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"The best thing to come out of sweden since blonde babes!" Glyn Wilkinson, Buyer
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Food for thought brings you the music of Iron Maiden, but from a slightly different perspective. What was originally a spur of the moment reinvention of a handful of Iron Maiden songs rapidly escalated into a 2½ year long recording project. Some ideas have been around for quite some time. Others just popped up moments before the recording.
Be quick or be dead
22 Acacia avenue
The Angel and the gambler
Fortunes of war
Blood on the world's hands
Stranger in a strange land
Flash of the blade
Public enema number one
Heaven can wait
Seventh son of a seventh son
Who on earth would bother with this?
bass, guitar, vocals and stuff
drums, bass, guitar, vocals, keyboards, mandolin, recorder and other stuff
...with a little help from our friends:
Björn Flodkvist: Mattias had heard Björn's vocals on the Candlemass song "Elephant Star" [From the 13:th Sun] and thought "That's what 'Sanctuary' needs!". Since Björn lives in Stockholm and is one of the nicest persons in rock it all worked out smoothly (apart from that he lost his voice for six months after the recording).
Maria Odengrund: Seventh son of a Seventh son needed a touch of flute and since we could not get hold of Ian Andersson we asked relative and friend Maria.
Pär Fransson: Years back Henrik found some soundclips on the web with Pär Fransson playing Dave Murray solos spot on. When we started to work on this project we tried hard to find him but with out any luck. But fate entered at Maiden's gig in Stockholm in 2003 when we managed to find the guy! Pär proved to be very enthusiastic about the whole project and made some priceless contributions to the recordings as heard on "Seventh son of a Seventh son" and "Stranger in a Strange land".
Bo Lindberg: Bo is the guitarist of the Swedish folk music ensemble Hoven Droven which is one of Henriks and Mattias favourite bands. "Burning Ambition" needed an acustic instrument for the solo and why not ask a guitarist to record an accordion solo for us? Bo proved to be very easy going and agreed to do it with out hearing the actual song before.
Claes Isakson/Jonas Lidholm: The obvious AC/DC touch of "Futureal" obviously needed some AC/DC vocals to make it complete. A search on the web for Swedish AC/DC cover bands lead to Claes' band Live Wire. Mattias tried to emulate the style of Angus Young for the solo but (of course) failed immensly. Claes asked Live Wire collegue Jonas Lidström and that did the trick.
Kenny Leckremo: We had been told about Kennys amazing vocals by a friend. After finding out his rather unusual surname finding him was no match for "detective" Mattias. Singing "Flash of the Blade" demands some qualified pair of vocal cords. No match for young Leckremo as heard on the track.
Chris Dale: We got to know Chris while he played for Bruce Dickinson. Chris being (yet another) one of the nicest persons in rock agreed on returning the favour since we had done some recordings for Chris' band Sack Trick. Chris' excellent fretless bas playing is heard on "22 Acacia Avenue".
Peter Lokrantz: Peter is Iron Maiden's former bodyguard and background singer (Heaven can wait). Nowadays he is being Maidens tour masseur. We thought we had to have him on the record. Peter thought we were out of our minds wanting him on the record since he claims he is not one bit musical. But his perfomance on "Sanctuary" is nothing less than brilliant we think.
Per Holmlund: Per was Mattias' neighbour. He had a computer and knew how to use it. Per is probably the one on this record furthest away from being a Maiden fan which is logical perhaps since "Fortunes of war" is very far from sounding like Maiden.
Marko Manninen: Yet another one of our favourites that we desperately wanted to have on the album. We discovered Marko's excellent playing through his previous band "Höyry Kone" that did an astounding cover of "The Trooper" that can be found on the American Maiden tribute "Slaves to the Power". We needed an skilled cellist for "Flash of the Blade" and we knew he was a fan of Maidens music so we thought why not ask. Marko said yes to the project to our delight.
L-G Petrov: The average fan of metal recognises L-G's voice from death metal pioneers Entombed. "The Trooper" needed a really raw voice and in our book his is one of the best. He was our top choice and the result speaks for itself.
Anders Peev: Henrik knew Anders from previous band efforts and since he is one of Swedens best keyharpists recording "The Trooper" and "Flash of the Blade" was a walking victory for him.
Ulf Nygårds: Ulf is an old friend of ours and a super talented multi musician whom we played in a band together with years back. Ulf came to our help on several songs ("Sanctuary", "Angel and the gambler" and "Blood on the world's hands") and did some truly wonderful work for us.
Gabriela Kulka: After having heard Gabriela's amazing reneditions of Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden songs on the web we knew we had to have her on our record. And she was delighted to be asked! In our humble opinion her part of "22 Acacia Avenue" is possibly the best part of the whole record.
Ulrika Österblom: Ulrika happened to give Henrik a phone call during a vocal take in "The Angel and the gambler"... And what spooky timing!
Robin Kvist: We knew Robin from playing gigs together with his band QOPH! Robin's voice was for us an obvious choice for "Twilight Zone".
Gomer Explensch: In the nick of time we managed to track down Gomer and get him to do some crucial honking of the horns recordings that probably saved "Twilight Zone" from the litter bin (tinny sort of word).
Anni Thulin: Henrik needed someone to sing "Innocent exile" as he himself can't sing to save his life . But he's a bit clever and actually thought of asking someone who can sing to do it for him, and who better than Anni that him and Mattias had played in a band with.
Edward Klingspor: When a tune needs some stomping pump organ, why not ask a classically trained Mozart fan to record it? And since Henrik only knew one classically trained Mozart fan he's the one who got the honors.
Helena Rosendahl: Originally Henrik and Mattias intended to do the vocals on "Be quick or be dead". They tried 666 different approaches before realising that they still hadn't learned how to sing. They still fight over who came up with the brilliant idea to ask a proper singer to sing it for them, but when asked Helena (who Henrik had played with in a previous band) was very enthusiastic about the whole thing.
Henrik Stenberg Mr Stenberg used to play bass in a band with Anders the keyharpist and Mr Johansson happened to be the drummer. In breaks during rehearsals the two Henriks would often spontaneously burst into improvised polyphonic vocals and bearing this in mind Mr Johansson thought that Mr Stenberg might be the voice needed on "Heaven can wait". This is the only recorded evidence of Henrik Johansson being right.
Maria Karlsson: On his embryotic demo version of "Stranger in a strange land" Henrik had found himself vocally imitating a cello but he quickly found an easier way of getting the sound he wanted and that was to ask a cello player to record them. And to adjust gender representation, why not get a female cellist to record it?
Erik Gustafsson: Mattias had an idea for an album cover to tie in with the "Food for thought" title. Bearing in mind this was the original idea for title of "Piece of mind" he wanted a cover with the band at the dining table as in "Piece of mind" but with different Eddie characters instead of the bandmebers. It turned out that Maidenhead and friend Erik Gustafsson was really good at drawing and he delivered a stunning cover.
A few quotes on "Food for thought"
(6/10) Geoff Barton, Classic Rock (#85, October 2005)
Rick Baum, McBrain Damage
Roy Z, producer and guitarist
Glyn Wilkinson, first buyer of the CD!
(7/10) Chris Doran, The Metal Observer (English), The Metal Observer (German)
(-) Mauricio Carrasco, http://www.ironmaiden.cl (Spanish)
(3/5) Daniel Falk, www.metalnyheter.se (Swedish)
John Reynolds, a buyer
(10/10) Christoph Lücker, www.obliveon.de (German)
(5.5/10) Jim Martin, Terrorizer (#136, October 2005)
The Iron Maiden Commentary (English/French)
cyanopsis, Official Iron Maiden Forum
(-) MOSES, www.musik.terrorverlag.de (German)
(5/5) Pertti Keinonen, www.rautaneito.com (Finnish)
(8,5/10) Antonis Maglaras, www.powerplayrecords.net (English)
The only one to reveal the truth behind this project, though,
was John Doran of Metal Hammer (#145, November 2005):
"How quaint they've changed the word fucking to 'kin so they don't upset their mums. Parental worries aside, this album of Maiden covers in a 'whacky' lounge style is so middle of the road it should have a stripe down its back. 'Kin better 'k off back to the 'kin drawing board, eh?" (2/10?)