It’s all go now on the Anekdoten front with just three weeks to go before the three shows in Sweden. I’ve been rehearsing the songs by myself and with guitarist/singer Nicklas on Skype before I go to Sweden to rehearse with the band. The thing about Anekdoten is that the songs you know need serious practice to get back up to speed. It’s more like studying than practice. For example, you have to use certain fingers to play certain riffs so you can get to the next riff, if you didn’t have a little finger you couldn’t be in this band – and then there’s the odd time signatures. Happily, you don’t have to be a speed king to play guitar in Anekdoten which is a result for a band that has been called ‘progressive metal’, but it’s much more than that. In the same way that King Crimson can be brazen and melodic, edgy and soft, ugly and beautiful, Anekdoten also take you through these stages, experimenting whilst inventing classic riffs. What a challenge it is to play with them and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
So I’m looking down at my gear and wondering what do I need for the Swedish shows. I have gear there, a Fender Hot Rod DeVille like the one I recently bought to have in Portugal and I use Nicklas’ Peavey combo for the stereo setup. I have a small pedalboard which I will add to from here. I can’t take everything I want because of all the excess baggage costs. I would love to take my Ibanez UE405 multi-effects and my bigger pedalboard in their road cases but as I’m taking a guitar too, it’s going to be too much to carry. When we play in Spain in September, we will be able to drive there and I will be able to take all these things.
In Anekdoten I originally played my Jazzmaster but we decided that the sound of that guitar wasn’t right for this band so the last show I played in Norway I played bass player/singer Jan Erik’s Les Paul, it made quite a difference sonically. I do have my own Les Paul but I’m not really comfortable with it as my main guitar – it’s too heavy, the body is too small and it has no tremolo bar. Although it does a fantastic job of being a Les Paul, it doesn’t do much else despite my model having M3 electronics and a single coil pick up in between the humbuckers that allegedly brings it closer to a Strat sound, should you want your Les Paul to do that. In truth, it might sound more like some Strats but not mine. Still, having the single-coil gives you choices I suppose. In the studio it’s a cool extra tool, live it’s like wielding a crate of melons and my model is supposed to be lighter which I can’t imagine based on its weight.
So, I’m taking my Strat to Sweden as a compromise between the Jazzmaster and the Les Paul. It has a great sound, it’s wonderful to play, it’s the right size and weight and it has a tremolo bar. It’s the guitar I used on the first ex-band album, it’s the The Unguarded Moment guitar. That chunky sound on Memories In Future Tense is also this guitar. I use it on all the electric songs on that album except for For A Moment We’re Strangers and Is This Where You Live (Burns 12-string).
Music today has been the second Keef Hartley Band album The Battle Of North West Six (1969). You may never have wondered who replaced Ringo in Rory Storm And The Hurricanes when he was poached by the Beatles? Well, now you know, it was Keef Hartley. After this, he joined The Artwoods (Ron Wood’s brother’s band) before landing the gig with John Mayall where he built his reputation. Gary Thain plays bass (later with Uriah Heep), Miller Anderson sings and plays guitar. Henry Lowther and Jim Jewell play the brass. A cast of luminaries of the day are also present, including Mick Taylor. It’s blues-rock so don’t do what my mum did: My mum saw an ad for Keef Hartley Big Band (a later incarnation), she was a Glenn Miller freak and big band lover so she and a friend bought tickets and went to the gig in Liverpool. They must have thought there was something wrong when they saw the audience coming in but it was nowhere near the shock they got when the band started playing.