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Freak Kitchen Blog - November, 2007

Land of the Freaks III

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Posting a bunch of photos from recent “Metal meets Brass” rehearsal for the upcoming concert in Linköping 1st of March next year! (All photos by Mikke at Growing Art).

It seems we will get a hotel sponsor as well for people coming from near and far, special price and all that. We hope to have it available at ticnet.se so you can buy ticket and hotel room at the same time, if you should wish to do so.

At the second rehearsal we nailed There’s No Money in Jazz and Midsummer Night in Hell from the Freak Guitar albums + Humiliation Song, which turned out real beefy. Lots more tunes to rehearse, among them a cool Mr. Libido medley.

The event will be shot and the goodies will be included in the live DVD that is being edited slowly but steadily.

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Land of the Freaks II

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Greetings again. Certain blog frenzy here. Watching Denmark pass by below me as we approach Holland. Yes. I am sitting on yet another plane, this time to Bremen via Amsterdam (as usual). The weather is beyond shitty (although I love it but not when in an aircraft). Everything is delayed and half the flights are cancelled at Schiphol airport. We will see if I will make it to Germany in time. The captain just told us to look at the sea to get an idea how strong the winds are. As if we don’t feel it through the turbulence. Thank God it’s a short flight. I have been stuck at Schiphol many times. Carry with me a terabyte of HD video footage to edit so I know what to do if the shit hits the fan. Have a nice hotel awaiting me in Germany though so I hope to avoid a Dutch stay on this journey.

Got a chunk of groovy US live shots from amazing photographer Todd Brown the other day. Here are a few:

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All star jam dudes!

Playing for Laney tomorrow and the day after tomorrow at the Musik Produktiv fair. Left the house with my precious Gabriel jumping up and down in his new swing toy, hanging from the ceiling. I can’t get the image of his laughing, beautiful face off my mind. He was having a ball, harassing Maya the Dog as she passed by. Gee, kids grow fast. I totally understand what I’ve been hearing from other moms and dads. The little fella is now past 70 cm long and over 10 kilos heavy. He is a freakin’ real person with a wonderful personality, cracking us up, filling our parent hearts with joy every day. I also have never been in better playing shape, thanks to Gabriel. He digs Daddy’s choice of notes so I spend plenty of time with my acoustic (good to build strength in the hands) and try various tunes every day, something I would never had expected would happen. Gabriel experienced fire for the first time the other day and was baffled by it. Totally hypnotized. We have a huge fireplace in the living room where you can squeeze in a small forest (if you feel the need to). Dean Martin on the stereo and a cozy, warm fire makes the boy truly happy. Ahh, my son, my son.

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Made it to Amsterdam in good health. Bad weather seems to have moved on slightly. Goodie goodie. Talked to Kee Marcello on the phone and enjoyed salad and a glass of white wine at the lounge while checking e-mails. At the airport the new Eagles album Long road out of Eden was played in the speaker system. Got it and dig it a lot. (Especially the second disc where Don Henley is in tiptop sarcastic form, despite what critics say). Sure, lots of it has been heard before, echoes from classic songs to left and right, and some of the love lyric stuff is a bit too trivial here and there, but still… I dig it. I do. It’s not everyday you get a new Eagles release so one shouldn’t complain. (What was the name of the band that wrote ‘Don Henley must die, don’t let him get back together with Glenn Frey’?)

Had a great clinic the other day in the Swedish city of Oskarshamn. A day time gymnasium thing that easily could have turned into a cheesy event. The auditorium was packed by kids from near and far and I had loads of fun! Thanks to Dejan for arranging the whole thing. I will be back. You kids kick ass!

Worked on Land of the Freaks as much as I could the last week, trying to ignore carpenters making noise outside my studio door. Edited and cleaned tracks up. Extended some parts and shortened other. Played a bit of Silent Guitar on One Last Dance that made the song glow. Tried out an acoustic solo, dubbing it, but it won’t make it to the finished album. It couldn’t compete with the intensity of everything else. (I will try to go through the stuff not used and put it on the DVD. Some of it is pretty nice but just don’t fit. Put up my video cam in the basement and play the various versions of takes). Got an e-mail from my friend Thomas Rydell who finished working on a string arrangement on the song OK (the first Pantuvarali power ballad as far as I know). Thomas has booked a studio in Eskilstuna where the actual playing will take place. I believe it will sound awesome together with Radhakrishna’s sweeping fills on the song. Also started to work on a couple of Freak Guitar Camp backing tracks for next year that some will find tricky (which is the point). ‘

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Tuning up in Germany

Asked Björn the other day about a couple of recent photos of Sindre and here we go:

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Sweetie pie!

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Son in groovy outfit + Freak Dad

Besides NAMM show in January I will make a couple of clinics in Greece early February. Seriously thinking about doing the Schorndorf Gitarrentage for the third year in a row. Mostly because I dig to work with the people of Kulturforum but it also creates a window for me to go into hard core notation insanity in the evenings back at the Hotel Bauer, preparing for the camp. The Bauers are really nice people. Having sort of the same name as Jack Bauer is pretty cool too. (Kiefer, you got to stop drinking, dude. Those U-turns endanger the entire series. From one thing to the other). We’ll see, we’ll see. Hope Björn and Chris are up for concert at the Gitarrentage again.

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Glad to hear guitar demon Michael Lee Firkins is back with a great new release. Got to sink my teeth into the album in Italy. He’s got a wonderful, bluesy style, stunning chops and godly time and manages to avoid stereotype playing which often is the case. (Lost track of the man after his brilliant debut album). Check it out. Awesome stuff.

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Had a funny and loose photo session with Yamaha and the acoustic Silent Guitar the other day. I can’t stand photo shoots but it’s a necessary evil and this one was quick and to the point.

Looking forward to the second rehearsal Sunday the 25th this month for the beefy concert 1st of March 2008 with the LJO!

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Dear friend and Caparison mastermind Itaru Kanno and myself are talking about the next Apple Horn guitar. I would love to have your input. How would your Apple Horn look like? Special features? Sound? Color? Drop me an e-mail if you got cool ideas at: mattias@freakkitchen.com. Every mail is read and taken into serious consideration.

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Nylon string bliss…

Now it is Sunday all of a sudden and my first Father’s day although I am not home… (Sniff, sniff, sniff). Played a couple of times today at the messe and had a tiptop time on stage. In between the Freak Guitar madness I set up tiny guerilla video editing studio at the Musik Produktiv store. Managed to cut two tunes, Ugly Side of Me and Snap from the Storan concerts last year. I love the vibe. It is LIVE, for real. Honest and no bull (well, it is lots of bull but our kind of bull. I am laughing my ass off at times, watching my crazy bros going nuts). Plenty of dirt under the fingernails. I believe the DVD will turn out groovy, at least in my book. It feels like the live vibe is captured in a very vivid way. If you like polished, overdubbed crap that looks like a slick, sexless, sterile, well-produced rock video, then you might not like it. Freak Kitchen – Live Actually (hey, that is a pretty nice title! Will check with the Freak Brothers and see what they think).

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The great Horea Silviu Crisovan

Hooked up with a bunch of Freak Guitar Campers here at the fair which is always fine. Makes me jolly every time. We’re like one, big, twisted, global family, ergh, ergh, ergh. Tried to sink my teeth into the Beethoven score but it was too much mayhem going on. Hard to do delicate Ludwig Van phrasing when you have some guy blasting away distorted minor pentatonic Zakk Wylde licks behind you. Whatever. Happy to see AMT pedals doing great in Germany, including the Freak Guitar pedal. Splendid Romanian player Horea Silviu Crisovan was a real treat to watch and listen to. Keep it up Horea! (See you in Romania next summer perhaps?)

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Gee what an ego boost: some inspired fella decided to smack my photo on the front page of the official Messe program. My friends from PB International, the German Laney dealer, harassed me throughout the stay by calling me the ‘top act’ (’top act, top act, top act’). Well, I guess it was good they put me on there instead of Scott Ian of Anthrax since he didn’t show up. Ian apparently is on tour with Meat Loaf (!) who got sick. I was looking forward to meet the guy. I still think Among the Living is one of coolest albums to date. Did many push-ups to Skeletons in the closet back in the days…

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Now I am off to Verden where I will sleep tonight before heading home. I was told there is a bloody tornado on the way!? Not the most usual weather in Europe (or elsewhere) these days. Looking forward to do baby swimming with Gabriel on Tuesday before a one day thing in Lithuania on Wednesday and a band clinic in Sweden with the fellow Freaks on Saturday.

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Lithuanian friends

Didn’t manage to get the blog up the day I was home so now I am sitting on yet another plane, this time to Copenhagen and onward to Vilnius, Lithuania. Have only been to Estonia before (back in the Fate days) so I am really looking forward to go nuts in a, to me, new Baltic country and check out the surroundings. Grabbed a double espresso to wake up and finished the Honey, You’re a Nazi lyrics at the airport. Every time I complete stuff, whatever it may be, I get a true feeling of fulfillment bliss. I love it. It’s the hardest thing, to get shit done from start to finish. Beginning something is easy. Wrapping it up is not. Anyway, the lyric turned out better than expected which made me full of early morning joy. Since we work without any outside pressure this time things go smooth and very unforced. We have yet to track the drums for reasons out of our control that has delayed it a bit, but it’s no big deal. It will happen soon and it’ll be worth the wait.

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Backstage now in a big auditorium in Vilnius now where the clinic will take place in fifty minutes or so. The people who set the whole Freak Guitar Clinic up, Danius and the guys from Real Sound, are very pro and easy going. They booked me the most groovy room, a suite actually, at one of the city’s more exclusive hotels. It’s sort of a penthouse with windows in every direction. Neat, to say the least (and appreciated a lot).

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Frank is in the hou… park

Strolled around the place today and said hello to the cool Frank Zappa bust here. That’s amazing, they actually have Frank looking at you from a high pedestal in the center of town. Way to go Lithuania!

Did a whole bunch of interviews over coffee and stuffed veggie food in my mouth before the clinic took place.

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Vilnius clinic time

It was lovely to play and talk about my mumbo jumbo guitar style for a couple of hours in front of the fine audience. I dug it a lot and felt really relaxed. Signed one of two Caparisons in Lithuania after the show and posed for lots of photos.

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Later on we finished the evening at a swell bar with great fish dishes and local snacks that I ate until I was about to puke. On my way out I fell instantly in love with genuinely bizarre piece of Lithuanian art, done by a guy simply called ‘Santa’. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. To my utmost surprise the owner or the place gave it to me there, on the spot. Must present it to Bjorn and Chris. It might as well be the Land of the Freaks cover for all I care. Unbelievable. Unbelievable.

Alright, thank you again for reading. You Kitchen Freaks around Earth rule, always. Continue to spread the word. Freak Kitchen need you. More blog updates soon. Take care.

IA

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Funny Simpsons cow by US Freak Friend

Land of the Freaks

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

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Sip on a cup of coffee, a glass of water and a glass of white wine sort of at the same time as I listen to what versions of our tunes to edit for the live DVD on my mp3 player. A grueling job that makes you blush at times, laugh at times and wonder what the hell is going on at times. Still it has to be done and little by little it is coming together (along with new FK album, the next Freak Guitar double and a shitload of other things in the works). Oooops, turbulence. Yes, we are on our way to the USA. The Freak Brothers sit next to me enjoying a glass of Cognac to the caffeine after KLM dinner. Hooked up at the usual diabolic hour of 5:00 AM. Got to Amsterdam from Gothenburg. Had espresso to wake up some more. Now we are somewhere over the Atlantic and doing fine.

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Thank you very much for two fun clinics in Cardiff and Manchester the other week. Had a great time together with you fine people. Will be back. Can’t believe they let me do my shit in slick hotel conference facilities (they most likely didn’t know better). Thanks to Rick and everyone at Sounds Great Music and Cranes for bringing me. Thank you also to Mark Lewney who enlightened us with amazing real holograms of guitars at the Physics Department of Cardiff University. It was surreal and Rick, myself and Simon from Laney were baffled by it! (Love this life of mine. Play some freaky notes and talk/sing mumbo jumbo in the evenings and hang out with my beloved Gabriel during day time or check out an occasional hologram in Wales).

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HTML Dude

In Atlanta buddy Noak a.k.a HTML Dude will fly in from San Francisco to hook up for a couple of days. Also very much looking forward to meet the splendid John Willcoxon and friends again as well as all the other freak maniacs from near and far. We had an absolutely magnificent time last year and are both happy and grateful to be back. Extra thanks go out to Glenn Harveston and Shane Dubose for inviting us back to play at ProgPower USA.

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John W

Now all of a sudden a whole bunch of days have passed and it is Saturday. We are soon on our way to rehearse for some kind of all-star-jam together with Norwegian Viking buddies Pagan’s Mind. Chris and Björn are going to sing Highway to Hell and Back in Black while I play with PG. I hope we will be alright. The plan is to go out with Noak, John and the bunch and have dinner. Having a birthday today, gee, so we decided to celebrate a bit. Hopefully not too much beverages will find its find into the body. On the other hand AC/DC songs are easy (and wonderful) so… I guess it will be fine.

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Birthday Bunch

Needless to say we had an absolutely stunning time on stage in Atlanta. Since the poor guys in Vanden Plas got stuck in customs and were sent back to Europe we were able to play really long. I think the show went on for two and a half hours, at least. It was a blast and the three of us enjoyed the hell out of it. We used Dean Martin’s version of Georgia on my mind as an intro and Chris said it made all the difference in the world to cool him down a bit just as we walked on stage. Dean rules entirely!

Chris made me cry of laughter in his sing-along-part in Razor Flowers. I don’t know what got into the guy but he made up some real interesting Bruce Lee sounds together with a truly stupid dance (even the cameramen took it away). It looked insane but very entertaining! I was happy with a little improvisation in When Sam Played it Again. Brought the Yamaha Silent guitar and we did a couple acoustic songs as well along with Everything is under control, Fletch Theme, Ugly Side of Me and lots of other stuff. Grabbed yet another cell phone and talked to someone’s sleepy Mom on stage. Even managed to speak a little about the infamous hernia that I had a few years back. This topic was the show’s highlight to some and upsetting to some, I’ve understood afterwards. Whatever.

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We taped and shot it all and I will make sure the goodies will make it to the DVD. Thank you beloved Kitchen Freaks for yet another stunning Georgia experience! We will be back for sure! (There is some talk about a metal festival in Texas next year that I know of now).

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Our dear Lara, designated driver of doom, took us back to the hotel and fell asleep after a couple of beers with guys from Pagan’s Mind.

Hooked up with John Macalouso to sound check my guitar for a clinic the day after. The dear Noak tagged along and we cooled ourselves at Starbucks as often as we could in between. John was doing a drum clinic before me and we were going to jam at the end of my thing, which we did and which was fun. FK toured France eons of time ago and traveled together with Ark where John was a member at the time. The clinic went fine and there were some questions asked by interested guys.

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Had dinner with Noak, John W and company plus the Glimmer Twins. Earlier in the day Noak pretty much made me puke out of happiness when telling me David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises featuring Viggo Mortensen had opened in the States! Bloody hell! I remember each and every Cronenberg movie I have been to in theaters: The opening of Naked Lunch when it was only myself and a gay couple checking it out (it was during daytime), the premiere of eXistenZ in Paris, watching reruns of Rabid, The Brood and Shivers in Gothenburg, realizing how scary Dead Ringers actually is on a ferry from Denmark to Germany in the early 90’s, seeing The Fly in Copenhagen and so on. David is the man. Always. Both of us enjoyed it and were floored and touched by Eastern Promises. Viggo was great and really brave in doing the part. The fighting scene in the dressing room must have been beyond tough to shoot, totally nude and all. Howard Shore delivered the goods as usual in a very tonal and beautiful score. Ahh… Can’t wait for the DVD release. Inspiring stuff!

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Saturday the 6th I turned 38 and was celebrated by the Freak Brothers, Noak and John, Jimmy and Tom! Had a great American birthday, my first one. Besides going out to a nice dinner (Disco Fries anyone? John?) with the gang we also had groovy Champagne at our US friends’ hotel plus got tons of gifts for both myself and Gabriel (Sindre also got presents). It was lovely and funny and I think I got slightly drunk from the whiskey sours, the beer and Champagne. Thank God we played AC/DC at the all-star-thing later in the evening. Björn and Chris went nuts on stage while I fought to keep time and don’t goof. I usually never ever play under the influence from any fluid, except water, but it was my birthday after all, so…

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Disco fries…

Left for Sweden the day after and continued to work on tune choosing on the plane. Bad turbulence over the Atlantic and for the first time ever I got a little uncomfortable with it, thinking of Gabriel at home and feeling the Dad Thing. What if shit actually happens when you’re up there? Ah, better not pay attention to thoughts like that. It will mess you up. On with the show dammit.

Now I find myself on a plane again, bound for Paris where I have a few hours to kill before taking off for Verona, Italy. Will do a clinic there tomorrow.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel this is the time to present Land of the Freaks, the new Freak Kitchen album we are working on. A couple of days ago I had virtuoso Indian violinist Radhakrishna over at my house to lay down real cool playing on a couple of tunes. Next week we will record the drums. All guitars are done and lyrics are being written around the clock when yours truly’s intellect is in the mood. I am very, very thrilled with the record. I believe we are moving onward. This has been by far the easiest release to compose and arrange. It is usually the other way around when you have produced a whole bunch of albums, but… It was meant to be. Total breeze. Will mix it with the trusty Roberto Laghi in my basement when the time comes. Chris has contributed with a great tune (that I stole from his Eaglestrike project shamelessly).

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Radhakrishna taking it away

A kick ass drum sound has been set up, again the best we’ve ever had. The same with the guitars. GH100L, all Laney. Lots of Silent guitar to add texture next to the heavily distorted Caparison inferno. I think this is the heaviest one we have done. It is also the most complex and the most straight forward. These are the Land of the Freaks tunes:

God Save the Spleen
Teargas Jazz
Death by Hypochondria
The Smell of Time
OK
Do Not Disturb
Murder Groupie
Honey, You’re a Nazi
One Last Dance
Clean it Up
The Only Way
Hip Hip Hoorah

Björn came up with the album title by muttering in the tour bus a while back. I thought it was brilliant and so did Chris. It sticks. We will not present any release date before we are done but it should be out first half of 2008. Ahh… Can’t wait for you to hear it. Hopefully we will have the great Magnus Ericsson Sommen of LJO orchestrate a song or two for the huge Metal meets Brass gig 1st of March. We’ll see… More news soon, friends. Need to finish my coffee before they take it away since we are approaching the capitol of France.

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Roberto

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Franco

Now I kick back in a vineyard here in Verona, a fabulous place, where my friends Roberto and Franco have set me up. It is late and I am going to bed soon. Had a bunch of glasses of absolutely stunning white local wine. Northern Italy is beautiful and my view from the window is lovely: grapes, grapes and grapes everywhere you look. I am thinking of the nice Kenneth Brannagh film, Shakespeare’s Much ado about nothing. Weather is more to my taste than the south as well.

(A couple of days later, six in the morning at Villafranca airport…)

Wiping sleep from my eyes as I wait for my boarding after a groovy weekend. On the way back to Sweden, again via Paris. Verona is amazing with its Roman vibe. We did an intense sight seeing tour of the city before my clinic and I was baffled. Even got to say hi to Dante. He didn’t seem to be in an infernal state at all.

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The clinic went well. Three Freak Guitar Campers showed up to listen to the Guru’s mumbo jumbo. Speaking of the camp, I just got the dates of next year. The Scandinavian week will be between the 21st – 26th of July. The first international week between the 28th of July to the 2nd of August and the second international week between 5th and 10th of August. Registration begins in February on this very site. Stay tuned.

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Anyway, had a tiptop time explaining my zany style. Roberto did his best to translate my nonsense and very well so. Signed CDs and shirts afterwards before heading for One Music School and an interview. Franco and the bunch had prepared a gorgeous dinner at the vineyard that I really enjoyed. Acoustic guitars were brought out and we were jamming the night away, getting more and more sloppy for every glass of Franco’s delicious wine. Stuffed from head to toe I fell asleep around midnight. Thank you Italian friends for a fabulous time, very well organized and awesome in every way. Hope we can bring Freak Kitchen after the new release. Grazie, grazie. Got to board.

On plane I got beyond first class service by the steward. Lucky for me he was a guitar player and recognized me from some guitar magazine. Croissants… Line them up. Air France coffee… Not bad. Some more? You bet!

Spent time shooting cloud footage with my video camera while listening to Joni Mitchell’s Shine. You never know when you might need a few minutes of clouds in HD quality. I find Mother Nature inspiring to capture. You can bust your ass with creating this and that in Photoshop or whatever software. Go outside, shoot a tree and you got the most amazing patterns you can imagine. It’s all there right in front of our blind noses.

Studied a little Beethoven Triple Concerto before descending for Paris. The concert will most likely take place in the city of Västerås August 2008 after the Freak Guitar Camp. I read the score and listen to the music time after time to get into my system before I will break down the chops and turn it from violin into guitar. Challenging to say the least.

That’s it for now friends. As usual, thanks for reading. Stay freaky and remember to grow your own moustache whatever you do.

IA