The Red Strat, ‘Solveig’s guitar’.

For those that know our band ‘Comfortably Numb’ well, know that I have always used a RED FENDER STRATOCASTOR since the beginning – what is not known is the story behind the guitar and the gift it is and continues to be for me…here is the full story.

In our early days together in the 90’s, Solveig and I would talk until late into the night, we would tell each other everything, we would discuss our past, we would discuss our dreams, desires, aspirations and more, this never changed over 26 years, we always talked about everything and listened to each other intently and with mutual love and respect.

On one of those beautiful nights back in early ’95, I told Solveig about a silly recurring dream I would have about my ‘dream guitar’. At the time I had a decent enough guitar but my ideal guitar was the Fender Stratocaster – specifically a red one like David Gilmour’s (Pink Floyd) from the ‘Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour’ with EMG pickups and special electronics – in the dream I would see that very same red US Fender Stratocaster floating at the end of my bed and it was angelic in the way it shimmered and held there floating and simply looking magical…then I would wake up and…no guitar!

On my birthday in 1995, Solveig asked my parents (I was living at home at the time), if she could sneak into my room (which was on the lower level of our home) while I slept…and what did she do? Solveig bought me for my birthday a USA Red Stratocaster with a gorgeous rosewood neck, EMG Pickups, SPC/EXG electronics and placed it on a guitar stand at the foot of my bed, and then waited upstairs for me to wake up. When I got up I saw the guitar and thought I was dreaming again…I laid back down and then realized it wasn’t a dream and just stared at it in disbelief for almost 45 minutes! Solveig was wandering what was happening 🙂 I finally picked it up and couldn’t believe how spoiled and lucky I was, simply in shock..I ran upstairs saw Solveig, and knew it was her from the beautiful smile on her face! I gave her the biggest hug and was so immensely grateful but more so how blessed I was to have Solveig in my life – not because of the guitar, but because of the amount of love, kindness, huge heart and generosity that was given by Solveig every single day..that NEVER changed ever – I felt and feel blessed daily because of Solveig. I told her that the guitar was too much, but she insisted and said it was for OUR musical future and that she wanted me to use it at all our shows and to be the best I could be – OUR red strat has been at EVERY SINGLE show, Comfortably Numb and all the others, literally thousands of shows, that we have played since 1995. Every time I have played it, whether it is now or then, I always remember that moment when I first saw the guitar and how lucky I am that Solveig chose me to love and how many beautiful moments we have shared throughout our life together.

The red strat has NEVER been touched OR played by anyone but me – not even held, aside from Solveig, and only serviced by one person, the same person who has serviced it since ’95 in Ottawa – he setup the guitar and at the time only David Gilmour and Vince Gill had this setup…and then me in Ottawa! You can get this type of setup now…but mine is original and hand built to spec.

I have been fortunate to have acquired other Stratocasters and other guitars over the years, a number of them given to me by Solveig too…yes I know….I know trust me…they are ALL special, but the ‘Red Stratocaster’ will always be THE most special of them all. So there you have it, the story of the ‘Red Strat’…Solveig’s Red Strat!

In loving memory of Solveig Zarah Keshavjee, ‘Solveig and Azim live in Quebec!’

Solveig-Angelique to Solveig Z. Keshavjee, the full story (part 1)

To be able to tell the story of our beautiful journey over the past 26 years I have to go back to 2 years before I actually met Solveig formally which was 1991. At the time, I was playing in a band called ‘Visions in the Sky’, we used to play a lot around Ottawa, the surrounding areas and beyond. We performed every single weekend for a number of years and had a great reputation and band following playing originals and covers and had tons of fun touring. On the odd occasion when we had a weekend off, I would hang out with the band and my other friends at the very same places we’d play to see the other acts as all my friends were in the club/bar industry.

On one of those ‘off weekends’ I was at a club in downtown Ottawa called ‘Grand Central’ which was very popular at the time with a group of friends, and another very close friend of mine mentioned he would drop by quickly before he had to go to work to say hello.

He arrived with this extremely attractive woman and she was wearing this bandana and looked very ‘rock n’ roll’, she was absolutely gorgeous, she was so cool and had this amazing presence and aura (which never changed in 26 years…ever) and I remember thinking ‘my God, she is so beautiful’, I was really captivated by her in the most respectful way (that never changed either) but I wasn’t sure if she was his girlfriend as he didn’t introduce us and frankly she didn’t pay us any attention, and didn’t look directly at me. I remember thinking too, that a woman like that was way out of my league….she wasn’t his girlfriend by the way…

As fate would have it, when I finally did meet Solveig in 1993, she brought up that very meeting at Grand Central, and that I didn’t pay HER any attention, and how she couldn’t look directly at me as she was very attracted and that ‘how could I be interested in her?’…we both thought the same thing…but destiny has a way of bringing people together, so in 1993 we officially met at the ‘Visions in the Sky’ CD release party at ‘the Topaz’! (Part 2)

Art created by our girls, in honour of their Mom Solveig Z. Keshavjee

My daughters created these pics and I love what they did in honour of their Mom (‘Mum’ if you’re British like me). I especially like the way the names create a ‘Z’ – Mama would love this! Thank you girls!