Interview: Blindstone(Martin Andersen)
Interview Blindstone(Martin Andersen): Blindstone is a Danish rock trio formed 2002 in Thisted, Denmark. Martin Andersen interview Feb 2010.


Blindstone is a Danish rock trio formed 2002 in Thisted, Denmark. The band has released three albums so far: Manifesto (2003), Freedom's Calling (2008) and Rise Above (2010). Current lineup consists of Martin J. Andersen (guitars, vocals), Jesper Bunk (bass) and Anders Hvidtfeldt (drums) who replaced the original drummer Benjamin Hove few months after the debut album was released in 2003. Andersen and Bunk have also made an appearance in George Clinton album How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent? (2005) when they provided guitar and bass parts in a cover version of old rock classic Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On.
Blindstone has also recorded cover versions of songs by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Robin Trower, Funkadelic, Frank Marino and The Isley Brothers in their own albums. All Blindstone albums have been released by New York based record company Grooveyard Records which is specialized in guitar oriented rock music.

Blindstone's second album Freedom's Calling was record of the month in Cutting Edge Magazine, September 2008. The album also got a 5 out of 5 rating by Scott Heller on Aural Innovations web zine.


The Recordings with Blindstone

2003 Manifesto

01. Wasted Days [4:23]
02. Temple Trippin' [3:33]
03. Somewhere [4:42]
04. Say It Ain't So [4:56]
05. Open Up Your Heart [4:59]
06. Unifunk (It's Time) [5:04]
07. Groovin' [4:00]
08. By Grabthar's Hammer [6:22]
09. Are You Experienced? [4:47]
10. Sleeping Alone [6:23]
11. Funkadelic Medley [4:49]
12. Dirty Love [3:29]
13. Gonna Be More Suspicious [6:06]

  The album was re-issued by Grooveyard Records in 2008, with new artwork and 3 bonus tracks, which were recorded during the Freedom's Calling sessions.
- In general what do you think about your debut album?
  Good question, although I have only positive feelings about it. That album has a very special place in my heart, as it's our first, and a true labor of love. When I hear it now, though, there are some things that i'd like to have done differently, but it shows where we were at the time. Our only album with Benjamin Hove on drums. He quit a few months after we released the album, right after a totally disastrous show. The show wasnt the reason, though. He wasnt totally comfortable with the genre, and he'd just gotten a new job, which demanded much of his time, so we split on good terms.

- Favourite Songs(and why)?
  Temple Trippin' and By Grabthar's Hammer. Temple was the first thing we ever jammed, when we started up as Blindstone, and it is one of the songs I really enjoy playing live as well. Grabthar, because I feel we were successful at writing an OK rock-instrumental, with a really cool beat. I'm pretty happy with Wasted Days as well, and I think we did Are You Experienced some justice too.

- Any anecdotes /special memories from the recording sessions?
  Well, the album was recorded REALLY fast. We were on a roll, as finally a label wanted to work with us. We got the call from Karma Music right before Christmas, 2002, and I think we were in the studio by early february. I believe all drums, bass and rhythm guitars, even a few solos, were done in 4 days. The sessions were great fun, and we worked very hard to get this thing to tape.

The funny thing is, I was in college at the time, studying to be a school teacher. I was supposed to write this really big, very important final paper at that time, in fact we had 4 or 5 weeks off to do this paper, but I went for recording and mixing Manifesto instead. In the end, I ended up writing the paper in 2 nights, and failed MISERABLY at the final test. That was the end of Teacher days...

2008 Freedom's Calling

01. Freedom's Calling [3:15]
02. Can't Be With You [3:48]
03. Fear [3:54]
04. Good Time [4:55]
05. She's So Pretty [4:10]
06. Sugar Room [5:12]
07. Waste a Little Time On Me [3:47]
08. I'd Quit [3:53]
09. Hang Onto My Love [4:16]
10. Had Enough [5:56]
11. Freedom's Calling (Slight Return) [15:43]

- In general what do you think about the album?
  I'm pretty happy with it. I think we managed to get to the essence of the Blindstone sound and vibe on this one. It was a difficult record to do, though, as we kept running into obstacles during the recordings, and I ran into some personal stuff as well, which took up some time. Took a loooong time to get that album done.

Lance Lopez turned in a KILLER guest-performance on the cover of Frank Marino's Had Enough Last, but certainly not least: we managed to persuade Anders to get back behind the drums, after a 6-year break. It was great to get to play with him again.

- Favourite Songs(and why)?
  The title track has special meaning to me, as it's actually a pretty personal song, and I think it's a great opening track. Also Freedom's Calling (Slight Return) at the end of the disc, as I think it really brings a sense of closure to the disc. I think Waste A Little Time On Me works really well, too, although I wasn't totally happy with the way i'd mixed it at the time. Jesper wrote 3 songs on the album: Sugar Room, Good Time and Hang Onto My Love, and I think all 3 of them are awesome.

- Any anecdotes /special memories from the recording sessions?
  Well, seeing that we were now on a label dedicated to the guitar (Grooveyard Records), we decided to give them as much guitar as humanly possible. “Too much! It should be too much!”, was our motto during the sessions. That's why many of the songs have 3 solos: intro, middle and outro, plus fills in the verses.... In hindsight, maybe it was just a little TOO too much, but what the hell!

2010 Rise Above

01. Rise Above [5:11]
02. Power Man [3:11]
03. Keep the Rock Alive [3:37]
04. Climbing Up the Ladder [6:15]
05. New Direction [5:00]
06. Horizontal Activ [4:03]
07. Sonic Motor King [4:05]
08. Wiser [4:09]
09. House Burning Down [5:40]
10. Beyond the Purple Sky [16:20]

- Your Latest and Greatest, feelings about the album?
  REALLY happy with this one!!! I think it's our best yet, certainly in terms of material. I also think it's the album that we've played the best on, both individually and as a group. I'm also really proud of the fact that we were able to have 2 really distinguished guests on the album: Ty Tabor of King's X, and Poul Halberg, both players that I highly admire and respect.

- Favourite Songs(and why)?
  Rise Above, because I think it's a really nice, heavy rock track with a nice riff, and an INCREDIBLE solo by Ty Tabor!!
Keep The Rock Alive, because I really like the vibe of this track, and the way we played it.
House Burning Down, which I think turned out really nice, but which I was scared as hell to record. I have an almost religious relationship to the original Hendrix version, and it was one of the songs that i'd actually decided that i'd never touch. I didnt even know the chords! Also, i'm really proud of the fact that we managed to get Poul Halberg to guest on that track, plus his contribution is incredible!
Beyond The Purple Sky came out nice too, and it was a nice opportunity to stretch out a bit on the guitar.
I also really like the 2 tracks that Jesper wrote: New Direction and Sonic Motor King. Great Rock songs!!

- Any anecdotes /special memories from the recording sessions?
  Well the last 2 days of cutting drums and bass were pretty crazy... Got drums down for 9 of the tracks in those 2 days, and bass for like 7 of them. The live-in-the-studio jam of Frank Marino' He's Calling was recorded at the very end of day 2. It was literally, Hey, wait! We have to do this too!!!, when we were ready to call it a night. We did 2 takes and the second was the keeper.

Also, the session with Poul Halberg was really special. I drove over to Copenhagen, to his studio, and he was super-cool, but also very serious about his contribution. A really relaxed, but focused day in the studio with one my heroes!

George Clinton - 2005 - How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent?

- And how about your appearance at the George Clinton album How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent?
That came about in a pretty funny way. Jesper and I were in Los Angeles to do some recording with Jesper's brother-in-law, Dwayne “Dcat” Cornelius (some of those later came out on the album 1.0, which we released under the name Dcat & Da Bomb.

Dcat used to be in a band with George's son, TreyLewd, so him and George go way back. While we were in L.A., George suddenly called Dcat, and asked him to set up some studio time for him. We were there in the studio for a week, just hanging out, being flies on the wall and helping out with dragging equipment up and down the stairs, running to the store, etc. A couple of times we got invited to do some backing vocals, which we did. Then finally, the night before we were supposed to fly back to Denmark, we were asked to play. It was a really intense session, we worked really hard all night, just Dcat, Jesper and I, and George of course. He wanted to do a version of Whole Lotta Shakin', and he knew exactly how he wanted it to sound. We also did Let The Good Times Roll. He seemed really happy and enthusiastic about the solos I did, which blew me away, considering the guitar players he's had in his band over the years!!!

Anyway, it was a great, great experience and George is just the funniest person in the world, period! He had the whole studio (LOTS of people hanging out most nights!) in stitches for the whole week, firing jokes and funny wordplays all the time.

A little later, we learned that he had added Bobby Womack to the track, on vocals, as well as Billy Preston on keyboards, so we began wondering if the track might actually come out some day. Well, lo and behold, it ended up on How Late Do U Have 2 B B 4 U R Absent? a few years later. How Late... was his first album in something like 9 years at that point.

George returned the favor a little later, and did some vocals on 2 tracks on the 1.0 album, as well as some unreleased stuff.

I've since had the pleasure of jamming with him and P-Funk onstage, on a couple of occasions, one of them being Roskilde Festival, here in Denmark.

But that was a great experience. A true highlight of my musical life!

Blindstone related questions

- How did you get together?

  After Creamy Beaver folded, i was in many different bands (playing any style imaginable), but i stayed in touch with Jesper, and we used to get together jam, from time to time, doing the occasional gig as a power trio.

Eventually, i ended up in a band called Daybreak, a melodic pop/rock outfit . The original bass player switched to keyboards, and we asked Jesper to join on bass. The drummer in this band was Benjamin Hove. Daybreak eventually became pretty popular in our local area. We put out a 3-song CD-single, with all 3 three songs getting heavy airplay on local radio. It wasnt a band with a lot of room for guitar solos, though, and that could be sort of frustrating now and then. One fateful day, our singer was involved in a horrendous car-accident, and got seriously injured. He is really a bass player, but in Daybreak, he played guitar and sang. While recuperating from the accident, he apparently came to the conclusion that singing in Daybreak was no longer for him, and decided to join another band, on bass . The keyboard-player had been invited to join that band as well, so they both left, and Daybreak came to an end.

That's when I decided it was time to play some serious power trio rock again (which i hadnt really done for years at that point), and i asked Jesper and Benjamin to join me, and that's how Blindstone came around.

- Describe the sort of music, influences!

  Well, Blindstone was (and is) a conscious effort to play and write music in the style that inspired me to play in the first place, i.e. Hendrix, Trower, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc. But we're also influenced by bands like King's X and Audioslave. Music with emphasis on big, blues-based unison riffs, and lots of jamming and solos.

It was really important to us, not to second-guess what others might want to hear (which we'd done to death in many other bands), but to play what we want to PLAY. That's basically what Blindstone is about.

- What is the meaning of the band's name, Blindstone?

  Hehe... No idea! There was a time, while we were in Daybreak, where we considered changing that band's name. Jesper put together a list of suggestions, and one of the names he came up with was The Blindstones. For some reason that name stayed with me. When we started up this band, i said, ”Let's lose the ”The” and the ”-s”, and call it ”Blindstone”!”. Benjamin and Jesper agreed, so we went with that name.

- First Concert,with the Blindstone, where/when?

  Our first gig was at a bar/venue in Thisted, called GATE 7. Hardly a spectacular gig, but a nice beginning.

- Which songs do you like performing live mostly and why?

  Temple Trippin', By Grabthar's Hammer, can't get tired of those 2, although i have to REALLY concentrate on By Grabthar's Hammer, to make sure i dont get too sloppy. Freedom's Calling is fun to play. That heavy riff usually grabs people. Can't Be With You is also a lot of fun to play, but difficult to sing, as it has so many words. I have to really watch my breathing on that one (and remmeber the words!!!). But it's a great live song, a little faster than much of our other material. We usually open with Funkadelic Medley, one of the bonus tracks we did for the MANIFESTO re-issue. Again, it's that big riff.... It's a great feeling, when the sound is right, and the band is locked in together on one of those big heavy riffs!

We havent played that much of the Rise Above material live yet, but Keep The Rock Alive seems to work really well, although i have to be careful not to blow my voice on it. He's Calling is a great opportunity to really jam and stretch out.

- Any anecdotes/speciell memories from your Concerts with Blindstone?

  Haha... nothing too crazy, i'm afraid. Except once, when a, shall we say, rather mature lady decided to bare the upper half of her body, and dance in a (i'm sure she thought) very sensuous way, right in front of me... I'm afraid it didnt have the desired effect...

Other than that, I mostly remember how the gigs go down musically, and how the feeling was on stage.

I will say though, that opening for Walter Trout once, was something else. That was a very good show. Support gigs can sometimes be difficult,as the audience is not there to see you, but this one went really well. And Walter came out and met us, and said some really nice things about us, so that was great.

And i will actually mention the Rock At Sea gig too, as that one went down really well, and the audience was really receptive. It was our first show outside of Denmark, so we were actually pretty nervous! We were really happy with the nice reception we got there. Thank You!

Claes Hassel: I'm a Big Lover for Long, Heavy, Distorted, Wah-wah solos specially in the mould of the Hendrix/Trower style and I got it at the Rock At Sea gig. So I say, Thank You Blindstone!!

Blindstone Links

  Blindstone at MySpace
  Blindstone Fanclub at MySpace
  Grooveyard Records
  Grooveyard Records at MySpace