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Freak Kitchen Blog - December, 2006

Cheboksary Fight Night

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

It all started after the gig we did in the little club called Molly Malone. It was a tiny Irish pub (with Italian food) located in the hotel. We had a little after party with some nice people when my tongue slipped and a thought that I’ve been having for a while blurted out of my mouth. – “Do you know any people I can train some military martial arts with”? Our dear friend Slava then introduced me to Dimitri, the head of the martial arts community in that part of Russia. We talked about this and he sai: “No problem I’ll fix it tomorrow” (the fixing kind of guy). The day after passed and I didn’t hear anything so I thought maybe no fixing after all.

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(Chris and the Spetznas instructor)

On Monday we were on our way to a Ukrainian restaurant when our other guy in Cheboksary, Ivan had a call and said to me –“We have a little surprise for you tonight”. They had fixed so that I could watch some Spetsnaz training and also another Russian military system that they couldn’t find a name of. Crazy as I am I said that I really want to train with these people and not only watch, so after a little discussion with”the fixing guy” Dimitri it was taken care of. I should now be able to participate in the training.

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(Warm-up)

We jumped into Dimitri’s black, handmade Russian car and drove off to train. The driver put on Propaganda Pie from Move on the stereo to show that I was welcome. The funny thing was that it was only that song on the record so after the fourth listening it began to be a little much, but I liked the gesture..

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(More warm-up)

First we arrived at the training place for the Spatsnaz training and I met the instructor who was a nice and tough guy. He lended me his own shoes since special shoes was required when training. Another guy then begun to do the warm-up routine. Running, jumping, push ups, sit-ups, running with another guy on your shoulder, deep squat walk with another guy on your shoulder e t c, e t c. This was done for about an hour and it was a tough tempo, these dudes are not the wimpy type of guys. I was impressed with their fighting spirits, but of course they are Russian so I didn’t expect anything else. We did some stretching and then it was time to gear up for fighting.

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(Yes, more warm-up)

Full body protection was used and kicks, punches, takedowns and locks were used. They could probably use anything but I don’t know Russian so I don’t know. I never saw anyone bite each other so maybe that wasn’t allowed…

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(Fighting)

After a while of this we had to leave for the other training session. I said goodbye to my training partners with some nice group photos and handshakes. Did some additional photos with the vice president of Russian military martial arts community and went on into Dimitris black car again. Some more Propaganda Pie and we were at the other training facility. They had already begun and again I had to lend things from the instructor, this time it was his military jacket.

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(Stretching)

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(Military jacket style)

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(Takedown hair grab style)

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(Knife disarm)

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(Knife block)

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(Sasha, instructor, Chris and knife)

Jumped right in and started with some stretching, rolls and falling techniques straight down on the wooden gym hall floor, no wimpy mats here. This night they were working on a special twisting move that you could practice from the falling techniques to the more advanced defence techniques like knife disarming e t c. We started working on defence against punches, with this movement as a foundation, went over to defence against kicks (I was doing the work out in military boots) and then it was time to bring out the knives. They were using real live blades only a little blunted on the edge. There is a big difference in reaction when you are facing a real knife instead of a rubber or wooden one. Here we did some disarm moves where you did the twisting motion with your body and then took down your opponent and immobilised him.

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(More fighting)

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(The gang with Dimitri to the right of the instructor)

While we were training our other Russian friends shouted something about taking it easy because I was a musician but I told my training partner (with sign language of course) to kick and punch full out. If you just move out of the way there is no harm. These systems are not flashy picture flirting styles but they are focused on working as a self defence and that is never a pretty sight. After the training session the man I had as an opponent presented himself to me and said –my name is Sasha and I am 52 years old. He was hard as a rock, that man. Since I’ve been doing martial arts for more than twenty years this was a fantastic night for me. It’s not every day you get the chance to try out some Russian styles and I am really happy that I popped the question in the bar. Thank you all for making this a night to remember. Chrizzo

Nasty Pointy Fingers – Freak Kitchen live in Blanes

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

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(July)

Hey. Hope you all are doing fine. I am all groovy here. Sitting on a KLM plane on my way to Barcelona to hook up with the Freak Brothers of Doom for a festival in the town of Blanes. Chris left together with his son Tommy and fiancé Shara earlier this week and Björn + fiancé Sofia arrived a day after. For me it is a quick in and out due to the upcoming Freak Guitar Camp and the many things involved in the three intensive weeks. Filled my van with Laney amplifiers, sheets, blankets, mugs, plates, forks and whatnot yesterday. Packing I realized I could start a company renting odd things to people. Local symphony orchestra without note-stands? Don’t worry, I got ‘em! And plenty too.

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Received a text message from Björn early this morning (well, it is still early, around 7 AM now, but earlier) who told me to bring the least warm clothing I could thing of. Apparently Spain is boiling. Thank God for air condition. As usual I am travelling with KLM or Air France, flying point junkie as I am, and as usual am jumping on a connecting flight in Amsterdam which means my luggage will never make it to Spain. As usual. The gig is tomorrow though so it should be alright even it doesn’t show up today. (Gee, am I being a cynic. Actually I can’t understand how any luggage makes it anywhere).

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Yesterday we had a very good meeting with the merchandising company who will make all the freaky things for the Freak Store. Many cool things are being made. Again, we are sorry for the delay but I sincerely hope you will dig it once online.

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Before all this I had a short Swedish mini-vacation in the beautiful part of Dalarna with Camilla and Maya (where I also had a clinic thing called Elgitarrstämman. Something I do every year), celebrating my dear Mother Inga’s 75th birthday together with the Eklundh clan and having my sister Mulle (real name Karin), her partner Björn and Mulle’s die-hard Kitchen Freak son Andreas over at our house. I’ve been a heavy metal uncle to my four sisters’ kids for eons of time, always trying to pollute them with distorted sounds.

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Andreas is fourteen and has a truly divine voice, his uncle proudly just found out. It took me about three-four full-length albums to get comfortable with my grunting and here you have this young kid who is phrasing like he’d never done anything but singing his entire life, which is not the case. Go, Andreas, go.

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Mmm… that KLM coffee is not bad. (I am easy to please). Recently I have begun drinking loads of espresso. Jonas (Hellborg) made me some real incredible espressos and I even bought an espresso machine for Hellborg’s visits in my house. (He needs it and he needs it bad. See last year’s Cooking blog from India). Well, talk about trivial things when shit is happening in Lebanon, Iraq and yet another Tsunami in Indonesia. Still, the coffee IS good.

For the upcoming concerts in Germany, France, USA, England, Spain, Russia, Norway and Sweden, I wonder, what songs do you want to hear? We should bring in old and new things into the set but we could use suggestions. One of my dreams is to perform Mr. Kaschei & the 13 Prostitutes live, at least once. Have Kevin Fickling narrate the lyrics and possibly a brass band or string quartet accompany us. Maybe at Storan, we’ll see. Anyway, post your favourite tunes either here or at the forum and we’ll take it into serious consideration. Thanks for your help.

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Chris shaved his head and is looking meaner than ever. Perfect for Spanish heat.

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Glad to be featured on the brand new Artists for Charity CD, entitled Guitarists 4 the Kids. Monster players like Steve Lukather, Robert Fripp, Pierre Bensusan, Nuno Bettencourt and brother Bumblefoot are also in there. My tune is a reworked version of a Freak Guitar Camp tune called Zoo Me.

Oh damn, there is some potent turbulence now. Bad weather in Amsterdam.

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Check out a semi-cheesy (me, not the DVD) in French Guitar Part’s latest issue. Also containing demon guitarists Patrick Rondat (who will be guest teaching at the camp this year), Christophe Godin and others.

Time passes by…

Got to Barcelona and was picked up by Nuria Chamizo Ferrer and her boyfriend Sergio. Nuria and Sergio are two fine individuals and yet another example of Fan Power in practice. They simply harassed the promoter for the annual Sa Costa Barrakes festival and told that we were the right band to headline the rock day of the festival. The promoter said OK, deals were worked out and here we are. On behalf of the band I’d like to thank Nuria and Sergio for taking so good care of us during our stay. Everything was tiptop and very pro from start to finish. No bull whatsoever.

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On the plane was a nine-ten year old kid, accompanied by his Dad, who had a T-shirt that said: “A friend with WEED, is a friend INDEED”. Oh, God… (You won’t be buying those in the online store, I believe).

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Anyway, Björn and Sofia were in Barcelona when I arrived and I couldn’t find Chris and company on the beach so I got myself some food, ran back to my air conditioned room and pretty much lurked there until we all hooked up for dinner. Chris had found a nice little local tapas place the other night and I had swell marinated salmon.

Afterwards the band hung out in the bar at the hotel and talked about how much we like to play together, the bright future ahead and what damn fine, well-working unit the three of us are. Collective ass-kissing, which is not bad. We are so much looking forward to kick butt around the planet in the not so far away future.

Besides being on the beach the Freak Brothers and their company had done serious sightseeing during the previous days. Hang gliding for example.

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Had breakfast together the day of the gig and while the other guys and gals headed for the Mediterranean Sea I disappeared into my cool room to change strings and play a little. I am swimming so much at home, several times everyday, I didn’t feel the need to do it while in Blanes. Air condition… (During summer I never shower at all but use environmentally swell shampoos and dive right in my small river we got behind the house).

Did a hot sound check, little by little frying ourselves in the sun. Especially Chris with his new “haircut” (hrm) was in danger.

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(Chris opens a bottle of red wine and what happens…)

Kicked back at the hotel room and managed to sleep a couple of hours while the annual fire work competition (the third greatest in the world) went on outside my room. Impressive, if I may say so myself (sleeping when there are serious crackers exploding next to you). Chris said it was the most awesome fireworks he’d ever seen.

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(Well…)

Strolled to the venue and signed some things for a German fan by the name of Demian that happened to be on vacation. Walked out to greet some people and I was given the most funny Apple Horn crown, made by some dedicated guys I met before in Barcelona. I wore it during Nobody’s Laughing later on. Also bumped into my friend Sergio and Silvia who gave me the extremely potent, scary and informative documentary Earthlings, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. A film about the meat industry. Watch it if you dare. Thanks, friends. Stay veggie. (If you think this is too harsh a film, begin with the excellent site www.meatrix.com if you’re at all thinking of possibly giving up being a carnivore).

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After a short radio interview we entered the stage and took it away for some ninety minutes. The show started rocky; Chris’ amp broke down after the first song and when he came running to tell me we had to change the head I managed to push my dirty fingers straight into his eye, making it bleed instantly. That must have hurt like hell, but being a true fighter Chris continued playing without the slightest hesitation. (This reminds me of Björn getting a strong electroshock from the drum riser in Copenhagen several years ago, only to play even better after checking everything was alright. A regular guy would have cancelled). I am sorry, brother Örtefors. Nasty and clumsy. Bill me for any medical treatment, you hear?

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Friends from France (Marge and Léo, my Blanquette pals) were seen in the audience among the many Spanish Kitchen Freaks. We had a tiptop time and hereby thank you all for the splendid support! Catalonia kicks butt!

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Did a very short meet and greet afterwards, signing and posing. I had a plane to catch from Barcelona, which is about an hour drive. Björn and Sofia were leaving later but Chris, Tommy and Shara got in the car with since their plane was taking off only an hour later than mine. Being a flying point junkie has its benefits and I was upgraded to Business Class, enjoyed the heck out a nice breakfast and passed out. Now I am sitting in Amsterdam again, on my way home.

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Tomorrow the final preparations for the camp are being made and then I am slipping into a three week bliss/madness so I guess you won’t be hearing much on this blog. Still, you never know. Since I am often about to self-combust from sheer intensity I might do some writing in between teaching my brains out. Thanks for reading, stay true, stay freaky.

IA

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The Road Rats in Germany and France

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

(September)

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Still there? Ah, good. It’s been a while since the first part of this blog’s been written. Sorry about absence of road stories. Time flies, it really does. Every time I am about to upload the stuff something else slightly more urgent call for my attention. What the hell. Here we are.

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Chris & Björn are sitting opposite of me, frenetically chewing cinnamon gum. We are in Atlanta now, on our way to Detroit, then Amsterdam, then home to Gothenburg. Nice little flight. Hmm…

On behalf of the band I want express our sincere gratitude for the wonderful response and support during our gig in Georgia and the ProgPower festival. (Not only at the concert, actually. We loved your positive attitude, hand-shaking and appreciation on the streets of Atlanta, in malls, restaurants, through car windows, hotel lobbies and even here at the airport). You American guys and gals really kick serious butt and all three of us had an absolutely stunning time on and off stage. Spread the word, people. We’ll be back soon. This is only the beginning. Thank you again. (Major thanks to Glenn Harveston and our sponsors for making it happen. Another grand thanks to brother John Willcoxon for always believing since way back. We owe you, bro).

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But first things first. After teaching like crazy for three weeks at the Freak Guitar Camp and having a ball doing it my fiancé and myself took a short vacation. We went to the stunning island of Gotland in Sweden. Kudos to all the fabulous campers for their enormous dedication. Being “The Guru” is a piece of cake compared to digesting all the massive material provided and the many hours of hard work everyday. You all rule! Thank you for coming! I have to mention a super-sweet tribute CD called Freaky Guitars – Our Revenge made by camp veterans. A wonderful guy called Demian initiated the project and there are both freaky covers as well as original material on the disc. I was given it during a class and it was sweet beyond belief. Thank you so much, guys. Lovely! (Thanks also to my compadre Jonas Hellborg, Patrick Rondat, Kee Marcello, Johan Randén and Andreas Öberg for showing up to guest teach. Very appreciated). See you next year. Registration begins early February.

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Went to celebrate Christer and fiancé Shara who threw a wonderful birthday party for tons of people. The two had made up all kinds of really stupid games and I couldn’t believe my Freak Brothers made it to the final in dressing-up Barbie dolls! THAT was a rare sight I tell you that. I was so shocked I can’t even remember who won.

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Chris, Björn, Sofia, Christian Alsing and a couple of other friends went to very intense and wonderful concert with former It Bites vocalist/guitarist Francis Dunnery. The concert was part of Dunnery’s house concert tour and took part in a living-room outside of Gothenburg, close to where I grew up in the village of Olofstorp. Francis was absolutely spell-binding and it was a lot of energy in the air. Funny, touching and thought-provoking. A precious evening very much worth to remember.

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After the slight time off Freak Kitchen mark II made its German debut concert in the town of Wetzlar, just outside of Frankfurt. More thanks, this time Ralph Fricke at Musikservice for making it come together. The club gig was very funny, packed and sweaty and a real fine way for us to try out newly rehearsed material like Hollow, Spanking Hour and other tunes we haven’t played before. Fine German Kitchen Freaks had come a long way to see us play and we are humble and truly thankful for you making the evening so groovy. Lots of campers and friends from the Schondorf Gitarrentage as well as familiar faces from the annual Frankfurt Messe.

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The day after the Wetzlar gig we headed for our beloved France and the Raismesfest. A nice and easy drive, arriving a day before the headlining concert. Our Raismesfest friends Laurent, Jean-Philippe and the bunch had arranged a Freak Kitchen barbecue in the evening that we happily attended. Stuffed we had a good night’s sleep.

Chris has bought himself a top-of-the-line Macintosh laptop, ProTools and an interface to go with it, always carrying around this slick, mobile studio. The man is really into it. I’ve never seen him, almost possessed, like this before. Staying at his room working on ideas he has got over the years but never got the chance to manifest properly. He almost reminds me of… well, me. Creating music is the best thing in the world. Frank was right.

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However, this morning Chris looked a little confused when I knocked on his door. Everything he had recorded the previous days, everything he had on the computer desktop, all files and folders, were gone. Just gone. I had never heard of anything like it. It couldn’t really be a nasty virus because he’s using the pretty virus-spared Macintosh. All the software was still there but when launching them each and everyone asked for registration information and serial numbers. Like if you launched them for the first time. A binary shit nightmare to be sure. Poor Chris. He spent some serious money getting all this equipment. The problem/mystery wasn’t solved until way later (Örtefors had somehow managed to create a new user account) so our fine bass player walked around with a troubled look in his eyes most of the day. I know the feeling.

Anyway, we sound checked and said hi to our French friends who were at the festival before having lunch at the catering, making a set list over a damn fine cup of coffee. The French and caffeine… A happy combination for Swedes like us.

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The remaining part of the day I was extremely anti-social and locked myself up in my hotel room to rest, read and work a little bit. It was a wise decision since the three of us decided to drive home directly after the concert, some 1300 kilometres straight, through Belgium, Germany and Denmark. A nice ride… Gee.

Chris and Björn hooked up with freak friend Julien Damotte and his buddies for a dinner at Buffalo Grill while I was in the bathtub reading. Julien had brought a very nice Art Metal DVD put together by yet another friend of freak, F/X, who shot the New Morning concert in Paris in June. Thank you F/X! It looked tiptop!

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We checked out and drove for the festival. The group Epica were playing before us and we sneaked out incognito in the audience during their set, wearing our cool freak hoods, to greet more buddies and campers like Danny, Stephane, Sebastien, Joe and others. Thanks for showing up everyone!

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Except for some moshing that went out of hand, making me furious there for a while and which later turned into a dispute between the security and that particular, small part of the crowd, the gig was a lot of fun. Get me right on the moshing part. To get off on the music is what it’s all about. Pushing and jumping into people (for the sake of it) who only want to check out the show is not. It has got nothing to do with what’s being played on stage whatsoever, it’s only to provoke and it fucking always turns into bad vibes if not downright fighting. Therefore a mosh pit is a good thing. Go crazy until every bone in your body is broken, but leave everyone else out of it. It becomes utterly more stupid when it is done over a, for instance, low-key guitar improvisation using unorthodox modes or perhaps tricky odd time. Making an omelette would make as much sense. On the other hand, I used to be a quite stupid son of a bitch in my teens when attending concerts, smashing venue windows with motorcycle helmets, making bouquets from car antennas and being a general dumb ass breaking a few ribs and noses to get upfront the stage. So… The hypocrite mouth will shut up now.

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Nevertheless it was great fun to play the not-so-often-played stuff. Spanking Hour is real neat. Dunno why we haven’t done that one before. Hollow is another tune I’ve been longing to play for quite some time. More rare songs to come for sure. Blanquette Marge, Leoslav, Danny, Stephane, Joe and more freaky friends and campers were spotted from the stage.

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Chris was given a mouth protector-device from Laurent before the show and decided to use it on Little Bastard (since it was kind inconvenient to sing with). He looked like something between a Storm Trooper and a mean biker. Some kind of monster. Hehe, very cool. He threw it away to a couple of young Kitchen Freaks and Chris saw one of them wearing the thing so he lifted them on stage for a photo-shoot. Way to go!

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As an intro we used our buddy and my Freak Guitar Camp sidekick Christian Alsing’s excellent instrumental I Sample for You. I truly hope we can talk Alsing into making a real pressing of his CD The Last Robot to sell on the online store as I desperately want the world to hear it. Brilliant stuff. We will continue to push for his music until he finally caves in.

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After the performance we signed things and were given lovely wine (and Blanquette) bottles. French record company boss and soon-to-become a father Olivier Garnier showed up and we did a brief plan of 2007. Got the coolest Freak Kitchen stamp too that a dedicated guy had done. It is now hanging proudly on display at the rehearsal place.

It was getting late and we had this hellish drive in front of us so we packed everything together, greeted the fine people of Raismes and elsewhere and parted company around 2:30 AM. I drove to Denmark and passed out in the back while Björn and Chris took over. We got home around 6 PM without any hassle.

Germany and France! We love you all! Thanks for everything and see you soon.

The Atlanta Viking Invasion

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

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Slept, slept and slept some more. Kicked back with Camilla, Maya and the cats. Supervised the online store whenever I could. The store is going to be real groovy. We apologize it took such a long time but we hope you will think it is worth it. We’ve worked hard to provide you with a whole bunch of products + the CDs and related stuff like Jonas Hellborg’s catalogue. It simply was no point to open to store with only a couple of shirts to offer. As soon as we got the ball rolling we will invest in even more items. Stay tuned! Hope to have this tuition album ready for downloading before Christmas, almost like a best (or worst) of collection of practice stuff put together over the years for the Freak Guitar Camp CDs.

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The guys, Camilla (who’s going with me to Russia) and yours truly paid a visit to the Russian embassy to get the visa process started. We all look forward to go nuts there in October. It was more tricky then we thought to get them and we needed plenty of additional documents, insurance verification, before the actual process would begin so we had to come back. Also, we travel all the time and are in desperate need of our passports which isn’t making things easier.

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The day to depart for the US rapidly got closer and we packed our gear together before hooking up at Landvetter airport Thursday the 14th, crap o’ clock in the morning. I’ve travelled like a moron and therefore used and abused my passport to left and right + it was of a weaker type the Swedish authorities had experimented with. No good. The woman at the check-in counter kindly informed me there was no way I’d get into the United States with my soon-to-fall-apart passport. Bummer. She pointed me in the direction of the airport police office where I could get a temporary one but she didn’t know exactly where it was since they moved recently. I gave it a shot and ran in the direction she gave me but, nooooo… No police station. Ran outside, asked more people who said it should be somewhere close but, you guessed right, they didn’t know exactly where. Damn it! Time was running out and I needed to find the freakin’ place. I would be in deep shit if I missed the flight. After a while, running back and forth like a moron, I saw the Swedish police sign in the distance. Rang a bell outside, got an answer from a female police voice inside who kindly informed me I needed to have 980 Swedish crowns in cash, which I didn’t have, being a VISA-card kind of guy. Had to run back into the departure hall and get some hard doe and try again. This time I was let in and briefed the police officer about the problem. She went to work real fast and took the most gruesome photo of me I’ve ever seen. Not that it really mattered. In the end I didn’t have to pay anything since it was a bad passport. Happy I ran away to locate Björn & Chris so we could board the plane.

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After travelling via Amsterdam we reached Atlanta. US customs these days is a grand nightmare for non-Americans (being a musician doesn’t really help either). I do understand why security needs to be tight, and to an extent I am grateful about it since I am the guy up there, but I am not sure taking off your shoes about a zillion times and picking up/dropping off the luggage constantly and generally being pushed around is the way to do it. I was happy to read an article in the Washington Post that plenty of US citizens where going nuts about it as well and changes needed to be made to get tourists back. Tricky.

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Anyway, the Freak Brothers made it through the passport control but I was sent off to another room intended for Suspicious People; Middle East folks, Indians and Swedish guitar players. After a brief questioning I was let go since the cop behind the counter was a cool dude. Apparently he believed me when I said I wasn’t a bad man, despite my looks, but merely a confused Viking in the US to play with an ass vibrator on stage.

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Well outside we were picked up by an insanely large, black limousine, which was a nice treat by Glenn. Way to travel! At first we didn’t really think it was for us but all of a sudden the driver held up a large sign with my name on it. Groovy!

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Checked in at the Mariott, got our VIP-passes and headed for the pre-party to see if we could find John Willcoxon and his friend Jimmy.

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Outside the venue we more or less bumped into one another. Real good to meet someone you’ve been e-mailing for years. Not only is John a very nice guy, he is also extremely reliable and trusty. I have been searching for a pro HD cam for a while and found one in New York. Originally Jonas was going to pick it up for me (he’s got an apartment there) but all of a sudden it was out of stock and he had to fly somewhere else. So I had the dear HTML-dude place the order from San Francisco, where he lives, when it was available again and then have it sent to Wisconsin where John lives. Then John brought the camera to me in Atlanta. Why make things more complicated than they are, huh? Thank you, again, Mr. Willcoxon.

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We, Jimmy, John, Chris, Björn and I went to eat some before the pre-party. Had excellent grilled salmon. After feeding ourselves we hung out at the venue, shook hands and had a couple of beers before it was time to go to bed.

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Hooked up for breakfast and were later picked up by our driver Laura. Did a short sound check and were introduced to the splendid crew. Wayne, Chris and the rest of you guys were awesome, all the time. Thanks for helping out the way you did. Hope to work with in the US soon again.

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I was glad to see my trusty friends at Laney had sent me two cabinets and two amps which sounded great not to say loud. Goodie goodie. Played the always superb GH100L, volume turned up to eleven.

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Björn and Chris hung out with John and Jimmy while I waited backstage forever to check a tune I was playing with the band Evergrey (Tom is an old friend. Henrik and drummer Jonas can both proudly entitle themselves Freak Guitar Campers). Well, the sound check didn’t happen for some technical reason, I don’t know why. There were no more microphone-inputs on stage so couldn’t use my Laney (damn) for the guest spot. I therefore had to plug into a guitar processor. My God, I know why I hate that crap, it simply sounds bad (understatement). It ain’t the real thing. Nowhere near a hard-working valve state amp. Blaaahhh… To make things even cornier when it finally was time for me to enter the stage, of course it took most of the song to bring the sound up. Something that never would have happened with a REAL amp. Ah, never mind.

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Fooled around with my super slick video camera backstage and rested. Booked an appointment with the gifted masseuse Deborah Ohara. Kudos to Glenn for bringing her to the festival, the first ever I’ve been to where you could get a massage before the gig. And boy, Deborah was good, going through both Chris and myself. Nice.

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Did a signing session a couple of hours prior to the gig, then got geared up, eager to play and kick butt. Again, we used Alsing’s delicate tune to accompany our entrance and then basically took it away as we always do. The crowd was great and we had a wonderful time up there. The entire thing was shot professionally and recorded so expect a couple of tunes from the concert to show up on the live DVD later on. Good vibes in the air!

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Played tunes from all six FK CDs + Chopstick Boogie, the Samba Caramba. Brought with me the dildo from Sweden. Cheap tricks to get a little attention but what the hell, ergh. Can’t seem to get rid of the damn thing.

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Again, our sincere gratitude for the awesome feedback and for welcoming us the way you did. We’ll be back! That’s a promise.

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Walked out afterwards, shared beer, signed everything we could and posed for photos. Met Dr. Gonzo who attended last year’s Freak Foot workshop in Raleigh, North Carolina. Good to see you, man. Talked to record company people over more beer. Since we were kind of stuck in our European time we got slightly tired after a while. Fell asleep backstage when waiting for my non-audible guest appearance at Evergrey’s set. Wayne woke me up, I went out and did my thing which no one heard. Laney… Never any pod for me ever again. Period.

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Greeted everyone, got a cab and headed for the hotel. Slept like a dead dude until late afternoon. Took a walk with boys in Atlanta and hooked up with Jimmy and John, who completely lost his voice (making one of his cats, the least gifted, to freak out since the tiny tiger didn’t recognize him when he came home). Had lunch with the gang before I had to get Laura to take me back to the hotel pronto to pick up my guitar. I agreed to do Stars, yes the 80’s tune with the metal elite back then, with Jorn Lande, his band and more guests. Happy to have my Laney again so I could crank it up. The stage was filled with heavy metal people from all the various bands, mostly singers. There was some confusion on who was singing what but Glenn wiped out the lyrics and simply pointed on each and everyone as we played the tune.

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When it was time for the song, at the end of Jorn’s set, we all walked on stage and there was a wall of sound, much to the crowd’s appreciation, it seemed. I think it sounded quite horrible but it didn’t matter, since we all had a good time (microphones were muted at the wrong place but no one gave a shit). I did the last solo before we all played some harmony stuff for the ending when some of the Evergrey guys came running on stage as well.

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Said bye-bye to everyone, Glenn, Wayne, Chris and other fabulous people working at the festival. We’ll be back as soon as we can, that’s for sure. Thank you and thank you again, friends.

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Chris was inspired and worked with his recording gear at the hotel. I was tired as crap and went to bed while Bjorn partied all night with John and the guys at their hotel.

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Sunday morning. Checked out, took a cab to the airport and grabbed a bite while waiting for the plane to Detroit and the connecting flight to Amsterdam and later on Gothenburg.

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At the Atlanta airport a lot of people walked up to us and praised our gig. We were really baffled and didn’t expect this strong, positive reaction at all. We hoped the guys and gals of the USA would dig it, but the response has been overwhelming. (Now as I write this the online store is open at looking at the orders HALF of them are coming from the US, which is another huge surprise to us, but a good sign, to say the least).

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AND a bit of groovy Christmas news: we will be back for a headline show in 2007! See you then, if not before!

Swedish Sweat on the Canary Islands

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

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Got back to good ol’ Sweden and took care of business for a few days before leaving for the Canary Islands. Chris and Shara left the day after Chris arrived from America while Björn and I left a couple of days later. We travelled through Amsterdam, again, and since I am such a nerd with my flying points I am nowadays an Elite Plus Gold member of the Flying Blue team. Therefore one has complete access to all the Air France and KLM Crown lounges, plus I can bring a friend which, of course, was Björn.

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The both of us enjoyed the Dutch coffee, other drinks and food before heading for Madrid. In the Spanish capitol we heard from Chris that his bass got lost several days before. On our way to the aircraft we happened to drive by a trolley where I saw two of my guitars and felt relieved they at least had reached Spain.

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When arriving at the Canary Islands my instruments were nowhere to be found to my monumental frustration and anger. Not because the instruments are irreplaceable in any way, they are not when you’re working with astounding people like Caparison, but because I like to play them on concerts… (I don’t have that strong affection for certain instruments that a lot of players do. Don’t know what’s wrong with me). We waited and waited but nothing happened. Finally I realized they didn’t make it and had to go through all the bull with reporting missing goods, which takes forever.

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Outside we were picked up by our Las Palmas freak friends Alby J Ramirez and his buddy I always forget the name of. (Sorry, I know I suck). We were driven to the hotel by the guys and later hooked up with brother Chris and Shara. Beside a couple of daily walks, shooting some footage with my ever so stunning HDV camera and picking up food, I pretty much stayed inside my hotel room all the time, working with music, answering e-mails and generally taking care of things freak. Björn, Chris and Shara went on sightseeing with our hosts. Travelling for hours on tiny roads to get a breathtaking mountain view only to encounter the Fog of Doom and zero visibility but still having a great time. They bought excellent red wine and cheese that we feasted upon in Chris and Shara’s hotel room. I think I got a little drunk, but perhaps it was the incredibly potent cheese, I am not sure.

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The actual gig was loads of fun. God damn, it was sweaty and overcrowded! There were people basically everywhere, going nuts to our music. Alby and the bunch had busted their butts to find instruments we could use and I struggled a bit with a couple of Ibanez guitars with too low string action (for my taste). Chris got himself a similar music man bass like the ones he’s got at home. Despite the scariness of playing other instruments, which we are eternally grateful for that it could be done, of course, the gig went real fine. I’d say together with London and Copenhagen a few years back, this packed club went down as one of the hottest ever, temperature wise, in the history of Freak Kitchen.

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Afterwards a local freak poster was handed out to everyone who wanted it and we signed everything we could for a while, before walking back to the hotel by the beach. We’d like to be back soon again, fine people of the Canary Islands, and we hereby thank you for your lovely support. You rule!

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Before departing the following day, we signed a bunch of photos for Alby and friends. I was given a very funny Teletubbie toy that had a truly low-budget techno theme built into it. Figured out that if I pushed a certain button three times in a row the theme would appear. Inspiring! (I think I lost the thing in Russia where I used it live a couple of times). Thank you.

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At the airport on the day of departure I got shit-happy to have my guitars back! Something got wrong in Madrid apparently and they made it to Gran Canaria the night before. At least they made it. Chris’ bass is still lost. Someone will have to pay. We’ll figure it out.

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Got back Monday evening and re-packed the bags for the departure for the UK the day after. Tight schedule? Nah. One shall not complain when things are busy.