By Peter Landau

Sweden isn't a country; it's a sexual incubator producing some of the sexiest women ever to steam up the big screen. But move over Greta Garbo, Anita Ekberg, and Ann-Margret, there's a new girl in town and she rocks.

Maja Ivarsson has the cool stare, the platinum locks, and the shapely body of her fellow country women, but as lead singer of The Sounds she kicks ass with catchy pop tunes rather than knockout film scenes.

The Sounds' sophomore effort, Dying to Say This to You (New Line Records), is out now. To see Maja in action check out their tour info online at, but first read on as Mr. Skin learns about her appearance in Playboy, why she loves 9 1/2 Weeks (Picture: 1 - 2), and how Ingrid Bergman (Picture: ) turns her on.

We were supposed to talk yesterday, but you went AWOL. What happened?
I was in Copenhagen. I kind of panicked. I didn't know what to wear tonight. The last year we hadn't been touring much so I haven't had the use of too much stage clothes and dresses and stuff like that, so I panicked and went to Copenhagen for a couple of hours to see if I could find something to wear tonight.

What are you going to be wearing?
Like a blouse, do you say that? Like a shirt, but more female, it's black and kind of cool. And hot pants, but it's not those kind of sporty hot pants, but better looking, and high heels.

Things are really taking off for you.
I think so. You can feel it. Just like the last time around there was like a buzz bubbling like something was about to explode, and it's pretty much the same thing now, though I'm a bit more experienced this time around.

The Strangers sang about it, Union Carbide Productions, The Hives, The Hellacopters, and, of course, The Sounds all come from there. Why is Sweden such a rock Mecca?
It's hard to say. There's not really one recipe how different bands become successful. A lot of it has to do with the public schools. They have a music program in first and second grades here in Sweden where they actually support kids to try out different kinds of instruments. I did classical music. That's the common thing, like a trumpet or a violin or something like that. It's a good way to get interested in music or maybe just get so turned off by that music that you want to pick up an electric guitar.

You've said you prefer being on stage, and from what I've heard your stage presence is pretty wild, humping the mic stand...
That's what I do. I do all kinds of stuff. I feel very relaxed on stage. I love being on stage. It's the most natural thing for me to do. I wasn't singing since I was a kid. I'd never done that before, but I love the attention. I love being in the middle of everything.

Do you get groupies throwing themselves at you backstage?
I don't really. It happens. But I think they get intimidated, scared. They don't really know how to act. But it's flattering when it happens.

The Sounds have been compared to 1980s new wave icons Blondie and Missing Persons. Did you know that Dale Bozzio (Picture: ) was a Playboy Club Bunny and nude model?
Well, wasn't Deborah Harry (Picture: 1) a Playboy Bunny too?

That's right. Do you want that kind of exposure?
I did a photo shoot for Playboy. It was more like a music issue. It was none of my boobs or anything like that. About Missing Persons, we got compared to them all the time in the beginning, but I had no idea who they were. They were not really big in Europe. For the first number of interviews I said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," played along. "Yeah, they're really great." But now I think they're a pretty good band.

You were interviewed by Suicide Girls when your first record was released. Are you a fan of naked punk rock chicks?
Yeah [laughs], yeah, I guess I am. But it's not really a hobby of mine. Naked chicks are nice and Playboy Bunnies are nice.

Do you remember the first nude scene you saw in a mainstream movie when you were a kid?
9 1/2 Weeks. I don't think that was the first one, but I really liked it. We kind of sneaked out in fifth grade, go out to a friend's house and watch porno. That's the first time I watched a porno. I don't really remember a Hollywood movie with a nude scene that was my first. But I really love Dirty Dancing, but that doesn't count.

What actresses do you think are hot?
Ingrid Bergman was sexy. She's cool, but maybe not hot, but she was beautiful. There are so many.

How about other musicians, are you into Madonna, Britney Spears, Ashlee Simpson?
No, not really. I like Madonna, but the others not really. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Otis Redding. Now how hot is that? Not really.

I read that you took karate, Thai boxing, and kickboxing when you were young, so if any Mr. Skin readers come up to you they better watch their mouths, huh?
No. I only get into fights with stupid people and my friends are not stupid people, so they don't need to worry about it. I usually don't get into fights, but sometimes it happens. I get into bar fights. I'm stupid like that.

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