The Münchhausen scam

June 19, 2010

Yet another piece can now be added to the Jackpot puzzle. Apparently, Gleen Asp and Marco Donatello used the services of PR manager Leo Münchhausen in the mid 80s in order to kickstart a faltering musical career.

Münchhausen’s experience of working in the music business was, to say the least, diminutive. He started his career as a croupier in Atlantic City in the early 70s, working his way up in the casino hierarchy, finally becoming manager of the slot machines in one of the casinos before founding his PR company Haha! Business in 1983.

Münchhausen tried to promote the Jackpot track “Lord of the flies” in America 1985, an attempt at cashing in on the traditional dance craze song. “Lord of the flies” introduced a “fly dance” for the dancefloors but the whole thing passed over the heads of the record buyers like a soundless, invisible projectile.

The collaboration with Münchhausen would prove to be quite an expensive affair for Asp and Donatello. The band payed Münchhausen 100.000 Swedish kronor to give the “Lord of the flies” a favourable placing in American record shops. This was never done. Instead Münchhausen operated a scam where money from a very eclectic mix of disco artists, Albanian magicians and struggling stand-up comedians were used to entertain a bad case of gambling addiction. The financial consequences for Jackpot were severe. Gleen Asp ended up as resident DJ in Kiss make-up at a gay bar in Manila and Donatello sank deeper into his heroin abuse.

Today Leo Münchhausen is the CEO of a Palm Beach company that design theme park attractions.

Marco’s death connected to Palme murder?

February 27, 2010

Very little has been said about the death of Jackpot member Marco Donatello and not much is known about his background either.

Since his name turned up a few months ago in a re-opened investigation into the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986, the speculations about his death has gone through the roof. The most popular theory claims that Donatello had big drug debts to very shady characters that also are said to have been in possession of the murder weapon that Palme was shot with. Whether these people had the weapon before or after the murder is unknown. Donatello is assumed to have known about the weapon and posed therefore a considerable threat to the people purportedly in possession of the weapon. The theory is that he died from poisioning, not from an overdose of cocaine.

The cocaine story is said to have been used as a pretext for covering this fact. No autopsy was made because the coroner considered it to be pretty clear that Donatello’s heart stopped from cocaine abuse. He was after all a known drug abuser and when a friend found him dead lying face down on a table in a cellar on Vanadisgatan he had four gram of cocaine in the pocket of his signature biker jacket.

So, what conclusions can be drawn from this? Nothing has been proved in either way. But there are some people who knew Donatello that claims he felt his life threatened the last few weeks before his death. His band peer, Gleen Asp, has, however, remained silent on this subject. There’s also the fact that Donatello shared the same drug dealer as the infamous and ow deceased Christer Pettersson who was suspected to be Palme’s killer. But before speculating any further, let’s ask ourselves who Marco Donatello was. The key to his destiny lies probably there.

There are of course the obvious, brute facts. Marco was born in Bologna, Italy, on June 10, 1954. The son of  Mario, a brutalist architect and according to one rumour a former Black Shirt in the Italian Fascist movement during the 30s, Marco had an educated, if somewhat formal upbringing.

To be continued…

Finders Keepers

September 5, 2009

grisenIt can now be revealed that German record label Permanent Vacation (in association with Service) will release the so called ”lost” Jackpot track ”Greased Lightning”, originally recorded in 1991.

A friend of Tom Bioly, head of Permanent Vacation (PV), miraculously found the master tape (mentioned in the article ”The lost track” below) in a traditional Bierstube in central Munich a month ago. Someone had simply forgotten it there.

”Given that we already had released Jackpot’s ’Ragazza’ this was nothing short of a God’s send”, Tom Bioly says. ”I mean what are the odds? But I guess this incidence is less a coincidence than a very planned occurence”.

The plot thickens. Now people in the dance music community speculates whether E-Type who, as we have mentioned earlier, found the ”Greased Lightning” master tape at a garage sale in fact is the one who planted the tape in Munich. As this theory would have it E-Type saw no use whatsoever in keeping the master tape and realized after a little research that PV already had released a Jackpot record. Therefore he he decided upon seeing to that the tape would end up at PV. To confirm this theory its defenders point out the fact that E-Type was spotted at a World of Warcraft convention in Munich in the middle of May this year – about the same time as Tom Bioly’s friend found the tape.

Irrespective of how the ”Greased Lightning” master tape found its way into the PV office in Munich, it’s good news for all you music lovers that this amazing track finally is manifested on vinyl.

The ”Greased lightning” 12” will be out in September with remixes by Rory Phillips and In Flagranti.

The lost track

May 24, 2009

exorcising_mastertape2Very little is known about Gleen Asp’s whereabouts after Marco Donatello died from a lethal mixture of alcohol and cocaine in 1989. Now a missing piece of the puzzle is provided by legendary Swedish Euro dance artist E-Type.

Apparently Gleen continued to record under the Jackpot moniker as late as 1991. E-Type, who at the same time broke into the music industry with his collaboration with Stakka B (aka music video director Johan Renck), tells us that he found the Ampex master tape of a Jackpot recording in 2005. He stumbled upon the tape at a garage sale just a few miles outside Skå by Mälaren when scouting locations for the ”vikingaby” (”viking village” for the readers who doesn’t speak Swedish) he planned to build.

The reason E-Type took an interest in the master tape at all was that it had been marked with the text ”Pedro’s Sound Taco, Februari, 1991”. In that very month and year E-Type and Stakka B had made some initial groundwork for what was to become their seminal single ”We Got The Atmosphere” at a studio on Brunnsgatan in Stockholm called, yes you guessed it, Pedro’ Sound Taco. As the name suggest Pedro’s Sound Taco was, E-Type tells us, both a studio and one of the first Taco restaurants in Stockholm.

”I don’t know what I expected, probably that the tape would contain some early E-Type and Stakka B stuff”, E-Type says. ”But what I heard was a very strange dance track with a voice repeatingly whispering something like ’greased lightning’”, he continues. ”And then I remembered that Pedro who owned the restaurant and studio used to let one of his employees do recordings in exchange for cleaning the taco restaurant every night after closing time”.

E-Type clearly remember the guy in question because of the unusual spelling of his first name: ”Gleen” with two e’s. ”It wasn’t just the name that caught my attention, though”, E-Type says and continues, ”Gleen was rumoured to have been spending two years in prison for tax fraud”. ”But that was not the whole story. According to Pedro Gleen had commited the tax crime together with Joachim Posener who later became famous – or rather infamous – for the so called ’Trustor affair’”.

The master tape contains the signature “G. Asp/JP”, so there is no doubt about whose recording it is. If you look closely at the picture above you can see the signature scrabbled on the reel wheel.

Anyhow, it seems that Gleen got involved with some really shady people after Marco Donatello’s untimely death in 1989. Still he managed to land on his feet and even record some tracks. E-Type has explained that he by no means is a stranger to bids from record labels that would like to license this hitherto unknown Jackpot track.

As of May 2009, no bids have been made.

Freak accident

March 23, 2009

oysterAt the end of 1985 Donatello and Asp found themselves broke, depressed and homeless, but after a late night of partying out they were heard saying -Screw this, the world is an oyster and the show must go on!.

And so they went into the studio with their new gained spirits to record an atempt to a sell-out hit single called “The Oyster”, which somehow managed to show up in the Swedish popchart (called Tracks) for one whole week – but both in 1st and 2nd place. With the same song!

Emrick from the funkster maverick band The Stonefunkers remembers this well: “How is that even possible?! to have two chart positions with the same song?” he says on the phone. “It must have been some kind of freak accident!”

One theory was that Jackpot a short while had a manager called Per-Olof Bengtsson who was a well-off bourguise owner of fishing boats in Goteborg and who had plans to get the talented Jackpot on buisnessmongrel Bert Karlsson’s ugly record label Mariann Grammofon. Mariann had one nice release though, the beautiful spacedisco single “A little bit of jazz” from The Nick Straker Band. But “The Oyster” is believed to have been released on Mariann secretly without even Jackpot knowing this, while themselves released the same song on Wall Street Records (which supposedly sold less and came on 2nd). Perhaps this is how this strange and rare case could have happened. An event that is still totally unheard of since and a bit of a joke in the Swedish record industry.


January 17, 2009


The enigmatic surviving member of Italian-Swedish      new beat duo Jackpot tells about his life today in his first interview for Swedish media since 1987.

What is a life? Most people see their lives evolving in a continuous fashion from one phase to the next. But seen in retrospect bizarre turns and events that affects how we turn out to be can be spotted. Could you have become Christer Fuglesang instead of the member of a forgotten new beat duo in the 80s?

The gravity of these existential questions have been quite real for Gleen Asp. After months of searching we localized the elusive, now 54-year old musician in Lysekil on the Swedish West coast where he currently lives with his 26-year old girlfriend. Today Gleen owns a music café in the town center where he organizes gigs for young, unsigned bands.

So, how did you end up in Lysekil?

It’s a long story but basically I winded up here because of Sara, my fiancée. I met her a few months ago during the Match Racing World Championship for women. She was as a volunteer, distrubuting information sheets for Preem, the main sponsor. And I was responsible for the sound. The sponsor had this turntables that renowned DJs played on. That guy from Service Records who re-released the first Jackpot single was one of the DJs, I remember. You know, the one who’s always wearing v-necked t-shirts. He played there at least four times. And begged for a fitfth gig but Åke Cato was in town and wanted to spin some Lasse Dahlqvist records. So, the choice of DJ was easy.

And because of Sara you decided to stay in Lysekil?


What was it that triggered the release of Cupid’s arrows?

Well, how does these things happen? Damned if I now. I guess they kind of just happen, don’t they? Take my first wife. How would I know back in -86 that I would fall in love with a stripper? Of course, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t hang out at the strip joints on Andra Långgatan in Gothenburg in the 80s. But that I would eventually marry her? That’s just crazy. Life is crazy, man. Well, with Sara I knew that something was going on when she came to work one day and had bought a gigantic shrimp sandwich that she wanted to share with me. And that was one and a half month ago. We’ve been inseparable ever since. I love her very much.

What are your plans for the future? Working on any new Jackpot material?

There are plans, believe me, but I am not sure whether I can disclose them yet. I have a studio in a boat house at Fiskebäckskil where I record some music. Don’t know yet what will become of this. But I can reveal this: I’ve landed a sound gig for a variety show at Nya Parkteatern in Örebro. Half a year, good money. It  will be a challenging task, though, especially since I’ve never worked with theater before. I’m looking forward to it. And it’s an honor to work with Peter Flack.

And at last, what do you say about the revival of Jackpot through the release of Uno Dos Tres and soon Ragazza on Permanent Vacation?

It’s great fun! But also … You know, it’s weird to hear this music now since I’ve moved on musically. I’m a much better musician today, know a lot more about harmonics, composition and production. The recordings Marco (Donatello, ed.) and I did in the early 80s sounded like shit, to be honest. And also, I’m a much better person today.

What do you mean?

Well, back then I was just so stupid, you wouldn’t believe it. Doing drugs, not respecting people, having casual sex, constantly picking fights. I was a boozehead and a moron and had no way or plan what so ever for my life. And not to disrespect the dead, but Donatello didn’t exactly help me out of that jam. Rather encouraging bad behaviour, I’d have to say. Today I’m a good Christian who loves his girlfriend and enjoy the tranquility of an early morning walk with his dog.

In 1982 – Gleen was busted

December 9, 2008

0316094634_161Yes, he was spotted not paying his tv-licensefee and the two guys with the antenna connected to a strange geigermeterlike box stood at his door while he was watching the Lotto being broadcasted live on swedish (taxfinanced) television.

Flabbergasted, and without having the five minutes to think up a strategy (i.e excuse) he admitted to owning a tv once he was asked by the bureaucratic-looking man.
They were as surprised by the answer as Gleen was. This was their first bust of the year. It was november.

He settled out of court, and was sentenced to five months (he had, after all, not paid for the government-owned television which by this time sent quality tv for almost six hours a day on no less than two not-so-different channels) of civil duty.
His choice of civil duty is pretty ironic given the crime he commited: he became a musical director of one of swedish televisions primetime saturday shows for the whole family: Nöjesmaskinen (The Entertainment Machine).
This show, which was seen by 96% of the swedish public, was made up of two people sitting in a faux studio and pretending to improvise dry wit between themselves. One of them was a previous leftfield journalist, who later became more famous as the troll “Rulle” (“Roll”) and one female journalist who later came to meet Dalai Lama and Richard Gere (as a gimmick she made all her guests jump at the end, an idea which Gleen claims to have come up with, altough this is often denied by all participants. The Dalai Lama, however, have until this day not commented on this rumour.
One of the showstoppers was a japanese beer ad, consisting of a couple of penguins doing a strange dance.
The swedes could watch this segment forever and ever, and it was the main water-cooler-talk subject for a couple of years.

Gleens work was mainly to book guests which was supposed to be “current”. But since all the really current artist rather chose to go to Jacob´s Stege (Jacob´s ladder) his work was more demanding than he thought it would be at first.

Thanks to his numerous contacts in the artist segment he did manage to book some stuff which would´ve been on everyones iPod at the time, if they´ve indeed existed by then (well, they are now of course, and since swedes taste in music froze in time at the time of Abba´s demise, these artists are probably in 60% of swedens iPods at this very moment. That, and the soundtrack of Mamma Mia) 

He got Phil Collins doing “In the air tonight”, and Milla´s Mirakel (The Miracle Of Milla) doing the very first airing of “Rytmen av ett regn” (“The rhythm of a rain”) (sic!). But the real showstopper was in his final show, before turning back to obscurity was probably the very last airing of Secret Service doing their Swedish Top50-hit “Dance just a little bit more” – which was never seen anywhere else again!

Jet Ski flight

October 13, 2008


One story told by legendary Stockholm disco-dj Sydney “Big Brother” Onayemi is the one were Gleen Asp crashes the Licence to Kill (starring lame actor Timothy Dalton in the lead) premiereparty at Café Opera in Kungsträdgården.

Apparently the night had begun at a releaseparty for an album from the highly forgettable rockact The Sinners in solna. He was after that seen quite early and clearly intoxicated outside “Caféet” wearing a single-breasted dinner jacket, a heavy silk shirt, thin double-ended black satin tie and a red rose since he obviously lacked a proper invitation.

How he actually did get in is still unknown but the story goes he orders 3 tequila shots thinking everything at the bar is free, refuses to pay after he drinks up, insults one of the most famous journalists from back then, gets thrown out and soon finds himself outside Grand Hotel where he spots a couple of jet skis, and was last seen driving away on one into the sunset and in some kind of mad druken fury. Apparently he woke up a couple miles outside stockholm alone, afraid, couldn´t remember a thing and dressed as double 0 seven!

Give me a break!

October 10, 2008












Vivien and Gleen did’t last long, but the 12″ did. Almost the entire edition was recovered in a Manhattan warehouse last year, 18 years after Banana dumped it after the fiasco. The warehouse owner Ross Burner used it for an illegal tax reduction, was caught, sentenced and in the court documents quoted to say: “Give me a break, these records are cursed!”

Gleen and Vivien Vee

October 10, 2008

In the last year of the seventies, Gleen Asp was starting to make a name for himself in the NYC producer circuit (He was the first to wear the later so widely popular Arthur Baker beard). Wall Street Records boss (and possibly only employee) Ulrich Jonson Von Roy introduced him to Banana Records starlet Vivien Vee, with the words “Peel that curly blonde banana”.

Banana, a desperately fighting young disco label out of tune with it’s time, couldn’t afford hireing big shot producer Giancarlo Meo, so they actually pirated his name by using Gleen but crediting Meo on the sleeve. Gleen was unaware of this scam, but was nontheless later  into a life long dispute with Meo and his army of lawyers.

Before long, Gleen’s and Vivien’s studio work inevitably turned into a love affair, which apparently made the recordings suffering.

The result was a big dissapointment to Banana, and to Ulrich who had put his reputation in jeopardy. Ulrich didn’t ever really get over his bitterness and it is said that he sectretly worked against Gleen and later on Jackpot, which he signed later on but never released on record.