Royal flush 

Turdus Musicus

click to enlarge Excuse me, officer, do you know who we are? Yeah, no - one else really does, either.
  • Excuse me, officer, do you know who we are? Yeah, no one else really does, either.

Traffic in the U.S. can prove a bit unnerving for a group of 20-somethings from Norway.

Take, for instance, the experience of Carl Christian Lein Strmer, the lead vocalist for Turdus Musicus. He says it only took two blocks of driving in Manhattan before he was issued a ticket. To make matters worse: Four cops rolled onto the scene and told the guys that they'd have to come to the station for questioning.

Confused and slightly paranoid, Strmer thought it was maybe a sign that the band should've stayed home. Eventually, though, the cops admitted that they were just giving the guys a hard time, and let them off the hook. Hilarious! Nothing, after all, beats a cop's sense of humor.

Driving did become easier for the Norwegian metal/punk act, thanks in large part to a portable GPS device. That is, until Turdus Musicus took a flight from Boston to Seattle and one of their bags was lost, along with the GPS unit. With no semblance of where they were supposed to be headed or how to get there, the guys of Turdus Musicus admitted defeat in the most American of ways: "We parked the RV in a mall parking lot and slept outside of K-mart," Strmer says, with a laugh.

Oh, what warm welcome to the States for Turdus Musicus (whose name means "the singing of the thrush"). This, its first U.S. tour, is aimed to promote both the band and its new record, RockCollapse. Formed in 1998, Turdus Musicus which includes Paulo Velasquez (drums), Finn Fodstad (guitars), Halvard Rundberg (guitars) and Aleksander Johannessen (bass) is a relative unknown in the States. That, too, was something Turdus Musicus needed some getting used to.

"In the U.S., different genres have different crowds," Strmer says. "It's not like that in Norway."

Instead, the band's Norwegian fanbase crosses genres kind of like Turdus Musicus itself, which blends elements of metal, hardcore, punk and screamo.

"A lot of our musical influence comes from American music," Strmer says, "so we're excited to see the response."

It also helps that the band has developed a reputation for putting on a raucous live show.

"We never go in with a plan," Strmer says. "It's chaotic, but somehow, we're still able to keep it tight."

And though their American experience has been a bit chaotic as well, the band members, true to form, do have more streamlined goals in mind. While Stateside, they'll shoot a music video and record an EP in Fort Collins. It's all part of an attempt to break into the elusive and lucrative American market.

"In Norway, it's almost impossible to make a living as a musician," Strmer says. "We like to be in control of things."

Recently, Turdus Musicus has been able to parlay that control over to its U.S. tour. And, finally, things seem to be falling into place, allowing the act to come closer to reaching its U.S. goals.

Says Strmer: "We're here to make a stand, make contacts and have something come out of it."


Turdus Musicus with Underminer
The Rocket Room, 230 Pueblo Ave.
Friday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $2 at the door; call 447-4990.


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