page in a history book...
band Refused were the leading hardcore band in Scandinavia when
they were around. They were well known for following the uncompromising
lifestyle "Straight edge" and for fighting for the animal rights.
But mostly, they were known for being the revolutionary hardworking band
from Umeå, Sweden that always had something important to say. It
was all about fighting against the capitalism, to overthrow the class system
and to fight opressions of all kinds. Their thoughts and opinions were
spread through their lyrics, manifestos, interviews and on their many intense
and powerful live shows. And by recording classic songs such as "Pump
the brakes", "Everlasting",
"Rather be dead" and the
"New noise" they have most definitely put their name in
the history book...
In the year
of 1989 in Umeå, Sweden a guy named Dennis Lyxzén (Vocals)
formed a band called STEP FORWARD together with his friends Toft
Stade (Bass), Jens Nordén (Drums) and Henrik Jansson
Step forward were one of the very first hardcore bands
in Sweden that held on to the youth lifestyle “Straight Edge”. They
released two demos, "I am me" (1989) and "Does it make a difference?"
(1990). During their existence they played a handful of gigs, mostly in
northern Sweden were they came from. They broke up because they started
getting different opinions on which kind of songs they wanted to play.
They did their last gig in December 1991. In 1996 a discography CD with
Forward was released on Desperate Fight Records. It was titled
did make a difference” and included both demos plus two live shows.
This legendary hardcore band is no more but the scene didn’t follow them
to the grave...
the ashes of Step Forward a new Swedish hardcore band saw the daylight.
It was called REFUSED and was formed by Dennis Lyxzén
of Step Forward in 1991. The first line-up consisted of Dennis
(Vocals), David Sandström (Drums), Pär Hansson
(Guitar) and Jonas Lidgren (Bass). They did their first show in
Luleå, Sweden and soon recorded their first demo, simply titled "Refused".
Soon Jonas left the band and was in August 1992 replaced by Magnus
Björklund. They also added a second guitarist, Henrik Jansson
which was also an ex-member of Step forward. The second demo recording
headfirst" came at the end of the year of 1992.
in touch with the label Burning Heart Records. The debut mini-CD
is the new deal" was recorded in May 1993 and released by
Heart later that year. Refused had already signed a deal with
another label called Startrec, nowadays called Startracks.The
band entered the studio in October 1993 to record their first full-length
album. First they released the ”Pump the brakes” single in February
1994 and then the album titled "This just might be…the truth"
hit the stores in March, both released by their new label Startrec.
The album was also released by We Bite Records in Europe and by
We Bite America in the States. It was here it all started for the
band, they were now the leading hardcore band in Scandinavia and massive
press, radio and national TV followed them up. The Swedish hardcore scene
was getting bigger and bigger and many new bands came up. Refused
hit the road in May to do their first tour of Sweden called
together with Randy, Ashram and
Mary Beats Jane. There
was also a video shot for the song “Pump the brakes”.
The band was
not really satisfied with the album and many songs were written during
a hectic period. But in July 1994 Refused went to the studio again
to record new songs for a MCD. This recording, titled “Everlasting”,
was made under some heavy time pressure as well, but the final result was
way better than the full-length. There was now a new harder and more varied
sound. This release was like a turning point for the band. "Everlasting"
was also released by We Bite Records and later re-issued
by Equal Vision Records in the States as well.
Hansson left the band to play in another Umeå hardcore band called
and Abhinanda switched guitarists, Refused got
guitar player Kristofer Steen instead. As the attention now were
growing Refused were nominated for a Swedish Grammy award as “best
alternative hardrock band” in February 1995.
win, but they saw it as some sort of proof that all theirs work during
1994 had given results. Refused hit the road again to do their first
tour outside Scandinavia, this time as the support for the band 108.
Then the band did their second tour of Sweden with Mindjive as the
In 1995 a split
CDEP was released together with their friends in Randy. They decided
to do covers on each other’s songs and the result was the
Randy” CDEP. The guitar player Henrik Jansson later left the
band and was in August 1995 replaced by Jon F Brännström,
also an active guitarist and singer in Purusam at this time. In
May 1995 Refused hit the road again to play some shows as support
for Snapcase and Earth Crisis.
1995 Refused went to the studio to start the recording of their
second full-length album "Songs to fan the flames of discontent".
This release showed that band have developed alot, both musically and lyrically.
This was the first release with the new line-up and it turned out really
great This awesome album placed the band as one of the leading hardcore
bands in Europe! The album was also released by Victory Records and
There was also
a CDEP released with the song "Rather be dead” from the album. This
release also included the exclusive vegetarian song ”Jag äter inte
mina vänner” (“I don’t eat my friends”) sang in Swedish with the
famous singer Tomas Dileva on lead-vocals. There was also a video
shot for the song “Rather be dead”. Refused were once again
nominated for a Swedish Grammy as “best alternative hardrock band”
in February. But, unfortunately, they didn’t win this time either.
When the album
was released Refused hit the road again. They toured Sweden together
with Fireside and Entombed. This was followed by a tour in
Germany together with Breach. Then it was time for another tour
in Sweden, this time with bands like Sindy Kills Me, Trio Lligo
and Sadiwas as the support. This tour lasted between April to June
and as that wouldn’t be enough they toured rest of June to July in the
States together with Snapcase. August was spent in Germany, Switzerland
and UK as support for Madball.
leaves Startracks and signs a new deal with Burning Heart Records
re-releases ”This just might be…” and ”Songs to fan…"
at the same time puts out two Refused compilations: “The demo
compilation” and “The e.p. compilation”. These two albums included
songs from EP's, various compilations, demo tapes and other rare songs.
were nominated as "best Swedish live act" in 1997 by Swedish national
radio but unfortunately they didn’t win.
In late 1997
started to record their third full-length album, the critically acclaimed
shape of punk to come". The result was overwhelming! They had manage
to mix hardcore punk with wide musical influences raging from jazz to techno
to pop and back it up with highly political lyrics and manifestos. Never
had a band put out a record this dangerous, provocative and revolutionary!
This record is today considered as one of the most groundbreaking and most
important hardcore/punk records of all times. The album was released by
Heart and also by Epitaph in the States. The biggest hit from
the album “New noise” was also released as the CDEP "The new
noise theology e.p." and a video for the song was made. The CDEP was
released by Burning Heart Records in Europe and by Honeybear
Records in the States. It was later re-issued by Epitaph for
the US market. They also found a new bass player named
spent on the road touring Scandinavia together with Frodus. In April
they left off for the Sued(e)palooza tour together with labelmates
Fun At All, The Hives and Liberator. Refused
toured some in Scandinavia and Europe and did some gigs on different festivals.
Then there was this seven-week US tour which turned out to be the last
tour ever. After only a few gigs the band decides to cancel the rest of
the tour because of some internal conflicts. They went back home to Sweden
and called it quits shortly there after.
their last gig in Harrisonburg, Virginia on the 6th of October 1998. Refused
are fucking dead.
the official press release
their split up Refused were once again nominated for the Swedish
Grammy award as “best alternative hardrock band” but they didn't
In May 2004
Heart Records and Epitaph re-released "The shape of punk
to come", "Songs to fan the flames of discontent" and
e.p. compilation" as digitally remastered versions. "The shape of
punk to come" was released as a digitally remastered and remixed version
on DVD-audio format with 5.1 surround sound! This version was later nominated
for "Best Multichannel Reissue" for the Surround Music Awards
in the US, but it didn't win.
marked the release for the long awaited documentary "Refused are fucking
dead" made by guitarist Kristofer Steen. This DVD captures Refused's
last years of existence. It was released by Burning Heart Records in
Europe and by
Epitaph in the US.
In 2010 Epitaph
released the deluxe re-issue versions of "The shape of punk to come"
on both 2xLP and 2xCD+DVD format. The CD version also included the live
album "Live at Umeå Open 1998" and the DVD "Refused are
announces in April 2011 that he is writing a book about the years in Refused.
Now it's 2012
and, believe it or not, REFUSED ARE FUCKING BACK! See them live in 2012.
Click here for tour dates: