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Malin Veronica, Versity Music, malin@versitymusic.com

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Biography

You’ve seen him. You definitely heard him. And if you’re Swedish, chances are that even your grandmother knows who he is. Truth be told, if you’re into rock music Dregen simply don’t need a further presentation.

However, if you happen to have missed out on Sweden’s premier rock star, let’s take it from the beginning…

Growing up in Nässjö

Dregen, born Andreas Tyrone Svensson, knew early on that he was meant for something different than a traditional 9 to 5 gig in his small hometown of Nässjö, Sweden. Together with childhood friends Nicke Borg, Peder Carlsson and Johan Blomquist he formed what later would turn out to be the pride of his home town, Backyard Babies.

Dregen as a baby. Already rockin’.

Record deal with Backyard Babies

The band decided to go for it and left Nässjö, moving to the capital Stockholm in pursuit of their dream, to take Backyard Babies to the very top. It didn’t take long before Dregen and his mates had earned themselves a record deal and in 1994 their debut album Diesel & Power hit the streets.

That very same year Dregen met singer and guitarist Nicke Andersson who at the time played drums with Swedish death metal outfit Entombed. As it turned out they both had a lot in common and out of this new friendship yet another classic Swedish rock band was born, The Hellacopters.

Rise of The Hellacopters

The Hellacopters made it big in 1996 with their debut album Supershitty To The Max!, which won a Swedish grammy. It was followed in 1997 Payin’ the Dues and they got to tour with the hottest band in the world, KISS. The success of the band also made way for Backyard Babies. That very same year marked the release of their Grammy winning and breakthrough album Total 13. Dregen was now the gunslinger in the two hottest rock acts in Sweden.

Dregen, Robert Eriksson, Kenny Håkansson and Nicke Andersson. From the album booklet for Payin’ the Dues, Dregen’s second and final album with The Hellacopters. Photo by Micke Eriksson.

Leaving The Hellacopters

By the end of the 90’s Dregen realized that despite how pleasant the situation was, it wouldn’t work in the long run. Dregen hence soon returned to his roots and carried on his journey with the Backyard Babies. And the rest is history, rock history to be exact.

More success with Backyard Babies

When the album Making Enemies is Good was released in 2001, Backyard Babies ruled the rock n’ roll kingdom of Sweden. Having been awarded with yet another Grammy award they, toured the world several times and even opened for AC/DC during their European tour the same year, a feat no other Swedish band to date can match.

The band followed up with the Stockholm Syndrome (2004), People Like Us Like People Like Us (2006), the self titled Backyard Babies (2008) and the career retrospective Them XX (2009). The later resulted in a anniversary tour and an indefinite hiatus in 2010.

Peder Carlsson, Nicke Borg, Dregen and Johan Blomqvist (sitting) of the Backyard Babies. Photo by Micke Eriksson.

Painting, fishing and Guns n’ Roses audition

Apart from Backyard and The Hellacopters, most people don’t know that Dregen auditioned for a guitar player slot in Guns ‘n Roses. He’s also a talented painter, a son of a gun at playing poker and he always reels the big ones in when fishing.

Joining Michael Monroe

In May 2011 Dregen joined forces with legendary Finnish rocker and former Hanoi Rocks frontman, Michael Monroe. In 2013 they released the album Horns and Halos.

Steve Conte, Karl Rockfist, Michael Monroe, Dregen and Sami Yaffa of the Michael Monroe band. Photo by Ville Akseli Juurikkala.

He’s a killer guitarist, a brilliant showman, looks great and has the right kind of attitude and taste in music. I feel very glad and lucky that he was willing and able to join us.
– Michael Monroe on Dregen

Marriage and fatherhood

In 2009 Dregen married his girlfriend, Swedish singer-songwriter Pernilla Andersson, which he met while touring in 2004. In 2013 they had their first baby.

Dregen with his wife Pernilla Andersson. Photo by Micke Eriksson.

Solo album and autobiography

2013 was a busy year for Dregen. He turned 40, became a father and released an album with Michael Monroe. However, he also released his very first and self titled solo album and an autobiography.

Recording the solo album with Sami Yaffa on bass. Photo by Peder Carlsson.

Titled simply Dregen, the ten track release is a modern take on an era when rock music came ready-dipped in decadence and glamour, when the commercial and the credible could sit comfortably side by side, when albums were a great 35 minutes over two sides of vinyl rather than fleshed out with filler, when backing vocals were big, brash and (feather) boa’d, when heels and musicians were generally high, when emotion and entertainment were the driving forces, and when lifestyle was king!

I was staring at my records for over a year, thinking, “How the f**k can I get the vibe from KISS, Slayer, the Beastie Boys and Miles Davis into one single record?” But I did it, and it sounds very much like me. It’s a high energy rock n’ roll album with the greatest songs I have written and recorded.
– Dregen on his debut solo album

Cover artwork for Dregen’s self titled debut solo album.