Høst was founded in 1971 by three young Norwegian rock enthusiasts in the small town of Knapstad, Norway. Its name "Høst" was derived from the Norwegian word for autumn/fall — of which was the current season at the time of the band's formation. The original members were guitarist/songwriter Svein Rønning, Johnny Myhre-bass, and Stig Berg-drums.
Seventeen year old Rønning was heavily influenced by many progressive rock bands (prog-rock) of the era, such as Yes, Genesis, and an obscure band named November. November was a Swedish band that sang their lyrics in their native tongue, opposite the standard of the pop/rock scene which was at the time mostly Anglicized (in English language). This provided Svein with his greatest inspiration as he, too, began to implement his own native Norwegian language into his vocals. This was a wise decision as it helped to create a unique niche in the rock market of Norway.
It wasn't very long before Rønning and Myhre departed the group and new members Bernt Bodal-bass and Geir Jahren-guitar/vocals joined. The addition of Ronny Gyllensten as an additional lead guitarist gave Høst their trademark sound-Norwegian vocals, twin lead guitars, complex melodies, and heavy riffs. Some months later, Berg left and was replaced by Knut Lie on drums. Jahren and Bodal had known Lie from a former project under the name of "High Attention" which helped the transition to flow.
Høst worked very hard rehearsing and playing the occasional club gig until finally, in 1973, things began to gain traction for the band. The local club gigs increased as did the ones in clubs of larger cities such as the famous rock scene of Oslo, Norway. During this time, Gyllensten was replaced by Odd Inge Olsen on lead guitar.
It wasn't very long before Rønning and Myhre departed the group and new members Bernt Bodal-bass and Geir Jahren-guitar/vocals joined. The addition of Ronny Gyllensten as an additional lead guitarist gave Høst their trademark sound — Norwegian vocals, twin lead guitars, complex melodies, and heavy riffs. Some months later, Berg left and was replaced by Knut Lie on drums. Jahren and Bodal knew Lie from a former project under the name of "High Attention."
Høst caught another break in June of 1974 at the Chateau Neuf, a club in Oslo. The band played well and the audience cheered wildly. It was there that they were noticed by a well-known rock producer Nils Bjarne Kvam of Phonogram Records. That October, Phonogram signed Høst for their first album to be printed for the "On Records" label.
The album "Pa Sterke Vinger" was recorded at Arctic Studios in the city of Trondheim, Norway. Unfortunately, just weeks before the studio sessions were to begin, Olsen quit the band leaving them to scramble in order to fill the spot quickly. Luckily, Lie called upon a guitarist Lasse Nilsen who he knew from another former project. Nilsen accepted and learned the complex songs quickly. The album was completed within six days and vocals completed in one. It was then mixed, mastered, and rush-released by the label in late November, 1974. Though not an immediate success, the album garnered good reviews from the music press much to the satisfaction of the band.
That January (1975), the band set upon a tour that started in the southern city of Hamar and ended near North Cape in late February. During this time, the band travelled about 8,000 kilometers (just under 5,000 miles) all the while experiencing minus 45 degrees Celsius temperatures and almost constant darkness. However, whether it was for 50 or 500 fans, Høst's live act was by then a magical experience. Jahren, the charismatic singer, kept the audience entranced with his intense movements and gestures as they followed the lyrics and tempo changes.
Three months and many more gigs later, Høst found themselves with a wonderful opportunity of performing a 30 minute set in a cinema located in Karlstad, Sweden. This performance was broadcasted on Swedish Radio with special thanks to Johan Forssblad, a well known Swedish radio producer who had a great interest in Norwegian rock music. This would prove to be one of the last great feats of the Høst lineup.
As time went by and interest waned, some of the members of Høst decided to take a break but not everyone was willing to sit idle. Bernt Bodal immediately created a new line-up consisting of Fezza Elllingsen-guitars/flute, Halvdan Nedrejord-keyboards, Willy Bendiksen–drums, and Trond Opperud on vocals. Ellingsen and Bendiksen were former band mates in a project called "St. Helena." Opperud would leave the band after only a short time and Geir Jahren then rejoined Høst.
Høst became even more complex and progressive all the while continuing its tradition of using Norwegian lyrics. They rehearsed non-stop and played gigs in preparation for their second album which would be titled "Hardt mot Hardt" for On Records. The album was recorded at Arctic Studios and produced by Bjørn Nessjøe and engineered by Christian Schreiner. "Hardt mot Hardt" was considered ahead of its time and was not immediately well received by fans or critics. It was supported by a winter tour in 1976.
Høst's third and final album titled "Extra! Extra!" arrived in 1977 on Polygram records. It was a compilation that encompassed songs from the two previous albums and some new material. "Extra! Extra!" saw another line-up change with Ellingsen being replaced on keyboards by John Hessla, who came from the prog-rock band "Flax" whose alumni included another of Høst's band mates, Willy Bendiksen. The band made the decision to tour outside of Norway in support of the album and decided to incorporate another drastic change to the status quo. Singer/writer Eric Willcox joined the group and for the first time since its inception, Høst used English lyrics in their new songs. In order to perform in front of a new audience, another decision was made to change the band name to one more pronounceable. "Høst" became "Ice" and in March of 1978 they were given the opportunity to perform on Ola Nergaard's television show "Musikalsk Gjestebud" to announce their new name and present some of their new material. Unfortunately, though, after that performance Ice never materialized enough to perform abroad and decided to formally disband for good, never performing again under that name.
As years passed, Høst has reunited a number of times. In 1991 they performed in Oslo and Askim. In 1994 they performed in Oslo, Göteborg, Sweden, and Borlänge, Sweden. In 1999 Høst played the "Rock at Sea" cruise festival from Stockholm, Sweden to Mariehamn, Finland. In 2007 Høst played shows in Oslo and Askim. In 2008 they played Askim as well as another gig that summer in Tromsø. They have much to look forward to in the future as important bands like Høst continue to influence younger generations as prog-rock and experimental music makes its way back into the mainstream.
Geir Jahren - Lead Vocals, Harmonica
John Hesla - Guitar, Flute, Vocals
Halvdan Nadrejord - Keyboards, Organ, Piano
Bernt Bodal - Bass
Willy Bendiksen - Drums
Lasse Nilsen - Guitar
Knut R. Lie - Drums, Vocals
Svein Rønning - Guitar, Clavinet, Organ, String Ensemble, Mini-Moog, Flute, Vocals, Keyboards
Fezza Ellingsen - Guitar, Flute