Photos by Sanna Charles
Norway's finest export (after oil and black metal), Turbonegro, are headlining this year's leading aural fracas Supersonic Festival in Birmingham this weekend. Recently, it was announced that ex-Dukes Of Nothing frontman, music writer and friend of VICE, Tony Sylvester, was taking the reigns of Scandinavia's sexiest band.
We caught up with the cutest new frontman in town to see if he'd been having the predictably wonderful time a fully-fledged, bona fide rock star should be having, or if he'd bottled it. We also covered Supersonic, boats and curry, with a healthy dose of man-love thrown into the mix.
VICE: Hi Tony, it's Josh from VICE. You good for a quick chat?
Tony Sylvester: Cool, yes I am.
How's fronting Turbonegro been?
Surreal on one hand and remarkably comfortable on another... I think we're all surprised how well and how quickly it came together, especially considering how different my voice is from Hank's [von Helvete, who left last summer]. The surrealness comes from my naiviety about just how big the band are, and what high regard they are held in. I underestimated it, somewhat, as I've only ever been in tiny bands before.
Did you feel you had big boots to fill?
Absolutely. I think that's why they chose me.
Because you have big feet?
I think it's because I do it differently and that's best for all concerned – the band, Hank, me, Turbojugend.
Day-to-day, is it as sexy and rock and roll as we all hope it is?
I've never been in physical contact with as many men before in my life. There's a lot of hugging. It's like a worldwide rugby club shower.
I'm finding it hard to not be distracted by that. Have you played Norway yet?
Not yet – just Hamburg for the world Turbojugend Day, their spiritual home.
How did you go down with the die-hards?
Unbelievably well. It was quite overwhelming.
Are you looking forward to Supersonic Festival?
Oh yeah. It's my favourite festival by far, because:
1) It's on solid ground
2) It's not in the summer
3) It's a nice manageable size
4) There's nice cake
And curry, have you tried the curry?
Is there a signature Supersonic Curry?
I dont know if it's signature but theres definitely curry.
They need to get on that, a bit of marketing. But, yeah count me in.
Are there any plans for a new record?
Yes indeed. As soon as this and the New York show in November are out of the way we'll be writing and recording. Can't say too much at this stage.
No. But it is shaping up quite nicely.
You mentioned earlier you prefer solid ground, why do you say that?
I'm not a fan of mud and outdoor festivals. I'm a little too urban for all that. And I was involved in that near disaster that was the Turbonegro boat trip show in 2003. Four hours on a narrow boat with just vodka and cocaine to entertain the British press. No escape, it was like a war zone by the end. No one had thought through the basic physics of the thing: six musicians on one side of a boat, 50 punters on the other. There was a serious chance of capsize, only halted by a very intimate intermingling of band and press.
Sounds like a saucy maths exam question. Out of interest, what else do you need to entertain the British press?
As a respesentative of the British press, what do you need, other than vodka and cocaine?
Love and attention. Tony, I'm going to call it time, I'm sure you're a busy man. Good luck with Supersonic and the new record, we'll see you down the front.
One last thing: How happy is Happy Tom really?
The happiest man I've ever met in my life.
For more information about Supersonic Festival and to buy tickets, click here.