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2002-12-02 1:22 a.m.

Round 1. Fight!

My evening started out quite alright. Christoffer had to spend about 10 hours editing vocals for Every Day Is Roses, Fly Away, and I Loved You More.

Christoffer Lundquist editing my vocals so I that I sound much better than I really am.

So, my plan was to go to Malmö, drop off a DVD of some tracks for a friend of Christoffer, visit Eggstone at Tambourine Studios, and then go to Copenhagen for the evening.

But a few things happened which made this a little more difficult than I had planned. First, I got super lost in Malmö. Sure, the streets are clearly marked with signs. Unfortunately, the letters on the signs are about 2" tall at the most. Basically, they are impossible to see from a distance of more than 15 feet for me, even with my glasses on. Put me in a moving car in the rain in an unfamiliar country and it skyrockets from very difficult to laughably impossible.

For about an hour I played this very fun little game. It starts by driving around all confused. Then, I try to park the car so I can look at the map or ask for directions. This is almost completely impossible because all forms of parking appear to be illegal in Malmö. After parking illegally I get out and ask someone where I am or where Amiralsgatan is. Then, they don't know where it is, even though they live in that city and Amiralsgatan is the biggest street in the city. Then, I call Christoffer and he tries to help me but he also has no idea where I am. I take out my maps and the punishing wind tears them apart and folds them over my freezing, wet hands. That is basically how the game went. I played that game three times before round 2 began.

Round 2. Fight!

I finally found the right street. But, the Volvo decided to break down. So, I was left stranded in a gas station parking lot. A kind security guard found me and offered to call a cab for me, so I fetched all my things and left in a cab for Tambourine Studios.

During the less than five minute drive to Tambourine Studios, my thoughts hopscotched between the realization that I was VERY close to my destination and the not–so–idle curiosity with how I would deal with the broken car and get back in order to work on recording tomorrow morning.

And the taxi driver stopped the sparkling Mercedes in front of Sofielundsv. 57. I fumbled with the coins in my pocket and pulled together as many brain cells as I could to call upon the powers of years of calculus, differential equations, and such just to identify the right coins and do the simple arithmetic. My goal: 45 kronor.

Tambourine Studios is not flashy at all from the outside, but studios never are unless they are begging to be broken into. There was no sign, no name placard, no hint at what goes on inside the doors. I rang a bell and a man in his early thirties opened the door. He introduced himself as Maurits from Eggstone.

Eggstone, The Cardigans, Bob Hund, Freewheel, and a bunch more cool bands were mixed on this console. Note the fantastic oval window to the studio.

Then I met Patrick from Eggstone and finally Per. They seemed a little shy at first, as the exact relationship between us was unclear. I was in a way a fan, but also a peer. I was a potential studio client and also a humble child in the presence of musical heroes.

From left to right: Normal guitar, strange guitar.

The most awkward, ugly, and forgotten guitars rested in the couches and chairs. Teardrop shaped, potato shaped, strange instruments whose moment of fame was a flash in the pan circa 1969. Certain people, namely Eggstone, seemed to like them quite a lot. The windows were all oval, and the decor was clearly 1969.

Posters of various bands that I listened to on a daily basis covered the walls, and Per pointed out facts about various artists and answered my questions as he took me on a tour of the place.

I brought him an extra 20GB hard drive that I had, and he seemed so surprised by this. He turned it over and over in his hands, perhaps looking for some piece of information written on it that would explain to him why it wanted to live in his Pro Tools recording rig. It's a gift, I explained. In my country, we have a saying: Sometimes life gives you lemons. Sometimes life gives you hard disks. Um, or something like that.

Within a few minutes the guys seemed to warm up me some, and per was rattling off stories about Eggstone and Vibrafon Records and the restaurant they used to run and the story of the building the studio is in and so on. He invited me to the Crunchy Frog Records Christmas party this Saturday in Copenhagen. "You should really come, it will be great." I felt quite honored to get such an invite. I doubt that I can make it, I explained, since I had such a lot of work to do and so little time left in Sweden. But, The Mopeds are playing...sigh. Staying motivated can be when there are such tempting distractions.

Here we see a variation on the classic Elvis/Nixon handshake pose. Per suggested that this is where we are signing our historic multi–national musical agreement. From left to right: Patrick Bartosch, Justin Winokur, Maurits Carlsson, Per Sunding.

Then the Christmas presents began. He started just piling records and CDs and books and postcards into my hands. I got Eggstone LPs, the Eggstone song book, Eggstone postcards, and various other CDs and LPs. Uh, wow. I couldn't believe it—there I was, at Tambourine Studios in Malmö with Eggstone and they were giving me presents. I am constantly awed at how there seems to be no ceiling to how fantastic my life is. Each day I am surprised and humbled by how it just gets better and better and better.

My next goal was to meet David from Brainpool at the Malmö Central Station to give him the key to the Volvo. His job was to get it fixed for me early the next morning so I could get to work on time. Per and Hannah—his girlfriend and business manager for The Cardigans—offered to drive me to the station. Getting a ride in a proper car beats the pants off of taking a taxi, so I obliged.

During the drive we talked about Canadians and how they are just like Swedes—it is all about beer and hockey. (Per admitted that this was a quote from Ron Sexmith's drummer.) We talked about how with Americans, friends are easy come easy go, but in Sweden you have five friends your whole life. Per said that Brainpool was a perfect example, as was Eggstone. They all met at a young age and have been inseparable ever since.

I thought about it and it made sense. I told him about Adam and how we met so long ago and it feels that our lives will be forever somewhat connected—married—to one another.

I felt clumsy trying to carry around a plastic shopping bag with heaps of records and CDs and my iBook in it. I bought another plastic shopping bag, maybe two was better than one. It wasn't. The second bag was too small for LPs. Sigh.

I guess I should go to Copenhagen and see what happens there. My goal is to have some fun and find a cheap or free place to sleep.

It turned out that Copenhagen was pretty fun. Any city with a bar called "Spunk" just has to be cool.