Anders Johansson interview

Written by on December 2, 2021

We Will Rise by Tungsten, made by the Johansson family.


If you have been listening to Metal music for a couple of years, you have at least heard one song where Anders Johansson played drums on. The man is that prolific and consistent throughout his career and he hasn’t stopped since he got his big break by teaming up with his compatriot Yngwie Malmsteen in the early 80s, producing some of the finest Metal albums since then.

Hailing from a family of musicians, Anders and his brother, famous keyboard player Jens Johansson (Yngwie, Stratovarius, Rainbow, among many others), have developed some remarkable careers and that has been carried in the next generation of the Johansson clan, with Anders’ sons, Kalle and Niklas, starting a Power Metal with him, Tungsten, which is about to release their next record, Bliss, in early 2022.

Whether it’s with Yngwie, Manowar, HammerFall, Stratovarius, the projects with Jens, Tungsten or even his first band in Sweden, Silver Mountain (whose 1983 debut, Shakin’ Brains, featuring both Anders and Jens, deserves your attention), Anders has always been a reliable and high quality musician, plus a great guy to boot, so it was a pleasure to do an interview with him and discuss many different topics. Hopefully you will enjoy it as well.

Thank you for taking the time to do this, Anders. How are things going with you right now?

Hello, and thanks for having me! I’m doing great, thank you! Just came off a little tour with my brother where I play upright bass. So today I went down and sat behind the kit for the first time in a month. It’s like riding a bike.

Things have been started to normalize a bit about the pandemic. How are you going back to your projects after this situation?

Our tour just got finished a few days before the restrictions started slightly again. But hopefully it will not be as bad this time. The pandemic helped me practice more than I ever did in a long time. The only good thing about it (laughs). I think a lot of music was written in general around the world and a lot of practicing was done.


The Tungsten band, with Anders and his sons, Kalle and Niklas, and vocalist Mike Andersson.

After having done so many albums and having worked on so many different groups and projects, what is your motivation these days?

The love of music. I get tired of playing the same stuff, though. Better with different stuff… if possible.

How would you say your drumming has evolved throughout the years?

I’m more relaxed and less prone to over play. Also better at playing modern complex patterns with my feet. I had to do that in Tungsten. Also with age one learns new stuff all the time.

Aftermath by Silver Mountain, the first band with the Johansson brothers back in Sweden. The album came out in 1983 and is called Shakin’ Brains.

You have played with multiples bands and they all of course have some considerable differences. How would you say you adjust your drumming to these different bands?

I try to feel the band’s vibe. And try to adapt. Their micro timing. Not always easy when it fluctuates. Sometimes there are different timings going on and then it is every man for himself. I mostly played with men… hence the “every man” (laughs).

With so much experience in the music business, what do you think are the aspects of drumming that are not discussed enough?

Maybe that is not only about the actual drumming. You have to be a nice and easy going. Yet aggressive in your playing (depending on the band, of course). You have to know the basic unwritten rules. As well as having some business sense.

A connection with a bassist is usually very important to a drummer. What are you usually looking for when playing with a bassist?

It is nice if we have the same micro timing. And if the person is musically talented and most importantly plays tight.

Who is the best bassist you have played with and why?

There is a “best” in many styles. I’ve played with quite a bunch of great ones. I’m thinking of making a list here now but I don’t dare. I will forget someone (laughs). But tight is nice. As well as aggressive. And playing a bit outside the normal “just playing the same as the base note the guitar player plays”.

Nowhere to Run by the Johansson project, with Anders on drums and Jens on keyboards.

One project of yours that I don’t think is mentioned enough is the one you did in the nineties with your brother Jens. How that project came to be?

I did a few with him. One with Allan Holdsworth. A few more Metal. A few solo albums of his. I like the Fission one. It was well rehearsed… for once (laughs). We wanted to just play different stuff. For the love of music really.

Looking back, what do you think of that project?

It was really nice! Things could have been done differently in retrospect but it is okay anyways. One tries ones best and one learns.

You have played with Jens in that project, Manowar for a while and of course with Yngwie, plus you’re now playing with your kids in Tungsten. What would you say are the main differences of playing with family members than with other people?

My sons are great guys and musicians. At first I used to try to teach them everything I know… didn’t take that long (laughs). And now they are just like any other band member.


Anders Johansson in action.

What can you tell us about Tungsten? What is going with that project these days?

Soon (January) a first single for the next album Bliss comes out. Then a second in February, etc., etc. New album. Gigs. The usual.

Having so much experience and so many years making records, do you think your songwriting process has changed? If so, how?

I was never really a great songwriter. I wrote fusion and more progressive stuff. Nowadays I let my sons do all the songwriting. They are more into it.

Hooded Strangers from Jens Johansson’s Fission solo album, with Anders on drums.

What is the best album you have done and why?

Drumming wise it is Jens Johansson/Fission. We spent some time to get it tight and aggressive. I got to overplay as much as I wanted (laughs).

Rising Force by Yngwie J. Malmsteen live in Leningrad in 1989 with Anders Johansson on drums.

Which is the best live album you have ever done and why?

Maybe Live in Leningrad. Because the band was really great. The drumming was normal Rock drumming but a great band.

Any advice to a drummer starting out?

Learn from everybody, not only drummers. Stay cool. Be nice. Practice like your life depends on it.

Thank you for doing this, Anders. It was a pleasure. Any final words for our readers? Where we can we follow you on social and buy your music?

Thank you!

Tungsten on Spotify, etc., etc.

Current track




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