Vamp, a short history
In the autumn of 1990, Øyvind Staveland - working as a chimney sweep at the time, gathered five local musicians at Feierbadet, the sweep's HQ in Haugesund. Among them were Torbjørn Økland and Jan Toft. Both Øyvind and Jan had sketches for melodies they wanted to try out, but it would be overstating things to claim that these ideas sparked much enthusiasm among the other band members. So some time passed before three of the musicians - Øyvind, Jan and Torbjørn - made another attempt. This time things worked out a little better and the three decided to invite Calle Apeland on bass. It was January 1991, and probably the official start of the band Vamp.
As rumours spread, the group was offered gigs, and in the spring of 1991 they persuaded Erling Sande to join them on drums (Erling left the band in 1995). They started making demos with their own songs, began their collaboration with the poet Kolbein Falkeid, and the distinctive Vamp-sound soon evolved. That summer, a cautious debut release took place with the self financed vinyl single «Hallo Adjø» and «Sao Raphael».
In spring 1992, Jan Paulsen, from the record company MajorStudio, attended a Vamp concert in Haugesund. He wasted no time and signed the band on the spot.
The first album, "God morgen, søster" ("Good morning, sister"), was released in February 1993, and not long after, Vamp established themselves in the top tier of the Norwegian music industry.
This has led to 10 additional releases at MajorStudio, earning Vamp a total of 5 Spelleman-awards, the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy (in 1993,1995,1997,2005 and 2006), a Prøysen-award (Norwegian folk music award), 9 gold certified and 3 platinum certified records. Vamp like to be on the road, and the group have visited most concert venues in the country at least once.
When Erling Sande left the band in 1995, Cliffie Grinde replaced him as the drummer, but the group have used other drummers as well. Jan Toft decided to leave in 1998, and since then Vamp have consisted of Øyvind, Calle and Torbjørn. Vidar Johnsen, also from Haugesund, was lead vocalist from 199 to 2006.
While working on "En annen sol" ("Another sun"), they found the time to tour in Denmark. They received a warm welcome and will no doubt be back soon.
New millennium on a wave of success
With the release of "En annen sol" ("Another Sun"), 2000 proved to be a turning point for Vamp. On this album they are joined by many of Norway's most treasured artists as guest vocalists, and both critics and fans loved it. "En annen sol" sold more than 40,000 copies and earned Vamp a gold certification. NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Company, did an exclusive TV-show on the making of the album and also broadcasted the release concert. Vamp received several awards that year:
- "Artist of the year" in Rogaland (their home county). Awarded by the readers of Stavanger Aftenblad (regional newspaper).
- "Achievement of the year" by Rogaland Fylkeskommune (the county).
- Haugesund county's honorary-award, "Fykende måker".
- "Album of the year", awarded by NRK P1-program "Norsk på norsk".
The following year didn't give them any chance to rest on their laurels. As "En annen Sol" continued to do well in the charts, and 2001 saw the 10th anniversary of the group, which was celebrated with a concert-tour in the autumn. During this tour, everyone who had ever been in the band participated. Thus the trio, Staveland, Økland and Apeland was joined by three drummers and both previous vocalist Jan Toft and then singer Vidar Johnsen.
In 2001, they also found the time and opportunity to go to Japan, arranging and contributing with severla tracks on the album "Camomile" by Emi Fujita. She is very popular in Japan, and the album was well received. It even reached the very top of the charts in Hong Kong. On "Camomile" you will find Vamp-classics as "Tir ná noir" and "Våken drøm" in English.
"Månemannen" beats every record
The band had started recording a new album in December 2001, and so it was relatively quiet around Vamp the first part of 2002. After having used several guest-vocalists on the album "En annen sol", it was now time to finalize the transition from Jan Toft to Vidar Johnsen as the lead vocalist. The next 9 months were spent writing and recording new Vamp-songs, and for this album too, a guest-artist was invited: Irishman Mick O'Brien on bagpipes.
The album "Månemannen" (The man in the moon) was released late September 2002, and left the critics almost speechless. A series of bull's eyes and sales which far exceeded previous figures firmly established Vamp as one of Norway's most important and acknowledged bands. VG, a large national newspapers wrote: "Ten years as a band is no real sensation. Ten years of continued quality on the other hand is a major accomplishment"
"Månemannen" proved that after a decade, Vamp had anything but stagnated and were capable to keep evolving. The sound was more energetic and direct than ever, without losing the characteristic Vamp-stamp.
For the remainder of the year, and most of 2003, the band was on tour, presenting most of the material from "Månemannen" live. These concerts too received rave reviews, and filled every arena they visited.
In addition to their own tour, Vamp took part in a unique and successful tour with Anne Grethe Preus, Nathalie Nordnes and the choir "Concentus".
The group also found the time to contribute to two other projects; the album "Gull i fra grønne skoger" for which Vamp did their version of Vidar Sanbek's "Menuett i mai", while Erik Bye's "Oles vise" was recorded for TV2's fund-raising campaign.
In 2004 Vamp took a year off from touring, with the exception of a few carefully chosen concerts, such as a week of performances at the Tønderfestival in Denmark, with Mick O'Brien as guest.
Late autumn 2004 the band gathered in Øyvind's studio in Haugesund to prepare for the new CD "Siste stikk".
The year was concluded with Christmas concerts in Bergen. On stage with Vamp was Princess Märtha Louise, Karoline Krüger, Frode Alnæs and the choir "Compagniet".
February 2005: Vamp recorded "Siste stikk" at Ryvarden Fyr (a lighthouse) with Truls Birkeland as producer.
The next milestone was reached in April – Vamp shared the stage at Rockefeller in Oslo with the Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra, conducted by Nick Davis, and guests including Jan Toft and Rita Eriksen. A number of Vamp's melodies was arranged for a full symphony orchestra. A mini tour with the orchestra followed, recorded and televised by NRK. A DVD was also released in 2006.
The traditional summer tour is resumed – 21 concerts were given in 22 days, and large parts of the southern part of Norway were visited.
At the same time, sales of «Månemannen» exceeded 50,000 copies.
In total, more than 20,000 CDs from Vamp's back catalogue were sold during the summer, and «Ei med alt» spent 6 weeks in the national sales charts.
After the summer it was straight back to the studio; the finishing touches were done in Haugesund and Oslo during August.
"Siste stikk" - Vamp's biggest success so far
Early 2006, "Siste stikk" has outdone every previous release and total sales exceeded 75.000. This meant both gold an platinum.
- ”Very nice and a bit surprising” says Øyvind Staveland. ”because this is probably our least commercial release so far”.
The group was awarded another Spellemannpris, bringing the total to four in their career to date.
A new project was already in the making, "Vamp i full symfoni" – the result of a collaboration between Vamp and The Norwegian Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra, was released on both CD and DVD during the fall of 2006. And together they toured the largest cities in Norway.
"Vamp i full symfoni" with record breaking sales
Come christmas 2006, Vamp is celebrating their biggest success so far. More than 150,000 CDs and almost 20,000 DVDs of the live-album "Vamp i full symfoni" were sold. That's trippel platinum for both CD and DVD!
Almost 25,000 eager fans saw Vamp andthe Kringkastingsorkester during their November-tour, and with a packed Spektrum on November 25th, Vamp marked the end of a very rewarding year.
2007 was a year for recuperation, mind games and creative work.
27. January 2007 - Vamp received an honorary Spellemannspris (Norwegian Grammy)
«st. mandag», Vamp's 11th album, released late 2008
2008 turned out to be another good year for Vamp. When the tour ended on Decemeber 13, another record was achieved - never before had they played for so many during a tour.
In the meantime, "st. mandag" had sold more than 65,000 copies, and the band were allowed to hang one more double platinum award on the wall. The new members, Birger, Odin and Paul had been well received by the audience and certainly deserved their share of the success.
The tour continued in 2009, and we expect to see Vamp alive and kicking, giving us lots of inspiration and enjoyment for years to come.