Graham Nash is one of my all time favorite artists. I love his amazing (often high) vocal harmonies in the Hollies, and then later in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. But also his wonderful songs! “Our House” just to name one classic that easily can move me to tears. But what I love most about Graham Nash is his solo debut album “Songs for beginners” from 1971. My brother Niklas had it on vinyl and when The Merrymakers used to start coming to Stockholm in the early 90’s we always (always!) played it at every after party we ever had. And since then I’ve always come back to the record. We also included it in the booklet of “No Sleep’ til famous” as one of the ten “other compact discs that will give you guaranteed listening pleasure”. Make sure though, if you check it out on Spotify for instance that you avoid the 2008 Stereo mix. It sounds terrible to my ears. (Almost as bad as when they remixed the great albums by ZZ Top from the seventies). So just follow this link and you’ll be fine.
I will be playing Beatles songs together with this fine super talented group of people:
Stefan Brokvist on “Ringo” drums
Eero Paalanen on “McCartney” bass
Stefan Backas on “Geoff Emerick” sound
As I wrote in this blog post from last year the “living Beatles jukebox” is a side project I sometimes entertain myself (and hopefully the audience as well) with. The concept is: I enter the stage where there’s an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, and a piano – and I ask the audience: “-What do yo wanna hear?”. Then they can shout whatever Beatles title they want. And off I go – singing and banging out the song on whatever instrument I find suitable. A fun concept with many possible twists and turns in the repertoire. I never know what to expect. It can start with “Sexy Sadie” and end up with “Hey Bulldog”. Or (more likely) start off with “All my loving” and end up with “Hey Jude”. All depending on the “level” and mood of the attending crowd….
As I also wrote in the same blog post (in which you’ll also get a nice movie tips!) – Finland for me is quite exotic although I do have a special bond to the country since my father grew up in a small village called Kukkola close to the Torne river. Quoting Wikipedia: “The Finnish and Swedish sides of the river were once one cultural entity, as before 1809 they were both parts of Sweden”. As a child my father actually spoke Finnish at home and he was born with the Finnish name Suo as his last name. In the 50’s he and his brothers had their last name “translated” into Swedish and then the family name became Myhr from the Swedish word “myr”. What it means in English…? “Swamp”! How about David Swamp as my new artist name?
Remembering the highlights of 2013 and all the blog posts I never found the time to write. Like this previous one for example. Another fantastic memory is when I played for the first time live in The Big Apple, New York City. As a solo artist that is, because already in 1998 I played there a few times with my former band The Merrymakers. See photo from that occasion here.
Anyway, the background was that my wife Paula and I went to New York City for vacation, staying at an East Village hotel but also for a few days staying at our great friends Tony (from The Mockers) and Vanessa’s place. I had previously been contacted by an American promoter named Dean Dedopoulos about doing a live show in New York and I thought that this could be the moment to meet the American auidence for the first time since the release of Soundshine. If not with a full band, at least a solo acoustic performance. Here’s a video with some glimpses from the concert:
Dean (featured with me in the first photo below) is a passionate, enthusiastic and highly energetic guy and he got going. He booked a super cool venue called Stage 72 on West 72nd Street (guess what I was thinking?), and we also found a support act called The Whims who also backed me up on a few songs towards the end of the concert, including a couple of Merrymakers numbers, and of course, like any gathering of melodic pop should include, a Jellyfish song!
On April 5, the event took place. Obviously I was quite nervous. After all, I’m not really used to “headline” concerts in New York and I wasn’t sure if I could expect anyone to come or not. Well for sure, Paula, Dean and his wife, and our hosts Tony & Vanessa were going to come. As well as The Whims. But apart from that…? To my big relief the place became really crowded (after all it wasn’t The Madison Square Garden). And some other good friends showed up like Seth (also from the Mockers) and Kathy, Javier Piñol who made a guest appearance on bass, Todd Stanton (the man behind this video) and his family, singer/songwriter Eytan Mirsky, my friend from grammar school – now famous hair stylist guru in NYC, Krister Atle, record label owner Mark Hershberger (also responsible for the video above – thanks a lot Mark!!!), radio profile David THE Boogieman, Eric Kern from the group Vegas with Randolph (who helped out on the piano on a couple of songs including Merrymakers Japan -97 smash hit “Monument of Me”), his band mate John Ratts, and many other wonderful people who made the night a very memorable one for me. And I hope I didn’t make them regret spending their Friday evening with me and my music.
Here’s also some pictures from the event courtesy of Alex Wender, Mark Hershberger, Todd Stanton, Vanesssa Trost, and a few more (please let me know if you think you should be credited here). Please note the cool T-shirt made specially for the event by Andrew Stanton.
Thanks a lot New York! It was too long between the concerts in 1998 and this one in 2013. I hope to be back much sooner than 2028!
On Wednesday I will be doing my first concert live on the internet. I will be sitting in a corner of my Stockholm studio with a guitar and a piano and I will perform the entire B-side of the Beatles “Revolver” album. Hope to see you there!!!
All you have to do is to get your ticket and see how it works over at stageit.com – here’s the link to my concert!
The whole thing is part of a series of concerts and the initiative came from my very talented artist colleague Mike Viola who said:
“An act of randomness and pure cruelty. Fans of Mike Viola signed up to have their names pulled out of a hat and assigned to cover and perform live an entire Beatles album side! Some might go deep, some might stay shallow and safe, some might wear uniforms, some might perform naked (Wedding Album). You have to tune in to find out. This is FOR the fans and BY the fans. It’s gonna be ugly, beautiful, soft and quiet, but above all: it’s gonna be weird!”
Wednesday Aug 7 (4 pm in California, 7 pm on the East Coast of the US), midnight in the U.K., 1 am (1 hour after midnight) in Sweden/Spain etc, and 8 am (on Aug 8) in Japan.
Six months before the Japanese release of Soundshine and nine months before the European release I entered the main stage at PDOL (an abbreviation for “Piteå Dansar och Ler”
which is Swedish for “Piteå dances and smiles”). It’s an annual street festival in my former home town Piteåway up north in Sweden which usually gather at least some 25,000 visitors.
For the occasion I used the same backing band as I did on my premiere show in Piteå earlier the same year. Andreas Dahlbäck on drums who also played drums on the album and acted as my sounding board in the recording process which led to me entitling him “co-producer” of the album. Robert van der Zwan (Poplabbet) and Krille Eriksson played guitars, Erik Jonsson (The Fix) played bass, and Joel Sjödin (Mankind) played keyboards. An amazing backing group if you ask me. Furthermore we were joined on two songs by the horn section Horny Minds from local blues heroes Ramblin’ Minds, and last but not least we were honored to have one of the finest Swedish current female pop artists around… Edith Backlund!
I have played at this festival a few times before over the last twenty years, both with the Merrymakers in the 90’s, not to mention our short “revival” in 2007, and also at reunions of my early bands from my youth (Ant-Mansson and 2nd Hand B band). I’ve also played there with the ABBA tribute band Super Trouper in which I play the part of Benny Andersson. However, this was the first time that I entered the main stage of the festival, and what’s more as a solo artist. In that sense it was kind of a big moment for me so I decided to document it properly which included renting a multi-track recorder and hire a film crew.
Time has proved it difficult to come out to meet audiences in other countries with a full backing band. Instead I’ve made solo acoustic gigs – like for instance in Spain in March. It’s true, there are rare exceptions like when I played in Tokyo with local backing musicians or in London on the Lojinx release party where I had a full band. But as the situation is right now it doesn’t look like a proper world tour with a full backing group is happening…
Therefore, I am now very pleased to be able to share this live experience and fond memory with anyone, anywhere, who might be interested. The 47 minute film documents not only the entire show including all the talk between the songs (subtitled in English – only for you!), but also a little bit of life back stage including the nervous artist only seconds before going on stage and the after show hugs while the credits are running to the soundtrack of the re-mix of Looking for a life.
Put on your best headphones, get your beverage, sit back, and enjoy! A splendid time is guaranteed for all! I really hope you like what you see and hear and if you do, please feel free to comment, and of course to share. For those of you who want to have a high quality, hi res experience, I am open for burning DVD’s of the occasion. Don’t hesitate to contact me in order to discuss the practicalities…
And hopefully one day I’ll be able to bring the band, come to YOUR town and play IRL!
And so the final day came! The day of my first live appearance in Tokyo with a band since the Merrymakers played three songs in front of record business people in 1997 with Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish) on drums!
For more than fifteen years it has been on my “to-do-before-I-die”-list to play in Japan again – but with a full band – AND for the people who actually bought the records, for people who actually have heard my music, for people that actually bought a ticket to come and see the show. And now with my solo debut album Soundshine recently released in Japan (before anywhere else in the world) the dream grew even stronger. And suddenly the day came! It happened on January 11, 2012, at the Powerpop Academy Party that took place in the very hip and happening rock club shimokitawa THREE.
The club is located in the coolest of Tokyo areas which is called Shimokitazawa and is Tokyo’s answer to New York’s Greenwich village or London’s Camden Town. Here’s a picture of me inspecting the neighbourhood in the hours before the concert.
The evening started with two brilliant support acts. The first one called hello! from which the lead singer Yasu also played in my band. I loved their colorful, charming performance and their music reminded me at times of an old favorite band of mine, Ben Folds Five. The highlight for me was when they made a very creative, and inspired version of “April’s Fool” by the Merrymakers. For any songwriter having your songs covered it’s a great honor and a thrilling feeling – and for me it was very touching to watch their cool version of our old song. A similar, almost surreal, feeling hit me when I watched the second band Doacock (which by the way also was a brilliant and highly energetic band) when they made a Merrymakers cover as well. So cool!
And then it was time for my own performance. I started of by playing a few songs on my own – switching between piano and electric guitar. Among the songs I played was “Monument of Me” which was the Merrymakers big radio hit in Japan back in the day – but also “April’s Fool” which had been heard in a “new” version earlier in the evening.
But I couldn’t wait until I got my new backing band up on stage! We played a bunch of songs from Soundshine and it all went incredibly well. The band was tight, inspired, and rockin’ – and the audience seemed very enthusiastic (at least from what I could tell up from stage!). They clapped, cheered, sang-along, danced, and I couldn’t have been happier. When we reached the end of the show with the in Japan famous song “Boom Boom Beat”, and my single “Got you where he wanted”, the house was truly rocking! Also – significantly for Japan – the sound was pristine! I wouldn’t expect a highly professional sound in a small basement rock club in other parts of the world but here the sound was really super. For a performing musician to be inspired and relaxed that is of highest importance.
The show was captured by a film team so hopefully it will be possible to see the show in the future but for now – please enjoy an amateur clip from a cell phone to get a “glimpse” of the first song from the concert “Cut to the chase”. :
I want to say thank you to everyone in the audience who came to the show. You received me with open arms and I will never forget this day! I also want to thank my backing band (you rock!!!) – for the evening dubbed “The Merryfakers” – for an incredible performance. And thanks to boss of Thistime Records / PowerPopAcademy Shinsuke Fujisawa who put it all together with his colleagues and thanks to shimokitazawa THREE for a great evening and for great sound! Please enjoy a slideshow with more photos from the gig, and meeting music business partners, friends, and fans below:
No slides are available
This was a true “milestone” in my career. Now I have to go back to Sweden and “reality” for a while – and start planning the launch of Soundshine in Europe which is planned for late March. But I will always treasure this memory of Japan – and I can’t wait to come back hopefully sooner rather than later!!! Domo arigato gozaimasu Japan!!!
Thanks to Kiku Fukuzumi for slide show pictures (except the one in the street taken by Ryuji Gotoh), Akky Yasui for picture at the top of the blog post, and to Miyuki Kimura for video clip!