Here’s the story about how I was writing music without being aware of it – unfortunately I think it happens often for a lot of people who writes music. As a little “bonus” you can read why the title “Funky Mama” is appropriate for this specific song I’ll use for this story. It’s always tricky to find titles for instrumental tunes 🙂
Writing music – writing Funky Mama
I was visiting my parents, staying at their house for the weekend. As I’ve written earlier I always bring my guitar for holidays. When I arrived we had some nice food, some good wine and talked a lot. The day after we all sat in the living room, doing whatever we liked to relax. Mom was reading a book in her favorite chair, dad was looking thru some art books. I was just jamming around on my guitar.
After a while I decided to make some coffee. Dad was still reading and mom was doing their laundries. While I was in the kitchen I heard her whistle a catchy phrase. I thought I knew it from somewhere but couldn’t decide from where. After a while it started to annoy me that I couldn’t name or categorise her tune. I went to her and asked – “what’s that you’re whistling … it sounds familiar?”. My mom laughed and told me that it was what I have been playing in the living room a little earlier.
Back in the living room I picked up my guitar. Within seconds I realised that she was right – it was the “theme” I’ve been jamming around for some time. I decided to record a memo in my phone. Good decision. Just a few weeks later the tune was added to my bands setlist.
Writing music without being aware of it
I had been writing music and composed a complete song without being aware of it. It would have been forgotten, if my mom hadn’t started to whistle the theme. After this experience I record almost everything I jam over for more than a few minuttes. Therefore I’ll suggest that you also remember to record whatever you’re jamming around with. You’ll never know when something interesting is showing up.
And a little fun fact: neither my mom or I was aware of the odd meter within the song. There’s a 5/4 bar in the middle of the A-part. I realised that when I introduced the tune to the band, and the drummer had to hear it twice to figure out what was going on 🙂
Later on I have even recorded the song on my second album. I also ended up jamming the tune on the American TV-show Studio Jams – you can see that part from the episode here. All this just because my mama caught the riff and started to whistle while she walking around fixing some things.
First of all: let’s make something VERY clear – I’m no technician … I don’t know much about what’s going on inside my amps, pedals and stuff. I’m a pro guitar player who is really serious about how my set-up sounds. And even though I have many years experience with this, I still get surprised. Here are some experiences that might save you some problems with hum.
I’ve written about my pedals, boards and my power supplies. I’ve also written about my many learning experiences from setting everything up correctly, so it should be quite easy to make everything work.
I was ready to mount everything to my board. I will describe all my pedals as average or above. The power supply – the Ciokolate is awesome. I had the order of the pedals and had decided what outputs I should use on the Ciokolate. The pedals got the right voltage and the right current. I used the right cables so the polarity was ok and they all were on an isolated outputs. It should be working – and it did!!
But I noticed some seriously hum from my Plexi Drive deluxe.
It’s more than 10 years ago since I played with David Garfield for the first time – and I still remember clearly how it felt like “home” when he started playing the intro to the very first tune we played together.
This is the story about how I met David Garfield and Henrik Enqvist
Garfield and I were hired by the Danish drummer Henrik Engqvist for a tour playing a mix of Engqvist’s repetoire and Garfield’s songs. I hadn’t met neither Henrik nor David before and I felt very honored to be asked to play this tour since Henrik had used Robben Ford and Frank Gambale for earlier tours with his band. And to play with David Garfield, who had the bands Los Lobotomys, Karizma and worked as M.D. for George Benson and Natalie Cole, would be awesome. Henrik knew Garfield from L.A. where they had met a couple of years earlier. Henrik often is in L.A. to work with a lot of A-listers over there.
The first time we all met was around noon to rehearse for the first show the same night. Henrik had just picked David up at the airport. David handled out his music sheets, sat down at the piano and started to play the song “Donna”. I instantly felt like I’ve known David and that song for years. The way David voiced the chords and his groove made me feel so good – I felt like returning back home after a long trip abroad.
That tour ended up being very important to me – I got so inspired from the shows we did. I had so much fun since I was allowed to stretch out during a lot of long solos, and we never played a song the same way twice. David really knows how to inspire.
During the final concert we played on that tour, I felt so sad about “this was it”. I knew I had to do something about it. So it was actually that night I decided to make an album with my own music. That let me to do the “Funky Flavas” album – and after that the “Miss You” and “Gratitude” album.
Since we met for the first time I have had the pleasure to play with Henrik again several times. We did an episode of “Studiojams” together in Copenhagen some years ago and I’ve also played together with Henrik and Jimmy Haslip, Jeff Richman and Russell Ferrante, when they have been in Scandinavia – always a pleasure and great fun! And I’ve played with Garfield in many different constellations both live and in the studio – always fantastic and very very inspiring.
So – thank you Henrik for asking me back then, I’m very thankful for that!! Henrik has recently released a new album “Engqvisition”- check it out here! And thank you David for your friendship and for always being so inspiring – it’s a blast knowing you and playing with you.
Yesterday my third album – Gratitude – was released. I’m happy, excited, proud, nervous. I have tons of feelings and thoughts running thru me and I can’t sit still for more than a few minutes, before I have to do something to distract my thoughts – I guess you can imagine how it is.
I’ve been working on this album for several years on and off. Actually did I write some of the tracks many years ago, while some of the tunes are totally new, also to me … at least kind of new, after working with them for some time.
When I make an album a lot of things go around in circles.
Dear guitar friends – I want to hear your opinion about an issue I’ve just become aware of … an issue that really started to drive me crazy. I’m thinking about volume and wah problems … It is perhaps a bit nerdy but let’s geek out and enjoy it.
Here’s my volume and wah problems
The angle and the action on my wah pedal has always seemed very natural and as it should be. Maybe I needed a bit of time getting used to the new feel, when it was mounted on my board that’s angled, but it felt natural pretty fast.
But the angle and the action on my volume pedal has always seemed a little to big for me. After it was mounted to my board, I think the problem has increased. Many years ago I decided to drop my high-heeled boots and wear something more neutral, but now I miss the high heels when I want to turn the volume all the way down (which the guitarists usually don’t do very often), but it happens every now and then (yes, when somebody place difficult sheets in front of you … or when we need a break).
I’ve written about how you optimize your practicing, and what you should consider if either you or someone you know should invest in a guitar. Today I’ll write my best advice if you or someone around you is considering buying a guitar amp.
Once again I’ll start to mention that this is written to advice beginners, or to inspire you if you are a serious guitar player with years of experience, and therefore a person people would turn to, to get your help in buying guitar related stuff 🙂
My best advice on buying a guitar amp
This one is probably an advice many parent will love because it’s very short and clear: don’t!!
What? … Yes, if you are about to start playing electric guitar, don’t buy an amp.
This is written either to advice beginners, or to inspire you if you are a serious guitar player with years experience, and therefore is someone your friends or students would ask for help in buying guitar related stuff 🙂
My best advice on buying a guitar
Don’t bother about the brand or model, don’t give it a lot of thought if its made of certain kind of wood, or has fancy features, looks extraordinary cool, has the latest invention of a tremolo system or anything like that. What’s important is that it should be easy to play and stay in tune!! Oh maybe one thing more – if you want to have an electric guitar – guess what: … buy an electric guitar.
The other day a student from Berklee College of Music asked me if I could give him an advice. Not just any advice – but my best advice to a young guitar player, who wanted to “live my life” and play the type of jobs I’ve done.
That was a tough one. There’s so many things I can think of depending on what you’re focusing at – I mean should it be concerning networking, education, playing gigs, recording sessions, getting the right guitar or practicing … well “practicing” – that’s a god place to start. So here it is … at least one of them 🙂
Some time ago I wrote a post about how I didn’t choose to have music as a profession – I just couldn’t imaging a life without playing guitar every day … all day – so today we are looking down the history lane.
My first guitar
I started playing guitar when I was around 4 years old. My big brother bought an electric guitar and I got so jealous that my parents bought me a small acoustic as well. I guess they thought I would keep interest for a week or two and then return to my normal routines, but no …
My brother, who was ten years older than me, showed me new chords or a scale every once in a while, but I didn’t had “real” lessons on a regular basics. I had fun with the guitar, but I also did a lot of other typical child stuff.
When I was around ten years old my brother took me to an Eric Clapton concert and I was blown away. When we left the concert hall, I told my brother that I would play like Clapton one day. He smiled and told me that if I wanted to do that, I should practice and practice a lot. l remember how I said to myself: “hell yeah, then I’m going to practice a lot”, but I just looked at my bro and said “ok”.
This blogpost is the third in a series of three about pedalboards versus rack-setups
In the first post in this series I wrote about the equipment I started out with and in the second post I told you about all the advantages I had from my rack-setup – today I’ll write about what I’m using at the moment and why I chosen as I’ve done.
Actually there wasn’t that many reasons for considering other solutions than my small rack-setup … but there was a few.
One was that I started to play more abroad. Often it was impossible to get the same setup I had back home – meaning that even if I brought my presets with me on a memory-card, it wouldn’t work. And in addition to that, it was very expensive to rent something like my normal rig – and really a waste of money, when I wasn’t able to use the presets I brought with me. I also got tired of trying to duplicate something from my normal setup, within the short time we had for soundcheck. Therefore I started to have smaller programmable boards with me every time I played outside Scandinavia.