Basel band have still got the bug

The Lovebugs have waited a long time for success Keystone

Swiss rock band Lovebugs are enjoying some long-overdue commercial success, a mere 11 years after the group was founded.

This content was published on October 28, 2003 - 08:47

Close to breaking up in 2001, the Basel band bounced back to release their third top ten album and recently warmed up for the Rolling Stones in Zurich.

“We were prepared for the worst actually,” grins lead vocalist Adrian Sieber as he recalls singing in front of 42,000 people.

“We’d heard that the Stones’ audiences aren’t usually very interested in the support acts but we had no problem at all. Everyone was clapping and singing along so I think we really won them around.

“We started the band because we all had dreams of playing in front of lots and lots of people. And although it’s not just the size of the crowd that makes for a great gig, it was great to see that the Lovebugs sound could work in front of so many people.”

Two years ago, the idea of warming up for the Rolling Stones would have seemed laughable. And at that time, the Lovebugs weren’t much into laughing.

Predicted demise

The decision of bass player and Lovebugs co-founder Sebastian Hausmann to quit in 2001 even caused some Swiss music writers to predict the imminent demise of the band.

But with two new members and a more upbeat, “rockier” sound, the Lovebugs bit back with their latest album, “13 Songs with a View”.

“I can’t say that we really thought our previous album, “Awaydays”, would be the last, but there was definitely a melancholic mood back then,” recalls drummer Simon Ramseier.

“The feeling was though that we should do at least one more record, a record that we really liked, and see what happened from there.”

What happened from there was an immediate number one placing in the Swiss album charts for “Awaydays”, along with a top 20 hit for the single “Music Makes My World Go Round”.

The bold decision to up the tempo on “13 Songs with a View” may have surprised some of the band’s new listeners, but another top ten placing showed that the group were still in demand.

Reduced sound

“We didn’t plan to make the new album more rocky,” insists Sieber, “but we were trying to get a more reduced sound, closer to our live performances. That meant reducing the number of overdubs, not having strings or choirs or tons of synths. At the end of the day, we’re a rock and roll band and we want to be the same on our records as we are on the stage.”

With more than 50,000 record sales from their last two albums combined, the Lovebugs have become one of the most successful bands in the Swiss market, even if their foreign sales aren’t (yet) worrying the Rolling Stones.

“Our previous album was sold in more than a dozen countries outside of Switzerland,” points out Sieber, “and hopefully the latest one will sell in more, and the next one in even more...”

“We’ve already seen how long it can take just to have success in Switzerland, and we know that we’re not a band who fit easily into categories since we’re not really a radio band and we’re also not just a live band.

“It’s taking time, but we already have fan clubs in Russia and Germany, so at least we know that the success, if it comes, should be pretty solid.”

swissinfo, Mark Ledsom

Lovebugs tour dates

Remaining Swiss tour dates:

21.11 Schaffhausen
22.11 Mels
05.12 Bern
06.12 Aarau

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Lovebugs

The Lovebugs were founded 11 years ago by singer Adrian Sieber, bass player Sebastian Hausmann and drummer Juile Lagger.

Lagger left the set-up in September 1993, but it was the departure of Sieber in 2001 that threatened to break up the band.

Despite those gloomy predictions, the Lovebugs have sold more than 50,000 copies of their last two albums.

The band's current line-up: Adrian Sieber (vocals/guitar), Simon Ramseier (drums), Stefan Wagner (keyboards), Florian Senn (bass), Thomas Rechberger (guitar)

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