Tarjei Vatne had been influential in the awful non-group The Nerds, who formed in Bergen in 1989 around a chaotic songwriting partnership of anyone who happened to throw in a line. Similar in style and looks to the losers who ended up alone or by the chessboard at parties, they were born out of disgust and aimed to win pity. Vatne went on to join legendary Norwegian rock band GNU alongside himself, except for a brief period where he played with Ole Carlsen, Nils Drønen and Erling Storum - but when his ability to pay them ran out, they left. At one session a blind semi psychotic grandmother joined them on background vocal.
After GNU, Vatne formed (the inappropriately named) Tarjei Vatne band, where he was still the only member. Later joined by Robin ´Kid´ Jacobsen and Tor-Magnus ´Roller Coaster´ Lien, they were for four weeks the only band in Norway with a double name beginning on T and V. Again, after the money ran out, Jacobsen and Lien left.
Every Christmas Tarjei Vatne Band rearranged the ‘T’ and the ‘V’ and became Varjei Tatne Band, without any apparent purpose or effect..
In March 1999 Vatne left Tarjei Vatne band to hook up with the classical quartet Bacchis, which actually had some good singers who would have sounded even better had Vatne´s guitar been in tune. They enjoyed moderate success near Busstasjonen, Byparken and Lido-hjørnet.
Vatne’s solo career continued and he sometimes seemed indistinguishable from the bums at Torgalmenningen, singing songs about pigeons, rats and loneliness, thus bringing a minimal, but measurable amount of amusement to some people.
Vatne won 100 kroner on a Flax-lodd the same evening Spellemannsprisen was presented in 2002.
Tarjei did his first solo-gig in 2004, with a little help from the café around the corner, which supplied electricity. After two songs it started to rain, and the concert came to an unexpected halt. He then went home and tried to rehearse the guitar solo on Supertramp´s "It´s raining again" without realizing it was in fact a saxophone solo, wrecking his guitar neck in the process.
Vatne then went on to record the Grammy nominated “Dirty Laundry” with John Plain, Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), Darrell Bath (The Crybabys) and Vom (Die Toten Hosen). Starting with the original LP, he recorded it onto a Maxell 90 SL tape.
His first solo album “There’s a nose on my face” was recorded onto the same cassette a year later.
In 2007 Tarjei Vatne and Tor-Magnus ´Roller Coaster´ Lien renewed their partnership in a new supergroup, playing Johann Strauss-influenced rock’n’roll. Believe us: We are a supergroup was released in october 2008. Being released from a raft in Bergen harbour, it floated out to sea and was probably consumed by a whale.
In 2010 Honest John Plain, Duncan Reid, Casino Steel & Vom Ritchie of The Boys recorded a new album along with Backstreet Girls guitarist Petter Baarli. Tarjei Vatne bought it.
Tarjei Vatne is still touring with Bussen from DPS (Distriktpsykiatrisk senter) in Arna, Eidsvåg, Fana, Bergen Vest. On sundays they sometimes drive all the way to Sotra.
Some Tarjei Vatne facts:
• The Nerds were originally called The Hunks until a girl at a party they were playing at, exclaimed loudly that "You don't look anything like hunks, you look like nerds". After the entire party had shouted "The Nerds! The Nerds!" for five minutes, the band decided to change their name.
• Lasse Myrvold of the Aller Værste was a big fan of GNU. Since he is dead now, this despicable lie can never be disproven. Following his Bergen visit in 1993, Allen Ginsberg also became enamoured with the band. He is also dead now.
• Tarjei Vatne band played outside Kvarteret when The Popes with Shane MacGowan performed there in 1995. MacGowan reportedly yelled from stage: "There was a guy outside playing guitar. Great art", although reports vary on whether he actually said "Great fart". Climbing up a drain pipe, Vatne tried to sneak into the subsequent party, reaching the band room window just as MacGowan stuck his head out and vomited.
• Tarjei Vatne was due to tour Åsane with Anne Marit Jacobsen in 1992 but the tour had to be cancelled when Anne Marit sobered up.