MIKAEL AKERFELDT: “My First Venture into Being a Live Musician Was Not Overly Positive”

Mikael Akerfeldt

In a recent interview, Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeldt remembered the band’s very first gig.

He said on Metal Talks: “David [Isberg, the founder of the band] had a band called Opeth. Once Eruption [Akerfeldt's former band] disbanded, he asked me if I would be interested in joining Opeth because their bass player couldn’t play bass.

I didn’t really want to play bass, but I liked the logo he showed me on a demo sleeve they had. They had all these plans – do shows, record demos. To me, recording a demo was like getting a record contract – a big deal!

Explaining how he felt David could take Opeth to places he couldn’t and how he accepted the gig because of David’s “charisma” and those big plans he had, the musician noted about his first Opeth rehearsal:

I showed up with David at the rehearsal. Turns out the other guys – including the bass player – didn’t know I was coming. They just turned at me and went, ‘Who’s that guy?’ I was pretty shy and I didn’t know what to say.

Dave was like, ‘OK, you can wait outside, I’m gonna have a talk with the guys.’ So he went downstairs and I waited outside. He came back and said – typical Dave – he said, ‘I fired them!’ Of course he wasn’t fired. ‘And now Opeth is you and me.’ So Opeth was a two-piece – David was the vocalist and I became the guitarist, so I never actually had to play bass.

With Mikael writing music and David handling the lyrics, it wasn’t long before the boys got their first gig.

I was so nervous, everybody was nervous,” Akerfeldt said. “We asked Nick [Döring] to play bass and a guy called Andreas [Dimeo] was gonna play guitar and Anders [Nordin] from Eruption was gonna play drums.

We played a show in the suburbs of Stockholm with a band called Therion and some other bands and we were absolutely horrible. It was a horrible experience. I remember I wanted to run away before the show and hide because I was so nervous.

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Prog Sphere’s interview with Mikael Akerfeldt

I remember the crowd was throwing snus tobacco at David in his face. They stole his microphone stand and he walked offstage for some reason. I don’t know where he went, he just disappeared for some reason and I was just standing with my back towards the crowd because Anders didn’t really know the songs. I just stood there and kind of nodded to him, ‘The next part is kicking in now.’

It didn’t go down well; I think they hated us, and for a very good reason because we absolutely sucked that night. I remember the next day there was another show in Stockholm – Morbid Angel or something like that – I was in line for that show and I heard guys behind me talking about Opeth – ‘Did you see David’s band yesterday?’ It was like, ‘Yeah, they fucking sucked!’ I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ I wanted to disappear. So my first venture into being a live musician was not overly positive.

(source Ultimate Guitar)

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