In 1972 Jostein Hansen (then sixteen years old) got together with a few friends to form a band in Trømborg, Norway a small farming community about 42 miles southeast of Oslo. What started out as Memories became Cash Pink in 1973. Cash Pink was chosen as the band’s name with humor on two different levels. The idea came from Jostein “…alluding to a variety of potatoes, Kerrs Pink, grown in Norway. But deliberately, he spelt the name incorrectly thus making it a satire of all the groups using the word pink as part of their name”.
In 1975, these personnel changes took place leading to the arrival of Harald Lytomt in the group on guitar. Harald brought with him his compositional skills and energy and determination. Harald’s arrival also led Jostein to switch from guitar to bass. In March 1976, Jostein left the group to fulfill his military service obligation. This was a temporary departure; as it happens, Lytomt and Hansen would become the nucleus of Cash — and later Kerrs — Pink.
While Jostein was away, Cash Pink changed their name to Kerrs Pink and performed their first true concerts in April; prior to this they had only performed in dance halls. In May they recorded the song “Hverdag” (“Workingday”) and sent a cassette to the Swedish national radio, which gave the song exposure nation-wide.
Jostein rejoined the group and they now concentrated on playing their own compositions in concert. Harald made some new songs, but this line-up did not play live.
“The name Kerrs Pink conveyed the association of being between the underground and folk styles, a reference to the roots being to the people’s basic article of food and yet linked to Norwegian folk tradition,” explains Jostein in the liner notes for the reissue of the first LP on CD.
On June 9th 1979 Kerrs Pink visited Roxy Studio in Fredrikstad with the firm intention to record two home made instrumentals.
Not seeking to obtain a recording contract, the band took all expenses upon themselves. They even had their own label, Pottittskiver (which means slices of potatoes in Norwegian. There is even a pun here, as slices both mean slices and records.
The studio was run by former Høst guitarist Svein Rønning, and he engineered and co-produced the single together with the band.
Svein inspired the band and generously gave them all technical guidance at this delicate stage of recording for the first time.
The single unites Norwegian and Swedish folk music with symphonic rock. Right from the start the identity of Kerrs Pink is discernable. An issue of 1000 copies of the single, released on 13th December 1979, was soon sold out. The group could easily have sold another 1000 copies. Today you must pay collectors’ price for it. Distributed directly by the band itself and the intermediary independent record company MAI in Oslo, all Norway was offered this very first record by Kerrs Pink.
Curiously, only 40 copies of the record had a cover designed by Halvard Haugerud, released in three
different versions, pressed by hand, made by a particular printing method using silk. Kerrs Pink followed the new trend of that time; the cover, of course, was recirculated paper. In fact, there is a rumour saying it is the second indie single in Norway, the first one came from the new way band Kjött. The press and rock public favoured the single, thus encouraging Kerrs Pink to continue the musical quest.
Curiosa: This was not the last time the band got in contact with Höst members. As you may know, both Geir Jahren and Knut Lie are more or less still running this legendary heavy progressive band in Kerrs Pink’s neighbouring city of Askim. Kerrs Pink’s 5th album “Tidings” was in fact partly recorded and mixed at Geir’s Nice Studio in Askim.
The single-line-up 1979:
Harald Lytomt (guitars), Per Frydenlund (guitars), Per Kværner (guitars), Jostein Hansen (bass), Halvard Haugerud (keyboards), Terje Solås (drums).
Kerrs Pink’s first album was recorded in the summer of 1980 at Roxy Studio in Fredrikstad, run by former guitarist and main composer of progressive heavies Höst’s Svein Rönning. Only 1000 copies were released on Kerrs Pink’s own label, Pottittskiver, meaning slices of potatoes. The long playing record was distributed by the band itself and Polygram in Oslo to all of Norway. Steinar Straumdal contributed lead vocals to two of the tracks. Altogether, only four tracks featured vocals. The opening track “Velkomst”, an instrumental even reached Norsktoppen (the national Top Ten) on NRK radio in 1981. This album included a 12-page booklet with drawings by Halvard Haugerud.
Kerrs Pink 1980:
Harald Lytomt: Electric and acoustic guitars, flute
Halvard Haugerud: Vocals, Hammond C3, Fender Rhodes, Yamaha grand electric, ARP Pro-soloist, Mellotron 400, Mini Moog
Tore Johansen: Electric guitar
Jostein Hansen: Bass, vocals
Trond Böhn: Keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars
Terje Solaas: Drums, chorus
Guest singer: Steinar Straumdal
Although Kerrs Pink produced an excellent debut album, more personnel changes were just around the corner. Tore Johansen left because he felt that “he had used up his resources and needed a break. Terje Solås was offered a job that required him to move away from the area. Tore Fundingsrud came into the band on drums and shortly thereafter Kerrs Pink decided to record another album. They wanted to “record a second album to display the development in their music and the new ideas expressed in their latest compositions.” Always conscious of the cost of recording in a professional studio, they decided to build their own studio in Harald Lytomt’s barn in Trømborg. They named it “Flexy Studio” and it was here that they recorded “Mellom Oss” (more will be said about this album below). The new studio was a good idea but not being able to afford the best recording equipment (it was equipped with a four track tape recorded), the quality of the sound did not meet expectations. The recording sessions took place between September 26, 1981 and November 29, 1981. Trond Bøhn only worked on two tracks and he then left the band to be with his family. After the release of the second album, the band started to break up. Harald Lytomt and Tore Fundingsrud left Kerrs Pink to form the band Mantra.
Kerrs Pink recorded one song in 1982 to be included in the an album called «Jomfrutur». This is a compilation LP, featuring local bands and acts from “Kerrs Pink country” of (Indre Östfold Fylke) Inner Östfold County. This is a collector’s item, only 1000 copies made.
Kerrs Pink recorded the last track on this vinyl record. “Fredsmarsjen”, an instrumental, here in its original form, was recorded at Harald Lytomt’s Flexy Studio in Trömborg, March 1982. What’s curious about this recording is that Kerrs Pink at that time had another line-up than the one recorded here. At the end of 1981 Jostein and Halvard were left to continue Kerrs Pink on their own. From 1982 onwards Harald Lytomt and Tore Fundingsrud played together in the more heavy prog band Hansa. This outfit later evolved into Mantra. Harald wanted “old” Kerrs Pink to be represented on this compilation, mainly because he was the executive producer of the project. He had composed a catchy tune to which it was possible to march.
Kerrs Pink 1982:
Harald Lytomt: Guitars
Halvard Haugerud: Synthesizer
Jostein Hansen: Bass
Tore Fundingsrud: Drums
In 1989, quite unexpectedly, the French progressive label Musea offered to re- issue our two albums on CD. The few copies we had sent them of “Mellom Oss” had sold well. They requested more of our records, but we were not able to supply any. All records were sold-out. Then they asked permission to issue som unreleased Kerrs Pink music as well. It was quite clear that they only took an interest in our old progressive style. What else was there to do than to gather some former colleauges that still had a strong liking for that kind of music?
The former members Harald Lytomt, Jostein Hansen and Tore Johansen gathered to consider our new opportunity to play in the old vein. What we needed were a keyboard player and a drummer. Harald played at that time together with Per Øyvind Nordberg (born 1959) in Mantra. He was their lead singer and bassist, but simultaneously he played keyboards. Being a prolific composer, an excellent musician and a capable singer, there was no discussion of his candidature.
It was very natural to get Tore Fundingsrud back again. He did not need to be persuaded since he would join us some time later when he had got more time off.
In the meantime we recorded a track called “Monday Man” for Musea. Harald made the music and Per Øyvind the lyrics. It was exclusively for the concept album “Seven Days of a Life”, recorded at our studios at Lytomt farm during February and March 1990. Seven groups from seven countries all over the world contributed one track each for this unique release.
At Kerrs Pink’s first rehearsal in October 1989 the prototype version of what later became “Devotion” was presented by Tore. Per Øyvind Nordberg composed a song called “Kingdom of Nothing”. Gradually, he extended the theme of this song to encompass some of his other tunes too. Then Kerrs Pink got the idea to record a concept album. He wrote a short story on which all the lyrics was based on and the corresponding instrumentals accompanying the different sentiments in the story. The album “A Journey on the Inside” was released May 1993.
After the third album, “A Journey on the Inside”, the band had taken a pause, too long to Harald’s taste, so he could not keep himself from composing. The fourth album was initially intended to be a solo project of Harald’s.
All he needed was someone to write the lyrics to his melodies. He asked Jostein, and he suggested that the album could be released in the name of Kerrs Pink. After all, these two guys had been playing in the band since 1975, and they were by 1996 the only survivors since then. In addition, Harald had by far been the most prolific composer in the band from 1976 onwards.
As Kerrs Pink at that time in fact was in limbo, former members were asked to contribute along with friends and other reputated musicians. The album “Art of Complex Simplicity” was released by Muséa in the spring of 1997.
All tracks were analogously recorded and digitally mastered at Flexy Studio, Trömborg, Norway, during 1996 and winter 1997. They were engineered and produced by Harald Lytomt.
After some concerts in 1997 presenting songs from “Art of Complex Simplicity”, Harald and Jostein asked some of the musicians to form a new Kerrs Pink. The first line-up was with Freddy Ruud (keyboards) ex-Electric Wonderland, Per Øyvind Nordberg (keyboards) ex-Kerrs Pink and Knut R. Lie (drums) ex-Høst.
Per Øyvind left the band just after a few rehearsels because of his job situation.
Next one to join in was Lasse Johansen (keyboards) – a very qualified piano and organ player. Freddy asked his old playmate in Electric Wonderland – Lasse Tanderø to be the new vocalist. From 2000 an excellent vocalist called Tracee Meyn guested Kerrs Pink on concerts and on the “Tidings” release. Tracee is originally from Los Angeles and have her vocals on a couple of Steve Vai CDs, then called Tracee Jones.
The “Tidings” CD released in 2002 contained 3 long compositions from Harald and 3 from Freddy. The seventh song, “Le Sable s`est Écoulé” was a layered song mixed by Harald at his home and it was created just from a soundcheck drum track. Keyboard-parts from Hour Glass, some strange vocals from Lasse and Tracee and speeches from Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy was pasted in different places.
Kerrs Pink had different line-ups in this period and in the springtime 2008 they recorded five long tracks as a side project which never have been released. This took place in Free Transform Studio, Spydeberg (The old legendary Studio Nova). Engineer was Joacim Pytterud. In the studio: Lasse Johansen (keyboards), Benjamin Nordling (bass), Harald Lytomt (guitars), Magne Johansen (drums, vocals).
In 2008 bass player Per Langsholt and keyboard player Glenn Fosser joins Harald and Magne in Kerrs Pink.
Kerrs Pink launches their 6th album: “Mystic Spirit” November 8th in 2013. As in previous productions the sound is characterized by guitars, but this time they´ve also applied flute, tuba, timpani and accordion! And extensively, the legendary keyboard instruments: MiniMoog, Mellotron, Taurus bass pedals not to mention the Hammond C3.
New is also the vocalist Eirikur Hauksson gratifying agreed to participate in the project. He puts his unmistakable rock imprint on the album. Drums and bass are recorded “live in studio”, which means that the band sounds far more lively than previous productions.
Primus songwriter was Harald Lytomt with good support from Eirikur with the lyrics. The band has jointly been responsible for the majority of the arrangements and touches of riffs and notes.
Lasse Johansen rejoined Kerrs Pink together with new member Hans Jørgen Kvisler late in 2012.
Kerrs Pink 2012:
Eirikur Hauksson – Lead Vocals
Harald Lytomt – Guitars
Per Langsholt – Bass, bass pedals, backup vocals
Glenn Fosser – Keyboards, backup vocals
Magne Johansen – Drums, backup vocals
Hans Jørgen Kvisler – Guitars
Lasse Johansen -Keyboards
The band has since 2014 been working on material for their 7th album.