In December, I had the extreme pleasure of sitting in at two Stockholm, SE venues. At Debaser Strand(where I last guest-performed with Deathstars), I was invited to reprise the song 'Venom' with the power-metal quartet WOLF, playing Crimson Oath's amazing 'Borra' aluminum Telecaster. These guys slam, and it was intense!
A few nights later -- and for the fourth time in a couple of years -- I stood before actor Stefan Sauk's discriminating audience on the beautiful stage of Sodermalm's Rival Theater, playing a song I fell in love with when 'The Devlins'(IRL) performed it in Burlington, VT in '98. I've adapted "Surrender" for my Mutant Twin acoustic/electric double neck, with singing over the acoustic chords and an electric lead over a looped acoustic section -- really challenging, and will be treating new songs in this way to perform solo on occasion.
Stefan invites me to perform in his touring 'Still Skeptic' politi-commentary show when possible, partly due to the fact that I'm already appearing with him 'virtually' each night(on a large LED video screen), playing the Kenyan folk song 'Maljka'. He sings live with the track, to the delight of his devoted Swedish audiences. Someday, we'll do it live.
Back in Turku, two pro bono leads were contributed to Helsinki's 'Bjorn' at Rock Academy's Panimo Studios(assisted by Mark Bertenyi and Proffa), while program band Awake Again, for whom I've been mixing FOH sound, kicked ass in Tampere. Also, final mixes of 'Heart Of Darkness'(the Witch House track) are being completed back in California with producer Mike Dalager and engineer Sean Jones. Can't wait to hear this one!
November was a pretty productive month. Five weeks in the temperate sun of Los Angeles resulted in churning out over 15 leads for the upcoming 2017 W.A.S.P. release at the boss's all-analog Westlake studio, as well as the recording of an old Run 21/signal2noise song called "Heart Of Darkness" at a Studio City digital room. The 'Dreams In The Witch House' Rock Opera team has opted the track for an incredible interpretation -- and it was recorded quickly thanks to the drum talents of Anders Fransson(NJ), and the borrowing of an iconic 1976 Rickenbacker 4001(Geddy Lee) bass guitar personally delivered by ex-KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick, a long-time member of the WitchHouse family in high standings! To top it all off, 1960's horror film diva Barbara Steele was brought in to record the spoken word segments of the track, and choirs were directed by Anders Ringman from Malmo, SE *via Skype*: this was an astounding thing to witness!
The trusty souped-up '92 Washburn N4 still did the lion's share of studio work, along with my beat-up DOD 6-band EQ. We used the same '70's 100W Marshall Super Lead and Metropoulis 100W heads, along with one song requiring a radical setting on a Mesa-Boogie Triple Rectifier head. The Fractal Axe-FX handled all the direct-recorded sounds for the WH track, with some even 'flown in' from GarageBand rehearsal sessions!
A life-altering concert was attended at the beautiful Belasco Theater in the emerging metropolis-like downtown LA area. Steven Wilson and his band, including guest vocalist Ninet Tayeb, just leveled the place -- and the sold-out audience. Some valuable possible new drummer contact info was serendipitously and unexpectedly collected from BlabberMouth human hq... the mysterious man that he is.