Thursday, April 06, 2017

Matt Tan Bassist 'Fried Ice' Writes From Canada

Matt Tan, former bassist for local band Fried Ice left for overseas to study. That was in the 60's and 70's. He read my blog a few years ago and we corresponded but lost touch. After an absence, Matt Tan and I got together again on email. Here he is to retell his story. He lives in Canada today.
Thank you Matt.
Life after Fried Ice by Matt Tan.
By now, I had left Fried Ice to go to London to see the bands that started to interest me other than just playing Jethro Tull, Hendrix, Cream, TYA, Deep Purple.
The one that influenced me most were Focus (Jan Akkerman) and Yes (Peter Bank). In London I had also discovered T2 at the Cafe LesArtistes who were playing there during the nights I went there after the regular nights at the Mitre Pub in Paddington where I lived. It was at Paddington while coming home with my Shepherd's Pie and chicken from my friend's takeout owned by a lovely Italian woman, that I chanced to meet Jeff Beck, the man who scared the hell of me so much that I decided not to play lead guitar and kept to bass.
I had heard Truth after graduating from John Mayall's Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, etc. when I heard Jeff playing I Ain't Superstitious... that got me to wonder, "What is this dude playing?" and threw my guitar aside.
Mind you, I was brought up on Julian Bream which explained why I naturally got to play Yes music, when Steve Howe replaced the greater Pete Banks. Banks, in an interview with Melody Maker and NME, was also the one who got me to listen to the "greatest band in the world" at that time, Focus, with the "fastest guitarist in the world" Jan Akkerman. I believed Banks at that time for his claim, but later on realised that Jan, although responsible for my first taste of fusion, was not the "fastest" nor was his band the "greatest", ie. Django Reinhart, Paco de Lucia, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell, ... were. (LOL)
Anyway, back to Beck. I was waiting to cross at the zebra crossing beacon (thus, the monicker I took for my "band" when I first signed with mp3 dot com in 93... zbraXingwith Matt Tan, the title of my first indie cassette released locally in Ottawa and later on mp3 CD )... when then came a bloke in a flashy blood red Corvette. I was impressed; no, not by the bloke, but the Corvette. But as soon as I look at the driver, I realised that bloke was none other than the scary Jeff Beck.
I ran up to his side and went , "Holy smoke, you are Jeff Beck?"
And he blushed and shyly said softly, "Ya!"
The lights changed and he said, "Let me pull over the curb and we can chat on".
Cut to the chase, I told him what an incredible day that was, after watching (Yes, Rory Gallagher, ya Elton John too... zzz) at Crystal Palace, Albert Lee (HHF), Mark Farner, Peter Frampton an Steve Marriot (Humble Pie) at the GFR Hyde Park free concert.
I now meet the man himself who both made me switch to lead guitar (Yardbirds) and quit playing lead (Truth), to stick with Jack Bruce (bass and vocals). I asked who he got to replace Rod, for which he said, he was in fact on his way right then to try a bloke named Bob Tench. He had also wanted I think he said the guy who sang in Jesus Christ Superstar (no, not Ian Gillan, but Ted Neeley), before Bob Tench and I think Alex Ligertwood... all great vocals.
Anyway, I finally told him I shouldn't keep him, and asked for his autograph. We could not find a piece of paper, nor was his ballpoint working, so he told me to run across to the corner shop to get a pen, and he waited for me to return.
He signed my cheque book. In 1998 I gave that autograph to a colleague, an Irish boy, who swore he was a staunch Jeff Beck fan, so since I was already "retired" from music, I gave him the autograph of Jeff's. By this time, I had also sold my recording studio's equipment, and all my guitars Gibsons (Les Paul, SG, EBO, 330,SD175), Fenders (Stratocaster, Telecaster) guitars which I had bought with my earning playing with pub night bands like Winterfield and my own band Ceberus.
Finally, the man who had the greatest band in the world? No, it wasn't Jimi Hendrix nor Cream, it was Mahavishnu Orchestra who played the National Arts Centre, at Regina, Saskatchewan, when I first arrived in Canada. I went to the concert with my flat-mates Pinky and Gordon and their wives, who owned the house, and sitting beside me was Diane Fay, who was the first beautiful Canadian that made me pay more attention to, instead of my Gibson SD175.
That night in 1973, I sat there dazed and confused even more than Jeff Beck did me, as I witnessed Micheal Waldren and Jean Luc Ponty interplay with the great John McLaughlin with his gorgeous double axe.
After the concert, Diane asked me if she could drive me home since it was late, and it was on the way to her flat.
I told her, "No, just let me down at the park in Scarth Street."
It opposite the Saskachewan Hotel where we usually drank at the pub. I sat there in the deserted park until 3 am, before walking home to my parents' Cameron Street house. I was at that time, deciding again to give up playing lead guitar. The 3rd time... the first hearing Jeff, the second hearing Django, the 3rd, Mahavishnu.
Later the next year, Jeff did also come to Regina to play at the Exhibition Park in an arena smelling of horse manure... He blew us away too, with Jan Hammer and his band Fernando Sanders and Tony Smith, who also later became John McLaughlin's other super sidekicks, worst", Kiss, at a concert with Manfred Mann's Earth Band and Savoy Brown.
I met the great Joe Pass too at a jazz clinic in Fort C'appelle, where he told us that joke about how after he asked some heavy metal or grunge band if they wanted to tune up first, and the guitarist said, "Oh, no need for that, our equipment were tuned at the factory."
Last but not least, in Saskatoon, the next year, we also got to watch, "The world's best..."
I was very much "way done gone" and left Hendrix, Cream... and Fried Ice at the crossroads.

This article and 2 photographs of Matt Tan are copyrighted.
Copyrights Reserved by Matt Tan.
Video 2:
Published on Apr 9, 2017
matt tan solo guitarist from canada performs his tribute to jimi hendrix. one guitar alone . please enjoy and send encouragement to the artist by visiting his music site, ( see intro / credit to videos for details). this is a non-profit musical project, all in the name of music. cheers, matt J.S. tan (MJST zbraXing).


henri gann said...

Great story Matt. I like it. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. Amazing that you were able to continue your guitar interest in UK and I was not able to do that even in LA. I am very impressed. Would love to see you play sometime.


Watched him jamming with ray anthony in the 10th Story jam studio selegie house.. stylish guy.


Jimmy Appudurai-chua
Falcons Malaysia
Davychandavy Chan
Merlin Lim
Jalani Mohamed
Ann Rowena Lim
Joseph Goh
Jon Goh
Frankie Soo
Kwandy Yao
Irene Yap
John Cher
Sharif Pardi
Tommy Gomes


oh yes, pls thank Jalani (pianist) who "watched me play at 10 storey"... i wonder if he is the guy standing in front of the amp in that bnw photo of us playing in tengah.

much appreciation for calling me "classy guy!", most times, the other musicians
called me something less classy, if he remembered me, then for sure...

matt tan live vid assault his new guitar said...

thanks Henri Gann, it is unlikely you will ever get to see me play , as i stopped performing decades ago. but who knows, what the future brings, as i never thought i would pick up a guitar ever again since i quit music in around 1998.
i only picked it up again last month because i heard my co-founder fried ice buddy ray anthony has never stopped performing jimi hendrix. so inspired by all those like jimmie, atwell, etc.. i truly admired them for not retiring from music after fried ice, straydogs,etc.. anyway, i created a vid just for you,
mad assault on my other new guitar arrived on monday. bad vid as i don't have a video editor, and the rf interference was horrible, you can hear it buzz even louder than my jimi hendrix imitation. enjoy !!! there alot more music on my youtube site.

matt tan canada said...

thanks andy and those who clicked the youtube purple haze soft version
which andy had embedded to his blog.
you would be happy to know that with your visitors' help this video
recorded the highest views... 74 views today
overtaking third stone from the sun at 52 views
my latest upload kashmir is seeing impressive numbers too, 31 views in just 3 days.
that's half as many as the top videos collected in a month.
please keep visiting my site as i upload at least one new song a day,
to date 50 songs already, as last weekend i jammed 6 songs in 2 days.
and coming soon Miles Davis "Tutu" and King Henry's "Bouree".
cheers from Canada.
p.s. other notables are
kashmir fastest view numbers 33 views
third stone from the sun 52 view
star spangled banner
aint superstitious (truth)

|.Hafizah.| said...

Dear Andy and Matt (if you happen to see this),
My name is Hafizah, a student from NUS. I am currently doing a project on the history of rock in Singapore and happened to chance upon this blogpost! It’s been incredibly insightful and such an eye opener for me! I was wondering if you happen to know any means of contacting Matt Tan himself? His videos and channels on Youtube are no longer available. Additionally, do you know of any 80s/90s rock musicians who might be willing to share their experiences with us?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Dear Hafizah,

Some of the musicians I know are always willing to help students like you. That's one of the reasons why I write this blog. I have been a teacher myself both in schools and the universities although I'm not a musician myself.

Matt Tan as you read lives in Canada. So Matt if you are reading this and willing to help, let me know and I'll send your email address to H with your PERMISSION. At the moment I won't.

I can get a few 80s/90s rock musicians who are willing to share their experiences with you so leave your email address and phone number (I won't publish) and I'll get back to you asap.

But do your homework first: !) prepare your questions 2) make sure they are pertinent to your theme and topic.

We'll TRY to help you out but meet at a public place.

mattjsltan said...

Cheers Hafizah,
this is me. i am still on youtube. 2 channels actually, i am just not on fandalism anymore, as i do not endorse them no longer.(personal reasons, not worth mentioning ).
so do come visit..
if andy doesn't mind.. here are the URLs for both of my official youtube.


as for contacting me, all my videos have my email(s)
and these go directly to me.
hope that helps.

once again, congratulations andy for the 12 anniversary.
you should play that 12 number chinese local lottery..if they still play them.
i remember how my neighbors granny used to play it all the time when i was a kid in singapore