Former THUNDERMOTHER members Guernica Mancini (vocals),Emlee Johansson (drums) and Mona Lindgren (bass) have launched a new band called THE GEMS.
In a new interview with Germany's Metal Hammer magazine, Mancini and Lindgren revealed that THE GEMS, which sees Lindgren returning to her original instrument, the guitar, is planning to release its debut single, "Phoenix", in April.
Regarding the "Phoenix" single title and how it relates to the trio's sudden and unexpected exit from THUNDERMOTHER, Guernica said (translated from German): "We wanted a hopeful and positive first single. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. This is how we felt as we struggled through this dark period of our career."
Mancini and Lindgren also noted that THE GEMS' live performances will include material from THUNDERMOTHER's last two albums, 2020's "Heat Wave" and 2022's "Black And Gold", both of which featured songwriting contributions from Guernica and Emlee.
Last month, it was announced that Mancini, Johansson and Lindgren were exiting THUNDERMOTHER and would form a new band together. At the same time, guitarist Filippa Nässil revealed that she would continue with a new THUNDERMOTHER lineup featuring singer Linnéa Vikström (THERION, AT THE MOVIES) and returning bassist Majsan Lindberg.
Mancini, who joined THUNDERMOTHER in 2017, reflected on her split with the band in an interview with Canada's The Metal Voice. Asked when she first had a feeling that things were not as they should be within THUNDERMOTHER, Guernica said: "It's a tough question to answer. I would say like this, that it's never been great for me. And it's been six tough years. But regardless of that, I don't regret anything. I still had amazing experiences with the band. And I wouldn't take anything back, 'cause I've grown and I've become the singer that I am. And there are so many positives to that. So even though it has been a very bumpy ride, I still think that it's been a beautiful ride. Because it does teach you a lot about yourself, and you grow as a human."
She added: "When you go through something that's tough and hard for you, you can either choose to learn from it and try to do something positive with it. And that's kind of what I'm aiming to do for myself."
When asked by host Jimmy Kay if she is saying that she was unhappy for six years, Mancini replied: "Not a hundred percent unhappy. It's been [up and down]. Definitely I've questioned how my dream of doing music and everything that I love so much and hold so dear had to be so tough. But in my mind I've always thought that it's probably the price you pay for getting these experiences or whatever. But I think that it doesn't necessarily have to be that. But like anything in life, nothing is gonna be happy and roses all the time. You go through things. It's normal."
Guernica also addressed the fact that Emlee and Mona both voluntarily left THUNDERMOTHER, once they found out Mancini was being kicked out of the group.
"It does make me feel [good], but I also felt really guilty… I felt guilty because I knew the opportunities that they were giving up because of this, but they had their own reasons," she said. "They did this completely on their own. And the problems that we've had in the band, they're not just something that is between [Filippa] and I; it's something that's been brewing and been there always. So when this happened, they also felt that it was very disrespectful towards them, being that they believed that we were a democracy and that we had a say in these things. She more or less [told] them, 'I wanna do this, and I've already found a new singer.' And that's when Emlee just said, 'I don't wanna play with another singer. And if you're gonna go ahead and do this, I'm gonna leave the band.' And that's what she did. And Mona felt the same way."
Guernica added: "I love [Emlee and Mona], and I'm forever grateful. I wouldn't have expected anything, but I also feel like I'm so blessed. Honestly, I'm so incredibly grateful that they are my new band. And they are the two that I enjoyed working with. And I have so much fun with them. And we already had two songwriting days, and we had just so much fun. And it was drama free. It was just a dream. And it's just, like, this is what a band is supposed to be."
Mancini then clarified: "We've had our differences. If you don't fight with your family and friends, that's kind of weird in itself. And we have. But we always… we say 'sorry', and we move past it. And our relationships always grow stronger and stronger and stronger. And that's, I think, the testament of a real, solid, healthy relationship. And that's how it is with them. So I'm really grateful that we have something and we get to continue playing together."
Guernica previously discussed her departure from THUNDERMOTHER last month in an interview with the "Rock And Roll Geek Show". Regarding how she found out she was being fired from THUNDERMOTHER, Guernica said: "I was blindsided. It's almost like I'm in an episode of fucking 'Survivor'. [Laughs]
"I got an e-mail [letting me know that I was no longer in the band]. I had a feeling it was coming because the week prior, [Filippa] had taken me off all our social media accounts. And I thought we had gotten hacked. I wrote to the group; I was, like, 'Girls, I think we're getting hacked. I can't get into our e-mail or Instagram — none of the accounts.'"
Asked if Filippa had any issues with Guernica's live performance or what she was doing on stage, Mancini said: "No, that's not something that I've… no information that I've received. I think that there's nothing you can complain about my performance or my singing, 'cause I've always brought my 'A game.' And if you have problems with that, I think that's strange, considering that's something that people really enjoy and respect the band for. So I think that would be weird."
Clarifying that the reasons for the split were "a hundred percent personal", Guernica revealed that "a lot of things happened behind my back, and I was the last one to know… Like there were meetings behind my back, trying to convince my fellow bandmates that I'm an awful person, I'm all these things that I'm not."
When interviewer Michael Butler noted that all the girls in THUNDERMOTHER looked like they were getting "along really well" when they were supporting the SCORPIONS on a tour of North America last fall, Guernica said: "I deserve an Oscar nomination for my acting. [Laughs]"
According to Mancini, she is still "really close" to Emlee and Mona. "We're actually really good friends, and that's the best part of my time in THUNDERMOTHER," she said. "Me and Emlee, she's legitimately one of my best friends. And Mona has become a really good friend as well. And we have a mutual respect and similar work ethic and we want the same things. We just work together. I just feel like, if anything, it's really lovely and positive that we have each other and that we all feel the same way and we all have had the same experiences and the reasoning behind not feeling great in the band as it was."
Asked how Emlee and Mona found out Guernica was being fired from THUNDERMOTHER, Mancini said: "[Filippa] had a secret meeting behind my back. She just told the girls, 'I wanna fire Guernica, and I already have a new singer.' And the girls were, like, 'Woah. Hold up. Wait a second. We did not sign up for that. And we thought we were a democracy in this band,' because that's something that we'd been told and that's how we've done everything.' So they were shocked."
On February 2, Nässil released the following statement via social media: "The last year has been full of adventures, new impressions and we have made memories that will last forever. Unfortunately our journey ends in the constellation known to you until today and a new chapter will be written for THUNDERMOTHER with both old familiar and new faces and for sure a lot more adventures and memories to come.
"After seven years of being together, we unfortunately came to the decision that our paths lead in different directions. Guernica, Mona and Emlee will focus on their own careers and I wish them nothing but the best of luck.
"I am thrilled to announce that our bass player Majsan who left for studies 1,5 years ago has finished and will rejoin!
"I am happy to announce that THUNDERMOTHER could win Linnéa Vikström (THERION, AT THE MOVIES) with her incredible power, her extraordinary voice and her charming manners as a new singer for THUNDERMOTHER!
"We are beyond excited and looking forward to the future filled with a new positive energy and with these girls by my side the future is going to fucking rock.
"Let's show the world that there is so much female talent out there and let's give the girls a heart-melting warm welcome to THUNDERMOTHER! Rock must live on!"
Guernica, Emlee and Mona also released a joint statement regarding their departures from THUNDERMOTHER. "It's with a heavy heart that we are writing this," they said. "Filippa has made the decision that Guernica's time in THUNDERMOTHER is over. Because of this, and the lack of agreement regarding the decision-making process in the band, Emlee and Mona have decided to leave THUNDERMOTHER.
"Filippa will continue with a new THUNDERMOTHER lineup. Guernica, Emlee and Mona will continue playing music together and are forming a new band.
"To all the people who have been a part of this journey; Guernica, Emlee and Mona want to say thank you for the support, we love you all. We are so grateful for everything that we've experienced with THUNDERMOTHER, and hope you all will support our separate journeys.
"We understand how hard it is to read this. This is by far one of the toughest situations we've had to go through and right now we are mourning the loss of a big part of our lives. We humbly ask you to be kind and respectful. Thank you for your understanding."
Following the release of their latest album, "Black And Gold", last summer and countless live shows alongside an extensive tour with iconic SCORPIONS in North America last fall, THUNDERMOTHER recently announced plans to team up with SCORPIONS for more European live dates, as well as headline gigs on the "Black And Gold" tour 2023. It is not clear if any of those shows will be affected by the latest lineup changes.
"Black And Gold" was recorded at Baggpipe Studios in Stockholm, and was mixed and mastered by Søren Andersen at Medley Studios in Copenhagen.
Last November, Mancini released her first solo single "Inception" via Golden Robot Records.
Photo credit: Mats Vassfjord / AFM Records