Ever since Per Svensson at a talent show in 1980 made his entrance bursting out on stage only to fall headlong into the orchestra pit, leaving the victory of the show to a 12-year-old playing accordion, he and Anders Rydholm have been building the foundation on where GRAND ILLUSION stands; friendship, tongue-in-cheek and a great love for music. Needless to say, Per's stage-choreography is nowadays out-sourced to protect him and his co-musicians from severe damage.
The story of this band has, as most illusions do, two sides. On one hand, you could say the band hasn't existed for more than a year and a half, and on the other it would be more appropriate to say it's been around for 19 (!) years. 4/5's of today's line-up, Anders Rydholm, Per Svensson, Peter Sundell and Christian Sundell have played together for 17 years (that just goes to show how old these guys really are!). The youngster (33 year-old) Ola Karlsson joined the band, then named PROMOTION, in 1997. Although Peter made an attempt at a solo career (again) in 1988, with the release of his single "Serena", of course written and produced by Rydholm, it wasn't until '97 the band started to focus on their music. Two indie-releases under the name PROMOTION, "Not For Sale" and "Yeah Yeah" gained great reviews in AOR-press all over the globe, and in May 2000 Mr Khalil Turk and Escape Music signed the band after hearing only one (!) fantastic song ("I Don't Want To Know").
The first thing Mr Turk did was to demand that the boys should get rid of "that stupid name". From a list of over a hundred names the boys finally settled for GRAND ILLUSION, partly because it was one of the few that weren't taken. (Later on, Jφrgen Holmstedt enlightened the band that there actually were an American STYX cover-band with the same name, but the boys just didn't give a f***!)
The new name also marked the beginning of a new era of the band. A slight change of direction, more emphasis on guitars, (HEAVY guitars), but the GRAND ILLUSION trademarks, the outstanding vocal work from Peter Sundell and Per Svensson and Anders Rydholm's classy melodies are intact from the PROMOTION years. Together with Ola Karlsson's witty lyrics and some groovy drumming by Christian Sundell the GRAND ILLUSION sound is created.
The Book Of How To Make It", the proper debut for the band, if you will, was released in March 2001 to excellent reviews, and as we might proudly add, to great sales all over. Burrn! Magazine, Japans biggest forum for Melodic Rock gave the album 94 points out of 100. AEROSMITH, by the way, was in the same issue given a poor 90 points for their "Just Push Play" album. Poor old chaps! This made Escape Music take the opportunity to release the band's previous, independent-labelled albums, as a double-pack, nice-priced collection with four new, excellent bonus tracks called "In The Beginning". Something the die-hard fans were mighty happy for, since "Not For Sale" and Yeah Yeah" had been out of print for some time, and now made these hard-to-get gems available for everyone. Good job, Khalil and Barrie!
By no means were Anders and the boys satisfied with this new-found momentum and started work on the next album right away. This time with the intention of making an even heavier, and better record. And, as You, the listener, are able to tell by now, they have succeeded once again. "View From The Top" is a another marvellous triumph for these Swedish rockers. The songwriting team of Anders Rydholm/Ola Karlsson never tires, never rests and, almost never, fails, a fact that is well displayed on "View From The Top" as the songs are some of their strongest ever. From the "in-your-face"-riff of "Itch In My Brain" via the powerful "Who's It Gonna Be" and the "do-what-you-wanna-do"-anthem "I Refuse", to the beautiful, heart-wrenching ballad "Between Dark And Dawn", Anders Rydholm once again proves that he's one of best songwriters in Melodic Rock today.
"The Book Of How To Make It" is written, the "View From The Top" is well-earned and yet the history of GRAND ILLUSION has only just begun. Make no mistake about it...