The Thing was established in the spring of February 2000 when the three musicians met do play several concerts and to record the first CD on Crazy Wisdom, a sub label of Swedish Universal. In 2001, they also recorded another CD on the same label as a quartet with Joe McPhee. Both CD´s are out of print.
The trio was a long wanted constellation where several musical styles meet in a very high energetic outlet. All members are influenced by different traditions of free music derived from Germany, England and America, and these influences are to be felt and not necessary heard.
When the trio started out, the book contained mainly of tunes by Don Cherry, hence the group's name. Since Joe McPhee`s participation, the group's repertoir has included other free jazz standards by David Murray, Frank Lowe and Norman Howard. Also, the groups enthusiasm towards rock music, is heard when they play "To Bring You My Love" by PJ Harvey on the second CD. Today the book has expanded to include tunes by The White Stripes, The Sonics and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This is just an example that explains how close musical styles are today, how similar the energy is and can be, and how much today`s audience is melted together, devoted to creative music. The Thing is now signed on the Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound.
Mats Gustafsson is today Sweden's and one of Europe's biggest names on the free music scene. Through groups like Gush, AALY trio and Peter Brötzmann`s Chicago Tentet, he has established himself as a very powerful saxophonist, and has somewhat reinvented the way of playing the saxophone.
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love have become known as Norway`s heaviest rhythm-section. Since theeir long time collaboration started in 1992, they have been working in several groups, amongst them are School Days with Ken Vandermark, Scorch trio with Raoul Björkenheim, and the Swedish/Norwegian jazz-group Atomic.
The Thing also performs with Joe McPhee, though more sporadically.