Banner image for Metal Digest - Advertise With Us

Picking Bjorn Englen’s Brain

Rock virtuoso bass player Bjorn Englen was born on October 9, 1971 in the city of Vaxjo, Sweden. He started his musical career as a drummer in 1984. Despite drums being a natural choice for Bjorn, within a couple of months he switched to bass guitar. In 1993 Bjorn re-located to Los Angeles, California and in 1994 became the bass player for the multi-platinum selling band QUIET RIOT (the first Heavy Metal group to ever reach No. 1 album on Billboard).

After leaving QUIET RIOT in the spring of 1995, he formed the group SOUL SIGN who has since then toured in the US and Europe. The current line-up includes Ted Nugent/Malmsteen vocalist Mark Boals, and is currently working on the follow up to their latest release “Life In The Dark”.

In the late 90s, early 2000s and after Bjorn worked extensively as a sought after L.A. session bassist recording at many of the major studios, as well as performing live, with countless name artists incl. members of Foreigner, Deep Purple, Kiss, The Supremes, David Lee Roth, Dio, Ozzy, Elton John, Rainbow, Journey, Korn, Dream Theater, Whitesnake, Heart, Judas Priest, Guns N’ Roses, Sweet, Steve Vai, Vixen, Buddy Guy, Alice Cooper & more. His credits to date include about 2000 live shows and well over 50 albums. 

In 2004 until 2006 he joined forces with MSG/Survivor vocalist ROBIN McAULEY touring throughout the US, as well as recording and performing as the band BLEED. According to Bjorn this was “a very enjoyable time and a turnaround point in my life and career”. The excellent line-up was co-formed with McAuley by longtime friend guitarist extraordinaire Dave Bates.

For the next five years (2007-2012) Englen was the bass player for neo-classical guitar icon YNGWIE MALMSTEEN’S band RISING FORCE, touring all over the world incl. North America, Europe, Asia and The Middle East in front of audiences as big as 60.000 people. This much strong version of Rising Force also included vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest), drummer Patrik Johansson (WASP) & three different keyboardists incl. Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater), Michael Troy & Nick Marino (KC & The Sunshine Band).

In 2010-2013 he also did numerous US performances with Scorpions guitar legend ULI JON ROTH, and from 2011 to 2017 Bjorn toured worldwide (Europe, US and Latin America) with guitar/keyboard virtuoso TONY MACALPINE. In 2011 he was concurrently working with three of the biggest guitar gods of all time!

In 2012, after leaving Malmsteen’s band, Englen became a member of The Official Dio Band DIO DISCIPLES featuring longtime DIO members Craig Goldy, Simon Wright & Scott Warren plus vocalists Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest) and Oni Logan (Lynch Mob). Managed by Wendy Dio the group has since toured worldwide. As “DIO Returns” (featuring a Ronnie James Dio hologram) they toured Europe in 2017 and US in 2019.

Throughout his career Bjorn has also spent some time educating upcoming bass players and musicians through numerous clinics & master classes worldwide incl. major schools like Musicians Institute & L.A. College of Music, as well as various clinics in US and Europe. Since 2016 he has worked as a Rock Star Counselor at the world famous Rock’n’Roll Fantasy Camp.

In recent years Bjorn has recorded and performed with 80s metal icons HELLION, TAKARA, and all-star groups BLACKWELDER, FOUNDRY, TARA LYNCH, PLENTY HEAVY and STEREO MADNESS, to name a few.

Metal Digest had a chat with Bjorn about his latest projects, what it’s like to be a music teacher and how to prioritize work as a musician.

Welcome to Metal Digest!

Bjorn, thank you for taking the time out of your insanely busy schedule to have a chat with us.

My pleasure!

With an incredible career and collabs under your belt, what are you most proud of?

Many things but I would say my time with Yngwie Malmsteen, the Dio band, and my own band SoulSign.

What are you currently working on?

We’re completing a new record with SoulSign and I’m also doing various guest appearances and full records as a session bassist for other artists.

You have been teaching the bass guitar as well. What is the most enjoyable part of being a music teacher and what is the most challenging one?

The most enjoyable part is the great personalities of the students. The most challenging thing can be when someone has an issue with something very unique and trying to solve it. But that can often be very fulfilling.

What is something that should be taught in school but isn’t?

Mandatory music classes with lots of freedom for the students to choose their instruments/s and direction. Also, classes in nutrition and health should be mandatory.

With so much going on and so many endeavors, how do you prioritize?

That is a really good question. One has to figure out what is the most important project and always prioritize that. Much boils down to that, but also deadlines will control a lot of things.

What is one thing that every bass guitarist should own?

A great set of earplugs.

Is there anything you regret not doing?

Focusing more on my own music, and decades ago leaving several bands MUCH sooner. I most of all regret allowing people to abuse me and talk down to me.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Walking, hiking, socialize and enjoying the beach and the mountains.

What’s the next milestone you’d like to achieve?

Getting my band Soul Sign busy on the road and it becoming a well-recognized, successful group it deserves to be.

Thank you for the wonderful interview.

It was a great pleasure!

Until we meet again,

Chelf | Metal Digest.

Connect with Bjorn:

Come on in!

Metal Digest is an online music magazine specializing in rock and metal. It is aimed at the mobile market, who can get their fix whilst on the go. Whether you walk, drive, fly, sail or teleport make sure you do it with Metal Digest, bitesize heavy metal rock and metal news, reviews and interviews for when you’re on the go.

More Stories
Metalomaniacs – ‘Last Day on Earth’