Freak Kitchen Blog

Land of the Freaks: The Christmas Special

The rain is pouring down outside as I sit in the car with a sleeping Gabriel next to me. Mrs. Eklundh is at the veterinarian getting rid of a few stitches on Maya the dog after recent surgery. Just got back from a fabulous, fabulous Finnish tour that floored us all. We couldn’t believe the massive response at each and every gig. Helsinki was even sold-out on a Tuesday night (Kuopio might have been so as well). Stunning Freak Neighbors: you kick so much ass it hurts! We can’t wait to come back! Festivals and more concerts are being planned for 2010 by our great Finnish promoter Timo and Nem Booking. Thanks a bunch! Thanks a bunch! (If you got cool photos from the gigs, send them in and we will post them here).

So, finally Land of the Freaks is out there… I feel so relieved everything is going so good. (Despite Pirate-Bay times the album is doing very, very well!) The people at iTunes decided to take a vacation the week of the release, hence the delay. It is available now.


Roadrunner in France, a tiptop company in every aspect, released their groovy version the 23rd of November. South East Asia early 2010. It is hard to synch every company we work with but I guess it doesn’t really matter in the end in these interactive days. I am simply thrilled Land of the Freaks now has a life of its own, thousands of copies already sold, and not only living in my basement, the Apple Horn Abusement facilities. (The new studio is not done yet, but looking extremely promising. Intense traveling slows the construction down. No big deal though).


Avispa Music in Spain will release the album together with the French. Spanish shows next year.

Feedback so far has been overwhelming! For each typical anti-review or post (they will always be out there, no matter what you do) there are at least twenty positive ones! I am still shit-happy with the album and listen to it whenever I can. We are playing God Save the Spleen and The Only Way live now but will soon start to rehearse tunes like Teargas Jazz, Honey, You’re a Nazi, OK, Murder Groupie and more. I think by the time we are coming to Arvika and Uppsala the last weekend of January we should have a few more down.


Gigs! Yeah, we have done a whole bunch them even before the album came out. There was the Vätterfesten festival after the Freak Guitar Camp which was loose and fun.

I then flew to Romania and did a fun day of intense guitar playing together with buddy Guthrie Govan in Bucharest (Guthrie brought garlic. You never know… Transylvania just around the corner). Hung out with the mayor and presidential candidate Sorin Oprescu and all. Thank you Corrado and everyone who pulled this off.


View from the balcony where the vocal close-ups of the Teargas Jazz were shot

Guthrie the Garlic Provider/Vampire Slayer

Live in Bucharest

Hanging out with the mayor

Lovely Romanian venue

Guthrie checking out the Odeon’s construction

Buddy Gugielmo Malusardi and Govan trying out various local beer

Did four fun clinics in the south part of Sweden after that: Lund, Kristianstad, Olofström and Klippan. Big hug to everyone who showed up!

Then we dropped by Denmark for a warm-up performance at the cozy Banehuset in Sommersted. Chris and his Eaglestrike played as well.


The day after, delayed as hell due to a gps that decided we should go for a ferry that was overbooked and sailed once every second year or so, we played the mighty fine Guitar Show in Svendborg where I also did a clinic. Had electricity in my microphone throughout the entire gig which makes you stay alert, sort of. Otherwise it was tiptop and we’d love to do it again.


Two more Danish Laney Freak Guitar Clinics in Silkeborg and Hillerod. Lots of people. Lots of fun! More Danish gigs in 2010.


Happy to sneak announce the dates for next year’s Freak Guitar Camp:

Scandinavian Week 26th – 31st of July
First International Week 2nd – 7th of August
Second International Week 10th – 15th of August

Registration in February!

The mighty fine Kiko Loureiro, yours truly and Swedish rain at the Freak Guitar Camp

Had a weekend off where Camilla and my dear friend Niklas Petrus Andersson begun watching the ever so exciting 24, season 7, starring the mighty Kiefer Sutherland as the one and only Jack Bauer.

Jack, Jack, Jack…

Happy to say Petrus has begun recording his second album together with the wonderful Christian Alsing behind the knobs. Needless to say when it is done it will available from the online store. I know it is going to be fantastic since I know Petrus is a fantastic singer, guitar player and composer. When the time comes it’s a must buy.

Then, gee, I managed to turn 40. Gee, gee… Fled our house to my Mom’s place by the west coast of Sweden where the Eklundh family had a lovely time. Thank you for all the tons, tons and tons of birthday wishes on Facebook and MySpace! Took about two hours to read through… Sweet. (My sisters gave me a full score of Igor Stravinsky’s immortal Rite of Spring. Stimulating reading indeed. Many beautiful combinations of black dots).


The band and crew drove to Stockholm and jumped on the ferry to Finland together with two thousand other metal maniacs on the Sweden Rock Cruise. Had a tiptop time on stage despite the somewhat funny sound. God Save the Spleen and The Only Way were performed and Chris did his very best to make the ship sink with his insane kung fu Riverdance routine in Razor Flowers.

Chris + serious beard

Back in Stockholm the previous evening we rushed to the city of Västerås and our concert there. Eaglestrike opened and very well so. The gig was lovely, loose and potent. Afterwards we were in a damn hurry leaving for Norway and a diabolic drive (which is a damn understatement).


We begun the ride around midnight, drove all night, all morning, all day and arrived four in the afternoon in the city of Ålvik, slightly, slightly tired. Right. The glamorous life on the road. (Summer tires on the tour bus combined with snow and ice made it even more interesting. That Hardangervidda…)


Cool gig though! We had a beer in Björn’s hotel room after the bus was packed. I had hired a driver to take me to the airport in Bergen, some two hours away, while the others drove home the previous day. From Bergen I went to Oslo and onward to Paris where two packed days of solid promotion awaited me. The Roadrunner people and our old partners in crime Olivier Garnier, Roger Weisser and the other tiptop dudes know what they are doing.


I talked and talked until I nearly turned blue in the face. A bunch of DVD master classes for guitar mags were also squeezed in, Olivier driving me to left and right in Paris to various studios.

Good to see long-time freak friends and many new faces too among the journalists. I came down to the lobby after a quick visit to my room for yet another interview and was introduced to a woman by Olivier. Okidoki, shall we have a chat then, I asked as she said she was the lead singer of the group Within Temptation. Bummer. (What do I know? I listen to Dean Martin in my spare time for heaven’s sake).

Chinese clinic poster. Photo by Anders Treptow

Now I am sitting in Hong Kong trying hard to wake up. On my way to Taipei, Taiwan for a Freak Guitar Laney clinic there tonight. Tomorrow I will hook up with long-time friend and guitar design wizard Itaru Kanno in Tokyo and after a bunch of days in Japan I will get on the plane to Shanghai for clinics in China. Busy-boy, busy-boy.


In mid-October we played the fine concert house of Örebro where no distorted guitar had been heard before. Great crowd, great gig! Thank you friends and thank you Johannes Nilsson for having the balls to book the venue.

The day after we played a cozy club gig in the city of Köping that was beyond loose but hilarious at times. Eaglestrike played both dates and Chris is getting more used to fronting the audience every night.


Drove back home in the middle of the night to change our underpants and spend a day with our families before driving all the way to Stockholm and the ferry to Finland and the four amazing dates there!

Some guys in the band and crew decided it was a smart idea to party real hard the day before the first gig while more boring other persons like yours truly decided to go to sleep early and listen to the new John McLaughlin/Chick Corea-effort Five Peace Band. One beloved crew member puked in a waste basket to my great amusement. Way to go!

One beloved crew member…

After Finland we headed to Norway again. As “pragmatic Vikings” we insisted to fly to Trondheim and be picked up there and driven to the concert in Bjugn, the hellish ride to Ålvik in mind. Chris and Björn used local backline. I like to thank Poly-sonic Norway for sending me groovy Laney gear. Very relaxed concert and clinic before that. All good.

Free Chicken, huh?

The day after we hooked up with the beloved crew in Oslo. They picked us up at the airport, holding the sign Free Chicken outside the baggage claim, ergh.

Funny gig in Oslo at the splendid venue Smuget. Loads of fine Norwegians showed up and we had a terrific time! Norwegian buddies Per Sviggum from Musikprakksis and Ronny Hagen from Poly-Sonic hung out among others. (Thanks for the exquisite tuners Ronny).

Björn somewhere backstage in Finland

Sitting in a plane somewhere over the Pacific Ocean on my way to Japan and the Narita airport now. Listening to the latest Killswitch Engage album and like it. Feels like they combined many elements with great success and honesty. I am not a fan of growl verses followed by the usual melodic chorus and all that but I think this feels fresh, mostly because it rings true and not forced like so many other bands out there. Good stuff. I also liked the latest Opeth album as well as the new Porcupine Tree release. (As you perhaps some of you have figured out this music was sent to me from Roadrunner so I shouldn’t dwell around in Rat Pack land forever).

Nice Taiwanese Laney rig

The clinic in Taipei yesterday was a lot of fun with poor Jack the Translator doing his very best to figure out what the hell was coming out of my mouth. Thanks for showing up fine Taiwanese friends!

The 101

Visited the 101, the highest building on this planet earlier in the day. It was… high. In a few months I have understood Dubai will have a slightly taller construction but for now it’s the 101. It is quite surreal to stare down at what is usually beefy skyscrapers… and they are waaaay down. Filmed some nice footage with my trusty HD cam that might come in handy. Always collecting interesting things on camera. Life out there is more exciting than studio material, at least to me. One of the reasons we did not do a regular so-called performance video for Land of the Freaks which we initially intended to.


Starbucks and buttfucks…

Speaking of video. Hope you have seen the Teargas Jazz one on YouTube.

I am interested in video editing and filming and this is my first effort, a mere experiment and a fine way to learn Adobe Premiere and After Effects, incredible software, and something I want to do more. I adore anything HD (Blu-ray is a divine invention). The new Apple Horn Abusement will have a small video studio for tuition things, animation and such. I must thank Peter Kalander and Daniel Falk for pro assistance when I am lost in the encoding jungle. Your help is priceless guys and I will most certainly continue to bug you.

Be in my video

We have started the official Freak Kitchen YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/godsavethespleen where we will post shitloads of footage in the future. Subscribing is a good idea. Be the first to see.

Working on videos to God Save the Spleen and OK. It’ll take a little while before it’s done. Stay tuned.

I have also started the Apple Horn Abusement company that for now mostly runs FK business but later on also will turn into a production company. Hope to have interesting music released every now and then.

New merchandise available! Neat Land of the Freaks shirt made in the UK in 11 colors, the classic shirt in organic bamboo, Move the re-release, Eaglestrike, the tuition album Freak Guitar – Growing Your Own Moustache vol. 2, Mr. Fastfinger’s debut album and more from the online store. (Mika a.k.a Mr. Fastfinger joined us on stage in Helsinki and did a great job kicking Nobody’s Laughing’s ass).


Right now I am listening to a slightly hysterical woman shouting departure times in the speaker system at the airport in Chengdu, central China. Soon about to board the plane that will take me to Xi’an and more playing there tonight.

Japan was a blast! Itaru Kanno, the best of the best, picked me up at Narita and we drove to the music fair in Yokohama while we listened to the amazing Jeff Beck. Jeff doesn’t cease to amaze me. No one can make the guitar sing like him. I am a big fan. Big fan.

Itaru Kanno, genius and good friend

Ahh… The Apple Horn Yellow True Temperament

Ahh… The Apple Horn Jazz

Ahh… The Apple Horn Yellow

Kanno-san had put together an Apple Horn Yellow with True Temperament-frets for me and to be frank, this is the most amazing guitar I have ever laid my hands on. You don’t have to do anything. It plays itself. So good, so good. I am most grateful.


Insanely proud and happy a version of the Apple Horn Yellow will be available with True Temperament frets early next year. The first guitar was sold in a second to a big store in Tokyo. It won’t be cheap but if you want to own the best guitar you can buy, this is it. I strongly believe that within ten-fifteen years from now we will look back and realize how much regular frets sucked and how embarrassing it was we used it for such a long time.

Hooked up with the funny and cool Tom Tao the Translator whom I’ve worked with many times before. Tom is a lovely guy with a lovely sense of humor and I dig working with him. Pleasure to meet you again Tom.

Tom Tao, the one and only

Itaru told me he is thinking about building acoustic guitars in the future and this is stunning news. Needless to say, if Caparison Guitars are going to produce acoustic instruments I will be the first one to sign up. Itaru has a lot of ideas how to improve today’s guitars and when someone like him says that… you better believe it is going to be awesome.

About building guitars… Outside the fair there were South Korean laid off Cort guitar workers protesting for three solid days. Talked to them several times, even did a short video interview and was quite upset about the stories from the factory floor of the world’s largest guitar manufacturer. Not cool.

My trusty Kyowa Shokai Laney Amp Carrier

Felt good to have a Japanese-produced instrument, to have been at the factory in Nagoya and met the fine folks who put it together. We’re all hypocrites but whatever one can do to make the planet a better place to be, one should.

Caparison Guitar/Kyowa Shokai staff

I had an awesome time at the 15th anniversary of the Music Instruments Fair and hereby want to thank everyone for packing the Kyowa Shokai/Caparison booth each and every day, even waiting for hours before my arrival to get a grand spot.

Special Security Measures?

We presented the Apple Horn Yellow and the Apple Horn Jazz, the two brand new models, available from February. The Apple Horn Jazz is the most all-round guitar I have ever tried. It also looks insanely good with its wood finish. You can tune it in any way you like with its fixed bridge and it kicks you in the balls and stays in tune all the way. Itaru built me two prototypes a few years back and these guitars are my main song-writing ones. Lovely!

The best invention since the string: the True Temperament Fretting System

The tremendous Apple Horn Jazz

I was happy to meet my long-time buddy Takahide who always bring me the most tremendous gifts. This time I got me a beyond splendid Canon 12.1 megapixel camera! How about that!? (It is terrific, Takahide!) I also signed tons of CD-covers for the man, some of them really surprising how the hell he got hold of. (How many of you have heard my playing on Hans Lindell’s En del av bilden or Tornado Soup, two discreet Swedish albums?) Dedication, I guess. Anyway, thank you so much Takahide and for coming all the way from Osaka and everything.

Takahide from Osaka

Signing part of Takahide’s freak collection

I also got three inspiring tapeworm T-shirts from Shin, another tiptop freak friend since way back. (One for each person in the Eklundh family. Gabriel will look so cool and his parasite outfit!). Shin also constructed the Freaky Box a few years back, to be heard in the mid-section of The Rights to You. Great to see you! T-shirts = very appreciated.

Shin, the parasite clothing provider

Proudly wearing my tapeworm shirt

More Japanese friends showed up while I was in Yokohama: Mari, “J”, you know who you are. Got tons of gifts: Zappa books, The Black Page drum score signed by the mighty Terry Boozio, gifts to Gabriel and more. Overweight was around the corner so Itaru has to send it back to Sweden for me. Great also to see buddies Hiroshi Tominaga and Shin Nishuichi whom I have to thank for a lot of things, spreading the freak gospel in Japan.

A Bible to me… The Real Frank Zappa Book… in Japanese!

Cool Zappa tattoo (not mine)

Dear friends Hiroshi and Shin

Signed tons of Land of the Freaks CDs after every performance. (Die-hard fans who couldn’t wait for the Japanese release and decided to import it themselves).

Wonderful Japanese freaks!

More wonderful Japanese freaks!

Even more wonderful Japanese freaks!

Wonderful Japanese freaks again!

Young Guitar DVD shoot in Tokyo one of the evenings. It went down well, I think, but it is hard to say. I nailed ten tunes in no time, first-takes, to all our utmost surprise, broke down useful parts here and there before letting myself be interviewed by the fine Young Guitar staff. Photo session and stuff took place as well. Had a goodie goodie time indeed. Issue will be out in February.

Posing for Young Guitar magazine

Playing my brains out

Celebrated with two Asahi beers and some snack before dropping dead in bed. The hotel concierge came running as I went to my room. To both mine and Itaru’s surprise he was a huge FK fan!

Tokyo Subway Bird Speaker (yes, bird twitter is coming out to help you… relax, I think)

Billy? In Taito-ku?

Trying out my new camera. Taito-ku by night.

Argh! Terrible, terrible turbulence right now in the plane to Xi’an. The plane is bouncing in all directions. Shit. Probably the massive mountains under us causing it. Ah shit.


When I arrived in China I hooked up with Mr. Tong from the Great Wall, the Laney distributor here. Our plane from Shanghai to Chengdu was heavily delayed so we decided to go to downtown in the heavy rain.

Mr. Tong

Yesterday I did my first Chinese clinic ever and the place was completely full. Lovely venue; an old temple that had been moved from the suburbs to avoid complete destruction since they build so much new hi-tech skyscrapers wherever they can squeeze it in here. Beware, so you don’t loose who you are. (Think a lot of the lyrics to Dead Soul Man while in China).


Shot some video of me singing God Save the Spleen on the streets of Chengdu but had to look over the shoulder in order not to get arrested or questioned. Tricky.

God Save the Spleen

Better watch that blood pressure, dude

Signed my brains out after the show, slightly chaotic as everyone wanted a Swedish signature all at once. Had to even yell a bit to have them back off. Beers were spilt but after a while it was alright.

Music store signing (not the chaos one)


Live in China

French guys, Freak Kitchen fans, popped up when I had tea in a music store earlier in the day. They couldn’t understand they faced a gigantic Mattias IA Eklundh poster outside so they went in and there I was. The two dudes were in a band in Chengdu playing jazz. Weird.


There used to be a temple here…

Anyway, had a goodie goodie time in Chengdu! Thank you for packing the place!

Cold to the bone, Xi’an.

Next up was Xi’an where I missed camper Rolando by a day. (Wrong dates on the fk.com site apparently. Caramba). I liked the city. Quite cold but also not as polluted as Chengdu plus I had the most groovy hotel room with two floors and a tremendous view over the city.

Xi’an freaks

Slightly chaotic signing session

Everyone is very paranoid about the H1N1 influenza. Heat detectors are everywhere (to spot if you have fever) and you need to fill out various completely meaningless papers whether you have a running nose or not. (Yes or No). I have never seen so many with mouth protection before. It IS serious, no doubt about it and I am either lucky or have the immune system of doom if I don’t get it since people cough me in the face, snore and sneeze all the time. I also sign so many posters and CDs every day plus pose for shots, hundreds of them and it is clear that not everyone standing next to me is always well. We’ll see…

H1N1 influenza paranoia (in Yokohama)


Went shopping for the family after nice lunch. My chopstick technique when it comes to eating is average, not more. I manage to get food inside my mouth but it ain’t pretty…

Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig ego banner!

The clinic was tiptop and I could feel that I have done a number of shows in a row as my fingers and mind tried some unorthodox things, some of which worked out. Stephane the translator did his best to get my various techniques but had a somewhat hard time I think… I don’t blame him.

Loads of people and the biggest Mattias Eklundh clinic poster so far. That would have been something to hang on your living room wall… or perhaps not.

Beijing man made snow madness

Now I am in Beijing and the snow is intense outside. I worry about my flight home tomorrow but I worry more that the snow didn’t snow because it wanted to. It is all man-made by the Chinese government who spray the clouds with chemicals so it doesn’t get too dry. Agriculture 21st century style. Why do you think your tomato glows in the dark? So much for Christmas vibes, huh? Fucking spooky…

If you ask me, weather is not meant for us to control. It will bite our asses before we know it. (Watch out where the Huskies go. Don’t you eat that yellow snow. Only the snow here is all brown. From pollution). I shiver when I see the billboard signs for 2012, the new disaster movie. Still, no one hear seem to give a shit. Everyone smokes and everyone’s only interested in fast money, expensive cars and status, it seems. Stuff. We are much to blame in the western part of the planet for China’s explosive economical growth. They want more. Much more.

The bottom line is: who gives a fuck what car you drive if you can’t breathe?

Can’t keep on going like this people… We are all in the same mess. Last time I checked Earth was round so what goes around…

Sorry about getting all gloomy there for a while. The complete ignorance out here bothers me to the bone though. OK. Enough.

Got up beyond early this morning only to hear the entire clinic yesterday is now on You… Cool? YouCool. YouTube is not allowed here. Neither is Facebook and a lot of other sites considered repulsive or threatening. I don’t know. Whatever. Glad to hear the Chinese guitar kids are so interested in what I do though.

Now this was weird. Next to my poster in the dressing room at the Mao livehouse someone had carved IA… long before my arrival AND…

Mattias as well! Strange…

Went to Tian’anmen Square, the largest one in the world, and had glimpse of the Forbidden City in the blizzard. I had to go there at least once in a lifetime even if it snowed like hell. Chairman Mao was looking down on all of us in the harsh weather. Police everywhere.

When I think of the history of the place… I feel… uneasy. The Tian’anmen Square massacre back in 1989 and in the People’s Republic of China’s killing of close to a 1000 students and intellectuals suddenly feels close.

From PRC to food: had an absolutely gorgeous lunch after checking out Mao and his monumental place. The best food I had in China throughout the week easily. An all veggie place where everything looked like meat, had names like pork, ham and whatnot but was all beans, soy and other yummy ingredients for a guy like me. Awesome, just awesome. Cool napkins too.

Splendid food served here!

Splendid napkins too!

Did a phony video promo thing for something called Monkeyfest in the UK that we will play in August outside the Lotus Market in the falling snow. The Chinese stare at me like I am someone from another planet. I don’t blame them. Only slept for a few hours last night and look like a zombie or worse. Don’t think so? Well here it is:

After sound check I did two interviews with fine dudes from Guitarchina.com (the most visited guitar site since internet was born) and Painkiller magazine, the only existing metal mag around. Both interviews were swell and the journalists were well-prepared, asking intelligent questions, fun to answer. Thanks guys.


Clinic was good at the Mao Live House, a common venue for bands from near and far. Another French guy whom I met in Japan many years ago was there among the many Chinese string benders. Mr. Tong saved the day by stepping in for the confused translator who tried his utmost to understand what I was trying to get through. Thank you Mr. Tong and thank YOU, the Beijing guitar crazy person.

My friend Jens Johansson had just played there with the band Stratovarius so I dropped him an e-mail and told him I could still smell him in the place. It’s small world.

More Starbucks… it’s everywhere…

Finnair flight back home via Helsinki. Camilla and Gabriel will pick me at the airport and I can’t wait to see them again! Damn it, it will be good to hug them until they turn blue.

Ahhh, it was amazing to be back in the woods of Sweden with the family! This is the one place I charge my batteries and get some perspective on things. It took me about a week to really cool down this time. To get that you are actually home and not waiting by some gate to get on a plane. I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have said it before but I truly think I got the best job on the planet. I do have a tremendous need to be with my wife and son as well and sometimes the balance is slightly fucked up. Camilla is however the most liberal wife on Earth and we have a very good life together.

The mighty Chris

Now I look at Chris sitting next to me on our way to Stockholm and the final gig this year. Yesterday we played the city Åmål and it was loose and fun. Much gratitude to everyone who came to see us!

We are gearing up for 2010 with the new tunes, a few surprises, new backdrop(s), new merchandise. The last weekend of January we warm up with two-three shows in Sweden before Germany, France and possibly a single show in Barcelona. More Spanish shows (and clinics) as well as concerts in Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, the UK and Italy are under planning. Madrid in March I think.


We are also shit-happy to say we are playing Hellfest in France together with no other than Kiss the weekend 19th – 20th of June. More festival dates soon.

I am also working on an album with Jonas Hellborg and the absolutely stunning Indian drummer Ranjit Barot that’ll be out before a European tour (squeezed in between FK gigs) early March on Bardo Records.

Dancing contest, live in Stockholm

Glad to say we have a hometown date now as well. Friday the 9th of April we will play the venue Brewhouse in Gothenburg. I saw Meshuggah there a while back and thought the venue was terrible. So did everyone else and now they have completely redone the place for a small fortune. Open to all ages, which is important to us. Ticket info will be up soon. Feels great to have be back in Gothenburg where we haven’t played since 2006 if I remember correctly.

Using my beloved son’s toys on stage…

Now, friends, we are on our back home from Stockholm and an absolutely fantastic sold out concert! The crowd carried us all the way and sang the words to every tune. When I asked them to scream their butts off in the middle of a tune I thought my ears would fall off. Amazing, just amazing. We love you Stockholm Freaks and you can bet your fine asses we will do another concert in that fine town of yours. The entire band are so happy the final gig this year went down so insanely well. We loved every second of it. Thank you, thank you!


That’s it for now folks. Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Spread the Freak Gospel, take care, see you on the road next year, merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Thank you very much and goodnight.


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