The Sisters of Mercy - Back after seven years

Written by Therese Thorén ( for VF magazine, published on July 1, 1998
Click here for the original Swedish article and a picture
Translated by Kjell Holmgren (


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  Sisters of Mercy is the band which was formed because its members wanted to hear themselves on the radio. In slightly more than a week they will play at the Arvika festival which will be their first appearance in Sweden in seven years.
  Sisters of Mercy made way for the goth bands of the eighties with their grinding, gloomy and successful rock music. One by one the original members have been replaced or dropped out; only the singer Andrew Eldritch and the drum machine Doktor Avalanche remained from the early years.
  When VF reached him by phone he was in Leeds and didn't know yet that soon they will be asked to replace The Verve at the Roskilde festival, and therefore takes it easy and is free. He nicely answers all questions in well articulated British English, and at the same time shows some bizare humor.

The question was answered
  The Sisters come to Arvika simply because they were asked to.
  - We are professional entertainers. You give us money - we entertain you, he says and laughs.
  - All you have to do is ask
  Which is exactly what the staff of the Roskilde festival did; and Sisters of Mercy attracted a large audience. Many people got very curious, and Andrew Eldritch's scene costume became a major topic for talks: white jacket with shoulder cushions, Motörhead t-shirt, leather pants and motorcycle boots.

Seven years ago
  It is seven years since Sisters of Mercy last played in Sweden. In the mean time the band was dead quiet. They have fought with their record company for a long time.
  - Now we are free from the company. It made no sense to make songs for them as long as we were on strike. Our record company was simply crap. Usually, when a record company have a problem band, they wait for three-four year and then let them go. This one was so desperate that it refused to do this, and it took seven years, says Andrew Eldritch.
  Meanwhile they have toured around and played on several festivals, mostly in Germany and in the continent (Central Europe).
  - Luckily we are the type of band who can survive an abcense of seven years.
  The nearest plans are to release a couple of singles shortly, and eventually a full length album. What's missing is an American distributor and a record company with lots, lots of money, as he puts it. And on the Arvika performance, half of the songs should be new.

Very talented
  - They sound like Sisters songs. Tense Sisters songs. And they are very nice and very talented, as always, says Andrew Eldritch seriously.
  - And of course we still think about sex and drugs most of the time. It is very interesting how long those things can still be interesting.
  When Sisters of Mercy started, they were influented by bands as the Stooged and Suicide. Now it is different.
  - Now..., he says slowly. Now we plunder ourselves! We worship ourselves. Doktor Avalanche is God.

Not as good as Motörhead
  Andrew Eldritch's opinion about Rammstein, the German band who headlines the Arvika festival along with Sisters of Mercy, is that they are neither good nor bad.
  - They are very entertaining, but that's not exactly my type of music. But, there still is not a band as good as Motörhead! And especially not us.
  But he likes Swedish festivals.
  - I'm looking forward to playing ar Arvika. In Swedish festivals, the audience is so predetermined to have fun. That is an attitude I like - a lot.