Vocalist Christian Linderson, also known as Chritus or Lord Chritus, has been making heavy music for decades. While many fans of heavy metal, doom metal, thrash metal, you-name-it-metal were still in short pants, he was fronting such legendary groups as Count Raven, Saint Vitus, Terra Firma and Goatess.
Today his main band is Lord Vicar, and it shares a common sound with his previous groups, in the sense that they’re all Sabbath-heavy, but stay melodic enough to keep things interesting. Their last album, 2016’s Gates of Flesh, is no exception, and it absolutely delivers the goods, all in a tidy, seven-song, 41-minute package. The group is currently hard at work on album number four.
Linderson was kind enough to sit down with The Z Review and answer five of our deeply probing questions, all of which would have made Mike Wallace or Edward R. Murrow quit journalism in shame. He also created a custom playlist for us, which appears after the interview and contains both classic heavy sounds and some real surprises, too.
TZR: When did you first start playing music and who were your earliest influences?
CL: When I was in my teens. So happened I joined a local band as a classmate suggested after hearing me humming Saxon tunes during class. And influences, aside from what my parents listened to at home, Nazareth, Status Quo, Elvis, Beatles, ELO and Demis Roussos and lots of 50-60’s rock mainly.
My earliest, biggest influence was the vocalist in another local band in my area called Jonah Quizz, Johan Längqvist, who years later ended up singing on the first Candlemass album. I could not sing as good as him obviously, but he was a general source of inspiration and no doubt the reason I wanted to be in a band in the first place. I wanted to be like him. No, I wanted to be him.
Closest thing I ever remotely came must have been when me and his younger brother had a band together at one point. He was a great guitarist. Then later on I discovered Kate Bush and Zeeb Parkes from Witchfinder General.
Aside from two half-hour singing lessons in a local theater ensemble at the time, my musical training consisted of sitting in my room singing along to these artists and bands while building plastic car models.
TZR: You’ve been in two legendary bands, Count Raven and Saint Vitus. Did you enjoy your time in those bands and what would you differently if you could do it over?
CL: I truly enjoyed it to the full with both of them, sure. Ups and downs of course but that’s just the way it goes. And I don’t know really. Quite a few years ago now.
In Saint Vitus I suppose I could have been less of a fan and more of a member, per se. I was young still and I guess I had a hard time finding my own place in there, so to speak. I mean, joining your favorite band with a perspective like that has its puzzling moments. But I’ve always loved them and I still do. It makes me happy they finally seem to get the cred and respect they so well deserve in later years.
TZR: I was very sad when Terra Firma broke up. What were the circumstances behind that?
CL: Yeah, thanks. So was I. That band was very special. On a whole I think it was mainly general frustration within the band of having the feeling of not “getting anywhere” even though we managed to get a somewhat big following by our standards. Don’t mean to be all pompous about it, but I think we were a bit ahead of our time in a way really, musically speaking. But this frustration I think started to eat us up from inside. At least this is how I remember it.
In retrospect, maybe it was a good thing in a way, as I became a single parent around the same time as [guitarist Freddie Eugene]told me we weren’t a band any more. Based on this, I personally would not have been able to commit to that level anyhow, you know? But yeah, that band was my entire life for seven or eight years or so. Good times.
TZR: Why did you leave Goatess? The records were great and I thought you guys were just getting started on something very interesting.
CL: Thank you and I agree. It was a long time coming though. Again, due to personal differences and whatnot crawling out of the woodwork as time passed by. No doubt among one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make so far, believe you me. I don’t give up on things I love easily, and especially not my “own” creation, but this time I had to.
I can’t be much more elaborate about it than that as I feel airing dirty laundry in public is not a pleasant thing, and nobody wants that now, surely. I’ve moved on and prefer to think about the good times instead. We had plenty of those as well. Been well over a year now and since then I’m happy to say I’ve got two other projects I’m involved in, both more or less in their beginning stages. I’m very excited to be participating in both of them.
TZR: What can you tell me about Lord Vicar, your current main band?
CL: Kimi Kärki, the ex-Reverend Bizarre guitarist, started the band back in the day. We’ve released three albums and various other stuff so far, and we have quite recently started working on a fourth album. Members consist of people living in different countries so initial songwriting starts with one of the members, mainly Kimi now, sending files with ideas or finished song structures back and forth. Then we go through it and elaborate around it together at rehearsals when we do get to meet.
So far it’s been working out really nicely and I’m very proud of the albums we’ve made, and I consider myself very fortunate to be a member of that band. Fingers crossed we’ll stick at it for years to come yet, because I think that constellation has a lot more to give and offer still.