The old material was thrown out, and the band started all over again. New songs were written. The only two songs that survived the “clean-up” were Scales To Skin and Crusade (Gonna Start a Fire) from the single they recorded after Björn Clarin left the band. Apart from writing new Sator material, Chips was also hired as session guitarist and engineer for the second Blue for Two album “Songs From a Pale and Bitter Moon”. He can also be heard on their debut album from 1986.
THE RECORDING OF SLAMMER!
Mon 6th – The band entered the Music-A-Matic studio in Gothenburg with Michael Ilbert as a producer and engineer. The guys first met Ilbert during the recording of the Sator Codex album almost two years earlier. The recording budget was extremely limited, so the sessions would have to take place during the hours whenever the studio was available. This would continue for the following 3 weeks (between Blue for Two sessions) mostly late at night. Seven backing tracks (drums and bass only) were recorded. What You Are is What You Get/ So Cold Without a Gun/Wasting Time/Gamma Gamma Hey!/Snakepit Rebel(Originally titled Dog Shit City)/Bughouse Baby/Angel Angel.
Tue 18th – Kent, Chips, Michael, Hans and Ilbert stacked all the gear into a rental car and drove off to Brussels.
Wed 19th – The band arrived to “Daylight Studios” at midnight to start working on the backing tracks they recorded in Gothenburg. Gilles Martin has been hired as an additional producer. Most of the album is recorded during the next 11 days.
That was all the recording budget (30 000 SEK) allowed. To keep the costs down, the studio was booked between midnight and 8.00 in the mornings.
Even though the band had been in a studio before, it was very much a learning process for all of them, including Michael Ilbert. This was his first album as a producer.
Chips – “We knew exactly what we wanted, but not how to get it, so we tried everything, sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we failed completely. Amplifiers caught on fire, and guitars got smashed. We destroyed a lot of equipment along the way. It was all done very fast and without much thinking.”
Kent told a German magazine some years later: “We didn’t have a clue on singing techniques, like warming up for example. We went in to the studio, shouted at the top of our lungs for 15 minutes until our voices broke down. That was our idea of a good vocal take.”
Kent – “The song Snakepit Rebel was first recorded as Dog Shit City with different lyrics and another completely different melody line. Thankfully we came to our senses and reworked the words and vocals.”
Gilles Martin, already an experienced engineer and producer, was a great help to the band and Ilbert. They learned a lot about recording and producing during the sessions with Gilles. He had been recommended by Minimal Compact, a Brussels based band, whom Sator Codex supported on a couple of gigs in 1986.
Hans – “We really learned a lot from Gilles. The whole atmosphere was very chaotic. We slept on floors, our drummer disappeared for a couple of days, cars broke down, we got into fights with the locals and so on. One night; on our way home from the studio we even got stopped by police officers with machine guns. We seemed to attract chaos and trouble wherever we went.”
Since some of the lyrics were still incomplete, most of the daytime was spent writing.
Thurs 3rd – Ilbert and the boys returns to Gothenburg with 5 finished songs. So Cold Without a Gun and Snakepit Rebel were still lacking of vocals. The money was all gone by that time, so all further recordings were postponed.
Michael – “We knew we had a great album on the way but we didn’t have the money to finish it. We were all unemployed and Radium Records was a very small label.”
Kent – “We sweeped floors, cleaned toilets and even painted the goddamn ceiling at the studio for some extra free hours.”
Mon 14th – Chips embarked on a 27 date Blue For Two tour. Between the gigs he also engineered several studio sessions with various projects.
Tue 22nd – Scales to Skin backing tracks at Music-A-Matic studio.
The Blue for Two tour continues.
Wed 7th – Keyboard tracks on Scales to Skin.
More work for Chips engineering for The Stonefunkers.
Tue1st – Sator was back at Music-A-Matic with some newly earned studio time (mostly sneaking in after midnight).
Thurs 3rd – Pigvalley beach was written.
Mon 7th – The backing tracks to the Eurodisco-joke Oh Mama were recorded.
Chips – “We even talked about recording the Kiss song Heaven’s on Fire, but it never got past rehearsals.”
Mon 28th — Thurs 31 – During these sessions, Pigvalley Beach was recorded and the missing vocals on the last two Brussels tracks gets done. The new version of Scales to Skin was also completed.
Fri 1st – Mon 11th – During several short sessions, the last missing “things” were put down on tape, 23BC and What Fucking Vibrations? (both written previous summer) was recorded on the very last day.
Tue 12th – Sator and Michael Ilbert began mixing the unfinished tracks from the Brussels sessions. They had to be done by Saturday.
Sun 17th – The running order of the album was decided. Angel Angel and Oh Mama was dropped from the album. The first is still unreleased, but the band would return to Oh Mama later.
Mon 18th – The album “Slammer!” was mastered in Stockholm.
Wed 20th – A video for Gamma Gamma Hey! was filmed by Erik Pauser. Michael was out of town and would have to be cut in later.
Mon 25th – Rehearsals for the upcoming tour began. During the month, Chips was also working as an engineer on an album by Destiny, a Swedish “Dark-metal” band.
Tues 9th Sator recorded a song called “Hellraiser” with Freddie Wadling at Music-A-Matic studio. The name of the band was Sator Cortex. (As a joke, ’cause it was never actually planned to be released). The song was written by Wadling and remains unreleased. The tape was rediscovered by accident in 2003.
Chips: “Somehow we all forgot about that session. It was one night only. I don’t remember that much about it. There was so much stuff going on all the time in our lives. Can’t even remember who recorded it. It was probably me. Freddie played bass and took the lead vocals and Kent was out of town so Kent’s guitar was added later. I played slide guitar and Hasse made some weird noises. I found the song when I was looking for something else. It’s a one-chord heavy track which is too cool to be thrown away. I’m sure it will be released eventually. We just have to find some time to mix it”.
Kent: “We also wrote and rehearsed another song together in 1989 called “I don’t know how to say goodbye to you”. It was meant to be a one-off single but record label politics or something made it impossible. That’s why we dropped the project I guess. Sadly no tape of it exists anymore but I recall it as a really good one”.
Wed 24th – Stockholm: The first ever Sator gig. At the “Radium night” at the Ritz club. It was also the first night on “The Intergalactic Tour”. It wouldn’t take the band around the universe but it would be the boys’ longest tour so far. Between the dates there was more session work for Chips with Blue for Two and Destiny.
Tue 1st – Slammer! was released and the “Intergalactic tour” continued.
Tue 8th – Michael did his part for the Gamma Gamma Hey! video.
Thurs 10th – The band returned to Oh Mama. The song is actually a cover, a recent dance-hit by the Swedish girl duo “Lili & Sussi“. It was meant to be some kind of joke. Sator’s version of Eurodisco, but when the boss at Radium Records later got to hear the finished track, he instantly insisted on a release.
The “Intergalactic Tour” continued.
Thurs 14th – All four Sator boys showed up at Music-A-Matic studio for some quick backing vocals on a couple of Destiny tracks.
Thurs 21st – Guitar tracks for Oh Mama.
Tue 26th – Keyboard tracks for Oh Mama at Commandante studio in Gothenburg.
Tue 3rd – A new version of Pigvalley Beach, intended as the b-side of the band’s disco single was mixed at Music-A-Matic studio.
The “Intergalactic Tour” continued.
Fri 27th – Gothenburg: Freddie Wadling, of Cortex/Blue for Two, joined the band on stage at the Nirvana club and took the lead vocals on Shotgun Treatment/Saviour and shared the vocals with Kent on the old Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood hit Jackson. The show ended with a version of Union Carbide Productions Ring My Bell with the “Carbide” Ebbott Lundberg on lead vocals.
Fri 3rd – A support gig to The Ramones was cancelled. Sad news to the band who’d been looking forward to this a lot.
Fri 10th – Oh Mama final mix. Michael Ilbert got drafted by the army. That meant trouble for the band since he was touring with Sator as a sound engineer. Matters got solved when the army let Ilbert return home again a couple of days later.
The “Intergalactic Tour” could continue.
Sat 25th – Norway: Gig at “Sardines” in Oslo.
Fri 1st – Denmark: Sator played The Roskilde festival, their biggest show up to this date.
Tue 5th – Chips recorded The Leather Nun at Music-A-Matic.
Fri 15th – The band made their first trip to New York, where Kent got blood poisoning after cutting himself on a beer can!.
Mon 18th – Wed 20th – 3 shows in Manhattan.
Fri 22nd – When the band returned to Sweden they were met by surprising but good news. The Oh Mama single, released a few days ago, was already sold out and more copies were being pressed. The record cover was a painting by Gustave Courbet from 1866 and shows a nude women from the waist down. Because of the cover some shops refused to carry the single. The single was withdrawn at first, but Radium Records made a clever move by turning the covers inside out and print only the band name and the song title on the new front. The “offensive” picture was hidden inside the cover instead.
Hans – “We all thought this was extremely funny with all the shops carrying the single with the sleeve they hated without knowing it. We performed the song for almost two years, then the joke wasn’t funny anymore.”
The “Intergalactic tour” continued.
Sat 13th – During the Hultsfred festival, in the south of Sweden, the “Sator-mania” got out of control when 5000 people were trying to get into the venue which had a capacity of only 3000. A lot of people were injured and several taken to hospital.
Sun 21st – Hans and Chips helped out with some backing vocals on Stillborn’s album.
Tue 27th – Sator made their first trip to Finland. That night they played in Vasa.
That gig was one of 7 shows in Finland.
Even more tour dates.
Fri 21st – Stockholm: Sator was joined on stage by “Lili & Sussi” (The original artists of “Oh Mama”) at the Ritz for a surprise encore.
Tour dates in Sweden and Germany.
Thurs 8th – The last part of the everlasting “Intergalactic Tour” starts in Helsingborg.
Mon 26th – Sator supported Sort Sol on the last show of the tour in Copenhagen.
This was regarded as one of the best shows ever by Sator.
After all those shows in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Germany, the band really needed a break before it was time to start writing new material for a follow up album.