Guðmundur Óli Pálmason Posts About His Dismissal from Sólstafir

Sólstafir, with Gummi Pálmason (far left) Photo courtesy of Season of Mist.


Guðmundur Óli “Gummi” Pálmason has posted a long missive on his website about being forced out of Sólstafir after 20 years, earlier in 2015. Pálmason was the drummer of the band from its inception through its critical smash album Otta (Season of Mist). His website also claims to be the “official website of Sólstafir”, which is in fact


An excerpt of the post can be read below. The full post can be seen here:

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.


Sólstafir – Otta

 SUA 331LPES Trigatefold.indd


Part of the role of a music critic is to separate the wheat from the chaff; the superlative from the humdrum; the lasting glory from the flash in the pan. Additionally, part of the role of music critic is to explain, elucidate and comment on what something sounds like as well as whether it sounds any good at all. Forgive me then, readers, as I am speechless. Absolutely, unequivocally, speechless.

Otta (Season of Mist), the latest album from Icelandic musical vagabonds Sólstafir is one of the most uncompromising and challenging records that you are likely to hear this year; it is also one of the most compelling. Forego any pre-conceived ideas you might have about what this might sound like or what pigeon hole it’s supposed to drop into; that simply will not do. It won’t do at all. Otta is artistic self-expression par excellence; as a manifestation of single mindedness, it takes some beating. What the band have created is, by some margin, the most brilliant demonstration of their art to date and a contender for the album of the year.

Choosing to sing in their native Icelandic is an uncompromising decision in a market place where non English speakers are often treated with almost voyeuristic curiosity. On Otta, the decision seems entirely natural and unforced, taking the inflective beauty of the band’s mother tongue and imbuing the album’s eight songs here with a vocal experience of almost existential beauty. It matters not that your understanding of what is being sung is little, (it’s based on an ancient Icelandic tradition of a solar day, in case you were wondering) the music, artistry and heartfelt passion of the deliverance of these songs is more than enough.Aðalbjörn Tryggvason’s vocals across the entire album are quite extraordinary; from aching fragility to bellicose defiance, it is a performance that, like the whole album, defies categorisation, but is deserving of the highest praise.

There are many reasons why Otta works but here are two key ones: firstly, it sounds uniquely Sólstafir and Sólstafir don’t sound like anything else you have heard. Admittedly, you might be able to detect echoes of other bands, of other singers but not delivered with this verve, guile and eccentric charm. Second, Otta is an aural experience like no other: this is an immersive, emotional and evocative album, multi-layered, nuanced and brimming with pulsating and invigorating ideas; it is music for the head as much as the heart.

Otta is a swirling, bubbling, melting pot of an album: and a genuine album (as opposed to a series of individual tracks) it most certainly is. As a listening experience, it is perhaps old fashioned in having a narrative arc that compels you to listen from its startlingly fragile opening, through the half anticipated yet still hugely invigorating middle section of ‘Miodegi’ and ‘Non’ to the exhausting coda of ‘Nattmal’ but listen you MUST as you will be richly rewarded by this powerful, idiosynscratic and utterly brilliant album.



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