Five Records That Changed My Life, Part 72: Lars Chriss

Guitarist Lars Chriss co-founded the Swedish heavy metal band Lion’s Share in 1987. The band released its self-titled debut album in 1995 and has to date released six full-length albums. Lion’s Share is currently working on a new album and a few singles from it have already been released. In addition to Lion’s Shares, Lars is also active as a sound engineer and music producer for international artists. Roppongi Rocks’ Stefan Nilsson checked in with Lars to learn about the five albums that rocked his world.

KISS “Alive!” (1975)

“A friend had a cassette with KISS ‘Alive!’ on one side and ‘Destroyer’ on the other side. I was totally blown away and had never heard anything like this before. After this, I was totally into KISS and they’ve had a huge impact on my life ever since. At school, we made costumes, built our own guitars, put on the make-up and did a big show for all the kids – playback of course. I have met everyone except Eric Carr and Mark St. John. Bruce Kulick did a guest solo on the song ‘The Edge of the Razor’ from the Lion’s Share album ‘Emotional Coma’. I was actually supposed to open up for KISS on their farewell tour last year in Gothenburg, Sweden with the band Johan Kihlberg’s Impera. We’ll see if they manage to come back and if we still will be the opening act.”

Black Sabbath “Mob Rules” (1981)

“This is my favourite album of all time. No one has had such a huge influence on my guitar riffing and songwriting style like Tony Iommi and Ronnie James Dio. In November and December of 1999, Lion’s Share did a tour opening up for DIO, Motörhead and Manowar. I was in heaven being able to hang out with my teenage idols every day – and of course especially with Ronnie. Lion’s Share also backed up Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, DIO) at a drum clinic he did in Stockholm, Sweden in 2010. I think we did ‘The Mob Rules’, ‘We Rock’, ‘Stand Up and Shout’ and ‘Heaven and Hell’ with him, which was really cool. I remember him calling us Black Sabbath Junior, which was a huge compliment of course.”

ABBA “Arrival” (1976)

“People always ask about the Swedish music wonder and if it’s something in the water up here. I think we all have ABBA to thank for a lot of the great musicians, producers and songwriters to come out of Sweden. Benny Andersson is a genius when it comes to writing very complex music that still sounds simple and catchy. His music is timeless and I’m sure people will listen to his songs long after he’s gone. My generation grew up with the ABBA influence all over the radio and TV here in Sweden, and I think that’s what the Swedish music wonder comes from. Every kid was also able to pick an instrument and play as one of the things to learn in school back then. I played guitar with a teacher in school weekly from when I was about ten years old up until I was 16. However, I am not sure if it’s still like that in Swedish schools…”

Judas Priest “British Steel” (1980)

“The band that together with Tony Iommi has had the biggest influence on my songwriting in Lion’s Share. We were honoured to contribute to the official ‘A Tribute to Judas Priest – Legends of Metal’ album with ‘A Touch of Evil’ – together with Saxon, Testament, Helloween, Mercyful Fate, Devin Townsend and others. The liner notes were written by Glenn Tipton and KK Downing, which was very cool. As teenagers, both Nils Patrik Johansson and I were huge fans of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) style, and I think I still have a lot of those influences when I write riffs and songs.”

Lion’s Share “Lion’s Share” (1995)

“Not even close to being my favourite Lion’s Share album, but since this is about records that changed my life, it must be in here since it was my first album release ever. We first got signed in Japan to Zero Corp, which at the time had Judas Priest and Michael Schenker on the label. I think Symphony X, who also were signed there, put out their debut around the same time we did. It was mind-boggling to imagine people on the other side of the globe buying and listening to the songs I wrote in my bedroom. From what I understand, it sold pretty well both in Japan and Sweden and opened a lot of doors which later got us signed to Century Media and got us on our first tours with Saxon, etc. ‘Sins of a Father’ from that album has been a huge fan favourite through the years, and we also released a new recording of it recently with our current singer Nils Patrik Johansson and a more updated sound.”