Motorpsycho was founded in October 1989 in Trondheim, a small industrial city on the mid-western coast of Norway. The first line-up was Bent Sæther (vocals, bass), Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan (guitar, vocals) and Kjell Runar “Killer” Jenssen (drums). They came up with their band name while watching a Russ Meyer triple-feature in London. Two of the film titles (“Mudhoney” and “Faster Pussycat”) were already taken by other bands, the name “Motorpsycho” was still available. Their first album was “Lobotomizer” in 1991, after which Killer quit and Håkon Gebhardt took over on drums, forming the nucleus of Motorpsycho for many years to come. But it was the release of their third album, “Demon Box”, which finally brought them acknowledgement and amazing reviews all across Scandinavia and Europe. Demon Box contains everything from brutal pop to long, gliding progressive themes and industrial terror visions. It was voted best album by the norwegian press and was later nominated for a Grammy.
Motorpsycho toured extensively across Germany, Benelux and Italy, gaining fans wherever they went. They released two EPs (Mountain and Another Ugly EP), each showing an amazing diversity of styles, Motorpsycho’s trademark. After playing big-name festivals like Roskilde and Lowlands, the band went into the studio to record the follow-up album to Demon Box, released on EMI/Harvest in Norway and on the newly-founded Stickman Records for the rest of the world. “Timothy’s Monster” contains almost two hours of passionate rock, heavy psychedelia and even a couple of sweet pop ditties. Due to it’s monster-length it was released as a double-CD and a three-LP box-set with a full-color poster and a vinyl etching on the sixth side.
After the release of Timothy’s Monster, Motorpsycho switched from EMI to Sony Records in Norway. And they’ve written and recorded such an amazing amount of music as to be almost frightening. Album followed album, every year. Add to this the countless singles, tracks for compilations, even entire country-n-western-soundtracks! And their perhaps strangest release to date was their split-single with old-school-rocker Alice Cooper on Musical Tragedies Records.
As if that isn’t enough, Motorpsycho also started up a series of live albums, under the name of “Roadwork”. Volume 1 with the wonderful sub-title “Heavy Metall iz a poze, hardt rock iz a laifschteil” was released in March 1999. Volume 2, “The MotorSource Massacre”, was released at the end of 2000 and is a recording together with The Source and Deathprod at the Kongsberg Jazzfestival in 1995.
The year 2000 started off with a bang, with their album “Let Them Eat Cake” going into the norwegian charts at #1 as well as entering the german charts – a first for both Motorpsycho and Stickman Records. The same thing happened in 2001 with the release of their album Phanerothyme: from 0 to #1 in Norway, and another german chart entry, this time three spots higher than the year before.
2002 continued in an upward spiral, with two tours and the international success of their September release, “It’s a Love Cult”, this time charting in 4 european countries and licensed in Japan. The US is also finally starting to pay attention to Motorpsycho, as proved during their short east coast tour in October of 2002.
2003 and 2004 found Motorpsycho taking a “break” – if you can call it that. The time off was spent re-releasing some hard-to-find older releases, such as the vinyl version of the Timothy’s Monster boxset and the very sought after Tussler soundtrack (with bonus tracks of course). The band also joined the other members of “The International Tussler Society” for some shows in Norway in the summer and went on to record and release "Motorpsycho Presents the International Tussler Society", an album + DVD, in 2004 . During this not-so-quiet break they also released their recordings of the Motorpsycho & Jaga Jazzist Horns sessions for the “In The Fishtank” series on Konkurrent (Europe) and Touch-and Go Records (USA). And let's not forget their first-ever Japan tour!
2005 brought some sad news: long-time drummer Gebhardt quit the band in order to concentrate more on his numerous other musical projects. But Bent and Snah didn't let this discourage them and shortly thereafter went into The Void Studio in Eindhoven Holland and began work on "Black Hole / Blank Canvas".
"Black Hole / Blank Canvas" was released in March 2006 to much critical acclaim all across Europe. Having forgone the strings and horns so prevalent on albums like "Let Them Eat Cake", "Phanerothyme" and "It's A Love Cult", the instinctive side of Motorpsycho is what's on display here; the arrangements were kept comparatively sparse, and the boys played everything, including drums, themselves. Snah and Bent clearly felt it was time to do or die and opted - in finest motorpsychodelic tradition - for 'kicking out the jams' as the lingo has it. The result is an album that rocks like little else in the MP canon, and for what it's worth, shows what Motorpsycho sound like before they start thinking about what they sound like.
The album release was followed by a European tour and some festival gigs, with the amazing Jacco van Rooij (35007, 7Zuma7, Suimasen) on drums.
In mid-2007 Bent and Snah joined forces with local drummer Kenneth Kapstad. Energized with being a "real" band again that can practise 5 days a week - and with an excellent new drummer renowned for his improvisation capabilities - the band went into the studio in late 2007 to record their latest masterpiece, "Little Lucid Moments", which will see the light of day on March 28, 2008.
For loads of information, an almost-complete discography, photos, lyrics, guitar tabs, gossip and more check out the unofficial Motorpsycho homepage (see link below).
Updated on October 10, 2007.
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