IAN GREG (TORCH): “If The World Was Destroyed By A Nuclear War, The Only Things That Would Be Left Are Cockroaches And Heavy Metal Fans”


The Return of the Swedish ’80s Metal Act That Lit Up and Burned Out in a Flash

Torch is back with their first album in 34 years entitled Reignited.  The band got their start in 1981 in Eskilstuna, Sweden.  They loved to rock just as much as they loved to party.  From 1982-1984 Torch released new music and toured in support of it.  And just like that, they were gone.  Okay, so it’s a little more detailed than that, but we’ll let bassist Ian Greg explain.

Metal Express Radio:  If I knew absolutely nothing about Torch, how would you describe the band’s music to me?

Ian Greg:  It’s good, honest Heavy Metal that sounds the way it did back in the early 80s. Not too polished and disciplined, but a bit rough around the edges.

MER:  On September 25, 2020 Torch releases their first album in 34 years, Reignited [review], through Metalville Records.  Can you discuss the meaning behind the songs on the album?

IG:  “Knuckle Duster” – This is about the “big shots” you run into during your lifetime. It can be your boss or anyone else that has some power over you, and how to deal with them.

“Collateral Damage” – The song is about extremist leaders and how they brainwash people. Their supporters believe that they’re fighting for something good, when they’re really only disposable tools.

“All Metal, No Rust” – Heavy Metal has been pronounced dead for more than 30 years, but it’s still around. It’s like the saying “If the world was destroyed by a nuclear war, the only things that would be left are cockroaches and Heavy Metal fans”. This is our tribute to the fans.

“Feed the Flame” – Same theme as “All Metal, No Rust”. It’s about our love for Heavy Metal. We’re still fan boys. We still worship our Metal Gods. I just preordered the Judas Priest book and spent more than $100 on it. Pretty pathetic for someone that is +50 years, but love is never logical.

“In the Dead of the Night” – This one is about having dual personalities, like Jekyll and Hyde. What would it feel like to wake up with blood on your hands and no clue what has happened?

“Cradle to the Grave” – A song about living your life to the fullest. If you want to do something, just do it! Don’t worry too much about what other people think. As long as you don’t hurt anyone else, it’s your choice.

“Snake Charmer” – This one is about the woman you know you should avoid. She means trouble, but you just can’t resist her.

“Intruder” – A horror movie theme. You’re at home thinking you’re safe, then you get an unexpected guest.

“To the Devil His Due” – A kind of pessimistic song about the world and where it’s heading. And this was written before Covid-19 hit us….

MER:  Torch reunited in 2013 for a rock cruise performance and also played at Sweden Rock Fest in 2018.  What took so long to put an album together since the band’s reunion?

IG:  When we reunited we thought it would only be for a couple of gigs. Then we realized that we really had missed playing together. We didn’t want to be a “nostalgia act” and only play old songs. You can only do that for a while, then the fans get bored. We decided to try and make some new music. However, we also felt that if we would release something it had to be really good. This album would be “do or die” for us. We spent a lot of time writing songs, selecting only songs we really believed in, arranging and recording them. We’ve also been hit by “force majeure” multiple times, we’ve had parents dying, broken ribs, stolen instruments etc. All this prolonged the process. The album is finally here, and we’re very happy with the result.

MER:  Reignited was produced by Jacob Hansen (UDO, Volbeat, Pretty Maids).  How did you secure him and what did he contribute to the making of the album?

IG:  We recorded the whole album at Håkky’s studio, but we felt we needed outside help with the mixing. We started making a wish list of producers we liked. We all loved the sound on U.D.O.’s  Steel Factory. We reached out to Jacob Hansen and were pleasantly surprised when he wanted to work with us. Jacob has been very important. We felt that we wanted to make an “old school” Metal album, but with an up-to-date sound. Jacob was a pleasure to work with and quickly understood what we wanted to achieve. I think he found the perfect balance between old and new on this record.

MER:  Did you find Metalville Records or did they find you?

IG:  When we had a couple tracks ready, we started reaching out to different record labels. We had several offers, but with Metalville we felt that they had a vision that was very much in line with ours. That’s why we decided to sign with them.

MER:  Obviously touring is a bit of a problem for a lot of bands right now.  Does Torch have any plans to perform in any way after the release of Reignited?

IG:  It’s frustrating not to be able to play shows to support the album. We have to adapt to the situation. We’re doing a release party gig at an old cinema on October 9th. This gig will be livestreamed at liveandstream.se. Hopefully our fans around the world will join us and celebrate the release of “Reignited”.

MER:  Torch released their self-titled debut album in 1983.  What do you remember about recording the album?

IG:  That recording was great. We had very limited time and the studio was not very advanced. We basically recorded everything live. We were all in the same room and just played our songs. Only vocals and guitar solos were added later. There were minor mistakes, but the energy was fantastic.

MER:  The album was originally going to be named Sinister Eyes and have this cool artwork to go along with it.  That didn’t happen.  In fact, there is no title on the album.  Your website said this was because the album artist was close with the label.  Was he someone’s nephew or something?  How did he screw it up so bad?

IG:  I don’t think he was related to the manager of our label, but he was definitely a drinking buddy. As a matter of fact, if you look closely at the cover you can see the stains from a whisky glass. When we saw the cover we objected to it, but then the label said it was a done deal and that it had already gone to pressing. We used to hate that cover, but now we feel that it’s kind of cool. Bad covers were very much a part of Heavy Metal in those days, just ask Pantera.

MER:  This was the same artist that did the cover of Torch’s 1982 EP Fireraiser.  Did he screw that one up too?

IG:  Yes, but that time around we were allowed to have some input. The original cover also included a bunch of rats and looked like a cartoon. It also said that we were called “The Torch”. We freaked out, since it sounded like a new wave band. We convinced them to fix that and to only keep the tiger/cat on the cover. All of our objections probably led to the label cutting us out of the loop for the next album.

MER:  While we’re on album covers, let’s talk about 1984’s Electrikiss?  Whose idea was that?

IG:  Obviously, we were burnt by our earlier experiences and went for a photo cover. Dan actually built the electric chair and we were allowed to choose between all these beautiful models – a very pleasant task. By coincidence Electrikiss was released on the same label (Music For Nations) at the same time as Ride The Lightning by Metallica. They both had electric chairs, but Metallica were slightly more successful. At that point in time we liked the cover of Electrikiss, but now we feel the earlier covers are cooler.

MER:  Electrikiss is your only album not available on streaming platforms.  Why?

IG:  There’s some confusion on who owns the rights to that album. Also, the master tapes are missing. That’s why.  If Reignited is successful, someone might go into their cellar and dig out Electrikiss in order to earn a buck, who knows?

MER:  I usually ask bands from the eighties about their crazy rock star behavior back then.  However, you have quite a few stories posted at your website.  What lead to you getting kicked off the Motörhead tour back in the ‘80s?

IG:  We were supposed to open up for Motörhead on their Nordic tour. The first show went great. Lemmy enjoyed our performance and started honking the horn of their tour bus when we played our last song. Steve had the habit of trashing his drum kit on the last song. We told him before the show not to do it, since it could hurt Motörheads PA and microphones. Of course, he still went ahead and trashed his kit. The Motörhead sound engineer went ballistic, ran through the audience and started chasing Steve. Luckily enough, Steve was in better shape and outran him. Lemmy liked us, but the sound engineer refused to work with us and we were replaced on the tour.

MER:  Around the recording of Electrikiss, your singer Dan Dark bit Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe in the balls.  What exactly happened there?

IG:  Mötley Crüe were playing the Monsters of Rock show in Stockholm with AC/DC and Van Halen. They were in Stockholm for a week before the show. We were recording Electrikiss and hung out at the same rock club every night. One night there were rumors that Mötley would show up. We bumped into them and started partying with them. They were great and we had lots of fun. We even talked about Nikki making a guest appearance on our record.

At this point in time, Mötley were going through a phase of biting people. I even think Nikki got into trouble for biting Eddie Van Halen’s hand on that tour. Of course we quickly picked this up and stared biting people. The scene quickly became chaotic, with us and Mötley spitting beer at each other and biting each other. All of a sudden Tommy stands up and between his legs is Dan, biting Tommy’s balls. Tommy’s reaction to this was to raise his hands and scream – “Now I want to play some drums”. Great fun!

MER:  Do you have any other crazy stories about Torch from the ‘80s that wasn’t listed on your website?

IG:  There are tons of them, since we were a wild bunch. We played a gig in Holland, the place was packed and it was extremely hot. We forgot to drink water and stuck to bear. Halfway through the show we could feel the drums slowing down and then recovering. It turns out that Steve fainted. He woke up when his head hit the snare drum and carried on. A true Metal warrior.

Other stories include stealing a toilet from a public restroom in order to replace a smashed toilet at a place we were playing. A little known fact is that our record label added a paragraph that banned us from drinking at public events when were about to sign for the second album. I wonder why? We refused to sign, so they had to remove it. We could accept bad covers, but not being allowed to drink beer – hell no!

MER:  What lead to the band’s break up in 1986?

IG:  Electrikiss didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to and the plans to sign a major label fell through. We were disillusioned, burnt-out and eventually the fun went out of playing, so we decided to split. Too much focus on the party side of Rock ‘n’ Roll didn’t help.

MER:  There is a 2009 album credited to Torch called Dark Sinner.  It appears to be a best of compilation of some type with a completely different line-up.  Can you clarify whether this is a Torch best of album?

IG:  It’s not a best of Torch, it’s not even a real Torch record. Dan Dark wanted to get Torch started again. He asked the rest of the band, but we were not ready. He then decided to go ahead with other musicians. The main purpose was to play gigs. In order to get more gigs he needed a new record. Writing a whole new album would take too long (especially since none of the original song writers were in the lineup), so he decided to re-record the old songs and just add a couple of new songs. So basically, it’s a Dan Dark record and not a Torch record. We were not too happy with his decision, but he asked us and we turned it down – so we’re not really allowed to complain.

MER:  Is there anything else you wanted to discuss that I didn’t cover?

IG:  Just that we’re very happy with the reception of the album so far. We felt that we’ve made a strong album, but we were not sure if anyone was listening to our type of Metal anymore. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there that have been waiting for a good, old-fashioned Metal album. We can’t wait for Covid-19 to get under control, so we can get out there and play the new songs to all the Metalheads out there.

Torch is:

Dan Dark – vocals
Chris J First – Guitar
Håkky – Guitar
Ian Greg – Bass
Steve Streaker – Drums

Band links:

Official Website
Buy The Album


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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