Our Community - Ebbe Weile - "Rockin' and relaxin' on the reef"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 9            March 13, 2003

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Ebbe Weile

San Pedro is known for a wealth of indigenous artistic talent, including painters, musicians, sculptors, carvers, etc. Aside from those born in Belize, many of the exceptional people of our island have also arrived from other parts of Central America and several faraway lands. Over the years, the island has been blessed with many musicians, most recently a group that formed the rock band known as Category 7. This week, The San Pedro Sun is pleased to introduce a guitarist and lead vocal from that band. Live, from Denmark - Ebbe Weile.

    Ebbe was born in 1959, in the small town of Ribe, located in the southern part of the Danish mainland. Because his father was a banker, the family moved around the Scandinavian country. In 1972, they finally settled down  in Esbjerg, the main harbor town on the North Sea coast.

    That same year, at the age of twelve, Ebbe took an after school job, and was soon able to buy his pride and joy - an electric guitar! By the end of the year, he was a proud, 13-year-old member of a rock band.

    Ebbe spent the next four years playing and listening to music, and going to school (in that order). At the age of 17, he embarked on his first adventure - joining the Merchant Marines, where he quickly learned to be a cook working on an old freight ship bound for Singapore and Hong Kong. As "crew" on three different ships, Ebbe traveled from Asia to the Middle East, Africa and North America. He had many experiences during these voyages, among them, the beginning of a revolution. While people fought in the streets, Ebbe spent several days hiding out in the airport at Aden, South Yemen and then found himself stuck in Iran for the next three months.

    Ebbe stayed with the Merchant Marines until 1980, when he returned home to Esbjerg. In December of that year, he met the love of his life and future wife, Marianne. At the time, Marianne was studying French, but soon left her studies to pursue a nursing career. Licensed as a nurse since 1984, she has specialized in bone marrow transplants, wound care and home nursing.

    Ebbe started his first of many bands in 1980, later known as "Norma Jean". The band began with original material, written by Ebbe and a friend. Over the next couple of years they succeeded playing in several clubs and festivals, complete with blue and green hair, and whatever else went with being a "real" rock band in those days. Ebbe then started a blues duo with a good friend, and for two years, they toured Denmark and Germany, going from town to town in Ebbe's old 1968 Volvo Amazon. They performed in bars, jazz clubs, prisons, etc., and also played for radio, television and studio recordings off and on until 1995.

    Using his own original material, Ebbe started another band in 1985 called TTC (Take The Cake). Experiencing all the success, trials and tribulations of a traditional band, they were soon the "talk-of-the-country". The band stopped playing in 1989, but reunited in 1994 to record the album "Bits & Pieces". Ebbe came aboard too, but only to write the music and lyrics, and produce the album for the band.

   In 1981, Ebbe received a song writing contract from Columbine Records, a company based in Los Angeles, but eventually Ebbe Weile's talents extended to include more of the responsibilities of the recording industry. That same year, he helped establish DMK, a booking and management agency run by musicians and supported by the musicians' union which, within a year, expanded to include an office in each of the five largest cities in Denmark. By 1987, Ebbe had moved to Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, and went to work part-time for the Danish Rock Council, an organization for recording and touring artists, financed by the Danish Ministry of Culture. He also worked as a freelance journalist for two music magazines, and was a board member of Fajabefa (another national musicians' union). In 1994, he also founded and managed the distribution network of the Songwriters' & Composers' Union, DJBFA.

    Ebbe ventured further into the record industry, starting out part-time for record companies BMG/RCA/Ariola, Motown and Virgin Records, which were all sharing the same office and distribution facilities. Whether working for all of them or individually over the next few years, Ebbe received great personal satisfaction from this part of his career. He was fortunate to be involved with introducing many great albums working with such great artists as Hall & Oates, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Hornsby, Bryan Ferry, and many others. Ebbe also enjoyed the experience of meeting a large number of interesting people such as Pete Townshend, the members of Simple Minds, Lenny Kravitz, Johnny Rotten, Iggy Pop and several other wonderful artists. As the only Scandinavian alternative and hard rock person involved in these recording companies, he was also selected to be among the people chosen to give their opinions about demo recordings and the possible release of many great albums.

    Getting more and more involved in the independent scene of the early 90s, Ebbe started his own record label in 1991 as well as being a label manager for an independent distribution company. By the end of 1992,  Ebbe was ready to concentrate 100% on his own company, X-Treme Records. He released a number of recordings, mainly hard-rock, and worked closely with independent companies in the U.S., England, Germany, Italy and France. Ebbe's best selling release was "Royal Hunt," which sold in excess of 75,000 copies in less than four months.

    Aside from everything else, Ebbe managed to write a children's book and music, which was recorded by a well-known Danish actor and TV-personality at the time, Peter Fr–din. He also accepted the position of general manager at an entertainment company with more than 200 employees, and produced four more records.

    In 1995, Ebbe sold the final shares in his record company and moved to Sweden. He spent the next year working as the lead singer and co-producer on a hard rock album which involved people from Yngwie Malmsteen Megaforce, Blue Oyster Cult, Michael Schenker Group and Aces High. The album, "Arch of Decadence" was released in Scandinavia, Germany, France and the U.K. by Point Records in 1996/1997.

     Ebbe next moved to Germany, where he accepted a job as the Central European Manager for Europe's largest independent CD and DVD replication company, Tocano. For the next three and a half years, he traveled back and forth between Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, Holland and Belgium, working with record companies, studios, software developers and film producers.

    In 2000, after 20 busy years, Ebbe and his wife decided to take a year off and get away from the stress, the hard work and the cold weather. After searching the Internet they soon discovered ambergriscaye.com. That August, the couple visited Ambergris Caye for two weeks to see if this might be the place to live the peaceful life they sought.

    Ebbe immediately fell in love with the beautiful island and its friendly people. Soon after, he and Marianne arrived in San Pedro to stay. He is now a permanent resident of Belize and a member of local rock band Category 7 (with Barefoot Skinny, Charles Worthington Jr., James Storey and Dale Wallace Jr.), which entertains two nights-a-week.

    Ebbe is currently in the process of starting a duo with his fellow band member James. While Category 7 concentrates mainly on classic rock and some original material, this new project, "Band-In-Belize," will focus on "unplugged" rock, blues and some Belizean music.

    After a long break from songwriting, Ebbe has begun to write music again, and hopes to be able to release a new CD with original songs by the end of this year.

    His main interests, aside from music, are downhill skiing and car racing, but while living in Belize, Ebbe has had to learn how to adapt to a life without skis and fast cars. In exchange, he has been blessed with new bands, many good friends, great music, beautiful water and a more peaceful life - making merry music in "Our Community".

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