Pre-debut Biography: The Young Composer

Jono El Grande was born Jon Andreas Håtun at Bærum Hospital, July 29th 1973, with the umbilical cord twisted around his neck.

At ten, four years before he touched his first instrument, he invented his first band: The Handkerchiefs. The Handkerchiefs was only a band of his mind, there were no alive musicians, no performances, no sound – just a concept.

This concept was incarnated through Jonos drawings, imaginary interwievs and articles about the bands merits, drawn and written with colored pencils in his self-titled paper Sick Magazine. He even made a cardboard dummy of their debut album, a long play record completely with cover and lyric sheets.

Jono El Grandes first real band was formed with three school buddies five years later – a teen-age art rock combo called Mannes Fatales, performing surrealistic poetry on a bed of stricktly arranged electric noises. Jono El Grande was the lead vocalist and lyricist. Mannes Fatales did three concerts before it was disbanded in 1990.

During 1990 – 1992, Jono El Grande formed several concept bands for one-night performances and recordings and/or rehearsings only: The Terror Duo, Black Satan, The Pez Dispensers, Acetaded Beat and As Drosera.

Pre-millennium Highlights on Jono El Grande

Buys his first guitar.

1989 – 92
Forms several, rather short-lived concept bands, such as Mannes Fatales, The Terror Duo, Acid Beat & The Cheeze Doodle Paranoia, Black Satan, King Pez, As Drosera and Jono & Steino.

1991 – 92
Radio host at Radio Express, Bærum. Every Sunday for about a year, Jono El Grande played pure Frank Zappa- and art rock-related music on his two-hour program. He also guest-hosted the prog rock post Uhørt in its very beginning, a program still active today at FM 99,3.

Decoration assistant at Norwegian Film, making props for the movie Pakten (Waiting For Sunset) with Robert Mitchum. Eventually, in 1995, he quits the job to become a full-time composer.

Menü Bizarra is formed (theatrical art rock):
Torstein Birkedal(?) – tenor saxophone
Frank Bjaanes – drums
Ole Kristian Wetten – bass
Stein Stølen Bjerkaker – acoustic guitar and vocals
Trond Fausa Aurvåg – guest acting performance
Owe Egon Grandics – guest acting performance
Jono El Grande – guitar and vocals

Jan 29, 1995 
Menü Bizarra, Jono El Grandes official stage debut concert at Volapük, Oslo. Menü Bizarra is disbanded some months later after two more concerts.

Fall 1995
Vital Requiem (suite in ten movements for Kawai FS 610, radio and kitchen utensils). Solo performance at Betong, Oslo.

Writes a never-performed opera, A Gangrene Hangover – The Ergot Opera, (the material is later released as instrumentals on Utopian Dancesand Fevergreens)

Vidunderlige Vidda is formed (neo-dadaistic multi-genre music):
Øyvind Brække – trombone
Stein Stølen Bjerkaker – bass and vocals
Sjur Odden Skjeldal – drums, percussion and lead vocals
Jono El Grande – guitar and vocals

Vidunderlige Vidda, debut concert at Belleville, Oslo. Disbanded 1998.

Writes parts of another never-performed opera, Leaving the Cemetery.

Buys workstation synthesizer.

Feb 1999
Supports Madrugada with the 15 minute solo performance show Dance Outside of the Hot House in a Utopia of Musical Extremism at So What.