Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ad lib Inc.

After a one month break from the music in March me and the solo band / 13 Chaos St / Inagone bass player Andy (Drake) Mallander decided to get down to the rehearsal and do some 2-minute jams in front of a video camera and put it out. We simply took a timer and set it to two minutes and when then time was up, the timer beeped and we finished the take nicely and as naturally as we could. We had nothing to go with in advance, no ideas whatsoever, the only thing we decided before turning on the timer and go for it was in which key the jam would go in. One of the main things was also to vary the keys. But not even the tempo or the music direction, or the style, of what to come was decided in advance. Pretty fun and stimulating indeed.

Check it out at my YouTube site.

I'm aware that it's not 100% tight, in tempo, in tune, the choice tones etc, but being all that is not really the point here at all. (I might also mention that we were a bit rusty as well, since we've had the break before, this was basically the first time we picked up out instruments for a month or so... But hey, that doesn't matter.) It's jam!

Both Andy and I (and our brother in arms, drummer Vesa Kallio as well) have always been very into the jam/improvise- (or ad lib, if you wish) thing, probably mostly due to Led Zeppelin, but of course the roots are in the way older blues, jazz and folk, I guess. But we do it in the name of metal/hardrock. I improvise almost all of my lead guitars in every band and project, and even lot of the rhythms, doing lots of improvised fills, which is an important part of my style, of who I am as a guitar player.

The thing is that most of the guitars and bass on the upcoming 13 Chaos St album was written and recorded as a jam and improvisation, a very cool way to make the recorded material feeling alive and instant. Again even here, maybe not as perfectly performed as it could have been with more takes, but you loose a lot of soul, feeling and personality in the retakes. According to me music should be alive.

Anyway, we thought this might be a cool thing to try, it's always stimulating with new things, stretching your own ability and limits, in this case when it comes to improvisation. Hopefully this becomes a tradition and that we'll get our asses down for more of these sessions, and maybe even inviting some friends along...

Hope you'll enjoy it, remember that this is real and unedited, instant creativity and performance, music in it's purest form. Not that common in today's way overproduced music scene.

/ PM

Monday, May 23, 2011

Experiencing my heroes

I really love listening to music and seeing music live, and I'm influenced by so many musicians, artists and bands. But if I do a rough cut and narrow it down to the top three persons from the very long list of my influences I'd say it has to be, in no particular order, Steve Harris, George Lynch and Tim Skold. For me a great musician must write good songs, that's the essential thing, and being a good arranger, having an own style and having skills on the instrument sure doesn't hurt either. Another very important thing for me is to be able to deliver live on stage. To be a cool, kick ass entertainer ripping live.

I've seen Steve Harris and Iron Maiden live many times starting, I believe, with Somewhere on tour in 1986. Since Maiden has been touring A LOT in Europe it hasn't ever been any problem for me to catch them live and I've probably seen Maiden about 20 times or more. Great live band, totally delivering every single time, even now after all these years. An experience every time.
- Steve Harris: Check.

Some months ago I finally got the chance to see George Lynch live. The first time he'd been in Sweden, or Europe for that matter, since around the early 80s I believe. It was live with Lynch Mob and the show was totally brilliant in every way. He had a great lineup with him including of one my favorite drummers Brian Tichy and Robbie Crane from Ratt ripping on bass and Oni Logan performing the vocals masterly, better than back in the days I'd say (and this even though he hardly had any vocal monitoring during the show, as he told me when we had had a little chat after the show).That concert was a huge experience for me and seeing Lynch for the first time, ripping off the chops in reality, just a couple of meters in front of me truly was a moment of revelation.
- George Lynch: Check.

The other night it was time again. I got to experience who I'd say is my biggest musical influence all categories, Tim Skold (or Sk├Âld as it really should be, in Swedish). I started listening to Skold when he was in Shotgun Messiah in late 80s and have been following and being a huge fan ever since. Even though he's originally here from Sweden I've never had the chance to see him live on stage. He produced, wrote and played guitars/bass in Marilyn Manson's band for some years but I never got the chance to catch them live, never been that huge of a Manson fan either, so. Anyway, now he's in this band called Doctor Midnight & The Mercy Cult (DMTMC), with which I saw him playing live here in Stockholm the other night. Exited as I was to finally get to see Skold live I must say that I was a bit sceptic about the band in the beginning, mainly since, as I understand, three out of five members (the guitar players and the drummer) comes from the Norwegian black metal scene, which isn't really my thing at all. But my skepticism was totally blown gone when I saw them live, when it all melted in together and fell into place so naturally and great. The band is fronted by Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby (aka Hank von Hell from former Turbonegro), not maybe one of my favorite vocalists but a true entertainer indeed. He's the best with the audience, throwing in funny verbal sharp-tongued whips between songs, so funny and totally entertaining.

The thing with the DMTMC music is that it hasn't really been done before, it's original and unique somehow, which is always risky and can end up either way. It should be impossible to be original and come up with something new in the music scene today - but these guys are fkin doing it! They manage to make a mix of styles that I never thought was possible. And getting away with it. I'd say it's metal, a mix with elements of black metal, good (catchy, if I'd dare using that word here) vocal melodies and industrial, but without all the sounds. It's straight and raw two-guitar metal with strong riffs with origins in black metal and I don't even miss the guitar solos (the second time this has happened to me, first time was with Korn, back in the duo guitars of Head and Monkey-days). I'm not that sure that I personally will be a huge fan of DMTMC when the albums comes in a month or so, might be a bit sterile and worked out for my taste, but never the less I respect them full out and do really believe that they're on to something here and that if they play their cards right this might get huge.

Anyway, these guys are a totally kickin and tight unit as a live band. Skold, in form of bass player in this band, is naturally given and rightly taking his space and spotlight on stage. This huge experience and way above expectations (which were really high to begin with) is completing my top 3 hero experience and making me a very content and happy man.
- Tim Skold: Check.

For me it's not all about making and performing music, it's also about experiencing music. Being influenced and putting your influences together to become your own.

/ PM