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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
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.
The Hellacopters Reunion
In 2016 The Hellacopters did a reunion gig at Sweden Rock Festival, celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the debut album ”Supershitty To The Max! This was supposed to be a one-off show, but the band got that spark and energy back and continued to tour Europe, USA and South America. In 2017 they opened for The Rolling Stones for the second time in their career. Swedish Television broadcasted and streamed the band documentary “I’m in The Band – The Story of The Hellacopters” in 2021, and they were the house band in STV’s “På Spåret” for three episodes with guest artists like Thåström and Papa Emetrius IV from the band Ghost. The Hellacopters are currently in the studio, recording a brand new full-length album, set to be released 2021/2022!
Backyard Babies released the album ”Sliver & Gold” in 2019 with major tours all over Europe, South America and Japan.
The Punk Throne & Feet Royale
Dregen did a handfull of art exhibitions with his paintings in Sweden and Germany 2019, and also designed his first furniture ”The Punk Throne” & ”Feet Royale” together with the amazing furniture company Vilax in Sweden. – A handmade armchair and foot stool, made in a limited edition of 50 copies. All numbered and signed.
”The Punk Throne” & ”Feet Royale” are both made out of real leather, imitation leather and textile with buttons in metal. All handmade by professionals and the art handcraft rules.
Riff – Beer By Dregen
In the summer of 2020, Dregen entered the beverage industry with his Riff – Lager By Dregen. The beer took the market by storm and empty shelves unfortunately soon became a common sight when demand overwhelmed the then brewery.
With the aim set on continued development, an extensive selection process was started to find a brewery that could meet both Swedish and international demand. With consensus on quality, flexibility and top-class service, Dregen and the brewery Nyckelbryggerier found each other where the agreement was signed in February 2021.
Better, faster and tastier has since been the mantra for the duo who have now really reloaded to develop the concept.
Riff has been expanded and become a “family” consisting Riff Lager, Riff IPA and a Riff Alcohol-free, all brewed with love to the nature of northern Sweden and to the sound of distorted hard rock of the noblest kind. In short, a repertoire for every occasion and scene!