Asta Kask ‎– För Kung & Fosterland (1982)

August 2: nd 2013 – An iconic Swedish punk band

Asta Kask ‎– För Kung & Fosterland

Pang Records ‎– PSI 050 – 1982- 7″ – Pink labels

This post started out writing about the record, however – I realized there has not been any exhaustive written about Asta Kask in English, so it became an Asta Kask post in general instead.

Few Swedish punk bands are as iconic as Asta Kask. I think a lot of punks are ambivalent as it comes to Asta Kask. I guess they got too well-known. Even my mum known about them as she told me “that band you like when you was a kid is playing nearby – are you going? I guess some of the punks though they were not part of the underground movement and that they were not cool enough. However they were possible as true to the DIY culture as all the other at the same time. Here’s the story:

The band started out in 1978 as X-Tas in Töreboda in the Västergötland region, possible with exception of Dalarna the most “raggare” infested place in Sweden. It’s more precisely just between Gothenburg and Stockholm. The first line-up included Micke Blomqvist (guitar and vocals), Pelle Karlsson (bass), Uffe Karlsson (drums) and Stefan Hovbjer (guitar), the later quickly replaced by Stefan Svensson. The name Asta Kask is really a nonsense name as Micke had some stickers saying “aktas” (translation – beware) and as he cut of the letters the name Asta Kask was created. Initially the band played Sex Pistols covers but got influence by the first wave of Swedish punkbands like Ebba Grön, KSMB and Grisen Skriker, starting to cover them. The band rehearsed a lot when not exercising their main hobby: boozing.

Asta Kask live, early 80’s. Exact year unknown. From the Asta Kask web-site.

After doing some shows at local youth clubs they got of some reason contracted by a promoter who set-up shows at the Swedish “folkpark”. This typical outside gigs in smaller cities. It’s part of the overall Swedish popular movement weakly connected to the Social Democratic Party and the workers trade unions. It occured at fenced areas outside the city where bands played, including the Swedish “dance band” phenomena. These places also organized carnivals etc. It was mildly a cultural crash. As rumors spread about Asta Kask was playing some 500 “raggare” caravanned in American cars to the gigs, equipped with stones and a bad temper, seriously committed to beat the shit of any punks daring to play or watch the show. It was at this time Asta Kask got police escort back and forth to the shows, to avoid serious beating.

Raggare end of the 70’s in the Västerås area. Possible scouting for punks to beat up. Photograph by Ulf Axelsson at VLT.

Serious drinking in combination with messy gigs took the band to the boiling point and they would possible have split out already in 1981. However, as they got contacted by Pang Records to make an EP, it seems like the band mobilized around this project. This, their first EP, was recorded in a few hours and Pang Record pressed in 500 copies and released it in 1982. Of some reason it comes in three label versions. This record got the most common color: pink, but it exist copies with yellow labels and green labels. I am pretty sure that it was not different presses and I assume there was some printing mistake. I have never seen a green label by the same, other sources mentioned it.

Writing this article I realized it did not know much about Pang records others that the label seems to have released all kind of music. However, Peter Kagerland author of Ny Våg – Svensk Punk / New Wave / Synth 1977-1982 e-mailed me the following: Pang was active during the years 1979-1984. The label was based in Norrköping and they seem to release more or less anything as long the band chipped in money. I don’t believe the owner Lars E Carlsson took any financial risk what so ever. He also made sure the records were recorded in the same studio in Stockholm. I presume he had some economical interest in that studio as well.
Around 1983 I did my “civil” military duty at a school in Norrköping and Lars had his daughter at the school. At this time the music magazine “Schlager” had an article with the heading “Watch out for this man” or something like that. However, I don’t really think he was a bad in any way, rather the opposite. All the bands I spoken to have not really said anything really bad about him. I mean they got an EP released or appeared on some of his compilation records. There is a story however that he wanted to make “filthy lyric” record with Gävle based PF Commando which they declined.
The Pang Records end result is that their catalogue was quite messy as he more or released anything; punk, pop and heavy metal. But there are some really good stuff there, like Asta Kask, Sabotage 81 and The Masters.

Asta Kask, 1982. Image from Skvaller fanzine.

The EP got air time mainly through the Swedish punk radio show “Ny Våg”. It’s a solid EP with catchy melodies and cleaver lyrics. However, instead of taking off, the band collapsed. Micke was also involved in the Kloakens Alternativa Anti-Studio in which a lot of Swedish punk bands made their studio debut. By today’s standards the four channel studio seems quite primitive but for many young punk bands it was the real deal. Eventually Micke restarted the band by basically getting 3 new guys on board. Bonni “Bonta” Pontén came from Product Assar to play guitar, Magnus “Bjurre” Bjurén on drums and finally Magnus “Ernie” Hörnell on bass. It has been said that Tomas Jonsson from Anti-Cimex was to take part of the bands and he and Micke got well along. However – even though Jonsson could play the suggested instrument: drums, Jonsson preferred to sing, a position obviously taken by Micke so in the end Jonsson was out. No hard feelings apparently. From here the gang established itself as band to invade punk-Sweden. They played everywhere, spit out 3 EP, 2 LP and one 12″ up to 1986. The new gangs first EP was En Tyst Minut that was released on the Jönköping label Skvaller records. Prior that they appeared on the Really Fast Vol 1 with a couple of songs. It EP was followed up by Plikten Framför Allt on Rosa Honung also released in 1984. The band played everywhere and it was DIY all the way, Micke booked the gigs and they played any day in the week (previous it was mainly in weekends). Despite doing everything themself, hardly getting paid, some punks started to spit on them and see them as sell-out. Popular music magazine wanted to write about them but with exception of one or two cases they turned it down. After 4 years burning the candle in both ends they band collapsed in 1986. They played mainly in Sweden expect for a tour in Germany (together with Upright Citizens)

The first four EP’s by Asta Kask. First: “För Kung & Fosterland” originally released on Pang records (1982), later re-pressed on Rosa Honung (1984) with a red/white sleeve. The ones that have an insert in that release possible got it from the band (as it was officially not issued with an insert). Second: En Tyst Minut released on Skvaller records (1984), later re-pressed on 1000 dB (1992). Third: Pliken Framför Allt, released on Rosa Honung (1984). It comes in two labels (yellow and pink), but I don’t know if they are separate presses. Fourth: Än Finns Det Hopp, released on Rosa Honung in 1986.

the verdict! 30 years ago I was part of the Asta Kask fan-base. 20 years ago I would possible be part of the anti-Asta Kask camp. Too many people liked them, some of them not meeting my standard on punk. But I was an elitist arrogant ass-hole in those years. Getting older and frankly don’t giving a shit on my image and coolness I got to say: their four first EP’s are super-solid and still spins my turntable. Asta Kask has on occasions been bundled with the “trall-punk” band in Sweden. This can more or less be translated to “song-a-long-punk”. You will find bands like Strebers / Dia Psalma, Radioaktiva Räkor and Räserbajs in that camp. I find it a quite repulsive comparison. It’s not that I don’t like the trall punk – I done my share of pogo and singing on Dia Psalma concerts. It’s rather that I see it a simplification of Asta Kask. I believe the origin to this is partly the song PS. 474 on this record. It refers to Psalm 474 that was part of the summer break ceremonies at schools in Sweden. It kind of manifested that school is now out and the summer break starts. Of course, Asta Kask made lyric-wise its own version of it.

Epilogue: (mainly from the Asta Kask Asta Kask official website) After the break-up Ernie moved to Stockholm and played among other bands with NEIN (with dudes from Rolands Gosskör). Micke was in Strebers a couple of years whilst Bonta and Bjurren was Costa Nostra.
The first re-union was in 1989 at Vita Huset (White House) in Täby, north of Stockholm. It was a quite chaotic event with 600 punks coming to a venue that could take half that crowd. The local subway station got trashed as a consequence of punk being pissed that the city wanted to shut down the club. Asta Kask had to hammer 7 inch nails thru the microphone stands to avoid them flying all over the play as the audience danced on stage. The Täby gigs got repeated over the years. In 1992 Asta Kask played on the Rosa Honung 10-year anniversary at Fryshuset in Stockholm but that gig did not really energize the band. They preferred the small clubs. 11 years passed…
In 2003 it was announced that “Ester Kex” would play at Kafé 44. I guess you had to be sniffing a lot glue to miss the link with the band. After two songs the packed placed managed to crash the scene. Complete mayhem, exactly how Asta Kask want it. As from that event the band continued to play. The drummer Bjurre left in 2005 and Dadde Stark is now drumming.
Since 2003 Asta Kask has been very productive, they have made more gigs compared to the early years, released more records. I guess I check them out again as they play in the region. I bring my kids and my mother too.

♬ Asta Kask – För Kung & Fosterland – Full EP (MP3 320 kbps). Songs: Ringhals Brinner / Mänsklig Existens / Hjärndöd / PS. 474.

The source for this article is from the Asta Kask website, Putte Punk’s web-side and various articles and books. And of course Peter Kagerland.

Click on the images to expand them to higher resolution. The rips and images are from my record.

Front and rear sleeve

Fold out sleeve


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