Let me tell you the story of the godfathers of Icelandic punk. Together with Utangarðsmenn (aka The Outsiders, with frontman Bubbi Morthens) and Einar Örn “Sugarcube” Benediktsson (aka EÖB), Fræbbblarnir put the ‘ ¨ ‘on the pönk movement in Niceland.
The band was formed 1978 in Kópavogur, close to Reykjavik, the second largest town in Iceland. Because of the many punk bands in that area, also called the punk capital of Iceland later on, as Keflavik is the rock capital of the country by the way (but that is another story). Like most bands they rehearsed in basements of supermarkets and garages, even summer houses, and the line-up of the group changed almost constantly. The band was heavily influenced by the punk and new wave bands overseas (England and USA). During their parties at home, the teenagers played and listened to a variety of bands, like The Stranglers, The Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam, The Damned, Ian Dury and Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias. Provider of some of the records was mastermind/manager of The Outsider EÖB. But also Television, Specials, Madness were on the playlist. But we also have to mention the classics from the 60’s like The Kinks, The Troggs, Manfred Mann, Herman Hermits, The Rolling Stones, The Animals and The Pretty Things.
The group wanted to play simple, raw, fast, melodic, happy and powerful punky rock music, but with a serious undertone.
“Viltu nammi væna?” (Would You Like Some Candy, Dear?)(1980) is a Classic Icelandic Album and recent releases, for example the album “Dót” (Stuff) from 2004 received excellent reviews and the song “CBGB’s” is probably the band’s most played song. The 1981 EP “Bjór” (Beer), critising the now unbelievable ban of beer in Iceland while other types of alcohol was readily legal and available, definately helped lifting the band in 1989, we believe. Early 1983 the band quit.
The band is still alive and kicking, after some break-ups and playing under different band names. Until a compilation album was released by Smekkleysa in 1996 when the original name was reinstated.
The current line-up of the band is: Arnór Snorrason (guitar), Guðmundur Þór Gunnarsson (drums), Helgi Briem (bass), Iðunn Magnúsdóttir (vocals), Ríkharður Friðriksson (guitar) Valgarður Guðjónsson (vocals, guitar) and Þorsteinn Hallgrímsson (bass).
Releases by Fræbbblarnir
False Death, Single, (1980); with a rose in a wrong hole on the cover
Viltu Nammi Væna? (Would You Like Some Candy, Dear?), album, (1980); album title refers to an dirty exhibitionist/flasher from the West Fjords
Bjór, EP, (1981)
Poppþéttar melódíur í rokkréttu samhengi, album, (1982)
Warkweld In The West, EP, (1982)
Viltu Bjór Væna? (Do you want a beer, Dear?), a compilation album on Smekkleysa label, (1996)
Dásamleg sönnun um framhaldslíf, album, (2000)
Heaven Needed a Lead Singer, song on compilation album, (2001)
Dót, album, (2004)
Fræbbblarnir’s members on various releases were:
on “False Death” – Valgarður, Stefán, Þorsteinn, Ríkharður, Dagný
on “Viltu nammi væna?” – Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi
on “Bjór?” – Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi, Arnór
on “Northern Lights Playhouse” (Falkinn/Rough Trade, 1981) – Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi, Arnór
on “Poppþéttar…” – Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi, Kristinn
on “Okkar á milli” – Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi, Kristinn
on “Warkweld…” – Valgarður, Stefán, Steinþór, Tryggvi
on “Dásamleg…” – Valgarður, Stefán, Ellert, Tryggvi, Arnór, Iðunn, Brynja, Kristín
on “Life’s A Gas” – Valgarður, Stefán, Arnór, Helgi, Iðunn, Brynja and Kristín
on “Stuff” – Valgarður, Stefán, Arnór, Helgi, Iðunn, Brynja and Kristín
The most remarkable moments in the band’s history – always with The Kinks, sometimes a bit kinky as candy, always with a Clash.
First Clash LP made them do “wow” (1977). Followed by’ Pretty Vacant” / “No Fun” single: they were spellbound by “No Fun”.
Not supporting The Clash on their appearance at the Reykjavik Arts Festival in June 1980. But the Outsiders in and Fræbbblarnir out.
The kinky story behind “Would You Like Some Candy, Dear?” (Viltu nammi vaena?)
1980, Bolungarvik, a town in the far west. A band member lived in an old house with a few girls, who were working there as well as I was. One of the girls told me that once, when she was young and waiting at a bus stop with her friend, a man with both hands in cast had asked her friend to reach for his wallet in his pocket. She went into his pocket, just to find that his “wallet” was warm, with three sections and full of other currency than money.
The party is never over
The band spent the summer of 1980 on concerts, recording the first LP, partying, “Bankrobber” with The Clash, The Specials, Madness, The Ramones, and even Crass.
“Rock In Reykjavik” around the clock
January 1982: the group was almost on their way to Norway to tour when Oscar-nominee Friðrik Þór Friðriksson was shooting his notorious documentary “Rock in Reykjavik”. The film was about to be finished and if the band wanted to be included they had to hurry. So they performed one Friday night at the famous Hotel Borg venue. Everything set. Except for some of the guests who couldn’t stand the noise. Stebbi, on the other hand, couldn’t stand the “not-noise” and refused to perform. Maggi, drummer of The Outsiders, stepped “in”. He fortunately new most of the songs and caught the others on the run. But still: This was not really Fræbbblarnir! So they decided to try again. This time, just before leaving for Norway. The played at a youth centre on a Sunday afternoon. The driver fell asleep at home with all our equipment. So we only had a few minutes to set up and start playing. Maybe they should have passed the opportunity and stayed out of the film. An awful image of the band!?
Sex Pistols go Icelandic
The band made lyrics to “God Save The Queen” and “EMI”, respectively “Socrates” and “Myrkranefnd”. Ironic detail: Interest of EMI for the band later on… without result unfortunately!?
The Ramones: Not in Norway, no way
Touring in Norway in January 1982 ended with a beaten up because of covering The Ramones (a missanderstanding: Ramones = friends of the police!?). Even more bad luck: guitars stolen afterwards.
Visit the excellent website of the band