Sometimes I wish I was playing in a blues trio (especially during the soundchecks). Imagine a guitar, an amp and maybe a “Blues Breaker” effect pedal to “tweak” up the sound a little. Playing this music called “progrock or “symphonic rock” or whatever you’d like to call it, is a challenge. I mean, you’re gonna have maybe 20 minutes of music in your head, sometimes 30, or why not 45-50 minutes as in “Garden of Dreams”, which we did for a couple of tours between 99-02. The point here is that it’s not just the music. If the audience are gonna have the experience they deserve during a concert with TFK, all of us are simultaneously gonna have to succeed with the changing of the sounds, while we’re playing and singing. During a 10 minute song, you’re maybe using 5-6 different sounds that you kick in and out, depending on what part you’re playing (Tomas probably has a LOT more than that). The thing that annoys me with all this, is the amount of energy and focus it steals from the performance. You have to be in the moment, play with the dynamics, the feel and the tempo the section you’re in requires. At the same time, you have to prepare for the next, what’s the right sound, the right tempo, the right level of attack (or no attack), the attitude and of course the right notes. I have to say the setlist we had for the tour of “The sum of no evil”, was almost ridiculous when it comes to changing of sounds. Roine and me looked like we were members of a new “super hyped” Britpop band, that the British and Swedish media were raving about. You know the kind of bands that are looking at their shoe strings all the time, while they are playing. One thing though, we had a reason for it. We were trying to hit the right pedal or knob all the time, very often at the same time as we were singing. With all this said, I wanna make one thing clear. I love playing this kind of music and whatever comes along with it! To me, this music means “freedom”. The bass is not just there to support the guitar. The guitar is not just there to support the rhythm section or whatever, that might be the case in some genres of music. After my years with TFK and now HFMC, we all try to support each other musically and every instrument is as important as the other. After all, if I compare this music with blues, I guess I would prefer to play this 10 nights out of 10, despite all the hitting of pedals. The bigger the challenge – the bigger the reward.
I know Roine doesn’t agree with me, but to me the highlight of all the touring we’ve done with TFK so far, are without a doubt the tours we did after “Paradox Hotel”. The material from that album suited the live formula very well and the line–up almost became a “machine”. We could almost “reproduce” both new and older songs. We could also put new “clothes” on them if needed, with a positive result. Once again, this is my opinion and I respect everyone that doesn’t agree with me. The drummer we had back then Marcus Liljequist, was (is) a VERY funny chap, with a humour of his own, with words only he used like MAST! He ended or should I say ends all his sentences with the word MAST! Don’t ask me what it means, I have no idea. If you wanted a serious chat, or discuss something that was important to you, maybe Marcus wasn’t the ideal guy to turn to, but if you wanted a laugh, he was (is) up there among the best!
In 2006 we played in Whittier (LA) California for the second time, under the wings of the wonderful Jim Harrel. The concert actually ended up as an official bootleg “Carpe Diem”, released on Roines own label Foxtrot Records. In fact I used the song “Psychedelic Postcard” on my player a while back, taken from that very CD. By the time we got to LA, we’ve been on the road for quite a while and Marcus repetitive jokes had become hilarious. He just needed to put that grin on his face and I would start to laugh. Anyway, after the show and LOTS of red wine, we started to get hungry. I have to say, I almost feel sorry for Christine Holtz of “Music News Network”, who drove Marcus and me to the only 24 hours open restaurant in the neighbourhood, Taco Bell. She must really have thought that we were retarded. During the ride to Taco Bell Marcus was singing “Mommy leave the light on”, which we’d played every night since the tour began. His version had one exception though, he sang it with a “fake” Spanish accent and with the state I was in, I couldn’t stop to laugh. On our way back, the rendition of “Mommy leave the light on” got even worse. Inspired by Taco Bell, Marcus added his own words to the song. At the end of this marvellous version of that sweet little tune, Marcus started to pull the straw in and out of the soda mug, singing “Endlessly pulling the straw”! After that even Christine joined the choir and started to laugh out loud. With some Californian sun, a first class hotel, LOTS of red wine and the hospitality of Jim Harrel, this is what a day on the road can end up like!