahl was added on synthesizer for the talent contest show. The band did not win.
After the break-up Zip moved to Germany to become a painter and has not been heard from since.
Mia Wikdahl eventually ended up in Stukas, who did several records in the 90's.
Michael left the band to join Buy Six. Chips left as well. The only remaining members were Hans and Zip.

Hans: "Zip was a great showman but not really a singer, and we all wanted to move on to something new. There was no way this band could have stayed together!"

JUNE 1983
Sator Codex had been checking out Kent and Björn Clarin's band "Buy Six" a for a while and was very impressed by they way they sang harmonies. Michael had already played one show with "Buy Six" in early June. Chips was the sound engineer that night.

Chips: "We had known Kent for a long time and we always ended up talking about music at parties so I guess it really was just a matter of time before we ended up in the same band. He just to come to our rehearsals in -81 and we would play Monkees and Beatles songs until the other guys arrived. We talked about me joining Buy Six as well but I guess it was just part of a plan to reform Sator Codex with Kent and Björn."

A new line-up, another change in music and the lyrics now in English.
Chips Kiesbye - Guitar
Hans Gäfvert - Synthesizer
Björn Clarin - Vocals, synthesizer
Kent Norberg - Bass, vocals
Michael Olsson - Drums

The very first thing the band did was to enter the "Björbo Studion" to record "Final Curtain" (A song from the last line-up with new lyrics) and She Falls (A reworked Buy Six number).

Kent: "It was actually done as a demo for some German record label, but nothing came out of it".

The rest of the old material was thrown away. A few songs were kept from the Buy Six repertoire.

Michael: "Finally, after 2 years of chaos, the search was over. It all fell into place".

Lots of songs were written during the summer and autumn of 83. Some would end up on the "Wanna start a fire?" album (Leech for example).


1984

JANUARY 1984
The band entered "Björbostudion" to record their debut single. The song Howling was another leftover with new lyrics from the previous line-up. Middle East Mix was written just a couple of days earlier.
The first show with the new line-up took place at "Pelarsalen" in Borlänge.
During the next months the rehearsal room was filled with hand painted covers for the single.

Björn: "It was horrible. We found out that 1000 copies is a lot when you have to glue them together, spray paint them and make a hand print on every copy. It took several weeks and the place smelled paint for months!"

AUGUST 1984
After some problems with the pressings the single is finally released on the band's own label. The reviews were good and the single was even played on national radio. Sales were harder but it helped the band to get shows outside their hometown. This autumn the band played more shows than the first 3 years put together.

Chips: "We even did several shows in a row. We had never done that in any of our bands before. We were finally on tour and we loved it!"

Kent: "We were supposed to support The Cult in Karlstad which was a big step for us. The Cult came, checked the place and decided it wasn't big enough for them. They just took all the booze and left but they didn't take the beer so we had lots of beer for free. Great! We played the show anyway".

DECEMBER 1984
The year ended with a homecoming show in Borlänge in front of 400 people. The biggest show for the band so far. A very good end of a very good year.

Hans: "It felt like we were finally going somewhere. We got shows all over Sweden, they played our record on the radio. At least we had a chance now".


1985

JANUARY—AUGUST 1985
Kent got drafted by the army so the band could only rehearse every weekend. Michael and Hans kept working as salesmen at a hardware store and Chips worked nights at a bakery.
Only a few shows could be booked and most of the time was spent on writing
new material. An 8-song demo was made on a porta studio: Inflammable Hymn, Sacred Blade, Scapegoat's final act, Kiss me and bleed, Stuck in the ground, Master of the universe, You need me and The man who's never been. The last three would show up again on the debut album. The demo was sent to every record label in Sweden. They all said, "No thanks. You must sing in Swedish to get a deal." But two of the demos were released on a cassette compilation called Bai-Bang released by the Gothenburg based fanzine Res Publika.
The band was also invited by the radio DJ Lars Aldman (The John Peel of Sweden) to do a show in Gothenburg for the radio show "Bommen" (who actually first played the Howling single).

Chips: "We started to go to Gothenburg every weekend cause there was always something interesting happening. Peo Ericsson, our first guitar player, had moved there as well which meant that we had somewhere to stay. I think we met Freddie Wadling, the singer in Cortex, at a Psychic TV show and he introduced us to the guys at Radium Records".

Hans: "We had a meeting at the Radium office and we said -Hey we wanna make a record on your label. They said we haven't heard you, are you any good? So we told them yeah we're great! That's how we got signed".

Michael: "They wanted to start with a single but we told them that we had already done a single so it's time for an album now".

The band also got signed by the booking agency DMR who had actually heard the demo. It was pretty obvious that Gothenburg was the town for Sator Codex.

AUGUST—NOVEMBER 1985
At end of August the band started working in Music-A-Matic studio in Gothenburg with Henryk Lipp producing. After two weeks 9 songs were recorded and mixed. Leech, Reality, The man who's never been, Fete for lost souls, Howling, You need me, Chimera, Party Frenzy and Master of the universe. All songs written by the band apart from the last one which is the classic Hawkwind number. This became the Wanna start a fire? album. A take of Inflammable Hymn exists as well but it was never finished.
At a band meeting just prior to the recording sessions Björn Clarin informed the rest of the band that he wanted to leave the group. It was decided that he would stay until the end of the year to record the album and fulfil the already booked tour including a show in Oslo, Norway, the first one outside Sweden.

Kent: "We all knew that the band had reached a turning point even before we recorded the album. We wanted to go in different directions. We wanted to leave the dark gothic sound behind us. Björn wanted to more synth based stuff and we wanted more guitars. The album was like a document of Sator Codex 82-85. We just wanted to get it down on tape and move on. Sadly I now think we picked the wrong songs. There were a couple of much better ones that we just threw away".

DECEMBER 1985
Björn Clarin left the band to start Blue Crow Men with Leif Rosén and Laban Söderström, two other ex-members.
A single from the album was released. Leech backed with She falls from the -83 session.
Chips and Kent took over the vocals.

Kent: "I don't think we ever thought about getting another singer. We were a too close unit to bring someone new in".


1986

JANUARY 1986

SATOR CODEX:
Chips Kiesbye - Guitar, vocals
Hans Gäfvert - Synthesizer
Kent Norberg - Bass, vocals
Michael Olsson - Drums

The exodus started. Chips moved to Gothenburg and Kent to Stockholm. On January 29th the new Sator Codex made their debut at "Barowiak" in Uppsala.

Hans: "After 5 years of looking we had found the perfect line up and the show was great. We didn't get paid but were promised everything for free in the bar. That was a very bad business deal for the club actually".

FEBRUARY—JULY 1986
The album was released and the first major tour was booked. it ended May 17 in Oslo with a big show together with Backstreet Girls, Cortex and Holy Toy.
The band took the summer off. Kent, Michael and Hans all moved to Gothenburg. Chips also found time for guitar sessions on Blue For Two's first album. Henryk Lipp and Freddie Wadling's act.

AUGUST 1986
After the summer holiday the band kept on touring. At the "Hultsfred Festival" 3000 people saw the band. Another record broken.

SEPTEMBER—OCTOBER 1986
The single Scales to Skin/Crusade (Gonna start a fire) was recorded. This was the first evidence of the new faster and harder sound.

Chips: "We talked all the time about changing the group's name but the shows kept on coming so I guess we chickened out and kept on going for while".

Chips went on tour with Blue for Two. On October 24 a quick video is filmed for Crusade.

NOVEMBER—DECEMBER 1986
Chips returned to Sator Codex and The "Maniac Misery Tour" tour continued.
It would take the band from the south of Sweden all the way up to Tromsö in Norway. (Far above the polar circle!) It was a very hard winter in Norway this year and the band's van crashes two(!) times during this tour.

Michael: "The tour in Norway was a totally crazy adventure. So much bad things happened that you could write a whole book about those two weeks alone. Car accidents, no gas money, rednecks trying to beat us up, engine failure in the middle of nowhere and so on. But at the same time it was great fun and it really tightened up the band".

The tour ended back in Gothenburg on December 12
At the end of the month the new single was released. It was pressed in only 1250 copies which were sold out in a week. For some reason no further copies were ever made.


1987

JANUARY—MARCH 1987
This was a pretty slow time for the band. Chips recorded an album with Marie & The Wildwood Flowers and a solo track (heavily influenced by Stravinskij) for the compilation "Gothenburg 86/87".
Hans (Under the pseudonym Dikko) and Michael also contributed to the album. They both appeared on a track by Peter Hagdahl.

Some new songs were written. And a new rehearsal place had to be found again.
In March a couple of songs (Scales to Skin and Leech) were recorded live at "Errols" in Gothenburg for a TV-show.

APRIL—MAY 1987
Chips worked on a single with Blue For Two. He also engineered lots of sessions with various bands in the Music-A-Matic Studio between the Sator Codex gigs.

The last Sator Codex tour took place between April 1st until it ended were it all began. In Borlänge on May 29th, after six years and 90 shows Sator Codex played their last show and was gone forever. All the old material was scrapped, apart from the last single and "Leech" which would still show up occasionally as an encore for another year.

Previous | Next