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Helgi Briem

I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition

I play bass in an Icelandic punk/new wave/power pop band, Fraebbblarnir (The Stamens). They were Iceland's first punk band in 1978 but I joined them in 2001.

I'm a biologist/computer programmer and apart from playing bass and guitar, I like to read books, swim, lift weights and play bridge.

I don't currently have a bass of my own, because I use drummer Stefan's late '70s MusicMan StingRay and I can't find anything for a reasonable price that even comes close.

With it, I use a Gallien-Krueger 800RB amplifier and a 400W Fender PA cabinet. It makes a lot of noise if I turn it up, so I usually don't. helgi.jpg

Latest news

We did a song for a Ramones tribute album for Amp Records last year.

The album is called "Life's a Gas: A Tribute to Joey Ramone" and features, not Ramones covers, but songs written about Joey and the Ramones.

Our song is called Heaven Needed a Lead Singer and it's finally been published here on Activebass. It is co-written by me and our singer, Valli.

The song is deliberately written in the Ramones' style, but I hope, without directly ripping them off. (Feb 2003)

We have decided to host a memorial gig for Joe Strummer (1952-2002) in March, so we have been rehearsing some Clash covers. My lord, how wonderful those old songs are. Strummer and Jones truly were songwriting masters.

Fraebbblarnir home page

Fraebbblarnir - Icelandic punk legends

Here is a sampling of MP3 songs from the band's various albums: Fraebbblarnir on MP3


This is the band:


The BBC interviewed our singer Valli, for a feature they did on the Icelandic music scene. Check it out on the BBC homepage.

Here are some more pictures of the band members: Band members

About 50 great photos from our Copenhagen tour can be seen here. (Oct 10 2002)

Rock legend, author and music critic Dr. Gunni, formerly of Bless, SH Draumur and Unun, wrote a review/recap of the 20 best Icelandic albums of all time for Pitchfork Media online magazine. Our 1979/1980 album, "Viltu Nammi Vaena?" ("Would You Like Some Candy, Dear?") is number 19 on that list. Check it out.

Musical Influences

  • Jean Jacques Burnel
  • Paul Simonon
  • Steinthor Stefansson, Ellert Ellertsson

Favorite Recordings

  • Various recordings by the Clash, the Cure, the Ramones, the Stiff Little Fingers, the Jam, Placebo,
  • the Pogues, Devo, Elvis Costello, the Ruts, REM, the Stranglers, Echo and the Bunnymen, Bubbi Morthens, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, Weezer, the Hives, the White Stripes, New Model Army, Johnny Cash,
  • Simon and Garfunkel, Linton Kwesi Johnson, the Smiths, the Buzzcocks, Green Day, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Elastica, Skids,Reverend Horton Heat and others.