February 1, 2017 – Robert Dahlqvist (The Hellacopters) was born on April 16, 1976 in Uddevalla, Sweden, and got his first guitar at the age of ten and attended music school but quit after a month frustrated over not being allowed to play Kiss songs. Five years later, at age fifteen, his mother got him an electric guitar and he started to focus more seriously on his playing. Dahlqvist soon started playing in bands and worked at a bar where he got to know members of the Swedish rock band The Hellacopters.
After the departure of guitarist Dregen in early 1998, The Hellacopters brought in temporary replacements Chuck Pounder and Mattias Hellberg to tour with them. In 1999, The Hellacopters recorded Grande Rock with the band’s pianist Anders Lindström on rhythm guitar and started to look for a permanent guitarist. When Dahlqvist heard about this he contacted the band and asked for the opportunity for an audition, and after a few jam sessions together Dahlqvist was chosen as the band’s new guitarist.
During his time in The Hellacopters, Dahlqvist recorded four studio albums, four EPs, two split albums and many other releases. Bands and artists that The Hellacopters collaborated with during Dahlqvist’s time in the band included Gluecifer, The Flaming Sideburns, Scott Morgan, Backyard Babies, Pelle Almqvist, Thomas Öberg and many others. In October 2007, The Hellacopters announced they would be breaking up after releasing their last full-length album Head Off and completing their The Tour Before the Fall farewell tour.
In 2004, Dahlqvist, while still with the Hellacopters, formed Thunder Express as a side project along with Robert Pehrsson (Death Breath), Jens Lagergren and Jesper Karlsson, the band being named after an MC5 song, as a tribute to the Detroit band and their music. With the help of other musicians, songwriters, bandmates and close friends, the band released their debut album We Play for Pleasure in 2004. In 2007, the band followed up their debut album with Republic Disgrace. During The Tour Before the Fall with The Hellacopters, Dahlqvist revealed plans for a Swedish language record under the name Dundertåget – the Swedish translation of the bands name. In 2009, Skaffa Ny Frisyr was released – which was followed up with Dom Feta Åren är Förbi the following year. The bands final performances were in 2011.
On 16 April 2016, Dahlqvists 40th birthday, his first solo single “Rocken är inte död!” (Rock isn’t dead!) was released under the pseudonym Strängen, one of Dahlqvists nicknames, alongside news of an upcoming solo album after a five-year hiatus. In the following months Dahlqvist performed as a solo performer infrequently in promotion of his upcoming album whilst working in the studio. According to his manager, the album was nearly finished at the time of Dahlqvists death in February 2017, with some of the final sessions having taken place a few days earlier. His final live performance was in Motala outside Linköping on December 17, 2016.
Dahlqvist had also been a steady member of Stefan Sundström’s backing band; in return Sundström also helped out with lyrics for the new Dundertåget record. Dahlqvist also recorded lead guitar for the song “Soulmover” for fellow band member Nick Royale and Scott Morgan’s soul band The Solution on their second album Communicate! He also recorded and toured with band member Anders Lindström’s former band The Diamond Dogs in 2004.
On 3 February 2017, The Hellacopters announced via Facebook that Dahlqvist had died unexpectedly on February 1. While the cause of death was initially undisclosed, The Hellacopters’ distributor Sound Pollution has since stated that Robert died accidentally at home, drowned in a bathtub following an epileptic seizure. At the time of his death, he had several concerts and appearances scheduled for the upcoming weeks and months and had nearly completed recording a solo album under the pseudonym Strängen. He was 40.