fredag 4 december 2009

Skagarack, Pretty Maids and a working computer!

So, the show at Amager Bio with the re-united Skagarack and Pretty Maids yesterday... was AWESOME!!!
Skagarack may not have looked like the hottest band on the planet, but man, they sounded awesome!!! They looked a little bit nervous in the beginning, but after a couple of songs they looked really comfortable. The sound was killer, Torben sang his ass off and they were all incredibly great musicians! Much heavier than on CD, too! Looking forward to hearing a new release (just hope they have improved a bit in the lyrics department...). They definitely need to do Firefest next year!!

Pretty Maids did an outstanding show! They also played a couple of songs I've never hard them do live before! Ronnie ALWAYS sings his ass off and always performs all the way without any cracks, Ken played great and their drummer is a machine!! A great night indeed!

On another note, finally, my computer is working! My colleague Johan managed to save most of my files and get the damn thing going again. A hard, but effective way, to get a heads-up about back-up...

Last week I picked up my new True Temperament Low Tune Strat (see pic). It's tuned to B (0.014-0.070). Body of swamp ash made by Eugen Guitars in Norway. Rio Grande pick-ups.

New interesting stuff:

EAGLESTRIKE - s/t - Freak Kitchen bass-player gone solo - great melodic hard rock

IMPULSIA - Expressions - Great new AOR w Marel Jacob (RIP) etc

URBANDUX - Eleven Eleven - Starting to sounds really good now!

måndag 16 november 2009

Mixed mastered and ready!!

Right now the Mountain Of Power "Vol II" album is being mastered by one of my guitar heroes, who also does a guest solo on the album, Ty Tabor (King's X). The test track I received sounded awesome! We're slightly behind schedule but the album should be out before Christmas anyway.

My computer crashed, my entire drive was erased, all my reviews, articles, interviews, lists, book keeping... everything... gone. At least it seemed like it. Currently my computer wiz colleague Johan is restoring the disc, and it's looking good! It's been a couple of nerve wrecking days, I can ssure you!

Listening to right now:
KATATONIA - "Night Is The New Day" - Opeth's got competition!!
CITY BOY - "Dinner At The Riyz" - Great (but cheap) re-issue
CITY BOY - Young Men Gone West - (see above)

måndag 9 november 2009

Yes, entering the final stage!!

Tomorrow knob wizzard Pelle Saether will put the finishing touch on the new Mountain of Power CD! After this, it's off for mastering by King's X stringsman Ty Tabor (who also does a guest solo on "Waves"). The mixing stage has been an interesting battle of the minds between myself and label owner/co-producer Joe "The Groovedawg" Romagnola where both our patiences have been put to the test. I think we both passed pretty unharmed though ;-). The end result is what matter and the album sounds awesome!! Well, what is less to expect from such outstanding musicians (besides myself, that is :-)). The release is set to early December and it looks like we will succeed!

On another note. The rumours of me leaving Sweden Rock in all it's forms is true. I have also been banned from the message board, so if you don't see me there, you kow why. I will have nothing to do with the festival nor the magazine.

Some new discs to check out:
The Psychics - s/t - Great bluesy UK retro feel!
Sherlock Brothers - s/t - New contemporary Swedes to check out!
Point Blank - Fight On! - Still rockin'!

måndag 26 oktober 2009

Change of plans...

For various reasons the plans for mix of Mountain of Power has been slightly changed. The album will now be mixed by my old friend and partner in crime Pelle Saether of Studio Undeground (he's also the lead singer of Zello, Grand Design etc). Pelle mixed the previous MoP album and did a tremendous job, so I have the greatest of faith in him (well, he's also mixed all our Locomotive Breath albums). Mixing starts Tuesday, tomorrow, and I'm really excited to hear what he can come up with!

On another note I can also announce I have parted ways with Sweden Rock, both as a writer for the magazine and as a part of the festival and I will have nothing whatsoever to do with them in the future as I see it now. Money does strange things to people...

New recommendable discs:
Plankton - Ocean Tales
House of Heavy - s/t
Freak Kitchen - Land Of Freaks

måndag 19 oktober 2009

Interesting behaviour...

I'm finally in the last stage of the Mountain Of Power saga - the mix! However in the last minutes we decided to add a couple more solos to "I Stand Alone", my rendition of the old Blackfoot track (a tribute to Jackson Spires). The track ends with a guitar solo armada. It started out with inly myself and Rusty Burns (Point Blank), but we figured we would add two more. One was Craig Erickson, oustanding bluesy player with a bunch of solo albums under his belt. The other guitarist shall remain anonymous, but he's a great guitarist that has released a number of albums with a great band! However when receiving his solos for the track, the sound was really really awful (sounded like a beeswarm in a tin can), but even worse - his playing was totally off!! At first I thought it was just me not synchinh the track, but no matter how I tried when it was in synching in one place he was off in another. He simply didn't seem to put any effort into playing the solo right. When my label contacted him he said we "should be grateful as he did it for free". Duuuh! HE has to live with it! It's him they will listen to, check his name and go - "fuck, he can't play". Now, I don't want a crappy solo on the album no matter who plays it, I don't use guests for their names but for what they produce. People like Rusty Burns, Thomas Larsson, John Norum, Thomas Juneor Andersson, Martin J Andersen etc have busted their asses and delivered solos that blows me away.
The ordeal with the "unnamed" guitarist was fortunately solved by the saving angel Tommy Denander who offered to step in and lay down two awesome solos in the last minute, just before going on tour with Dan Reed. ... and he did it for free for friendship's sake.
Another hero is drummer Ed Collins (ex Pod) who recorded the drums for three of the tracks. I was quite nervous when dropping his drum tracks into the already finished songs... and they all lined up and sounded 100 % tight, plus he plays like a God!!

I can't enough thank the people that have helped make this album what it will be when mixed and ready!

I also must thank label owner Joe Romagnola for arranging, fixing and sending the Univibe pedal made by "The Toad". It arrived in the last minute but made it into my Rory Gallagher homage.

Now I'm just waiting for Johan Blomström at Studio Sound Palace to do his sound magic!

Playlist of the week:
Plankton - "Ocean Tales" - Outstanding instrumental retro magig - again!!
Point Blank - "Fight On!" - They're back and they're bad!
The Psychics - s/t - Killer retro feel hard rock
House Of Heavy - s/t - New Swedish heavy yet melodic duo
Rufus Huff - s/t - Southern rawk the way it's supposed to be played!

måndag 12 oktober 2009

Recording and mixing

FINALLY - the new Mountain of Power album is slowly but safely coming together. Last week I recorded my final guitars and bass. Did it a bit differently this time. The bass was recorded with my old Peavey T40. Looks like shit but sounds awesome!! Recorded it to two channels, one line and one through a Pod. The Pod track sounds great, but the line gives you some more options. The guitars I've recorded basically with two rigs:

1. My Hughes & Kettner Trilogy head, through a THD Hotplate, through a H&K 4x12 (V30). On most occasions I also used a Xotic Effects BB PreAmp.
2. My Orange Tiny Terror head, through the same Hotplate and cab as above. usually no BB PreAmp here.

The guitars have been My Gibson Les Paul True Temperament, my Gibson Explorer 76 Re-issue and my Highway 1 Fender Strat. On the solos I've altered between/sometimes in combination, the BB PreAmp, the Toad Fuzz/Dist, Dunlop Cry Baby, Keeley Compressor and the Boss Noise Supressor NS2.
I miked the cab up with just a Sure SM57, except for a couple of tracks where I also used a big membrane mike placed in the room for ambience.

I've now received most of the guests' vocals, drums, guitars. All of them outstandingly great!! I take care of the rhythm guitars, one more solos in each song and bass.
Mixing will start in the next couple of days and will be done by Johan Blomström at Studio Sound Palace.

Here's a rundown of the guests:

John Norum (Europe)
Ty Tabor (King's X)
Rusty Burns (Point Blank)
Sven Cirnski (Truth, Bad Habit)
Jay Jesse Johnson (solo)
Clas Yngström (Sky High)
Greg Martin (Rufus Huff, Kentucky HeadHunters)
Conny Bloom (Electric Boys)
Mikael Nord Andersson (Balls, Roxette)
Martin J Andersen (Blindstone)
Thomas Larsson (Glenn Hughes, Baltimoore)
JJ Marsh (Glenn Hughes)
Thomas Juneor Andersson (Kamchatka)
Kjell Sjöström (Thalamus)
Joe Romagnola (Character)

Paul Shortino (Ruff Cutt)
Christian Rivel (Audiovision, Divinefire)
Maria Rådström (One More Time)
Jarrod England (Rufus Huff)
Cindy Weichman (Nail, Helix)
Mattias Osbäck (Locomotive Breath)
David Fremberg (Andromeda)
Conny Bloom (Electric Boys)
Clas Yngström (Sky High)
Mikael Nord Andersson (Balls, Roxette)
Pontus Snibb (Bonafide)

Peter Svensson (Constancia, Faith)
Ed Collins (Pod)

tisdag 22 september 2009

25 hours a day!

Well... at least that's what I feel I need right now! Everything was just fine up until my dayjob suddenly started taking over! It's been more like a well paid hobby that will allow me to dive into various musical projects, be it writing or playing, without having to put the economical aspect in the forefront. Just when I feel I am at my peak recording the new Mountain of Power, writing for FUZZ, composing for Overdrive, writing songs for "a big German band" and working on my third encyclopedia... disaster strikes.

Project Management
Two days before we're off to New York for a mixed vacation/Constancia promotion trip, my boss tells me - "I've sold a course in Project Management that you will be holding. It starts Thursday in three weeks and it's 12 days of lectures spread out over 6 weeks". Well, ok, ... thanks. It's been a while since I did had PM training, but as I'm still working as one, it would be ok, I guess. "They have a new book they want you to use". Eh... ok. I brought the book on my trip, spent a few hours reading it, to find there were lots of new things like Conflict Handling, Johari Windows, Feeback handling etc that were not really dug into when I had my training.
Ok, the book had several exercises... except that the publisher hadn't printed the Exercise book yet! The three days I spent planning the lectures, figuring out exercises etc was agonising! When I found out I had 46!!! students at the same time the agony grew even bigger! Not because of the amount as such, but because 46 students, it's not a lecure it's a seminar!! Fuck me!

Mountain of Power
The Mountain of Power album is coming on good! When in New York I spent some time with Joe and Sami at Grooveyard Records and we honed out some of the details. I've got quite a list of cool guests on this one, people I've selected with the song in mind, songs that will fit their style! Now I'm just waiting for the files to start rolling in (some already have). He's a quick rundown of the songs and musicians: (I'm playing bass, rhythm and lead guitar on all tracks):

1. Keychain/Bad Penny (Rory Gallagher) - Conny Bloom, Mikael Nord Andersson
2. Bedroom Thang (ZZ Top) - Clas Yngström, Mikael Nord Andersson
3. Waves (Resurrection Band) - Christian Liljegren, Maria Rådsten, Ty Tabor, Ed Collins
4. Monkey (Trapeze) - Jarrod England, Greg Martin, JJ Marsh
5. Talking Bout A Feeling (Mahogany Rush) - John Norum, Martin J Andersen, Tomas Juneor Andersson
6. This Kids/Reasons Love (UFO) - Martin J Andersen, Sven Cirnski
7. I Stand Alone (Blackfoot) - Mattias Osbäck, Rusty Burns
8. Making Magic/Makes No Difference (Pat Travers) - Jay Jesse Johnson, Mikael Nord Andersson, Joe Romagnola
9. Money (Leslie West Band) - Kjell Sjöström
10. Deadly Weapon (Trigger) - Martin J Andersen
11. Indian Dawn/Hellcat (Electric Sun/Scorpions) - Liz Vandall, Thomas Larsson,
12. Struck Down/25 Hours A Day - (Y&T) - Mikael Nord Andersson, Joe Romagnola, Ed Collins
13. Checkin' Out/Sister Madness (Ozz) - Mattias Ia Eklundh
14. Urban Guerilla (Sammy Hagar) - Cindy Weichman, Jay Jesse Johnson

Well, what can I say... I'm trying to keep it up to speed, but it's hard. There are soooo many bands to write about, over 2500. I'm currently halfway through the letter B...

For reasons I can't go in to at the moment, I have stopped all co-operation with Sweden Rock, both the festival and magazine, and will have NOTHING whatsoever to have with either. I'm still, with great pleasure, writing for FUZZ magazine and also Metal Covenant and Metalcentral.

Other stuff
I did a guest solo for a upcoming released by the band Ruined Soul, great heavy stuff! I also contributed with a solo, the logo and the title of the new CD by Grand Design (Metal Heaven). Check it out!

tisdag 9 juni 2009

Sweden Rocked!

So, now this year's Sweden Rock Festival has come and gone! Some highs and some lows. The definite low was of course the weather. Some shine, but a lot of rain, worst weather since 1992! Well, at least I managed to witness some great performances!
ELECTRIC BOYS - Awesome return! Great heavy funky vibe! They still rock!
ZZ TOP - Despite a brief blues dip in the middle, the trio prooved they are still the world's biggest little band from Texas!
THALAMUS - Outstanding 70s rockers with a way to short set!
GRAND MAGUS - Love their records, LOVED them live!! Awesome!
RIOT - Despite a little too much high speed stuff (I'm a fan of their first 4-5 releases) they still rocked! "Outlaw" and "Warrior" saved my day!
FOREIGNER - Sounded surprisingly good and heavy despite only one original's in the line-up. Kelly Hansen did a great job fronting!
IN FLAMES - The music was tight, heavy and really great, but man, the rambling between the songs was pathetic!
STORMZONE - Harv Harbinson was definitely one of the best singers of this festival. Love the man's vocals!!
UFO - The came, they rocked and they ruled! Classic riffs delivered with freshness and determination. You gotta love 'em! Lovely guys, too!
SEVENDUST - Another bunch of great people! Heavy as hell, but very humble!
Other notes:
HEAVEN & HELL weren't as bad as some said, but the sound guy should be hung, drawn and quartered. Where were the guitars?
THOR - Oh god... the man is a mystery. Was it pathetic or funny? He obviously has no knowledge of Sweden whasoever. "Here's a song about the Swedish tundra". Ehhh... say, what?

Now it's back to the grind. The promotion time for the up-coming CONSTANCIA release has started and I'm continuing my work on the new MOUNTAIN OF POWER. I'll keep you posted!

New goodies!
RUFUS HUFF - "Rufus Huff" - Outstanding southern rawk! KILLER debut!!
THREE MINUTE MADNESS -"Disgraceful". AWESOME debut!!! These Swedes rock!!
BIBLEBLACK - "The Black Swan Epilogue" - Holy crap!!! What just ran over me?? Prog-math-power-death metal of the prime order! Mike Wead is on the loose!
INTO THE PRESENCE - "Into The Precense" Rock? Pop? Ambient? I dunno, reminds me a bit of Danish band DIZZY MIZZ LIZZY at times! Great melodies!!

tisdag 12 maj 2009

Climbing the Mountain!

Now I've finally started working on the second Mountain Of Power CD. The plan is for it to be released this fall, and as I'm also working on a new Overdrive and two books at the same time, I'd better get started. Said and done. I have picked out a list of songs I'd like to cover this time around. But, wanting and succeeding are two different things... Like last time I demoed probably 20 tracks, of which 13 were recorded. The ones left out were so because I wasn't happy with my arrangement and felt I couldn't do it the justice I wanted to.

The songs I've demoed so far are:
MAHOGANY RUSH - "Talkin' 'bout a Feeling"
TRIGGER - "Deadly Weapon"
UFO - "This Kids/Rasons Love" - a two-in-one combo
TRAPEZE - "Monkey" (this one's for Mel Galley, who even picked it for me)

Next up are:
MAX WEBSTER - Here I'm not sure... I'm trying out both "Oh War" and "Here Among The Cats"
ZZ TOP - "Bedroom Thang"
SAMMY HAGAR - "Urban Guerilla"
DIAMOND REO - "It's A Jungle Out There" or "Power"
and some more contestants:
PAT TRAVERS - "Makin' Magic"
THUNDERMUG - "Hard Luck"
SCORPIONS - "Drifting Sun"
We'll see what happens.

If all goes as planned I will have some really cool guests on this one!! Some have already agreed, but before everything is settled and finished I don't want to say anything.

Currently listening to:
SUFFRAJETT - "Black Glitter" - Great female fronted Danko Jones rock 'n roll!
BLACK SABBATH - "We Sold Our Soul For Rock N Roll" - Great comp!
IMPELLITTERI - "Wicked Maiden"
FIREBIRD - "Grand Union" - Outstanding 70s style hard rock!!

söndag 3 maj 2009

Today's the day!

It took almost two years to get the baby off the ground (if you can get a baby off the ground...). I'm talking about CONSTANCIA! The multi-nation band I'm currently involved in! Geographically spread out in Sweden and Germany, but we still managed to get it together and make it sound like a band. Thanks to the internet and PhotoShop!

It all started one day when Token/Scudiero keyboard player Mikael Rosengren asked me to add some guitar to some songs he had written. I really liked what I heard. It reminded me of the good old pomp rock of the late 70s/early 80s, but with a modern twist. Melodic, a bit progressive and alightly aggressive... "melogressive", I thought! New genre - tadaa! Well, I started arranging and recording guitars and got more and more into the songs, helped out with some lyrics and did some re-arrangements. Now, programmed drums suck. I talked to my friend Peter "TrumPeter" Svensson, once a member of my bands Overheat and Locomotive Breath, plus he played the majority of the drums on the Mountain of Power CD (a new one in progress, but I'll get to that later). Mikael came to think of Jaded Heart bassist Michael Mueller and asked him if he was into it, which he was. We tried out some different singers, but after one test round with Andromeda vocalist David Fremberg (who had also conributed to my MoP disc) we figured he was the one.

Now started a year of demoing, recording, sending files, re-recording etc. At first we finished five tracks "Shadows", "Save Me", "Wish I Could Fly", "I Never Said Goodbye" and "King Is Calling". These were quite roughly recorded, all guitars done with a Pod XT, I recorded some bass and one song even had programmed drums. We tried different producers, taking on one track each;
Beau Hill - killer 80s producer who had worked with Europe, Airborne etc etc)
Pontus Norgren - Sound engineer/producer who has worked with Thin Lizzy, Talisman etc
Pontus Lindmark - Roasting House producer; bands like Cloudscape, Planet Alliance etc
Pelle Saether - Studio Underground founder whom I have worked with on Locomotive Breath, MoP etc.
Johan Blomström - Local knob wizz who mixed the latest Overdrive album

We of course also had to find a label! We sent out demos and received some great interest from a couple of labels, but they all wanted a finished CD to consider. We figured, ok, let's finish it and shop it around. However we had not even finished the recording when Italian label Frontiers made us an offer we just couldn't refuse. Some quite smooth negotiations later we had inked the deal.

Now we started considering who should mix the album. At this stage, as a late contestant, Mikael came to think of Fredrik Folkare, his former Scudiero guitar colleague who has produced bands like Eclipse, Unleashed and Siebenbürgen. He did a test mix and we bought it! It had all the elements we wanted - the heaviness, the fat sound and the ambience.
We now started re-recording all the basic tracks. Mikael had already recorded most of the keyboards to a click track and programmed drums, so Peter did the drums on top of this. I now re-recorded the guitars using my Hughes & Kettner Trilogy amp (miked up with an SM57 and a big membrane mike), Mueller recorded his bass in Germany with Michael Voss and David recorded the vocals in his own studio and at a local studio in Malmö.
It the came down to me to collect all the tracks, merge it all together and make it work. After getting all the vocals, keyboards, bass, drums and rhythm guitars in, I actually re-recorded some guitar parts as I had got some new ideas, especially since the vocals came in, but also I wanted to enhance some drum/bass riffs. I then added the guitar solos, all except one which I actually kept from the demos (not saying which one :-).
I then bounched down all the tracks, burned them onto a couple of DVD records and sent the stuff to Fredrik with some instructions and "wishes". It was an impatient wait until we received the first couple of tracks a few weeks later. I was quite stunned! He had actually exceeded my expectations. Besides getting a fat, big and great sound, he had added his own twist on several spots, which finally made us state him as co-producer, because that's what he did!
The mastering was made by Dennis Ward (PC 69), recommeded by Frontiers, and he did and awesome job giving the album that final push!
Now we also needed to come up with which track to use as a Japanese bonus track, and of course, the track order... At this point I felt I was way too "involved" to be unbiased so we let the label decide. The track "Wasted" will be the Japanese bonus track.

During the mixing period we also started thinking about the whole artwork thing. I had a couple of ideas which I made drafts of, and at the same time David came up with a great looking logo, which corresponded nicely to one of my ideas. The cover depics an old world map, a log book and a comapass. The title is "Lost And Gone", where the lyrics are really about the internet and getting lost there, but I though the world map, compass etc would serve as a nice metaphor. I also made a slightly different version for the Japanese release, adding a twist to the front cover (not telling what).
Before this we also had to take some band pics. Well, the geographical difference actually cause a slight problem, but we solved it. Three of us went into a studio, took pics prentending the other two were there. We sent them the pics, they had their pics taken with our "band pic" serving as a template (they used the same background, light setting, posing etc). Then David did his PhotoShop magic and here we are!
Today Frontiers will go public with signing us and that "Lost And Gone" will be released in Europe on July 3, in the US in August and Japan later on. We have also opened our (temporary) sites and
Check it out!!

Listening to:
RICK DERRINGER - Knighted By The Blues
ROADSTAR - Grand Hotel

torsdag 23 april 2009

FUZZ Guitar show - new guitar!

On April 18 we were at the FUZZ Guitar Show in Göteborg. Lots of people, lots of nice stuff and some awesome performances! Just like Sweden Rock Festival it often turns out as a sort of family gathering where you meet people you know but have never actually met in person. I bumped into Jonas Hörnqvist (ace guitarist of Trasure Land) whom I've known for years, but never actually talked other than on the phone and mail. Also met some of the guys from Hellspray, Vindictiv guitarist Stefan Lindholm, Disdain guitarist Gunnar Hård af Segerstad etc.
We saw the performaces of Freak Kitchen and Micke "Nord" Andersson. Freak Kitchen played a short 30+ minute set with some old favourites like "Taste My Fist", "Silence" etc., a GREAT set but far too short. No new songs were played as Ia figured they would be Youtubed in only a few hours. Micke did an awesome acoustic set with his interpretations of songs by, for instance JJ Cale. It's interesting to see a performance by somone you know well, have recorded and written with, but never actually seen in this context and with this type of material. Outstanding!
I met up with my friend Anders Thidell at True Temperament who introduced me to his new "invention", the B-tuned True Temperament guitar. Holy crap!!! So heavy!!! They are building one for me "as we speak".
Also met Hasse Danzon (formerly Johansson, singer of Million) who got me involved in their new, and highly interesting, musical site Crank It Up ( which will be launched this summer.

Currently listening to:
JESSE JAY JOHNSON - Play That Damn Guitar - Another ace Grooveyard release!
SAGA - The Human Condition - Gotta ger used to the new singer!
IMPELLITTERI - Wicked Maiden - No bad at all!
SLAMER - Nowhere Land - Mike Slamer rules!
TRUCKFIGHTERS - Mania - Swedish stoner

tisdag 14 april 2009

Back from Japan!

Returned back from a totally outstanding trip to Japan just a few days ago. Takes time to digest all the impressions!

Some things I will surely miss are:

1. The way the Japanese people show respect for their fellow man. No prejudice, no sneering, no looking down at others. Just a very, very friendly and helpful people!

2. The clean streets. Hardly no waste baskets, despite this people don't throw crap on the street!

3. No graffitti! You can actually see the colour the walls were intended to be painted in. No f**cking badly painted signatures, dirty words or amateur paintings. Nice, clean walls!

We met some wonderful new and old friends! Thanks to Naoko Furuhashi, Mitsuhiro Nishida, Hiroko Hayashi, Yasu Fuji, Mikitoshi at Rock Stakk, Yushi at Soundholic, Tomo Ando etc. You really made our stay a memorable time!

The interviews with Burrn! and Captain Wada went great thanks to Yushi and their great interpreter. I did some rockin' out at Club Crush where I played live to "Swords & Axes" (some of the stuff I hadn't played since 1984!). See below :-)

Bought almost 100 CDs and some vinyls! Had to ship some stuff by mail to avoid expensive overweight!

Air France and especially Charles De Gaulle airport SUCKS! Rude staff, totally unorganized and no sense of logistics and efficiency whatsoever!

The bottom line, though - Japan rocked and we will be baaaak!!

Current list of goodies:
1. FIREBIRD - "Grand Union" - Outstanding new album by this retro-trio
2. VINNIE MOORE - "To The Core" - About time! Good instrumental!
3. SAGA - "The Human Condition" - Strange to hear the band w a new singer, but it works!

måndag 23 mars 2009

Why not write another book?

Well, that's the question I came up with after having a meeting with my publisher last week. I'm in the middle of working on my new, third, encyclopedia of Swedish hard rock & heavy metal. We had a very fruitful meeting where we set up all the criterias for the new book.
  1. It will contain all bands from the first two books, updated, completed, corrected and all bands I've missed out, plus all the new entries. All in all over 2500 bands!
  2. We also decided this time it will be in all colour! I mean, with all these wonderful colourful covers, it just has to be in colour!
  3. All bands that are "related" or "on the edge" will be presented in a simpler way, still with members, home town and discography, but only relevant releases and no bio. This will weed out a lot of bands verging on punk, pop, progg or whatever.
  4. It will contain a listening companion, like Premium Publishing's other releases, a 4 CD long box.

We also decided on a deadline - the book is to be finished in December for an early 2010 release.

My aim was also to have a short "history of Swedish hard rock" in the book, but after a little consideration and thinking about what I wanted to include... it became a separate book. I am working on this one simoltaneously and it will contain:

  1. The history of the Swedish hard rock, from the first careful steps in the late 60s, through the growing 70s, the hair metal 80s, the death metal and alternative 90s to today.
  2. Interviews with high profile musicians, managers, journalists, labels.
  3. Excerpts from interviews I've done myself since the 80s.
  4. Unpublished photos and fun information.

The aim is for this book to be released also in 2010.

Listening to:
1. LION'S SHARE - "Dark Hours" - just put it on right now, so we'll see :-)
2. PUGH ROGEFELDT & RAINROCK - "Bolla & Rulla" - Hard rock? Hmmm...
3. THIRD EYE - "Hardware" - Great funk 'o metal feat Stevie Salas, Bootsy Collins and Buddy Miles.

torsdag 19 mars 2009

Japan - here we come!

Around this time next week, I and my fiancée are on a plane to Narita, Japan. After having been to the US (San Fransisco and New York) three years in a row we figured it was time for something different. I've always been interested and fascinated by Japan, ever since I ordered my first Lazy, Bow Wow and Flied Egg albums from Heavy Sound Records. Then when we (Locomotive Breath) finally got a deal with Avex Records in 1997 we figured there may be a chance to get our asses over there. Didn't happen. So, when planning our vacation my fiancée suggested Japan. Great idea! The trip was quite affordable and so are the hotels (about same, even a bit cheaper, than New York). Fortunately we have some friends to help guide us in this mysterious country (Thanks in advance to Naoko Furuhashi, Mitsuhiro Nishida and Yasu Fuji).

Our (Overdrive's) Japanese label Soundholic has set up some interviews while I'm there (Burrn!!, Captain Wada) which will be great. My friends Mitsuhiro and Yasu have promised to find us some nice record stores in Yokohama and Osaka. The only concern may be overweight, but there's always the option of posting some of the purchases back home.

Last weekend I spent in Stockholm with Micke "Nord" Andersson and his lovely wife and author Karin Alvtegen. Mikael and I are writing songs for his forthcoming solo album. We managed to get five songs roughly demoed and stylewise we ended up somewhere between early Aerosmith, AC/DC and Robin Trower with a twist. Writing with Mikael is highly rewarding!

The Constancia album is now mastered and ready, we're just waiting for some input from the label on which song to use as bonus track, plus we still have some band pics to finish up.

New recommendable stuff I'm listening to:
ELECTRIC MARY - "Down To The Bone" - Thanks to Joe "The Groovayard Dawg" Romagnola for puttint me onto this gem!!
ROGOSONIC - "Leave The World Alone" - Great riffing Americans!
TY TABOR - "Balance" - What can I say? Ty rules as always!!
COLDSPELL - "Infinite Stargaze" - One of the best releases so far this year!

fredag 27 februari 2009

Interesting problem...

We've just recorded an album with the band CONSTANCIA where the members live in Sweden (Malmö, Stockholm, Karlshamn and Mörrum) and Germany (Münster). We've also just signed a deal with a great Italian label! Now, the twist to the story is that all the members have actually never met! For instance the drummer and singer have never met the bass player and vice versa. The singer hasn't met the keyboard player. Still I think we've really managed to get a great band-feel to the album, basically because we have recorded and then re-recorded some stuff to adjust to what someone else has recorded. I re-recorded a lot of my guitars for the third time after all the vocals were done. It has really paid off!
Now, here comes the tricky bit! The label now want 10 band pics! Uhuh... We managed to get it down to five at this stage, but we still have to fix 5 band pics! So, this weekend I, the drummer and the singer will meet and take a bunch of pics which we will then send to the drummer and keyboard player so they can have their photos taken in the same style and with the same background (preferably white...) and try to "pose" to make it fit with our pics. After this our singer David (who is great at Photoshop) will merge us all together and fix 5 band pics!
The beauty of today's technology :-)

Currently listening to:
CLUTCH - "From Beale Street To Oblivion" - Great riffage!!
COLDSPELL - "Infinite Stargaze" - Swedish debut of the year so far!
BLACK PEARL - s/t - Lisa Tingle rules!!
BLACK SABBATH - "Tyr" - Not their best, but just had to listen to it again

onsdag 18 februari 2009

Swedish metal (or not....?)

I'm currently, besides recording a zillion albums and writing for the mags, working on my third encyclopedia of Swedish Hard Rock 6 Heavy Metal. I've come across a shitload of Swedish bands from the 70-90s I seem to have missed out since Vol 2. I've been quite "generous" in my decisions of what should be included and what should not. Some have critizised me for being "too kind", meaning this and that band is not heavy enough to be featured. Well, I've basically been using collectors as a base for what to include. However now it seems the borders have been even more stretched. Especially by people selling records. "Super rare Swedish metal, not even in the book" it said about one record I had actually excluded because it was not hard rock. Yes, it had the occasional distorted guitar, but the music was pop/disco. I recently came across web auctions with another bunch of stuff I had missed out on, all of them labeled as "Swedish metal/hard rock". I contacted the guy who was nice enough to let me come to his home and check out the stuff. I ended up buying five singles, of which one clearly made it into the book, while the others were borderline cases which I finally decided to include. The rest of the stuff however did not pass the needle's eye. Still - he labeled them "hard rock/metal" and the prices I can assure you were quite outrageous. Some of them were simply rock or power pop, not even AOR. If I had bought these records unheard this guy would have received quite an irritated mail from me, I can assure you.

"Rare" is not the same as "great" and I'm a bit tired of people stirring up interest and prices for stuff that obviously sucks, just because the band only sold 5 copies and threw away the rest of them because noone was interested. There ARE gems out there, but this type of bahaviour makes it harder to find (or chance) on those gems.

Well, I've found some really good stuff that were hiding under the bushes :-)

Current Swedish finds:

VON PANZER - s/t - Great heavies!

COLDSPELL - "Infinite Stargazer" - Great heavy melodic

ADAMS EVE - s/t - Great Extreme type funkish harc rock

JOKE - two albums out!

onsdag 11 februari 2009

The pre-mix/demo disease

Right now the CONSTANCIA album is being mixed by Fredrik Folkare. We have just received the first version and it sounds awesome! However there's always one disturbing thing, which is my own fault. When I've finished a recording I make a, very rough and very raw, pre-mix. It's not even worth calling a mix actually, more like getting the levels up, some odd delay and compressor on some tracks. It's more of a rough mix I do to check that everything sounds fine before the final mix. Sitting in the mixing room and finding out parts are missing, files are corrupt or there are clicks on the tracks, is not good (to put it mildly). So, I compile all the tracks, clean them up, bounce them to one nice file per track starting at the same starting-point. Then I mix it down to a track, burn it onto a CD and listen the hell out of it to detect and remove any errors before it's too late.
The problem is, when I get the final mix my brain is so set on the pre-mix sound I tend to listen for the wrong things. I've grown to love that really dry and in your face sound, so when I get the final mix I need at least 4-5 times before I "adjust" and reset my brain. Then I can listen unbiased.
It sort of the same way with demo-solos. Some of the best guitar solos are on demos and it's totally impossible to recreate them in the studio. Therefore I now always record the demos with a proper solo sound and to a click, so it's possible to use it in the final recording. Sometimes you get that special feel, tone, lick or whatever that just seems impossible to recreate.

Favourites of the week:
WOLF - Devour - Classic metal!
OPETH - Watershed - Damn this is a great album!!
BLACK PEARL - s/t - Forgotten gemm with Lisa Tingle on vox!
IL ROVESIO DELLA MEDAGLIA - Io Come Io - Killer Italian prog!

torsdag 29 januari 2009

No More Reviews...

Ok, after some consideration I have now taken a decision. I understand the recording business have struggled long and hard with idiots uploading CDs on torrents, before they have even been released. They have tried adding voice-overs, cutting tracks etc, but the problem is for us who are trying to review the albums. These things are highly annoying. Cutting the tracks short is like giving me a book where the final pages of each chapter have been ripped out. Voice-overs makes me wanna turn off the CD and throw it away and it doesn't help giving a good impression of the CD.

So, the new deal is that we now have to get a downloading account for each label, log in, download each new album track-by-track, burn a CD-R ourselves and print out the cover/promo sheet and review. THIS SUCKS!!
In most cases I don't get paid for reviews, and now I don't even get a CD for my efforts. Why should I put my time and effort into helping a label/band to sell their CD when I have to pay for it myself and don't get nothing (but a bunch of mp3:s...)? I have taken the decision that I will only review CDs I eith get a promo/copy of OR if the label will send me a proper copy after the review has been published. I have much better things to do with my time!

Listening to:
ANDROMEDA - "The Immunity Zone" - The prog masters have done it again"
CRUCIFIED BARBARA - "Til Death Do Us Party" - AWESOME! Heavy gritty ballsy metal!!
ADD - "Elements Of Emptieness" - Great new US band!

måndag 26 januari 2009

The pros and cons of having the studio at home

I have my own studio at home. It's no grande pro equipment, just the stuff sufficient enough to record guitars and, if needed, vocals. When I demo stuff I just plug in the POD XT and I cand go all night. It's quick and dirty, but the sound is good enough. I often use it when I sit and noodle around with solos for records I'm working on. Some of them have actually stuck and ended up on an album. I do admit when comparing the sound to recording with a miked up Hughes & Kettner there are a lot of frequenzies missing.
To the point, the pros about having a studio at home is I can write, demo and record whenever I feel inspired, be it 8 in the morning or 2 at night. I can go on for a couple of ours, take a break and watch some TV, eat or go out in the garden, my own garden. This is quite refreshing compared to being locked in a studio with the pressure to perform all the time, seeing the clock (= money) tick away.
On the con side, I have a tendency to overwork things. I'm currently working on the Constancia album, and to be honest I think I've re-recorded the rhythm guitars three times in some songs, I hopa dn believe it's all for the better. Yesterday I received the final vocal files from David and when adding them and listening back to the complete songs with vocals I felt, hmmm... maybe I should change that solo to do something cool together with the vocals? Knowing myself I know exactly what to do tonight (before and/or after I've interviewed Herman Frank for FUZZ that is). It's hard to put the foot to the floor and say stop when the possibility is right before you. I guess we all chase for perfection. Well, as long as someone sets a deadline it works out.
When this is done I will start working on the new Mountain of Power album. Yes, I have a sort-of deadline on this one, so I can't really keep noodling around too long. Tempting though :-)

Listening to:
HERMAN FRANK - "Loyal To None" - Not bad at all! Classic Acceptish metal
STORM - "II" - Re-issue of the female fronted US band. Great forgotten gem! Thanks Rock Candy!
SANTERS - "Top Secrecy" - Another band that deserves to be resurrected!
STEFAN ROSQVIST BAND - "The Guitar Diaries" - Great Swedish player!

onsdag 7 januari 2009

Recording guitars at 4.00 in the morning...

Christmas is over, new years eve has passed and I have finally recorded all the guitars for the upcoming Constancia album! I decided to try and give each song its own vibe and sound (which will of course be of great joy for the mixing engineer, hehe). I've used my Hughes & Kettner Trilogy with a H&K 4x12 cab (Vintage 30 speakers), miked with a Shure SM57 up close and a big membrane AKG at a distance. I've basically laid down two rhythm guitars with two tracks each for each song. Plus additional lead and harmony guitars. Some clean guitars I did with a Pod XT. Saturday night I recorded acoustic guitars until 4 in the morning. I used my old Washburn steel string, miked it with the same two microphones. It came out sounding pretty good I think. The only problem playing and recording yourself, is I have to sit by the computer to be able to record/stop etc without having to run back and forth. Plus I need to maintain the same position for the sound to be consistent. As the mikes are really sensitive, eeven though I have really tight and good headphones, I had to turn the sound (click in particular) down really low for it not to leak into the recording.
David has finished the vocals, too, so now I'm just waiting for the vocal files and I will have a listen to it all to see if anything needs to be added. It's really exiting to hear how it's developed since the first demos. It's so much fatter and heavier now. Feels great!
Me and singer David Fremberg have also been collaborating on a cover which can be quite cool, too.
So, life is good, and tonight my girlfriend's back from England :-)

Listening to:
Sky High - "Download" - Heavy blues rock the way it's supposed to be played
Rob Johnson - "Shredworx" - Great collection of Rob's nice shredding
Coney Hatch - "Friction" - What's up with Canada and all their great bands?
Santers - 4-CD box - Finally got this Japan release! Another great Canadian band!