THE GEMS Feat. Former THUNDERMOTHER Members: Debut Single, 'Like A Phoenix', Now Available

June 15, 2023

THE GEMS, the new Swedish rock band featuring former THUNDERMOTHER members Guernica Mancini (vocals),Emlee Johansson (drums) and Mona Lindgren (bass),has released its first song, "Like A Phoenix". The official music video for the track, edited by Johansson, can be see below.

THE GEMS comment: "This song is all about getting up when you've been pushed down, not letting the negative words of others define you. Rise like a phoenix — the main focus is to empower and give you the motivation to never give up. The video is about the 'rebirth' of us as a band and how we, through fire, have become something much stronger and fearless. We felt it was the perfect first single on our new journey as THE GEMS, and we absolutely love the song!!"

THE GEMS are currently working on their debut album, to be released via Napalm Records.

THE GEMS made their live debut on March 22 at Pustervik in Gothenburg, Sweden as the support act for THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA.

THE GEMS see Lindgren returning to her original instrument, the guitar. Playing bass at the Gothenburg show was THE GEMS' friend and collaborator Johan Randén.

THE GEMS' live performances 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.

In February, 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. Filippa has also since recruited Joan Massing (HONEY CREEK) as THUNDERMOTHER's new drummer.

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 in February 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."

In early March, Nässil shared a six-minute video in which she addressed some of the questions surrounding the departures of Mancini, Johansson and Lindgren as well as her decision to carry on with a new lineup. She said in part: "Some stuff you read online and even now in some magazines is true and some stuff has more to it," she explained. "I mean, there's a depth to what happened and it's impossible to read in a few lines or a quote from someone. And I wanna assure you and tell you guys that I did my absolute best to work everything out between the old members. I think we should be conscious in what we're saying and trust that I have done my absolute best for peace, love and rock and roll and I did everything in my power to work it out with the previous bandmembers.

"I would never throw anybody under the bridge. I think that's another private matter. What happened has been behind the curtain, so to speak, so it's not everything that people need to know about or should know about because it's just unnecessary to throw stuff at each other, I think."

"I'm thrilled to have Majsan back, who's done hundreds of shows with me in THUNDERMOTHER. She's the THUNDERMOTHER bass player. And I'm thrilled to have Linnéa Vikström, my friend since many, many years, on vocals. And I can't wait for the future."

Photo credit: Mikael Hultén

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