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.
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