Sunday, January 21, 2018

Saari Gear


A huge part of me and what I do is my gear, the equipment through which my art is delivered. I mean at the end of the day it’s what brings out what’s happening in my mind, or soul if you will, transporting it into the real world and making it perceptible for others. I really need my instruments and equipment to feel just right to be comfortable, to be able to deliver 100%, and it's even gotten me so that the gear itself inspires me and pushes me on. So I thought I'll write some lines about it and let’s start with the most important thing, the guitars.

My favourite Gibson's, two reissue
Flying V's and a 1977 The Paul. 
I would say that Ibanez is the guitars that started it all for me, and I still have my two first Roadstar's left, by now very modified, or Saari:fied, and highly worn out and retired (Check out Saari History Part I for more on my early days equipment at: and today my main acoustic guitars are Ibanez. I then moved on to Gibson’s, mainly my Flying V’s, especially my dear Flying V ‘58/’98 Limited Edition reissue, one of my absolute favourite guitars, looks awesome and it plays like a dream. As for my Gibson’s, besides the V’s I used some The Paul's and The Paul II's pretty much as well. All my Gibson's are equipped with DiMarzio Norton humbucker at the bridge and either DiMarzio Paf or Air Norton at the neck, these pickups sound absolutely amazing in these guitars, especially in the Flying V’s.

Three of my main ESP Ltd Saari
Custom Viper's based on the 400.
In 2006 I got my hands on my first ESP Ltd Viper, a Vintage Sunburst Viper-400 with Seymour Duncan Custom 5 humbucker at the bridge and a Jazz at the neck, that I named "The Poe", and I was totally hooked and been so ever since. With it I did what I’ve been doing ever since with ALL my guitars: rewiring them to have two volume pots, one for each humbucker, and remove the tone control (-s). On the Vipers I also move the front strap button so it’s facing forward as on a Strat. I file a platform in the middle of the very pointy top over the upper cut where I screw the strap button. Pretty tricky, but I’ve done it enough times by now and it really, really makes the guitar hang in the absolute perfect position for me. So my Saari:fied Ltd Viper 400's and 1000's with the Seymour Duncan humbuckers mentioned above is pretty much what I play today.

My Gibson The Paul II
hand-painted by me.
Lately I've added some other guitars to the arsenal, like the Charvel Charvel Pro Mod So Cal Style1 with maple fretboard and floating Floyd Rose locking tremolo and Seymour Duncan humbuckers, which I like a lot and which was sort of my homage to huge influences like Adrian Smith and also Van Halen and other whammy-bar players, kind of where I started. Also some various ESP Ltd guitars that are not Vipers, like my beautiful and amazing Silver Sparkle EC-1000 Deluxe for instance.

I play pretty much steel string acoustic guitar and most of the songs I’ve ever written are written on one, even all the heaviest metal tunes. I believe that a good song should work with just the vocals and an acoustic guitar or a piano, that a riff should work on an acoustic guitar if it’s worth keeping. I have some Washburn and Ibanez steel string acoustics but my main acoustic guitar now is my Ibanez Artwood 250 ECE-RTB.

As you notice I’m not that into very expensive guitars nor am I not into old, used or vintage guitars, or other gear. I like new gear, I want to be the one wearing them out. That’s why I rather go for a reissue version rather than getting a many years old, worn original if possible. I love to occasionally run through and jam on some old Strat's and Les Paul’s or whatever if the opportunity is given, but that’s enough for me, I’ve never gotten more feeling out of a vintage instrument than a new one. The The Paul I's and II's are the only ones of the guitars I have now that I bought used, and this simply because they weren't made anymore and there were no reissues.

Though I’ve been pretty faithful to a handful of brands through the years I’ve never found myself comfortable with an exclusive endorsement. I’ve always felt I needed to be free to experiment, to be free to be free, totally unbound, and have therefore chosen to finance my equipment in other ways through the years.


Been running through many various Marshall cabinets through the years, and pretty many Marshall heads as well, too many for me to remember and in contrary to the guitars many of them older used ones. In mid 1990's I used my Crate Blue VooDoo 60 head a lot through some years and that amp is so totally worn out and beaten, but I still have it and I also still have some Marshall JCM 800 heads and 4x12 Marshall cabinets. I’ve always been into the sound of tube amplifiers, I always thought that they keep my tone alive and brings it out in its purest form. But then I also always preferred it simple, easy, smooth and flexible. And when I started playing more live and record in many different places tube-heads, 4x12” cabinets and tons of cables and pedals aren’t that at all.

Some of my live POD's.
I only use the XT and the HD.
In 1998 it happened, Line 6 POD (1.0 that is) happened and I’ve been running through various Line 6 multi effects/simulators/preamps ever since, I think I own every POD ever released. (Some more on that in Saari History Part II: I also need my gear to be reliable to be able to concentrate on the performance and I’m very, very rough with my instruments and gear, so they have to endure pretty much beating and these Line 6 products have never failed on me.

My Spider Valve
MkII HD100.
My dream was one cable from the guitar to an amplifier, I don’t use wireless, and one not too big floorboard with a wah-pedal, one unit, that is connected to the rig with one cable only and needs no power supply. So the Line 6 POD and the FBV Express MKII floorboard was, and still is, like a dream come true for me. For many years I used a Line 6 Spider Valve MkII HD100 live, one cable from the guitar and one from the FBV Express and it sounded really great, a bit buggy which never got fixed since Line 6 stopped updating the firmware when they stopped manufacturing it. Then after some tube problems and getting them changed a couple of times it was never the same again and was put into retirement (at least temporarily). The idea was great, best of both worlds, tubes and digital, but it feels like a half-completed product, a prototype. The first years of my POD-period I used to run the POD into an old Marshall head's return using it's power amp getting an awesome guitar sound, but tubes aren't that reliable and I got fed up with their instability, the tubes living their own life, having good days and bad days, came to a point when they didn't charm me anymore and it wasn't worth the time and all the trouble.

My live rig 2018 with the
Saari Custom 1x12" cab
I’ve spent a lot of time the last months, once again, on my guitar sound and rigg and considered upgrading to Helix or Kemper but they didn’t really offer me anything that the old PODs didn’t, on the contrary, the POD and the FBV Express are way more flexible, takes much less space and weight, I can even fly with the desk version of POD and the floorboard as hand luggage. So for live I’m now running a Line 6 POD Pro, the the XT or HD, through a Rocktron Velocity 300 power amp and that through my Saari Custom cabinets armed with Celestion 12” Vintage 30 elements. You need to put many, many hours into tuning knobs on the POD's and understand them but when there you can get them to sound awesome and the rig is simple, easy, smooth and flexible, and it’s reliable, and mainly, it makes me want to continue doing this.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Moving out, moving in

Official statement from PM Saari regarding Lizard Eye:

“I have come to the conclusion that the time has come for me to leave Lizard Eye. Not an easy decision after being a part of the band, and the band being a huge part of me, for over 15 years. It’s mainly the lack of time and energy that makes me cut the list of my involvements short and put the focus on my solo stuff. I wish the band, my brothers, nothing but the best, whatever they decide to do following my departure. A massive thanks to Lasse and the other banfd members, both past and present, and all the Lizard Eye fans for all the great times, of which there have been so many. I’ve had a total blast and some of the best moments of my life with you and I’ve learned so much. Cheers! So I will not quit music and you’ll find me under my own-banner, “PM Saari”. My official website is out at: and don’t miss to check out my first solo album, “The Opening”, that is out now, and both live shows and new solo-releases are on the way. Over and out. Peace. / PM Saari”

Besides our constant disturbance factor with he solo band, the race against time, we’ve been struggling with some issues that has made us postpone everything PM Saari Band the past year. It was all set off by some beyond our control canceled shows in the beginning of 2017, forcing everything out of phase and schedule. It however looks like we’re back on track now with our first live dates booked for 2018, both in our hometown Stockholm, on Friday January 5th we’re playing at Copperfields and on Sarurday February 24th at Medusa Bar in Old Town of Stockholm and hopefully more live dates will follow shortly.

The recording of my sophomore album, which will be called “The Awakening”, will start any day now, well probably after the holidays, and I will allow and dedicate whole 2018 for it to be finished, but we’ll see about that, with no deadline it’s always +/-. This time it will feature pretty strong songs, I’ve been working with the songs more into depth than earlier to suck out the best out of them. I’ve been rewriting some vocal parts and some lyrics here now, and put some even further work on the pre-production, just to push the quality up just a little bit more, and the songs have really turned out way better that I could hope for and I see that there will not be at all that many instrumental songs this time. There will be some guest-performance involved this time as well, so it might end up a pretty cool album. Looking forward to (or being scared to death of?) recording it. I have pretty much material written and demoed and am definitely NOT going for a double album, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a smaller release, some sort of EP,  before or (/and?!) after to the album lands, but we’ll see.

As always there are some other fuzzy plans for a handful of on-the-side or “off”-recordings in the horizon, if the time is given, and also some live dates as well, that with Järntrean (Fe2) and maybe some other various loose project (-s). We’ll just have to wait and see if the stars will align and if there, as always, will be time.

May you have the best of, and safe (felt uncomfortable, but felt I needed to put that word there in times like these), holidays and change of years.
And as always, RnR.

/ PM

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Saari History (Part III)

Mats and PM
In 1998 in the ashes of Risky Riot splitting up Mats Brodd (Risky Riot vocalist) and I decided
to start a new band, a bit more kick-ass and punky, more sleaze and less progressive. Burnitude was born, or Burner as the band was called in the beginning, but after receiving legal threats from a lawyer of another band called Burner I came up with the way more original Burnitude - “The eternal burning flame of ambition and love for what we do and our main ingredient in doing it, attitude!”.

Jan Viberg

We recorded some demos/singles with Jan Viberg on the drums but in 2000 Matte left, he moved out of town, way up north to live another life. I thought that the foundation we had was too good to let go and decided to carry on with it as a three-piece band, handling the vocals myself, which was a first for me. Soon I met and hooked up with, what became my brother from another mother, whom I came to share many bands, projects and the stage with for so many years to follow. A little bit later we were joined by Mats Öström (Moey) who was a perfect fit to handle the bass, perfectly harmonising and balancing up my and Vesa’s virtuous, progressive styles and keep it all down to earth. I wrote loads and loads of Burnitude songs, giving more room for two of my greatest influences, Shotgun Messiah and The Hellacopters, that hadn’t quite got though in my music that much earlier, and we released a handfull of underground releases and did countless of gigs through the following six, seven years or so.

Around the same time, around 1998, I was thinking about maybe start writing in Swedish and wrote a couple of songs with lyrics in Swedish and then I accidentally discovered what came to be one of my greatest influences, Joakim Thåström, and got really, really hooked. I’ve never really listened to music in Swedish before - at least not since I was six or seven when I was totally hooked in Björn Skifs in the end of the 70’s. Inspired by Thåström I got deeper into writing lyrics in Swedish and was surprised how great they turned out and how much easier it was for me to write in my native language.

I’ve always written lots of lyrics, I love lyrics. Many might not know it but like in Lizard Eye for instance, I wrote most of the lyrics, I wrote way more lyrics that I wrote riffs in that band. Anyway, I thought I couldn’t really put songs with Swedish lyrics in my current bands and project so I did what I always did, I started a new band/project and named it “Under” (the, pretty cool, Swedish word that is, meaning: marvel, under, during, beneath, below etc). I recorded some songs with, again Jan Viberg on the drums, and me handling the rest, and I went for Maiden style twin guitars. I liked to describe it as a mix between early Iron Maiden and Thåström. Vesa and I also started working on a second release, a full-length concept album actually, but we never had the time or opportunity to finish it. We never played live, which is pretty unfortunate since it was really great songs and a pretty cool a very well suited style.

These two bands/project were very important parts the process of moulding me into what I became as a musician. Those are the very foundation of what I’m doing today and will do in the future. In 2017 I made the tough decision to put both Burnitude and Under down, none of them having been active for about a decade anyway. It was time to move on and I would be implementing the unrecorded Burnitude and Under material into future solo releases, released under the PM Saari flag.

You’ll find all the recorded material at their various sites at:
Burnitude at Soundcloud | Reverbnation 
Under at Soundcloud | Reverbnation

You'll find the first part of PM Saari History here and the second here.

Moving on - The End of Burnitude and Under

I’ve always been very particular with not mixing different styles in my various bands and projects. I always wanted to keep them apart and rather start a new one than try to implement the material if I didn’t found it fitting style-wise. I love bands like Queen and Kiss, but I couldn't see myself mixing, what I, in my mind, considered different styles under the same banner, not to speak on the same album. Since I write different styles of hard rock/heavy metal/rock this led me to having lots of different bands and projects going on, and which of many actually were pretty much the same. Like a close friend of mine used to say about me and this: “The one with the most bands when he dies wins.” and I can assure you, I would have won, if not...

The other day when I was listening to one of my biggest influences and heroes, David Bowie, it came up to me that not many of his albums sound at all the same, at all. He changed all the time, and I love it. Then Drake (my bass player Andreas Mallander), who knows how much material I have laying around and waiting to be recorded under various bands/projects, said something like: “Why don’t you just record and put everything out as “PM Saari”, it’s you writing all the songs, and they’re all power trios with you on vocals and guitars, it’s all you anyway?” Some of them obviously has to be their own bands since they are their own bands, but this really made me think. It occurred to me that maybe I have been seeing it all from only one perspective, I hadn't seen the whole picture and to be honest, this lack of time and energy I live in is really starting to get to me. I mean, the more brands I have to try to market and sell, the more work it requires and with this lack of time it all ends half-done instead of putting all power and focus on just one (or at least few). So I realized the time has come to shorten the list of my bands and projects and implement them into my solo stuff and came to the tough decision that it's time to put two of my dear babies down, time to officially disband Burnitude and Under. None of them having been active for about a decade anyway. The legacy of them will live on but this is the end of Burnitude and Under as bands. Time to move on.

You’ll find ALL the recorded Burnitude and Under material at:
Burnitude at Soundcloud | Reverbnation
Under at Soundcloud | Reverbnation

There are however lots of great material, both Burnitude and Under, that never got recorded and released just waiting to get out and I will finish, at least some of it and put it out at some point, in some form, but it won't be under the flag of Burnitude and Under, but under the PM Saari flag. Actually one (pre-) Burnitude song has already sneaked into my solo releases and it's definite that one or two songs has made it into the next PM Saari release fitting as great as the tracks that I intensionally wrote to be there.
Burnitude in front of our dressing room at a gig at Klubben in Stockholm.

Watch out for Saari History Part III coming soon.

Cheers. Rock on.
/ PM

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saari Live Report

We’ve finally got the first couple of live shows down with the solo band and everything is really starting to fall into place. It should have been more shows down by now but due to some bad luck with cancelled shows beyond our control (we don’t really deal with “luck” anyway, so...) and various reasons delaying the rehearsals in the beginning of the year, made us sit out some spring dates. But now we’re on the roll and more dates will be booked right after summer. Feels really great to be so close to find what we have been looking for when taking the “The Opening” material into power-trio live-mode. We’ve always wanted it to be improvised jam and kick ass live action when performed live, yet keeping the progressivity of it. Not easy at all, but I really think we’re getting there. And live is what it is all about, isn't it?
Me and the boys delivering the goods in Borlänge.

Järntrean (Fe3)
Very soon we’ll start booking gigs for Järntrean, or Fe3 if you will, which'll be so much fun. You people can’t even imagine what we’re up to, it’ll be such a punch in the face - and sometimes I'm not sure we ourselves really realize what the H we have given ourselves into, but we LOVE it. Up The Irons!

Some Lizard Eye shows are down and some more are coming up. Really looking forward to hooking up with the boys for some kick-ass Lizard Eye live action after a summer break.

Any day now we’ll be starting tracking drums for upcoming solo release (releases?), not sure in what format things will be out or when just yet, but I have finished material to well fill an album, and even more so. But I do believe there will be something out before the end of 2017, probably not a full-length album though, it won't land until 2018 by the earliest. But we'll see. Some other studio work is going on but more on that soon.

/ PM