Swedish rock group formed 1991 by Sulo Karlsson, Boba Lindström, and The Duke of Honk in Katrineholm, Södermanland. Influenced by British Early 1970s R&B.
After making highly acclaimed demo tapes with star producer Max Martin the members moved to Stockholm upon finding fame in 1992 and debut album Honked was recorded in Sunlight Studio with inimitable producer Tomas Skogsberg. The first single “Blue Eyes Shouldn’t Be Cryin’” launched in 1993 made its way to a rotation on MTV’s classic hard rock show Headbangers Ball.
Through constant touring, Diamond Dogs soon built a large reputation for their energetic live shows, with the charismatic and dynamic stage antics singer Sören ”Sulo” Karlsson, as well as its innovative use of the piano as a lead rock instrument, Henrik ”The Duke of Honk” Widen is a pioneer in sound and style for gritty rock’n’roll keys. Sulo is the main songwriter, and Honk serves as the group’s principal producer.
Keeping busy the better part of the 1990s playing live shows, Diamond Dogs took a break in 1997 and Anders ”Boba” Lindström became a full member of The Hellacopters. Two years later DD was contracted on new label with worldwide distribution in 1999. They cut a five track record in 24 hours and named it “Among the non-believers”, released in early 2000. It became the restart of a successful journey that eventually took Diamond Dogs to world wide cult status. The group went into the new millennium with their second long player As Your Greens Turn Brown, SAE Studios, Stockholm, released in March 2001. The first single “Goodbye Miss Jill” got a fair bit of airplay around the world, and already being recognized as one of rock’s most dynamic stage performers, Diamond Dogs now had earn a sizable following. Nowadays the English music press speaks about the band as sounding more British than the Brits themselves, and this record very much represents what this band is all about.
After spending the early part of 2001 on the road with an active touring schedule, the band went back into the Sunlight Studio under the wings of Tomas Skogsberg and recorded their third album Too Much Is Always Better Than Not Enough, released in 2002, which yielded a hit single “Bound To Ravage”. This is perhaps the most raw and stylistic album in the band’s catalogue, effective songs with sharp edges and loads of attitude. It was made in a hurry at a time in their career when they really had more focus on traveling the world as a hard glam boogie road collective, and later that year the group again embraced their touring, playing clubs, festivals and concert halls, either headlining as main act, or opening on tours for bands like The Cult, Ian Hunter, Hanoi Rocks, The Damned, Sensational Alex Harvey Band and The Nazareth. For the album Black River Road, 2004, Robert ”Strings” Dahlqvist (Hellacopters) joined Diamond Dogs.
Diamond Dogs have over the years created a reputation as one of the best rock’n’roll live acts there is out there, and their shows is often stretched out to over 3 hours.
Although based in Sweden, the band had always considered Spain its second home because of its big popularity and frequent touring there. The live album Let’s Have It-Live in Bilbao was recorded 2012 in Bilbao at the historical venue Antzokia Theater.
In 2014 their longtime member and saxophone player Mats Magic Gunnarsson died in a drowning accident, and Diamond Dogs were going to honor him with a last album and tour. The following year album Quitters & Complainers was released, and European tour “Stop Barking Up The Wrong Tree” ended in October 2015 in Oviedo, Spain with a huge final show, opening for Iggy Pop, a spectacular farewell night, the group then disbanded.
Sulo Karlsson was to form London punk band The Crunch together with Terry Chimes (Clash), Dave Tregunna (Sham 69) and Mick Geggus (Cockney Rejects). Sulo also have had commercial collaborations with Wilko Johnson (Dr Feelgood), Randy Bachman (Bachman Turner Overdrive), Chris Spedding, Robert Wyatt, Paul Young and Maria McKee to name a few.
The Duke of Honk went on to play with Swedish pop stars Meja and Louise Hoffsten, The Hellacopters Nicke Andersson in The Solution, Electric Boys Conny Bloom in Conny Bloom Band, The Bellrays Lisa & Bob in Lisa & the Lips, US soul singer Gabriel Kelley and many others.
Throughout the years Diamond Dogs variety of members have at some point in their career also been serving as members in bands or with artists such as Johnny Thunders, Ian Hunter, KSMB, Electric Boys, Glenn Hughes, Nationalteatern, Wilmer X, Dogs D’amour, Michael Schenker, Eldkvarn, Glen Matlock, The Facer, UK Subs to name a few and in addition to the artists mentioned previously.
The group reunited in 2019 with the album Recall Rock’n’Roll & The Magic Soul, Wild Kingdom Records.
In the year 2021, thirty years after it all started, Diamond Dogs have yet another time returned to Tomas Skogsberg and the Sunlight Studio, about to release their 14th studio Long-Player! The twenty-four songs double – Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous.
…and some excerpts from media published in English:
-Sweden’s Diamond Dogs are fantastic. I can’t put it in simpler terms than that! / bmamag.com (AU)
-The Diamond Dogs ladies and gentlemen. One of the world’s finest pure rock ‘n’ roll bands. Still doing it just how they please and rock n roll never sounds quite so authentic. Andy Thorley / maximumvolumemusic.com
-Diamond Dogs are in a league of their own. You’ll be hard pressed to find many bands revisiting this style of classic rock or doing at as well. Craig Hartranft / dangerdog.com (US)
-The Diamond Dogs totally rule. Sulo is probably my favorite living rock & roll singer. I find them utterly irresistible. As a rock writer, I’m supposed to use critical thinking and objectivity in consideration of the CDs that cross my desk. But all that goes out the window when I get a Diamond Dogs record. Sure, I could tell you that the Sweden-based collective is one of the most derivative bands in existence, specifically of the Faces. But every time I hear a Dogs disk, I have to say, “So fucking what?” The combination of leader Sulo’s rough but dynamic singing, superb songs and the band’s tightly crafted rough-and-tumble is everything I want out of rock & roll; even if the Faces were still around, I’m not sure they could better the work of the Dogs. Michael Toland / highbias.livejournal.com (US)
-Diamond Dogs leaves the listener feeling like they’ve been somewhere momma told them not to go, but knowing that they’ll soon be visiting again. Viki Ridley / metalmouth.net (UK)
-Diamond Dogs is the cream of the crop, slipping into the shoes of the masters and continuing to champion soulful, energetic, pint-in-the-air rock and roll. Chris Robinson gave it a good shot with the Black Crowes, but this is the real deal, from Sulo’s whiskey voice down to Henrik Widen’s (Duke of Honk) fat organ and rollicking piano homage to the great Ian McLagan. Dr Bristol / wordpress.com (US)
-All I have to say is that once I popped this in I was in pure heaven. Diamond Dogs is absolutely brilliant. The best way to describe it is The Faces featuring Rod Stewart meets classic era Rolling Stones and you are partly there. This is very much classic rock music from the early 70’s. While I am a complete metal head to the max, a record like this does me some good and what a fine disc this will make to my collection. As usual, these guys have a plethora of releases that I will now hunt down. There are two things that make this record extra special. Famed metal producer Tomas Skogsberg (Entombed and all that was heavy) produced this thing. Bottom line here is that this disc is just like a fine wine. It’s smooth, warm and enjoyable to the max. The new generation of kids may not get it, but if you are in your 30’s and older you will have a grin from ear to ear as you hear it. What also makes this music such a fun journey to be on is the fact that the tracks are all short and it’s over in just forty minutes give or take just like in the old days. Well, looks like I will be spinning this thing a long time to come. A must have and a top ten for the year for sure. Joe Florez / live4metal.org (US)
-Diamond Dogs, think of it as Rock and Roll sushi. There isn’t a track on Up the Rock that isn’t shockwave solid. Kim Thore / allaccessmagazine.com (US)
-It’s so good to have the Diamond Dogs back in the fold with their fantastic brand of Faces meets the vintage Stones. God bless you Diamond Dogs for carrying the flag for good time bar-room rock ‘n’ roll and long may you continue to set fire to it all. Listening back to songs like ‘Goodbye Miss Jill’ remind you how much of a fantastic live band Diamond Dogs are. Dom Daley / uber-rock.co.uk
-Diamond Dogs is a band sitting pretty nicely on top of their game, and they sound like they’re having an absolutely blast. Andy Close / purerawk.com (UK)
-Diamond dogs… It’s truly a sound garden, the most loosen-up situation you could live in. Ballads you will remember, guitars you will love, lyrics you will distinguish. No need to write about song titles and tracks that you will like the most. This is one album you listen to all the way and then listen to all of it again and then again and again! Costas Koulis / rockpages.gr (GR)
-Diamond Dogs make seamless song-writing and tight performances sound easy. Let me say from the off that this may be my album of the summer! Sophie Brownlee / rocktopia.co.uk
-The Swedes in The Diamond Dogs have been quietly releasing top-notch Rock albums since the early ‘90s. / metal-observer.com (GER)
-Diamond Dogs have created the perfect time capsule. Just pressing play conjures up the spirits of the 70’s glam rock era, including Bowie and T. Rex, Elton, Faces and the Stones. From the boogie piano to the whiskey soaked vocals to the delightfully sleazy overall feel of these songs, Up the Rock is an unabashed tribute to an age gone by. These guys sound like they’re having more fun than you could believe, and honestly it’s hard to imagine listening to this album with anything less than a grin on your face. If you love 70’s era glam rock, you need to grab a drink, grab your girl, and join the Diamond Dogs’ party. Justin Gaines / amazon.com (US)
-Diamond Dogs have a mastery over simple yet addictive riffs and melodies that will make them a winner in many people’s book, and there isn’t a weak moment. Chris Dahlberg / cosmosgaming.com (US)
-Sweden’s Diamond Dogs are one of the coolest bands on earth. / crowsnbones.com (GR)
-Boy is this a release for children of the 70`s! A combination of Mott The Hoople, `73-era UK glam, Roy Wood-era ELO, lots of early 70`s Bowie and The Faces. Put this CD in your player alongside your faves from this era, Hit random play. Call everybody you know who doesn`t steal and tell `em to bring a bottle and two girls. Fill the baby pool with ice and two cases canned beer and watch the mood change. Diamond Dogs are that cool! Rough, smoky vocals brilliantly mixed with honky tonk piano and laid back guitars. The warm atmosphere brings the air of 1973 and the energy of the songs and performance give a promise of rock music for the new generation. / notlame.com (US)
-Christ on a bike, why have this band never become huge’? Scott Adams / metalasfuck.net (AU)
-An album ideal for listening while driving a long journey, ideal for listening while enjoying beers with friends at the local bar, from Diamond Dogs, a band that I would love to see live. / heavymetalmusicnews.com (US)
-Thank whatever gods there be for the Diamond Dogs. The Swedish classicists make no bones about their mission in life: to keep the flame of old-fashioned, R&B-greased, riff-driven rock & roll burning. The band may not have any ideas the Rolling Stones and the Faces haven’t thought of first, but, as songwriter Sulo, keyboardist Henrik “The Duke of Honk” Widen and their various cohorts have proven over and over again, they don’t need any. After all, the Faces are long gone (sporadic reunion gigs to the contrary) and the Rolling Stones seem capable of calling up the old spirit only once in a while, and rarely on record. So somedamnbody has to keep the rawk alive, and the Diamond Dogs have consistently done it better than nearly anyone in the past couple of decades. Michael Toland / blurtonline.com (US)
-The Diamond Dogs deliver a classic rock rooted in simple but stylish elements that would make The Stones, The Kinks, Mott and Ian Hunter happy, and nobody’s doing it as quite as well as this ensemble. Currently there are very few bands, whether from America, Britain or Europe, that can perform this music with the authenticity and acumen of Diamond Dogs. / dangerdog.com (UK)
-Diamond Dogs, Sweden’s boogie rock legends. Zeezee / myglobalmind.com (US)
-Diamond Dogs is one of those bands that could have been huge. Diamond Dogs are one the best live acts I have ever seen. The groove and the soul and the action they bring with their extremely swinging music is impossible to ignore. Jon Wilmenius / etainmentnewsreviews.wordpress.com
-Kick ass rock n roll! I didn’t think there was any band around that could compare to the likes of Hanoi Rocks but I stand corrected with Sweden’s Diamond Dogs. Reputedly one of Sweden’s best live acts who’ve been going for the best part of a decade. Shan Siva / battlehelm.com (US)
-Fans of classic rock should seek out Diamond Dogs; you may be genuinely surprised at how good they are. Neil Daniels / musicomh.com (UK)
-Sweden’s Diamond Dogs always sound like they’re staggering home from a seriously good party just as the sun is rising. Essi Berelian / loudersound.com (UK)
-When it’s the Diamond Dogs it’s all about the song and the Double D’s have ’em in spades. English isn’t his first language, but Sulo is hands above his contemporaries in mastering the English language in the context of heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll. No one does Mott meets The Faces better. No one does rock ‘n’ roll rapture quite like the Diamond Dogs do these days. Ben Hughes / rpmonline.co.uk
-The guys from Diamond Dogs have once again made one hell of an album! Christian van Millingen / metal-temple.com
-Look up the term “kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll” in the Oxford Dictionary Of Musical Terminology and you will see a number of references. One of them, of course, is this very website that you are reading at this exact moment in time, as we have been delivering exactly that for the past decade… and another will be legendary Swedish glunkers Diamond Dogs, who have been doing the same since the early part of the 1990s and are serving us a reminder of their collective genius with this, the latest in a series of re-issues from their first decade of kickin’ those very same asses… Monk / uber-rock.co.uk
…Diamond Dogs ”The Grit & The Very Soul” was voted the best international album of the year 2011 by the Spanish collective music press: www.musicopolis.es/musicopolis-2011-los-mejores-discos-internacionales-del-ano/289792011/
…and some quotes:
-We played with The Faces many times, and believe me, Rod and the lads had both good and bad nights up there, but The Diamond Dogs really are like The Faces on one of those brilliant nights! Dan McCafferty /Nazareth
-Comparing our band’s history, a Diamond Dogs biography will be like the -Lord of The Rings trilogy, and the Hellacopters story would turn out more like a thin leaflet! Nicke Andersson /The Hellacopters
-Hey Sulo, where’s my royalties!? Ian Hunter /Mott The Hoople
SULO – vocals & guitar
THE DUKE OF HONK – keys & vocals
LARS KARLSSON – guitar
SLIM MARTIN – guitar & vocals
BELLAN BELLNAS – bass & vocals
FEDERICO DE COSTA – drums & vocals
As Your Greens Turn Brown (2001)
Too Much Is Always Better Than Not Enough (2002)
That’s The Juice I’m On (2003)
Atlantic Crossover (2003)
Black River Road (2004)
Bound To Ravage (2005) Compilation
Up The Rock (2006)
It’s Mostly Likely (2008)
The Grit And The Very Soul (2010)
Set Fire To It All (2012)
Quitters And Complainers / Let’s Have It – Live-In Bilbao (2015) 2 records
Honked! All Over Again (2019) Reissue
Recall Rock n Roll And The Magic Soul (2019)
As Your Greens Turn Brown (2020) Reissue
Weekend Monster (2020) Compilation
Too Much Is Always Better Than Not Enough (2020) Reissue
The Atlantic Juice (2020) Compilation
Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous (2022)
Blue Eyes Shouldn’t Be Cryin (1993) Single
Honked (1993) Single
Good Time Girl (1994) Maxi
Among The Non Believers (2000) Ep
Shortplayer (2002) Ep
Mats Magic Gunnarsson – saxophone (2003 – 2014)
Jesper Karlsson – drums (1999 – 2008)
Kent Axen – guitar (1991 – 2002)
Anders Boba Lindström – guitar (1991 – 2004)
Darrell Bath – guitar (2001 – 2003)
Fredrik Fagerlund – guitar (2003 – 2012)
Thomas Broman – drums (2018 – 2020)
Magnus Leie – guitar (1995 – 1998)
Peter Smoliansky – drums (1995 -1998)
Stevie Klasson – guitar (2000 – 2004)
Robert Strings Dahlqvist – guitar (2004 – 2007)
Stefan Björk – bass (1995 – 2005)
Frederic Lundbergh – drums (1991 – 1995)
Mattias Hellberg – guitar (2000 – 2004)
K Marcus – bass (1991 – 1995)
Johan Johansson – bass (2003 – 2009)
Martin Tronsson – bass (2009 – 2014)
Johannes Drain Nordell – drums (2008 – 2015)