Subjekt.no (ENGLISH TRANSLATION BELOW)
Fansen forlot musikeren grunnet hans politikk. Det stoppet ikke Inge Berge
Multitalentet Inge Berges har nå fått kultstatus i Boston, skriver Dagfinn Koch.
Inge Berges «Badboy» har alle ingredienser til en rockeopera. Begjær, kjærlighet, svik og død. Protagonistens kjæreste forlater ham, og blir sammen med hans bestekamerat. Han dreper begge etter tur, og i fengselet begår han selvmord. Albumet kan best beskrives som en fortettet og velskrevet mørk roman med veldig god musikk.
Etter å ha fullført filmmusikkstudiet ved Berklee College of Music i Boston MA i 1993 Inge Berge boende i USA. I tillegg til egen solokarriere er han en aktiv studio- og turnémusiker også internasjonalt.
Berge valgte USA fremfor Norge da han er overbevist om at han har en mye større frihet til på forme sitt eget liv der. Men med den jevnt over ensidige nyhetsdekning i Norge, er det kanskje vanskelig å forstå at noen, som Berge, kan foretrekke Trump fremfor Clinton og Biden.
Hatet for å være konservativ
Som artist har Berge en stor fanbase i Boston, der han nyter kultstatus. En fanbase han måtte bygge opp fra grunnen av etter at alle hans tidligere fans forlot ham. Det skjedde etter at det gikk opp for dem at han ikke refleksaktig tilhørte venstresiden.
Politisk synes jeg det er naturlig å sammenligne Berge med den canadiske konservative rapperen Tom MacDonald. Selv om MacDonald er i en annen liga når det gjelder antall følgere, er også Berge aktiv i sosiale medier. Han har gjentatte ganger opplevd å bli utestengt fra Facebook for en viss periode (Zuckerbergfengsel).
Det som irriterer hans motstandere, er at han er kunnskapsrik, engasjert og morsom. Den radikale venstresiden forveksler ofte uenighet med hat.
Inge Berges tekster er direkte, uten ornamenterte omskrivinger. «Badboy» vokste opp ved en myrlendt elvemunning. De rundt ham hadde på følelsen at det kom til å gå bra, helt til han som syvåring hengte et ekorn med en hyssing. Hans søster mener at han hadde drept en katt.
Badboy er en sjarmerende og sammensatt person med en stor apell til kvinner. Han blir sammen med Belle (Annabell) som gjennom hele oppveksten har blitt utsatt for seksuelle overgrep. Forholdet dem imellom beskrives i det første sporet: «Badboy knew just how to take her to heaven, but mostly he kept her in hell.»
En fredag kveld på en biffrestaurant sammen med Belle og hans bestekammerat, Johnny, stryker en gjest Bell over baken. Badboy dreper ham med en biljkardkø, dumper ham i havnebassenget, og slipper unna med det.
Psykoanalytikeren Alice Miller har vist hvordan traumatiserte voksne kan dekke egne behov ved å plage og mishandle barn og voksne. Veien ut av uføret mener Miller er å være vitne til egen barndom. Men selv med hjelp er det en ytterst krevende prosess.
Melodiene, vokal, arrangementer og miks inngår i et hele. Det er gode melodier som fester seg. Selv om Berge anvender et vell av stiler og store kontraster, er platen helstøpt. Det hele toppes med en sjeldent uttrykksfull stemme. Selv om jeg er begeistret for hele platen, vil jeg fremheve noen spor:
Åpningssporet, den folk-aktige «Badboy» har elleve slag i takten. Spor fire, «Cabin by a Lake» lener seg på musikal med et et pregnant riff i messingblåsere. Spor seks, «In a Second, in a Heartbeat», er en hymne som går inn under huden. Spor åtte, «Dig In The Ground», er en klassisk velformet blues-rock-låt, der han viser hans lange erfaring som live-musiker. Han vet hva som virker.
Spor ti, «Poem from Belle’s Diary» er en skillingsvise i country-innpakking. Christine Bazes vokal er eminent. Det er et spor Berge har skrevet sammen med Anlaug Berge. Om spor 14, «Meet Me On The South Coast», har jeg i minie notater skrevet: «En klassisk ballade klar til å kanoniseres. Frem med lighterne!»
Subjekt.no - ENGLISH TRANSLATION
The fans left the musician over politics. Inge Berge didn't let that stop him.
On Norwegian-American, conservative songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Inge Berge’s latest album “Badboy” (August, 2022)
by Dagfinn Koch
Badboy contains all the ingredients of a rock opera. Lust, love, betrayal, death. The hero’s sweetheart leaves him for his best friend. He kills both of them in due order, then commits suicide in prison. The album is best described as a dense, well written, dark novel - with very good music.
After completing a study of film scoring at Berklee College of Music, Boston, Inge Berge stayed on in the USA. In addition to his own solo carreer he’s a working studio- and touring musician, internationally and domestically.
Inge Berge chose USA over Norway. He’s convinced he has far more freedom to form his own life there. Given the generally one-sided news coverage in Norway, it is perhaps strange to Norwegians that anyone might prefer Trump to Clinton and Biden.
His local fan base is in the Boston area, where he enjoys cult status. He had to build his following back up when all his fans left him. That happened when it became clear he’s not a kneejerk leftie.
Politically, I think it’s natural to compare Berge with the Canadian conservative rapper Tom MacDonald. While MacDonald is in another league as far as followers go, Berge is also active on social media. He’s a frequent Facebook jailbird; it irritates his adversaries that he’s knowledgeable, funny and tenacious.
The story of Badboy
Inge Berge’s lyrics are direct, without ornamental tartuffery.
Badboy grew up on a bayou. Those around him felt he’d do well, until he hanged a squirrel with twine at age seven. His sister thought she saw him kill a cat. Badboy is a charming, complex person with great appeal to women. He marries Belle (Annabelle), who’s been sexually molested by her father throughout her childhood and adolescence. Badboy and Belle’s relationship is described in track one: “Badboy knew just how to take her to heaven, but mostly he kept her in hell.”
One Friday night at a barroom “Steak and Potato” buffet with Belle and his best buddy Johnny, another patron touches Belle’s butt. Badboy kills him with a pool cue, dumps him in the harbor and gets away with it.
The psychoanalyst Alice Miller (1923-2010) has demonstrated how traumatized adults can meet theor own needs by bullying and abusing children and adults. Miller says the way out is to be a witness to ones own childhood. But even with help, it’s an extremely demanding process.
The music of Badboy
The melodies, vocals and arrangements are part of a whole. The melodies are catchy. While Berge employs a plethora of styles and stark contrasts, the record is one cohesive piece. The whole thing is topped with an unusually expressive voice.
I appreciate the whole record, but will mention some tracks specifically:
The opening track, the folk-ish “Badboy” is in 11/8 time. Track 4, “Cabin By A Lake,” relies on a pregnant brass riff. Track 6, “In a Second, in a Heartbeat” is a rock hymn that gets under the skin. Track 8, “Dig in the Ground” is a classic, well formed blues-rock tune, wherein Berge shows his chops as a live performer. He knows what works. Track 10, “Poem From Belle’s Diary,” co-written with Berge’s sister Anlaug Berge is a narrative folk-chanson wrapped in Country & Western. Christine Baze’s vocals are exquisite. Of track 14, “Meet Me On The South Coast,” I find in my notes: “A classic ballad, ready for canonizing. Let’s see those lighters!”
Gloucester Daily Times
Gloucester Music Invasion Hits House of Blues
It's all Gloucester all night tonight in one of the main rooms of the Boston music scene.
That's when Inge Berge will rock the House of Blues famed front room with his Berge Band, following a 9 p.m. opening set by the newly-formed, Gloucester-based Bandit Kings.
And a bus full of Gloucester music fans will be going along for the ride, thanks to a charter provided by the two groups.
For Berg, whose big guitar acoustic sound has long been a staple on the small stages of Gloucester's late-night scene, the House of Blues gig is a golden opportunity, but Boston's Fenway neighborhood is familiar territory.
It was nearby Berklee College of Music that first drew the Norwegian native to America's shores back in 1989 when the young virtuoso — he plays 15 instruments, not including his voice — hoped to add his name to the legendary list of Euro-talents scoring films for the big silver screens of Hollywood.
Instead, Berge found himself recruited by the Gloucester Stage Company, scoring music for productions as resident music director. It wasn't Hollywood, but it was a highly respected spawning ground of original talents and material that gave Berge free reign to experiment — writing, arranging and performing for productions which included debut works by prolific playwright, Israel Horovitz.
When the curtain went down on an evening's production, Berge would get down to serious jamming with local musicians, and over the next few years, he banded and disbanded with a few of them, cultivating quite a cult following on Cape Ann, and finding in the comfort zone of kindred spirited musicians a bond that felt like family.
That bond will be much in evidence at the House of Blues tonight, when Gloucester bassist Joe Cardozza crosses over to play with both bands. Cardozza, who along with Gloucester drummer Leo Sharamitero, plays regularly with Berge, is also a member of the newly launched Bandit Kings.
"Gloucester's like that," says Bandits' founder and Gloucester native Dan King. "Everyone jams with everyone, the lines get blurred, and it's all just about making great music."
For Berge, who's theatrical resume also gets him frequently recruited off-island to play the bigger billboards of Broadway-sized productions, the past 10 years have, among other things, seen him on lead guitar in a national tour of "Footloose: The Musical" and The Who's "Tommy" in Tokyo.
But no matter where he is, he is always working on several fronts.
One of them is the recording studio, where his film-scoring background becomes apparent in his multi-layered, texturally complex electronic soundscapes. He loves the shock and chaos of discordancy, but his reviewers seem to love his more lyrical work, with its more subtle, sophisticated phrasing.
Reviewers are drawn to Berge as a musician's musician, and their observations have a lot in common. He is widely regarded as a natural melodist to whom catchy, pop phrasing comes easily. Perhaps so easily that he undervalues it.
"Berge goes to great lengths to be as discordant and perverse as possible," says one reviewer, "but his underlying musicality is always apparent, especially in his moving cover of Leonard Cohen's 'Alexandra Leaving.'"
His new album, "Ten True Things & A Filthy Lie" is getting a good reviews, and he'll be filling his 90 minutes on stage tonight with material from it.
Much of it will be familiar to Gloucester regulars at his weekly Sunday nights at Main Street's Dog Bar. The Bandit Kings will also be debuting material from their new album tonight.
The Gloucester invasion of the House of Blues comes in a week when the Lansdowne Street musical mecca has already featured 1980s punker Billy Idol on Tuesday night and former Guns N' Roses guitar wizard Slash on his latest solo venture Wednesday.
Meanwhile, after wrapping the summer with a bravado performance at Labor Day Weekend's big "Celebrate Gloucester" waterfront concert, Berge and his guitar will get a breather this Sunday, when Dog Bar closes for a staff wedding.
Joann Mackenzie can be reached at 978-283-7000, 3457, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Noise Boston
Review of Ten True Things & a Filthy Dirty Lie (2010)
Through a sharp and biting wake up call, Inge Berge is here to suggest the following: we have all been thoroughly fooled and not only that, we are puppets on a string, mere pawns in the game of world domination and that above all, we are not in control. Producer, singer, guitarist, contrarian, writer, and self-proclaimed madman, Berge makes one eye-opening statement after another through the radio-friendly pop song. The disc’s opener, “Hacksaw,” is positively haunting with its imagery of chains, ropes, and tethers, along with the throaty repetition of “I’ve got a hacksaw.” This, along with the accompanying image of Berge brandishing a shotgun, only serves to emphasize his anarchical and often fear-provoking approach. “Dance, Monkey, Dance” and “Fix You Up” are among a series of clever tracks that address the extreme lengths we go to gain acceptance, along with the evils of conformity: “What happens to people can get in the blood/ The plasma of memory is one great flood/ We’ll tweak the wires/ We’ll stem the flow/ We’ll open the door when we say that you can go…/ We’ll invent you a disorder/ We sell labels for a quarter/ A pill for every boy and every girl.” With that being said, Berge covers Concrete Blonde’s “Joey” with its regretful theme of mourning for a relationship gone wrong: “If it’s love you’re looking for/ Well, I can give a little more/ And if you’re somewhere out there passed out on the floor/ oh, Joey, I’m not angry anymore.” The interesting thing about 10 True Things & A Filthy, Dirty Lie is that it can go from bitter and aggressive one minute to saddening and heartwarming the next. An emotional roller coaster ride, the album is evidence of Berge’s versatility as an artist. (Julia R. DeStefano - The Noise Boston)
The Noise Boston
Review of The Zerosum (2007)
This is an odd, adventurous, and ultimately compelling amalgam of rock-opera posing (“Samsara”), spoken word (“Cold Steel”), backwards tracking (“Sir Percie Natase/ Superstring”), irresistible op-art hooks (“2 Little 2 Late”), swirly melodies (“Only Son I”), low-key compositional grandeur (“Home”) and goofball Brecht-and-Weill Cabaret-style one-offs (“Sweet Girl Insincere”)—all swimming in a sea of venturesome and sometimes perplexing electronica.
You can break out individual tracks like the balladic lament “Who’s the Joke On,” or the bitter protest number “Goodbye America.” But it’s better experienced en masse, for the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, though a difficult nut to crack—assaulting this project with only two earthbound ears is rather like trying to penetrate a coconut with a toothpick.
Gloucester Daily Times
Local Rocker Releases Music to get Children Moving
A Gloucester-based musician has departed from his usual rock oeuvre to write and produce the music for an album geared toward young children.
Local singer-songwriter Inge Berge has released the CD “Movement Fun” in collaboration with the Florida-based label Jumptwist Music Inc. The music is aimed at helping 2- to 5-year-olds develop loco-motor skills, self expression, identify body parts, and just have fun.
The 13-track CD was commissioned by Jumptwist, which provides competitive performance pieces to the international gymnastics community. Berge had been producing these gymnast tracks for the company when its CEO, Christina Gambino, decided to expand her company’s output into movement-oriented preschool music.
Berg said as a musician the thought of writing a children’s album may have stirred a chord once or twice, “but nothing materialized until Christina pushed it.”
“After having produced all these knock-off versions of popular tracks for Jumptwist, it was an honor to be asked to write and produce something original,” said Berge. “I am quite pleased with the result. For most of the tracks, Christina — the gymnastics expert! — would provide the lyrics and general direction, and I was challenged to come up with a suitable original tune.
“I got so inspired I even wrote a bonus track, lyrics and all, ‘Baby Snakes,’ which challenges the kids to slither like snakes,” he said. “It became track 13 on the release.”
Berge said he tested the tracks out on his 4-year-old daughter, Scarlet.
“Now she has her own copy,” he said. “She dances to it all the time.”
Berge is best known on Cape Ann as a rock artist and singer-songwriter. He has released the “Ten True Things and a Filthy Dirty Lie” and “The Zerosum,” both of which have very little to do with children’s music. He frequently performs in such local venues as the Rhumb Line, Guiseppe’s, etc.
“‘Movement Fun’ offers developmentally stimulating movements along with various musical genres,” said Duke University-based psychologist Philip Costanzo, PhD. “Recent research has been quite impressively supportive of the positive role of exercise, dance and expressive movement in both reducing depressive symptoms and building psychological resilience in at-risk children. Indeed, the use of music, dance and movement in the lives of garden-variety children and adults has been shown to promote positive well being.”
The CD comes with a deluxe foldout cover, lyrics and instructions for the various songs. The album consists of 13 songs as well as instrumental versions of most, a total of 25 tracks.
Some of the songs involve the use of a parachute, or “playchute” which is available for purchase along with the CD, direct from movementfun.com.
Berg isn’t ruling out writing another children’s album in the future.
“We’ll see how this one goes.”
The Noise Boston
Live Review - Dogbar
The first thing I notice as I walk in the Dogbar are awesome decorations including pictures, masks and other props that Inge Berge has set up for his release party for his new album, 10 True Things & A Filthy Dirty Lie. Playing along with Inge is a group of professional musicians who are featured on his album, including Joe Cardoza of the Bandit Kings on bass, Leo Sharamitaro on drums, Marina Evans on mini-Korg/backup vocals and Kascia Murray of Safety on backup vocals. This dream team of musicians, along with Inge’s powerful vocals, amazing stage presence and great guitar work, start jamming out Inge’s entire new album. There is quite a sizeable crowd and they are all into the music. The sound is very much rock and the songs are very catchy. Inge will be playing Sunday nights all summer long at the Dogbar in Gloucester—check him out! (Patrick Fitzpatrick)
The Big Shot
Centerfold, The Noise
Photo by Sheila Roberts Orlando