HOMETHE BANDALBUMSTOURBLOGVIDEOSWEB SHOP 

Freak Kitchen Blog

Land of the Freaks XI

Land of the Freaks

So, how are things proceeding with Land of the Freaks? Goodie goodie. Very goodie goodie! We see the end of production but there are still vocals and bass to be recorded before mix and mastering. I haven’t been this excited over a release since… well, never. I know, I know. This is what artists always say about their upcoming releases. But sometimes it’s true. Like now.

Blog-1-Deagu-IA-signing.jpg

I am aware some of you think it takes forever and you are right. It does. It’s not because of grueling working schedules really. It’s more to give the music a chance to evolve naturally. Land of the Freaks is not going to be a stiff, over-produced album. Rather the opposite. We haven’t been this kick ass on a record before, if you ask me.

Blog-Chris-backstage-Mumbai.jpg
Chris backstage in Mumbai

Each previous production has been forced in the end. This isn’t going to happen with LOTF. I felt from beginning the need to raise the middle finger to deadlines put up by someone else. I hear a lot of music “good enough” released today. I don’t want Land of the Freaks to be good enough. I want it to be amazing. However, we had a serious band discussion on the plane to India and decided it’s a good thing to wrap it up pretty soon. We’re nearly there. A little more patience, friends.

Blog-Bjorn-banana.jpg
Björn and his New Delhi Banana

A few words about the tunes:

The Smell of Time

Nasty, inspired, street trash poetry as a friend put it. The song’s got a nice, infectious groove. The guitars are a combination of something very static and something loose. Björn’s use of his stack cymbals gives the beat an edge. Loved singing it. My favorite lyrics on the album.

Honey, You’re a Nazi

Fat riffs and frantic drumming. One of the up-tempo songs. Wrote the lyrics in fury over an acquaintance who suggested we should start more wars to reduce the number of people in the world. Right. Solo is based on the Lydian dominant mode. Björn tears the drum kit apart but manages to keep his cool when needed, like the third verse. (The difference between boys and men).

Murder Groupie

A track in 3/16, 5/16, 7/16, 9/16, 11/16 and 13/16 that sounds pretty straight-forward (most of it, at least). We are honored to have Selvaganesh laying down tremendous kanjeera rhythms over Fryklund’s stunning playing. Murder Groupie is one of the heavier, darker, more complex tunes. I dig it a lot.

One Last Dance

Another favorite. I don’t know what it is but some songs become love affairs as you let them unfold. We’ve heard it all before from the third album and Sinking Planet from Dead Soul Men as well as Breathe from Organic mean something special to me. Can’t put my finger on it. One Last Dance has the same gut vibe. It’s moody yet energetic. Slippery tonality. The ending makes me happy. It took a while to figure out how to make all stuff going on work together but eventually it was solved. The solo is an experiment, dubbed it with two nylon string guitars and two electric.

Sick (Death by Hypochondria)

Right on, meat and potatoes stuff. No bull. The only track using the Bbm13-tuning (Propaganda Pie, Razor Flowers, e t c). I think it’s the hi-hat since I tend to think of Stevie Wonder when I hear it. Superstition. Sometimes I think of Seal. Mostly I think of Freak Kitchen. Percussive. Catchy melody. Neat swing. Hypnotic at times.

Teargas Jazz

Easily the trickiest song in the catalogue so far with South Indian reduction structures over the Pantuvarali scale. Grateful to have both Radhakrishna (on double-violin) and Selvaganesh show how it’s done on Teargas Jazz. I dig, I dig. It gives me a Mahavishnu-on-acid-feel with a metal twist. An epic five-six minute piece. Since it’s almost exhausting to listen to I had to create a gentle ending to cool down.

Blog-Delhi-breakfast.jpg

Clean it Up

Melodic stuff with an almost John Bonham feel to the drums. Of course I couldn’t resist so the solo is one of the longer ones on the album making sure it never ends up on the radio. Ergh.

OK

The first Swedish-Indian power ballad as far as I know. Slippery chord progression. Another Land of the Freaks crush. OK took about five minutes to write. It was crystal clear. The vocal melody came to me while fiddling around with the chords like it was the most natural thing in the world. Lovely, almost Beatles-like string arrangement by Thomas Rydell and his fine string playing friends, again based on the Pantuvali mode. Radhakrishna provides a few double-violin fills here and there. For the guitar solo I used my innovative Tremologic Apple Horn with a vibrato bar for each string. The middle theme has a perverted, somewhat insane circus touch to it.

Do Not Disturb

More trashy lyrics from yours truly’s ugly pen. The music is sweet with a dubbed military snare drum arrangement that gives it a twist. Used Yamaha’s Silent Guitar, the steel string, and it created an almost Eagles-like sound in between the electric Caparisons. Tons of semi-distorted guitars building layers of one string harmonies to frame the music.

The Only Way

I adore The Only Way, written by Chris, in all its simplicity. Great vocal melody by the mighty Cap Man. You can’t resist it. Minimalist verse and loads of things happening in the chorus. The short solo at the end I am still trying to grasp what went on when I recorded it. It’s a number of open string spasms. When I tried to clean up a part of it the previous day, I couldn’t do it. One shot deal. Better leave it.

God Bless the Spleen

This might very well be the opening track. It has a punky, raw feel with jolly lyrics about organ theft. Another friend asked how many records we expected to sell in China, having read the words. No one sells records in China (unless you’re Michael Learns to Rock from Denmark ten years ago). The 6/8 beat is not common in the freak catalogue. God Save the Spleen is potent rock with hectic lead. The overdubbed floor tom in the beginning and middle gives it a tribal feel. It makes me want to head bang. Can’t wait to take it on the road.

Hip Hip Hoorah

Disco, freak-style in C minor! Funky and heavy. Great, alive drumming! We hope to have part of the Linköping Jazz Orchestra under the guidance of Magnus Ericsson record a brass arrangement in the near future. It’ll fit like a glove. Get weird Abba vibes every now and then. Don’t ask me why. It’s probably that Swedish thing again.

Breakfast in New Delhi

It is 3:52 AM at home and about four and a half hour later in the capital of India. New Delhi is slowly waking up as we’re having breakfast. We just got here after a flight from Copenhagen. Food is, as always, groovy.

Blog-Chris-breakfast.jpg

Three gigs this time. Our beloved Indian promoter Amit Saigal wanted to line-up more but I got to go to Germany and the Musik Produktive fair and an intensive trip to South East Asia right after that. I regret we’re not playing Bangalore and Shillong. Get tons of feedback from Freak Friends there. Next time brothers and sisters. Next time. The two quite big concerts we’re doing here are more than enough to give your ego a kick in the right direction (one club gig before the beefy ones).

Blog-Amit.jpg
The one and very only Amit Saigal

Good to be back. We spent the first day doing TV- and newspaper interviews plus the above mentioned warm-up thing. Björn’s fiancé Sofia is tagging along on the trip and the two will stay a while longer than me and Chris. Check out the Taj Mahal and hang out. As sensitive pagans we are eating acidophilus pills before every meal to keep the inside in order. So far so good… You never know and by God you’re not too cool when experiencing that brown inner revolution, if you know what I mean. As a vegetarian I am way better off than Chris and Björn but they’ve done well in their chicken frenzy up until this point.

Blog-photoshoot.jpg
A weird photo session in Delhi

Blog-Turq-gig.jpg
Tiny, but fun, club gig

The club performance was extremely loose and we pretty much played what people yelled they wanted to hear. More or less a rehearsal in front of a dedicated bunch. Did a press conference prior to the gig. Talked a bit about Land of the Freaks and the Indian influence on a couple of tracks not to mention that we have two amazing Indian musicians playing on it. I got all carried away in my praise for carnatic music. I also talked about Kiss.

Blog-veg-sandw.jpg
Non-veg. Veg. India.

Mumbai and the Swollen Swedes

Along this visit sleep hasn’t been something we’ve been overdoing. Approximately three hours per night. Late nights and early flights back and forth throughout the country help you get into Swollen Swede State. No big deal. (It only takes about a month to recover…)

Blog-Mumbai-hotel-greet.jpg

In Mumbai we were greeted with flowers at the slick hotel. The contrasts of India are likely the most extreme you’ll ever sink your teeth into. As responsible parents nowadays you are confronted with heart-breaking stuff every day. Combined with luxurious hotel spas and whatnot it can be very confusing and turbulent. It makes you think and far beyond appreciate the life you live. We’re lucky bastards, we are.

Blog-Kalis-son.jpg
Kali’s Son…

In between sound check and the gig in Mumbai I went out walking with my video camera. Bumped into a beautiful procession when a damn fire cracker went off next to me. I heard my mouth yell ‘fuck!!’ while tilting the camera pretty good since I thought it was a car bomb or some shit like that. A nice little ring in my ear followed quite a while. The footage looks pretty stupid too. No steady cam here, no sir. Glad I didn’t crap my pants right there. Curiosity killed the Swedish musician, huh?

Blog-Bjorn-Delhi-live.jpg

Blog-Chris-Delhi-liveII.jpg

Blog-Mumbai-crowd.jpg
Mumbai’s finest

Blog-IA-live-MumbaiII.jpg

The concert was great! Hot and intense. I loved it and the crowd seemed to as well. I fought a bit with the amp (since it wasn’t a Laney, sniff, sniff) but apart from the barb-wire tone and lack of sustain it was alright. We only went for sledge hammer attitude anyway. Strict curfew so we tried to keep it to the point as much as possible. Insane paper work for Amit and his crew to get a performing license for us which took an entire day and five different government offices to retrieve the necessary documents. India loves beurocracy. Remains from the days when the British ruled the country I presume. In Razor Flowers at the part where Chris does his sing-along routine the crowd slid into something they really enjoyed singing and apparently is a Mumbai tradition. I later had it explained since I couldn’t figure it out from the stage. My Hindi is a bit rusty. However, I can’t really put it down in writing since it was slightly nasty. Sounded good though and everyone went for it as Chris took it away. Signed and posed for photos afterwards. Thank you dear freaks of Mumbai! We’ll be back soon! Thanks also to our right hand the entire day. (Didn’t get your name and can’t find it in the itinerary. My bad).

Blog-Mumbai-dude.jpg
Our fine Mumbai help

Blog-Mumbaiscaryguy.jpg
Real scary Swede among the cool Indians

Shared a few beers in the hotel bar before calling it a day. It felt like I slept ten minutes when I got the wake-up call. Whaaoouu. No beauty sleep here.

Blog-dressingroomdoorMumbai.jpg

Blog-Smoothie-bros.jpg
The smoothie brothers

At the airport we were of course dropped off at the wrong terminal and had to take a shuttle to the right one. Yummy veggie breakfast on board. Björn and I couldn’t chill. For some reason we both had an uneasy vibe as we approached Delhi again. Chris and Sofia slept though and the vibe was proven wrong. It was probably dinner the previous night…

Indian Capital Gear Breakdown

In Delhi we discovered the guitar heads to be used were still in Mumbai. I was introduced to a couple of combos (no brand mentioned) that probably were fine if you are a quiet blues player. I am not. In the most humble of ways I explained there simply was no way I could perform using the gear. I don’t ask for much but this equipment wasn’t going to cut it. Calls were made as we delayed everything a bit by rushing off for a quick lunch while the PA company guys tried to dig up something that would deliver the goods. I was very happy to hear they found a 100 Watt amp plus cabinet, although not in the best of shapes. I didn’t care. Distortion and volume. Plug in and play. Good enough for me.

Blog-IA-Chris-live-Delhi.jpg

Blog-Delhi-crowdfromstage.jpg

We felt an urge to bring home a few things and while it would have been a smart decision to return to the hotel and rest we instead filled our bodies with Barista coffee and spent serious rupees. I fell in love with a lovely traditional Indian dress for Gabriel. I also bought an ultra-awesome brown jeans jacket with a large skull on the back for my son. Both most likely made by children under lousy conditions… Merde. (Anyone know if the Lilliput stores are fair to the factory workers? I like to think so and hate to be cynical, but I keep getting disappointed in the bloody market economy and companies shaping it. Especially in these shaky days. Do good and good things will come to you. Simple as that. Perhaps this is place to paste the lyrics to Logo from the Move album? Nah, let’s get on with it).

Blog-Delhi-crowd.jpg

I also bought two wonderful books for my beloved boy. Can’t wait to hug the little fella again! I miss him like crazy.

Blog-Delhi-crowdfromstageII.jpg

Blog-Chris-Delhi-live.jpg

Blog-IA-Delhi-liveII.jpg

Blog-Delhi-crowdII.jpg

Chris, in his neo tattoo frenzy, sucking up anything interesting that may help him improve his skills, visited a local tattoo studio. Cap Man and the guy working there hit off well and decided to stay in touch to exchange experiences. Our wonderful bass player was even offered a free tattoo on the spot. It’s really like a secret society from what I understand, being a tattoo artist. They stick together globally and Chris is now very much part of it. Here’s what he has to say:

The Delhi Inkslinger Adventure

A couple of months ago I started a long path towards the art of tattooing after a childhood friend of mine said that he had loved my drawing style and art things since we were teenagers. At the time I was doing a tattoo drawing for another guy when he asked me “why don’t you do the tattoos yourself?” and I felt that that is exactly what I am supposed to do. (Same feeling I had when trying for Freak Kitchen).

Blog-Devils-Tattoo.jpg

At first it was totally hopeless to get somebody to give me the slightest hint about the techniques, but when I’ve made up my mind I am going to get there so I begun buying sterilize equipment, e t c. Not the sexiest thing to start with but really important. Everybody is so secret with everything surrounding the business.

Blog-Chris-The-shop-wall.jpg

After a while my brother came up with one guy who could and wanted to show me (after tattooing grape fruits, fake skin, pig skin e t c) and later thru a good friend called T6 I have met some other guys to mentor me that I have been visiting a lot.
I am always looking for knowledge in the tattooing area so if you are a tattooer and a Freak Fan or if you have a good friend who is and can imagine to mentor me, please write to: christer.ortefors@comhem.se.

Back to India! When we arrived in New Delhi to play at a club and have a press conference for Great Indian Rock (a fabulous rock festival) I saw a small sign saying “Tattoos” and I thought that I just have to go there and check out the Indian tattoo scene. After flying from Delhi to Mumbai and back again, sound checking, having trouble with the gear, waiting for hours (or “five minutes” as they say in India) I got about an hour to embark on my tattoo quest. In the dark Indian evening me and our local guide and right hand Abhinav Shankar went to the darker side of Delhi (hmm not that dark actually) and found our way to the shop called Devil’s Tattoo.

Blog-Chris-me-and-Lokesh.jpg

Inside we had the pleasure of meeting the shop owner named Lokesh who showed us around his tiny but cosy studio. He showed me a lot of his tattoos and there were some really nice black and grey pieces. Make sure to book some time with him if you’re in town. We also talked about different tattoo styles and checked out his machines and other stuff. He also offered me to come in later for a tattoo and that was a real honour since he is booked all the time. Unfortunately (but kinda the reason we were in Delhi…smile) I had to return to the venue for the gig so the opportunity disappeared. The next time I’m in Delhi I will go there again and get me something nice. Thank you for your time Mr. Lokesh, I had a blast and the gig… well… we kicked some serious ass together with the fine Indian audience.

By the way here’s a picture of the tattoo on my leg that I am doing myself, painful but educating. I will colour the leather cap and the flowers later.

Blog-Chris-my-leg.jpg

Chris

Heading back to the gig we got stuck in traffic next to a bus. All of a sudden its engine back-fired pretty good making some of the passengers freak out, jumping out from the windows using our car as a step! We thought it was another car bomb case, yelling at the driver to get the hell out of there. Spooky… (It exploded some thirteen times while we were in the country, leaving several dead).

Blog-Delhi-freaks.jpg

Did a couple of TV-interviews more before it was time to get ready for the gig. Praised many Indian metal bands that are really inspiring, doing their own thing. Despite the corny name (well, Freak Kitchen isn’t a heck of a lot better) Pentagram is a band truly worth to check out. They got a swell moustache indeed.

Blog-bw-Chris-live.jpg

Blog-bw-Bjorn-live.jpg

Blog-bw-IA-live.jpg

The Delhi concert was loads of fun! Björn played like a maniac (even managed to cut himself in the forehead with the snare drum, don’t ask how, bleeding on stage) and thousands of lovely Indians went nuts together with us. Had an awesome time, all three. Got into call and response-mode in between tunes, yelling Delhi! Delhi! Delhi! and Goodie! Goodie! Goodie! making the audience shout back. Everything was captured on video.

Blog-bw-Chris-water.jpg

Blog-bw-IA-smile-live.jpg

Blog-bw-Chris-IA.jpg
Whhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaoururuugghhhhhhhhhhhh is what I think we’re trying to say here. I think.

Thank you so much o you amazing people! We’re coming back for sure! (Talking about setting up an Indian Freak Guitar Weekend with Amit and RSJ. We’ll see).

Blog-signing-gtr.jpg

Went to bed after a fabulous dinner with our friends at Connaught place, center of Delhi and pretty much the place to be. Abhinav brought us to the hotel where Chris and I parted company with Björn and Sofia. I slept for a few hours before getting on the plane home with Chris.

Blog-Claudiaworkout.jpg
Er?

Blog-flightmap.jpg

Brazilians and Ghosts in the Machine

Back in Sweden. When turning on the computer and recording system to do a little singing one day in my basement the screen went all blue (I mean really blue) and I saw lots of files names from Land of the Freaks appear in not so charming DOS letters. Error, blah, blah, blah. Check disk, blah, blah, blah. I am nowadays, as a pragmatic man, the back-up demon of back-up demons. No panic, no panic. If something happened to (the very new and supposedly awesome) computer I would still be OK with tons of hard drives and DVDs carrying the same files. No panic, no panic.

Blog-Bjorn-Selvaganesh.jpg
Björn and Selvaganesh, two pretty groovy guys

After logging in I started the Ensoniq Paris system (which I insist on using despite various tempting endorsements from leading companies in hard disk recording) and went berserk when opening a project! On say, a guitar, drum or vocal track, rendered or not, what seemed totally random, a few seconds here and there had been replaced with something completely different, often twisted takes from completely different projects in tempos unheard of. I understood absolutely nothing and begun laughing, semi-hysterical. But again, I knew I had back-up and tons of it, so I felt a nervous breakdown wasn’t really going to happen (at this point). Opened project after project and listened to the often hilarious file replacements (but not so funny when having worked on the shit for this long time). A few tunes were untouched, thank God, while others couldn’t be opened at all (actually one project only). I had and still don’t have any bloody idea what happened?! Can someone explain to me how the computer simply goes nuts all of a sudden and associate parts of certain files with something utterly different?

Blog-IA-singing.jpg
Singing my brains out in front of Van Gogh

Now, here comes the tough one. I had my share of mad pleasure listening to the insane stuff and decided to copy over a back-up folder to make sure everything was in order. It was not. (Panic, panic, panic!) Same shit! How can this be? Tried another drive. You bet. Same shit again. The screw-up must be in the computer I thought, perhaps the software which I installed again. Didn’t help. Damn it. (Could it be the entire platform that is fucked-up? It seems normal).

When working on new music it is an extension of yourself. It is alive, organic. You live and breathe it every day. When the new music is corrupted or even destroyed I almost feel physically sick. I have to correct it AND, very important, make it even better as fast as humanly possible. That’s the only way I can live with and accept it. It’s a frustrating process but it has to be done. I am so grateful I have my family to give it all some perspective. Jumping in mud with Gabriel in heavy rain helps to calm the frustrated soul.

Blog-Gabriel-DadII.jpg

So I basically spent the entire week punching in tiny guitar phrases, fraction of riffs, vocals (a word here and there that had been replaced by… distorted acoustic guitar or techno drum machine beats for instance), pasting in a snare or a kanjeera. We are now back on track and this entire mess opened up a whole bunch of new creative ideas, believe it or not. It only got better but before you see the light at the end of the tunnel and realize there is stuff to learn from it all, as in most goofs, it’s heart-breaking and the spirit gets a solid stab in the back.

Blog-Gabriel-Dad.jpg

As mentioned above I am real interested to figure out what went on inside the binary domains of my HP computer. Ghost in the machine? Better ask Noak “HTML Dude” Eldh who is my Digital Guru. (You send me an e-mail at mattias@freakkitchen.com if you have an explanation. Appreciate it).

More annoying stuff for you. This morning before leaving for Germany I logged into the account tied to my credit card and found myself somewhat surprised. Around 5000 euros had disappeared. Gee… Called the bank that sunk their financial hacker teeth into the mess. Yes sir, someone withdrew a whole lot of cash in Brazil yesterday using my pin code and a fraud Visa card with my very personal digits. Great. The bank froze part of what was left after they found out, around midnight yesterday. Now I am drowning in paper work bull, police reports and whatnot to get, I hope, the doe back. Phising works… Caramba! The most bizarre thing is I sang The Smell of Time the other day. Part of the first verse: “Someone goes on a phising trip, your life savings vaporize into thin air”. Now, this wasn’t any life-savings but still good money intended to be used for the Apple Horn Abusement Facility, my new studio. Cash is king.

Gothenburg to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Bremen

Sitting on a Cityhopper plane drinking Dutch coffee on my way to the Musik Produktive messe in Ibbenburen, Germany. Stopping by good ol’ Amsterdam to collect some flying points with KLM and steal some food and drinks from their lounge. Looking forward to play like a maniac this weekend. Got my amazing (understatement) new Apple Horn Orange with thick True Temperament frets and a groovy Lundgren pick-up in the neck position. An instrument just can’t get any better than this. It’s basically playing itself.

Blog-Musik-AHO.jpg

Talking guitars: Itaru Kanno, Caparison and I are planning the next signature model to be presented at the 15th anniversary of the Musical Instrument Fair in Yokohama, Japan, fall 2009 where I will be present. With a little bit of luck the next Freak Guitar album will be ready by then.

Blog-Musik-Master-Laney.jpg
Yeah! Master Laney!

The wonderful Steve Vai sent me his signature Jemini pedal the other day. I really dig it! (Looks cool too). It’s to the point and real easy to maneuver. I plan to use it when doing smaller clinics (I only use the amp’s own tube gain when doing gigs and bigger seminars) and at the Freak Guitar Camp together with my AMT pedals. Thank you, Steve!

Blog-Musik-IA-live.jpg
Live in Germany

Prior to India I did a Freak Guitar performance at the nice and somewhat prestigious Uppsala Gitarrfestival where I got meet Favored Nations label mate and DADGAD-tuning brother Pierre Bensusan. Pierre was extremely nice and low-key and he plays (and sings) like no one else. He is really one of a kind. We decided to keep in touch.

Blog-Uppsala-gtr-fest.jpg
Uppsala Gitarrfestival

I was the first electric guitar player ever at the great festival but despite my electric manners it went down real well. The evening before my clinic I played at a neat dinner party and felt like a complete moron. I tried desperately to bail out of it but festival chief Klaus Pontvik insisted. Food and wine taste fine with loud harmonics ripping up your face and ears? Oh… Afterwards though the stunning composer, conductor and guitarist Leo Brouwer came up to my table to greet me and I blushed a bit I have to confess.

I was looking forward to see the mighty Biréli Lagrène and Sylvain Luc in action but Biréli never reached the flight and no one could find him anywhere. (Is he located by now, I wonder?) Luc played with Philip Cathrine instead who flew in with beyond short notice.

I also traveled around Sweden for a bunch of clinics, both electric and acoustic. Had a great time in Skövde, Kalmar and in Gothenburg where I abused Yamaha’s fine instruments (and was given a neat “Guitalele”, an ukulele with six strings tuned in A. Gabriel loves it).

Blog-Musik-John-IA-posters.jpg
John?

Waiting for my guitar in Bremen this moment. Bought a pile of interesting movies and documentaries in Amsterdam I hope to check out at the hotel tonight. Well, a few of them perhaps. Being picked up by buddy Reinhardt, one of the trusty PB international dudes distributing Laney in Germany, Holland and elsewhere.

Blog-Musik-Georg-Reinhardt.jpg
Georg and Reinhardt, fine German Laney distributors

Had dinner with the guys before jumping in bed. Now I am at the messe listening to a terrible vocal coach singing Walking in Memphis in four million different variations, all of them which suck, I am sorry to say. Forgive me, I know it’s a hopeless gig… (On the other hand I am now listening to an insanely talented pianist the day after so…)

Did my utmost to cause hearing problems to the fine Germans who showed up at my clinics. The Laney provided sounded insanely well. I will be back in Germany (Berlin, Hamburg and more) for Laney early next year. That’s the plan.

I was happy to see Freak Guitar Campers Peter and Mike plus their sons. Mike has this funny tradition to take a photo of him and me holding a photo of him and me every time we meet. It’s turning into quite a hilarious little picture. (Mike is bald and is using my strange hair on the shots). Gabriel also got his first Christmas present this year from Mike’s great kids! Thanks a bunch!

Blog-Musik-Mikes-kids.jpg
Christmas kids

Now the fair is over and I am on my way with buddy Reinhardt to a hotel slightly closer to the airport. Going back to Sweden tomorrow to the beloved family. Have a few days home before leaving for South East Asia. Will write more by then. Have four million flights and all the time in the world.

German friends, thank you for support and a tiptop couple of days. See you soon again, perhaps late January (we’re talking about it in the car right now).

One Night in Bangkok

After about a week home, working with LOTF and hanging with the family, it is time to depart again. Björn and I did a drum-guitar clinic outside of Gothenburg that was a lot of fun. Björn was kicking buttocks as usual. We did miss Chris, especially when playing a weird version of Porno Daddy as the Grand Finale (well, hrm). Kali Ghat, written by Jonas Hellborg and Selvaganesh Vinayakram, was also performed, synching our playing to their backing-track, all in 23/16. Thanks to everyone showing up!

Blog-Bjorn-clinic-Ale.jpg
Drum/guitar clinic

The captain is talking through the terrible speaker system on the flight to Copenhagen. He’s briefing us about the strong winds delaying the flight. (Still waiting to get airborne). I am happy my flight to Thailand is several hours later giving me a good chance to get myself and my luggage on the plane. Darn winds. On my way home from Germany earlier this week the bloody aircraft, a tiny Cityhopper, went sideways half the way. In Amsterdam we nearly blew off the runway just before taking off. Argh. Shit weather.

Blog-map-Laney-trip.jpg

Made it to Copenhagen in tiptop shape. Wind wasn’t a big deal. Right now I am at Suvarnabhum airport in Bangkok kicking back and waiting for the local Laney crew. The flight was fine. Slept most of it. The girl next to me was puking half the way and had very restless, stressed out legs. I wish I could have done something for her. A baby was crying his heart out a few rows from me. I wanted to hug him bad. One guy close was ranting under the influence of plenty of liquor. I wanted to punch him in the face. That was pretty much it as we passed India, part of Tibet, e t c, on our way here.

Blog-Bangkok-signing.jpg
Signing like crazy in Bangkok

Gee… Back at the airport trying to wake up after four hours of sleep. It’s 1:15 AM home and I am back into that Zombie State I just got rid of from India. What the hell. It’s a strange job and someone’s got to do it and yesterday provided me with good energy. The clinic was a blast, much to the fine Thai audience and the overall professionalism surrounding the entire thing. Almost had a Japanese vibe to it all (nothing is left to chance).

Blog-Bangkok-winners.jpg
Laney amp winners in Thailand

Got picked at the airport by my new buddies from Yamaha who distributes Laney here. The ride to the venue went smooth despite the fact that Bangkok traffic can be a nightmare. Got introduced to Jeff the Translator who happened to be a very tall and friendly Dane. Jeff has lived in Thailand forever and his Thai is impeccable from what I understood. He is a nice guy too, owning a blues club downtown. Hope to have a beer there sometime.

Blog-Bangkok-dudes.jpg
Yamaha/Laney friends

Sipped some coffee before sound check and an interview with real nice, dedicated people.

Blog-Bangkok-crowd2.jpg

Loved the sound of the VH100R combined with the best instrument I ever played, my new Apple Horn Orange.

Blog-Bangkok-IA.live.jpg

It’s funny, it finally feels I am starting to get a hold of how to play guitar. (I am not joking). Since Gabriel was born something has happened, can’t really put my finger on it, but I feel very relaxed and in control of the instrument most of the time. I take chances and don’t give a rat’s ass if I screw up. It’s very liberating and I never have felt this strong urge to play and explore a lot like a do. Mind you, I have been playing guitar for ages and am getting forty heavy ones next year. I am so grateful for this true passion for the instrument. (The leads on Land of the Freaks are quite vital, I think. Took a split second to record. The less I mess with it, the better it gets).

Blog-Bangkok-poster.jpg
Ego call…

Blog-Bangkok-crowd3.jpg

Anyway, I played this and that, even an acoustic tune on a CPX guitar to make the Yamaha guys happy (through a Laney A1 amp). Jeff did his truly best to understand my mumbo jumbo and it was nice to have him next to me on stage.

Blog-Laney-Jeff.jpg
Jeff the Translator

Blog-Bangkok-by-nightII.jpg
Bangkok by night

Q & A afterwards as well as Laney amp giveaway before an intense signing session. Also got a great Thai pottery gift. Wrote my name loads of times on the slick posters bearing my bearded, pagan face. Another interview before heading back to the hotel and dinner. Really appreciated so many of you showed up at the clinic. Loved it and will be back as soon as possible! Thank you!

Blog-Bangkok-airport-statue.jpg

A fine little jazz combo were playing as we dug in the food like crazy. Ate at the neat hotel and after a bunch of Singh beers and tasty wine together with the delicious food it was time to call it a day. Thanked everyone involved for a great night in Bangkok.

Blog-Bangkok-room.jpg
Slick hotel room

Jakarta Ballroom Frenzy

Blog-Jakarta-crowd1.jpg
Cool people of Jakarta!

Wake-up call from hell, quick shower, breakfast to go in the airport limousine and here I am now, waiting to board the plane to Indonesia.

Got a mail from photographer Lennart Sjöberg this morning with THE band shot for the album. We’re looking real mean, hehe, and I like it. Will bounce it over to Björn and Chris as soon as I am online again.

Blog-Jakarta--Chrisscreen.jpg
That’s the Cap Man on a big TV screen in Indonesia, if I am not mistaken

Oops, boarding is about to happen. Will write from Jakarta.

Blog-Jakarta-ballroomII.jpg
Ultra slick ballroom

Blog-Jakarta-ballroom.jpg
Same ballroom, different angle

Got to Soekarno-Hatta airport outside of the Indonesian capital and was picked up the local Laney dealer Pikian and driver. Construction work slowed down traffic but we got to the massive hotel complex in OK time. I was directed to executive check-in on the fourteenth floor for Very Important People. The floor was called The Level which sort of set the standard. (Could be a horror movie thing, like the Stephen King flick… 1408, was it? “Whatever you do, don’t enter… The Level… Unless you are Scandinavian”). Luxury room with tiptop view, all inclusive (but I never have the time to do anything included). At the entrance the car is searched with both detectors and mirrors. When you step out you are greeted by a dog, most likely sniffing for explosives. Armed guards everywhere. I am long way from Sweden.

Blog-Jakarta-hotel.jpg
Heavily guarded hotel

Blog-Jakarta-birdie.jpg
Birdie nam-nam?

Did a bunch interviews before meeting my friend Poncho (with Freak Kitchen key strap around his neck). Poncho attended the Freak Foot workshop brother Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and I did in North Carolina back in 2005. “Ponch” reminded me I farted in Ron’s vocal microphone nearly making Mr. Foot puke when trying to sing. God… I think it ended up he put a sock on it. Forgive me, Ron… I don’t know what I thought of, hrm. Good to meet you Poncho and share precious (ergh) memories.

Blog-Jakarta-interv.jpg
Interviews, plenty of them

Blog-Jakarta-Poncho.jpg
Poncho the Dude

The venue was a huuuuuge ballroom with huuuuuge banners with yours truly. (What an ego trip. Wish I could bring them back to my garden and hang them from a tree). My Laney friends told me they expected quite a lot of people to show up since the band and I am well-known here. Me? The band? Hmm… If the place would be half-empty it would have been a success but MAN it was packed! Freak dudes everywhere! I mean everywhere! Not a square inch left! I was baffled, stunned and truly grateful. Got goose bumps when I entered the stage and had a lovely, inspired moment on stage. My translator Choky did his utmost to make my oral bull understandable. A video camera guy blocked the view and part of the left hand side of the crowd went nuts. Needless to say I had to give them a short private lesson. Again, I can not emphasize enough how much I appreciate your enthusiasm and support. Remember to grow your moustache and be proud of the fact you’re Indonesian! Stay freaky, Jakarta! I’ll be back, hopefully with the band, soon.

Blog-Jakarta-laneysign.jpg
Now, how about that?

Blog-Jakarta-laneysignII.jpg

Blog-Jakarta-IA-liveII.jpg
Live in Indonesia

Blog-Jakarta-crowd5.jpg

Blog-Jakarta-IA.jpg

Blog-Jakarta-crowd4.jpg

Blog-Jakarta-signing-amp.jpg
Signing amps

Blog-Jakarta-crowd3.jpg

Blog-Jakarta-playing.jpg

Did a signing session afterwards, my friend Ade keeping it under control (controlling me, that is). Ade is a great guy working for Laney playing in a grind core band called Noxa. Check it out. Cool stuff!

Blog-Jakarta-thelevel.jpg
The Level…

Blog-Jakarta-Ade.jpg
Indonesian buddies, Ade to the right

Blog-Jakarta-Buddha.jpg
Buddha buddy

Headed back to the hotel and were followed by a serious police escort, blue lights and everything. The Indonesian prime minister was just behind us, apparently staying at the same hotel as me. (The Level? I guess so).

Blog-Jakarta-crowd6.jpg

Blog-Jakarta-bynight.jpg
Jakarta by night

Blog-Jakarta-IA-live.jpg

Blog-Jakarta-Chokie.jpg
Chocky the Translator

Blog-Jakarta-policeescort.jpg
Prime minister police escort

November Bandung Rain

Blog-Bandung-outsidemall.jpg

Now we’re in the car, passing beautiful, dramatic landscape as we get closer to Bandung, the city of the day, also on the island of Java. Rain is in the air and I adore the dark clouds hanging over us (I am of different opinion when inside a plane).

Blog-Bandung-Preangerballr.jpg
Before the show

Blog-1-Bandung-crowd1.jpg
The cool people of Bandung

Blog-1-Bandung-live-IA-2.jpg

Blog-1-Bandung-crowd3jpg.jpg

Blog-1-Bandung-live-IA.jpg

Blog-1-Bandung-crowd2.jpg

Checked in at the hotel after a couple of hours of fine driving by Anton the Driver. The guys made the gear ready for sound check while I did some Freak Guitar Camp work in my room and had Nasi Goreng veggie lunch. (Registration of the camp begins in February on www.freakguitar.com).

FGC-2009-banner-medium.jpg

Blog-Bandung-hotelsign.jpg

The venue at Grand Preanger hotel was another ultra amazing ballroom (called Ramayana) with a divine Laney rig set up. It’s always quite good for your self-esteem to walk into a huge hall and see a gigantic banner of yourself hanging at the center of the stage. Sometimes when I am out walking with Maya in the woods, jogging pants, greasy hair in pony-tail and no shaving for a week, I have a hard time believing these things actually happen. (Writing this is part documentation, part therapy). I am a fortunate guy and don’t take it for granted.

Blog-Bandung-fan-shirt.jpg
Nice shirt…

After wrestling a bit with the monitor which was phased out things got tiptop. On my way up to drop the guitar at my room I bumped into a die-hard Freak Fan who wore a cool, home-made Freak Kitchen shirt. Neat!

Blog-Bandung-electricity.jpg
Bandung electricity

I needed to get more tapes for my video camera so Ade, Choky, myself and company went out shopping on the other side of town. The mall we went to only carried tech stuff like cell phones and computers. Found some tapes. My laptop bag broke (too much shit stuffed inside) on my way here. Spotted a groovy black and orange bag. Tiptop! Bought some movies as well before heading back. The rain poured down. Quite cosy.

Blog-Bandung-laptopObama.jpg
Apple Horn, Bandung Laptop Bag of Doom and Obama

Tuned up, warmed up and did some push-ups before it was time to bend those strings. (Gabriel is funny when I do push-ups at home. He immediately throws himself on the floor and imitates me, making growling sounds. Ah, I love and miss the little man!)

Blog-1-Bandung-shirt2.jpg
Neat, home-made Spanking Hour T-shirt

Blog-1-Bandung-shirt1.jpg
Bastard from Sweden! Right on, brother!

Again, the ballroom was just crammed with people! I couldn’t believe it when looking out from backstage while fine, respected Indonesian player Bengbeng warmed up the crowd. Amazing! Simply amazing. Before Bengbeng really talented jazz bass player Indro Hardjodikoro took it away.

Blog-Bandung-Bengbeng.jpg
Bengbeng in action

Backstage, evil looking dragons were hanging from the ceiling. Would be nice to have when the new Apple Horn Abusement Facility is ready. Anyone exporting this stuff?

Blog-Bandung-dragon.jpg

Entered the stage after some Laney giveaway and was greeted with a wonderful Bandung roar! Took it away with In the Goo of the Evening, a camp tune that has survived after reworking it for the next Freak Guitar album. Then a bit of La Bamba, another camp track called Fork, then Samba Caramba, There’s No Money in Jazz, Little Bastard and other tunes, new and old.

Chocky did a great job again on the translation front. Laney for the day, a GH100L, sounded kick ass! At the end a guy in a groovy hand made Spanking Hour T-shirt gave me an Indonesian puppet that was very cool. His shirt was hilarious. On the back he had written my name and underneath Bastard from Sweden. Yeah! Best shirt I’ve seen in a long time!

Announced that I bought a computer bag earlier in the making people yell goodie-goodie when I screamed Bandung Laptop Bag of Doom. Strange form of entertainment.

Blog-1-Hendry-IA.jpg
Moi and Hendry, one of the fine gentlemen distributing Laney in Indonesia

I loved every second on stage, I really did. I am overwhelmed and so happy about being able to perform my strange music in front of what is close to two thousand people during my visit here. You rule! You absolutely rule. Can’t wait to come back with Björn and Chris and go nuts! Thank you so much.

Did a little confused jamming with Bengbeng and Indro to finish off. I think it ended with a short version of Smoke on the water, but I am not sure…

Blog-1-HongKongmap.jpg

Ade, Hendry, Anton and I got in the car and drove back for Jakarta since I had a plane to catch to China early next morning. Fell asleep in the car and woke up drooling. There was, unfortunately, not a spare second for signing session but we’ll do it as soon as we meet again. I promise.

Hong Kong Christmas Vibes…

Overslept and managed to pack my stuff together at the hotel in Jakarta, shower and be down in the lobby in six minutes. A personal record. Stuffed some (hopefully dolphin free) tuna sandwich and coffee in my body at the airport after messing with immigration and saying bye-bye to Hendry and his buddy. The visa situation is a big paradox here. I applied for a working visa but signed that I under no conditions was going to do any work, paid or unpaid, during my visit. I guess it’s, again, beurocracy as usual. Whatever.

Found my seat on the plane to Hong Kong. Going to catch some sleep (and drool, if I am lucky). It’s 3:00 AM at home now, so… Still on European time, or somewhere in between. They say the soul can not travel faster than one can ride a horse. Well, in that case, I guess my spirit is somewhere in the south of Denmark close to the German border.

Blog-1-HongKong-foggy.jpg

Writing about Germany I am glad to announce four confirmed clinics at the end of January: Hamburg, Berlin and two other cities (I don’t remember right now). Venues and exact dates will be up soon.

Slept and dreamt the sick girl from the flight from Copenhagen to Bangkok puked in my old laptop bag but I only found out way later, the puke being all yellow and rubbery with a gel-like consistency. Glad I got rid of that bag. Bandung Laptop Bag of Doom is what I am saying. Bandung Laptop Bag of Doom.

I have always been fascinated by Hong Kong for some reason. I think it is the way how the city is located, surrounded by impressive mountains. I wish I had more time to spend here. Only passing by on this tour.

Blog-1-HongKong-Christmas.jpg
Not so potent Christmas vibes here, no sir

Christmas music everywhere not creating the slightest jingle bell vibe for a guy from Sweden, I tell you that. It felt quite surreal to listen to Silent Night over a double espresso in the sun… (Main theme played with fake nylon string guitar sound on a cheap keyboard didn’t help). Hong Kong skyline is impressive though and the coffee was splendid.

Read the Washington Herald and was downright shit-happy to see Obama was stressing the climate mess we’re in, saying economy is no excuse for delay. God bless the man. Change… You bet. We all need it. Followed the US election like I never followed any election before, including our own. Got up early on Election Day and was relieved Barack kicked everybody in the butt. It does matter to all of us who is taking care of business at the Oval Office. It’s a tiny planet. What comes around…

Eating vegetarian food at the plane as I type this which is something of a Houdini trick. Being a veggie dude has its benefits when flying. I always get my Special Meal about twenty minutes before everybody else and can spend time onboard more to my liking. Will do a bit of reading in Zac O’Yeah’s impressive biography about Mahatma Gandhi before landing in Seoul, South Korea. Zac is the best and I am honored to know such a dedicated, humble writer. His book the Tandoori Moose is most likely the funniest I’ve ever read next to Tom Sharpe’s. Highly recommended (if you can read Swedish). The latest Slipknot album All hope is gone is playing in my mp3-player. First half is cool, second half I don’t get. I think it’s mediocre, unfocused. Fillers. But a whole bunch of tunes in the beginning I do dig and the production is top notch. From one thing to the other.

Seoul Hyundai Roof Garden

Now I am in the backseat of my Korean friend Han Seung Suth’s car and have just changed my strings. Bad traffic in Seoul and we have quite a lot of driving to do to get to Gwangju, the city of the day. Spent some time at the roof garden of my hotel this morning to film the gigantic city of Seoul. It’s almost the same climate as home, believe it or not, and the first snow fell this very morning.

Blog-1-Korea-Seoul-by-day.jpg
Seoul by… day

Yesterday I was picked up at the airport by Han Seung who drove me to the Hyundai hotel. Slightly hungry so I went out and found an open Seven Eleven. Called home and talked to Camilla the Wife and Gabriel the Son. Slept like a baby after that.

Blog-1-Korea-Han.jpg
My friend Han checking how close you can get to a Sony Cybershot without actually knocking yourself out

Blog-1-Korea-volvo.jpg
Swedish invasion, sort of

Blog-1-Korea-windows.jpg
Even Koreans have Windows problems

Gwangju Hiddink Continental Hotel

We drove through most of South Korea before reaching Gwangju (or Kwangju). Happy to have got to see so much of the country. Tomorrow we head east to Deagu and on Sunday back west to Seoul again, a nice triangle.

Blog-1-Korea-Hid-hot.jpg
Mr. Hiddink, I presume?

Checked in at the unbelievable Hiddink Continental hotel. As utterly ignorant when it comes to sports I didn’t know who the guy on all the photos in the hotel was. It was Mr. Hiddink. Mr. Hiddink is from the Netherlands and was a coach for the South Korean soccer team six years ago. He must have been very good because he made the team reach the fourth place in the World Cup 2002. The following Fifa Cup they ended up on the sixteenth place. Mr. Hiddink had moved to Russia. But he’s got a hotel named after him here and that ain’t bad.

Blog-1-Korea-map-here.jpg
Ah! I knew it.

It was a small but fun clinic. The language barrier is a little tricky but Han did his best to translate what I had to say. A teacher at the university was really interested in the Lydian dominant scales and its parallel modes. I tried my best to explain it. An old Young Guitar magazine was signed afterwards and memories from my first trip to Japan were brought to life. Oceans of time ago… The True Temperament frets caused lovely confusion.

Thank you for coming fine people of Gwangju! I’ll be back!

Blog-1-Korea-poster.jpg

Blog-1-Korea-clinic-playing.jpg

Blog-1-Korea-clinic-showing.jpg
Short private lesson

Had a nice dinner in the sky bar afterwards and a glass of great Bordeaux wine. Called Björn from my room to greet him on his birthday and also called home to talk to the family. Camilla and Gabriel were visiting my Mother Inga’s place. Heartwarming for a guy on the other side of Earth.

Blog-1-Korea-coldoutside.jpg
Darn cold in South Korea by now

Björn is crazy. He just wrote down the drum part of Meshuggah’s Bleed song for educational purposes (I also believe he thinks it’s fun, the lovely loony). If you’ve heard it you know it’s a nightmare figuring out the kick drum beats. Björn, you madman. Happy birthday, brother!

Blog-cool-drummers.jpg
Meshuggah’s Tomas Haake, a drummer fan kind of a guy and our very own Björn

Han suggested I spend a few more days in Korea on my next trip to visit and stay at a Buddhist temple. It’s a deal! My fellow vegetarians, we must stick together! We talked about October next year when I’ll be in Japan. We’ll see.

Blog-1-Korean-disco-fries.jpg
Local Disco Fries?

Clean, Crisp and Fresh in Deagu

This morning I heard Guns ‘n Roses Chinese Democracy for the first time and I really liked it (never been a fan or owned any records). Had to write Ron and tell him I am real proud he’s part of it. Despite the years in making it feels like a swell, inspired kick in the nuts and the songwriting is strong from what I’ve heard so far. Also happy it’s simply guitar infested with fills, riffs and solos all over the place. When a monster group like G n’ R moves it creates footprints, like it or not. Good for all of us guitar slingers around the world. Games like Guitar Hero also helps. (I suck on it though. Tried it once and failed badly).

Blog-1-Koreantruckstop.jpg
I am not really sure what is happening on this picture

Now I am in the car on my way back to Seoul after the last clinic on this tour. Tonight was a lot of fun in the city of Deagu and the G2 club. My translator was a professor in guitar at the university and at dinner afterwards we spoke a lot about odd time, traditional music and unorthodox tonality. The owner of the seafood restaurant charmed us all by playing a couple of Korean tunes on his groovy instrument (nobody could tell the name of). Drank a few Hite beers since the tag on the bottle said it was “Clean! Crisp and Fresh!” Hard to resist something clean, crisp and fresh when you’ve completed your mission and is about to go home for Christmas.

Blog-1-Korea-club-G2.jpg

Blog-1-Korea-professor.jpg
The Professor and you-know-who

As usual when finding myself on stage in front of people who are interested in the weirdo music I play I had a truly exceptional moment. Questions were asked, strings were bent, posters were signed. All good. Thank you inhabitants of Deagu! You were great!

Blog-1-Korea-clinic-monitor.jpg
Nice monitor poster

We stopped for an espresso on a gas station somewhere around nowhere. It was freezing outside. Midnight and I suddenly got a nacho chips with cheese craving that was easily taken care of since the urge for nacho chips with cheese appeared when I passed a kiosk that sold nacho chips with cheese. Yummy! Fat! Fat!

Blog-1-Korea-drinkchoice.jpg
Many, many drinks to choose from. Many, many.

In the car we went political and talked North Korea and Kim Jong-il. The border is only seventy kilometers from Seoul. The only country (or evil twin of South Korea some might say) we know pretty much nothing about except it’s got a potent military and you can’t go there. We also talked terrorism, religion, George, Barack (the North Koreans shut down all dialogue with the US recently to figure out whether Obama is good or bad for them) and other hot subjects over caffeine in the middle of the night. Han told me you can buy a package tour to visit the border of North Korea. Fascinating. No Starbucks grande latte around the corner. Nuclear bomb? Perhaps.

Blog-1-Korea-concrete-truck.jpg
I am really into concrete trucks these days since we just had one in our garden at home (for the upcoming studio)

Blog-1-Korea-open.jpg
Really?

Blog-1-Korea-shopping.jpg
Deagu down town

As we reach the outskirts of Seoul and Jan Johansson’s gentle Jazz på Svenska sounds in my head phones (the only album that never leaves my mp3-player) I have a peaceful feeling inside. I know I will sleep well tonight even if I don’t know where yet. Can’t wait to hug my wife and child again. A twelve hour flight to Germany and then a couple of hours more to Sweden. Piece of cake.

Munich Moment of Truth

On the plane to Munich, listening to the amazing Enver Izmailov tapping his ass off at the fretboard. Would be great to have him playing at the camp. Haven’t heard the guy? Check him out. He manages to really get his moustache through in a risky Stanley Jordan tapping territory. I am floored by the playing.

Alright. I think this is the moment of truth when I need to stop typing. When I come home there won’t be any time. Land of the Freaks, the Freak Guitar album, the arrival and construction of the studio, family, friends and Christmas will call upon my attention. (Can’t wait to sip on that careful glass of VSOP Cognac while decorating the Christmas tree with Gabriel to the sound of Dean Martin’s Baby it’s cold out there in front of the fireplace. The whole nine yards. I love it). Will invite Björn and Chris out for dinner since I missed Fryklund’s 40th birthday. A few more Swedish clinics and the annual party at the Fuzz magazine office where everyone who work for the magazine meet and talk guitar, eat, drink, talk more guitar and eventually scream our Viking hearts out to some punk song at the karaoke machine. A yearly highlight to be sure. That’s about it for the rest of 2008.

Had a great time writing this. To each and everyone involved, to everyone who attended recent freak gigs and clinics and to you reading this, on behalf of the band and myself: thank you! Have a fine December, a groovy Christmas (if you celebrate it) and stay tuned for Land of the Freaks and concerts following the release in 2009.

All the best, take care.

IA

Comments are closed.