First of all a big hip hip hooray to Björn and Sofia and their now extended family! The 3rd of September Sofia gave birth to Sindre’s brother Josef! (Freak Kitchen V. 2.0 is not far away now…) Congratulations, family Fryklund!
Gabriel having a ball!
Head filled with snot thick as butter I look out the window at my beautiful son Gabriel playing with other kids of his own age. Coffee inside tastes good. A not so nutritious breakfast perhaps, but… I need it. The Eklundh family is trying to adapt to Regular Folks Everyday Life a little bit. This means getting up in the morning, taking your child to pre-school, if only for 15 hours a week (we don’t want to become too normal, God forbid). It is scary and thrilling at the same time. Hard to let go of Gabriel. He is having a kick ass time outside with the other kids though so I guess Overprotective Dad needs to back off… Damn, I am a wimp sometimes.
So. It has been forever since we wrote anything here. In May I was supposed to go on the road with buddies Jonas Hellborg and Ranjit Barot. The volcano on Iceland put that to a serious halt and we had to cancel the entire thing. Bummer. My apologies to everyone that bought tickets. We will try again a later on. The album is nearly done. Jonas has been busy working on his amps, travelling like crazy back and forth to China, but we will wrap it up soon and release it early 2011. More news in a little while. Got to say neither of us have played better than on this demanding piece of work. I hope you will like it.
Strolling around in Delhi
Recorded guitar on a song entitled Singularity for my amazing brother Ranjit’s album Bada Boom. None other than the mighty John McLaughlin is doing the outro lead. Not bad to play on the same track as the maestro and my all-time favorite guitarist. Not bad.
I am in Freak Guitar – The Smorgasbord recording frenzy. Seven tunes mixed and ready. Four million songs to go but it’s coming together in a nice way and I am quite excited about what I hear. Expect a Favored Nations release some time second half of 2011.
Also real glad to say loads of FK material is being written. If all goes as planned you will have a new album with the band in 2011 as well.
Björn going for a singing carreer
Rome? Take left.
There is flatulence in Italy as well…
Enjoying a glass of Italian wine
Chris doing just fine…
Especially with those (borrowed) Italian glasses!
Freak Brother Björn, Chris and I went to Italy and had a splendid time there early spring. We’d love to be back soon. The crowd was lovely to us and we had a tremendous visit! (There is no caffeine like Italian. Food pretty groovy as well). Our friend Ale from Fuzz Fuzz Machine and Machada Booking is looking into Rome and other cities next year. Thank you Italian brothers and sisters!
Our dear buddy Ale and HIS trendy glasses
Kind of blue
Then it was time for the tremendous Hellfest in France. A festival so well put together we have not seen anything quite like it (except for maybe ProgPower in Atlanta. Also top notch). We had a lovely stay and the gig was loads of fun. The performance was captured on video so count on a few tunes to show up on the YouTube channel in a while. Had a funny signing session, watched Kiss, managed to pose with Lemmy (drummer Mikkey Dee is a friend, Swede and all), do tons of interviews and more. Hellfest was oozing of good bands: Slayer, Devin Townsend, Stone Sour, Slash and many others. We really want to come back when the time is right. Thanks for your amazing support, beloved French friends. You looked real good from where we stood.
Kick ass people of Hellfest
Chris and his new disco ball
My French buddy Rod
Björn and Chris posing with a French Kitchen Freak
Fredrik, the dear guitar tech and yours truly checking out Motorhead
Then it was time to return to our beloved neighbors in Finland. We really adore playing in the country of a thousands lakes (Sweden actually has more but if you look at Finland from above it looks almost perforated, hence the expression). Turkku, Tampere and Helsinki were happily harassed by us. We had such a great bunch of days there as well. Hope to see you soon again! Kitos, kitos! (Kitos also to Timo and Nem booking for setting up a second tour. You’re tiptop people).
Backstage in Helsinki
Our slick little Land of the Freaks rig
After Finland, it was Freak Guitar Camp time, an annual highlight for me. I love sitting on my Guru chair, showing whatever I have come up with since the previous year. We were looking into a whole bunch of demanding tracks. One of them, entitled Gang of Goons, nearly drove the campers insane. It drove me nuts as well but from the other end of things. Never before have I disagreed with every camper (plus Guthrie Govan and Björn) throughout the three weeks. The tune is based on a triplet rhythm stolen from the Yngwie 2000 track. Everyone had a different understanding of the pulse than I intended and clapped their hands in perfect sync… to a completely outrageous beat! It was like a joke well-rehearsed to take the piss out of someone (seen the David Fincher movie The Game?) I thought I was going to loose my mind and had to make clap videos to prove my point (clapping quarter notes all the way through for my precious students to study afterwards). Did it help? Nooooo… Very awkward yet stimulating in a way.
The camp is only getting more and more fun over the years. Much due to the passionate players attending but also because of my tight little combat team where everyone know exactly what should be done. A beefy, beefy thank you to all you lovely guitar maniacs from near and far! Remember, it’s only 4/4…
I already began planning for 2011 and I hope to see as many of you fine musicians in the woods as possible. Registration begins in February. More information can be found at: http://www.freakguitar.com/fgc2011.html
Right now I am standing outside the central station in Köln, Germany, waiting for Mr. Georg Grau, one of the fine German Laney guys. I am doing five clinics here. Yesterday I was bending string in Ibbenbüren, the day before in Lübeck, tonight Witten, tomorrow Frankfurt, then Hartenstein before heading home again. As usual I am having a tiptop visit, playing my home-brewed music in front of interested people. A nice job indeed. Always happy to bump into campers at the clinics (Mike and Mike, Jockel, Aziza, Marc, Stefan). Thanks for showing up, German Freak Friends!
Very interested Germans
The Apple Horn Abusement studio is finally seeing the light of day and I couldn’t be more happy. I so look forward to start recording in my shiny new facility. I am thinking about giving private lessons again, simply because I would look forward to drinking a cup of coffee while teaching serious people, fighting stagnation and forcing myself to always come up with different ways to approach the guitar. If I decide to it may be in 2011 as well. This year is already fully booked with visits to South Africa, China, India alone and UK and Denmark with the band before a Christmas break. In January I will go to Norway for more freak guitar playing and then off to Dubai with my amazing Indian friend Niladri Kumar for a big show. Might go back to India after this for yet another couple of performances. We’ll see.
The amazing Niladri Kumar and yours truly at the Mumbai international airport
In November I will hook up with friend and favorite writer for beer and chit chat in Bangalore; the amazing Zac O’Yeah. Might also meet with the director of The Pollutant, a forthcoming Swedish-Indian zombie movie, written by O’Yeah, to which I have composed and recorded a song on the Kelstone that was played at the Cannes festival to my amusement. Zac O’Yeah is having the absolutely brilliant Tandooriälgen released in English soon, entitled Once Upon a Time in Scandinavistan. This astounding piece of work may turn into a movie as well and I will surely fight to be involved if I can. Inspiring, hilarious and scary at the same time. Don’t miss!
I find myself in a trendy lobby in Frankfurt now, eager to dig up a good espresso before tonight’s clinic. Gee, these people are so hip… Blue, flashing light in the reception, difficult indie music and a mish mash of various paraphernalia on the walls. Girls behind the counter are dressed up in an Asian way for some reason. They seem very German to me.
Skepticism aside, the dinner we had at the place the following night was yummy and classy. The parmesan mousse made me drool.
Gabriel Spiderman Eklundh
Airport mess. Big airport mess. Trying to get home after the clinic tour. Even went up earlier than expected to wash my hair and everything (the Eklundh family are going to a party tonight). Got to the airport here in Nurnberg, checked in, grabbed a coffee only to find out one damn crew member was missing and the flight canceled. What to do? I am not planning to stay here. Well, the only option seems to be to rent a car and drive for two hours to Frankfurt and try to catch a flight from there. I now wait for the car rental service to open. Messy. Damn messy.
However, it’s no point getting all excited about stuff like this. Many people do get mad, well, furious at times, sheer panic, but this doesn’t really help. Get on with it. Solve the problem. Think constructive. Also, the planet is round so one will always reach home (or where you are going) one way or the other.
Managed to get home four hours after schedule (not bad considering it involved 300 kilometers in a car to Frankfurt, checking in very late and making a run for the gate before it closed). As Luke says: all’s well that ends well.
Johannesburg Cop Car
Now I am in London on my way to Johannesburg, South Africa. Insane ticket chaos (my boarding card stated “paper ticket required” which I don’t have. 21st century? Paper ticket. Nah). As usual, things worked out after a little running back and forward, picking up bags, checking them in again, bothering personnel at transfer desks and whatnot.
Swede + Cape Town sunset
Flight was a breeze. Read a fine book by Steve Martin entitled Born Standing Up and when that one was done I begun a biography of Swedish piano legend Jan Johansson. Veggie food booked. Veggie food served. (It is splendid being a vegetarian since you get your stuff first, Special Meal as they call it, and never have to wait to use the restrooms or stretch your legs).
No plans to import any firearms this time…
Coffee in Johannesburg is good and although it is only spring here as well as early in the morning it is already 29 degrees Celsius. Brought my lovely HD cam as usual. You never know, there might be another one of those travel videos (God Save the Spleen, Teargas Jazz) on the YouTube channel.
Nor do I have any gun to put in the safe, I’m afraid…
Talking YouTube, I recently registered /freakguitartv (nothing there yet) where I will upload zany guitar clips as we get closer to the Smorgasbord release. Didn’t feel polluting the Freak Kitchen channel with intricate licks only a fraction of our audience would be into.
Newton the Dude!
My buddy Newton, from the Laney distributor here, picked me up at the airport and we got in a rental car and headed for Music Connection, the biggest music store in Africa. The fine Anton from the store showed us around. A groovy place indeed.
Anton the Dude!
I am a long way from home. The gps systems show skulls (where people got killed), crime alerts and police activities as we drive around in Joburg (as everyone say).
Cool kids of Copa, Joburg
Before the clinic I visited the Campus of Performing Art (Copa). Tried to encourage the students to grow their own moustaches, to fight for what they believe in and never give up despite a sometimes tough climate on the planet (in many ways). I had a great stay and we’re already talking about me coming back and do a full day of teaching. Hope that works out.
The kick ass people of Johannesburg!
The evening show went tiptop with loads of people attending! I am most grateful for all this support. We even had to move yours truly to the drum riser so people could see my Important Licks (hrm). It was a neat club, Cool Runnings, and I’d love to play there with Freak Kitchen. Thank you, thank you and thank you for coming to the clinic, friends!
Afterwards I did an interview with a well-prepared young gentleman by the name of Lionel and then we went to a somewhat surreal place called Montecasino for dinner. The Montecasino is huge indoor block where you can gamble your brains out, eat, dance, e t c. Mamma Mia, the musical, was about to premiere. Swedes everywhere. Montecasino creates a potent contrast to everything going on outside. It’s like a different planet for the ones who can afford it. Food was tiptop though (said the white, well-off Scandinavian boy).
Watched 30 minutes of Rosemary’s Baby before passing out. Did you see the most recent Polanski movie The Ghost Writer? Enjoyed it a lot and thought it was brilliant.
Alive and well in Durban, wearing my God Save the Spleen T-shirt to protect me from the frantic rain
Next stop Durban, east coast of South Africa, third biggest city. Rain was pouring down plus strong wind = my kind of weather. Had Indian lunch in another casino type of place. Deep fried Masala fish. Yummy! Enjoyed listening to our woman inside the gps speaking Afrikaans. Baby Dutch as some call it. South Africa has none less than 11 official languages. Durban is Zulu country and the airport is called King Shaka, a true warrior that wouldn’t take no for an answer back in the days. The government here do not want to step on too many toes and try to be political correct so each news program is spoken in either of the different languages at a time. Complicated.
Neat view from my clinic chair
Zack’s – the place to be when in Durban
The clinic was just by the (shark filled) ocean in a groovy place called Zack’s. I loved the venue and the people and had a funny clinic despite a rocky start with iPod versus bad cable dilemma, phasing out my backing tracks. The Laney, a GH100R sounded as sweet as ever and I experimented with my playing a bit, walking a road less traveled, failing sometimes but covering it up. I get truly satisfied when adding something new and fresh to a song played a million times. I always improvise but every now and then you play it safe. Not in Durban. Goodie goodie.
My kind of car
Very grateful you defied the rain and checked out the clinic, o fine east coast dudes. Will be back for sure.
Now I am at the airport in Durban and there is a bitter, fat, gentleman next to me complaining like it was the worst thing that ever happened to him about a smoked beef he didn’t considered smoked enough. The sad man is wining and wining and I am building up a slight irritation, I have to admit. People are starving outside and he goes on and on. “This is disgusting!” Shut the fuck up! Thank God, I am a vegetarian.
Flight to Cape Town was a breeze and at the airport the fine Roy Viljoen was awaiting us to take me to the hotel. I had a stroll around the picturesque waterfront and got me some caffeine. On the way back a woman begged for money. I told her I didn’t carry any cash but she kept on following me, pleading for a little something. At times like this your mind spin around a lot. You want to help out still you get paranoid about everything from HIV and AIDS to plain theft when it gets slightly physical. I never want to be rude, I want to help, and I wish things were different on this planet. The wife and I donate money every month to various organizations. In India I have emptied my pockets a zillion times only to get my ass kicked by my friends there who simply says it is the wrong thing to do. I tell Gabriel a lot that he is so fortunate, being born in Sweden, Caucasian, male. The world is there for him to grab. Certainly not the case for most people out there.
Roy the Dude!
Roy took me around Cape Town in many different directions and I adored them all. I am not sure I have seen such beautiful surroundings before. And I am not talking only Table Mountain but all the other impressive mountains, cozy villages and beaches. Anything you point your camera at could fit in National Geographic. A feast for the eye, Cape Town.
How about this…
Why not this?
The east coast of the peninsula ain’t bad either…
I now look at Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for some 27 years by the Apartheid regime. Now he’s the father of the country. Funny how things go.
Can’t help but to think of Tom Sharpe, another favorite writer, who simply was kicked out of South Africa due to his explosive, hilarious writing. Newton told me his parents had to smuggle Sharpe’s books into the country when he was a kid.
Went to the Copa school in Cape Town to inspire a little bit and had a lovely hour or so there. They displayed my (quite updated) www.freakguitar.com site on a big TV and when I told them the links are vibrating dildos I think the students saw me as the most weird person they ever met. Sure hope so… Thanks for a great time.
Permanent Marker Inferno
Outside a radical parking guard had written all over the windshield on one of the student’s car with a permanent marker “Do not park on the yellow line, doos” (you don’t want to know what “doos” means). Not nice.
Did some shopping for the family. A jungle truck for Gabriel plus a wooden rhino (that iron wood is heavier than stone). South African books for the wife. Bought a director’s cut of From Hell for myself that I watched the following night.
Table Mountain behind me
My clinic at the Mercury Live venue was packed to the core and I must confess I had a glorious evening together with the Cape Townians! Couldn’t believe the dedication and genuine interest in my stuff. Afterwards I was even given a cool painting called The Three Headed Mattias that I will proudly hang on the studio wall. Thanks a bunch, and then some, for a kick ass night!
Tip top people of Cape Town
Guess what amp I am using?
More groovy Cape Town people
Had dinner with Newton, Roy and a guy called Chad and his buddies. Chad told me he got into Django Reinhardt and other groovy music after reading an interview with yours truly. Splendid!
Alistair Andrews and moi
David, soon in Cape Town
Al and yours truly
The following day I went by the South African collage of Music. Alistair Andrews, a Warwick endorsee and teacher, took care of us. After an hour of open counseling I had a private lesson with gifted player Al Du Toit (hope to see you at the camp next year, buddy). As mentioned before I am getting interested in giving private lessons again. It’s fun, damn it, and I’ve missed it.
Penguins? Take left!
Roy took me for a fabulous drive along the west coast, the Atlantic Ocean (blue water) side of the peninsula, then across the mountains to the east coast and Indian Ocean side (where the Great Whites lurk in the green water).
Had the most tremendous fish at Wharfside grill, Hout Bay village as the sun decided to pack it in for the day. The waitress asked if we were interested in desert. When I hesitated she said (to my utmost surprise) “I thought you had a rubber on”. At least that’s what I heard. Roy explained to me, tears in his eyes from laughing so hard she actually told me “I thought you had a rubber ARM” meaning it is easily twisted. What the hell. An awkward moment. Yet a lovely evening on all accounts.
I thought you had a rubber on, huh?
Now I sit in London again, about to get on the plane home to my beloved wife, son, dog and cats. Ahhh… Can’t wait to give them all a big husband-daddy-master hug!
O fine people of South Africa, thank you so much for everything! I had a far beyond groovy time and can’t wait to be back! Most grateful for your amazing support.
Now it is Friday evening and I am kicking back in the living room with a glass of juice, organic popcorn and a spicy tortilla dip, soon about to start watching House MD, season 5 on DVD. Today I mixed another Freak Guitar – The Smorgasbord tune and it always gives me a sense of fulfillment. I did however remix it three times the last couple of days but tonight I nailed it. I think. Mixing is hard. It is not about tuning in a good sound. It is about finding the essence of the song and that is tricky.
Bardo – the lovely, lovely Eklundh family German shepherd
Did a bunch of Swedish clinics in between frantic travelling abroad. Cool folks of Halmstad and Lidköping – thanks for coming!
Live in Halmstad
UK! At the other side of the table is Christer Örtefors, the one and only reading a book by Joe Abercrombie entitled The Blade Itself. The two of us are in Manchester drinking coffee, waiting for the tour bus with Björn, Jörgen and our trusty right hand here Mik Gaffney to pick us up. Chris and I flew in via London this morning while the bus left Sweden a couple of days ago with the gear.
Airport frenzy Chris and his new hat
We’ve been looking forward to this tour for a long time. Can’t wait to go berserk on stage. Guys from Laney will slide by as well as my buddy Rick Lowe. Major gratitude to the above brother Mik for setting everything up, busting his butt to make it all happen. Mik is also road manager and driver. A good man.
Mik Gaffney – our right hand in the UK
Manchester was all goodie goodie. Did a bunch of interviews before the show. Great band (great guys too!) Jurojin from London are warming up the crowd on this little tour with their quite unique blend of musical styles. Check them out!
The gig was slightly shaky but we still had lots of fun. It usually take us a few shows to get into shape and Manchester had to listen to the somewhat sloppy version of Freak Kitchen. Yet, people were lovely and enthusiastic and we love you all! Thanks for coming out to the show.
A splendid drummer sound checking his beefy Tama kit
Our last UK tour was so intense we decided to have day in between at this tour. Travelling around in Great Britain can be time-consuming so we had drive nights back in 2006. Much easier on this trip.
Glasgow and the Cathouse was great! Several familiar faces in the crowd (Frazer!) Two friends from France came all the way to check out the show. Tiptop.
Would you buy a used car from this man?
At the end of the show I had a rare moment of aggression when I managed to rip out the cable from my wah pedal for the millionth time. Got so pissed off I threw the pedal away (and cable) to the crowd’s amusement (someone got a 200 pound pedal for free). When I wanted to plug the guitar into the amp directly the cable was jammed under one of my cabs. I completely lost it and kicked the cab hard and good so it fell to the floor. It solved the problem. I detest stomping on pedals, tripping on cables, e t c. Usually Fredrik, my trusty guitar tech, is doing it for me but he couldn’t tag along on this tour.
UK breakfast (not mine)
Chris seriously modifying Mik’s arm in impressive free hand
Apart from this mess it was a jolly concert on all accounts. We really enjoyed ourselves. Jurojin were kick ass too. A fine evening. Thank you Scotland, thank you! We will be back.
We are now heading for London and The Underworld. Radio and interviews on the agenda today. Tiptop. As I type this we pass Madame Tussauds.
I remember my first trip to London with my late, very much missed dad Bernt, being slightly offended as waiters always asked him while looking at me: “what does the little lady want?” Yes, I did have long hair as a twelve year old. Dad and I went bootleg shopping and I still have a pair of cassettes buried somewhere in the basement with Van Halen live from North Carolina back in 1981. Getting my hands on those ugly sounding tapes was pretty much a religious experience. Thank you for taking me to London, daddy.
Chris and our trusty Jörgen Tjusling, drum tech, driver and whatnot
The gig at the Underworld was funny and potent, I think. A good number of freaks had showed up and we had no less than two support bands, my buddy Charlie’s rocking combo Haakon and the fine Jurojin again.
Happy to have French friends Blanquette Marge and her buddies coming all the way from France to hook up.
There’s something wrong with your hair…
Fine freaks of London, Glasgow and Manchester – we love you! Thank you for coming to the shows and supporting the band. There is talk about a bunch of festivals next summer so if not before we hope to see you then! Thank you again.
Got up at a ridiculous time (I think by the time Chris and Bjorn got to bed after a party night out in town). Grabbed a cab to Heathrow and jumped on a plane heading home.
In the afternoon I met with my dear tech Fredrik outside the Concert House of Gothenburg. Together we dragged my gear inside and were happy to be greeted by the legendary Thomas Nordegg whom I have met a couple times before. Thomas has been a guitar tech for everyone worth mentioning: from Frank Zappa to Steve Vai and many, many in between.
The legendary Thomas Nordegg
Said hi to the stunning Zappa plays Zappa guys before Dweezil joined us. We have been in touch since a while back and when I was asked to hook up with him and the band on stage, there was no way to turn it down (despite zombie state after the UK tour and the usual lack of sleep).
Dweezil Zappa and the SG he treats to insanely well
We initially talked about doing The Black Page but tricky as it is we decided to go for City of Tiny Lites instead to not make fools out of ourselves. The sound check was visited by a number of specially invited guests who seemed surprised to see me up there.
I improvised a G Dorian thing for a while and then Dweezil joined me and we hit it off together, trading back and forth. Great fun!
My rig next to Dweezil’s…
The man is a monster and what he has done, taking his dad’s lovely, timeless music back on the road is worth the utmost respect and support. This planet owes him since a generation of people that grew up after Frank passed away now get the chance to come as close and hear the real thing as possible. The footage of Frank Zappa playing in real time together with the band is both heart and ground breaking. Bloody magic.
After sound check we stayed on stage, Dweezil, Thomas, Fredrik and myself. I tried out Dweezil’s massive rig, consisting both of new, state of the art effects as well as stuff Frank used to play through. A violin patch was almost surreal and responded extremely well. Dweezil did a beautiful intro solo in the evening using it. (I had to jerk around with Radhakrishna’s cool Teargas Jazz lick, of course).
We talked about everything from nasty fingerings on FZ’s more demanding music to when Dweezil was a kid and Eddie Van Halen called and asked if he could come over, jam and teach Zappa Jr. a few licks. (He knew Dweezil was a rabid Van Halen fan). Steve Vai and Frank was already in the house. Pretty cool! Pretty cool indeed! (I remember when DZ’ first LP came out. Still got Havin’ a bad day at home in its original plastic wrap and all).
My wah pedal (mostly to extend the cable) and Dweezil’s monster pedal board
Had catering with the guys backstage and Thomas told hilarious road stories over veggie food.
Fredrik and I got slick seats to watch the show and to my utmost surprise we ended up sitting next to editor in chief and long time friend Ulf Zackrisson from Swedish Fuzz magazine. (The annual Christmas party is around the corner, a yearly highlight where all of us that work for the magazine drink, eat and play until we can’t take it anymore).
After playing through the entire Apostrophe (‘) album in the most grand of ways the band did lovely versions of a whole bunch of classic Frank Zappa songs before it was time for my slot. (I also really appreciated they included rare stuff like I promise not to come in your mouth from Zappa in New York, beautifully arranged and all).
My solo turned out okidoki, improvising my butt off and ending it together with Dweezil. Hope to put a little video of the thing on the Freak Guitar TV channel in a while. The guys tape every evening and Dweezil said he’d send me a copy of the music to sync with the video.
Said bye to everyone after the show and went home in a state of utter bliss. A magic evening it was. Thank you so much for letting me invade your stage. I loved it and it was very appreciated Dweezil. Thank you again.
I have now enjoyed veggie dinner on the plane to Delhi from Guangzhou. I feel at home with the majority of Indians onboard. It is funny, there seem to be some kind, intentional or unintentional, power struggle between the Chinese and the Indian (mostly from the Chinese side who frown a lot at their neighbor inhabitants various behaviors on the plane). The Indians pretty much take over the place in a loose kind of way; standing up even though we’re just about to take off, hiding their plates under the seat, dropping newspapers in the aisle, going to the toilet in the midst of severe turbulence. They don’t seem to give a damn. Refreshing.
The Chinese part of this tour has been great and quite crazy. Beijing, Lanzhou and Chongqing all got an inspired yours truly playing for all I was worth.
Left home for Frankfurt and onward to Beijing where I met my buddy from Great Wall, the Chinese Laney distributor, Qiao Hang roughly a week after the UK tour. Qiao did a fine job taking care of me for a bunch of days. Thanks dude.
Qiao Hang – taking care of business
Back at the Mao Live House where I was almost a year ago exactly. Had wonderful, wonderful vegetarian lunch at my favorite restaurant in Beijing where everything looks like meat dishes but everything is made out of soy, beans and vegetables. Stunning.
The performance was groovy. Dedicated guys and gals were there to check me out. Thanks for coming!
The morning after we flew to Lanzhou where I also did an in store signing session. Put my name on everything from amps, guitars to baseball caps and hoodies before going to the venue.
Outside the music store
The tour bu… truck
I was happy to see the club in Lanzhou was packed all the way up on the balcony. People were really hitting it off. I usually sit down when doing clinics to create a relaxed atmosphere but there was no chance to relax this evening. Had go for it big time.
The city of Lanzhou
The groovy folks of Lanzhou
I think I signed more than 300 Laney posters afterwards (the promoter told me that was what was in the pile). I know how to spell my name now. I really do.
Truly appreciated the vivid vibe. Much gratitude for coming to the freak show. Thank you.
Went up even earlier than the previous day to catch a plane to Chongqing. Had time to check out the dynamic city a little bit, get some yummy coffee and shoot a video for Guitar Player Brazil to support an upcoming article. I also edited more on the video to Murder Groupie with footage from Hellfest.
Pig brain dinner (not mine).
Look! A peni… (my dinner)
Talking video I am proud to say I will fly over to the US and do a whole bunch of instructional DVDs for the very serious Rock House Method in May.
More flying. Freak Kitchen will play a fine festival in Tunis, Tunisia 23rd of March. We will also slide by Åland the same month for a gig. I will conduct yet another clinic in Larvik, Norway 15th of January before heading for Dubai. From one thing to the other.
Although the Zappa family name seems to be banned on everything internet I was happy to find Dweezil on a guitar mag cover
Chongqing was almost more wild than Lanzhou to my major surprise. Plenty of western faces in the crowd as well. The packed club was called Nuts… An appropriate word for the signing part of the evening. The local promoter thought it would be better if I stood on stage and he would hand out posters to guys and gals. This worked for a while with lots of shouting and screaming until someone decided to simply climb the stage and take a photo with me. In a nano second the entire stage was filled with wonderful freaks trying to get a clear shot to pose next to me. I always find it quite entertaining when chaos breaks out… at a guitar clinic! I am there to play a bunch of tunes and show my cheesy playing style but quite often people tend to mistake this for a full-blown gig, which is more than fine to me and my ever growing ego.
Absolute chop stick mess…
Blue in the face, uh…
The Chongqing crazies!
Absolute signing madness
More signing madness
Nuts folks of Chongqing, I love you. Had a tiptop time. Thanks for coming!
We had dinner at a very local place, food consisting of pig brain, pig stomach and fish heads cooked by an old man who was taking photos of me and spitting all the time. I used my chopsticks to try to get a few vegetables in me. Beer was good though. Thanksgiving as it was we headed back to the Nuts club for a Final Evening drink and started to talk to a man who introduced himself as BJ. BJ was from Bangalore, India and studied to become a doctor in Chongqing. We both stood there, half-drunk, praising India and he gave me his number. If I ever got into trouble while visiting his country he had very influential friends in high places. Good to know.
I am at the Indira Gandhi airport in Delhi now, plane arrived early but the bags didn’t. The better part of us have stood by the carousel for a good hour waiting. People are furious. One bag every second minute at best. I must be in India.
Eventually my clean (and dirty) underpants arrived and I was greeted by the fine Sahil Makhija, from Furtados Music, Laney distributor in India. Sahil is also pretty well-know from the bands Demonic Resurrection and Workshop. A little later a gentleman by the name of Mangesh Gandhi (I adore calling him Mr. Gandhi I have to confess) showed up, also Furtados dude. Sahil and Mangesh (Mr. Gandhi!) are two really fine guys and I had a great, great time hanging out with them throughout my visit.
Sahil Makhija, my good buddy taking care of things in India
Mr. Gandhi, also taking care things, also good buddy.
We struggled to get a cab, pre-paid and booked in advance but I didn’t mind. I was just happy to be in the country. I love India. I do. A lot. I feel at home here.
We went to my hotel, Clark Inn, where the guys from Lamb of God just stayed apparently. Called Camilla the wife and went to bed. Slept like a king.
Ganesh blowing in the Delhi wind
Lamb of God Inn
Woke up from the phone ringing. The cool guys from the breakfast wanted to double check if I wanted to eat or continue to sleep as they were wrapping up the buffet. Indian food should never be ignored and I was hungry so I grabbed my Zac O’ Yeah book Summan av Kardemumman and ran down to get me some lovely food and lovely coffee. Yummy.
There is beauty in the dirt…
Did a bunch of phone interviews and then took my beloved HD cam and went out shooting footage for a future Freak Guitar – The Smorgasbord video called Mandur and Morgan’s Camel Safari (a reworked Freak Guitar Camp tune featuring several of my lovely Indian musician friends. People look at me like I was from another solar system. I pretty much am. Sweden is not India. When I got down on all fours trying to film a battle between ants in the mud a few bicycle repairing gentlemen facial expressions showed utter pity. The foreigner lost it completely. Could someone send him home? I was thrilled about the footage! Anything for art. Can’t wait to tweak it like hell in Adobe Premiere later on.
Sahil, Mangesh (sorry, I mean Mr. Gandhi) and moi took a rickshaw to the venue and I pulled out my camera again. The rickshaw driver had the most hypnotizing eyes and they were mean looking in the cracked rear view mirror. Had to film. Had to.
The lovely people of Delhi
The clinic at the Double Decker was hilarious. Everything broke down and we waited forever to have a cable for the right hand side of the PA. I didn’t mind doing some informal chit chat with the super-dedicated crowd (actually that was the most fun part). The place was packed to the core and I pretty much stood on the floor in the midst of the mess. Afterwards I signed as much stuff as I could in the slight chaos before conducting a couple of interviews and having dinner after that.
A tiptop, goodie goodie evening to be sure. I really do love your interest in music, fine Indian friends! It is soooo nice to talk ragas, tonality, rhythms and whatnot. (I for instance learned that the Pantuvarali is a morning raga). Thanks a ton for coming! I will be back, rest assure.
Went back to the Lamb of God hideout and watched David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers with a superb Jeremy Irons playing both roles of the Mantle twins. I think the title music of the film is the most beautiful thing Howard Shore ever wrote.
Got up early and hooked up with Sahil and Mr. Gandhi. Had strong coffee and breakfast at the airport before jumping on the plane to Bangalore.
Checked in at our neat apartment and then went for the sound check after a power nap. Did an interview with a metal web site before making sure everything was working.
The fabulous Zac O’Yeah
Just before starting my friend and, again I have to state, fabulous, fabulous writer Zac O’Yeah showed up straight from the train station and a visit at the film festival on Goa. So happy to get a copy of Once Upon a Time in Scandinavistan, fresh from the printer. Wonderful stuff and although I’ve read it twice in Swedish, I’ll read it again in English. You need to get a copy. Funny, provocative, spooky, outrageous and then some. Zac writes like no one else. Wonderful to see you, my friend (and yes, I might just change my name to Happyne Wyear).
Dedicated guitar maniacs of Bangalore!
The clinic was pure joy and very relaxed. The Kyra venue was packed, again, and I am most, most grateful for this and do not take it for granted. Questions were asked and I had tiptop moment up there. The GH100L Laney head sounded marvelous. Good vibes in the house. Thank you fine freaks of Bangalore for turning it into a memorable evening.
Signed and posed, signed and posed and enjoyed it as usual before going to dinner with Zac and Sahil. Had an inspired talk about scoring for two movies to come that O’Yeah wrote the script for and even possibly come and watch the shoots.
We are now in Pune (or Poona). On our way here I was amused to hear the pilot’s name was Ravi Shankar. Yeah!
I remember former Freak Kitchen drummer Joakim visited the Osho ashram here many years ago. Many seeking young western people on the airport trying to find the meaning of life or simply meditate. Well…
Leslie Nielsen passed away, an actor that provided me with so many laughs. Rest in peace, Leslie. (I fell down from my chair at a movie theatre when the first Naked Gun movie came out from laughing so hard).
Like in Delhi, the PA broke down (a Yamaha rig again, I’m afraid) and like in Delhi Laney amps and monitors saved the day. We plugged in my iPod in a bass amp and believe it or not this was the best damn sound so far. Couldn’t believe it.
The clinic worried us a little bit since it was announced very late. However, it was packed again and I couldn’t be more grateful. I am very honored to get all this attention. Good questions were asked too. Hope you enjoyed the shirts. People of Pune, you are wonderful. Thanks again or showing up. (Sorry about all the lame Osho jokes).
The clinic in Pune was probably the most sweaty I’ve ever done… and it is bloody winter time. Climate changes really works!
Now we are in a car on the way to Mumbai in the Indian night. Having a Kingfisher beer to take care of post clinic thirst. Tastes yummy.
Stopped for dinner in middle of absolute nowhere. Food was a tasty as always.
Reached Mumbai by midnight, checked in at my hotel, called home and crashed. Zzz… This man was in desperate need of a good night’s sleep.
Sahil picked me up at noon and we went to his place to shoot a couple of instructional clips. We then had terrific lunch at his apartment after filming me playing Mandur & Morgan’s Camel Safari in the Bombay heat for a future video. Sahil provided me with tons of music and cool shirts. He is a very passionate man, running a record company, a booking agency, working at Furtados music, playing two bands and whatnot. Support the guy in any way you can. He deserves it.
Right now I am at Ranjit Barot’s lovely Nirvana Studio in Mumbai where he is rehearsing together with the stunning Dominique DiPiazza for a couple of upcoming shows at the Jazz Utsav (same thing me and Jonas did many years ago). Nice place indeed. Ranjit surely has been around.
Surrounded by two stunning musicians
We had a coffee and talked for a while. Expressed my admiration for Dominique’s bass playing (one of my favorite jazz albums is Front Page, featuring Biréli Lagrène, Dennis Chambers and Dominique in top notch form). Good to see you.
Did a couple of interviews at the venue, the fine Blue Frog, before sound check. People take music serious in India and have the most intricate questions, something I like. One young man from Chennai, 16 years old, knew loads about carnatic music and it was real of fun to talk to him.
I started get sick in Pune and in Mumbai fever kicked in besides the running nose. A little Delhi Belly to add to the festivities. Actually I was surprised it didn’t happen earlier. India can bring the toughest of men down on his knees. Dad used to tell me how he begged to die, standing, crawling in a shower when the shit hit the fan on one of his first visits to India. It is inevitable for a western person to get messed up a bit. (My beloved wife Camilla sent a long list of shots and helpful medication to buddy Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah him and the band should check out before their first trip here). I can see how bombed I look on all the Facebook photos from Mumbai. (And I look bombed when in tiptop shape). No big deal.
The cool guys and gals of Mumbai
The clinic was a lot of fun! Plenty of lovely Indian friends there to listen to Freak Guitar Madness through a Laney amplifier, a GH100L for the day. I was sweating like a pig (do they actually sweat?) but enjoyed it a lot and playing was okidoki at times. All four of these performances have been a real treat, I must admit. There plenty of plans in the works to come back soon again, both me alone to join gifted guitar player Chandresh Axe Tortion as well as with Freak Kitchen. Stay tuned.
The Blue Frog, a neat place
On the way to the airport I talked to Sahil’s girlfriend for an upcoming interview in Rolling Stone. Tiptop.
Well at the airport I met with my sitar playing friend Niladri Kumar and we talked about our concert in Dubai the 22nd of January, featuring me along ten Indian musicians. It is going to be wild! We also touched the subject of doing a raga album together and I’d surely love that. Splendid to see you Niladri.
Sitting with my running nose on the plane from Vienna to Gothenburg where Mrs. Eklundh will pick me up and then we will go collect Gabriel from his day school together. I can’t wait!
November has been the coldest since 1904 and we have plenty of snow. Lord almighty I will enjoy a cup of coffee in my living room in front of the fireplace, reading for Gabriel, chilling out and recharging the batteries for 2011. Six weeks home. Six weeks, ahh… I adore decorating the Christmas tree, accompanied by Dean Martin (always) and a glass of fine Cognac.
But before the holidays we are off for two concerts in Denmark with the band. I hope the tour bus will handle the snow well. It is not famous for its winter capacities, but… We shall take it easy.
Sitting backstage at the Amager Bio in Copenhagen, an absolutely tiptop venue. We are happy to play here tonight together with legendary Danish quintet Pretty Maids. The Maids have their annual Christmas bash first Thursday in December and when we were invited to tag along, we couldn’t resist.
The gig was a breeze. Our sound man Tor did such a marvelous job he made even my snotty, sore vocal cords sound good. Plenty of people and good vibes. Thanks a bunch Copenhagen! We will be back soon with the band!
The kick ass Tor – one of the best sound guys on the planet
Goodie goodie crowd of Copenhagen
Drove for Kolding, not far from the German border, where our right hand since forever, Torben Schmidt, lives. Chris, Björn and Jörgen decided to party in the back of the bus and managed to drink a lot of beer, Red Bull and vodka to mine and Torben’s utmost surprise!
We kicked back at Torben’s place for a day. I worked on music to Once Upon a Time in Scandinavistan while Chris was doing tattoo sketching. In the evening we all had dinner and relaxed with good wine and a movie. Cosy.
The Kolding concert was tons and tons of fun! A true, die hard crowd had showed up from near and far to rock out at the nice Godset venue. Good to see you all, fine freaks of Denmark! Thank you for coming to the show!
Right snow is falling outside and I long for my near and dear ones home. Look forward to celebrate Christmas and take a well-deserved rest, move into the studio and write new music.
It is time to wrap this monstrous blog, diary (or what one should call it) up. Friends, friends, friends, 2010 has been a tremendous year in so many ways. I love you all and your stunning support out there is appreciated more than you will ever know. It has been a pleasure writing this. If you have come this far I want to thank you for reading it. Until next time: take care, grow your own moustache, merry Christmas, happy new year and Vikings hugs to you all.