Steelheart Records is famous for bringing forth rare or lost hard rock albums that for one reason or another never saw the light of day or were released in limited copies back in the day. One such case is Sateria; a Danish hard rock outfit that could have made it big but fate had other plans for them. We get in touch with bassist Rene Shades who is a well-known musician as he is a member of Pretty Maids and he had played with Mike Tramp. Let’s see what he remembers from his Sateria days… Interview: Sakis Nikas
Rockpages.gr: Rene, first of all, tell us how was the overall hard rock scene in Denmark in the late 80s. I mean everybody knows Pretty Maids and Mike Tramp but of course Denmark is not that popular when it comes down to hard rock music…
Rene Shades: Well, let me see what my memory let’ s me remember…back then it was assumed by most rock bands that you could only make it if you were American or English or at least got a record deal with a foreign label. We didn’t have major international bands from Denmark. The few exceptions were Pretty Maids, Mercyful Fate, Mike Tramp and Lars Ulrich. But in our eyes back then those were big exceptions. So therefore we all strived for the big international scene. Also you have to remember Denmark is a small country where a national tour would last a week or so! We wanted to tour for a year…we wanted to get away, get out and live our Rock Star dreams. We were certain we would make it. The arrogance of youth! Luckily I ended up touring with my brother Tramp and being in Pretty Maids. Not bad…2 out of 4!
Rockpages.gr: Who thought of the name Sateria?
Rene Shades: I can’t remember. Must have been Martie or Steve…something to do with Peter Cetera from Chicago.
Rockpages.gr: What do you remember from the band’s first rehearsals in Holte?
Rene Shades: Well the first rehearsals were actually in a youth club in a place called LYNGBY. What I remember was a lot of good times and we were really getting into listening to Honeymoon Suite and Gary Moore so we weren’t even as glam based in our taste as the record shows. It was mostly bands like that Bryan Adams, Rod, Huey Lewis, Kiss and Bon Jovi. The Glam era sort of set in a little later.
Rockpages.gr: Ken Anthony is a really important figure –not only for Denmark- in the music industry. I guess that his role was crucial in the overall development of Sateria upon meeting him, right?
Rene Shades: Ah, our dear Ken…Yes, at that time he was famous in the rock circles as the man to know. He was the corridor to the magazines and international contacts. Especially in Heavy metal & Hard Rock. Plus he had the coolest record shop in town where we’d all meet up and hang out. His role was as crucial as any band member. He was/is a member of Sateria.
Rockpages.gr: Being myself a teenager back in the late 80s in Greece, all I listened to was Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, Bon Jovi…the whole hair metal movement. Listening to the bunch of songs of the one and only album of Sateria it’s safe to say that these were your influences, too. Was this the band’s direction right from the start or did you find this direction along the way and after your meeting with Ken?
Rene Shades: Well I´d say we pretty much were on that path before we met Ken but yes I’m sure his influence on us was huge concerning the look and overall attitude. Refining our look and “art”…he had a big part in that.
Rockpages.gr: How long did it take to come up with your first demo “Legal Crime”?
Rene Shades: Hmmm…man, you’re asking specific details to a musician. Haha. I can count to 4 on a good day but hardly remember the question (laughs)! Let’s see…if you count in we had to form as a band and as teenagers it probably took us 20 years haha. The actual recording took a weekend. We were very young and inexperienced so it was good test for us.
Rockpages.gr: I was taking a look the other day on all those wonderful stuff that Ken is uploading on his Facebook page…all these flyers and concert posters from Sunset Strip. I guess that Los Angeles was the ideal place for a band like Sateria….right?
Rene Shades: Yeah we thought so but we will never know.
Rockpages.gr: For a while, it seemed that your dream would come true when you signed a tentative deal with Polygram. Do you remember that day?
Rene Shades: Oh yes…absolutely. Classic band scenario. We played a great show in Copenhagen…Record label boss comes down after and says: “you guys are the new Cinderella…you are signed! Of course we went crazy and we all had a big party. Then almost overnight as we had recorded the album, Nirvana released “Nevermind” and the party was over and record boss long gone. That was it…but it had to happen. The whole scene was too self-indulgent and something had to change as had the rest of the world. We were just 4 – 5 years too late.
Rockpages.gr: The songs were recorded in January 1991 with a sound closer to the early 80s than with what’s going on in the business at the time. Do you think that things would be different if the album would be recorded a couple of years earlier? In other words, was it an issue of bad timing?
Rene Shades: I think we were not experienced enough to match many of our American peers both in production and as musicians at the time. The album was actually already started late ‘89 with demos and finished in ‘90. We sounded like Crue in 81…so yes we should have had more help in achieving our potential. But you live and you learn. To answer your question…bad timing for sure but I’m not sure it would have helped anyway. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
Rockpages.gr: I know that there are other Sateria songs floating around. What can you tell us about them and will there be another Sateria reissue on the way?
Rene Shades: Well you know more than me (laughs). Yes there will be another reissue coming out in the not too distant future.
Rockpages.gr: Last but not least, I know that you were a football fan when you were a teenager. Which was the team that you supported in Denmark back in the day?
Rene Shades: Lyngby FC…the place where we come from. We were Danish Champions back then so it was a fun time. Marttie is still an avid fan.