Kurt Fröberg plays his guitar since the mid-sixties, is a well-known (lead-)guitarist in the Cliff & The Shadows Scene and is a member of The Ryders in Sweden. I asked him if he was willing to answer some interview-questions so we could publish this on our “Young Ones Forever”-Facebook page. Kurt answered: “Sure, send me the questions!” Hope you like reading this little interview!
In 1986 you started in the band “Robbie and The Ryders”, did you already played Cliff & The Shadows songs back then or the Lennart Clerwall music, or a combination of these 2?
Kurt: Robbie and The Ryders was my first “real” band and before that I had mostly played at home along with the records from Cliff & The Shadows. I didn´t know Lennart by then, but I had heard some of his recordings and I liked them.
How did you meet Lennart and do you share something with each other?
Kurt: In the 80´s I often went to record fairs where you could buy instrumental LPs and 45s and I used to meet Jan Lyckman of Triola Records quite often on those fairs. We had started up Robbie and The Ryders and one time in 1987 I took a cassette with a few songs with the band to Jan Lyckman to let him have a listen. He liked what he heard and called me and said that we would get the possibility to make a single record on the Triola label. That was just fantastic for us. We had to go to Ösmo, a little village south of Stockholm where the recording studio was. And the studio was owned by Lennart Clerwall who also was the recording engineer. We recorded 5 or 6 tunes and Jan released 3 of them on the Triola single; “Driftin”, “Why Little Girl” and “Sway”. All the titles we are still playing today with The Ryders. That was the first time I met Lennart and I could not imagine that we would work so much together in the future and become close friends. We have played together in several formations like The Invaders, The Spacemen, Lenny & Friends, The Lenny Clerwall Band. We also meet and talk quite often.
Your band Robbie and the Ryders splitted up in 1990, how did you manage to find new members to form The Ryders, as it is today?
Kurt: The group splitted up mainly because Robbie (our lead singer) moved from Västerås, our hometown, and also because Triola wanted to release more instrumental LPs and so we had a new band called The Invaders with Tom “Rocker” Ohlson and myself sharing lead- and rhythm guitar work, Lennart Clerwall played bass and P O Alm was on the drums. We recorded two instro LPs with The Invaders between 1988-89 and we also did some concerts with that band. Then we took a break with Robbie and The Ryders and since Robbie had left and also the bass player we started up the new formation with a new bass player and a new rhythm guitarist, friends that we new since a long time in our hometown Västerås. The new band got the name The Ryders and we focused more on Cliff & Shadows tunes.
Why do you play Cliff & The Shadows music?
Kurt: Ever since I was 11-12 years old (1962-63) I listened to Cliff and especially The Shadows and I learned most of their tunes by playing along to the records. I love the sound of Hank Marvin´s lead guitar on the old records.
How do you get your own particular guitar sound?
Kurt: My preferences are Hank Marvin´s early sounds. In the early 60´s Hank had a very varying guitar sound and he used all the pickup selections on his guitar. He had sometimes a quite aggressive attack on the strings and sometimes very soft. I always say that even if you buy all the same equipment as Hank had, your guitar sound will not be the same as Hank´s. It all starts with your fingers and how you play. You have to use your ears and really listen to Hank´s playing and the attack and phrasing. Today I use mostly a fiesta red Fender Vintage -57 reissue Stratocaster from 1989. I use the Hall & Collins Signature Echo and some pedals like EHX Pitch Fork for octave tones. I also use a Boss Katana 100w amplifier since a couple of years. I have several Vox amps including AC30, AC15 which I used to use but today I use the Katana which is a very versatile amplifier and not as heavy as the Voxes. I also have a Line 6 HX Stomp on my pedal board where I can do eq changes for different sounds like for The Spotnicks sounds. (Kurt explaines here how he gets his guitar sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPtd_IB1W0M)
When was the turning point and became The Ryders a famous band?
Kurt: I think maybe the turning point was when we got to play at the Shadows Festival in Oslo, Norway in 2002. We had very good response from the audience and among the people there was Horst Schröder from the German Cliff & Shadows Club and he invited us to play in Verden, Germany, the first time in 2005 which was a success. Then we were “in the family” so to say, and we also got invitations to play in Tilburg, first time in 2004.
You played several times in Holland, what do you think of Holland in terms of “Cliff & Shadows music”? Do you know some Dutch Cliff & Shadows Bands?
Kurt: We have played in Tilburg 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2014. It has been wonderful events, very well organized both with Joop and Jolanda and with Ferry Nice. I know some bands like FBI, The Red Strats and The Seaside Shadows with Peter Korving. I also like guitarist Hans van Eijk from The Jumping Jewels a lot.
In what other countries did you perform with The Ryders?
Kurt: We have played with The Ryders in Holland, Germany, England, Finland, Denmark, Norway and of course in Sweden.
Did the performances always go well? Can you share a funny secret when it did not? Or when the performance was a disaster? 🙂
Kurt: I think we have been lucky so far, and suffered no major disasters. But we made several minor mistakes, like when we got to play together with Brian “Licorice” Locking in Tilburg and during the intro of “Apache”, our rhythm guitarist stepped on his guitar cable and pulled it out of the guitar. He had not secured the cable under the guitar strap….
On youtube there are many videos of The Ryders on the Nastola Rautalanka festival in Finland. What kind of festival is this? What does Rautalanka mean? What kind of music is played there?
Kurt: In Finland they have a tradition with, an often fast paced guitar, instrumental music which they call “Rautalanka”. It means “steel wire”, like the strings on an electric guitar and is very popular music, played also by younger people and there are many very good “Rautalanka bands” in Finland. The audience also loves it and they use to dance to most of the tunes, even the very fast tunes!
How do you overcome the Covid-period, now you can’t always practice together and there are not many gigs?
Kurt: We had a period last year when we didn´t meet and rehearse together but now we do and we have at last had our first gig this year in July. We have more gigs booked during this autumn 2021 if the Covid restrictions will permit it.
What is your next goal with The Ryders in the coming period?
Kurt: We are working in the studio on a new album with The Ryders and it will hopefully be released during October 2021. It will be a mix of new and old tunes, instrumental and vocals.
Are you performing in Holland in the future with The Ryders or Lennart Clerwall?
Kurt: We would love to come back once again to Holland, but at the moment nothing is booked yet.
Is there anything you like to tell about The Ryders or yourself that almost nobody
Kurt: I can tell you a secret, our main singer, Per Olof, is the youngest in the band! 🙂
Best wishes from
Kurt Fröberg / THE RYDERS
Västerås, Sweden 2021-08-25
If you like to see video’s of the Ryders (and more) look here: leadryder – YouTube