What a difference one year makes. Rewind back to June of 2015… Swedish rockers SISTER SIN were about to embark on their biggest American tour ever as featured artists on the final Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival with a European tour tentatively planned to follow in the fall. The band was one of the biggest surprises on the Mayhem tour with fans packing the various venues during their set to witness the unbridled power and kinetic energy of their live performance. Merch lines were often a hundred plus strong with fans eager to meet these youthful rockers who so perfectly captured the “old school” sound and attitude of Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, and Motley Crue from back in the day. It seemed the stars were finally aligning for the breakthrough SISTER SIN had fought so hard to achieve over their 13 year career. Sadly, the band would call it quits in November.
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED??
In the interest of full disclosure, I (Sarge) was the tour manager for the band during the ROCKSTAR festival and although it WAS a grueling coast to coast tour, I never saw a single thing that would have given me any indication that this would be the band’s final tour. Spirits were high, the members were excited and seemed to feed off of the amazing, intensely electric crowds we played before. So what the hell happened??
Although lead singer Liv Jagrell would say in subsequent interviews that “burnout” led to the breakup, the band as a whole has yet to talk publicly about exactly what transpired and lead to the spilt of Sister Sin at arguably the pinnacle of their career. Until now.
Last week, I spoke with drummer David Sundberg, guitarist Jimmy Hitula, bassist Andreas Strandh, and lead vocalist Liv Jagrell individually to get their unique take on what subsequently led to the end of Sister Sin, what they are doing now, and what plans they have for the future.
LRI: Thanks for taking the time for talk to me, guys. I have so many questions, but let’s focus on you telling me YOUR side of what happened, what you’re up to currently, and your plans for the future. I’m assuming you all are still in contact with one another?
STRANDH: Hey Sarge! It’s kind of weird, man. Since the last show, I’ve been working on a regular job for pretty easy money. I’m writing music on my own and hope someday to play them live…either my own “maybe band” or Sister Sin in the future. I miss my guys and the magic we did together but I don’t miss the road that much. I still have the desire to play and music will always be a huge part of my life.
LRI: You mentioned playing with Sister Sin in the future- so you don’t think this breakup is forever?
STRANDH: I genuinely hope Sister Sin have not played their last show, but you never know. It’s hard to gauge right now. I have spoken a little bit with the guys but I wish it was more often. Time changes and you never know what the future brings but I’m pretty comfortable with my situation right know.
LRI: Any regrets?
STRANDH: Not really. Sister Sin really taught me a lot. Most importantly is to respect each other, don’t expect to get Oprah rich, and drink water once in a while. I also became a better musician over the years playing with the band and have enjoyed every minute of it. Again- who knows the future…haha!!
DAVID SUNDBERG: Well, short version is: Strandh basically quit. Jimmy kinda lost motivation & wanted a break. We all went back & forth and I suggested at least a farewell tour since we didn’t know if we’re gonna get back together again. Figured that would be a nice ending. Strandh didn’t wanna do that either, which I pretty much knew, and then Jimmy didn’t wanna do it since Strandh bailed. I said Fuck it. It´s over! I think we were all a bit burned out and I just didn’t have it in me anymore to keep trying to motivate people. And that’s pretty much what happened. It sucks, but somehow that option seemed better than taking 8 months off just to find out Strandh, Jimmy or even me still didn’t wanna tour or be active. I didn’t want to put my life on hold waiting for folks to be motivated for something I considered to be fun.
LRI: You seem pretty upset about the breakup..
DAVE: Well, yeah, I used to for sure! This was my life’s work..my baby. It’s been all I’ve known for 13 years pretty much. Those songs..the music..the body of work..means the world to me. It pissed me off the moment it ended but in retrospect though, I realized I felt the same way as the other guys. I was just so stubborn and so used to always hammer on no matter what; Album, Tour, Album, Tour, the constant social media thing & struggles with labels & god knows what. I actually feel a huge relief getting rid of all that stress. Now, when I can take a step back I realize we were dead in the water trying to survive & make a living in this so called “music business”.
LRI: So where do you go from here?
DAVE: I’ve enjoyed being home with my family..spending time with my young daughter..but I’m going to start working full time after the summer when my parental leave is over. Looking forward to making some real money after basically seven years on the road non stop (laughs).
LRI: Any regrets? Have we seen the end of Sister Sin?
DAVE: Looking back, I believe we made a huge mistake focusing on the band being a full time job because it really ended up taking away a lot of the fun and the love for the music itself. Personally, I think Sister Sin is dead forever. We had a damn good run, released some awesome music I´ll always be proud of and I still love the others like family, so it’s all good!
LRI: Jimmy? What’s your take?
JIMMY HILTULA: LOL! I have to follow THAT? Um..since the last Sister Sin show I have been focusing on my job and recouping on life in general. It took quite a while for me to even pick up the guitar after the breakup, but that time was needed. On the last show I kinda felt this is going to be it, at least for a long time, but never did I think we had just played the last show ever. We all talk from time to time of course, and we are still very good friends on all levels. No bad blood. Being on the road travelling all over the world pretty much nonstop had taken a toll on all of us I think. Burnout is a real thing!
LRI:I can see that- so what are you up to nowadays?
JIMMY: Well, I have been working my ass off on my job. As fucked up as it sounds, it actually feels good to have some financial security for once. I can plan things ahead now, that was nearly impossible before. I’m very much interested still in making music, my creative vein will never stop flowing, but I’m pretty happy where my life is right now.
LRI: Congrats on the job, bro! I’m glad to see you happy and making a good living- it really DOES feel good to be able to pay your bills and have some financial stability, but it sounds like you’re not interested in music at this time? That doesn’t sound good for hopes of a Sister Sin reunion..
JIMMY: As of now I cannot see a Sister Sin reunion and it’s definitely not something I’m interested in at this time. We are all on a pretty much different levels today and our priorities are all laying elsewhere. No regrets whatsoever with Sister Sin. We had quite a lot of success and a lot of fun along the way. Our fans were the best and we owe everything to them. I guess I learned that you have to sacrifice a lot being in a band on our level. I mean tremendously more than you can imagine. Be careful what you wish for! HAHA!
LRI: So it sounds like you’re pretty certain that Sister Sin is dead and gone forever? I can’t lie- that makes me sad…
JIMMY: Hmm, I guess I’m not ruling out the option completely. I’m just saying that in this stage of my life, it’s just notgonna happen. But the future is uncertain of course…who knows how it all looks in 5 years??
LRI: Fair enough. Liv?
LIV JAGRELL: Well, I’m honestly surprised to hear that everyone seems open to reuniting at some point in the future, especially since some have moved their gear out of our rehearsal studio and even turned in their key, but, like Dave, Sister Sin felt like my child..mybaby..and I was really pissed off at how it all ended so abruptly. I honestly haven’t really spoken to the other guys a lot, besides Jimmy who lives close to me, but music is my true passion and I am NOT ready to quit making music. With the guys in Sister Sin or not.
LRI: I’m glad you’re not giving up music, Liv! That’s awesome news! So, what’s YOUR take on what happened? Did you see the end coming?
LIV: After Mayhem, we had a couple local shows booked in Europe. Our very last gig was in Gothenberg. It was an absolute shit show from the start. Everything that could have went wrong did. Not the best location, turnout was pretty low, and the sound was trash. Lots of frustration in the band after that show, and I think it was just the final straw. We already knew after playing the Summer Breeze festival that Strandh was thinking of leaving, but he hung around for the Scandinavian shows after that and I guess I was just hoping he needed a break and then we’d move on as usual, but neither Dave or myself had any indication that we had just played our final show as Sister Sin. Jimmy seemed really down afterwards, but we just assumed it was nothing a couple months off the road wouldn’t cure. To this day it kills me to know that after 13 years of kicking ass, Sister Sin went out on a horrible note. It’s just not right. The band deserved a better ending.
LRI: I couldn’t agree more. Sister Sin deserved a “final tour”. The fans deserved a chance to say goodbye.
LIV: YES! I agree! It sucks. Truly.
LRI: So what are you up to now? Still personal training? Modeling?
LIV: I am still training clients as a personal trainer and keeping myself in tour ready shape, yes, but not doing much modeling as of late. To be honest, I’m excited to get back on stage as soon as possible making music. I’ve got some plans for the future, and have already gotten backing of a really good agent, so I’m planning on jumping back into the music scene. Music is my passion and I still have an insatiable fire in my gut to perform. I would LOVE to hit the stage with my boys in SISTER SIN again, but I won’t sit around and wait for something that may never happen. I’m proud of what we’ve done with Sister Sin, and I’m immeasurably thankful to Jimmy, Strandh, Dave, and all the fans for allowing me to live my dreams, but I am not done. You WILL hear from me again soon..one way or the other.
LRI: Now THAT sounds promising, Liv! Any hints on your specific plans outside of Sister Sin?
LIV: There are several moving parts right now..but as soon as some things are finalized, you’ll be the first one I call.
LRI: Thanks, Liv! Can’t wait!
So there you have it, folks. Have we heard the last of Sister Sin or will the metal Gods smile upon this band and resurrect this amazing rock n roll band? Hard to tell. I know there’s nothing more I’d rather see than a reunion announcement, but it sounds like it won’t happen anytime soon, sadly. But as the band have reminded their fans from day one in their unofficial motto: IN IT FOR LIFE. I, for one, hope those words echo loudly in the hearts, minds, and souls of Jimmy, Dave, Andreas, and Liv until the day they decide to reunite for one last world tour at the very least. The fans deserve to say goodbye. The BAND deserves a goodbye. Until that day, join me in cranking “True Sound of the Undergroud” on 10, pop open a case of Natural Ice beer (their favs!), and rejoice in what once was.
Stay tuned to LRI for the latest Sister Sin news!
Sister Sin Official Website: http://www.sistersin.com