I envy the guitar players, sax players, trumpet players etc. They can always carry their instrument on the tours. Even Tapani carried his double bass on the JFF tour (it filled half the bus but it was there). With the pianos it’s different. Sometimes you get to play a beautiful Steinway grand and fall in love with it, but in some cases you get an old piece of furniture that once was a piano, filled with mouse crap and tons of dust. Carrying an acoustic piano on tours is out of the question, at least if the gigs are on distant locations up north.
That’s why I had my old beloved Rhodes Mark I electric piano on the tour. It’s like a big coffin, weighs a ton and is a nightmare to carry, but sounds great (that’s the old 70’s sound from Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea etc…). And it looks good, too!
Years ago I bought a “leopard-skin” piece of cloth that I put on the lid. A touch of personality, or bad taste maybe. This decoration was left on the instrument, until somewhere between Kilpisjärvi and Tromsö I got this idea: it has to be a trout skin decorating the Rhodes! So I had to catch a big trout, take a photo on the skin and press it on a canvas. Leopard was hip in the 90s, but this is 2009, the year of Jazz and Fly Fishing.
So the following day when the fish were rising I had a good feeling about getting my Rhodes-trophy trout. It had to be a trout with a silvery tone with black dots, not one of those red-brown beauties. It had to match the black and white keys, naturally. Finally the fish with the right color accepted my mayfly-imitation and minutes later a nice Norwegian trout was landed. I took a photo on the beautiful skin and sent it for printing. After the tour there was a package waiting for me at home. My trout skin had arrived.
So I replaced the old leopard with the new trout. I’m very happy with the result. Never seen anything like it! It’s just the smell that’s not quite right…