Former IN FLAMES Guitarist JESPER STRÖMBLAD 'Saved' THE RESISTANCE By Quitting
April 30, 2016
Bassist Rob Hakemo of Swedish extreme metallers THE RESISTANCE was interviewed on the April 29 edition of "The Rock Show With Gully And Joe" (click here for more info). You can now listen to the podcast using the widget below.
Speaking about the circumstances that led up to THE RESISTANCE's split with guitarist Jesper Strömblad (ex-IN FLAMES) shortly after the release of the band's sophomore full-length album, "Coup De Grâce", Rob said: "Actually, in 2013, [Jesper] was good. He was clean and he was sober, and he was getting in shape and all that. And then in 2014, everything went back again. So he's an alcoholic or drug addict. I think he doesn't want to go sober. He thinks that two weeks [sober] is good, and then he can drink some. And then he's gone for a month, and then he's back and he's not drinking [for a short while]. It's a sad thing, and we really tried to help him and wanted the best [for him]. So when he told us that 'I'm leaving the band,' we were relieved. We were really relieved."
Rob went on to say that Jesper's continuing battle with alcoholism is "tragic." But, he added, "at the same time, he saved the band [by leaving]. It's a weird thing, but that's how it is."
Hakemo also talked about his current relationship with Strömblad, less than two months after Jespertook issue with his former bandmates' revelation that "depression" played a part in his decision to exit THE RESISTANCE. He said: "[Jesper] got upset with [our statement regarding his split with the band]. I don't know why. But he's an addict, and he can scream and yell, and then the next day he's calm and the best guy in the world. It's always been like that with Jesper — as long as I've known him. He's really the sweetest guy ever when you talk to him when he's sober and stuff, when he's got his act together. Otherwise it's a nightmare."
Despite this, Rob said that he wanted nothing but the best for Strömblad. "I hope, really, he's getting [another project] together," he said. "I think he's kind of frustrated right now, because THE RESISTANCE also failed, like IN FLAMES. They didn't 'fail,' but they got rid of him. I think there's some real nasty frustration in him right now. And I hope he gets well and gets a [new] band soon."
According to Rob, THE RESISTANCE's issues with Jesper had a negative effect on the recording process for "Coup De Grâce". He said: "It was a fucking mess. It was me and [drummer] Chris [Barkensjö, ex-KAAMOS, GRAVE] holding the band together, actually, and we wrote the stuff [for the album]. [Guitarist] Glenn [Ljungström, ex-IN FLAMES] came up with two songs, kind of, and I wrote the rest of it, lyric-wise and music-wise. Chris is doing the lyrics, like forty or fifty percent, I think, so he helped out a lot. It was kind of a messy experience, and I was kind of worried that I was ruining the sound [laughs] [by taking over the songwriting process], but the other guys were, like, 'No, it's great stuff, and we're gonna do this.' And when we sent the album to the label, they thought it was the best album yet. So I was kind of surprised."
Ljungström also left THE RESISTANCE after "Coup De Grâce" was recorded due to "personal stuff." He has since been replaced by Daniel Antonsson, who has previously played with SOILWORK and DARK TRANQUILLITY.
Hakemo wanted to reassure THE RESISTANCE's fans that the band will forge ahead despite the recent lineup changes. "I don't think there's anything to be worried about, 'cause I think the band is stronger than ever," he said. "And right now it's four members sober and knowing what they're doing."
Although there has been no official announcement, Rob believes that a replacement for Strömblad has already been found. "I think we've got [a new guitarist]. 'Cause Daniel Antonsson, he knows a guy and they've been friends for a while, and he thinks this guy will be good for us. So we'll see what happens," he said.
Rounding out THE RESISTANCE's current lineup is vocalist Marco Aro (THE HAUNTED).
In a statement confirming his exit from THE RESISTANCE, Jesper revealed that he "was to hell and back last year," and admitted: "I am alcoholic and the band suffered a lot for that, but stuff happened during that time that changed my mind about a lot and the direction I personally wanted to go."
"Coup De Grâce" came out on January 22 via earMUSIC.
Strömblad quit IN FLAMES in February 2010 in order to continue receiving treatment for his alcohol addiction.
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