The Miscellaneous was a 1990s alternative rock band composed of members from Europe and the United States. The band was fronted by a male and a female vocalist, and produced music that is said to "transcend the boundaries" of its genre in creativity. CCM magazine likened their music to that of Sixpence None the Richer, Jars of Clay and Out of the Grey.
The band was formed by the trio of Stef Loy (Guitar and Vocals), Bo H (Guitar), and Mangus Sjolander (drums), but soon added Sooi Groeneveld van der Laan (vocals) into the fray to begin writing songs. The additions of Oyvind Eriksen (bass) and Patric Jonasson (organ) completed the band's line-up, and as they began touring, they managed to quickly gather the interest of local labels, specifically, Megaphone Records.
Megaphone released the band's debut album, She Walks Alone With Me in 1994, which earned the band enough exposure to take their tour around Europe, playing dates in the UK and Germany. They also began to garner interest from bigger labels, following the success of hit single "Black Lips Saturday", and The Miscellaneous soon partnered with Black Records after the completion of their gruelling tour schedule.
All Good Weeds Grow Up
All Good Weeds Grow Up was released in 1996, and is considered the band's best work of their career. The album is a slightly different to their debut record as it was produced by Armand John Petri to build an American-friendly pop sound. This divergence from their natural sound proved fruitful for the band, as the album was well received in America, allowing a US tour to be financially viable. However, this also drew interest from American labels, with Gray Dot Records signing the band, and re-releasing All Good Weeds Grow Up in 1998.
The History Of The Miscellaneous
Although officially formed in the spring of 1994, the roots of the band go much further back. The members in the band had played together in various formations and bands before. Remembering the circumstances around the forming of the band, Stef says: "Bo, Magnus and I had been touring with a Canadian artist for a long time. The tours had taken us all over the world, but we felt it was coming to an end. During the time in the band, we had written songs that didn't seem to fit that format and we were looking for a way to put them to tape. So we went to a studio in Sweden to record and album."
"I quickly saw the need for more musicians than the three of us, and we got Öyvind and Patrik to help us out." Stef continues, "Magnus had been playing with them for such a long time it just seemed natural for them to play with us. I found Sooi in Holland singing in a choir. She had exactly the voice and attitude I was looking for to balance my voice on an album that desperately needed some female presence".
The album was titled "She Walks Alone With Me" and later picked up by Megaphone Records a Stockholm based christian record label. "I was in Canada when I got the contracts from Megaphone", Bo remembers, "and after wheelin' an' dealin', I went to 7/11 to sign and put them in the mail. Then I went to Denny's to celebrate with $1.99 breakfast special. All in all, it was a good day."
Release And Tours
The debut single "Black Lips Saturday" was released in February of 1995, and the album came shortly after. The tour that followed took the and all over Sweden and to a couple of festivals including one of the largest rock festivals in Sweden.
The New Deal
In the fall of 1995, FM Revolver Records, an english record company got the album. "They fell in love it and a new project was planned a 1996 release. The ideas was to record in England with a well known producer, Armand Petri. He would be the ideal choice since the projects he had been involved in all seemed to share similar styles and sounds as The Miscellaneous."
And Recording Again
In January 1996, they all met in a little ex vicarage to record the second The Miscellaneous project and the first with Armand Petri at the helm. "I said to Bo, early in the recording, that being a keyboard player in The Miscellaneous was like being in a symphony orchestra with a banjo," Patrik says. "But after a while, when Armand had messed with the songs and made me play the organ on all of them it turned out great. The organ had a really natural sound that blends well with Bo's guitars."
Assorted Personalities inc.
The thing that makes any band interesting, are the people behind the project. In The Miscellaneous, six people from three countries and two continents help create a totally unique and interesting lineup. In allowing the different backgrounds and influences to blend, they become a melting pot for style and creativity that had allowed them to make music that touches people's hearts. So who are they, and what makes them tick?
Stef Loy, Voice
Stef is the main songwriter/lyricist in The Miscellaneous. His powerful stage personality and expressive vocals create a strong bond with the audience during a performance. "I have to feel it," Stef says, "Otherwise, I just can't make it happen. That is why I write all the lyrics in the band. The other guys might give me scraps of lyrics for me to finish, but ultimately, it's my words. For me, they are almost more important than the music, and I agonise over every work I write." Stef went to North Central Bible College for a few years and studied composing and classical music. He has said he will write music for a string quartet for his wedding.
Magnus Sjölander, Drums
In many bands, the weakest link is the rhythm section. Not so in The Miscellaneous; Magnus's drumming is one of the band's strengths. "I'm really not interested in a lot of fills and stuff like that. The job of the drummer is first and foremost to keep the groove happening. If a song doesn't groove, it doesn't really matter how many fills you create, nothing happens anyway." Magnus is currently studying at The Gothenburg University Of Music.
Öyvind Eriksen, Bass
"Magnus and I started out together," Öyvind says, "and I think we groove well together. Sometimes I can predict which fill Magnus will play and follow it on the bass. It's almost a game now between us. But in knowing each other so well, we can also groove together, without detracting from the songs." Like Magnus, Öyvind studies music at the Gothenburg University. Övynind toured for a while with Eric Bazilian of The Hooters.
Sooi Groenevlt - Van der Laan, Vox
Sooi studies photography at an art college in Utecht, The Netherlands. She did the cover artwork for "She Walks Alone With Me". Her vocal style and presence blends with Stef to create a deeper expression.
Patrik Jonasson, Keyboards
Oe nly different thing about The Miscellaneous, compared to other bands in similar styles of music, is Patrik's keyboards. Setting moods and creating a chordal backdrop to Bo H's guitars increases the effect of the expression and mood swings. "I used to play more keyboard stuff before The Miscellaneous, but I've always enjoyed the feel of the organ with a Leslie cab." Patrik also toured with Eric Bazilion on a tour in Sweden.
Bo H, Lead Guitar
"There is a difference in approach to the music between Magnus, Stef and I. Whereas they think in musical terms and theory, I just turn up the volume. I come from the punk scene originally, and one of my first gigs I opened for Black Flag in Stockholm. I think that is the reason we complement each other so well. I keep it from being too sophisticated, and they keep it from being stupid. It's a good balance."