Destination X


One of the best 21st century rock and roll guitar instrumental groups from Sweden, The Ryders keep releasing great CDs and, as a fine follow up to their 2007 album, In The Shadows, the late 2012 CD release of Destination X more than lives up to expectations. All the great bands from Sweden, Finland and Norway cite both The Shadows and The Ventures among their big influences and on Destination X, lead guitarist Kurt Fröberg and company cover two of the Shadows’ all time 1960’s classics—”It’s A Man’s World” and “The Lost City”. Commenting on The Ryders covering a most fortuitus choice of tracks Kurt adds, 'Both the songs "It´s A Man’s World" and "The Lost City" have always been among my favorite Shads tunes and we have also had both of them included in our live performances. "Thunderbolt" is also a favorite since I bought Brian Bennett’s LP Rock Dreams way back.' Other instrumental covers and several vocal tracks composed by various members of The Shadows, Lennart Clerwall, The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison and more make Destination X a most valuable musical destination indeed for guitar instrumental fans. presents an interview with


: Can you say something about where and when did you grow up and what was your first exposure to music and then to the guitar? What was the music scene like when you were growing up in Sweden?

KURT FRÖBERG: I was born in Norrtälje 1951 but grow up in Västerås (110 km west of Stockholm) where I went to school in 1958. I remember listening to my parents 78 rpm records and, apart from their Nat "King" Cole and Swedish records, I had some favorites: "Rhapsody In Blue" with Glenn Miller Orchestra and a guitar and orchestra version of "Caravan", which I was particularly fond of. It was Ralph Marterie & His Orchestra. I still have that 78 disc! That must have been the first guitar music that influenced me. My dad had also been playing some guitar in a band in the late 1940’s.

mwe3: What guitarists, groups, and styles of music helped shape your musical and guitar styles when you were young and who are the artists and guitarists that influence you today?

KURT FRÖBERG: I started to play the guitar around 1963 when I was 12. My dad taught me to play the scale on the guitar, a Levin orchestra model with very heavy strings and high action! From that I learned to pick out melodies by myself.

At that time I had found The Shadows, since my older cousin had a boyfriend who played drums in a Shadows type band, which was very popular in Sweden around that time 61 - 63. He used to play The Shadows first LP and also The Phantoms’ single "Eldorado" for me. I thought the sounds were amazing!

I then got my first electric guitar, a Hagstrom II, in 1964 and also a Hagstrom 26 amplifier (6W!). I still have that amp and it works!

I started to play along to the records with The Shadows but I had no idea about how to get "that sound"! It seemed something was missing in the sound chain, but it would take some more years before I got the money to get a real tape echo. Also, the Hagstrom guitar was fitted with flat wound strings which were best suited for jazz sounds, but I didn´t know about other strings then.

The Shadows were my main influence for a long time, but in the 70's there were many more guitarists who I listened to like Jan Akkerman (Focus), Janne Schaffer, Kenny Håkansson and many of the more instrumental bands that were in that time.

Today I don't listen too much on the contemporary music, unless there is something that attracts me sound wise, like an echoing guitar (lol).

mwe3: Can you say something about the different albums you’ve recorded with the Ryders, who is currently playing in the Ryders and what’s the chemistry like between the players?

KURT FRÖBERG: The Ryders have now made 5 albums, the first one in 1997, the latest one is "Destination X" from November 2012.

The members of the group have been quite stable for almost 20 years! We started as Robbie & The Ryders back in 1986, but I am the only one still from that formation.

Today The Ryders are:
Göran Ulfstedt - rhythm guitar
P-O Bäckman - vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar
Ejje Pettersson - bass and vocals
Christer Sundvall - drums
Kurt Fröberg - lead guitar

I think we have a great chemistry between the members. We are not only band members but more like a big family and socialize together a lot also besides the band.

mwe3: The Destination X CD is superbly recorded and the tracks are very cool. Can you say something about the choice of the Destination X songs and their importance to you and the Ryders? I was very impressed that you chose to cover “It’s A Man’s World”, “Thunderbolt” and “The Lost City” all on one CD. Hurricane Smith, Russ Ballard and Brian Bennett, I can’t think of 3 more influential English composers at this moment.

KURT FRÖBERG: Very glad that you liked the choice of material! I am quite pleased too with the results. Both the songs "It's A Man’s World" and "The Lost City" have always been among my favorite Shads tunes and we have also had both of them included in our live performances. "Thunderbolt" is also a favorite since I bought Brian Bennett’s LP Rock Dreams way back. Most of the other tracks are also tunes that we use to play live. I have always loved the French LP with Les Nostalgics from 1981 where I found the title song "Destination X". There are some Finnish influences also, "Stoogie" from Matti Luhtala (Mustangs) and "Theme From Leningrad" which seems to be a favorite when we play in Finland. "Tomahawk" is a great new tune from UK penned by "Mitch" Mitchinson.

mwe3: How about the blend of vocal tracks to the group mix? Who in The Ryders sings the lead on the vocals? I think those nostalgic oldies should have across the board appeal throughout Scandinavia and Finland. It’s just amazing how influential the U.S. was between 1954 and ‘63. Seems like that’s the template that has held up until today. I guess that music was big in Sweden as it was in the U.S. back then too. Can you say something about the choice of vocal tracks on the Destination X CD including the early Hank Marvin / Bruce Welch track?

KURT FRÖBERG: We are most known as an instrumental band, but we do have vocals when we do gigs and we have two good singers, P-O Bäckman has been the main lead singer for many years, but also Ejje Pettersson has good vocal abilities. Ejje sings lead on the Marvin & Welch composition "Take Special Care", which was originally a Cliff album song, I think it's a very nice, time typical tune and arrangement. It is a very popular song when we play at dances.

mwe3: Can you say something about your electric guitars that you play on the Destination X CD and what amps, guitar strings and effects are your favorites?

KURT FRÖBERG: I used my Fender Vintage ‘57 Stratocaster for all the electric parts. I use my VOX AC15 Heritage amp for all tracks, sometimes I had it slightly overdriven just by turning up the volume. It is a great amp! For echoes I used my Atlantis echo which is an analog machine. Most echoes were added during the mixing, but some tunes were recorded with a Yamaha Magicstomp echo live in the studio. Guitar strings are Ernie Ball 12 - 54.

As a Shadows freak you are always searching for "That Sound" and that means you have to check all new echo machines that are developed. Just now I am testing a new echo developed by a Dutch guy, Piet Verbruggen. It is called "eTap2hw" and it looks very promising!

mwe3: Can you say something about the history of rock guitar in Sweden, from progressive rock guitar hero Janne Schaffer to the guitar instrumental sounds of The Ryders. Who are some of the most influential guitarists from Sweden and in your opinion is there a “Nordic Guitars” sound?

KURT FRÖBERG: Janne Schaffer was, as so many other guitarists, influenced by Hank Marvin & The Shadows. I have seen a short film clip with him playing "Bristol Express" (the 1960’s UK band The Eagles)!

There are so many good guitarists. Bo Winberg of course, is a legend with The Spotnicks. Hasse Rosén is also a very talented guitarist, still performing. He was the lead guitarist in The Violents. I like a lot of the work from Kenny Håkansson (Kebnekaise) also.

mwe3: How has the press in Sweden and Scandinavia reacted to Destination X and what are your plans for the Ryders as far as new music, live shows and more as we move into 2013?

KURT FRÖBERG: We get a lot of positive reactions from people who have got the new CD. They think the sound is a little more "heavy" and that was something we wanted to achieve in the mixing. This time we have had more influence on the mixing and mastering than before, and we are very satisfied with the result.

Today The Ryders do gigs around in Sweden about once a month. We used to tour also Finland for the Rautalanka Festivals and in September we are invited to ShadowDania in Denmark. We will go on as long as we think it is fun and so far we still love it!

Thanks to Kurt Fröberg @


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