US rockers in Oslo: We’re ready to make Paris smile

“I don’t know how to prepare. It won’t be a normal show,” Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes said of the band’s upcoming return to Paris after their Oslo concert on Sunday night.

US rockers in Oslo: We’re ready to make Paris smile
The singer said he hopes expectations will be met when the Eagles of Death Metal meet the fans who survived the November 13 massacre in Paris's Bataclan concert hall. 
“It will be so much more than just a show. Many more from Bataclan are coming than I expected. It is so beautiful. It is a display of courage,” he told NTB. 
The American band is back in Europe after their tour was cancelled in the most horrendous way imaginable in Paris on November 13 of last year.
Their Sunday night concert at Sentrum Scene in Oslo was just the second of their ‘Nos Amis Tour’, dedicated to those who were killed. The band was greeted by several minutes of applause when they walked on the Oslo stage. 
“We needed you tonight and you came. Amen,” Hughes told the Norwegian audience. 
Then the party started. Despite their name, the Eagles of Death Metal are about partying and good times. 
The ritual
Just a few hours earlier, Hughes cried his way through at least four interviews with the Norwegian press. On Saturday, he shared the tragedy with the Swedes and in the coming days he will sit down with French media. 
This is Hughes’s self-imposed ritual. He dives into the traumatic story again and again, hoping that it will help him move on. Telling the story, playing rock ’n’ roll and making fans happy. That’s the therapy he has chosen. 
“I cannot negotiate with my emotions. They are still raw. I would have hoped that they would have faded some after three months, but it has not gotten easier. There are things I wish I couldn’t see so clearly, sounds that I can’t stop hearing and smells that I wish I knew nothing about,” he said.
“There are times in which it is so overwhelming that I feel like I can’t breathe,” he said in obvious despair.
Saw friends die
A total of 89 people were killed with Islamist extremists attacked the Bataclan venue. Hughes hid behind the stage curtain. 
“I was waiting for the bastard to reload. I stood there and waited until we could escape while at the same time I could see that three people I cared about were dead,” he said. 
Among the victims were three members of the band’s road crew. But Hughes also stresses the close relationship he has with fans. Two of them died in front of his eyes, hours after they had been shopping together in Paris. 
“I can’t get the picture out of my head,” he said. 
Hughes admitted that during the band’s Saturday night concert in Stockholm, their first after the Paris terror, that he constantly scanned the audience and the venue. 
Despite the tragedy, he said it is easy to get back up on the stage thanks to the support of fans. And Hughes, an outspoken Christian, said he sees it as a sacred duty to complete his job. 
Friends from Turbonegro
It was was not a coincidence that the band chose Scandinavia as the place to restart their tour. The fans here always show up, he said. Support comes not only from the fans but also from Hughes’s friends Thomas Seltzer and Knut Schreiner from the Norwegian band Turbonegro. 
“Tom is like a mother hen,” a smiling Hughes said, adding that Seltzer contacted him just an hour after the Paris attacks. 
Hughes said that it was Turbonegro that got him into rock and roll with their combination of music and fun. The very name Eagles of Death Metal is a joke, he said. 
“It was Turbonegro that moved me in that direction. Our band is about having fun. I have concluded that the best way to move forward is to continue to take it wasy and have fun,” Hughes said. 
The Eagles of Death Metal play Paris on Tuesday.


‘Take On Me’ tops a billion YouTube views: What makes 80s Norwegian hit so enduring?

It’s arguably the biggest success in the history of Norwegian pop, and A-ha’s 1984 pop classic ‘Take On Me’ this week reached a new milestone.

'Take On Me' tops a billion YouTube views: What makes 80s Norwegian hit so enduring?
A-Ha performing in 2015. Photo: AFP

The song combines synthpop with acoustic guitars, keyboards and drums and is indisputably the band’s signature tune and one of the most evocative pop songs of the decade.

That is complemented by a memorable music video which combined live action sequences with black-and-white pencil sketch animated overlays, in what was then an innovative technique called rotoscoping. It won six awards at the 1986 MTV Music Video Awards.

Perhaps the combination of both music and visuals has driven Take On Me into the realms of YouTube royalty. The official video, originally released in 1985, was recently restored and upgraded to 4K resolution to improve visual quality, Warner Music Norway wrote in a press statement.

In any case, A-ha now join a small list of artists with music videos that have tipped the 10-figure mark for total views on the social media website.

While South Korean rapper Psy’s 2012 hit Gangnam Style and Despacito by Luis Fonsi (2017) have famously garnered monstrous numbers of YouTube views, it’s arguably harder for songs which pre-date widespread use of the Internet to rack up those kind of figures.

Take On Me joins two Guns N’ Roses songs (November Rain, Sweet Child o’ Mine), Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit in an elite club of just five songs from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s with over a billion views.

Numb by Linkin Park was the first pre-YouTube video from the 2000s to reach a billion views.

“Obviously the video is unique and it has some features that stand up and stand the test of time,” he shared. “It’s hand drawn which makes it what it is,” A-ha guitarist Magne Furuholmen told Billboard last year.

“The song also seems to resonate with people across time. It’s just very fortunate to have such a big song in our catalogue,” Furuholmen said.

“We probably spent a few years talking it down, trying to get people to focus on new stuff we’re doing. At this point, certainly speaking for myself, I’m just surprised and proud that the song has done so well and still finds an audience,” he added.