David Myhr - Soundshine

David Myhr awarded with the 2018 Municipality of Piteå Culture Prize (Piteå Kommuns Kulturpris 2018)

Posted: December 6th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Wow! That was unexpected! And what an incredible honour! As I sing on the new album’s title song I “keep waiting for my lucky day…”. Maybe this is the one? Or at least one of them? 🙂


 

Today I was awarded with the 2018 Municipality of Piteå Culture Prize (Piteå Kommuns Kulturpris). According to the municipality’s press release it is “offered to a person who is professionally active in the field of culture. The person should be a profile and well-known ambassador of Piteå,  and should be (or have been) resident as well as active in Piteå, or started his/her cultural practice in the municipality”.

This puts me in extremely good company with earlier awardees like comedians Ronny Eriksson and Lasse Eriksson, singer Anna-Lotta Larsson, actor Lennart Jähkel,  writer Liza Marklund, painter Sture Berglund as well as fellow rock’n’rollers (and friends) like for example KG Johansson, Bo Sundström (Bo Kaspers Orkester), Andreas Mattsson (Popsicle), Nicolai Dunger, John Eriksson (Peter Bjorn and John). And also my two colleagues Erik Westberg and Petter Sundkvist.

In the motivation, written on the diploma I was handed, it says:

(Swedish) David Myhr är en artist och låtskrivare som slog igenom i det Piteåbaserade bandet The Merrymakers på 90-talet. Yrkesmässigt är han knuten till LTU men har numera sin bas i Stockhom. Parallelt med arbetet som universitetslektor i låtskrivande, musikproduktion och branschkunskap har han en artistkarriär och är i år aktuell med sitt andra soloalbum. David har även gjort sig känd för sina djupa kunskaper om gruppen The Beatles och uppträder ibland som en levande Beatles-jukebox. Att påstå att han är lite Here, There and Everywhere är ingen överdrift. David tilldelas stipendiet för sitt mångåriga engagemang och arbete i musikens tjänst, både yrkesmässigt och privat, samt som en uppmuntran för sitt fortsatta musikskapande.

(English) David Myhr is an artist and songwriter who had his break-through with the Piteå based band The Merrymakers in the 90’s. Professionally, he is linked to Luleå University of Technology but nowadays he is based in Stockhom. Parallelly with his work as a senior lecturer in songwriting, music production and music business knowledge, he has an artist career and currently has released his second solo album. David has also become known for his deep knowledge of the The Beatles and sometimes appears as “the living Beatles jukebox”. To say he is a little Here, There and Everywhere is no exaggeration. David is awarded the award for his long-term commitment and work in the service of music, both professionally and privately, as well as encouraging his continued creation of music”.

See and hear the chair of the committe at PIteå Kommun who choose the awardees (Kultur- och Fritidsnämnden),  Ann-Katrin Sämfors, read the motivation and deliver the prize in the low quality video clip (in Swedish) below:

 

I grew up in PIteå and I lived the first half of my life there. I have only very fond memories from those days and I still have a very strong bond to my former home town. My musical journey started in Piteå in bands like 2nd Hand B Band and Ant-Mansson who later became The Merrymakers. I moved to Stockholm at 24 and have spent the same amount of years there as I did in Piteå (so now you can easily calculate my age!). I still come back a lot to Piteå. Me and my brothers and our families have kept our parent’s (and our childhood’s) summer house in Svartnäs, Rosvik. And I also still have my “day-job” (900 km from home!) as a senior lecturer at the local university (The School of Music at Luleå University of Technologysee my staff profile here).

I am determined to do my best to spend the award of 25,000 SEK not only to cover “black (economic) holes” from the cost of making Lucky Day (get the album here!!!) but to instead put them in a little jar to spend on future music making. However, during the ceremony my iPhone X fell to the floor so it’s possible I’ll have to spend almost half of the sum in order to fix my phone, thereby supporting Apple instead. Well well… you gain some, you lose some. That will soon be forgotten!  But the support and and recognition from my home town is something I will remember for life and which I am very grateful and proud. Thank you very much Piteå Kommun!

 

Here’s a link to an interview I made about receiving the prize (in Swedish) from LTU’s web page.

And a link to an article in the local paper Piteå-Tidningen.

 

Ann-Katrin Sämfors, chair of the Kultur- och fritidsnämnd, Peter Arffman, member of the committe (and ex-Merrymaker!), David Myhr, and Mikael Andersson (co-writer of the new book about Ripp-Rock).

David Myhr and ex-Merrymaker Peter Arffman who sat in the committee that awarded David Myhr with the culture prize. One can only hope that he was the one of those who voted for and not against. 🙂

Anders Nyström, Piteå Kommun, David Myhr, and Ann-Katrin Sämfors, Piteå Kommun

 


Thank you for everything Sir George Martin!

Posted: March 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Another sad post today … Sir George Martin has left us at the respectable age of 90. It may have been more expected than when David Bowie passed away two months ago (see my tribute including my renditions of my favorite Bowie songs “Life on Mars” and “Starman” here). But still. Very sad indeed. We’re talking “the fifth Beatle” (Yes. Discussion over. He’s the one!).

You probably already know what an amazing impact he has had on popular music and if not, begin with checking out for instance these 10 moments. So for now, I will spare you my lecture about his life to some other time.

Also, you probably already know that The Beatles mean the world to me. If nothing else, I made it perfectly clear in my four thousand(!) word long blog post from last year about the day I met Paul McCartney. There you can read about my Beatles obsession including links to for instance when I recorded at Abbey Road. So I will spare you that too.

But just to make it clear: The Beatles mean the world to me (and to many more millions of people). And George Martin meant the world for the Beatles.  So in this post, I thought I’d share you my personal memories from my encounters with Sir George Martin.

Already back in 1992 after my band The Merrymakers had recorded our first EP “Andrew’s Store” on Ola Håkansson’s label Stockholm Records we were – like most bands who make their first recording – amazlingly proud of our achievement. So proud that we thought “we just HAVE to let George Martin and Paul McCartney hear this”. Wonderfully juvenile and naive if I may say so myself. We probably already knew when we put the two CD copies in the mailbox back home in Piteå with destination London that the more probable destination was the trash can in some secretary’s office. So you can only imagine our surprise when we got a letter back some time later from George Martin himself!!?

Today the letter was made public for the first time ever on the Merrymakers Facebook-page. Here it is:

George Martin Merrymakers

 

He replied!!! We couldn’t have been more honoured. A “no” from George Martin was one of the biggest moments in our career at that point. It’s true that Bob Dylan had passed on receiving our demo a few months earlier when I tried to hand it to him (another story for the future). His only words were “what is this?”. So with a “what is this?” from Bob Dylan and “I don’t have time to listen” from George Martin one could almost say that we were “dancing with the dinosaurs”. (It wasn’t until our hero Andy Sturmer of Jellyfish  – the second best band ever! – decided to work with us a few years later on our album Bubblegun that our luck turned for real, at least for a while, but that’s another story…)

On to the next episode:  In 1994, in my last year at the university, I played and sang the role of Paul McCartney in an insanely ambitious project – the world premiere of Sgt Pepper Live. We performed the whole album both in a choir version and in an original version featuring the three of us in The Merrymakers in the roles of John, Paul, and George. We ended up going on tour with an ensemble of more than 150 people from my hometown of Piteå, via Stockholm (with a show at Cirkus) to Liverpool’s Empire Theatre to perform for an audience including John Lennon’s first wife Cynthia and the mayor of Liverpool.

In the preparations for the project back in 1993, together with the other two members of the “Sgt Pepper Board” (who were also my teachers at the time), Mikael Långs and professor KG Johansson, I got the wonderful opportunity to actually meet George Martin at his then newly built Air Studios Lyndhurst Hall. I was twenty-three then. (Exactly half of my age right now by the way). And it was one of the biggest moments of my life that far. Already then I had spent thirteen years completely manic about everything Beatles. And here I was at a MEETING with the fifth Beatle himself.

In the written part of my last year’s project at The School of Music in Piteå (where I work nowadays – see my staff profile here) the full story about our dealings with George Martin can be found. But in short (or actually not so short, sorry… it’s for the grandkids!) this happened:

Mr Martin arrived slightly late for our meeting. He was extremly friendly and nice. A true gentleman. He took us on a tour around the premises. It was a surreal experience to have him show us around the newly constructed Air Studios. At the time, unfortunately, I wasn’t as interested in studio construction as I became later (when we built our own studio and became producers in the 00’s). At that moment I was much more fascinated about being so close to the man who was so close to the Beatles. So it was kind of difficult to concentrate on his demonstration of the studio doors and stuff like that.

Here’s the only existing picture of myself and George Martin:

George Martin och David Myhr

 

The studio was not yet quite finished, but very impressive nonetheless. After the tour we sat down to tell him all about our project and about the school. About our musicians and audio engineering program and about our “orchestral weeks”. How we were planning to put up the Sgt. Pepper Live project. That we were planning to direct a lot of teaching at the university around The Beatles and so on.

He noted that it was not an easy task we had taken upon ourselves and immediately got into the more tricky parts: “How are you going to do with a song like, say… Within You Without You?” he asked. (Harrison’s “Indian” track on the album). But of course we had a plan for that as well. KG responded that we planned to bring in musicians who mastered various Indian instruments (including players from Gothenburg and Umeå), and possibly use some samplers and synthesizers as well. (I later bought a tamboura in London only to use in that particular song. Turned out impossible to keep in tune but it looked great!).
He wondered what we wanted him to do if he would come and we explained that it was very much up to him. We told him that we intended to have seminars about the Beatles and that we would be absolutely delighted if he would like to conduct one of those. And that we would love to see him as a conductor at the concert as well. Possibly for some of the works that he himself had written (like for instance the Yellow Submarine suite). He,  just like us, did not think any conductor would be needed on the Sgt Pepper songs
He asked if we had seen the documentary about the recording of Sgt. Pepper, which of course we had. (Remember, kids, this was way before everything was available. Long before YouTube, leaked multi track masters, isolated tracks, and all that kind of stuff…).

In the documentary he sat and pulled the faders on a mixing desk and showed what was on the different channels of Sgt. Pepper. He said he would be able to do something like that “live”. For us it sounded like a dream. Talk about a distinguished  guest speaker for our sound engineer students!

In any case he would be able to help us with some sheet music, he said. But first he wanted us to send some more information about the school including a recording of the rock band and the orchestra. Before we left he promised to give us an answer before the end of April (this was mid-March). His exact quote was: “If I say yes, you will be happy and if I say no, I will give you a good reason why.” To us, it sounded like the perfect deal.

As if this wasn’t enough, he casually asked us if we were “busy” Saturday. Luckily we weren’t so he invited us to a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, where a string quartet performed works by George Martin (and a few other very famous, but also very dead composers). He had the tickets sent to our hotel by motor cycle courier. When the day arrived it turned out we were seated right next to George and his daughter (luckily we had limited our intake somewhat of pints at the pub earlier that day!). I remember running out to the bathroom just before the concert started and in the empty lobby George Martin himself arrived as one of the last guests. When he saw me, he recognized me from the meeting a couple of days earlier, so he greeted me happily with a smile and a little wave. A big little moment for me. It was like we were sort of “mates” (well… in my mind, that is…).

 

We had every reason to be pleased with our visit. I was very taken by the whole thing. After we came back we sent him more material as we had agreed upon so he could listen to both the school’s orchestra and a couple of Merrymakers tracks so he would get an idea about our vocal abilities. The following months we were eagerly awaiting his decision. Unfortunately, he didn’t keep his promise to respond in April. Here I will spare you a lot of details about how kept faxing his (very kind) secretary Shirley Burns, how she recommended us to make our way to Malmö in the fall to meet him in connection to a concert he was involved in with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra. (He still hadn’t given us his final decision but he had at one point, just after coming out of the mixing of Pete Townsend’s then recent staging of the  rock opera “Tommy”, sent a promising letter saying “he would like to be able to come”. Whatever that meant …).

The event in Malmö was overseen by Swedish Beatles expert Staffan Olander who kindly had invited us there. Unfortunately we got the feeling we were kept at arm-length’s distance (Olander probably wanted to let Martin rest between concerts…?). So we felt obliged, having spent some tax payer’s money to get there, to find a reason to  “run into him” in a hotel lobby only to hear (during the somewhat awkard encounter) that he was incredibly busy with upcoming shows in South America and Japan and that he wouldn’t be able to give an answer.  So we went home back north, still without knowing what to expect. The chase went on for another couple of months until finally (after many more twists and turns) were were told by Mrs Burns that he wasn’t going to be able to make it. The reason this time was a rather good one.  He was again (for the first time since the sixties) involved in recordings with no less than The Beatles … !!! It was Beatles Anthology time!

The good news, except the memory for a life-time that it became for me to have met this incredible man in person, was that he kept the promise to borrow us some sheet music. He offered us to use the original(!!!) sheet music for the Yellow Submarine suite (on Spotify here on the second half of the Beatles Yellow Submarine album). Mrs Burns wanted us to send someone over to London to pick them up. (We didn’t even dare to ask them to put them in the mail). It took couple of weeks before they she had them in her hand though because Mr Martin kept forgetting to bring them into town from his home outside of London. She told us it was the first time the sheet music were lent out without Mr Martin himself being present. I got the task to fly over to London to pick them up. (One of my shortest trip abroad ever). And so, only two days before the project started, I came home with the original score of the Yellow Submarine suite written with pencil by George Martin himself. We thought it was an event worth celebrating or at least made special. So I instead of being picked up by car from the neighboring city Piteå,  only a 40 minute ride by car, I was instead picked up at Luleå Airport in a private plane by the other board members (KG and Micke who has a private pilot license).

It was a memory that would last a lifetime for me. And a memory that would last a lunchtime for Georgre Martin (as The Rutles probably would have put it…).

Well, well… since then another twenty-three years have passed. And many other exciting things have happened. But I wanted to have this special memory written down (thanks for making it all the way down here!). I was daring the day would come when George Martin no longer would be with us. And today that day came. All I can say is thank you so much for putting so much incredible music down to tape! It will live on for many generations to come! R.I.P. Sir George Martin. Please say hello from all of us to John and George up in pop heaven!!!

 

Below you can find a couple of photos from the Sgt Pepper Live concerts. (The home-coming shows at a sold out sports arena in Piteå were recorded on multi-track and filmed by multi-camera. I am working since more than a year on finding a way to have it mixed but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anyone willing to finance the project yet. An approximate amount of 30-50′ SEK would be needed. The board at the Department of Music And Education at Luleå University of Technology,  unfortunately said no when the Sgt Pepper Board applied for funds. And the Curt Boström foundation as well. But I guess if the world have waited more than twenty years for a decent mix it can probably wait a little longer…)

 

The Merrymakers Sgt Pepper Live

The full Sgt Pepper ensemble

 


A great gig with GREAT GIG singing David Bowie

Posted: January 8th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

(“Breaking news” update Monday, Jan 11, 2016:)

Only hours ago the world received the unbelievably sad news that David Bowie has left us. Only the last couple of days I have given him more thought than in quite a while (see post below). I was once again reminded how much his music has meant to me. Obviously, therefore, it’s a very surreal sensation that suddenly the celebration of his 69th birthday and the release of his new album,  suddenly only three days later now turns into grief.

I remember covering “The Prettiest Star” together with The Merrymakers back in 1997 (a rare, somewhat “underproduced”, B-side which has it’s world premiere on-line here today). It was that song that first caught my interest for Bowie when my brother Niklas was playing his records in my child-hood home at loud volume. Such a brilliant melody. But there’s many other songs that are competing about the other spots on my Bowie top 5 (which is always topped by the unbeatable “Life on Mars”). Among them are “Changes”, “Oh You Pretty Things”, “Ziggy Stardust”  (which I’ve sung hundreds of times in cover gigs) and “Starman” (see video of my interpretation below).  Power Pop Movie producer Justin Fielding chose a few words from that song for his Facebook status update on this sad day which I think describe the new situation very well:

There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds

R.I.P. David Bowie.

(Original post, Friday Jan 8, 2016:)

I was a huge David Bowie fan when I was younger. I still am. In fact he’s among my top 5 musical heroes of all time (if all members of the Beatles – including their solo careers –  count as one). But like many others I kind of got stuck into his first half of the seventies period which is absolutely fabulous. Again, like many others, I have had “Life on Mars” as my favorite song of all time since I was a kid. So it’s no surprise that I was absolutely delighted when I was invited to be part of the show “The Golden Years of David Bowie” back in my former hometown Piteå. The people behind these huge tribute shows call themselves GREAT GIG which is a constellation of great musicians from Piteå who were my local rock’n’roll heroes (and still are) growing up.

Since that November day in 2008 I’ve been kind of waiting for a proper documentation of the show, but I think both audio and video got lost among too many of Peter Eliasson’s hard drives. So in order to celebrate David Bowie’s 69th birthday today I thought I’d share whatever little glimpses I have from that show. The sound is taken directly from the mixer which means the levels and balance of the instruments are far from perfect. So please be forgiving in your judgement. Anyway, it’s a great memory for me! Thanks GREAT GIG for having me as your guest!

Ensemble: Dust Radio (Mikael Thurfjell, Gunnar Sundström, Peter Eliasson, Folke Wiklund, Mats Lundberg).

Guests: David Myhr, Stefan Tjerngren, Francis Goossens, Anna Wedin, Maria Juuso, Jonna Löfgren.

If you ever get the chance, I can highly recommend the Great Gig productions. Since then, they have made tribute shows to Queen, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, and more.
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“Live at PDOL” – concert video premiere!

Posted: September 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Live at PDOL” – concert video premiere!
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!
Have a nice weekend!

It was twenty years ago today… Andrew’s Store 20th anniversary!

Posted: August 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

If you’re reading this you probably already know I was in a band called The Merrymakers in the 90’s. Our two albums which you can find on Spotify came out in 1995 and 1997. We had our greatest success in Japan and was fortunate to work with our hero Andy Sturmer of Jellyfish. The second half of the 90’s were our “heydays” when we were at least somewhat productive and succesful. By then we were a trio featuring me, Anders Hellgren, and Peter Arffman. But that story I’ve told many times – like in this interview or in many blog posts like this one.

But today I’m going to celebrate the “mark 1” line up of The Merrymakers from the formative years. Back in the days when we were still living in Piteå up in northern Sweden. By then we were a five-piece band with no more than four of us figthing about the spot behind the vocal microphone. Almost like a “super group”…

The reason for becoming nostalgic today is that it’s exactly twenty years ago that our first single (with a proper record deal) was released and heard on national radio P3. We were signed by Ola Håkansson (already legendary from bands like Ola & The Janglers and Secret Service) to his new label Stockholm Records. They later fired us partly since we were lacking a clear profile (very true by then!) and that they had found “a younger group”. How old we were..? Twenty-three! The other group…? The Cardigans!

Here’s a picture of the single cover from 1992 alongside the cover of my new solo album Soundshine. As you can see a lot has happened in 20 years!

 

 

Anyway, the song is called “Andrew’s Store” and below you can enjoy (or suffer!?) a few nostalgic video clips from that era.  You will note I had more hair, more glasses, worse shirts, and a stronger Piteå accent (only notable for those who speak Swedish). I sing lead on this particular song (I won the fight that time probably because I came up with the melody for the chorus and bridge). No matter how painful and embarrasing it may be for ourselves (and our wives) to watch this I thought it was a good moment to share these clips. It might be fun at least for those who were around at the time. And maybe (but no guarantees, hey!) for those who discovered the song much later after our success in Japan where it was re-released again in 1998 o a compilation together with the rest of the singles and B-sides from the early years.

Enjoy and have a nice weekend!

Coverage by SVT (Swedish television) with clips from the studio and outdoors in Piteå (don’t miss the ending picture with the trumpet players behind Andrew’s Store):

Coverage by local TV (Piteå Kanalen) from the release party at local record store Hit It Records.

Playback in Z-TV (first TV performance ever):

Live (but playback) in Z-TV at Stockholm Records release party at Hamburger Börs: