OLDEST NEWS - a mixed bag of nuts...

The story so far... Odd nuts

This is a flashback to the good old times where I was noodling all over the place - Cover rock, Cheap Purple, Mandrake Root and other odd stuff...

29 December 2009

A little bored with watching laquer dry - my Satch guitar is still hanging out to dry. Soon it will be dry hard then I can polish and assemble everything. It has taken a long time, but it looks very good.

Here it is just painted black without any polish - drying...
5 October 2009

I sold my Rocktron Chameleon on eBay and will now stick with what I have. I will update my gear page soon as I will not change anything more. Soon I will use what I have for my own recording(s) which I have begun to meddle with. One song is already finished as a song concept. It is pretty much an 80's heavy song and not my 'voodoo-groove' direction... I recorded this some time ago and it is without vocals and with a drum machine (and I have cut out the last verse or else it would be even more boring - ha!). Have a listen anyway - this excerpt starts before the solo and rolls out with the main riff as you would expect...

Here is a sliced-up sample --- audio/Song1_outtake.mp3

20 September 2009

Boy did I sweat! Last night we rocked and jogged about the stage and I was sweating like that proverbial pig. Last night's Cheap Turtle gig was one of my personal bests and the most error-free ever (sure there were one or two little crabs in the soup but small - ha!). Thanks to our roadie Dom for standing in for 2 sound guys who cancelled at short notice - we did not envy him trying to control the house PA system. Fabian was also a hired hand as roadie and ticket master.

Hot and sweating under the lights...
It is a lot hotter under those lights than you think...
What a night!
14 September 2009

My Engl Squeal amp arrived. It sounds ok. Not more.

12 September 2009

Last night we went to the Eich Kult Fest here in Dorsheim. It is a festival which runs every year and as usual there are dozens of bands playing over the weekend. Last night we caught a really good band - a heavy rock trio called 'The Pant' (the band before them was good as well but we arrived to late...). This afternoon and tonight is also full of rock/metal bands. The Deeds are playing on Sunday at 14.00. I might go again tonight, but it gets pretty cold, I stlll have a cold and the dog doesn't talk much...

My other pictures were not too good. I messed up the settings and had a lot of blurred pictures. At least I got one good one of the singer - bass player.
23 August 2009

Last night Cheap Turtle played the Bembel Rock concert in front of quite a large gathering - we were told there were approx 1800 visitors and the organisers were very pleased. I did not see much from the stage as it was covered by an extention of the stage roof and there was a fog machine running which someone seemingly forgot to switch off. Still, every now and then I caught a glimpse of a sea of heads and faces going back across the field. Impressive! It was also a very strange having young kids right up front watching me play every note on the guitar - I felt like Joe Satriani in front of a sea of guitars players. Overall we were pretty good and the audience rocked with us, but on stage my monitors were out and I could only hear myself and Stefan's drums, which was frustrating - especially when you hear no bass and your trying to play with or against Bernd's keyboard. It also became extremely cold and damp so I was not really comfortable at all. Even my guitars were damp and went out of tune at the beginning of 'Smoke'. I felt like a very bad moody Ritchie Blackmore... But still, everything else went well and my amp did not blow - it sounded really good too. I was thrilled to see Holgi who came down and picked up the ladies in Frankfurt and came to the show. Sorry he could not stay over, but it was 5 AM when I got home.

The boys under a purple light...
15 August 2009

I sold 2 guitars and bought a Digitech 19" fx rack unit for 21 Euros (a real cheeky steal - I hope it works). Today I worked on my Satriani guitar for the 1st time in 4 weeks. I completed the neck pocket and the rear ramping of the neck plate area. The neck fits nicely and nothing is broke or has gone wrong yet. I will only know if it is going to be a success once the tremolo pockets are cut and the tremolo is in place. I need to order some machine heads and work on the neck so I can put the outer 2 strings on it as a guide for the tremolo system.

Here you can see the neck pocket. With a little bit of imagination you can see this piece of wood slowly becoming a guitar.
02 August 2009

My amp is still working fine - thanks again to Bernd! Today I added my Rocktron Intelliflex LTD to my motley collection of my 'must have' pedals (I only use 3 with Cheap Turtle ha!) and was instantly reminded how good that unit is for reverb and echo. I am finalising a Cheap Turtle pedal board from the above and the Rocktron will be included from now on - Basta! I do not care about dragging it around. I am even thinking of replacing my 2 tubescreamer clones with a real 2 stage-preamp, but the tubescreamers sound so authentic (not my own personal taste though...). Yet I have so many things to do... eg. I have 2 guitars selling on eBay to pay for all this...

01 August 2009

Bernd very kindly organised a garden grill so we had a 'build a tranny' event at his place. He very kindly installed everything and now the amp is working again. I hope it will be even better than before... Kudo's to Tube-Town too as they actually delivered the next day as promised!

30 July 2009

My mains transformer has blown on my Ceriatone 50W Plexi! Shit! I have ordered a new Marshall tranny from Tube Town and I must say they are very good with their online service. I am looking forward to having my Plexi working again - and this time with a true Marshall heart...

25 July 2009
The rehearsal room was horribly overheated, and worse, for a yet unknown reason my Plexi blew a fuse - I need to find out what it wrong...

My Marshall amp on the left is down and out. I am using Joerg's Linnermann JTM 45 on the right. Also note how the walls are sweating like I am am!
Bernd with a good idea! At least we have a fridge inside our sweatbox...
22 July 2009

Return from Spain. I made my annual reading marathon. At the pool side I read 4 books in 7 days and drank lots of tasteless beer.

Here are the girls with a Spanisch Eagle. There was an equally big Owl too.
13 July 2009

The Satch boby is coming along nicely. No errors or flaws yet! I left 1mm everywhere in case I dug too deeply. The shaping is at 95%... I will carry on after my holiday

I just wiped it with a damp cloth. Maple looks redish when slightly damp.
05 July 2009

Rheinland-Pfalz-Tag in Bad Kreuznach. On the Rockland-Radio stage Mad Zeppelin started the show. I was impressed with the singer. He had obviously studied Robert Plant to the smallest of details. He was probably the best Robert Plant I had heard - often exceeding Plant's vocal range. I also liked some of the authentic guitar work, especially the violin-wand effects in Dazed and Confused. However the PA sound was not the best - I could not hear the bass guitar well which left the drums over exposed, so sadly many songs did not quite groove enough (for me) yet I am sure they did groove on stage though.

Mad Zep's Robert Plant
Mad Zep's Jimi Page
We then trudged a mile to the main stage in the park, which was full with thousands of people. Foreigner was never a favourite band of mine but after their superb performance yesterday I was forced to concede and bow down to them. First of all the sound was perfectly clear and their professionalism was 100%. I found myself rocking to all of those top songs. Kelly Hanson has a terrific voice which made everything just soooo authentic. I was pleasantly surprised that Jeff Pilsen (ex-Dokken) is their bass player - and yes, he rocked relentlessly and happily sang along. The drummer was fantastic - what a rocker! And every now and then he would bang a stick on his snare which would fly 4 meters in the air and fall, to be caught in perfect timing for the next beat - I love all that Kitsch! Ha!

Back to the Rockland-Radio stage and Sin City promptly started - thanks for waiting guys! The PA sound was somewhat distorted and muddy this time as the 2 guitars were heavy & loud - but they impressively bashed out the AC/DC classics one after another. Once again I admired the singer who could effortlessly swap between Brian Johnson and Bon Scott.

The event was a great success, primarily because the target audience was classic rock and I swear I have never seen so many 25 - 50+ year old rockers in one place - so they do exist after all! Ha! I am sure Cheap Turtle would have been ideally positioned for this concert too - next time maybe? I hope so.

28 June 2009

Next weekend is the Rheinland-Pfalz-Tag in Bad Kreuznach - 3 days of music and events on as many diverse stages. I have scaled down the pop/rock bands to the following (sure, I have probably missed some, but don't take it personally

22 June 2009

I worked on my Satriani project again. I rounded off all the curves on the sides so they are very close to the finished dimensions now (approx. 95%). Next I will cut the slopes and flanks on both front and rear sides.

A very rough n' heavy diamond.
Yesterday I also worked on my new Fame guitar (below) and I fixed the crooked tremolo. You can see the tremolo bolt on the right had collapsed and the tremolo had wandered into the pickup. It is fine now though - the guitar plays great - not bad for under a 100 Euro!

My Fame guitar with a crooked tramelo bridge - I fixed this later.
16 June 2009

I have aquired a Marshall Greenback 4x 12 100W box. I tried it out at the rehearsal and it was great! Natural distortion, 'Woody' and 'old fashioned' too - Solos were truly singing. This is not my actual box, but it looks very similar and it passes my Plexi perfectly.

My new Marshall box with greenbacks - similar to this one.
14 June 2009

Fleabay - I sold my Tom Scholz Powersoak II for a really good price and thru a lucky coincidence I picked up a Fame guitar with the money. I would rate it as an affordable middle class guitar (admittedly not heard the pickups yet). It is a typical hard-rock guitar made for the Musik Store in Koeln - it looks like a Vinnie Moore guitar. It arrived and it appeared to be well built (heavy) until I discovered the wood around one of the tremolo studs has collapsed and the tremolo is askew - this means the seller knew this before, as it is clearly not transport damage - bastard! But even if I can prove it I still cannot do anything. I can repair it as I have done this a few times, yet I cannot say now if the repair will be visible afterwards as the colouring has a special pattern and I need a bit of elbow room - oh well, another job for next weekend.

I sold my ESP Kamikazi some weeks ago as the neck was a touch too wide and I am no longer the youngest. It was a real poser guitar and I am too old + ugly. I wanted a Satriani type Strat body (see a real one in the pic on the right below) which has very sleek and rounded areas - it is also known as a 'radius' body so I bought a good piece of maple and roughly cut out the shape which I had got from a technical CAD drawing (see left pic below). As you can see it will take some time before I get it down to the correct size and proportions.

This is what it will be like - a real Ibanez.
07 June 2009

Here I am with my brothers - CHEAP TURTLE!

Geil! (meaning = awesum/terrific/cool etc.). If I could have a Euro for everytime I heard that word then I would be rich! The first Cheap Turtle gig was a complete success! Alex, Bernd, Joerg, Stefan were sensational and the folk in Belgium were fantastic! Mega thanks to the hosts - Alex & Sophie! The hall was full of happy rockers and we played briliantly.Everyone sang along and rocked to every song. The sound was great and Bernd's monster Hammond and my Plexi sounded really authentic. I was loaned a 'greenback' Marshall box and it sounded (and looked) 'Geil' with my Plexi. We had a real ball on stage! It was also Stefan's birthday and we had a 'Geil' sing-a-long with the public - even Alex (the host) came up on stage and sang 'Soldier of Fortune'.

08 May 2009

Still sorting out my gear to put into my self-made pedal board. This week I tried out my Plexi with its original EL34 tubes together with Bying, Ibanez & Hughes&Kettner pedals. I even tried a Boss SD1 - I love the sound of EL34 best, but the amp is too loud! The PowerSoak sucks the tone out of it so I will sell that - from a practical point of view the amp sounds best for Deep Purple Stratocaster sounds with the Tubebone EL84 together with the Hughes + Kettner so everything else can go. I will keep the Vox Satchurator pedal on the shelf in case I want to record with different sounds.

03 May 2009

Yesterday I had a friendly visit from a guitarist who might be joining the Fake Dolls. He is struggling to get a good crunch sound with his Marshall TSL 601 combo and yet I could not help him. This is the second time I have played thru a TSL 60 and they just sound poor - like muddy cardboard. We added a 4x12 box and it became bigger, but not much better. You could still here the cardboard combo sound thru the big speaker box. We then compared with my DSL and Plexi (Hughes&Kettner Tubeman) side-by-side and the TSL was just no good.

08 April 2009

I am no longer with Rosalie - the Thin Lizzy tribute band I have been playing with since X-Mas - we had a difference of opinion at weekend (no party was right or wrong - just different views). I am sad because Rosalie is a great band and I know how damaging it is to leave a band just as it gets up on its legs. I am also sad that I have not had a chance to talk to 3 from the 4 of them - I sincerly wish ALL of the boys much success in the future.

27 February 2009

I have ordered my Birthday present - a Vox Satchurator distortion pedal for my Plexi - which is still with Oli - we are waiting for the fx-loop parts to arrive. I do miss my little Plexi-boy...

08 February 2009

Last week I tried to rehearse with a Marshall TSL60 but I could not get a good sound out of it. It was too gainy, mushy - and no sustain or reaction. They are very different than the DSLs.

07 February 2009

With a heavy heart I have decided to leave my dear friends Fake Dolls

It has been a roller-coaster of a ride, lots of good moments and a great team. A band with no spinners or dictators! I will miss them all! I sincerely wish Ingo, Micha, Pat, Tobi all the best for the future!

31 January 2009

Fake Dolls played live last night in Bingen, yet the infamous Palazzo 'disco' and target audience was just so wrong - or rather WE were in the wrong place. I am not blaming the band at all, this could have happened to Mandrake or Rosalie. The owner wanted us to play there and we even gave him the option not to take us unless he was 100% sure... It backfired just like I said it would do. Still, many friends and relatives came which meant a lot, so on behalf of the band I would like to thank those who were there. I hope that the band + PA + DJ got their money as promised...

This was taken against a church wall in Belgium.
11 January 2009

I finally got round to updating a handful of pics from the X-mas gig at Oberwiesen - here we are on stage...

Lots of echo and reverb - hard walls and floor - the roof is 15m high and below us is a 2m drop so it is like playing in a swimmng bath.
I enjoyed lots of these village hall gigs - the halls are modern and clean with big stages.
07 January 2009
Ha! I am a real fan now! Vinnie Moore just kindly answered some of my questions on his board and wished me a happy New Year too! Cool! Thanks Vinnie! The VinMan rulez! (Vinnie from UFO...) - I feel like 15 again...

28 December 2008

We FakeDolls played last night in Oberwiesen and we played with a good +/- average performance. Nothing wrong really yet behind the scenes I am suffering. For me it all started 3 years ago in Oberwiesen with the X-mas Rock Party and looking back we have certainly become a better band, but last night confirmed once again we have landed nowhere. The hall was not even half full and those who were there had no interest.

27 November 2008

On Tue evening I played with a Thin Lizzy cover group in Bad Kreuznach and I am now signed up! I was a little wobbly as I had just a few days to scramble, but it worked out very well. Great vibe from a very hi-potential team. Everyone played great and they have an honest and determined energy to be authentic - similar toMandrake Root and I respect that. We are called 'Rosalie' - I will update U as we move forward

My Bach Les Paul arrived - I am dissapointed with the weak pick-ups, but you have to remember I just received some powerful ESP LH150 pups for my Frankenstein Les Paul and they ROCK! The Bach Les Paul is otherwise fine - nicely made. It just needs some power pick-ups and maybe extra Jumbo frets - I am not sure yet, but more money as usual...

23 November 2008

I loaded the ESP LH150/L100 pickups into the Zack Wylde guitar and it blew me away! I will re-fret it with higher frets as they are too low for me.

Here is Zack Wilde's Frankenstein... Neck repaired, painted, varnished, and new pickups. Plays well - but needs higher frets for my taste.
22 November 2008

Some ESP pickups have arrived for my Zack Wilde Les Paul - I do like my LH-100 ESP pickup in my main ESP 'snake' guitar - they are the asian version of the US Seymour Duncan and are generally not as good - except mine sounds really good in my ESP and it makes no sense to change it. I even modded it to have it single / humbucker.

I am learning some Thin Lizzy tunes this weekend - I have a rehearsal on Tuesday with a local TL cover band. We knew the Lynnots in Manchester - My mother knew Phelomena very well (we called her Phyliss) and sister Kim visited her a couple of years ago in Dublin. I recall Phyliss giving Phil a long wooly scarf of my mothers to wear on stage (or for a video shooting) - there are several pictures with him wearing it - he was very hippy 'Hendrix' in a way... She owned a hotel which only opened at midnight - it was for the pop stars and actors from Grenada TV studios - it was a wild place... I met Gary Moore there once. He sat on the counch on his own and nobody knew him yet - we started talking about guitars and I was thinking "uh? - they took him instead of Pat Travers? He is uglier than me..." and some weeks later I heard him and I knew why they had picked him - no contest. Gary Moore is the ultimate 'master' of hard rock. A shame they all had their demons.

08 November 2008

Fantastic! The bikers did turn up and I had personally one of the best gigs we ever played. In fact out of all of the 16 gigs it was certainly one of my best although almost all of them were a lot of fun. We 'Fake Dolls' rocked the house for well over 4 hours - we finished at 01.30 AM - I cannot remember how many songs, but there were a lot - error free and absolutely no holding back. We were fearlessly having a lot of fun on stage - the bikers were dancing and cheering - what a night!

The Picasso Brothers around about midnight...
24 August 2008

Last night we had a good party - we Fake Dolls rocked the hall in Aspisheim.

23 August 2008

Phonhouse is not called Phonhouse any more! After months of uncertainty we have dropped that awful name for another! We had a series of unpleasantries with a telephone company with a similar name who forced us off the web - how pathetic! After all we are a local hobby band who play for non-profit and have no aspirations to compete with their business or rubbish anyone's image / name. My personal opinion is that they must be a compassionless callous organisation to pick on old men with prostheses...

So what is the new name then? We investigated registered names in the Internet and voted - we are now the 'Fake Dolls'

Tonight we Fake Dolls are playing at a private party in Aspisheim - I hope it will be a good night! The website will be updated soon!

I finally played my Ceriatone Plexi loud - it is great - I have a Guvnor2 pedal and I can get chunky rock sounds as well as Plexi sounds - and pearly clean sounds when I back off the guitar volume. I would like to use it tonight, but I will use my Marshall DSL until I get used to it.

20 July 2008

Phonhouse played live at the Summer-Party in Oberwiesen and we all had a good time. It rained just an hour before we started so the first band lost a fair portion of their set - the usual disadvantage of being first on. I am rushing this as we a re leaving in a half-hour to go to Austria. I have plenty of pics and will post them later this week. Here is a quicky:

The men in black - Sir Toby and ze Brett. Tobi was always a great performer.
13 July 2008

My Marshall JCM 900 has been sold - well, there are bids for it on fleabay...

She Pooh Nu (ph on hou se) rehearsed this week and is ready for the Sommer-Party in Oberwiesen this coming SA - 19.07.08 - 21.00.

09 July 2008

Very bad news for Mandrake Root - it looks like it is over again.

29 June 2008

Here it is - my Marshall Ceriatone 1987 Plexi - the piping is still sticky, but it finally looks like an old school Marshall. I still have no idea how it sounds loud...

Here is my new friend:
27 June 2008

I sold and sent off my Peavey 5150 and never looked back. My new Marshall 2000/JVM is everything I need. My Ceriatone Marshall 1987 Plexi is also great. I have wired in an fx-loop but I cannot get it to work yet... I will post a picture tomorrow. I will sell my Marshall JCM900 next week to pay for Fabian's driving lessons.

Phonhouse is still called Phonhouse which I dislike after being forced to close the website by that dreadful telephone company of almost the same name. Everytime I hear or see the name I think of them - not us, and to make things worse they even have a shop in Bingen. I hope they go bankrupt soon.

I will call it She Pooh Nu or SoHo Hupen.

08 June 2008

Here are the first pics of my home built Ceriatone Marshall 1987 Plexi:

Bare naked wood stage - still some work yet... all joints are dovetails - it took ages but it is as strong as hell.
Here is the amp - a glorious 50w model '1987 Plexi. I will build/wire in an fx-loop next week.
07 June 2008

I building the amp casing for my Ceriatone Plexi - it may even be finished tomorrow.

Drum roll.......... I have sold my Peavey 5150 - the purchaser seems reasonable so I expect no issues...

Here is my old friend
31 May 2008

Went to see Joe Satriani in Mainz with Ingo. Many years ago I saw Joe S. on my birthday in Köln with Holgi - which reminds me I must call him... (call Holgi and not Joe...).

24 May 2008

My Ceriatone 1987 Plexi arrived. It is a true classic Plexi. Beautiful glassy Hendrix overtones with a dirty raunchy AC/DC streak - add an overdrive pedal and it becomes a screaming monster. The only problem is that it is way too loud for the house.

12 May 2008

I bought a Ceriatone 50w Marshall Plexi. I can't wait until it comes. Sadly my Peavey Windsor was not sold - the buyer never came back. This means I now own 4 amps... until next week - I will try again with eBay.

28 April 2008

We have been forced to remove the name 'phonhouse-rock.de' from the nic domain due to legal complications with a company which has registered a very similar name.

20 April 2008

Just got home from the Mandrake gig in Dieburg. Despite a low turnout at 21.00 we had a fairly good night in the Ludwigshall as it slooowly filled up by the time we got to 'Smoke' the hall was quite vibrant. We threw in Led Zep's 'Rock n' Roll' as a fun encore number - Alex was vocally in top form tonight. The main act tonight was 'Black + White' and they gave us a very warm reception. Everyone was very friendly they are a very professional cover band and they have a brilliant guitarist. I wish I could play what he can - having watched him warm up I was just wondering what the hell I should do next on stage - but it went well, or mostly - Tom abandoned his organ in the middle of 'Child in Time' for a call of nature and I was left doing the solo for at least 15 minutes - that happens often with Tom - you never know what happens next - except there was no toilet on stage so we think he took a dump in a bucket behind a curtain - ps. the bucket will be sold in a future raffle as genuine Mandrake memorabilia.

05 April 2008

My new Peavey Windsor appears not to be the dream amp after all - at least not this one. It is breaking up when I play chords. I am trying to get some help from PV - it might be the tubes... There are others who have this too.

03 April 2008

Daniel's guitar has left for sunny England and my new Peavey Windsor has arrived - I plugged it in straight away and within seconds I was disapointed.

The handsome young man holding Daniel's guitar is Fabian, who is trying not to smile.
01 March 2008

I finished the last work on Daniel's guitar. I started building this months ago and now it is finally ready to be waxed and played. Almost ready Daniel! I am waiting for two tiny parts to come - a guitar knob and a switch. I promised Daniel a few pics so here we go:-

The body is an original Japanese ESP natural wood body ready to be waxed. Today I carved out the last changes to the tremolo area - you can see some filler which will be rubbed off tomorrow.
The Floyd Rose tremolo system is from Ibanez, as is the neck pickup. The bridge pickup is a powerful no-name. I was skeptical at first but I found it surprisingly good. Still, I am still looking at some Seymour Duncans so you never know... Neck/bridge selector, standard vol tone wiring plus a mini switch for coil splitting.
Here is our blonde babe - I inserted 22 jumbo frets, reshaped the head to an ESP shaped head and varnished the neck - which needs rubbing down just one more time. I do not have a 'name' sticker for it - yet.
23 February 2008

Today I finished the mastering for the Phonhouse CD and Ingo picked it up for testing. There might be some small tweaking still to do as the mastering pulls and pushes some frequencies amongst different hifi systems. Still, the project is more or less over!

10 February 2008

Pat came round today to record the last vocal tracks. She had worked out extra vocals lines and she was very positive. I am pleased it is all over (except for the final mix and mastering).

09 February 2008

Backbreaking filthy work in freezing sub-zero temperatures - do you think I am talking about a Siberian slave labour camp? No - Stefan, Alex and I worked on a new rehearsal room in the underground animal dungeons of frozen Hell. Stefan and Alex cleared the walls and the ceiling of mouldy cement and morter and I built the frames for the walls and together we put up all the wall panels. We even have a door... We are very nearly finished - we basically ran out of screws (and time) for the last of the panels. I will take a picture next week as no-one would believe what we have achieved - it went well, but tiring and we were all filthy...

01 February 2008

Black Dog... Led Zeppelin IV... and also a new Walmsley addition... against all reasoning we have a new 4 legged- friend. 'Wilco' - a German shepherd / Alsatian - he has massive paws and ears and I guess he will keep us all busy... he chews everything and is very playful...

Here he is caught in a rare moment - full-dozing on a fat cushion.
26 January 2008

For the first time I recorded a band with all my hardware - Bernie Schiffmann and his Crowesgarden recorded 4 songs for their demo. The only real 'lesson learned' was I need to make an arsenal of all possible adapters for the future, but it was a complete success and I am sure they will mix and produce the tracks ok.

Tomorrow I will record the last acoustic guitar for the Phonhouse demo and mix and finally produce it.

25 January 2008

A personal tragedy for the Walmsley's - our dearly beloved Sula has passed away. We are all devastated - my eyes are filling up as I write this... Sula was the most beautiful creature I have ever known - we will dearly miss her.

Sula half-dozing in the garden (13 years old) last August. One blue eye, one brown - typical of a Siberian Husky - she was often mistaken for a wolf....
20 January 2008

Pat recording her parts for the coming CD - it went very well indeed - in fact I was extra pleased to get the full monitoring working too. Now I just need to record my parts, mix and master...

19 January 2008

Daniel's guitar - I wired it up with split pickups, loaded all the hardware into it, then routed out the wood and build the bridge into it. I stringed it up and even played it, but I still must removed some excess wood and polish the frets. It sounded good though - almost finished Daniel!

16 January 2008

Tobi sang his 3/4 tracks and will do some more next week - Pat is coming on Sunday so it looks like the Phonhouse demo CD will be ready next week - Ingo is already busy doing the cover art.

07 January 2008

Oh Lord! I cannot believe it - Mandrake Root's 666th rehearsal room has been sold back to the devil and now we need to move out again - still, Satan, the farmer was helpful and is offering us a deep cellar catacomb somewhere between his farm buildings and Hell. It is massive - as big as Harry Potter' s Hogwarts Train Station - we 'just' need to select a corner and build walls - as if we did not have anything better to do...

30 December 2007

And it was a great one! The gig last night in Gross-Umstadt was one of our best - Mandrake Root rocked! Great playing and lots of good humour...

Tom - instructing us what to do...
24 December 2007

Feeling better today, but last night as Phonhouse kicked off the X-mas Party in Oberwiesen I was still ill. Fortunately I was saved by a small wonder - the brutal heat of the stage lamps. Bingo! Within 30 minutes I was sweating like a Husky on a hot Summerday and soon things radically improved. It was good fun and who cares anyway? It was a party - some people danced, others rocked and ruttled, and some ignored us - the same usual I guess. Anyway, the last Phonhouse gig of the year was a good one.

23 December 2007

Feeling as rough as a dog after inhaling more cigerette smoke than a Phillip Morris test laboratory makes in a month. I was coughing and splutterung all night (and I still am). I will be glad when smoking is forbidden everywhere! Still, Mandrake had a good time in New Nobles last night. I would like to thank all those who came - you know who you are. I was also thrilled to see Pat from Phonhouse sing along with Alex when we played 'Hush' - another 'first-time' for both bands! Anyway, sorry I was not feeling good, but it was still a great gig. Here is Stefan and I :-

This pic is exactly what I am looking for with live shots - it has a lot of stage light colour and it is clear.
Look at my poor old ugly face - my eyes are running - you can see I am full of the flu...

22 December 2007

Surprise - Surprise! In the middle of everything my sister Kim landed at Frankfurt - I hope she likes rock concerts...

16 December 2007

Took the camera to the gig in Ingelheim and played 'photographer' again... I finally got some good pictures with some colour tweaking and bizarre flash settings. The stage had fixed lighting and yellow / red dominated a lot... Both outside players in mid-field (the bass player and the keyboarder/singer) were in the dark - which is a shame for the singer in Crowes Garden as at first people were wondering where his voice was coming from... I experimented with a mixed bunch of dark/light/colour pictures and I am sure some will be used in the future.

This pic is a touch too dark, but it (the original) is still good. Here is Connie from the 'Deeds'. She also plays in B9-to-Hell (another AC/DC band).
11 December 2007

Mandrake finished our recording spree in which we played about 8 songs - I thought not all were good as we had not rehearsed for months, yet the feedback we are getting now from Alex (singer and studio producer) is very good. I am sure the songs will be stronger than we think. Just like the Led Zep concert in London - By all reports a sensational performance with maybe a few minor errors...

08 December 2008

Today we ( Mandrake ) will be recording our demo. I hope Tom brings his Hammond organ...

Tom - with his headlamp on.
Toms big organ did arrive and we set everything up - however it took hours to do that and other things too... I had a pair of headphones built for a monkey (or hip-hop fan) and my (Stefans) Hughes + Kettner preamp died on me so I could not play properly.

07 December 2007

I went to a leukemia benefit gig in a local pub in Bingen and took my camera with me. There were 2 bands playing - I knew some of the guys from the first band which was the 'Steve Wilson' Rock n' Blues band. They played easy-going rock songs eg. Rolling Stones etc. They were relaxed, played well and came over well. The second band was supposedly more upbeat in a Saga sort of way... It was hard to get a picture of them looking forward - they were playing to their own feet - perhaps it was first-gig nerves. My pal Mark thought they were good and Conny (his girlfriend) thought all 3 groups were good (there were only 2 - she was drunk... LoL).

Stefan 'Wilson' - my neihbour
02 December 2007

Last night Phonhouse had a very enjoyable night in Appenheim - all bands rocked! Bernie Schiffmann excellently catered for everyone and I adored the girls from B9-To Hell who played magnificently - a great AC/DC band. It is a shame that my camera was brought home before they came on stage. Here are Bernie and Pat - and me wearing a kilt! The German word for a skirt is Rock - and afterall it was a 'Women Rock' evening...

Here are Bernie and Pat. Bernie was great with the organisation. He now owns the Bernie Blues Bar in St Goarshausen.
What was I thinking...?
25 November 2007

I thoroughly enjoyed last night with Phonhouse - we rocked! A great party! The hall was full and of course everyone knew Ingo so it was a very friendly atmosphere - it is nice to see people dance and enjoy what we do - it makes ALL the difference. As special guest young Marcel (Ingo's son) came on the stage and played Enter Sandman with us - brilliant! Here I am with the 'Martin's':

Marcel - Enter Sandman
Daddy Ingo
22 November 2008

I declined the offer to come to a rehearsal with B-Kadet, but I simply have no time - with my bands I have 4 gigs before the end of the year, plus recordings and a family to keep happy.

17 November 2007

I have just come home from my first ever recording session with Mandrake . Alex and I built everything up at 13.00 and a half-day later the others arrived... Thru a coincidence he has the recording hardware I need so it worked well and I learnt a lot. Yet by the time we were ready to record I was frozen and tired - 8 hours in any rehearsal room (with hardly no heating) is not funny. We recorded 3 test songs but our time was up for today. The songs sounded great but we will re-record them as we are still learning by doing and the Hammond Organ was not present... Next Sunday will be the big day...

02 November 2007

Bought myself a brand new Terratec sound system in a wave of frustration - unopened package with guarantee... Thankfully I got it really cheap which is better than paying a lot for crabs... I need some mic preamps and then the world will roll round again... I will make it happen - come what may.

28 October 2007

We had a good laugh at the Harley-biker party in Bingen - Phonhouse rocked! - the biker cameraman will send us his pics soon. We played very well - routinely - effortlessly. The stripper was a real hottie too...from now on I will regard the train station differently.

Here is my darling Tweety with a replacement neck, new paint/laquer and everything (almost) perfectly setup. I refitted this Fender with 3mm jumbo frets. I have noiseless Fender pickups and a stock Fender in the middle.

Tweety is still one of my favourites to play. It has harder steel frets than the others - not sure if that is good, but it has a good sustain too. Maybe because I repaired the anchors on the bridge...
I am actually quite proud of Tweety as she is the first guitar I made in years.

ps. Daniel's 'blacker than black' guitar has the basic wiring ready - I just need to decide on a special out-of-phase selector or not. The neck has new laquer and with some luck it will be ready next weekend. I will try it out with Phonhouse to make sure it gets the right pickup sound at loud volume level. I like the LH-100 Seymour Duncan pickup in my ESP so I might change the one I have at last minute - as always...

13 October 2007

Phonhouse live in New Noble's - a great night for all - the audience was certainly in a good singing mood! We finished with solid rousing encores at almost 00.30! The pictures from my new camera are great - this time we have hundreds of good ones (just bad poses and ugly faces!). I just need to learn how to lower the flash in different light conditions as the flash cuts-thru the stage lamps - see pic below:

Tobi and I. In reality we are in the semi-dark with a dozen coloured spot lights from all sides - but the flash is too high so it looks like we are in your front room - well, at least it is better than our old small 'digi' cameras...
Bernie Schiffmann came along too - he will be playing in Nov. with his 'Crowsgarden' in Ingelheim - KKK and I will officially take pictures (I feel like Rob Halfin...). I will post the dates when I get them.

Tweety is still one of my favourites to play. It has harder steel frets than the others - not sure if that is good, but it has a good sustain too. Maybe because I repaired the anchors on the bridge...
Poor old Tweety - repainted and hung up to dry... she will be finished in the next few weeks.

08 September 2007

This weekend was the 7th Eich Open Air concert here in my own village - Dorsheim. This is run by a few local hippy-bearded beatniks who get 12 bands to play on a stage in a field over a period of 3 days. Entrance is free and everybody is either stoned or dead drunk - it is a riot - it is a shame that it always gets way too cold in the evenings - why not do it in Summer? I was asked I would like to play next year (with whomever) and why not? It would be a good laugh... This year was the best ever offering of groups I had seen (last year was truly abysmal!). Ok, I missed Friday, but yesterday a pop-rock cover group from England was on as I arrived (Blushing Crows) - they were musically very unpolished and inexperienced compared to Phonhouse, but the 2 young lady singers had very large breasts and could sing very well - so they made it. The next group was from the Czech Rep. (Tchori)- they were hilariously good and were great musicians (I loved the drummer - fantastic player) - it was heavy 'drop-D' punk with a wild singer who changed clothes and props for each song - nobody understood a word, but it was very entertaining! I missed the main group(s) as the dog was not happy with "Uwe's Firework Organ" which was spitting fire from its pipes and making strange noises - being a good doggy-dad I brought animal and self into safety and we watched the next heavy metal band from a safer distance (either Razor's Edge or Dragon's Fire) - they were very good and I was reluctant to go home...

12 August 2007

David kindly gave me a the pictures of yesterdays 'gig' - Jesus! I have a crap camera. My camera is a 99 Euro Pentax - his is a Nikon reflex-mirror - I have got to have one!!!! Just look at the difference here and the grainy pic below - and this one has been reduced in scale and quality too! Here is a pic of Alex taken last night:

A very good pic. This is how I always like to think of Alex...
11 August 2007

Alex and Tanja married today. They both make a very beautiful pair - both looked sensational. We arrived later and set up our gear in the pleasant gardens of the winery in Wallertheim. My long term colleague and friend David Newman was also there on camera and was busy making making prints. We absolutely rocked for an hour until the police came - It never fails to astonish me how good the boys are - we have not rehearsed for weeks and yet it just flows effortlessly. A great evening. I am looking forward to seeing David's pictures - I will post a few when I get them - unlike mine he has a real camera...

Here is David who actually got me interested in cameras. p.s I still have his old acoustic guitar.
14 July 2007

The Phonhouse gig in Oberwiesen last night was the last in a block of gigs which started last December and it successfully closed a fairly decent run.

I remember this was a very sweaty night and I was sweating out litres of alchohol free beer. My skin was like oil
07 July 2007

Last night Phonhouse had a great night in the 'Mayers Bar' in Alzey - an absolute marathon event. We played from 21.30 until 02.00 - 4.5 hours! Everyone had a really great time. I played thru my Peavey 5150 and played mostly with my new ESP Kamikazi and both were fantastic.

Mayers Bar...
10 June 2007

I bought a a large block of tough wood (beach) and now my 'Tweety' Strat is fixed and plays great again- I shaped it, fitted it into the body, glued it, used wooden plugs to nail it, drilled new holes for the tremolo and fitted the Floyd Rose into place - solid as a rock. The up side is that it is better than it was before - even before it split... the down side is that the repair is both under and outside of the front plate and is therefore visible. Ideally I need to re-spray her again...

08 June 2007

The wood around one of the tremolo anchoring bolts has broken on my darling 'Tweety' Strat. I wondered why the guitar was going out of tune at the last Mandrake rehearsal - it was obviously not able to take the strain of the strings plus my whammy acrobatics. I doubt if I can repair it, a new body would be easier. Hmm...

(note: I spent all afternoon making a large slot in the body and I now need a tough block of wood to insert into it for the new anchor bolts - it looks like I can rescue poor old Tweety - but she really belongs on the wall now).

30 May 2007

I have finally given up the Voodoo Crows. The group played some of my favorite music, and there were the odd times where played them at top level too, but as you vivid readers of this homepage may have guessed, it was just not working out as efficiently as it should. There were too many missing rehearsals and the playing was not consistent - leading to too many mistakes and lack of groove.

27 May 2007

The Phonhouse gig was a washout... A shame. In the humid heat of the late sunny afternoon we built up the stage with gloomy glances at an ever dull looking horizon... and by the time we were finished with the soundcheck our luck was out. The storm front which had whiplashed Berlin on the previous day was now upon us. It went dark within 2 minutes, the temperature dropped by 15 degrees and the wind charged at us with hurricane speeds. In the face of the downpour we managed to drag everything into the building just in the nick of time - well almost, my Les Paul was found face down under the drum kit... and subsequently we were soaked through. I was still sweating and at the same time chilled by the wind, leading to an immediate dose of bronchitis - I am wheezing now as I write this.

30 April 2007

Had a good gig with Phonhouse in 'Route 66' in Haide - (the second time for me there). We played well, but it is never an ideal gig as everyone sits outside when it is warm - something we will have to get used to - but it was yet another positive experience.

05 April 2007

In the last few days I repainted my 1970's Japanese Strat in yellow- this was formerly the 'Sandy' Strat - and wow, it turned out very well - it now looks very 'new' (and still plays beautifully) - I have bought a Seymour Duncan STK-1 pickup to replace the twin rails pickup at the neck - optically it will look better and sound more glassy.

This project was abandoned - I could not get the picture right on the body...
I sold my Bell+Head 'Frankenstein' Les Paul on eBay - in the last weeks I had replaced the fingerboard ok, but then could not bring myself to repaint and finish it due to the endless time needed and the costs involved - my Epiphone Les Paul is just simply better all round, and 'Frankenstein' would still be a dog...

31 March 2007

Phonhouse live in Katzenelnbogen - we had quite a journey to get there and then hardly anyone came (Henry Maske boxing match was apperntly to blame...) - still, you cannot always win. However the people who did come actually danced with us so to be fair it was a good laugh and we got some good promotion pictures from it (this one below is just from my digi camera so there are better ones to come soon...). ps you can see my battered Les Paul - this time it sounded really good and the solos were very fluid with my o/d pedal.

Ingo, Micha, Pat, Tobi and myself. I persoanally think this was the best line up as we had a lot of fun. I like the other line-ups but they never smiled.
17 March 2007

Phonhouse - packed-out show in New Nobels - I do not think they have had a Saturday like it since they have opened! Lol! A great night for everybody - nothing more to say... All the boys n' gal were fantastic and we rocked!!! Many thanks to all who came and an very extra 'thank you' to Holgi - who truly surprised us by turning up unexpectedly from Krefeld!!! Also a special thanks to Klaus and Simon for fighting with the sound - if you have ever played in New Nobels then you know what I mean. Sadly I have no pictures to post - for some reason my camara has pictures of naked breasts (thanks Tom) and tequila glasses...

10 March 2007

The Epiphone-Gibson 'Les Paul' arrived. It is sadly badly beaten - (ok... that is why it was cheap) - childish lack damage into the wood, but plays well. I thought I would repair it - but now I do not know what to do - it's value will not change even if I repaint + varnish it and it looks good as it is. It is like putting a small swimming pool in the garden of a terraced house - at the end of the day the value does not change much - at the end of the day it is still 'only' an Epiphone even though it is a European one and not Asian. Still, it is an excellent top-quality copy of a real US Gibson except I dislike the Epiphone headstock... an old fashioned funny shape. I will bring it along for the gig on Saturday because it sounds great...

My other Frankenstein Les Paul is almost ready too. I re-fretted it and to be honest it is not too far off from its new Epiphone brother and it now even has nice 3mm jumbo frets (the Epiphone has only 2,5...) - so for me it will even play better! I might repaint that and if the result is good then I will do the Epiphone too - and then sell both of them and get a real friggin' Gibson!

05 March 2007

One year - one year with one good eye. I am going to the hospital on Tuesday - I hope they will finally take out the stitches- once they are gone I will soon be able to wear a contact lens - and be normal again... Once the stitches are out the new cornea will settle naturally and might even give me even better vision. See the zigzag stitches?

This is not a pic from my own eye but mine is identical. Zig-zag stitches around the plug
So what can I see? Well, everything is very clear (not milky at all), but distorted. Both my eyes are at approx. 40% without contact lens - with contact lens I get 100%. Even more during the day, but less at night.Can I feel the stitches? No. But my brain gets tired from the imbalance of vision.

21 February 2007

2 weeks ago Mandrake Root played in a kitchen - no joke - we lost our rehearsal room and the owners had no other room free - Markus plays naked as usual. His drums were against the heaters and he gets hot anyway,Tom sat between the washing machine and dish washer, Stefan balanced himself amongst the PA system and cupboards, I was squashed in the doorway and Alex stood outside in the hallway as he is over 2m... (yes, he is a basketball player). It was deafeningly loud, but brilliant - we played 6 songs and it was like we had never been apart for the last months - pure magic, pure genius and what a sound! And Alex? We warmed up with 'Rock n' Roll' from Led Zeppelin and he was devastatingly good - there were thrilled exchanges of looks around the room... you know when someone is good - and yes, Alex is that good! Considering he had only bought 'Made in Japan' at weekend he was brilliant - we could have played live and nobody would have noticed!

23 December 2006

Phonhouse gig in Oberwiesen! On-stage we were struggling with poor monitors, but the sound upfront was good. I was quite surprised that so many came later in the evening - we started the second block after the strippers and suddenly the hall was full... I wonder why? We played over 30 songs and finished about 01:30 !! I was also enormously pleased to see Bernie Schiffmann whom I had not seen/spoken to for nearly a year.

03 October 2006

I was asked to play a gig or two with Michael Gundlach and his Band. Michael is my old pal & ex-drummer from Reload. I guess he just carried on where we all took off in 2003. I believe I will be supporting the hard-rock part of the set?? The first gig will be on 23.12.06 (details still to come). I do not know them all but I do know that the tattooed 'Crowes Babe' on vocals is 'Pat'.

26 August 2006

On Sunday I finally sprayed the fingerboard of my Les Paul and re-stringed it for the first time in 4 months... I hope only the rear of the neck needs attention now.

I refretted my Les Paul... it still needs to be honed down, setup with strings, and then the neck needs re-painting and new lack.

11 August 2006

On this day.... 27 years ago I saw Led Zeppelin at Knebworth - 1979 - I am a Led Zep fan - always was - but on that day they were awful...