of the best 21st century rock and roll guitar instrumental groups
from Sweden, The Ryders keep releasing great CDs and, as a
fine follow up to their 2007 album, In The Shadows, the late
2012 CD release of Destination X more than lives up
to expectations. All the great bands from Sweden, Finland and Norway
cite both The Shadows and The Ventures among their big influences
and on Destination X, lead guitarist Kurt Fröberg
and company cover two of the Shadows all time 1960s classicsIts
A Mans World and The Lost City. Commenting
on The Ryders covering a most fortuitus choice of tracks Kurt adds,
'Both the songs "It´s A Mans World" and "The
Lost City" have always been among my favorite Shads tunes and
we have also had both of them included in our live performances. "Thunderbolt"
is also a favorite since I bought Brian Bennetts LP Rock
Dreams way back.' Other instrumental covers and several vocal
tracks composed by various members of The Shadows, Lennart Clerwall,
The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison and more make Destination X a
most valuable musical destination indeed for guitar instrumental fans.
mwe3.com presents an interview with
KURT FRÖBERG of THE RYDERS
mwe3: Can you say something about where and when did you grow
up and what was your first exposure to music and then to the guitar?
What was the music scene like when you were growing up in Sweden?
FRÖBERG: I was born in Norrtälje 1951 but grow up in
Västerås (110 km west of Stockholm) where I went to school
in 1958. I remember listening to my parents 78 rpm records and, apart
from their Nat "King" Cole and Swedish records, I had some
favorites: "Rhapsody In Blue" with Glenn Miller Orchestra
and a guitar and orchestra version of "Caravan", which I
was particularly fond of. It was Ralph Marterie & His Orchestra.
I still have that 78 disc! That must have been the first guitar music
that influenced me. My dad had also been playing some guitar in a
band in the late 1940s.
mwe3: What guitarists, groups, and styles of music helped shape
your musical and guitar styles when you were young and who are the
artists and guitarists that influence you today?
KURT FRÖBERG: I started to play the guitar around 1963
when I was 12. My dad taught me to play the scale on the guitar, a
Levin orchestra model with very heavy strings and high action! From
that I learned to pick out melodies by myself.
At that time I had found The Shadows, since my older cousin had a
boyfriend who played drums in a Shadows type band, which was very
popular in Sweden around that time 61 - 63. He used to play The Shadows
first LP and also The Phantoms single "Eldorado" for
me. I thought the sounds were amazing!
I then got my first electric guitar, a Hagstrom II, in 1964 and also
a Hagstrom 26 amplifier (6W!). I still have that amp and it works!
I started to play along to the records with The Shadows but I had
no idea about how to get "that sound"! It seemed something
was missing in the sound chain, but it would take some more years
before I got the money to get a real tape echo. Also, the Hagstrom
guitar was fitted with flat wound strings which were best suited for
jazz sounds, but I didn´t know about other strings then.
The Shadows were my main influence for a long time, but in the 70's
there were many more guitarists who I listened to like Jan Akkerman
(Focus), Janne Schaffer, Kenny Håkansson and many of the more
instrumental bands that were in that time.
Today I don't listen too much on the contemporary music, unless there
is something that attracts me sound wise, like an echoing guitar (lol).
mwe3: Can you say something about the different albums youve
recorded with the Ryders, who is currently playing in the Ryders and
whats the chemistry like between the players?
FRÖBERG: The Ryders have now made 5 albums, the first one
in 1997, the latest one is "Destination X" from November
The members of the group have been quite stable for almost 20 years!
We started as Robbie & The Ryders back in 1986, but I am the only
one still from that formation.
Today The Ryders are:
Göran Ulfstedt - rhythm guitar
P-O Bäckman - vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar
Ejje Pettersson - bass and vocals
Christer Sundvall - drums
Kurt Fröberg - lead guitar
I think we have a great chemistry between the members. We are not
only band members but more like a big family and socialize together
a lot also besides the band.
mwe3: The Destination X CD is superbly recorded and
the tracks are very cool. Can you say something about the choice of
the Destination X songs and their importance to you and the
Ryders? I was very impressed that you chose to cover Its
A Mans World, Thunderbolt and The Lost
City all on one CD. Hurricane Smith, Russ Ballard and Brian
Bennett, I cant think of 3 more influential English composers
at this moment.
KURT FRÖBERG: Very glad that you liked the choice of material!
I am quite pleased too with the results. Both the songs "It's
A Mans World" and "The Lost City" have always
been among my favorite Shads tunes and we have also had both of them
included in our live performances. "Thunderbolt" is also
a favorite since I bought Brian Bennetts LP Rock Dreams
way back. Most of the other tracks are also tunes that we use to play
live. I have always loved the French LP with Les Nostalgics from 1981
where I found the title song "Destination X". There are
some Finnish influences also, "Stoogie" from Matti Luhtala
(Mustangs) and "Theme From Leningrad" which seems to be
a favorite when we play in Finland. "Tomahawk" is a great
new tune from UK penned by "Mitch" Mitchinson.
How about the blend of vocal tracks to the group mix? Who in The Ryders
sings the lead on the vocals? I think those nostalgic oldies should
have across the board appeal throughout Scandinavia and Finland. Its
just amazing how influential the U.S. was between 1954 and 63.
Seems like thats the template that has held up until today.
I guess that music was big in Sweden as it was in the U.S. back then
too. Can you say something about the choice of vocal tracks on the
Destination X CD including the early Hank Marvin / Bruce Welch
KURT FRÖBERG: We are most known as an instrumental band,
but we do have vocals when we do gigs and we have two good singers,
P-O Bäckman has been the main lead singer for many years, but
also Ejje Pettersson has good vocal abilities. Ejje sings lead on
the Marvin & Welch composition "Take Special Care",
which was originally a Cliff album song, I think it's a very nice,
time typical tune and arrangement. It is a very popular song when
we play at dances.
mwe3: Can you say something about your electric guitars that
you play on the Destination X CD and what amps, guitar strings
and effects are your favorites?
KURT FRÖBERG: I used my Fender Vintage 57 Stratocaster
for all the electric parts. I use my VOX AC15 Heritage amp for all
tracks, sometimes I had it slightly overdriven just by turning up
the volume. It is a great amp! For echoes I used my Atlantis echo
which is an analog machine. Most echoes were added during the mixing,
but some tunes were recorded with a Yamaha Magicstomp echo live in
the studio. Guitar strings are Ernie Ball 12 - 54.
a Shadows freak you are always searching for "That Sound"
and that means you have to check all new echo machines that are developed.
Just now I am testing a new echo developed by a Dutch guy, Piet Verbruggen.
It is called "eTap2hw" and it looks very promising!
mwe3: Can you say something about the history of rock guitar
in Sweden, from progressive rock guitar hero Janne Schaffer to the
guitar instrumental sounds of The Ryders. Who are some of the most
influential guitarists from Sweden and in your opinion is there a
Nordic Guitars sound?
KURT FRÖBERG: Janne Schaffer was, as so many other guitarists,
influenced by Hank Marvin & The Shadows. I have seen a short film
clip with him playing "Bristol Express" (the 1960s
UK band The Eagles)!
There are so many good guitarists. Bo Winberg of course, is a legend
with The Spotnicks. Hasse Rosén is also a very talented guitarist,
still performing. He was the lead guitarist in The Violents. I like
a lot of the work from Kenny Håkansson (Kebnekaise) also.
mwe3: How has the press in Sweden and Scandinavia reacted to
Destination X and what are your plans for the Ryders as far
as new music, live shows and more as we move into 2013?
KURT FRÖBERG: We get a lot of positive reactions from
people who have got the new CD. They think the sound is a little more
"heavy" and that was something we wanted to achieve in the
mixing. This time we have
had more influence on the mixing and mastering than before, and we
are very satisfied with the result.
Today The Ryders do gigs around in Sweden about once a month. We used
to tour also Finland for the Rautalanka Festivals and in September
we are invited to ShadowDania in Denmark. We will go on as long as
we think it is fun and so far we still love it!
Thanks to Kurt Fröberg @ www.Ryders.se