By Beppe Colli
Mar. 18, 2008
Almost-but-not-quite well-known for his
playing a Beefheart-related kind of "mutated blues", the excellent
guitarist (and drummer!) Jimmy Ågren released
(at last) Various Phobias, his fourth solo album after Close Enough For
Jazz, Glass Finger Ghost and Get This Into Your Head. It's an album that
- as I argued at length in my review - while being easily recognizable
as having been made by him, features music that is a bit less "knotty",
and sounding (what in my opinion is a touch) more Beckian, than in the
It goes without saying
that present times are not exactly friendly when it comes to this kind
of music, not to mention this kind of kind of - amphibious? - musicians,
who by now obviously do it mainly for what we could call "personal
satisfaction". Which is one more good reason to back this kinds of
The following conversation
was conducted by e-mail, last week.
we talked, you told me that you already had a lot of the material for
your next CD - what is now Various Phobias - ready, and that you hoped
to release it before the end of 2005. So, why was the CD released so
Well, for different
reasons: first I got tired, didn't do much in the end of 05 and the whole
year of 06, I worked at the radio as a sound-engineer and didn't do much
else than that.
The CD was finished
in early 07, but I've been waiting a long time, trying to get a label for
me. I've also recorded maybe 20 songs that I didn't put on this CD.
You did everything
yourself. Here's a Q for you: When you record a song, what do you start
with: the drums, a guide vocal, a rhythm guitar, or...? Please, discuss.
It differs, often I play and record drums, just fooling around for a long
time, then I listen back to it, and see if I've done something cool and
different; same thing with guitar; then I will try to build something
from that. So sometimes I use a click-track, but sometimes not. It's
to the harp? There is none on this album!
Well but it is, on Durham Takeoff and one of my favorite parts on They Don't
Care. It's all dubbed with guitars though.
Ha! Why is
the album called Various Phobias?
Everybody who knows me well, now that is a good title for me... I'm afraid
of everything and that scares me.
You've mentioned B.B. King, Ry Cooder, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart
and King Crimson as being a really special influence on you. Are there
any names - new or old - that you've come to appreciate in the last few
years, since our previous interview?
Not really, I don't listen to music/or don't have so much time doing
it, all the time I have left, I will do something involving my music; but,
I've been listening a lot to Dean Martin the last years, I love his voice,
and the songs, and the sound...
As I stated in my review, in your new album I seemed to detect
a few guitar passages that reminded me of Jeff Beck. Am I hallucinating?
I think he's really great, but I haven't listened that much to him,
so I can't say that I'm influenced by him, so I think it's just a
coincidence actually. I never thought about it anyway.
The red guitar that's pictured in the booklet is a Gibson SG, but
what's the other one, with the name Modena, I think, written on it? And
what's the amp that's pictured on the cover? (The cab is a Marshall 4x12,
right? But what about the head?)
"Modena" by Italia, made in UK, great slide-guitar, I've actually
become a featured artist. (arbiter.co.uk/index.htm)
The head is a THD, it's a great amp.
been part of the group Mats/Morgan, with your brother Morgan and Mats
Öberg. Any recent experiences you'd like to talk about?
The old line-up
is gone, they are a trio now, and I'm not in it.
guitar players whose work you find to be of inspiration to you?
Hmm, no. Who
could that be? I don't know anyone anyway, except my old heroes.
for the future? How's the situation, business-wise?
I've just finished a live DVD, I have to decide if I will put it on
my home-site as a free download, that was my original plan, but I have
to think about it.
Michael Traylor US (magic band) is trying to help me finding a label.
And I've just begun to write new material.
© Beppe Colli 2008
| Mar. 18, 2008