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Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt Loves India...and Nokia. Uh, Not Really

By Newsferatu, Writer
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 @ 7:01 AM


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Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth took the time to issue this rare update:

"Where is my mind?

Hey good people!

Long time since I wrote something here, I've been really fucking busy with everything and I try not to live by the rules set by my computer... most of the time.

First off, I'm better, not sick at all. I even managed the whole trip to India without shitting myself which is a grand achievement. Christmas was fine, New Year's Eve was fine. We had dinner with my friends, the band... and Jonas and Anders (KATATONIA) and my friend the King with their respective girlfriends/wives. Had some great food, a few glasses of wine, a few beers, some bubble shit that no one likes (apart from the posh idiot pretenders) but drink anyways once a year.

Fred and I had the whole NAMM music fair scheduled and that went fine. As we got to the Hilton in Anaheim where we lived, we thought they'd evacuated the whole building due to a fire or something, but it turned out people were just partying. That's really what NAMM is... one big party! We did 2 hrs of work and the rest was just hanging out drinking beer with other rockers, and biz people and such. We did a signing and a Q&A for PRS, both went fine. PRS are really taking good care of us. I love those guys and it was great to meet everyone in a relaxed environment like that. Paul Reed himself is such a cool guy! He pours his soul into his guitars which is so great to see, knowing that they're such a big company these days. His excitement for buildng guitars never faded one bit.

Hung out a little with Tremonti and Myles from ALTER BRIDGE which are super cool down to earth people. Basically, everyone was there! I saw ALICE COOPER walk into the hotel but was too shy/sober to say something. I embarrassed myself a little in front of Jerry Cantrell (ALICE IN CHAINS), Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Wilton and more. I guess I get starstruck and have to 'say' something. And it always comes out like I'm a complete twat! Talked a little to my idol Trey Azagthoth as well.

Met Gene Hoglan who lifted me up over his shoulder (as usual). Hung out with my ol' pals in GOD FORBID, met my friend Wille Adler, said hi to some Norwegians, met ol' friends from LA, saw RACER X play (good), saw Alice Cooper play (good), said hi again to Uli Roth (who didn't remember me), had a few beers with some dudes from EXODUS, chatted with Uriah Duffy from WHITESNAKE who's a super cool dude! Well, you understand... it was more like that than actual work. I didn't mind of course. Either way, thanks a 1000 to PRS guitars. I mean I love their fucking guitars to bits, but the fact that they acknoledge me and Opeth and actually are thanking me for playing their guitars is beyond me. Lovely people!

Back home we had a few days of rehearsals in front ot the gig in Madras/Chennai India. The trip went well, we flew with a airline called Kingfisher which basically are more known to me for making beer... which I found a bit odd and... scary! Yet they were good, and sure enough they served Kingfisher beer on the plane as well.

India was great and pretty ubvelievable at the same time. I mean, it's so poor I couldn't believe it. Where we went is the 'real' India, not Goa which is a tourist paradise more or less. We had a 'hotel' in a student type area as the Saraang festival was just around the corner from there. It was basically located in the middle of the woods and was a pretty simple affair. No hot water, no toilet paper, no soap, obviously no room service. But with that said, our chaperone took great care of us and fixed us whatever we needed. There were several monkeys hanging out with us at the hotel. They lived in the woods surrounding it and greeted us outside our doors every morning. There were also plenty of deer hanging around, which almost seemed completely tame and unafraid of humans.

We went for a trip to see some ancient temples which was well worth it and obviously interesting to see. There were shitloads of salesmen and beggars all around which was a bit uncomfortable, but I guess they do what they need to do to make a living.

We had been asked to judge a competition between 5 bands as well. They we're playing in a big amphitheater, the same where we'd be playing later on. We were asked to name our favourite band as well as our favourite singer, guitarist, bass player and drummer. Afterwards we announced the winner from stage and they were so happy... they got some free gear (including a PRS guitar) for winning too. We also did a press conference which was just amazing, I mean the people there were so loud, roaring as we came through the door. Same with the signing session. The organizer had set us up with a 50 something man strong security team that formed a human chain around as and walked us back and forth from the cars and into the buildings. Insane! People seemed so happy to see us and we almost got chills from the attention... and the fucking roars man...!!!Loud as fuck!

The show went OK! There were some odd 10,000 people there and the response was great. We had some technical difficulties with the drums and bass, and monitors but overall I think we did pretty well.

The only negative thing about the show were the sponsors, Nokia cellphones. Some fucking how they'd talked me into doing some retarded fucking thing with a new cellphone from the stage. I was gonna be given a phone and show it to the crowd, press a button and then a Opeth song would come on. Obviously it didn't work and I was just insanely embarrased by it all. It's so NOT me! On top of that Nokia fucked us over royally! Playing fucking shit techno in the middle of our set, had some idiot jumping on stage prancing around yelling about Nokia and whetever... plus big ass Nokia banners in the MIDDLE of our songs as we're playing! Utterly tasteless and overall retarded! I was fuming with anger as I came offstage. They gave me the phone but I immediately gave it away to a random driver we had. It was probably worth a month's wage to him, so he was happy at least.

So here we go: FUCK YOU NOKIA INDIA!

But, as I said, overall it was fine, and the crowd was just fantastic! So loud and respectful... it was simply overwhelming! Thank you so much for your hospitality!

Now I'm back home. Just took the kids to kindergarten and I guess I'm gonna catch some sleep now while I can.

Hope all is well with you guys!

Ohh.... looks like we're appearing on TV4's morning show on the 9th of February. 2 songs we've never played before... wish us luck!

Take care
Mike"


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