During the last couple days, I’ve been daydreaming quite a lot and I just feel like writing something about one specific dream.
Timo Tolkki is a Finnish guitarist. He played guitar and did vocals for Stratovarius – a melodic power metal band – till 1994, when Kotipelto was hired for vocals. Afterwards, he focused on playing guitar until he left the band in 2008. After departing, he wrote several albums with different bands, for example “Angels of the Apocalypse”, which was released by Timo Tolkki’s Avalon. He is among the world’s fastest guitarists.
On “Angels of the Apocalypse”, he played the guitar and bass. During the last few days, I created this plot where I somehow meet him; this exact detail is missing. However, after talking for a little, he decides to go on tour again. He wants Timo Tolkki’s Avalon to go on tour – and he wants me to play bass for him. Yes, although there are hundreds of bassists out there that are miles ahead of me, he wants my fingers to pluck the strings. With Fabio Lione on vocals, Jörg Michael on drums, and Antti Ikonen playing keyboard we then go on tour across Europe, playing shows everywhere from Lapland to Malta, from Lisbon to somewhere in Russia. Just everywhere. Fabio is reaching amazing vocal levels on stage, Timo is shredding like there is no tomorrow, everything is cool. I play a sexy four string with jazz pick-ups that create a nice nosy tone with clear highs and growling lows.
After returning from this masterpiece of a tour with lots of fun on stages across Europe, we come home and continue our lives. But the seed has been planted. Timo calls us together to start working on a new album. Its atmosphere is similar to Stratovarius’s “Dreamspace” but with a different line-up of course. Lyrically, however, it’s more about struggles in life, with a hint of positivity and a little irony. An album that’s supposed to make the listener happy, yet it’s thought-provoking. Although carrying the comparable simple spirit of “Dreamspace”, it contains a lot of shredding and extreme vocal ranges. Despite the genre being melodic power metal, I might happen to sneak in one or two lines presented with black metal vocals – just for a bit of contrast.
With a new album by the name of “Madness Repeats: Stories from the Dreamspace”, we head off on a multi-month world tour. With a bunch of sexy custom instruments*, we make our way across the continents of this world. The tour flyer has “Timo Tolkki’s Avalon” in big letters, underneath the album cover art: similar to the “Dreamspace” cover, but the cube is broken, glass shattered all around, the bright light reduced to a candle. The tour dates are sorted by continents – shows in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and a section for shows in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and Antarctica. After the date for our Antarctica show, which is just a little joke because the flyer is overloaded with dates, we would post a photo on facebook with us on a stage and penguins as audience.
* to be precise, I'm thinking about a Fender style jazz bass. White corpus with a mat white cover over the electronics. Bridge pick-up in 70's position. Unlike normal Fender basses, mine has 24 frets on the E string and an extended fretboard on the higher strings that goes up to 27 frets, giving me the range of a 22 fret five string while still having a jazz bass's thin neck. I've seen a guitar (an ESP, I think) with such a triangular extension to the fretboard but I can't find it anymore. Think it was a Flying V. This is basically what I mean.
The tour is amazing – we see so much of this world in such little time, it’s almost too much to even comprehend within just a few moths. Our fingers are bleeding from sliding along the fretboard too fast but that doesn’t stop us from breaking speed limits and headbanging. After one of our shows at a festival, I meet Garrett Russell. He came backstage after seeing me wear a Silent Planet shirt on stage and the security guard knew him, so he let him in. We talk and have a good time and become friends.
This is the gist of what that specific daydream is about. There is a little extention that I sometimes think about. After going on tour with Tolkki, my bass playing has gotten a million times better and I end up playing as sort of a freelancer for bands that need a musician real quick because their original band member is sick or on honeymoon or something. So I end up playing guitar for Soulfly and Children of Bodom, bass for Helloween, and so on.
Then I’m back in reality. Quoting Hector, on todellisuus piinaa hetkittäin selvinpäin. Anyway, that’s all I got right now. Being two weeks into the semester, I can say that my professors and lecturers are so much better than last semester. Some of them were good, but this time all of them are at least decent. Someone who actually enjoys teaching in linear algebra; friendly and interesting people in linguistics, cultural studies, and English pedagogy; one really fascinating and one really fun lecturer in educational sciences. I’m happy. And I’ll only write three exams this semester, which feels a lot better than last semester with six… but the dates for them are July 17, 18, and 19. Not much of a problem because two of them are pseudo-open book, meaning I can bring the printed out powerpoint slides and a single handwritten page, respectively, into the exam. It’s gonna be alright, I think.
After all, I’m doing fine right now. Life is kinda fun again. I’m trying to get closer to God and begin to understand how prone mankind is to failing miserably on a spiritual level… just think about how addicted we are. Addicted to being online, addicted to pleasure, addicted to not caring about others, addicted to our own happiness, addicted to a consistency that won’t get us anywhere. It’s sickening, but I’m hooked as well, even though I find it so sickening. It feels like there is a long way ahead of me and it’s going to be a hard and demanding but also a satisfying journey. Yeah.
A few last words: listen to “Dreamspace” and stay alive.