Built for speed
Back in ’95, guitarist/singer Anders Westhagen and his drumming son Andreas (aged 7 at the time) teamed up with a friend for an impromptu gig outside a local music store, run by the young Andreas’ granddad. The trio performed a smokin’ set of rockabilly classics by Gene, Eddie, Johnny Burnette, Stray Cats, and a couple of SRV numbers thrown in for the blues fans. This proved an instant success, and the young Andreas’ baseball cap was soon filled to the brim with coins.
Fast forward ‘till the summer of ’97; Andreas and Anders had done a couple of gigs with their buddy Lars on bass, but this time he had other obligations. Anders contacted his old neighbour Ole Evensen, fresh back from Sweden where he’d picked up the doghouse bass. Ole was ready to give it a shot, and at the first rehearsal, in the Westhagens’ kitchen, things really started cookin’ - and I don’t mean food... They decided they needed a name, and Built For Speed was chosen. Despite Andreas’ age (now 9), he was already an accomplished drummer with nearly 6 years of experience. His dad had spent many years playing guitar with the Teencats and blues-rockers Powerful Stuff, and Ole had been the Daltons’ bassist (as well as drummer or bassist, depending on who was available, for the Rockin’ Rhythm Bandits) for several years. Still, they were mostly considered a novelty, due to the tender age of a certain member. That is, until they started playing.
They started doing gigs outside their hometown, and in Oslo R-O-C-K Magazine editor Tor Arne Petzold gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse; a record deal. He’d just formed Flipside Records, and he wanted BFS to be his first release. “Record something – ANYTHING – and I’ll release it!” So Anders wrote a few songs, the guys rehearsed them, and a friend recorded them on his digital Roland multi-track. The album was completed during two hot Sundays the summer of ’99, given the title “NASTY”, and released in February 2000. BFS made their TV debut on a Saturday morning children’s show, performing two tracks from the album live. And their song “We’re Gonna Have a Party”, was chosen as the opening track for “Friday Nite Rumble # 9” on the American Run Wild label.
A few years went by, and the guys started working on a second album, this time in a real studio. During one intense weekend they recorded the entire album live in the studio. The album, titled “Gretschoholic …and Other Love Songs”, was released in April 2004, and the guys did numerous gigs, mostly in Norway, but also in Sweden, Germany and Holland. But with busy schedules all three of them (not to mention a drummer still in school), it took them nearly five years to drag their butts back in the studio. This time they brought along a couple of buddies and expanded their sound with tenor sax and piano on a handful of tracks. Their third album, “Even Roadies Get Their Share”, was released in November 2009.
Due to their very own sound, they appeal to blues fans, punks, “ordinary people”, and of course the rockabilly crowd. They’ve supported rockabilly stars like Robert Gordon, the Polecats, Darrel Higham, Slim Jim Phantom Trio; they’ve played blues festivals, rockabilly festivals, rock festivals, clubs, you name it. And they've done some back-up work for blues guitar maestro Otis Grand. Drummer Andreas has been studying in Liverpool for the last couple of years, so the BFS gigs have been few and far between. But now he’s back home and ready to rock with the “old cats” again.