Sólstafir at Supreme court of Iceland

Hello friends.
Many of you my non-Icelandic friends have been asking me about news articles in Icelandic that have been floating around Facebook for the last couple of days.
So let me explain.

The Reykjavík District Court dismissed the case that I filed against Aðalbjörn Tryggvason on behalf of Svalbard Music Group ehf. (Ltd.) (see previous blog).
The case was dismissed on a technical formality. I am convinced that the court’s decision is neither right nor just and it’s very narrow interpretation of a certain law provision does not apply.
A board meeting and a shareholder’s meeting the company decided that a) Aðalbjörn Tryggvason was to be released from his duties as the executive director of Svalbard Music Group for his gross misconduct and b) that Svalbard Music Group would sue Aðalbjörn Tryggvason for illegally seizing control over and ownership of the company’s main asset, the trademark Sólstafir and the band’s business, and for hollowing the company out from the inside.
Both the meetings were legally convened and we have receipts that show that both Aðalbjörn and Sæþór Maríus Sæþórsson (an alternate on the board) received the invitations but both of them chose not to show up nor send a lawyer in their stead nor explain their absence in any way. They simply ignored both the meetings.
The Reykjavík District Court finds the fact that they simply ignored legally convened board and shareholder’s meetings makes the conclusion of the meetings illegal for the fact that only half of the board’s members (one out of two) showed up but according to the court’s interpretation more than half have to be present, even though I hold the odd vote as chairman of the board.
This sets a really dangerous example for private companies where there are only two persons on the board, as is very often the case. This simply means that a person can literally hold a private company hostage if he doesn’t like that pre advertised agenda of the meeting (as is required by law) by simply not showing up.

This decision of the Reykjavík District Court totally ignores Aðalbjörn’s gross misconduct and the fact that he hollowed the company out from the inside by using the company’s credit cards to the max but then pocketing all the income himself, leaving the company in debt. One would think that this would be illegal under Icelandic laws adhering to private companies and as stated before this sets an extremely dangerous example for other private companies and therefore we will appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Iceland. More info on that later.

To end this blog I would like to ask you to share this and also think about what you are supporting when you go to a concert or buy merchandise from any band. What kind of behavior are you condoning?

I apologize if any of the legal terms are wrongly translated to English, I am neither a lawyer nor a linguistic expert, only a dude that wanted to make music.

Thank you!
Guðmundur Óli Pálmason


Svalbard Music Group vs Aðalbjörn Tryggvason at Reykjavík District Court

Svalbard Music Group ehf. (Ltd.) has sued Aðalbjörn Tryggvason for illegally seizing control over and ownership of the company’s main asset, the trademark Sólstafir and the band’s business, and for hollowing the company out from the inside.

Svalbard Music Group was formed by Sólstafir’s only two remaining founding members Aðalbjörn Tryggvason and Guðmundur Óli Pálmason,and both of them have an equal 50% share in the company.
From it’s creation in January 2011 Svalbard Music Group’s sole purpose has been to run the band Sólstafir and take care of all it’s related business. As such the company has acquired in accordance with Icelandic laws the ownership of the trademark Sólstafir.

Just before midnight on January 19th 2015 Guðmundur Óli Pálmason received an email from Aðalbjörn Tryggvason saying that the band intended to move ahead without him. Aðalbjörn also cancelled Guðmundur´s flight tickets without his knowledge for an European tour that was supposed to start two days later.
The morning after, on January 20th Aðalbjörn applied for the trademark Sólstafir at the Icelandic Patent Office solely in his own name and with his personal id number. His patent application has not been accepted by the office.

Aðalbjörn Tryggvason was released from his duties as the executive director of Svalbard Music Group on December 11th 2015 for his gross misconduct.

The case was filed at the Reykjavík District Court on January 12th 2016.

On Behalf of Svalbard Music Group ehf. (Ltd.)
Guðmundur Óli Pálmason


So my personal profile is blocked from posting on Sólstafir’s Facebook page

Last night it came to my attention that my ex-bandmates of Sólstafir have opened a new webstore. A fan had asked if the band intended to share the royalties with me or if they intended to steal it. Their replay to her question was “No worries – All royalties are split according to law and regulations.” My answer to that was simply: “That hasn’t been the case so far”.
I haven’t commented on the Sólstafir Facebook page in months, the very same Facebook page that I alone created, and I alone maintained and operated for 7 years. Aðalbjörn Tryggvason and his manager Erin Lynch were (and still are) admins on the page, and on the night of January 19th, while they most likely knew I was out celebrating my girlfriend’s birthday they made a hostile takeover of the page (along with the band’s name and copyrighted material, as is chronicled in my previous blog (see link below).
So now I am blocked from the very page I created (the girl who asked the question is too and all uncomfortable questions deleted). I can no longer fend for myself on there if I feel the need to do so. I can’t “like” posts and questions from fans. Again Aðalbjörn and Erin try to sweep the whole dirty matter under the carpet.
I do urge you to share this and my previous posts and voice your opinion to the band, look in your heart and see if you care to support the band or not, until all matters are fairly sorted out in court. Thank you for the support, it really has meant the world to me!
Guðmundur Óli Pálmason
Founding member of Sólstafir 1995-2015


It’s been over a month now and absolutely nothing has changed

It has now been over a month since I posted a statement about my forced absence from Sólstafir on the internet. (You can read it here: https://solstafirofficial.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/statement-about-my-forced-absence-from-solstafir/ ). A statement I held back for almost half a year in hope that things could be resolved. It has also been over a month since Erin Lynch, the band‘s manager, wrote and posted a counter statement (she even misspelled my name) from her home in Stockholm accusing me of writing my statement out of spite, and stating that I would indeed „receive(my) fair share. There was never any intention not to do this“. This is in stark contrast with the only official communication that the band has bothered to have with me through their lawyer, in a letter where they say that I am not entitled to any payments after I „left“ the band on 19th January. Now I will always get royalties for radio play and albums sold from from the label. This has nothing to do with the band but goes through STEF, GEMA and other such music copyright institutes, but this is peenuts. The band is and has been selling merchandise for tens of thousands of euros each tour. This includes merchandise that I personally designed and cds and vinyl the band has gotten from the label, which is then deducted from all our royalties, mine too, as far as I know.

Erin‘s statement is a textbook example of passive aggression, stating that „Guðmundur is no longer in the band, because of a deep personal conflict that involves all three remaining members and cannot be solved. He is well aware of this.“
What I am well aware of and what I am not well aware of is irreverent. Here she tries to blow sand in your eyes and make it sound like I am well aware of what actions supposidly caused this rift between us, and that it is my fault. This is simply not true. There was no deep personal conflict that I was aware of until after I got that email on 19th January.
And she continues, writing as if she‘s a member of the band: „If the three of us had felt there was any way of mending the damage and moving forward with Guðmundur, then of course we would have – and we did make genuine efforts to do so.“
Again, this is not true. The band made NO effort of mending the damage. In fact Aðalbjörn‘s response to my pleads to work things out was that we all needed space, distance and silence and to end all communication. In other words he simply wanted to sweep all the shit under the carpet and not even talk about it.

While my offer to the band to settle things out of court, dated 13th may 2015 has still gone unanswered, the only „communication“ the band has had with me or persons related to me has been one email from their lawyer dated 16th June, and another dated 25th June saying they would react to my offer that week representative. They still haven‘t reacted. The only other communication was Svavar Austmann Traustason sending some rather nasty messages to my mother through Facebook. My parents are pensioners and some of the nicest people you‘d ever meet. In fact they have lent me a substantial amount of money for legal fees, as I have been without an income since I was forced out of the band. There‘s no need for the band to drag them into this nasty business on a personal level like this.
Svavar‘s message was full of lies and twisted bits of truth, and these aren’t the only lies the band has been spreading about me. I have seen other messages that Svavar in particular has sent to people supporting me, and a Greek fan also told me that when he asked about me when the band played in Greece in February, he was told I was not touring with them because I was mentally ill. Now it‘s strange that the band, with no more education between them than primary school can diagnose me as mentally ill, seeing as I‘ve seen a couple of psychiatrists after I was forced from the band and both of them said I only have depression but am handling things quite well given the circumstances.
That said, the last half a year has been an enormous strain on me and those close to me, and the worst part of it all is loosing some friends who have decided to place their business relations with the remaining band above our friendship, even though they know the whole story and that I am not getting my fair share of that business. A rather hypocritical stand for an organization I‘ve helped to promote as much as I can for a decade and who‘s motto could be translated into something like „treat each other right“.
I‘d like to stress though that none of my friends who know the whole story have taken the band‘s side, except for their own business relations (like one of them put it „I just have to think about myself“). So don‘t think for a minute that the bands silence is to protect me. On the contrary. I am no saint and I have made my mistakes, but I can account for all my actions and I know when to apologize when I‘ve done wrong.

I have done absolutely everything in my power to conclude this matter with an agreement between myself and my former bandmates but my patience has now ran out as more than half a year of trying has produced nothing but disrespectful silence from the band, except for the things I mentioned earlier.
So I reluctantly inform you all that I have no choice but to take all these matters to court. The use of the name and brand of Sólstafir without my participation, unpaid share of sold merchandise, slander and possibly theft of equipment (after our last gig in Germany in late January we left our touring equipment there, as we were going to use the same driver on our upcoming European tour a few days later. As you know I was forced to not participate in the tour and my airline ticket cancelled without my knowledge. I have not seen my equipment since and my inquiry about it‘s whereabouts has gone unanswered by the band. I have though seen photos of their session drummer using my equipment).
I also found out after all this started that Aðalbjörn had without my knowledge registered all our early songs as his compositions and his alone, despite the fact that we wrote all the songs together. So add that to the list of matters that will be dealt with in court.

To all the fans I want to apologize for taking this course of action, I truly never wanted it to come to this, I truly didn‘t want to spoil your experience of the music and drag the name of Sólstafir through the mud. But I am not at the helm, I did not sail the ship into the cliffs of lawsuits, other people did that while I tried to steer it into calmer waters.
Please remember this.

Guðmundur Óli Pálmason


Statement about my forced absence from Sólstafir

When I woke up on the morning of 20. January and looked at my emails I expected to find an email with my flight details for the Sólstafir tour that was supposed to start the day after. What I found instead was an email from Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, signed by him and the rest of my now ex-bandmates telling me I was fired from the band that I‘ve poured my sweat, blood and tears into for the last 20 years because of communication problems between us that were unjustly being blamed solely on me and me alone.

I called the airline and found out that my ticket had been cancelled without me knowing it. In a state of panic I quickly bought a new ticket, refusing to acknowledge Aðalbjörn’s right to kick me out of a band that I had formed with him 20 years earlier. Aðalbjörn’s response was to make it clear to me that he would refuse to perform on stage with me and this would irrevocably harm the band and ruin any chance of reconciliation between us. Loving the band that I have dedicated my life to I decided it would be worth it to try and solve this matter with worlds instead of war.
I begged them please not to do this, this was not the right way to handle things, but was only given the vague answer that they‘d maybe be willing to reconsider this in a month, or maybe in 6 months or a year, maybe, just maybe. I was forced to sit quietly at home and witness my life‘s work being taken away from me while it was made clear to me that if I’d speak out about this injustice in public I’d have ruined my chance of ever returning to the band.
By this they were trying to get rid of me in a quiet and painless manner (for them), releasing a bullshit statement (hidden inside a start-of- the-tour Facebook post) that I was absent from the on-going tour for personal reasons, telling people to refrain from asking questions. No questions asked, no consequences for them and I was being threatened to shut the hell up.

While the rest of the band was on tour I sat quietly at home, unable to speak out because of their threats of taking away my chance to regain the purpose of my life. But by every day the hope faded and it became increasingly clear to me that I was being kept in a prison of false hope with the penalty of total excommunication dared I speak out.
It became crystal clear to me that Aðalbjörn had no interest in reconciliation when I found out that the very next day he had applied for a patent of the name Sólstafir in his own personal name and I.D., not in the name of our company that runs the band and not with the signature of any other band members. Had I not discovered this by chance (a lawyer friend checking on the name Sólstafir in the Icelandic firm registry) he would have gained 100% intellectual and monetary control over the name and the brand that I had done more than my fair share to create.

Note that Aðalbjörn says he called Sæþór and Svavar to a meeting at Sæþór’s house on the evening on January 19th and they subsequently sent me the email shortly before midnight. Knowing it was my girlfriend’s birthday they must have known I was out for the night and wouldn’t read the email until late the next day. In fact I had been speaking to her on the phone next to Aðalbjörn a couple of days before about what restaurant we should go to. The very next day, before I had read the email Aðalbjörn had already submitted his patent application. This goes to tell that Aðalbjörn’s story doesn’t add up and that he had been dishonest about his intent.

During this time I tried time and again to reach some sort of agreement with Aðalbjörn. I even booked a session for the whole band with a family councillor upon their return and hoped that we could talk things out with the guidance of professionals.
We were given one and a half hour session, to discuss a decision that has had a bigger impact on me than any other event in my life so far. Despite the short time we were given, my ex-band members showed up 15 minutes too late. The weather was indeed kinda shitty that day, but then you just leave earlier.
Once we were all there the councillor said that if things would get heated we’d just take a 5 minute brake, calm down and start again. Aðalbjörn replayed to this with resentment stating that if things would get heated he would leave immediately. So big was his desire to reach an agreement. After sitting quietly listening to the others speak it was my turn to speak and like clockwork Svavar Austmann started interrupting me and finally stood up and stormed out and Aðalbjörn then made good on his threat and proclaimed this the meeting’s end. Thus ended our session with no results, and little or no attempt to reach any conclusion.
While Aðalbjörn was putting on his jacket, before he could storm out I managed to ask him if there was anything he had not been honest about that perhaps he’d like to tell me now. His answer was no. No? I asked. What about trying to get a patient for the Sólstafir name in your own personal name and I.D.? Obviously he had thought he was home free and got very upset and defensive by me asking this, and aggravatedly barked at me “you’re not in this band anymore”. We’ll see about that I said, and besides I still have some right regarding the use of the name and logo on merchandise and other things. His answer was short and to the point: Then get a lawyer! And with that he stormed out.

I dropped by at Aðalbjörns house the night after our failed meeting. I couldn’t believe he really wanted to go this way and thought that maybe we could sit down and talk about things, but no money talk allowed. He wasn’t at home but obviously his mother told him I had dropped by so he called me later that night. Again I was very careful to stay calm, because my one and only wish was to resolve this matter. I could not believe that someone that I used to consider my best friend and brother really wanted to fight me in court. But again, to my disappointment that was his clearly stated will.
So I lawyered up.

My aim from the start was to not give up on negotiating a deal. I have made several attempts to do so but have been met with silence or (in one case) “negotiations” that add insult to injury.
Aðalbjörn’s idea of a deal was to buy me out for an amount way less than it coasted me buying an I.D. for the company, which I and I alone paid for with my student loans. At that time it was quite common that I paid things for the band with my student loans. I am the only member of the band that has in that way put my own money to use for the band and had it not been for that the band could not have toured and played festivals and would have broken up as a result.
My last offer, which was in my opinion more than fair, went unanswered.

So this is where I stand today. I have been forced out of the band that I dedicated my whole adult life to. I am left with a huge personal debt for pursuing my right (and the matter hasn’t even been prepared for trail, I’ve just been trying to negotiate). On top of that our company, that I am now alone financially responsible for is in debt too, of which the biggest part is for flights and tours I wasn’t even on. I am not getting paid for any merchandise sale (even though I personally designed most of it) and I’m not even getting paid for albums sold on tours that are bought by the band from the label by deducting their price from all of our royalties, including mine. I get no appreciation for all the work and sacrifices I have put into this band, which is a LOT more than you see on the surface. This has affected every single aspect of my life, down to the core of my existence and my self-image, my identity. I really don’t know who or what I am right now.
And Aðalbjörn even dared to tell me to just move on and do something else, like I had just lost a job at the local gas station and would just go work in the local supermarket instead. Let’s not kid anyone, I am 37 years old and have been in this band more than half my life, since I was 16. It took 20 years of super hard work, dedication and personal sacrifices to get here. I am not just going to form another band and act as if nothing happened.
He has also excused his action by comparing it to a love relationship, saying the love just isn’t there anymore as if that can justify his action.
You do have a choice of whom you have a romantic relationship with and to an extent you do have a choice whom you work with. Nobody can force you to work with someone you don’t like. But please realize that growing apart from someone doesn’t allow you to take away his/her life’s work and continuing it on your own. Aðalbjörn’s excuse to do that has been to say that there simply was too much at stake, that the band would eventually have broken up had he not taken this unjust action. Well, the band is not a sovereign being, it is an extension of the people who have put their work into it. Thus it cannot be justifiable to rob one person of the chance to enjoy the fruit of his labour while the others keep on going like nothing has happened.

I am not innocent of behaviour that has led to the problem we face today, we are all guilty of that, but unlike them I admit my guilt and only ask that I am not made a scapegoat to be blamed for all that has gone wrong.

It has pained me beyond believe that I have not been able to answer your questions about my absence from the band because of their threats and because I wanted to do everything humanly possible to solve this matter. I didn’t want this to become a public shitstorm fought over the internet. But while I do believe certain matters do not concern the fans, this is not one of them. You choose to support a band by paying for their concerts, paying for their music and paying for their merchandise. In that way you are the band’s employer. They might not make their music for you, but you enable them to keep on making music, and that earns you the right to know what is going on within the band.
Please know that the band have very deliberately tried to sweep this under the carpet. They have ignored questions and even deleted comments on their social media pages.

So it looks like this is the end of my involvement with the music business. I won’t miss the business side at all but I’ll miss all the wonderful people I’ve met around the world, and I’ll miss doing what I love, playing the music that I love.
If you do like to stay in touch however you can do so through my photography pages:
http://www.facebook.com/kuggurart and twitter.com/KuggurArt

Before I stop ranting I want to address one thing. I’ve come across comments on the internet (yes I do google myself sometimes) saying that there’s not much loss in me. To those of you saying that I just want to tell you that I can honestly understand why you think so. I am totally aware of my limitations as a drummer (and believe me my confidence as one has systematically been torn down by Aðalbjörn over the last 20 years). I know there is a long line of drummers willing to take my place, probably all of them better than me, but would they have wanted to do that 5 years ago, or 10 years ago? I really doubt it. What you don’t see is all the work I have done for the band behind the scenes. I could go on and on about my role in establishing the name Sólstafir through endless work on social medias, making videos, designing posters and merchandise, operating the merchandise store, packing and posting every single order myself, etc. Since I created our first Myspace page I have handled 99% of the band’s social media. Aðalbjörn, and recently their manager have occasionally posted something on Facebook but did never even once log into Twitter or take time to answer fan comments. Now they’ve got a guy in Ireland doing their homepage and posting on social media and booking agents posting show details directly – all this used to be handled by me.
I also built and managed the band’s merchandise store, which has kept the band financially afloat for the last 5 years. Up until a few months ago I hand folded and packed every single t-shirt and brought them to the post office.
The band is now riding on a wave I had a big part in creating. Sólstafir wouldn’t be where they are today without the music, but they also wouldn’t be where they are today without my endless p.r. work over the last 20 years. It’s always been my believe that the most important part in success is getting the name out there. And that is what I’ve worked towards for 20 years. You don’t go and see a band you’ve never heared of before, now do you? But just seeing the name around might invoke your curiosity to go check it out. This is the same simple methood big brand corporations use to ensure their product is always in your mind.
This work has been both selfless and selfish at the same time. Selfless because I’ve worked harder than anyone within the band to get the name out there, and selfish because I wanted to enjoy the fruids of success with my bandmates. (When I say success I don’t mean money and fame for their own sake, I mean being able to do what you love doing on a full-time basis.)
I have never been in this for personal glory and those that know me well know that I even felt uncomfortible at first when the bands growing success ment more personal attention.
And that brings me to one last thing. The personal attention.

The hardest thing about making this statement is bringing all the personal attention upon myself. I feel like I’ve failed and now it’s being brought up for everyone to see. Those who know me well know I’m an extremely closed person when it comes to my feelings and other personal matters. I loved talking to the fans about our music, not because I felt it made me somehow better or more interesting than the fans, but on the contrary because I saw it as a common interest and I felt honoured and privileged to be a part of it. It was something that brought me close to other people I felt were my equals and I viewed as friends. Sure I can’t be a close personal friend with all the fans, but I always talked to them on that level, and sure enough some of you have become my friends beyond the confines of this band.
The hardest thing I’ve done in my life is admitting how much destructive influence my unjust departure from the band has had on me. I feel so ashamed of having failed in front of all to see. I feel ashamed to admit how vulnerable I really am and how little control I have over my own life’s work and my destiny. Admitting that I am week enough to let this plunge me into an abyss of suicidal depression is therefore not a cry for attention. I don’t want the attention, but I want you, my friends, to know the truth.

To you Aðalbjörn I want to say this directly: I suspect this statement will be met with an attack on my personality. Although I have to get this statement off my chest I will not be dragged down to the level of fighting in public. I never wanted to drag the name of my beloved band through the mud. Everything I’ve said and done after I was unjustly fired has been and effect OF the fact and therefore cannot be a cause FOR the fact as you have tried to twist it around to be! You cannot justify your action by pointing at my reaction! This statement is my long held-back reaction. Now instead of using my reaction to justify your initial action I challenge you to take this opportunity to sit down with me and work out our differences, be the better man. I am in no way perfect, far from it, and I have made my mistakes, but so has each and every one of you. Do I not deserve that after 25 years of friendship? Does the band not deserve that after 20 years of extremely hard work and personal sacrifices on both our behalves? I hope you can see that the punishment does not fit the crime!

I’ll leave you all with one thing that’s been stuck in my mind since Aðalbjörn said it to me on 20th January: “I know you can’t see it right now, but this will be the best thing that ever happened to you!”
I can assure you all, it is not!

Guðmundur Óli Pálmason


Sorry, I won’t be making a statement, at least not yet

I have decided to hold out on posting a statement about my absence from the band, in the hope that things can be worked out. It is not my will or intent to hurt the band or it’s reputation. Disagreements are bound to come up in 20 years of cooperation, and no one side is ever totally right. Let’s see if we can’t work this thing out. I for one am willing to do so.
Guðmundur Óli Pálmason


To clear up any misunderstanding

To clear up any misunderstanding, I, Guðmundur Óli Pálmason, ex-drummer of Sólstafir, am posting on this account. Since I am being stonewalled by my ex-bandmates I will be releasing a statement later on today about my absence from the band.
I am truly sorry it had to come to this.