(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
There is always a chance that some of the bands I wish to share with you all via our Oldschool Sunday pieces aren’t just old, they’re damn near altogether obscure. That would be the case for today’s subjects, Stockholm, Sweden’s Mental Hippie Blood and truth is, that is a damned shame.
What we do know is that the origins of Mental Hippie Blood date back to the mid-1980’s with a band named Glorious Bankrobbers. When their vocalist Olle Hillborg exited the band sometime around 1992, it left remaining members Mikael Jansson (guitar), Jonas Petersson (guitar), Lake Skoglund (bass) and Anders Odenstrand (drums) without a singer. Luck would have it that they soon met vocalist Michael Oran and in 1992, Mental Hippie Blood were born.
Things quickly began to happen for the band, whose sound was a very guitar driven, grunge-ish style of heavy rock. The band self-produced their initial self-titled full-length album for MVG Records which spawned a moderately successful single, “Don’t Talk“. Ultimately, the debut sold well enough to inspire the label to promote the band and release outside of Sweden and across Europe.
Doors quickly began to open for Mental Hippie Blood as “Don’t Talk” began receiving airplay on MTV Europe’s Headbanger’s Ball. The band embarked on some large-scale tours, mostly in Germany as a support act. However, at some point in this period, both Petersson and Odenstrand left the band and were replaced with guitarist Anders Wikström and drummer Jonas Ostman.
With a new line up in place, Mental Hippie Blood would enter the studio with producer Ulf “Sank” Sandqvist (Clawfinger, Paradise Lost, Shotgun Messiah) and record their next studio effort. Eventually, that would be released via MVG — with U.S. distribution via Metal Blade — as “Pounds” in 1994. The record displayed a much heavier musical direction, one similar to other artists at the time i.e. Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and the like. It fueled one official video for the track “Chosen“.
Despite its greatness and my belief that “Pounds” is one of the best, but most overlooked, heavy rock albums ever, Mental Hippie Blood failed to ever “breakthrough”. There was a 3-song Maxi-Single for “Chosen” released in 1994 as well as a re-mix single for the track “Still Pounds” the following year. Unfortunately, for a band that seemed to display incredible potential, along with the talent and the traits to go on to bigger things, Mental Hippie Blood disbanded in 1995.